TASSO have written to all members of Parliament to outline the issues with the Education Bill
Letter copied below:
7th October 2016.
To all Members of the Tasmanian Parliament
Education Bill 2016
There are four key messages that TASSO has with regards to the Education Bill.
- There should be no change to the Entry Age and Leaving Age as proposed. The case has not been made for change.
TASSO supports the following school entry ages:
(a) entry age for Kindergarten be 4 years
(b) entry age for Prep be 5 years
(c) entry age for 1st Grade Primary be 6 years
Furthermore these ages be attained by the 1st January
- School Associations must remain able to operate as incorporated bodies.
Based on legal advice received TASSO maintain that School Associations must be able to operate as incorporated bodies under the Associations Incorporation Act 1964.
School Associations need to remain autonomous, they exist to represent parents and the community, not the Department of Education and the School Principal. Any change should ensure more autonomy and greater empowerment of parent and community members.
- The right of parents to choose the school for their child must be retained.
The right to choose is currently only constrained by “Is the school full?” and “Can the school meet the special needs of the student seeking enrolment”.
Section 19, 1 of the current Education Act must be retained. TASSO support the provisions in the existing act with regards to choice of school. The right of parents to choose the school for their child must be retained.
EDUCATION ACT 1994
- Enrolment within home area
(1) A school-aged child or person is entitled to be enrolled at the State school which has its intake of students from the area in which his or her home is situated.
(2) A school-aged child or person may be enrolled at a State school which does not have its intake of students from the area in which his or her home is situated if there is not the maximum number of students at the school.
- Functions of School Associations
This Bill proposes to remove the requirement of the School Association to approve the school budget and to participate on the selection panel for Principal selection.
Section 27 of the current Act clearly states their role and function, these points must remain in the Education Act without alteration.
- Functions of school associations
A school association has the following functions:
(a) to participate in the formulation and development of –
(i) a set of beliefs, values and priorities for the school; and
(ii) the school policies and code of conduct;
(b) to provide advice and recommendations to the principal in relation to the general operations and management of the school;
(c) to participate on the selection panel in respect of any advertised permanent vacancy for the position of principal;
(d) to foster cooperation among teachers, students, members of the school association, parents and the community;
(e) to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on any matter relating to policy;
(f) to approve the school budget;
(g) any other function the Minister determines.
TASSO Policy preface:
“The Tasmanian Association of State School Organisations hold that an education should be provided to all which enables the development of their abilities.
This provision should ensure that all achieve their maximum potential irrespective of capacity to pay, class, disability, gender, culture, level of ability or where they live.
The school system should provide a broad curriculum to enable the student to participate fully in society; a learning environment that encourages them to build on their culture, experience and skills and an education setting which is safe, nurturing and welcoming.
TASSO holds as a tenet that an effective school system is a partnership of students, parents, teachers and ancillary staff and as such can best meet the needs of all its participants.”
In addition to the four major concerns outlined above we have put together a summary of issues we would like raised when the Bill is debated, I implore you to do so.
Should the Bill be passed, TASSO must be consulted during the drafting of the regulations and model constitution for school associations.
If you would like to discuss TASSO’s concerns in greater detail please call me on 0400 841 011, or TASSO Senior Vice President, Trinette Newell on 0447 464 857 or Executive Officer Cassandra Wells on 0427 002 211.