Term 1 School Council President Report

Dear Fitzroy High School Community,

For those new to the school this year: welcome to Fitzroy High School!  We are so happy that you have chosen to be a part of our wonderful school community and look forward to getting to know you as you explore the many opportunities for learning and growth that Fitzroy High School offers our young people.  For those returning: welcome back! We hope you had a great break over the summer and have come back refreshed and ready to engage with our outstanding program.

The start of any school year is always a busy time for teachers, school leadership, parents and students.  This year we have the added task of completing a formal school review in Term 1. School reviews are undertaken every four years by the Victorian Department of Education as part of their improvement and quality assurance cycle.  School leadership and School Council have been engaged with this since late last year, as we work through the process of completing the school’s Pre-Review Self- Evaluation and move on to the site visits by the review team in March. The school has run a number of focus groups with parents and students to gather feedback and teachers and school leadership have been examining policies, practices, strategies and outcomes to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’d like to get to.  I’d like to thank all the parents and students who have come along to the focus groups for their input. And special thanks to members of School Council, school leadership and teachers for all the work they have put in and will continue to put in through the review process. We will keep you informed of the results of the review and the goals established for the next four year cycle. 

The first regular meeting for School Council for 2020 was on Wednesday 19 February.  In that meeting, School Council reviewed and approved the Year 8 Roses Gap camp and the Year 9 Bogong Leadership camp.  Monitoring camps and major excursions is one role of School Council, which has an oversight role in relation to risk/child safety and financial/equity issues and can provide support and advice around education and other matters.  School Council also resolved to undertake a full review of the Fitzroy High School dress code. As you know, Fitzroy High School does not have a uniform but there is a dress code and dress code policy, which must be regularly reviewed and endorsed by School Council.  Late last year, students from the Feminist Collective club (FemCo) wrote to School Council with a number of concerns around the dress code relating to both the substance of the code and the manner of its implementation. School Council has now commissioned the Community Subcommittee to undertake a community consultation and full review of the dress code. Sharlene Farrugia, a parent member of School Council, will lead that review.

If you want to know more about our February meeting, you can find the minutes for that meeting and all School Council meetings in Compass in the documentation section.

The next meeting of School Council on Wednesday 25 March will be the last meeting for School Council members whose two-year terms are expiring and the first for newly appointed members.  It will also be the meeting at which we elect the office bearers (President, Deputy President, Treasurer) for 2020 and appoint the heads of the three subcommittees. There are four parent member positions, two Department member positions and up to two community member positions that need to be filled.  Parents who are interested in joining School Council are encouraged to nominate. You don’t need any particular experience or knowledge, just a willingness to participate and make a contribution. Information about the nominating and voting process has been posted on Compass. 

Of course joining School Council is not the only way to get involved and make a contribution to our wonderful school!  One possibility is to join a School Council subcommittee. School Council has three subcommittees: Education, Community and Buildings and Environment.  These subcommittees are a critical part of school governance and provide essential support to School Council and core and extra-curricular school programs.  All parents and teachers are welcome to join those subcommittees, which usually meet two weeks before School Council to review and discuss work in their area and make recommendations to School Council.  You don’t have to be a member of School Council to join a subcommittee and subcommittee meetings are open to all members of the school community. The dates for the subcommittee and School Council meetings are published on Compass. 

If you want to know more about joining School Council, participating in a subcommittee or other volunteering opportunities, please feel free to contact me.  My school email is ralphs@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au

Ralph Saubern
President, School Council
Fitzroy High School