Posts in category News

Class of 2017 Set to Graduate

Tomorrow (Friday, 17 November) marks the final day of school for more than 53,000 Year 12 students.

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson wished the graduating class of 2017 well in their future endeavours, particularly the 11,000 Year 12s from independent schools.

Mr Robertson also thanked the principals, teachers, school staff and families who supported the Year 12s in reaching this major life milestone.

“Many students will finish school with a very clear idea about their next steps. This could be undertaking further study, training or working. However, other students may take a gap year to work and travel before deciding on their next move,” he said.

“We know the employment marketplace and skillsets favoured by employers are evolving. Data shows the gig economy and job mobility are on the rise in Australia with today’s young people expected to experience five careers and 17 job changes during their working lives.

“The good news is successive surveys of Queensland Year 12 graduates confirm the majority of school leavers are either in education, training or employment (86 percent) six months after finishing school, according to the results of the latest Next Step survey.

“Studying for a Bachelor Degree remains the most popular destination, accounting for 39.3% of Year 12 graduates who finished school in 2016, followed by full or part-time employment (27.3%) and vocational education and training (19.4%).”

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden extended her congratulations to the graduating seniors on their achievements.

“Students should be proud of the effort they’ve put in, not just in this final year, but over their entire schooling lives,” Ms Kloeden said.

“It’s also important that we recognise the support crews – families, carers and school staff – who’ve been with these students every step of the way encouraging them to strive to do their best.”

Eligible Year 12s can now access their individual Queensland Core Skills (QCS) Test grades, A to E, from their learning accounts, according to the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

All students will be able to access their final senior results, including Overall Position (OP) scores, online from 16 December.

Students must ensure they have their 10-digit Learner Unique Identifier (LUI) and password to access their online learning accounts.

Qld Celebrates World Teachers’ Day | Fri 27 Oct

On Friday 27 October Queensland will celebrate and acknowledge the work of the tens of thousands of teachers educating this state’s 800,000 students.

Queensland communities are encouraged to show their appreciation for their local teachers and the valuable work they do every day to ignite and fan the fire of learning in their students.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

Message of Thanks

The Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network has joined with the Queensland College of Teachers and peak parent bodies representing Queensland state and Catholic school parents to issue a public message of thanks to teachers for their valued contributions.

View video | Link

Certificate of Appreciation

The Parents Network has created a certificate of appreciation that children can sign and give to their teachers on World Teachers’ Day.

Certificate | Parents Network WTD_certificate

The Queensland College of Teachers and the Department of Education and Training in conjunction with key education stakeholders, such as the Parents Network and Independent Schools Queensland, are leading a range of public campaigns to recognise the contributions and achievements of teachers.

All teachers across Queensland should have received ribbons featuring inspiring messages such as “inspiring learners”, “proud to teach” and “making a difference” to wear in the lead up to World Teachers’ Day.

Celebrating Inspiring Queensland Teachers

Brisbane’s Story Bridge will light up for Queensland teachers on Thursday 26 October.

On Friday 27 October – World Teachers’ Day – winners of the 2017 QCT Excellence in Teaching Awards will be announced. Six independent school teachers and leaders are among the 21 finalists.

Read their stories | Link

Follow the Parents Network on Facebook to share messages of thanks and support | Link

Read the Queensland College of Teachers special World Teachers’ Day e-newsletter  | Link

Global Recognition of Teachers

Internationally, World Teachers’ Day has been held on 5 October every year since 1994 to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This recognised the important role qualified and committed teachers played in all societies.

However, as this day usually falls during the Australian school holidays, Australia celebrates the day on the last Friday in October.

Bookmark this Free 8 Nov Parent Webinar

Solution Focused Approaches to Anxiety – a Toolkit for Parents | 8 November 2017

Anxiety is the number one mental health issue in Australia.

One in 14 young Australians aged between 4 and 17 experienced an anxiety disorder in 2015, according to Beyond Blue. This represents about  278,000 young people.

Anxiety is something most people experience at different points in their life. But when it persists and becomes overwhelming, impacting day-to-day living over a long period of time, that’s when anxiety is a problem.

Identifying the signs is important because anxiety is treatable. As many parents and teachers will know young children and teens can suffer with anxiety.

In this free webinar for parents, Lyn Worsley, Director of The Resilience Centre, will share her experience, insights and professional advice on:

  • the long vs short term perspective on anxiety
  • is anxiety catching?
  • solution-focussed approaches to dealing with anxiety
  • basic everyday strategies that can be used at home to reduce anxiety.

Dr Worsley is a Clinical Psychologist and Registered Nurse with extensive experience in teaching, youth work, early childhood, hospitals and correctional services. She specialises in child, adolescent and family psychology and relationship issues. She is also author of The Resilience Doughnut Book – The Secret of Strong Kids and The Resilience Doughnut Book – The Secret of Strong Adults.

When: 8 November 2017, 7.15pm Brisbane time (8.15pm AEDT)

Where: Parents do not need to register – just turn up on the night at: https://zoom.us/j/865845192

More information: http://www.isdcn.edu.au/Events/Pages/EventRegistration.aspx?NbnEventDateId={9841ef66-47a3-e711-a100-005056b8125b}

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New Service to Report Image-based Abuse

Australia’s online safety sentinal – the eSafety Commissioner – has launched a new web portal and reporting tool to help Australians who’ve been the victims of image-based abuse.

According to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, image-based abuse occurs when “intimate, nude or sexual images are distributed without the consent of those pictured. This includes real, altered (e.g. photoshopped) and drawn pictures and videos.”

In a media statement eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said: “This is a world-first government-led initiative, empowering Australians who experience this insidious form of abuse with practical information and a range of options to help resolve their situation and relieve their distress.”

“Australians will be able to report intimate images or videos that have been shared without their consent directly through to our portal,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“We will work with social media providers, websites and search engines to help facilitate the removal of the image-based abuse,” she said.

New research by the eSafety Office reveals the most common social media platforms used to share intimate images without consent were: Facebook/Messenger at 53%, followed by Snapchat at 11% and Instagram at 4%. Text messaging and MMS were other common channels for distribution.

In a recent blog, Ms Inman Grant said the sharing of intimate images between young people had become a routine part of modern-day dating.

“It also represents a new form of peer pressure they are not equipped to resist,” she said.

“While many people may anecdotally understand the risks, few people are prepared for the fallout that ensues once an intimate image is shared online.”

According to 2017 research by RMIT University, 1 in 5 Australians aged between 16 and 49 have experienced image-based abuse, with young women (18-24) the most common victims.

Ms Inman Grant said the eSafety Office had had received about 400 complaints of image-based abuse.

“It’s important to remember behind each of these images is a person, feeling violated and powerless. Many victims who have been exposed in this way experience long-term anxiety, fear and depression. This is a fear that never really dissipates—not knowing where or when their compromising photos will pop up and be shown to friends, family, work colleagues or current partner.”

Ms Inman Grant called out the culture of inaction by “bystanders” who “see the images … know it’s wrong, yet they still do nothing”.

“We all have a role to play in creating a culture of respect, where the ‘upstanders’ outnumber the bystanders and where we no longer tolerate or trivialise image-based abuse,” she said.

Access the new image-based abuse support service and website | Link

ThinkUKnow also contains excellent information for parents | Link

 

Parent Views on Education Revealed in National Report Card

Parents have high ambitions for their children, but also understand that hard work is central to success, according to a national survey of parent views on education.

The 2017 Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) Parents Report Card found 72 percent of parents set high expectations for their children and 93 percent believed academic success was the result of sustained effort.

According to the findings, 85 percent of parents agreed that higher education was important for their child, however only 68 per cent talked regularly about its importance.

The survey found a parent’s cultural background influenced their expectations for their child’s education and also what skills should be taught in school.

In a media statement, ASG CEO John Velegrinis said the report revealed that parents wanted teachers to play a greater role in equipping children with important social and life skills.

“Perceptions about what equals academic success is changing and so, for today’s parents social and life skills are becoming an increasingly important element in education,” Mr Velegrinis said.

“However, there was a strong but divided stance on discussing topical issues, such as sexuality and cyber safety; with the level of input depending on the cultural background and age of the child,” he said.

“The findings suggest there are increasingly blurred lines as to where responsibility begins and ends as parents’ perceptions of their traditional roles and responsibilities change.”

However, the majority of parents felt connected with their school with 84 percent saying they believed their child’s school valued their involvement in their child’s learning.

Further to this 83 percent of parents said they took part in parent-teacher interviews and consultations.

The report, which is a joint project of ASG and the Faculty of Education at Monash University, is based on a survey of more than 1800 Australian parents, grandparents and guardians, with the majority being ASG members.

Download report | Link

Are You Tuned in to Your Child’s Mental Health?

Only one in three Australian parents feel confident identifying if their child has a mental health issue and more than half don’t know where they would go to for help, according to a recent national child health poll.

The findings of the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne National Child Health Poll, revealed a further third of parents believe that mental health issues in children are best left to resolve themselves over time.

When these findings are juxtaposed against research by Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute which found almost one in four young Australians have a serious mental health issue, it raises concerns that some children are not being identified or supported.

Director of the poll, paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes said children can develop similar mental health issues to adults, but these often presented in different ways in young people.

“Ignoring signs that may indicate a child is in need of help can result in the problem becoming more entrenched and much harder to treat,” she said.

“Even if parents are unsure, there is no harm in having a conversation with their GP or school counsellor about any emotional, social or behavioural difficulties they think their child may be experiencing.”

The poll also revealed that parents who checked in and connected with their kids most days were more confident in recognising if their child was experiencing a mental health issue.

However, one in three parents said it was hard to find to connect with parents of young children saying they were unsure how to talk or engage with their child.

“Life is busy and full of distractions, but parents can make a difference to the mental health and wellbeing of their kids by finding ways to focus on and connect with them as part of everyday life,” Dr Rhodes said.

“It can be as simple as taking the time to read them a book, eating a meal together or having a chat on the way to school,”  she said.

 

Information and resources created out of the poll survey and research include important advice for parents, including signs to watch for:

Signs in younger children:

  • sadness a lot of the time
  • ongoing worries or fears
  • obsessions or compulsive habits that interfere with everyday life
  • ongoing problems getting along with other children or fitting in at school, kinder or child care
  • aggressive or consistently disobedient behaviour, such as frequent yelling, kicking, hitting, biting or damaging things around them
  • frequent physical complaints, such as headaches or tummy aches
  • sleep problems, including nightmares.

Signs in older children:

  • having trouble coping with everyday activities
  • seeming down, feeling things are hopeless, being frequently tearful or lacking motivation
  • having trouble eating or sleeping
  • difficulties with attention, memory or concentration, a drop in school performance, or suddenly refusing to go to school
  • avoiding friends or withdrawing from social contact
  • complaints of frequent physical pain, such as headache, tummy ache or backache
  • being aggressive or antisocial, for example, missing school, getting into trouble with the police, fighting or stealing
  • losing weight or being very anxious about weight or physical appearance
  • repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  • self-harming behaviours.

How parents can get help:

  • start by talking with your child about their concerns and help them to access appropriate help
  • speak with your GP or child health nurse, who may help your child directly or refer them to another professional
  • speak with your child’s school, kindergarten or childcare centre for advice and support in getting appropriate help
  • call a helpline (such as Parentline) for immediate support

More information for parents can be found here | Link

More Resources for Parents

Leading Australian adolescent and family psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg hosted a webinar recently on anxiety and children which you can access here | Link

Dr Carr-Gregg has also has put together a range of resources and services to support young people and their families which can also be accessed here | Link

Have Your Say on Teaching Sport to Children

About 1 in 2 Australian children play sport or take part in some form of physical activity outside school at least once a week.

But according to the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) the participation of children in organised sport or physical activity is in decline.

That’s why the ASC is looking to refresh and refocus the teaching of sport to children in a way that contributes to their development and “aligns with the needs of children, families and schools”.

The ASC has prepared a discussion paper and survey they want parents, educators, coaches and sporting organisations to contribute to.

The paper proposes that “to increase sport’s relevance in schools and the community, sport and physical activity must be delivered in a way that enhances children’s development and physical literacy needs, complements the needs of schools and families, and contributes to education objectives.”

The discussion paper identifies four key areas for future development:

  • establish principles for teaching sport and physical activity to children through broad national consultation.
  • define competencies of those people teaching sport and physical activity to children.
  • support the sports sector in the recruitment, training and development of a newly defined delivery network.
  • co-develop a quality insights framework to monitor performance and support ongoing improvement.

According to the discussion paper, community feedback “will inform a draft plan that aims to assist sport to define, recruit, train and support a delivery network, which effectively teaches sport to children at home and within school and community environments”.

Feedback can be provided by completing the ASC’s online survey or by emailing responses to questions in the discussion paper to Yoursay@ausport.gov.au.

Feedback is due by 22 September 2017.

Discussion paper | Link

Survey | Link

Testing Times for Qld Year 12s

There are times during Year 12 when teens feel like they’re taking a major leap; their hearts in their mouths.

Today may feel like that for many of the 30,000 seniors sitting the annual Queensland Core Skills (QCS) Test.

As parents, it’s our job to support them during these big moments; to lift their confidence; be there to catch them if they fall and help them back on their feet to continue their life journey.

In a joint media statement the Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network and Independent Schools Queensland wished the Year 12s sitting the test well and urged them to approach the exams with confidence.

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden said it was normal for students to feel exam jitters.

“Parents can help ease this anxiety by ensuring their children are well rested, drink plenty of water, have a good breakfast and take wholesome food to school to keep them nourished and alert over the exam period,” Ms Kloeden said.

“The tests are conducted over two days with students undertaking 3.5 hours of testing each day over two sessions. That’s 7 hours of intense concentration which can be tiring.”

Ms Kloeden encouraged parents to remind their children to keep the tests in perspective, remain calm and do their best.

“With only 12 weeks until the final day of Year 12, students are not only managing exams and assessment, but also big decisions about their future, so there’s a lot going on in their lives. The best thing parents can do is be a supportive, calming and comforting presence during this period.”

The QCS Test is developed and administered by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA).

The QCAA has created a range of useful information for parents and students on the test.

Information for parents and carers | Link

Information for students | Link

Book Week 2017 | Costume Ideas, Good Reads & More

Photo and linked image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Parents are busy people. So sometimes annual events like Children’s Book Week and its associated dress-up parades can sneak up on you.

Fear not. Unless your school has already held their parade, you still have this weekend (August 20 and 21) to arrange a costume.

Book Week 2017 runs from 19 – 26 August and this year’s theme is Escape to Everywhere.

Book Week Costume Ideas

If you need some inspiration for your child’s Book Week costume here are some great ideas from Pinterest.

You can also draw on the creativity of other parents.  Simply google: “book week 2017 parade costume” and select images. This brings up an array of children’s book character costumes.

Book Week parades occur in many schools, and are just one of the many ways schools celebrate Book Week and the joy of reading.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) said libraries, schools and communities across the country will showcase Australian literature with creative book displays and engaging activities and events during the week.

Great Reads for Kids

The CBCA has also announced the winners of its Children’s Book of the Year Awards.

Chair of the CBCA National Board Professor Margot Hillel OAM praised the calibre of creativity and talent of Australia’s authors and illustrators.

“The 2017 winning and honour books demonstrate why our creators are so highly regarded around the world, with beautiful prose, delightful illustrations and fascinating topics that are sure to delight generations of readers,” Professor Hillel said.

This year more than 400 titles were entered into the awards, with the winners including a scientist, a street artist, a radio producer and a seven-time CBCA award winner.

According to Professor Hillel: “in our long association with children’s literature, we continue to see the benefits reading brings across all age groups, from developing early literacy, to building story-telling skills and helping older readers tackle real-world problems.”

 

Reading Your Child’s NAPLAN Report

National and state 2017 NAPLAN results have been released.

For parents whose children sat the tests in Years, 3, 5, 7 and 9 in May this year, this means that you should soon receive an individual report with your child’s results.

It’s important to remember that NAPLAN is a single point in time test which provides parents with a range of information about their child’s achievement and how they’re doing in comparison to their peers nationally.

The results shouldn’t be read on their own. They need to be viewed in conjunction with the very broad and comprehensive picture schools build up, through their own assessment and observations, of a child’s learning progress over time.

The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (ACARA) has put together some useful information to help parents understand what the reports mean and how to read them.

What’s in the NAPLAN Student Report | Link 

How do I Read My Child’s Results? | Link 

Video Explainer of the Student Reports for Parents (1min 41) | Link

A chart depicting the common scale and showing the standards and applicable bands for each year level tested.  The chart shows that for Year 3, students who score at Band 1 are below the national minimum standard.  Students at Band 2 are at the national minimum standard and students from Bands 3 to 6 are above the national minimum standard. For Year 5, students who score at Band 3 are below the national minimum standard.  Students at Band 4 are at the national minimum standard and students from Bands 5 to 8 are above the national minimum standard. For Year 7, students who score at Band 4 are below the national minimum standard.  Students at Band 5 are at the national minimum standard and students from Bands 6 to 9 are above the national minimum standard. For Year 9, students who score at Band 4 are below the national minimum standard.  Students at Band 6 are at the national minimum standard and students from Bands 7 to 10 are above the national minimum standard.

If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s report, talk with your child’s teacher or school – they are in the best position to talk with you in more detail about your child’s growth and achievement at school.

The 2017 national NAPLAN data shows that while Queensland earned the distinction of being one of the most improved states over the past 10 years, it has also recorded the highest rates of students being withdrawn from the tests by their parents and carers.

Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones has flagged developing an information campaign to change parent perceptions about the test.

The Queensland Independent Schools Parents’ Network will keep parents updated on future developments.