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School council

UMG School Council
 
Independent Public Schools (IPS) in Queensland have one specific goal:
 
to improve the outcomes for students!
 
This is the primary reason for the introduction and existence of IPSs in Queensland, and is the priority set down by Education Queensland for the granting and maintenance of IPS status.
 
It has been recognised that independent school administrations are best placed to make operational decisions on a day-to-day basis to suit the conditions that exist in their individual communities. Every school is different - in its clientele, its staffing, its priorities, its financial situation, its vision, its plans for improving the outcomes of its students - and with the continuing evolution of a school's community, each is best placed to react on a local basis, to changing conditions in order to provide the best outcomes for students.
 
By becoming an IPS, Upper Mt Gravatt (UMG) State School has been granted the flexibility to react to those unique sets of circumstances that exist in our school.
 
UMG was granted IPS status in 2015. One of the requirements for being an IPS was  to have a School Council elected from within the stakeholders of the school.
 
The make-up of the School Council is set out in the Constitution (a copy of which is available on this website for public viewing), and has some flexibility, depending on the size and structure of the individual school (Primary/Secondary/College etc.).
 
UMG chose to elect three (3) parent members and three (3) staff members to work with the two (2) Official Members (Principal & P&C President) to oversee the progress of the school.
 
Members of the UMG School Council
 
Official Members*:
            Principal - Mr Derek Brady
            P&C President - Mrs Tania Harman
 
Parent Members:
            Mr Stephen Good
            Mrs Fiona Kessell
            Mrs Victoria Leadbeatter^
 
Staff Members:
            Ms Tracey Dillon
            Ms Erica McCaskie^ (Secretary)
            Mr Bruce McDonald^ (Chairman)
 
* Official Members are ex-officio to the Council and may be represented at meetings by a proxy. This flexibility is not offered to elected members.
 
^ Council members are elected for a period of two (2) years. The inaugural School Council has 3 members who will sit for three (3) years so that from 2017 onwards, half of the elected positions on the Council will be declared vacant every year. This ensures continuity, while offering prospective members the opportunity to run for office on an annual basis.
 
Mrs Victoria Leadbeatter, Ms Erica McCaskie and Mr Bruce McDonald were elected by the Council to be the members serving the initial 3-year term.
 
Role of the UMG School Council
 
The School Council has a very specific mandate to monitor the progress of the UMG Operational Plan to ensure it is working towards the outcomes set out in the 4-year plan that was put into place in 2014 - when the school was still operating as part of the Brisbane South Region. (IPSs answer directly to the Director General and are not considered to be an official part of local Education Regions.)
 
The School Council plays no part in the day-to-day operations of the school. Its role is solely and specifically to monitor the implementation of the current 4-year Operational Plan; and to develop, over the next 2 years, the subsequent 4-year Operational Plan which will begin in 2018.
 
The School Council has no decision-making capability regarding the operation of the school (including staffing and educational content), and has no fund-raising capacity (which remains the charter of the P&C Committee).
 
How you can participate
 
The future direction of the school is in the hands of the School Council. If you believe that you have some ideas and suggestions as to how UMG should progress into the future, then contacting a Council Member is the best way to go about this (in the short term). You are invited to approach one of the Council members or write your suggestions and proposals addressed to the Chairman of the Council, via one of UMG's regular communication channels.
 
Alternatively, you may wish to run for election to the Council when elections are held next in 2017; however, because of the nature of the 4-year planning cycle, your contribution at this late stage of the development of the next UMG Operational Plan may be minimal. So the question remains: How can you contribute?
 
Other than monitoring the current Operational Plan, the School Council's other main task is to develop the next 4-year Operational Plan that will best serve the future requirements and desires of our community, and to improve the outcomes of our students. We need to look at the big picture.
 
How big do we want to be?
What is the optimal size for our school?
Which additional facilities do we wish to have available for students in the future?           
Are there plans that can be implemented to help us monitor the enrolment and distribution of ages across all year levels?
Are there staff structures that can be developed to optimise the outcomes for our students.
Are there areas of development that we could pursue to make our school and our students more successful?
 
These and many other questions need to be addressed if we are to make UMG the best it can be. The biggest danger for us, and indeed any organisation/planning committee, is that we don't know what we don't know.
 
Despite our best intentions, and the broad experience of those Council Members currently on the School Council, we are largely ignorant of what we don't know. Obviously the best position we could be in, as a committee, is to be aware of what we don't know. This would give us direction and allow us to make decisions, knowing all of the possible scenarios that are available to us. This is where you come in.
 
Your suggestions, no matter how ordinary, mundane or outrageous you may consider them to be, are welcome. Who would have thought, 5 years ago, that we would have a low-ropes course available to UMG students; that we would run a ROC RACE to present our students with unique physical challenges, that would further develop their confidence and their problem-solving abilities. In this day and age, and with the flexibility of IPS, we can consider anything and everything. If it is going to improve the outcomes of our students, then we will consider it. If we have the capacity and the resources to make it happen, then there is every chance that it will be written into future Operation Plans. 
 
Make your thoughts known to us. The sky is the limit. Share your dreams and we will make sure they are discussed and considered for implementation into our future plans.
 
N.B. Please be advised though that members of the School Council are limited in their capacity to represent community members in relation to operational matters at UMG. Management issues and decisions regarding individual students, staff and curriculum matters are outside of the charter of the School Council. These concerns need to be addressed to the appropriate staff members.
 
Help create the Future
 
These are exciting times at UMG. We want to improve the outcomes of our students; and we want to be the best we can be. You can help make it happen.
 
What does your ideal school look like? We invite to let us know.