The Applecross Primary School Board has an official role, as defined by the Department of Education, which includes reviewing school performance; developing and reviewing the school Business Plan; reviewing and approving school budgets and charges; and establishing and reviewing the school’s objectives, priorities and general policy directions. In addition to this official role, we agree to be ambassadors and advocates for the school; develop a culture of service; support our staff; and be available to other parents.
Annual School Board Report
As 2017 draws to a close, it is with a great sense of achievement that I look back on the activities of the School Board over the past twelve months. It has been a period of change, of reflection, of action, and of planning for the future, all of which has been undertaken with enthusiasm and diligence by our dedicated School Board members.
The year began with farewelling our existing Board Chair, Dr Helen Jones, who had been a committed Board Member for six years, and a calm, balanced and strong leader for two of these years. Helen had overseen a period of change on the Board, and through her fair and thorough leadership style, ushered in a time of stability and achievement.
I thus commenced in the role of School Board Chair in mid Term One, and immediately began preparing for our three yearly School Review as an Independent Public School. The Review is a time for the school to assess it’s progress against the goals which were outlined in our Business Plan three years previously. The review findings were very positive, commending the school on it’s introduction of an early years play-based pedagogy, the staff involvement, innovation and leadership around digital technology, our robust review process and the strong financial support provided by our P & C. In addition, the Board itself was commended on both it’s awareness and purpose around our changing school community demographic, and achieving a balance between maintaining academic performance and overall student wellbeing. Looking to the future, the Review made a number of recommendations, with a specific focus for the Board being the establishment of a thorough annual review process, in addition to reviewing and refining our functions and processes as related to our development and governance role.
With the completion of the Review as aligned with our Business Plan 2015 – 2017, a large proportion of the year has subsequently been spent on developing and refining the new Business Plan 2018 – 2020. This has occurred through vigorous discussion and debate, guided by the expert knowledge of our Principal, Mr Guelfi, and our staff representatives. It has been an exciting process, and one which has resulted in a draft document that we are all committed too and proud of.
One aspect of the formulation of the Business Plan has been the use of NAPLAN data to guide our target setting. To allow us to do this most effectively, the Board has co-opted Tom Gigg, Principal Consultant within the School Performance Branch at the Department of Education, onto the Board for a period of six months commencing in Term Four, 2017. Mr Gigg’s core business is the sophisticated analysis of NAPLAN data, and more particularly the setting of literacy and numeracy targets using this data. He will be utilising his expertise to assist us in this area, and the Board is very much looking forward to this collaboration.
In line with the Review’s recommendations, the Board has also spent a significant amount of time in 2017, reviewing it’s own processes and procedures, including our Terms of Reference, Code of Conduct, and Induction Process and Package. These have now been analysed and updated, and are available for all to view on the website.
A number of new initiatives have also been instigated in 2017. A Uniform Committee was established to oversee all uniform related queries, containing representatives not only from the Board, but also the P & C, and the Uniform Shop. The Board has also been keen to increase the communication between itself and the school community, and thus we have undertaken to provide a termly update on Board meetings and the outcomes achieved, through the newsletter and the website. All of this has been undertaken alongside our usual governance role, including financial oversight. It has been busy!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Board Members for the interest, enthusiasm and commitment, which they have displayed throughout the year. And we as a group would like to thank the committed and wonderful teachers and staff at Applecross Primary School, who together with our supportive parent body, have created a school which allows all of our children to develop and grow. It is a privilege for us as a Board to work for the school community, and we look forward to the challenges and excitement that 2018 will bring.
School Board Chair
Term 4 2017