Issue No. 1
February 2020

President's Message

In this month's e-letter, I provide you with details of a new mandatory reporter group; give an update on DET's work to simplify the engagement of specialist OHS providers for schools; direct you to information about the new Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration; introduce the new VPA Board; provide information about financial support available to families affected by bushfires; and provide a list of grants and awards that are currently open. 
Stay connected, united and empowered!

Anne-Maree Kliman VPA President
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Contents – quick links to key information.
Health and Wellbeing – look after yourself this month.

Regional Meetings – find support in your area. 
What's Hot
Topic Details Action
Financial Support available for families affected by the bushfires There is financial support available for families in the 15 LGA’s affected by the bushfires to assist with:
  • Cost of uniforms
  • Books and stationary
  • Other essential items for school
Schools are to use this template letter to parents to notify families of the bushfire relief package and to include the below support request forms with the letter to families and ask them to return completed forms to your school for further processing: For further advice go to Getting Kids Back to School information document
New Swimming and Water Safety Online Toolkit Life Saving Victoria have recently redesigned their Swimming and Water Safety Online Toolkit. To access the Swimming and Water Safety Online Toolkit, visit
Awards & Grants currently open Applications are currently being sought for the following awards/funding opportunities. Links to each will be located in a new section of the e-letter below:

Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools ($50,000)
Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science community - Nominations are now open for the 2020 prizes.
Details are available here.

2020 Australian Education Awards
The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of Australia's top performing schools, principals, department heads and teachers.

Details can be found here
Closure dates:
March 12

March 20
A New Mandatory Reporter Group
From 31 January 2020, if a person works (other than on a voluntary basis), to provide direct support to school students, at or directly connected with a school, for mental, emotional or psychological wellbeing, they will be a mandatory reporter as a ‘school counsellor’.

In a school, ‘school counsellors’ may include:
  • Student Support Service staff
  • primary welfare officers
  • mental health practitioners in secondary schools
  • student wellbeing coordinators 
  • school chaplains 
  • speech pathologists
  • youth workers
  • social workers
  • Many staff in schools, such as principals, teachers, registered psychologists and school nurses are already mandatory reporters.
What must mandatory reporters do?
Mandatory reporters must report to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Protection if they form a belief on reasonable grounds during the course of carrying out their professional roles and responsibilities that:
  • a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm as a result of physical abuse and/or sexual abuse, and
  • the child’s parents have not protected, or are unlikely to protect, the child from harm of that type.
It is a criminal offence not to report in these circumstances.

Do school staff still need to follow the Four Critical Actions for Schools?
Yes, school staff must still follow the Four Critical Actions for Schools to respond to incidents, disclosures and suspicions of child abuse to ensure they fulfil all their legal obligations, including mandatory reporting obligations. See: Four Critical Actions for Schools

More information
Principals can also remind school staff who are mandatory reporters that they must complete the Protecting Children – Mandatory Reporting and Other Obligations eLearning module every year. 
For more information, see: Child Protection – Reporting Obligations
Access the January 2020 changes to Mandatory Reporting
Access the January 2020 case studies
Simplifying the Engagement of Specialist OHS Providers for Schools
The Department is starting to pre-approve specialist Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) providers to help reduce compliance burden for schools, improve safety outcomes, make it easier for schools to find qualified providers, as well as receive discounts, and be informed about indicative pricing. Schools can spend a lot of time finding the right provider for services, such as electricians, testing and taggers, arborists and playground inspectors.

This initiative will support schools to find suitably qualified, licenced (when required) and insured providers for works, while also making the process simpler. It will save schools time and reduce the administrative burden as compliance documentation will be centrally maintained.

This forms part of the Victorian Government’s $51 million investment into Employee Wellbeing and Operational Policy reforms to reduce administrative burden, reduce risks and improve safety in our schools.

Encouraging providers to become ‘pre-approved’
Please encourage your local specialist OHS providers to apply to become pre-approved. 
They can
apply online at Engaging specialist occupation health and safety (OHS) providers.

Delivering efficiencies for schools
Once the pre-approved providers are available from Term 1, 2020, schools can access them
here. The Department will centrally manage the provider’s qualifications, certificates, licenses and insurances.

This is an opt-in support so schools can continue to use their own providers if they wish, in line with the
Contractor OHS Management Procedure.

Schools will still need to request and approve a quote for the specific services to be completed, and complete an on-site induction for the provider.

Listed services
Using information from CASES, industry peak bodies and WorkSafe, the Department has already commenced contacting the following categories of providers, inviting them to become pre-approved:
  • electricians 
  • testing and tagging specialists.

From December 2019, the Department will progressively also reach out to: 
  • arborists, tree inspection and maintenance specialists
  • plant and equipment inspection, and maintenance specialists
  • playground equipment inspection and maintenance specialists
  • shade-sail specialists
  • structural engineers.

In 2020, the Department will approach the following categories:
  • first aid kit supply and inspectors
  • hazardous chemical waste removalists
  • height safety specialists
  • management of bee hives and swarms specialists
  • OHS consultants
  • wildlife handlers – snake specialists.

More information
For more information, please contact your regions OHS/Facilities Support Offices found here:
Useful contacts

For free expert advice, contact the Department’s OHS Advisory Service by phoning 1300 074 715 or emailing
Launch of the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration
The Melbourne Education Declaration was reviewed in 2019 and was launched in December last year. It is now known as the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration.

The revised Declaration has established Australia’s educational goals and actions for the next decade.  Education leaders from across the nation established Australia’s educational goals and actions for the next decade. The inaugural Declaration was made in 1989, and ensures all Australian Education Ministers commit to national education goals. It is refreshed around every ten years.

The Alice Springs (Mparntwe - pronounced as ‘M-ban-tua’) Education Declaration, launched by the Education Council on 12 December 2019, commits the Australian education system to promoting excellence and equity. The agreement also recognises that all young Australians should have the opportunity to become confident and creative individuals, successful lifelong learners, and active and informed members of the community.

Changes in the Mparntwe Declaration
The Mparntwe Declaration was developed following consultation with young people, educators, education and training providers, parents, business and industry from all around Australia.

Key changes in the Mparntwe Declaration include:
  • broadening the scope of the Declaration to include lifelong learning, including new attributes and skills for the 21st Century
  • recognising student diversity and stronger partnerships with parents, carers, families and communities
  • including greater focus on student voice and agency, and student wellbeing
  • enhancing recognition of the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people
  • emphasising the importance of early learning, transitions and diverse pathways
  • updating curriculum and assessment guidance
  • expanding the description of qualitative measures to track progress against goals
  • a stronger emphasis on primary school education.
Impact of the Mparntwe Declaration
The Mparntwe Declaration is a cross-government commitment to build an education system that provides every student with the knowledge, capabilities and attributes that will see them thrive throughout their lives.

Through the Declaration, each government also renewed their commitment to celebrating and learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge and histories. Reflecting that commitment is a focus on ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are supported to imagine, discover and unlock their potential.

More information
The Declaration is available on the Education Council website:
2020 VPA Board
Last week we had our first VPA Board meeting for 2020. At the first board meeting each year we elect the VPA office bearers. It is with pleasure that I announce the following: 

Deputy President: Andrew Dalgleish, Principal, Montpellier Primary School 

Treasurer: Cheryle Osborne, Principal, Aspendale Gardens Primary School

I also extend a warm welcome to Glenda Harry, Principal at Orchard Grove Primary School, who was co-opted to fill the casual vacancy on the VPA Board. 

2020 VPA Board Members
Kathie Arnold, Aldercourt PS
Matthew Borg, Keilor Views PS
Glenda Harry, Orchard Grove PS
Deborah Grossek, Glendal PS
Bryan Nolan, Oak Park PS
Dale Power, Miners Creek PS
Frank Vetere, Footscray High School
Esther Wood, Burwood Heights PS
Gaye Aldridge, Executive Officer
Cheryle Osborne, Treasurer
Andrew Dalgleish, Deputy President
Anne-Maree Kliman, President 

The Board and State Councillors will be spending this coming Thursday and Friday at our annual VPA Planning forum focussing reviewing our Strategic Intent and Implementation Plan and launching our new Vodcast. We will also be hearing from DET about, Proactive Wellbeing Supervision, Occupational Violence and Aggression Policy, Policy and Advisory Library (PAL), OHS management system, Injury Management and school reviews.
Health and Wellbeing
It's important to regularly stop and focus on your personal health and wellbeing. The following articles offer insight into looking after yourself holistically – body, mind and spirit.
Apple and Oat Pancakes
A breakfast AND lunchbox favourite
Post-workout Oils
There's evidence that consuming olive oil after exercise could trigger changes linked to longevity
Soul Star Festival Melbourne
A holistic celebration of spirituality and wellness
In My Blood It Runs
Documentary exposes how education system is failing Aboriginal children
Please contact Laura at the VPA to join any of these meetings. Non-VPA colleagues are welcome!
SW Thursday 5 March  6.00pm The Western City Hotel Anne-Maree Kliman
BSW Tuesday 10 March  6.00pm Lady Bay Restaurant Anne-Maree Kliman
BSW Thursday 12 March  7.30am Winters Café, Geelong West TBC
EMR Friday 20 March  7.15am Box Hill Golf Club Anne-Maree Kliman
Bastow: Principal Preparation and Leading Literacy
Introduction to Leadership Coaching
This two-day workshop provides an introduction to the GROWTH coaching model for school leaders and is particularly suitable for any member of staff who has responsibility for performance reviews or supporting colleagues.
This program would be especially valuable for Principals, Assistant Principals, Learning Specialists and Leading Teachers. 

Date: Thursday 19 & Friday 20 March 2020
Time: 9.00am–4.30pm
Venue: VPA Office, North Melbourne
Presenters: Gray Ryan, Managing Consultant, Growth Coaching International
For more information and to apply, click here
No Scaredy Cats for Teachers - Professional Learning Workshop
No Scaredy Cats™ is based on three underlying principles: first, by having an understanding of how anxiety develops teachers and parents can counter its progress, second, teachers and parents can play a preventative role in the aetiology of children worrying too much, third, there are practical steps to take to build resilience thinking in children.
The Productivity Commission's Inquiry into mental health draft report has recommended school and education reforms to improve the well being of children and young people with poor mental health.

This workshop can assist you in identifying and reducing anxiety and building resilience thinking skills in children aged 2-12 years.

Date: Wednesday 15 April 2020
Cost: Early Bird @ $299 or Full price @ $349
For more information and to apply, click here
Navigating Conflict Training
This one-day workshop equips staff with the tools and strategies to better understand and respond to conflict.
When a dispute arises it can be confronting and difficult to manage. Understanding the methods for handling conflict, determining the most effective technique and having the skills to resolve a disagreement are important. In partnership with the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV), the Department is offering a course focused on conflict resolution specifically in school settings.

Navigating Conflict
Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria, 456 Lonsdale Street 
  • 28 February
  • 16 March
  • 4 May
  • 14 May
  • 21 May
  • 27 May
  • 3 June
Please note, a fee $176.34pp applies to this course
Click here to register
Finance Matters 2020
“Finance Matters” – the professional development training program offered by the Schools Finance and Resource Branch (Financial Services Division), will continue to run in 2020.

Sessions can be accessed through LearnED.

The program focusses on financial management best practice and is offered to all principal class, aspiring principal class, business managers, aspiring business managers and education support staff.

The program focusses on the following: 
  • Modules 1 and 2 – Student Resource Package and Workforce Budgeting (1 day workshop)
  • Module 3 -  Financial Management (half day session)
  • Modules 4 and 5 – Budget Preparation and Financial Reporting (1 day session)
  • Module 6 – Taxation (3 or 4 hours session)
  • Module 7 – Insurance (1.5 hours session)
All modules do not have to be completed in the same location. You can attend training at any location that is convenient to you. The modules are not required to be done in any specific order. However, it is recommended to commence with Modules 1 and 2 if possible.

The timetable is attached to this newsletter. Participants can register via eduPay by clicking on the link in the last column of the attached document.

There is no cost to participants or schools. Early registration is recommended.

Further information relating to the program can be obtained by contacting the Program Coordinator on
Download the Finance Matters timetable
Strategic Management for School Leaders (SMfSL) Workshops
The Workforce Planning and People Power workshops are part of the modules in Bastow’s SMfSL’s program, and are run by Principal Advisers Brian Wheeler and Frank Sal. 

As part of their roles in the Principal Support Unit, Brian and Frank are also available for school visits, or conversation via phone, to confidentially support you as you work through HR issues in your school.
Such issues may involve: consultation processes and implementation of the VGSA, resolving deficit situations, leadership structure review and implementation, excess, family leave and other leave issues, recruitment issues... in fact any and all issues associated with HR management in your school.

Brain     0457529729
Frank     0475832471

Workforce Planning
2 Treasury Place Melbourne G1 & G2
  • Tuesday March 10
  • Monday March 18
  • Friday July 31
  • Friday August 14
Click here for more information and to register
People Power
2 Treasury Place Melbourne G1 & G2
  • Friday March 20
  • Friday May 15
Click here for more information and to register
2020 Australian Education Awards
A nationwide call for nominations for the has commenced. The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of Australia's top performing schools, principals, department heads and teachers.

Any individual or school operating in the Australian K-12 education sector is eligible to submit a nomination, either on their own behalf or for another individual or school.

All nominations must be submitted via the official Australian Education Awards online portal. The winners of the Australian Education Awards 2020 will be announced at the official gala event and awards ceremony on Friday 14 August 2020.

Categories include:
Individual & School Awards
  • Australian School of the Year
  • Australian Principal of the Year
  • Primary School of the Year
  • Regional School of the Year
  • Special Education School of the Year
  • Best School Strategic Plan
  • Best Student Wellbeing Program
  • Best Professional Learning Program
  • Primary School Principal of the Year 
  • Principal of the Year 
  • Teacher of the Year
  • Education Rising Star of the Year
Curriculum Awards
  • Best Co-Curricular Program
  • Best STEM Program
  • Best Use of Technology
  • Innovation in Curriculum Design
  • Innovation in Learning Environment Design
Applications close March 20
Click here for more information and to nominate
ResourceSmart Schools Awards
ResourceSmart Schools is a free program offered by Sustainability Victoria. The program supports Victorian schools to embed sustainability across the school facilities, community and curriculum, while saving resources and money.

ResourceSmart schools minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and take action on climate change to benefit their school and community.

The ResourceSmart Schools awards 
Victorian schools’ sustainability achievements are celebrated at the ResourceSmart Schools Awards. 
The awards are Victoria’s biggest sustainable school awards, and are open to all Victorian schools – government, Catholic and independent – at both primary and secondary level. 

The official awards ceremony is attended by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate change as well as businesses, government representatives and hundreds of school teachers and students.

In 2020 the awards ceremony will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on World Environment Day, Friday 5 June 2020. 
Click here for more information and to apply
Public Education Foundation - Principals Scholarship 
The Public Education Foundation’s Principals’ Scholarships provides scholarships for principals of government primary and secondary schools to undertake a short professional education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the USA.


There are two courses offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Education which this Scholarship can fund. You need to choose which of these two programs is most relevant to your needs and interests. You will only be funded to attend one program.

Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership – suitable for 1-5 years of leadership experience. Course Dates: 21 – 27 June 2020
Leadership: An Evolving Vision – suitable for 3+ years of leadership experience. Course Dates: 12 – 18 July 2020


To be eligible for a Principal’s scholarship you must:
  • Be a current Principal in a government primary or secondary school in Australia;
  • Be a mid-career Eligible applicants will have served as a Principal in a government primary or secondary school in Australia for between three and ten years;
  • Be committed to continue as a Principal in the government school system for at least another five years;
  • Be available to share your learnings to a wide community through formal and informal channels such as relevant conferences, social media and other networks;
  • Act as an Ambassador in different forums such as the media, conferences and social media for the Public Education Foundation and the Teachers Mutual Bank upon your return.
Click here for more information and to apply
Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools ($50,000)
The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science Teaching award science educators with prizes for excellence in science teaching.
To be eligible for a science teaching prize a nominee must:
  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia
  • have completed their teaching achievement (that they’re being nominated for) in Australia
  • not self-nominate
  • be a full-time or part-time teacher at a primary or secondary school listed on the Australian Schools List
  • be active in teaching science, mathematics or technology in the classroom at the time of their nomination
  • Nominees do not need to be a member of a professional association or have received any prior award to be eligible.
Applications close March 12
Click here for more information and to apply
Trans-Tasman Conference 2020
The VPA will not be holding its annual conference in 2020 as every 8 years we work with a number of organisations and hold the Trans-Tasman Conference. This conference brings together the Australian Primary Principals’ Association (APPA) and the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF), with the host committee of representatives from the Victorian Principals Association (VPA), Independent Primary School Heads Association (IPSHA-VIC) and the Victorian Association of Catholic Primary School Principals (VACPSP) welcomes delegates to Melbourne, 15 -18 September 2020. 

The conference theme, Leading Today For Tomorrow: Creative, Courageous, Connected encapsulates the joys, challenges and demands of contemporary leadership.

The keynote speakers and workshop presenters will inspire and challenge our thinking and bring us fresh ideas about leadership.
This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to mix with 1200+ primary school leaders from our two countries as well as some other international guests.

I warmly invite you to register your interest for the 2020 Trans-Tasman Conference in Melbourne. We look forward to welcoming you in Melbourne in September 2020 as we build strong leadership today for tomorrow.
Register for the Trans-Tasman Conference
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