Term One School Council President’s Report

Term 1, 2021

Dear Fitzroy High School Community,

Term 1 is always a busy time for teachers, school leadership, parents and students – and also for School Council. Each school year, School Council goes through a renewal process, with previous members retiring and new members coming on board. In our March School Council meeting, we declare the new members of the School Council, which is made up of parents and carers (8 members), principal, assistant principal, teachers and school staff (6 members), students (2 members) and community members (up to 2 members).

I’d like to thank all those who put up their hand to volunteer for School Council this year and,in particular, welcome our new members for 2021: Moira Finucane (parent), Venetia Bombas (parent) and Sholto Marti (student). The full membership of School Council for 2021 can be found on the school website.

At the March meeting, we also appoint members to the School Council leadership roles. I was very pleased to accept the nomination to continue as School Council President. It’s an honour and privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to such a wonderful school and school community and I look forward to working with the School Council and School Leadership to support the ongoing success of the school in 2021. I’d also like to congratulate and thank others who are taking on leadership roles this year:

  • President: Ralph Saubern
  • Vice President: David Huxtable
  • Treasurer: Sharon Cleaves
  • Education Subcommittee Convenor: Mim Ingvarson
  • Community Subcommittee Convenor: Clare Kermond
  • Buildings and Environments Subcommittee Convenor: Roger Smith

The recent national conversation about gender equity and gender based violence has highlighted the important work that Fitzroy High School has done and continues to do in this space. Fitzroy High School was a Respectful Relationships lead school for a number of years and the program continues to play an important part in the social education program of the school. The Feminist Collective provides a strong student voice on issues relating to gender inequality in the school and in society at large. No doubt there is more that we can and should do to help students and the broader school community understand and learn about the issues and ensure a safe and inclusive school environment.

One way in which School Council is contributing is the current review of the Student Dress Code. Over the last several months, at the urging of the FemCo, the Community Subcommittee of School Council has led a consultation on the dress code, primarily in relation to the gendered nature of the dress code and its application. While circumstances last year made community wide consultations difficult, the Community Subcommittee has been able to engage with students, parents and teachers and develop a draft revised dress code that seeks to address context, principles and applications in line with the Fitzroy High School values and our commitment to a safe, inclusive and equitable school environment. We will soon be circulating that draft for comment and input from students, parents and teachers with the view to adopting a revised dress code in 2021.

School Council has also been working to support the school more generally in developing student voice, agency and leadership opportunities. Education Subcommittee has led a number of conversations and consultations, including on the establishment of a Student Representative Council (SRC). This follows feedback from the school review conducted in early 2020 which found that while student voice, agency and leadership is strongly embedded in the culture of Fitzroy High School, there were opportunities for improvement by establishing more formal structures and systems.

Joining a School Council subcommittee is a great way to find out more about the school and make an active contribution in an area of your interest. School Council has three subcommittees: Education, Community and Buildings and Environments. 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, students 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. Contact the subcommittee convenor for information on how to join in. The dates for the subcommittee and School Council meetings are published in the calendar on Compass.

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

Cheers,

Ralph Saubern
President, School Council
Fitzroy High School