• The first round of successful applications to the Leading Schools Fund has been determined. We believe that 37 schools out of 146 that applied were successful, and we have been informed that for the 37 schools to achieve their funding, their applications will need to demonstrate rigour and quality in respect to driving real school improvement. However, at time of writing, we have received no official notification from DE&T re successful/unsuccessful applications.
  • The key issues for us are how is school improvement to be defined, and how is it to be measured?
  • In this sense, the March 9 and 10 Conference on Schools as Learning Organisations, to which VASSP and the VPPA have made significant contributions, is a major step forward. VASSP will continue to work with DE&T in developing policy on these two issues.
  • The Minister is using the Blueprintas a vehicle for system-wide school improvement, and will have significant input into the final decision on successful applications to join the Leading Schools Fund.
  • VASSP is keen to continue to support schools through their expressions of interest and application processes, and is currently considering how best to do this. It is mindful that DE&T’s level of support to shortlisted schools is likely to be intensive.
  • One of our problems in this respect, however, is that it would appear to us that different regions seem to have set more political goals, such as provisioning, in determining whether a school has been shortlisted. We are meeting with DE&T on April 21 in order to get a better appreciation of what is really required in respect to being selected into the Leading Schools Fund.
  • It is also mindful that the next round of Leading Schools Fund will be called for in May. How we might support this is being currently evaluated.

The issue regarding how and for how much government schools are currently funded and will be under the RAM in 2005 is now one of the most significant issues facing VASSP.

At the March 5 SGM, two key motions were passed that will not only firm up these policies, but will strengthen their focus and enhance our capacity to proceed with present and future action. As well, they provide both substance and detail for the submission we hare making directly to the Premier on the key elements that the Government must address as it leads up to the next election – a submission, interestingly, that we were asked to provide.

Andrew sent you a copy of these motions recently.

These motions were endorsed without dissent, and the policy that they generate requires us to pursue strategy with DE&T that will achieve the following outcomes:

  • recognition that all schools must be staffed to EBA entitlement, that there is a leadership and responsibility entitlement, and that the entitlements must be met through supplementation, irrespective of their differing costs per staff profile

review and modification of the formula for achieving this to ensure

  • that incremental progression is fully taken into account when determining what supplementation is required each year
  • the determination of compliance and maintenance costs according to a formula that accurately factors in the actual costs per year of schools meeting such demands
  • the incorporation of MIPS, VCAL and TSSP and other priority programs or targeted funding as core elements of each school’s program and determined by an agreed formula
  • funding of SSO staff at a level that accurately reflects the complexity and demands of their responsibilities
  • funding of ICT infrastructure on the basis set out in our joint VASSP/VPPA funding submission

All of the above elements are part of the joint VASSP/VPPA position statement on the 2005 RAM. The motion defines for us its key elements.

The motions provide a very clear cut message to both Ministers that if they want state secondary schools to deliver the programs and reforms the Ministers require, then they must empower principals to achieve them, and they must genuinely work and negotiate with principals on all of the above elements in order to provide the levels of funding required to deliver such programs successfully.

2.1. SGB 2004

Our policy position on this is now well known: we refer you to our December and February Bulletins. Its keyelementsremain the recognition of entitlements, and the funding of such through supplementation and the consequent scrapping of loans.

We would strongly urge you to refuse to meet with Regional personnel unless it is in concert with all your other colleagues. To this end, we urge you to arrange meetings asap with your Region.

We understand that in some Regions, Regional personnel are refusing to do this. Let us know if this is the case, for we shall immediately notify Messrs Rosewarne and Napoli of the inconsistency in respect to Regional applications on this matter – given that these meetings have gone ahead in other Regions.

The negotiations with Jeff Rosewarne on this issue continue. We insist that:

Schools must be staffed in accordance with the EFT requirements of the EBA

The variation in costs for providing staff to these requirements be met through supplementation

The concept of bridging advances or loans be totally rejected

VASSP instructs its schools not to negotiate on a 1:1 basis with Regions on this issue, but to do so collectively, with other school principals and VASSP reps present

The following strategies regional finance personnel have asked so far of principals be immediately discredited: scaling back leadership profiles by not advertising senior leadership positions; paying no special payments; cutting back on EFT; employing younger, less experienced staff; replacing teaching staff with SSO staff; banning LSL; using WorkCover surplus to address salary deficits; cutting programs; using cash component of budget to pay for salary deficit; using money from enrolment of overseas students to offset salary deficits.

We are optimistic that there has been some movement on this.

2.2 RAM (formerly SGB) 2005

The construction of the 2005 RAM represents a radical departure from the way SGBs have been done in the past.

It will be based on the student profile and numbers at each school, rather than a staff profile, and the change to this mode of determining school resourcing will have far reaching consequences for all schools.

VASSP and the VPPA have developed a joint funding position for the RAM.

It should be noted that neither VASSP or the VPPA is interested in being “consulted” on this issue. We want “negotiations.”


  • The introduction of the 2005 RAM is predicated on the self-managing schools model.
  • The total education budget should compare favourably with that of other states and equivalent OECD countries, and should reflect a significant investment in education.
  • There must be appropriate funding to resource new industrial agreements, and statutory compliance requirements.
  • The price per student must be increased sufficiently to meet the cost of any new initiatives.
  • In the construction of the 2005 RAM, any additional resources that are required to support primary schools or secondary schools should not be drawn from the other sector.

1.The Funding Model

1.1The RAM must be transparent and predictable, with indicative budgets in schools by the end of Term 3 2004.

1.2The RAM will be “stages of schooling” with a base allocation on a sliding scale moderated by a range of factors relating to student and staff profile and school size and complexity. Sufficient funds must be provided to support schools unable to meet these requirements. The base allocation will be per campus.

1.3Any SRI must contain additional indices that deliver additional resources for acknowledged disadvantage in the areas of socio-economic, rurality and isolation, koorie education and Language Background Other Than English (LBOTE).

1.4The SRI must also reflect the actual costs (based on a 3 yearly review of data) of purchasing services in category, (staffing, equipment, maintenance etc.) differing school structures and geographic location, for equity can only be effected if the cost of purchasing those services is properly reflected.

1.5All elements of the RAM should be subject to an agreed index to fully take account of real cost increases.

1.6The RAM must provide a safety net minimum EFT staffing of no less than that provided for in the 2003 staffing formulae, with an equivalent leadership profile of 25% (AP and LT), and a responsibility profile (ETWR, Special Payments) of 30%.

1.7Priority programs should be defined short-term initiatives, and become incorporated into core, with appropriate outcome measures.

1.8Piloting of the 2005 RAM to include modelling for all schools based on the 2004 SGB.

  1. Budget Bid

2.1Base allocation (with sliding scale) for primary schools to include principal, business manager, student welfare officer and IT support.

2.2The RAM is based on student enrolments on census day. To ensure continuity of programs, it should not be reduced if any students leave during the year. However, it should provide for pro-rata funding for students who enrol in a state school from outside the Vic. Govt. system at any time during the year after census date.

2.3This percentage of RAM needs to be increased towards international benchmarks by the provision of additional, not reallocated funds.

2.4The RAM should reflect a significant investment of additional funding to recognise the increased and complex workload undertaken by school support staff.

2.5The RAM needs an ICT allocation sufficient to fully provide for a 3 year lease arrangement for the 1:5 computer ratio (or its equivalent), and appropriate technical support.

Our joint position on this issue is that unless DE&T is prepared to negotiate, and not just consult on this issue, we will walk away from it.


A full report was published in the last Bulletin, as well as in our last Regional Report.

We await Minister Allen’s response with much interest. Committee has formally requested such a response.


VASSP and the VPPA are now working on a joint Reference Group with DE&T through their Resources Committee to ensure that the fiasco of last year is not repeated, and to enhance the best aspects of the current program. Don Collins and Simon Frazer are representing us on this group. There is still room for one more. Please contact Ian if you are interested.


VASSP has had a good, hard look at the way in which it presents itself to members, and at its effectiveness in representing and supporting members, both individually, and collectively.

The Strategic Plan was endorsed late last year and is now on our website. Likewise, the website contains information about the outcomes of our membership survey, and an action plan for 2004.

VASSP has now currently restructured its operations in line with the Strategic Plan. It now has 3 subcommittees:

  • Resources
  • Leadership, Learning and Wellbeing (LLW)
  • VASSP Management (formerly Leadership and Management)
  1. The Leadership, Learning and Wellbeing (LLW) subcommittee has replaced the former Professional Support and Wellbeing and Teaching and Learning subcommittees.
  1. The LLW has four focus groups.
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Membership Development and Audit
  • Leadership Development
  • PCO Health and Wellbeing
  1. The Resources Subcommittee has four standing focus groups:
  • Facilities
  • Human Resources
  • School Funding
  • ICT

It has also established three specific purpose focus groups in the following areas:

  • School Nursing Program
  • OTTE Review into VET student charges and costs
  • The Technical Support for Schools Program

Members who wish to join on e of these subcommittees or focus groups should let one of us know. If you just wish to be on our mailing list and respond on issues rather than attend meetings, let us know.

On March 4, Andrew convened a meeting of Regional Presidents and Secretaries. Some excellent discussion was held on aligning groups to Central VASSP and getting Central VASSP to become more responsive to member advice and opinion.

In summary, some of the outcomes from this meeting include:

  • Regional Group meetings to focus on the issues of membership development, leadership development, principal health and wellbeing and teaching and learning and determining the best way to provide advice through its Group Reps to Central VASSP
  • Regional Groups to consider the appointment of Membership Development Officers and focus group liaison personnel, as well as the establishment of a reporting back session for these people in the ir meeting agendas
  • Regional Groups determining respective roles for its Group reps, its Field Officer, and its regional executive
  • Regional Groups to discuss and develop strategies for including APS and Leading Teachers in their meetings and structures
  • Andrew meeting with Regional Presidents and Secretaries twice yearly, on the evenings before the SGM and AGM.
  • Central VASSP to update its data lists of regional groups and to notify Regional executives of new members in each Region
  • Central VASSP to update its PR kit for new members


At last year’s AGM, a new category of membership was endorsed for aspirant PCOs who may wish to join VASSP for the professional support they might receive in respect to leadership building capacity.

All Principals will receive flyers inviting members of their staff who might wish to join VASSP for these reasons.

Please encourage them to do so. Their applications will require your endorsement.


The Executive believes that strategically, the motion passed at the SGM strengthens our case for annulling the policy for 2005, as well as places us in a better position to pursue the necessary inclusions in the RAM.

Andrew’s email to you on this issue recently is worth citing: ‘Everyone is very angry about the policy, but that as an organization we recognise that anger alone will not change anything. Strategy will, and and I believe that this vote puts us in a far stronger position both in regard to the WorkCover premium and the RAM. Along with you, I believe that this WorkCover premium policy is so manifestly wrong, that if the Government agrees to our strategy, the facts will speak for themselves, and the policy will be changed for 2005.”

On a more positive note, we have met with both DE&T and CGU on some of our concerns re the way in which WorkCover claims are currently managed. The meetings have been very productive, and DE&T will soon be conducting a Focus Group of 40 schools to identify barriers to improving school based injury prevention performance and return to work performance, as well as recommend options for addressing these barriers.

CGU is very much aware of the concerns members have raised with both VASSP, DE&T and CGU, particularly on the issue that principals feel they can exert little control on whether a claim is accepted, and therefore, whether their school should bear any financial responsibility for the management of it.

Accordingly, CGU is now trying to actively engage principals of the school at which a claim is lodged in the case conference process that determines how a claim should be managed, and what outcome should be achieved. The case conferencing process is a definite enhancement on the former process of just contacting principals to ascertain more info on the case. The case conference would be by telephone, and would involve principals from the outset.

CGU have agreed to provide advice to our members on the processes of case conferencing, conciliation and return to work. The issues associated with the latter two processes have been very stressful and vexing for principals, and the advice will be hopefully very helpful.

CGU will run the advice past our field officers prior to publication in our Bulletin. This will probably be the first Bulletin in Term 2.


This is shaping as a beauty – hopefully the best we have ever done. It will be an international conference jointly sponsored by the Specialist Schools Trust (England) and VASSP, at Crown’s Promenade Hotel, July 26 –8, 2004. Its theme: Transformation Through Global Networking. The first 330 places have been reserved for VASSP members, but we shall need to know members’ intentions by the end of Term 1.

Register online, or through the Conference brochure you received recently.


We have had discussions with DE&T on this year’s On Track processes, and have made progress on two key issues that needed to be addressed from last year’s processes – the release of info to schools in sufficient time for them to analyse the data and prepare their own interpretations, and the reflection of deferments in the data. Stay tuned.


A reminder that where principals and staff use their car for school business and claim this travel in their tax return, then a commercial vehicle insurance policy is required by some insurance companies.