Principal Report

Capital Works

I am very excited to announce that Chelsea Heights Primary School has been allocated $4,500,000 in the 2018-19 State Budget as part of the government’s capital works program.

This funding will be used to upgrade and modernise facilities at Chelsea Heights Primary School, including the expansion of the old library space and repurposing space to provide additional classrooms.

The next steps will be to take part in the Asset Management Plan (AMP) process. An AMP is a five-year plan for the school’s maintenance and upgrade needs and it makes sure that capital works projects align with our school’s vision for the future. The first stage of the process is to identify our school’s educational direction. The second stage helps us to identify and prioritise required building and maintenance works to achieve those educational directions. While the AMP involves planning for this particular capital works project, it also takes a longer-term perspective to ensure the benefits of the immediate project are fully achieved over time.

Over the next 10 weeks, the Victorian Schools Building Authority (VSBA) will guide the school through the first stage of the AMP process. We will develop the AMP with support from the Department, and in close consultation with School Council and the school community.

 

A number of steps are involved in developing and implementing the AMP.

o Planning Phase 1: Educational Direction

o Architect Appointment

o Planning Phase 2: Five Year Plan Development

o Design and Tender

o Schematic Design

o Design Development

o Tender documentation and review

o Tendering and evaluation

o Appointment of builder

o Start up on site / Sod Turn

 

I will be attending a full day Bricks & Mortar AMP program on Monday the 21st of May which will provide school based asset management training. This training covers the process schools should follow to successfully manage their project, including:

o completion of the Planning Phase 1 template

o description of the architect appointment phase

o planned and reactive maintenance

o compliance and safety requirements

o responsibilities related to asbestos

 

Capital works funding needs to address buildings in poor condition and those lacking the functionality of a modern classroom, as identified in the 2012 Condition Assessment Report. Capital works funding covers all costs associated with your building project, including professional fees, all building-related costs and a project contingency. The VSBA also incurs costs for project management and communications. These represent between 3-5 per cent of our total project costs, depending on the size of the project. Smaller projects incur higher proportionate project management costs i.e. a small project has a value less than $4 million. Funding for the project management costs have been taken into account when preparing the budget allocation.

 

The budget breakdown is approximately:

o 70% - construction, including site-specific costs, external services and landscaping

o 18%- architects and specialist consultants

o 5% - VSBA project management and communications

o 5% - project contingency

o 2% - furniture, equipment and ICT

In addition to the capital works allocation, our school has been allocated further funding for the removal of the small amount of A3 medium-risk asbestos onsite. Allocation of these funds as part of the school’s capital works project maximizes opportunities for the removal of A3 asbestos within the project’s construction zone.

 

School Facility Area Schedules, budget and condition assessment data are used to determine and set the boundaries for our capital works project. These are know as the ‘project boundaries’. The scope of our building project must align with the School Facility Area Schedules for our enrolment. The VSBA’s school facility area schedules outline the number and size of general and specialist spaces which a school should have, based on its enrolment and school type e.g. classroom funding allocation is based on an average ratio of 21 students in Foundation to Level 2 and 28 students in Level 3 to 6.


The VSBA looks at both the number of current enrolments at our school, and the 5-year projected enrolment figure, to determine an agreed enrolment. If a school is in a Victorian Planning Authority defined growth area, the 10-year Demographic Demand Forecast will also inform this decision making.

According to Departmental records, the following applies for our school:

Enrolment: * 426-450

Current enrolment is based on school census figures from February 2018. These figures are yet to be audited.

Permanent scheduled space: 3,231m2

Relocatable scheduled space: 314m2

Permanent actual space: 4,345m2

Relocatable actual space: 480m2

The Department has commissioned the University of Melbourne to review its entitlement schedules. As a result, the Department is transitioning to new School Facility Area Schedules that will come into effect progressively from the 2018-19 Budget. The new Schedules introduce a range of changes, including increased area allocations particularly for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), and improving teaching practice. These new Schedules appear to apply to our school as we are receiving significant and new capital works funding in the 2018-19 State Budget.

I am looking forward to next Monday’s Bricks & Mortar AMP program and to sharing with you the school’s ideas and this very exciting journey!

 

School Uniform

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our school community for their support of our revised uniform policy. Our students are looking great and feedback from our Student Leaders and members of the school community is extremely positive.

With all change there is a need to measure its success and call for feedback. School Council was very appreciative of the attendance of a number of parents at our February meeting. In response to and with their input a survey is being formulated and will be made available electronically via Survey Monkey prior to the end of term one. Our aim is to garner an accurate measure of our school community’s opinions on what is an important policy that heavily impacts the wider perception of our school. 

Uniform and its impact for our school has been very much on my mind since term 4 last year. As such I found the article below, which was written by Wilson McCaskill – the author of our wellbeing program “Play is the Way” -  to be an interesting read which I thought worth sharing.

Please note that in any cases where families are facing financial hardship, the school is able to access support through various organisations. If your family requires assistance due to the refinement of the uniform policy please contact Ms Licciardo for support.

 

 

School Uniforms - A Means to Meaning

By Wilson McCaskill

Fostering school loyalty and pride helps students to satisfy a deep seated, if not hard-wired, need to belong. Being a part of something larger than yourself, a part of something that in some significant way defines you, will amplify your sense of self and afford you perspective, attachment and acceptance. Children don’t just go to school, they go to a particular and specific school. We don’t ask them if they go to school. In a society where schooling is compulsory the question is redundant. We ask them which school they go to. In fact, this question is one of the earliest questions we ask children in our first meetings with them. It’s as if, by answering the question, they in some way inform us more fully of who they are. It also in some way suggests (be it true or not) something about the parents and the scholastic aspirations they hold for their child.

Uniforms have for centuries represented belonging, values, traditions and expected codes of conduct. A uniform is a symbol of something beyond the material, stitch work and colours from which it is assembled. If sports clubs are merely places where people play their chosen sport, then they don’t need a uniform. Opposing teams can simply be identified by playing in universally accepted contrasting colours. Black versus white or yellow versus blue – it matters not because belonging does not matter. The clubs stand for nothing and require nothing more from participants than the use of their skills to achieve the desired outcome of the game. But try telling a sports team that their uniform is merely a means to avoid playing naked and with no more meaning than beneficial contrast and I dare say you’re in for an argument. Coaches will remind players of club values and the meaning behind the guernsey before sending them off to pit both skills and strength of character against the opposition.

Can children be proud of going to their particular school? Of course they can.

Can children be loyal to the values of their school? Of course they can.

And if children are proud of their school and loyal to its values, will they inturn want to be identified as belonging to that school? Of course they will.

It takes little to see that a uniform gives children the perfect mechanism to display that sense of belonging and to be seen by others and their peers as the embodiment of their school’s values.

Uniforms are a great leveller. In being the same for all they ask a school population to treat all equally – to see past the illusion of fashion and accessories to the substance of character. Uniforms ask students to better themselves by genuine self-improvement and not by attention seeking adjustments of the uniform. They ask students to stand up and be counted where street clothes ask the wearer to stand out and be seen.

Let us make it that a uniform stands for something, and ask children to understand what it stands for, and accept that by wearing it they stand for something beyond self-interest, beyond complacency and apathy and beyond the thin veil of fashion and popularity. Let us make it that a uniform stands for values, character and that extra something that comes not from going to school but proudly belonging to a specific school, to their school – a school whose name and uniform they will remember all their lives and whose uniform will forever stand for something.