VPC Parent Podcast Series - Podcasts Transition to School

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Wendy Eves has extensive experience as an educator, and has worked across a variety of educational settings including Early Childhood Intervention, K-6 and Adult Education in Government, Catholic and Community sectors. 

She has developed and presented workshops for teachers and parents focussed on the early years and most specifically on the transition to school. She has developed a number of transition to school resources for both teachers and parents. 

She is passionate about supporting children and families, particularly in the early years, in order to ensure more positive long term outcomes. She is accredited by NESA and is also a trained Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) facilitator. She currently works in a consultancy capacity, providing professional support and services to schools, organisations and individuals. Her specialities include - transition to school, facilitation of professional networks, parent partnerships, linking ECEC and school sectors and developing resources. Although located in the Hunter/Newcastle region of NSW, she is open to discussions re short term contracts, part-time and one off provision of services in other locations. 

ISDCN Parent Webinar Program – Recordings

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Webinar 1 – Internet Safety for Parents - Your children and the web Mr. Brett Lee (INESS) http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3d%2brlc9bhzu%2bzwt4ksRITu5Q%3d%3d

Webinar 2 – Safer Schoolies - Parent Information session Safer Schoolies Initiative, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dhgsEZLSvSw6EvinPRf3BYQ%3d%3d


Webinar 3 - Preventing bullying to enhance children’s and adolescents’ brain development Prof. Donna Cross http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dPmr90bN8TokIEtCK%2bfViqg%3d%3d

Webinar 4 - Helping your child thrive – at school and in life Dr. Justin Coulsen http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dQbcNccSFu/tWC9MYjAwAiw%3d%3d

Webinar 5 – Teenagers, alcohol & other drugs 2016 – How much influence do parents really have? Paul Dillon (DARTA) http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dO90AI1AWB2sNhclYN0x5Sw%3d%3d

Webinar 6 –Building body confident kids Sarah McMahon http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3d8Q1p%2bnWN1t74OWWQonbm5A%3d%3d

Webinar 7 – Developing Resilience in Your Child - Helping your child to Bounce Back! Dr. Toni Noble http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dne6CBnSXaoq3ngFM0ThRLA%3d%3d


Webinar 9 – The Importance of Play Dr. Helen Street http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3d/xAJNVZJKsTwvAt/Ni0I5w%3d%3d

Webinar 10 – Social and Legal Responsibilities Online Mr. Brett Lee (INESS) http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dPsiP8OVFTzPMp0V3X0%2bN3w%3d%3d

Webinar 11 – Student mental health and technology Dr Michael Carr-Gregg http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3d/CfA37JwepLEuXRY8RqyiQ%3d%3d

Webinar 12 – Solution Focused approaches to anxiety - a toolkit for parents Lyn Worsley – Resilience Centre http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dTfmB5Z7Pn63nUgkh37ngTg%3d%3d


Webinar 14 - Adolescent Sleep and Well Being Dr Hayley Dohnt http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dYvm9fGK420ST2V2ZKM0D%2bw%3d%3d

Webinar 15 - Mental Fitness for Families Dr. Paula Robinson http://dmr.isdcn.edu.au/AnonymousEmbed/id%3dQ3IL5Jp87zTEYTILykx4pQ%3d%3d


The Victorian Minister for Education recently announced that, from 2021, explicit information about attainment levels of literacy and numeracy will be included in statements of results for students completing their VCE or VCAL.

This followed some months of consultation conducted by the VCAA. The VCAA thanks the VPC for their contribution to that consultation. The VCAA will provide more information about how these changes will be implemented in due course.  

  • From 2021, students undertaking one or more Unit 3/4 studies in VCE and students in their final year of the VCAL qualification will, through the General Achievement Test (GAT) statement of results, receive information about whether they have demonstrated new literacy and numeracy standards.

  • There is no change to the current qualification requirements for the VCE and for VCAL.

  • VCE and VCAL students will be expected to sit the GAT. Current arrangements for exemptions will apply.

Navigating Post-School Options


Well here we are at the end of the year. Final year results and ATARs will be out soon, the rewards for a challenging year. The choices can be overwhelming. So where to from here?

Judy O’Donohue from Career Me Now, recommends researching the options.

“There are so many options after Year 12: straight to university; studying at TAFE; getting an apprenticeship; taking a gap year; going straight into the workforce”.

“The most important thing young people can do is proper research – around what is best for their own skills and abilities; around what motivates them; around what options actually exist; around the future world of work; and around how best to utilise all this information. There is a great website www.myfuture.edu.au where a great deal of this can be undertaken so that there is real knowledge based on facts not hearsay.”

For those who have their eyes set on university, Judy recommends starting at the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)website,  www.vtac.edu.au.  There is also a large range of courses delivered through TAFE that are worth exploring. TAFE course options and how to apply can be found on the VTAC www.vtac.edu.au.

Leaving school and going straight into the workforce is not as simple as it once was. The market is competitive and employers are looking for entry level employees with skills or the willingness to engage in further training. If you are considering going down the apprenticeship route, Judy says:

“It is important to know that obtaining an apprenticeship requires an application to an employer via word of mouth or a job search or employer website; or by approaching a ‘network provider’ or local TAFE. A great website to start finding out more is here: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/training/learners/apprentices/Pages/apply.aspx

Taking a break from study and having a gap year to work and possibly travel are also options. A bit of time and distance from school can help focus in setting a plan for further training or study in a year’s time.

The focus at this time of the year is on the young person and their plans. Parents still have an important role to play. In a recent journal post for Authentic Parent Voice, Jacqui Van de Velde wrote:

“Parents often find they flounder a bit trying to find their new role as parents of an adult. The fundamentals don’t change, but the focus and how we express them does. Parents will still be significant influencers in the musings and decisions.”

She encourage parents to shift their parenting style to fit the new situation of living with adult children and adopting a “coaching” approach:

“Our role as parents is to actively induct our children into the adult world. Outwardly, this might look like parents stepping back allowing the child to take on responsibility for themselves: work and study responsibilities, medical appointments, contributing to the household financially and in kind etc. Internally, it is parents mentally letting go and celebrating each step in the new exciting stage you find yourself in... preparing for launch.”

It is an exciting time. Embrace it! Keep the lines of communication open and listen, a lot.

Further reading and information can be found here:





VPC Parent, School, Community Engagement Day ...continued...

Our Engagement day was a unique, rich cross-sectoral experience, with plenty of opportunity for round table conversation.

We were thrilled to have Professor Debbie Pushor with us to facilitate our thinking around using Parent Knowledge in Teaching and Learning including home visits

Our discussion focused on Parent knowledge as a critical attribute of authentic and meaningful parent engagement, how parents hold and use their knowledge, and how that knowledge can be used in schools alongside teacher knowledge to enrich teaching and learning opportunities, and to enhance educational outcomes, for students.

Ms Caz Batson (Bosch) MAPS presented on the work of the Australian Parents Council and Parents Australia. Successful Learning and the Indigenous Parent Factor were featured as practical ways the Australian Parents Council is working with parents and communities in the early years of schooling to promote parents engagement, partnership and establishing supportive learning environments for children in the early years of schooling. The feedback from schools and communities where Successful Learning and the Indigenous Parent Factor have been in operation was very encouraging. Another exciting development is the development of the Certificate IV in Parent, Family Community Engagement.  This is a nationally recognised qualification and the first ever formal training qualification in parent, family and community engagement in Australia. It fills a clear gap in training provision. Parents, family and community engagement is well recognised as helping children achieve their potential in education, but often receives minor attention in initial teacher education, and until now there has been no specific training in this challenging area.

Caz also presented  on Parent Engagement in Australia, the current environment and the emerging issues. It was encouraging to hear from all of those present, across all sectors affirming the challenges and resolving that a collaborative approach works well in parent engagement. It was terrific having Catherine Meynell-James was with us too. Catherine is Stakeholder Manager |Group Strategy and Performance | Strategy & Integration Division | Early Childhood & School Education Group Department of Education & Training

Ms Jacqui Van de Velde, presented on a practical and thought provoking approach to Parent Engagement, Communication and Home-School Conflict. She challenged participants to consider another pathway to deal with in the Home-School conflict. A pathway that honours parents as parents and teachers as teachers; accepting they bring different, but complementary skill and knowledge sets to the enterprise of school education. A pathway that builds on strengths, nurtures relationships and finds a solution.

Ms Aynur Simsirel the Principal Advisor for Independent Schools Victoria, presented on Engagement/partnership approaches to learning and wellbeing in the independent school sector from ISV’s perspective. It was interesting  to hear about the work the ISV is doing with school leadership on parent engagement.

Our day concluded with a panel discussion.  Rachel Saliba, Executive Officer for Catholic School Parents Victoria joined out presenters joined our presenters in a “Q and A”.

Many Australian school students feel they ‘don’t belong’ in school: new research

Australian students, on average, reported a poorer sense of belonging at school compared to students across the OECD. A lower proportion of Australian students than the OECD average said they 'feel like they belong at school'.

Why does this matter?

For some students, a sense of belonging is indicative of educational success and long-term health and wellbeing. It has also been found to promote positive attitudes towards students’ learning.

What’s more, students who feel part of, and accepted by, their school community are not only more likely to participate in school activities, both academic and non-academic, but will be actively engaged in these activities.

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Highlights from Victoria's Preliminary Results in NAPLAN 2018

Best results ever achieved. All Victorian students and parents should be congratulated for the very hard work that has produced these results. Every Victorian family should feel proud of the results achieved by Victorian students.


2018 was the first year in which some schools did the NAPLAN tests online. In Victoria, about 120 schools did the tests using desktop or laptop computers or tablets. The results this year combine the results from the paper and the online tests.

Career Advice in Schools: Final Report

VPC was amongst many organisations making a submission (18 March 2018) to the Victorian Parliament’s Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee into career advice activities in Victorian schools.  Please see the Victorian Parliament’s Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee’s final report into career advice activities in Victorian schools, which was tabled on 22 August 2018. The Victorian Government is required to respond to the Committee’s recommendations within 6 months.

The report targets better career advice for students

Career development in Victorian schools is not meeting the needs of students according to the Committee. Among its 46 recommendations, the Committee advocated a ratio of one school career practitioner for every 450 students enrolled at secondary school, mandatory professional registration of school career practitioners and the placement of a coordinator at each Local Learning and Employment Network to provide add-on support to schools and independent advice to student and recent school leavers.

Supporting Schools to Deliver Healthy Food Education

In this new initiative, thousands of children from Victorian schools are developing life-long healthy eating habits, setting up kitchen gardens and boosting food education in schools across the state.

Kitchen gardens encourage kids to get involved with growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing fresh, seasonal, delicious food and improve the overall health and wellbeing of the school community.

Creating More Jobs to Better Protect Kids and Families

Free TAFE Initiative will be the latest arsenal in the bid to transform Victoria’s child and family services sector by delivering the next generation of child protection, youth and community care workers.

“Protecting our kids shouldn’t just be a priority when they need a crisis response – that’s why we’re making an unprecedented investment in prevention and early intervention.”

“We will make sure Victorian families and children receive the help they need much earlier, so kids can lead safe and happy lives.”

“Skilled workers with the right qualifications are in demand right across Victoria and free TAFE courses across our growth industries will help us fill those gaps and get more Victorians into work.”

VPC Parent, School and Community Engagement in Student Learning Workshop-Seminar, 23 August 2018 at Brighton Grammar School

Co-hosted with the Australian Parents Council


The VPC -APC Parent School Community Engagement Day Seminar-workshop was opened by Ross Featherson, headmaster of BGS and Jacqui Van de Velde made the Acknowledgement of Country' 

VPC President, Eveline Jona welcomed all guests, mentioning a special welcome to Professor Debbie Pushor International speaker from Saskatchewan University, Canada; Gorill Vedeler from the Artic University of Norway; Helen Souteris from Monash University; Catherine Meynell-James, Victorian Department of Education; Aynur Simsirel, Principal Advisor, Independent Schools Victoria ; Caz Batson- Bosch, MAPS; Jacqui Van de Velde, Consultant; Rachel Saliba, Victorian Catholic School Parents; and all the guests, parents and professionals from NSW, SA, WA, TAS, ACT and Victoria.

Parents present from various sectors: Independent Schools, Catholic Schools, Government Schools, Special Schools, Parent Lead Schools, Parents Victoria, INLLEN, inner northern local learning and employment network and the Australian Parents Council. 

We were thrilled that Professor Debbie Pushor of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada was our lead speaker and facilitator at Parent School Community workshop day. Debbie a high profile international academic, author and speaker who has a keen interest in the positioning of parents in relation to the school landscapes.

In recent years, Dr Pushor has presented at a range of Australian conferences, forums and master classes including ARACY’s Parent Engagement Conference in Melbourne last year.

Debbie spoke about the work she is doing in Saskatchewan, the importance of developing authentic relationships between parents and schools. Of great interest were the case studies and video vignettes Debbie used to guide us through discussion.

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“What parents need to know about mental health”

VPC-BGS co-hosted parent seminar at BGS 28 July 2018

“What parents need to know about mental health”

Presenter: Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Child and Adolescent Psychologist


Dr Carr-Gregg’s main points

1.      First, parents should know that there is NO PERFECT PARENT thing in the world. Every child is different. Every parent has their uncertainty about parenting.

2.      Parents should pay close attention to CYBER-BULLYING. The internet has transformed the journey from childhood to young adulthood. Cyber-bullying on the rise- Schools report big rise of cyber-bullying and police cyber expert warn parents of social media predators.

3.      Research shows the rise of number of children and adolescent with mental health issues.

4.      When parents should be concerned about their children’s health, here are some signs or indicators:

-          Pro-social peer relationship

-          Do they have a spark?

-          Do they value/ enjoy school?

-          Have they emancipated (appropriately) from adult carers?

5.      Symptoms that flag depression……

-          Withdrawn to their room

-          Withdrawn from friends

-          Prolonged sadness, cranky, moody, increase in anger

-          Loss of appetite, loss of weight, increase in appetite (comfort eating)

-          Hard to concentrate

-          Drop off in school marks

-          Poor self-esteem

-          Guilty thoughts

-          Suicidal thoughts, self-harm

-          Can’t see things getting better in the future

6.      Recommend an App called ReachOut WorryTime to help people with stress or other mental health issues in a way that let people think they can control their thoughts rather than let the thoughts control them.

7.      One essential and most practical way to conquer mental health issues it to  

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON                                  In another word, TO BE RESILIENT   

Research shows that people with resilience are highly likely to have the following characteristics:

-          Charismatic adult

-          Social/ emotional competencies

-          Self talk

-          Have spark

-          Spirituality 

8.      A book named GOOD THINKING- A TEENAGERS’ GUIDE TO MANAGING STRESS AND EMOTIONS USING CBT, written by Sarah Edelman and Louise Remond was highly recommended by Michael.      

Thank you Spice Wang for taking the notes!


Is your school a recognised Epilepsy Smart School?

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1 in 200 students are living with epilepsy.

This means almost every Victorian school has or will have a student living with epilepsy enrolled at their school. Epilepsy is still one of the most misunderstood conditions in our community, beyond seizures, students can experience memory loss and poor concentration which can impact educational outcomes. In addition, students can feel isolated due the stigma of this condition.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Australia is the peak organisation in Victoria and NSW and is proud to announce the Epilepsy Smart Schools program www.epilepsysmartschools.org.au

This evidence-based program was developed to support schools to provide a safe and inclusive educational environment for students living with epilepsy.

“We think every school should be a recognised as “Epilepsy Smart” and be able to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for all enrolled students” Graeme Shears CEO of Epilepsy Foundation of Australia.

To become a recognised Epilepsy Smart School, schools must complete three important steps:

1. Demonstrate that the school supports any known student living with epilepsy.

2. Ensure all teachers with a duty of care have received epilepsy specific training.

3. Educate students about epilepsy.

The Epilepsy Smart Schools program will have a positive impact on everyone in school communities and seeks to create generational change through better understanding of epilepsy.

Parents want to know that their child is in safe hands, getting the best education they can and able to participate in all school and community activities. Teachers want to know that they can support all students within their class to participate fully to their ability. Training provided as part of the Epilepsy Smart Schools program allows these wants to be achieved.

A recognised Epilepsy Smart School is one that understands epilepsy and puts in place inclusive practices to support all students living with epilepsy achieve their academic potential and develop positive social relationships.

The Epilepsy Foundation has been working with the Victorian Department of Education to update their ‘Epilepsy and Seizure Policy’. The policy sets out the requirement that all government school staff with a duty of care for a student living with epilepsy MUST complete epilepsy specific training, which the Epilepsy Foundation provides. www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/health/pages/epilepsy.aspx

All pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools are eligible to become recognised as an Epilepsy Smart School.

If you would like to learn more how your school can become a recognised Epilepsy Smart School, please visit the Epilepsy Smart Schools website www.epilepsysmartschools.org.au

Sunday 21 October 2018, The Walk for Epilepsy www.supportepilepsy.com.au

The Walk For Epilepsy (Princes Park, Carlton, Victoria) is a fun, family-friendly day with lots of activities to keep the whole family entertained. Join us in the Walk as No one with epilepsy should go it alone.

Conversations About Parent Engagement

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In this interview we hear from Debbie Pushor PhD. Professor, Department of Curriculum Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Debbie has engaged in narrative inquiries into parent engagement and leadership, a curriculum of parents, and parent knowledge. In her undergraduate and graduate teaching, Debbie makes central an often absent or underrepresented conversation about the positioning of parents in relation to school landscapes. Debbie, in collaboration with the Parent Engagement Collaboratives I and II, published, Portals of Promise: Transforming Beliefs and Practices through a Curriculum of Parents (Sense Publishers, 2013) and Living as Mapmakers: Charting a Course with Children Guided by Parent Knowledge (Sense Publishers, 2015).

Debbie will be the keynote presenter at the VPC Parent, School and Community Engagement in Student Learning Seminar-Workshops on 23 August 2018 at Brighton Grammar School for more details and ticket bookings go to our booking page here.

Stress and Anxiety: What can parents do?

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In this interview we hear from Glenn Melvin.  Glenn is an Associate Professor and clinical psychologist at the Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry & Psychology and an honorary Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, UK. Glenn completed his PhD in the treatment of adolescent depressive disorder and has since conducted research into novel treatments for youth depression. His research interests include anxiety, school refusal, depression and suicide prevention. He is currently working on a program to support parents who have a child with anxiety or depression. He works clinically with young people, and teaches medical students about human development across the lifespan.


NAPLAN Online roll-out proceeds smoothly

NAPLAN Online roll-out proceeds smoothly

In May this year, over one million students took NAPLAN, and of those, almost 20 per cent of students across six states and territories sat NAPLAN in the new online format.

ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, said: “This first year of the move to NAPLAN Online overall went smoothly. The participation of schools, students, teachers and education authorities in readiness and preparation activities over the last few years has been key to this smooth transition and we appreciate that effort. I would like to thank all those involved in this achievement”.

By the end of the NAPLAN Online testing window, just over 190,000 students in 1,285 schools completed almost 670,000 online assessments.

Preparation activities undertaken to support the readiness of schools, students and teachers included extensive testing of the assessment platform. Schools that undertook NAPLAN Online this year also completed a successful coordinated practice test in March and April. In addition, there were detailed procedures in place and help desk support to ensure that any incidents that arose could be managed so impacts on students would be minimal.

Education ministers agreed that NAPLAN should move online from 2018 to provide a more engaging assessment, more precise results through tailored testing and faster turnaround of information, with the goal for all students to be online by 2020. The move online will enable NAPLAN to further evolve and improve, to ensure that it continues to provide valuable information about student learning in the important areas of literacy and numeracy.

Parents will receive their child’s individual report in August – around the same time it was issued in previous years. Because a student report shows how a child is doing compared to the national average, the results of all students – including those who did the pencil and paper assessment – need to be returned, collated and analysed. From 2020, when all students sit NAPLAN online, the turnaround time for individual student reports to be returned to parents will greatly reduce, from months to weeks.  (6 June, 2018 ACARA)


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