Special Education Principals' and Leaders' Association

New Executive of SEPLA Elected and Management Committee Established

Officer Bearers: Executive
President: Matthew Johnson - Green Square School
Vice-President: Peter Skinner - Bass School
Treasurer: Carol Robson - Tallowood School
Secretary: Diane Robertson - Clarke Road School

Management Committee:
Diana Murphy: St George School
Anne Flint: Holroyd School
Lisa Moffatt: Kurambee School
Sargon Marko: Les Powell School
Kim Bell: Illawarra Hospital School
Gina Davidson: Liverpool Hospital School
Wendy Milburn: Chalmers Road School (non-voting)
Renee Culgar: Niland School (non-voting)


Network meeting:
28th March ( wk 9)

Network Conference
29th/ 30th May (wk 5)

Network meeting:
12th Sept (wk9)

Network meeting:
21st November (wk7)

Minutes of SEPLA MEETING November 29, 2013.

SEPLA meeting November 29.

Philip Samson: Proposed changes to Teacher Improvement Processes.
Senior Project Officer (conduct unit)
TARS and improvement changes as part of the new award negotiated and agreed to by the Federation. Handout of DEC information on Teacher efficiency and Principal pay scales (see DEC website). Question exists as to if improvement plan will be rolled out 2014 or 2015.
Teacher improvement program (excludes probationary teachers).

Prior to being put on an improvement program (10 week plan) teach must be given warning of 5 weeks with informal support. The informal support has proven good in making improvement so a program did not have to be commenced; 20 week period for completion of the improvement program also speeded up the process. Pick 2 or 3 elements on which to work. The first thing you should do BEFORE you even think of putting someone on a program read the Code of Conduct and contact SED. For probationary teachers there is to be an induction program before a performance program can be considered. Procedural fairness is there and the program is extensive in order to ensure that a case of unfair treatment cannot by put by the teacher.
Cut the time to 10 week TOTAL. Entire process to take 12 weeks. After Principals report it goes to 2 teachers to check for procedural fairness then to the decision maker. Before anything starts you must contact both EPAC and the Director. There is a 10 day relief package that goes with the process. 5 weeks support and guidance. If they improve in that 5 weeks the program can end. It is a serious matter to send them onto a formal program beyond the informal support as it can lead to dismissal.
All schools must have a structured professional development procedure. Responsibility for DEC to provide a professional development program and puts some responsibility on the individual teacher manage their own development and must participate in the program.
If a teacher takes stress leave within that time, as long as the leave is on the basis of the program and not just another reason, the time frame remains the same.
Teacher, Executive and Principal Improvement programs will be very similar, 12 week period.
The changes say that these conditions will not apply to temporary teachers or probationary. Probationary if not passed their preliminary their position would be annulled and temporary teacher. They are looking at other procedures.
The concept is that the person is fit for “the position held".
Good idea to have the Federation local representation or at least an unbiased person in the room and to take minute. Never have a meeting without support people in the room. Never record the meeting and always minute the meetings. Should always address medical or mental health issues before any improvement program is embarked upon.
Principals have e right to give a direction. Make sure you give notice of any reasonable directions in line with the Code of Conduct.

Greg Noonan. Issues for Special Schools.
Massive number of changes presently going on.
Rural and Remote information on specialist centres. Unsure how they will operate. There will be 16 across the State but don’t yet know how they will operate. Reading Centres and health based. Reference to handout of the 6 models of support and 4 allied areas. (see handout). Personalised learning and support aspect of ESES being worked upon now could become one of the online learning program's to be offered.

National Consistent Collection of Data for Students with Disabilities. By 2015 all schools will be collecting this data. Aim of this is to be able to report on ALL students who have adjustments to their program's not just SSP students and integration funded students. Supplementary (min changes) to substantial (high support).
ERN will continue for a while and information on students will be entered through that. Part of this data collection is the online training on the Disability Standards. PLAST (tool for functional assessment). Product being developed from the trials. It tells you the strengths and weakness of a student to help with the development of IEP or can use as you want.

Access Request: Working on Access Request 2, the tool is more intuitive. As no Regions the passing on of information needs to be reviewed. Placement Panels will need to change and looking at it and a numb of procedures e.g. all metro SSPs being looked altogether. Met with Educational Service Directors (1 p area). Paper put together to look at this which should go to Principals for consultation. Start of 2014 will be the same until an agreement has been reached.
Grants (RSSP, SP. ED, etc.) Recognised that cannot be done by allocation to each school. Going to Areas and will be dived within their schools. However, there needs to be consistent approach. Pointed out that it is “authority" not "autonomy" in the school. Spec Ed grant will still come. Unclear on other forms as will be area based.
Assessment of students being looked at but the same for 2014.
The future of ESES. SSP projects complete. Still thinking about this. No continuation of the approach for the. Previous 2 years. If you have ideas for a project then please send in to Greg for your ideas.
Question. As to why secondary students not funded as such in SSPs. This is to be brought up with.
Anything about future ESES projects or about Placement Panel please email Greg.

NOTE; Robyn McKerihan 's presentation will be sent out to all.
Additional notes:
Support teams will exist in each area to help in the local areas. The RAM itself does not generate money, it allocates what is there. It avoids the “tack on “programs. It has been built from the expenditure lines or cost drives that are in schools at the moment. Understood that different SSPs have different base costs. 2014 need to look at this. Per capita component is difficult for SSPs and is to be looked at.
Very important that we look at the factor of need allocation and how SSPQs at the base level are funded. Thoughts on is need to be sent to Robyn as it will be worked on at the stator 2014. Need to get things right as notion of supplementation will not exist.
SSP Principals will be called upon to participate in the decisions so that intricate funding aspects will not be missed.
LSL school will not be paid by school from day 1. Money will be left with the school for the teacher on leave for you to pay for the relief (choose to cover or not)
Maternity, jury, etc. same as above.
Shared Risk Model Will still gets some short term casual relief. Teaching staff will be $200 for each teacher sick, day 1, 2, 3 day 4,5,6,7 get 30% return at end of month next up to 12 get 40 % from day 13 get nearly full, and at 20 get full reimbursement. If teacher does not submit leave form with 20 days they will not get paid. Funding is based on the leave taken NOT on the pay of the person replacing.

Conference Report. Mercedes.
Conference around ESES in Parramatta area. Called for idea around that, also about ideas for the dinner and if they feel we should continue with the Teacher’s Day. Days. Any topics please email to Mercedes.
Meeting closed 1.45 pm


Thursday, May 29th, 8:15am to Friday, May 30th, 4:15pm

350 Church St

Parramatta, NSW

We are pleased to announce that the Special Education Principals' and Leaders' Association NSW, will be holding their 2014 Annual Conference on Thursday, 29th and Friday, 30th May at the Novotel Parramatta Hotel (formerly The Sebel Parramatta).

The theme for this year's Conference is "Special Education - We've Got Talent". The program will focus on some of the outstanding Every School, Every Student Projects developed by special schools across the State. This Conference will ensure that attendees are more equipped to lead change, inspire change or work with change in their own schools.

The Conference Website and online Registration will be available in February, 2014.

The Conference Organising Committee, Sponsors and Exhibitors look forward to seeing you there in May!

For further information about the 2014 SEPLA Conference, please visit the Conference Website, or contact GEMS Event Management on +61 2 9744 5252.

GEMS Event Management, Unit 15/118 Queens Road, Five Dock, NSW, 2046
T: +61 2 9744 5252 F: +61 2 9747 8366

Results of Nominations for Executive Committee 2014

Nominations for Executive Committee.

Nominations received by the Returning Officer Jill Dean for: Anne Flint , Matthew Johnson, Carol Robson, Di Robertson , Di Murphy, Gina Davidson.

Additional nominations taken at the meeting and seconded: Peter Skinner, Lisa Moffatt,
Sargon Makka, Kim Bell. Wendy Millburn, Renee
Members voted on 5 nominations to fill remaining 4 positions.

Result of the vote .
Lisa Moffatt, Peter Skinner, Sargon Marko and Kim Bell were successful in joining the other 6 on the Executive. Wendy Millburn and Renee will be invited to attend meetings but will not have voting rights.

Independent Public Schools - Announcement by Federal Education Minister Pyne

Principal autonomy

Both internationally and in Australia, evidence emphasises the advantages of school autonomy as part of a comprehensive strategy for school improvement

In Australia, schools in all states and territories have been moving towards more autonomous and independent models to improve education outcomes.

The Australian Government also recognises that giving schools and school leaders greater autonomy can help improve student results.

Great schools have leaders and teachers who have the independence to make the decisions and develop the courses that best meets the needs of their students.

To promote principal autonomy the Australian Government is committed to supporting measures that enhance the professional development for school leaders. We know that these days school leaders are expanding beyond educational roles into these new areas of responsibility. We know that support is needed to meet these changing demands.

Independent Public Schools

The evidence shows, and overseas experience highlights, that increasing school autonomy can help lift student outcomes and better meet the needs of local communities.

With training provided for school leaders, parents and community members, schools will be better placed to respond to the needs of their students and to increase the involvement of parents and community groups in the life and operations of the school.

The Australian Government is responding to the growing demand for greater school autonomy and flexibility with its new $70 million Independent Public Schools initiative, that builds on current developments across the states to help schools become more autonomous and independent if they so choose.

Under this initiative, selected government schools in participating states and territories will move towards greater autonomy and encourage increased parent and community involvement.

To help parents get involved in their school community a useful Guide for Parents on School Boards and School Councils is available that helps explain some of the ways to get involved in their child’s school and the different school systems in their state or territory.

The Australian Government will have more to say on increasing school autonomy in the weeks and months ahead.

More information for parents and carers is available in the Independent Public Schools — What it means for parents and carers fact sheet.

More information for schools is available in the Independent Public Schools — Giving schools more choice fact sheet.

Concerns about the Independent Public School Plan - Sydney Morning Herald Feb 5, 2014

A push by a federal Coalition government to turn public schools into independent schools could impose a heavy burden on staff and parents and lead to a "two-tiered" government system, according to an alliance of parent groups in NSW.

The presidents of six Parents and Citizens Association district councils have written a joint letter to federal Coalition MPs seeking urgent detail on one of their key education policies – to "encourage state schools to choose to become independent schools".

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne has said he would like to see other states pursue a model similar to that in Western Australia, where the government has created a category called "independent public schools".

In WA, schools can apply to become an IPS, giving them autonomy over budgets and staffing and more discretion over the curriculum. They are managed partly by a school board, remain publicly funded and cannot charge compulsory fees.

The parents' alliance raised concerns about the impact of any such change.

"School principals were appointed for their educational leadership, not for business management skills. They need to stay focused on ensuring great educational outcomes for the students, not be distracted by additional administrative burdens," the letter says.

Acting president of the Northern Sydney Council of P&Cs, Steph Croft, said some schools might struggle to find parents and community members who had the spare time and the appropriate management skills to sit on school boards.

"Even in communities with very highly skilled people, it's very, very hard," she said.

The letter also raised concerns about why the Coalition would pursue a model similar to that of US charter schools, given that the US does not perform well on education rankings by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and that Finland performs much better.

"One of the world benchmarks for educational excellence is Finland ... the Finns do not have private schools nor segregated selective schools – nor do they have charter or independent schools," the letter says.

"Rather than let one section of education fall behind because of a lack of funding or attention, the Finns lift the education of all students."

The letter queries what safeguards could be used to stop a "two-tiered" system developing between public schools that were independent and those that weren't.

In a written response Mr Pyne told Fairfax Media the Coalition would not pursue a "one-size fits all" approach and had no intention to force schools that did not have "the capacity or the desire to become more autonomous" to do so.

He said greater autonomy allowed principals to be more responsive to the educational needs of students. "Principals I have met in Western Australia rave about the freedom they have to create programs and drive school reforms, benefiting not just the school and students but the community at large," he said.

"Some of the greatest success stories have been in low [socio-economic status] schools."

An evaluation of the WA policy by the University of Melbourne found principals felt it had "enhanced the functioning of their school" but they were concerned it had given some schools an advantage over others.

The NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, has already opposed the federal Coalition's policy, telling Fairfax Media last month that NSW would not go along with any plan to introduce "charter schools or independent public schools because there is no evidence that they improve student performance".

Read more:

The English Experience - Free Schools

Department For Education UK Quote:

"Free schools are all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community.

The right school can transform a child’s life and help them achieve things they may never have imagined. Through the free schools programme, it is now much easier for talented and committed teachers, charities, parents and education experts to open schools to address real demand within an area."

The National Teachers Union has its own clear views on the establishment of Free Schools and Academies. Read the interesting article here and a comparison of these initiatives around the world.

Independant Public Schools - Western Australia

The Independent Public Schools initiative is steadily changing the face of public education in this State with 264 schools operating in 2014 with significantly increased autonomy.

This is one third of all public schools – representing more than half of all our teachers and students.

A new development and selection program is in place this year to build the readiness of school communities for Independent Public Schools status. The program includes structured opportunities for learning, guidance and feedback.

More than 240 schools from across the State have registered for the program. This continued level of interest by school communities shows the high credibility and desirability of the initiative.

Evaluation by The University of Melbourne found that the story of the Independent Public Schools initiative is a positive one, with a specifically Western Australian version of autonomy emerging. This autonomy is characterised by choice, energy, motivation, innovation and engagement – and is creating strong foundations for future improvement in student achievement.

Victorian Principal Autonomy - from the Age and attached report

Principals may be able to fire under-performing teachers without a drawn-out process under a proposal by the state government's productivity adviser.

In a draft report on autonomy and accountability in Victorian schools released on Friday, the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission recommended principals' pay be tied to their performance and they be given powers to approve starting salaries for teachers.

It also recommended that ''annual salary adjustment for principals be dependent on their meeting the performance standards''.

It comes after the Victorian government released a policy paper strongly advocating for more autonomy for principals in schools. In February The Age reported Education Minister Martin Dixon's view that a better system was required.

And any new funding through the federal government's Gonski reforms is also contingent on schools having more autonomy.

But some of the recommendations were attacked by the Victorian Principals Association, who said performance pay was divisive and ineffective. ''If you pit people against each other you will not have an open network and encourage teamwork and collaboration,'' association president Gabrielle Leigh said. The state government has said it will continue to discuss performance pay with parents, teachers, principals and unions - despite taking the controversial system off the negotiating table last month to secure a deal with teachers.

Principals can already make special attraction and retention payments and accelerate teachers through the system, but these are rarely used due to budget constraints and the need for departmental approval, the report said.

''The Commission is proposing that responsibility for approving starting salaries and accelerated progression be devolved to the principal.''

The draft report also recommended less red tape for principals, more flexible working hours and part-time teachers, and training for school councils members to boost their skills.

Australian Education Union state president Meredith Peace said a number of the recommendations were issues that had been resolved in the new enterprise bargaining agreements.

''The premier made it very clear in the context of the school dispute that performance pay was off the table in the context of negotiations, and it forms no part of the new EBA.''

Read more:

OECD Education GPS - Analyse Data From Various Education Systems

Education GPS is the source for internationally comparable data on education policies and practices, opportunities and outcomes. Accessible any time, in real time, the Education GPS provides you with the latest information on how countries are working to develop high-quality and equitable education systems.

OECD - Education Policy Outlook - Australia

This policy profile on education in Australia is part of the new Education Policy Outlook series, which will present comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Building on the substantial comparative and sectorial policy knowledge base available within the OECD, the series will result in a biannual publication (first volume in 2014).



NSW Special Education Principals' and Leaders' Association

President - Matthew Johnson (Principal Green Square School)
Vice President - Peter Skinner (Principal Bass School)