President's Message

President's Report, 3 February 2016

On behalf of your TPA State Executive I wish you the warmest of welcomes to the 2016 school year. Having said that, we all recognise the thought and collaboration that went on throughout 2015 in preparation for the year now with us. Such is the complexity of your roles that already an eye will be cast towards 2017.

By coincidence I happened to be in a school yesterday when a bomb threat was received. At time of writing I was aware that these threats had been made to schools around the country. The school, Department and Tasmania Police all worked swiftly and assuredly in response to the threat. I most sincerely hope that there will be no more episodes and that your school year gets under way peacefully.

You may have seen articles in The Examiner and The Mercury regarding the bullying and harassment towards principals and assistant principals identified in the Riley Report on Health and Wellbeing. Journalists are very interested in what is happening and what is being done about changing the attitudes of some people in our communities and the ways in which they regard school leaders. Work will continue under the auspices of our MOU with the Department and the AEU re principal health and wellbeing. The Mercury article included a highlighted section in which the TPA expressed the importance of the arts in an excellent education programme. We will continue to promote the arts, other curriculum areas, and education of the whole child. Another article appeared in The Advocate. Journalist Jess Black was asking about what parents could do in the lead up to the school year. The headline was “optimism key to successful year”.

I have been in contact with the new Secretary of Education, Jenny Gale, welcoming her to the role on behalf of the TPA. It is some time since we have had a Tasmanian in this role. I am sure we will enjoy working with Jenny and look forward to the next few years working with this vastly experienced educator in an atmosphere of respectful and close collaboration mentioned in her communication at the start of this week.

We also welcome incoming president of the Australian Education Union, Helen Richardson. The AEU is our registered industrial advocate and we look forward to continuing our close relationship with Helen, State Manager Roz Madsen, and the AEU more broadly. We also farewell outgoing president of the AEU Terry Polglase. Terry has been a tireless and fearless advocate for public education over many years. He had a vast wealth of experience in a range of educational settings which supported his authoritative voice in the media and in the AEU’s work with the government, Department of Education and other stakeholder groups. We wish Terry and family all the very best in a very well-earned retirement.

In January I met with Stephen Conway and other departmental representatives to discuss the TPA budget submission. The submission is on our website. Probably the main component of the submission, which was developed by our state executive, was a 5% increase (yielding about $45million) over each of the next few years and continuing until the Tasmanian community was confident that our public system was appropriately funded. We will be able to discuss the budget submission at our branch meetings coming up next month.

We are also very much looking forward to our functions recognising recently retired members. One will be held in each of the three regions of the state. I urge everyone to attend. They are always really enjoyable and give us a chance to rub shoulders with our colleagues who have given such tremendous service to the children of Tasmania. Dates and venues to be announced but we will be running them as early in the year as feasible.

You will be receiving articles and information forwarded from our national affiliates. These are the Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA), Australian Government Primary Principals Association (AGPPA) and Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA). I represent TPA on the ASPA Board; Brett Youd and I represent TPA on AGPPA; and Brett represents us on APPA. APPA is the combined body for government, Catholic and other registered (“independent”) schools.

Again, warmest best wishes to all,

 

Malcolm Elliott


Tasmanian Principals Association
PO Box 607, New Norfolk TAS 7140
0457 526 372
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