From:                              Parents Victoria <>

Sent:                               Monday, 20 April 2020 5:43 PM

To:                                   Underbool Primary School

Subject:                          Parents Voice #3 :: Inspiration and information for the COVID-19 lockdown


Parents Voice No. 3 2020                                               View this email in your browser

Parents Voice - the newsletter of Parents Victoria


Staying positive in tough times

Parents Victoria totally understands how overwhelmed many parents and teachers are feeling right now and we know many are uncertain about Term 2.
PV wants to congratulate all our schools for the work they have done and are doing to make the education life for all students continue as best it can during this pandemic. We must recognise all the contributions everyone is making, from the Minister, the central and regional Department, School Principals, teachers, education support and all school related staff and contractors doing what they can to assist. It won't be perfect but it'll help in some way. 

More than ever, relationships are central

PV is extremely fortunate to have amazing people who reach out to us in these times of need to support our families.  Here are some wise words from John Hendry who we are collaborating with on Relationship Based Education (RbE). (Some of you would have met John at our 2017 and 2019 Conferences.)  John said:

"I hope every parent is enjoying having their children with them and being able to help them in such a time of real challenge. I know all parents will grow to better understand the teaching and learning experience.
This deeper and greater understanding is a pivotal part of Relationship based Education and particularly Relationship Parent Education, for parenting in the modern world where attendance at school is compulsory is truly a joint venture, an open and we hope, a constructive and collaborative partnership with teachers and all beyond the family who contribute to the life education of their offspring. A quality and constructive relational matrix is critical for it substantiates health and well-being."




COVID-19 updates

We have set up a new section on the Parents Victoria website just for updates on the COVID-19 situation. There are sections on:

  • Reliable information
  • Learning from home
  • Wellbeing
  • Children with additional needs

We are continually updating the section as new information becomes available.



PV Reps - please share this information

It's important to keep your club members and your school community well informed about current issues in education. There's a wealth of information in this newsletter, share it around! We encourage you to circulate our e-newsletters to your parent club members and to identify relevant items for your wider school community. You might like to request your school to put relevant items in its newsletter.



Home school allowance

Parents Victoria and Gender Equity Victoria are calling for Victorian parents to be supported with a one-off home school allowance to offset the additional costs associated with educating kids in isolation during Term 2.
Read the full details on our website




Remote learning for students with additional needs

We have received several enquiries about how the new remote learning arrangements will cater for students with additional needs. 
Hopefully this video from the Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) will answer at least some of those questions.
You might also find answers on the Education Department 'Advice for parents of children with additional needs' page.
Your local school is the first point of contact for any questions you might have. It's so important to maintain / establish respectful lines of communication and relationships between schools and families - and especially at this time.  See the 'Gratitude' article below.
If you still require further assistance, call the DET advice phone line for parents:
1800 338 663.




How gratitude can help parents and carers support their children to learn at home

In this article, Dr Kerry Howells discusses the value of practising gratitude in these difficult times.

Parents around the world are not only struggling with the enormous changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, but are also being asked to step in to help with facilitating learning at home. For many this is adding further to an already stressful situation. Asking parents and carers to be up to the task of guiding their child’s learning is based on huge assumptions: that parents have the time, resources and emotional fortitude to do what the school is asking of them; that they have the confidence to do so; and that they themselves have had a positive experience of schools and learning.

Parents in this situation might think that practising more gratitude is counterintuitive or in fact a bizarre recommendation when there are so many hardships and complexities they have to deal with. However, what we have learned about the power of gratitude to enhance learning – and also more broadly to improve health and wellbeing – shows that is highly relevant to meeting the challenges parents and carers are currently facing.


Read the full article on our website



PM: It's the states

"If you are going to school in Victoria there is only one person you need to listen to and that is the Premier of Victoria" 
PM Scott Morrison has moved to clear up any confusion about who is responsible for school education, and the message was clear: it's the state governments.
See a full report on EducationHQ website.




Submissions and feedback

Parents Victoria receives regular requests to provide official submissions and feedback to Government, DET and agencies.  We embrace the opportunity to provide this input through a parent lens.
Some of our recent 2020 work includes:

  • March - DET Feedback to Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors and the 21 Adventure Activity Guidelines
  • March - Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Managing School Infrastructure 
  • March - Feedback re Australian Education Amendment (Direct Measure of Income) Bill 2020 (via Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO) see submission on the ACSSO website. 
  • March/April -  Feedback to the DET Review into vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schooling
  • April- Submission to Joint New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and ACT Review of NAPLAN.  
  • April - Feedback to DET on potential FAQ information under COVID-19

Information at the Engage Victoria website might be of interest to you.  Note the opportunity to join the mailing list if you are interested in registering and being involved.






Partners in Parenting

Now more than ever, parents are looking for ways to protect their teenager’s mental wellbeing. The Partners in Parenting program, delivered by Prevention United and Monash University, is a free, evidence-based, online program for parents of teenagers to protect their mental wellbeing. The program includes practical parenting tips that are particularly relevant right now as families cope with COVID-19.


Sign up on the Partners in Parenting website



Home learning: a student perspective

Recently the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) asked students about the impact of COVID-9 on their schooling. We wanted to share this response with you.
Coming from a Grade 5 student who is experienced in home learning, there is some useful advice for those just starting out...

Hi VicSRC 

Thank you for the email and asking me about my opinion. I am a bit different to other primary school kids because l am already educated at home. My education has been much better since l have been at home so maybe I can tell you a bit about my experience.

1. How do you feel about this virus impacting your school? 

It doesn’t impact my school too much because l am with the Virtual School and things there have just continued like normal. 

2. How do you feel about doing school online? 

This is how l have done schooling full time for over a year now...


Read full article on our website




Beware of online predators

We noticed an article in the Age recently warning parents about online predators, as children spend more time online (see below). We asked Susan McLean, Director of CyberSafety Solutions, for some advice about this issue. Susan said:

"The risks for young people surrounding the internet are becoming more well known and in particular the issue of grooming by online predators. This is at epidemic levels. Never before have so many predators had such easy access to so many potential victims via the internet..."


Read full article on our website




Rural and regional education

In June last year the Minister for Education established an Expert Advisory Panel for Rural and Regional Students to examine the critical challenges and barriers that contribute to the current gap in educational attainment between rural and regional students and metropolitan students in both primary and secondary government schools.
The Panel has released an Executive Summary of its findings. They made a range of recommendations across 8 areas including planning and strategy, school resourcing, inclusive communities  and professional development. 
The Executive Summary is clear and concise at only 8 pages, and well worth a read. 


Download the Executive Summary


But wait, there's more...

Why can’t rural schools work together to provide senior schooling so that we gain access to a wide selection of subjects and programs?
Why, in the future, can’t rural schools combine VCE, VET and VCAL into one senior school program and certificate?
Why can’t education organisations celebrate all awards provided to students studying senior schooling?

All good questions! These were some of the key questions explored at the Rural Youth Ambassador facilitated Forum late in 2019. The twenty rural young people who were involved in the 2019 Rural Youth Ambassador program facilitated a state-wide forum for rural educators, education sector personnel and key stakeholder groups to explore the future of senior education provision within Victoria.


Read more on the Country Education Partnership website




Family engagement at Newborough East

This article by Julie Skee, Principal at Newborough East Primary School, describes how the school engages with its community.

Encouraging parent input

At Newborough East Primary School we strongly promote and encourage the input and support of our parent body. This includes formal representation on our school council as well as more informal participation in our “Friends of NEPS” group.

We also strongly encourage parent feedback via the provision of the school Principal email address in the school newsletter and online portals such as the school Facebook page, the use of class dojo by classroom teachers, the introduction of COMPASS as well as the school Facebook page...


Read full article on our website




Skills for Victoria’s Growing Economy

The Victorian Government has commissioned an independent review into Victoria’s post-secondary education and training system. 

Every Victorian has a stake in the future of post-secondary education and training, and the Government wants every Victorian - including parents - to have the opportunity to have a say in designing that system.

There are two ways for you to have your say:

  • Complete an online survey
  • Upload a submission.

The Review will deliver its final report and recommendations to the Minister for Training and Skills and the Minister for Higher Education by October 2020.


Read more on Engage Victoria website




Not Out and About - In and Active

A first for Parents Victoria; we held our monthly Executive meeting via Zoom.  
We were so pleased - the technology worked well and we certainly covered all of the business in record time!  (There might have been a cheeky pet who tried to steal the show at several points.)  The PV Executive Team members are spread across the State and while a face to face meeting is also valuable, meeting remotely was definitely a success.
Photo: (L-R from top) Sharron Healy, Leanne McCurdy, Jenny Ballard, Paul Fry, Karen Rook. Gail McHardy, Wendy Oh, Sasha Briseno, Nicole Sweeney. 
Natalie Clemmet and Donna Evans were apologies for the meeting, 



No NAPLAN this year

The National Assessment Program (NAP) has announced that NAPLAN has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read all the details on NAP's FAQ sheet for parents




Supporting community in the time of COVID-19

Our friend Mandy the Fundraising Whisperer has a great idea, and this time it's nothing to do with fundraising. Mandy says that now is the time for volunteer leaders (such as Parent Club committees) to connect with their communities. Mandy says:

"You have a real opportunity to reach out and connect with your communities, to make sure everyone knows that they are not alone. You don’t need to have information or updates, you just need to let everyone know that you are there for them."

Mandy has written a template letter to communities, that you might find useful. You can copy and use the letter for your own community, and there's no need to attribute it to Mandy.


Read the letter on Mandy's website




Free learn-to-read books

Two highly successful learn-to-read book series, Suzie the Scientist and Millie the Mathematician are now available free for parents. The books are published by Griffith University, and have previously been available only to schools. As Australians move to online learning modes, the university is helping parents of pre-K to Year 3 students by:

  1. removing the costs to purchase their interactive e-books on the Apple i-bookstore. This applies to 48 titles across both the Suzie the Scientist and Millie the Mathematician learn-to-read book series (i.e. 24 titles in each)
  2. providing free access to the on-line, interactive versions of all 48 titles
  3. providing free access to the video book version of all 48 titles

Read and download the books free on Griffith University website


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