1 PROJECT AGREEMENT FOR INDEPENDENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS INITIATIVE An agreement between: - the Commonwealth of Australia; and - Victoria. This project will increase the autonomy of government schools in Victoria. Page 1
2 Project Agreement for Project Agreement for Independent Public Schools Initiative Independent Public Schools Initiative PRELIMINARIES 1. This Project Agreement (the Agreement) is created subject to the provisions of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations (IGA FFR) and should be read in conjunction with that Agreement and its Schedules, which provide information in relation to performance reporting and payment arrangements under the IGA FFR. 2. This Agreement will support the increased autonomy in some 1,500 government schools across Australia including through greater engagement of parents and local communities in school decision making and the provision of professional development for principals, school leaders and school communities through: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) focus on local governance; increased accountability to the local community; the use of streamlined or one-line budgets; local management of school facilities; and increased delegation over staffing for school principals. 3. This Agreement, including its Schedule, constitutes the entire agreement for this project. PART 1 FORMALITIES Parties to this Agreement 4. This Agreement is between the Commonwealth of Australia (the Commonwealth) and Victoria. Term of the Agreement 5. This Agreement will commence as soon as the Commonwealth and Victoria sign the Agreement and will expire on 30 June 2017 or on completion of the project, including final performance reporting and processing of final payments, unless terminated earlier or extended as agreed in writing by the Parties. PART 2 PROJECT OUTPUTS 6. The outputs of this Agreement are activities to assist government schools in transitioning to greater independence. 7. The specific outputs to be achieved by Victoria are described in the Independent Public Schools Implementation Proposal at Schedule 1 of this Agreement. PART 3 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH PARTY Role of the Commonwealth 8. The Commonwealth will be responsible for: (a) monitoring and assessing the achievements of Victoria against its Implementation Proposal in the delivery of the Independent Public Schools Initiative under this Agreement to ensure that outputs are delivered within the agreed timeframe; and
3 (a) Role of Victoria Project Agreement for Independent Public Schools Initiative providing a financial contribution to Victoria to support the implementation of this Agreement. 9. Victoria will be responsible for: (a) (b) Shared roles all aspects of delivering on the project outputs set out in this Agreement; and reporting on the delivery of outputs as set out in Part 4 Performance Requirements, Reporting and Payments. 10. Both Parties will meet the requirements of Schedule E, Clause 26 of the IGA FFR, by ensuring that prior agreement is reached on the nature and content of any events, announcements, promotional material or publicity relating to activities under this Agreement, and that the roles of both Parties will be acknowledged and recognised appropriately. PART 4 PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS, REPORTING AND PAYMENTS 11. Table 1 summarises the performance requirements for the project, relevant reporting dates and expected payments to be made, subject to the annual performance report demonstrating that the milestones have been met.
4 Table 1: Milestones, reporting and payment summary Project Agreement for Independent Public Schools Initiative Outputs Milestones Report due Payment Increased autonomy in government schools in accordance with clause 7 of this Agreement Agreement to Implementation Proposal n/a $2.27m Achievement of scheduled progress against the agreed Project Implementation Proposal 30 April 2015 covering the 1 July 2014 to 31 March 2015 period $4.54m Achievement of scheduled progress against the agreed Project Implementation Proposal 30 April 2016 covering the 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 period $4.54m Achievement of scheduled progress against the agreed Project Implementation Proposal 30 April 2017 covering the 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 period $4.54m Reporting arrangements 12. Victoria will provide the Commonwealth with performance reports in accordance with Table 1 of this Agreement, consistent with the agreed Independent Public Schools Implementation Proposal included at Schedule If all scheduled progress has not been completed by 31 March 2017, then Victoria will also provide the Commonwealth a final performance report within 90 days of the completion of the project, covering achievement of scheduled progress against the Implementation Proposal for the 1 April 2017 to 31 December 2017 period. PART 5 FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS 14. The Commonwealth will provide a total financial contribution to Victoria of $15.89 million in respect of this Agreement. All payments are GST exclusive. 15. The Commonwealth s funding contribution will not be reduced were Victoria to secure funding from other activity partners through innovative and collaborative partnerships. 16. The Commonwealth s financial contribution to the operation of this Agreement, including through National Partnership payments to Victoria paid in accordance with Schedule D Payment Arrangements of the IGA FFR, are shown in Table 2.
5 Table 2: Estimated financial contributions ($ million) Total Estimated total budget Less estimated National Partnership payments Balance of non-commonwealth contributions Having regard to the agreed estimated costs of the project specified in this Agreement, Victoria will not be required to pay a refund to the Commonwealth if the actual cost of the project is less than the agreed estimated cost of the project. Similarly, Victoria bears all risk should the costs of the project exceed the agreed estimated costs. The Parties acknowledge that this arrangement provides the maximum incentive for Victoria to deliver projects cost effectively and efficiently. PART 6 GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS Enforceability of the Agreement 18. The Parties do not intend any of the provisions of this Agreement to be legally enforceable. However, that does not lessen the Parties commitment to this Agreement. Variation of the Agreement 19. The Agreement may be amended at any time by agreement in writing by both the Parties. 20. Either Party to the Agreement may terminate their participation in the Agreement at any time by notifying the other Party in writing. Delegations 21. The Commonwealth Minister for Education may delegate the assessment of performance against the Project Implementation Proposal and the authorisation of related project payments to senior Commonwealth officials, having regard to the financial and policy risks associated with those payments. Dispute resolution 22. Either Party may give notice to the other Party of a dispute under this Agreement. 23. Officials of both Parties will attempt to resolve any dispute in the first instance. 24. If a dispute cannot be resolved by officials, it may be escalated to the relevant Ministers.
6 The Parties have confirmed their commitment to this agreement as follows: Signed for and on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia by Project Agreement for Independent Public Schools Initiative The Honourable Christopher Pyne MP Minister for Education Date: Signed for and on behalf of the Victoria by The Honourable Martin Dixon MP Minister for Education Date:
7 Schedule 1 Victoria: Independent Public Schools Implementation Proposal
8 1. Current level of autonomy Project Agreement for Independent Public Schools Initiative Independent Public Schools Implementation proposal Victoria is recognised as having the most autonomous government school sector in Australia, and among the highest anywhere in the world. Decentralisation has progressed further in Victoria than elsewhere in Australia owing to the very large measure of devolved decision-making to principals and school councils of government schools (OECD, Improving School Leadership Volume 2: Case Studies on System Leadership 2008, pages 183 and 202) All government schools in Victoria operate autonomously and have done so since the 1990s, when substantial reforms to school autonomy were introduced as part of the Schools of the Future program. These reforms focused on local decision-making in areas such as funding and workforce management, while also establishing curriculum and assessment frameworks that provide flexibility for schools. Victoria s model of autonomy places the principal at the centre of school decision-making and allows schools to dynamically and flexibly respond to local needs. This flexibility is balanced with high levels of professional trust and strong accountability frameworks set by the Department. Key features of Victoria s school autonomy model are as follows: Governance each government school in Victoria is governed by a school council comprising parents, staff and community members. The responsibilities of the school council include assisting with the efficient governance of the school; developing and endorsing the school s strategic plan; planning, monitoring and reviewing school performance; and approving the school s budget. Funding the vast majority of expenditure is directed by the schools themselves according to defined parameters, including salary levels, class sizes and some specialist program funding. Workforce hiring decisions are made at the school level with reference to some system requirements, such as the placement of excess teachers. Infrastructure schools receive a funding allocation for maintenance of facilities, and have flexibility around hiring out their facilities to community members. Operational model all Victorian government schools have a universal operational environment, common academic year, instructional load, defined number of student-free days and system-wide workforce arrangement, within which schools exercise locally appropriate arrangements. Curriculum and assessment all Victorian government schools are required to provide a planned and structured curriculum that is consistent with the AusVELS. Within this broad framework, schools have significant flexibility in terms of the F-10 curriculum offering, as well as flexibility in relation to senior secondary programs, specialisation, and the offering of alternative curricula. Given Victoria s advanced starting point in relation to school autonomy and its commitment to direct resources to whole system improvement wherever possible, we propose a two-tiered approach to implementing the Independent Public Schools (IPS) initiative, comprising: a series of system-wide activities that will support all 1526 Victorian government schools to realise the benefits of autonomy; and activities targeted to support particular cohorts of government schools, such as smaller schools and schools in rural and regional areas. 2. Element/s of autonomy to be targeted in this initiative and the implementation proposal Victoria will use IPS funding to support activities that contribute to an environment of increasing professional trust and autonomy, and enhance the capacity of school leaders to exercise their role and responsibility for system improvement. These activities align with four of the Commonwealth s IPS principles: Principle 1: Increased local governance and parental involvement; Principle 2: Greater accountability to parents and the local community; Principle 4: Increased local management of school facilities and infrastructure; and Principle 5: Increased delegation over staffing for school principals to maximise student learning outcomes and student support services.
9 Activity 1: Provision of training and professional development for school leaders Victoria is providing schools with even greater choice and flexibility in managing the school workforce, including selecting the best available employees and managing them for high performance, and more efficiently dealing with underperforming teachers. As schools become more responsive to parental and local community input, and more accountable for student learning outcomes, school leaders will need more diverse local planning tools, skills and capabilities. Funding would be used to support principals, acting principals and business managers to assume greater decisionmaking powers by providing training and induction programs, including in the areas of leadership, strategic management, resource management, human resources and facilities. Additionally, an expansion of the specialist technical coaching program will assist greater numbers of principals with their new delegations and the expectations of increased autonomy. This will ensure the provision of high-level strategic and expert advice to school leadership teams to support timely and effective school decision-making. This would be delivered as five discrete professional development programs, which vary in contact hours and delivery method: i. Building the Capability of New Principals program target audience is government school employees appointed to an ongoing principal role. ii. Strategic Management for Principals program target audience is principals, acting principals and assistant principals. iii. Leadership for Business Managers program target audience is business managers. iv. Executive Management for Principals program (styled on MBA learning) target audience is early career and experienced principals. v. Resourcing my Principalship program target audience is principals, acting principals, assistant principals, and business managers. vi. Technical Leadership Coaches (2 new coaches providing high-level specialist technical coaching to school principals, bringing the total number in Victoria to 4 - i.e. one per region) target audience is principals. Timelines Number of schools/participants Cwth IPS principles i to 2017 Up to 120 participants each year (2014 to 2017) 4,5 ii to participants in 2014; 300 participants each following year (2015 to 2017) iii to participants each year (2014 to 2017) iv and 2017 Up to100 participants each year (2015 to 2017) v to participants each year (2014 to 2017) vi to new specialist coaches available to all government schools (2014 to 2017) Activity 2: Strengthen the skills and capacities of school councils School councils are at the centre of the governance framework for Victorian government schools but many individuals serving on school councils feel they do not have the requisite skills to undertake their duties and exercise their powers effectively. Funding would be used to enhance induction and training for all school councils and provide support for networks of school councillors to share best practice. Timelines Number of schools/participants Cwth IPS principles 2014 to 2017 Available to all government schools 1, 2 (1526 schools) Activity 3: Principal Administrative Support (expanding the remit of Local Administration Bureau) The Local Administration Bureau (LAB) provides small Victorian government schools with outplaced, costeffective and high-quality administrative support. This support reduces the day-to-day administrative burden on principals so they have more time to focus on student performance and well-being, strategic planning and
10 decision making. Funding will support increasing the reach of the LAB, including capacity to support schools identified as administratively at-risk. Timelines Number of schools/participants Cwth IPS principles 2015 (12-18 months) 20 new LAB schools 1, (12-18 months) 20 new LAB schools Enhanced school governance Victoria is currently considering a range of innovative new models that would enable schools to take the next steps in school governance, including models that have been trialled successfully in other countries. While the precise details are yet to be settled, the following high-level activities have been included in the proposal to signal the reform directions currently being considered by the Victorian Government. Activity 4: Support interested school councils to take on additional powers Some councils have the capacity and desire to take on additional powers that will allow them to better meet the expectations and aspirations of their local school communities, and increase the engagement of parents in school operations. This may include, with appropriate safeguards, an enhanced role in relation to principal selection, acquiring property and assets, and investment. Funding will provide additional specialised training for school councils and business managers, access to professional legal and financial advice and support, and support communications to schools and school communities regarding the changes. Timelines Number of schools/participants Cwth IPS principles TBD based on school interest 1, 2, 4 Activity 5: Federated school governance models Small schools can face difficulties in filling school council positions or obtaining an optimal mix of skills and expertise, particularly in rural areas. Federated models of school governance provide opportunities for schools to drive improved school performance through access to a wider pool of council members, introducing economies of scale, broadening the curriculum, sharing effective practice and accessing resources and skills including a wider range of parents and community members. Commonwealth funding will be used to actively support and assist in the facilitation of federation for interested school councils. Timelines Number of schools/participants Cwth IPS principles TBD up to 20 schools 1 3. Changes to existing practices to increase autonomy From New Directions to Action: World class teaching and school leadership and Towards Victoria as a Learning Community represent the foundation of Victoria s reform agenda in school education. These policy papers outline Victoria s commitment to enhance its already autonomous system, including in the critical areas of curriculum, reporting, behaviour management, workforce and funding, infrastructure and governance. These reforms are balanced with high levels of professional trust and strong accountability frameworks. The IPS initiative provides an opportunity for Victoria to partner with the Commonwealth to implement a range of activities in support of these goals that will extend autonomy and support all Victorian government schools to fully realise the benefits that autonomy provides. Victorian priorities for investment of funding under the IPS initiative will support the development of an accountable but self-improving system, by facilitating the significant changes already underway and building on the world-leading structural and capacity-building reforms of the past 20 years. Meaningful engagement between parents, local communities and schools will be important to drive system-wide improvement gains in Victoria. Victoria s suite of IPS activities will enable a better range of skills and expertise to be utilised across schools while freeing up principals and school leaders to focus on continuous improvement in teaching and learning. Our approach provides a differentiated response, supporting both those principals and school leaders who are overloaded with administrative duties, as well as those principals and school leaders who want to work more closely with their school council to set the strategic direction of the school.
11 School leadership support A self-improving system requires principals and leaders within schools to be empowered decision-makers, but this requires appropriate support to build capacity around management of human resources, funding and asset management and administration. It is essential that we equip school leaders with the capacity to forge links with peers and colleagues, with parents and their community, and with global education partners to ensure the drive for improvement comes from within the system, in a manner that can be sustained over time. These priorities present particular challenges in small schools. Investment to facilitate a self-improving system is unlikely to be effective in lifting performance without an evidential link to the capability of school leadership and workforces to improve teaching and learning. Funding will be targeted at reforms with the greatest potential to support and build capacity in the system for school improvement. School council support Supporting school leaders includes having highly effective school councils. Building capacity of school councils will support accountability for efficient use of resources, and will enable schools to optimise access to, and exploitation of parent, community and business partnerships and resources. Such expertise is also necessary to explore new models of networking, collaboration and federation amongst schools, increasing the efficiency of education provision, and creating greater flexibility to tailor the educational offering to meet community needs and interests. The greatest force for realising a self-improving system is the quality and capacity of leadership in the education community. In our decentralised system, school leadership is critical in shaping and developing the teaching workforce and in leading school improvement. Elevating the role of school leaders and supporting them to spearhead change in our system is paramount. Principal empowerment begins with extending their powers and control over workforce decisions, and ensuring that they have the expertise, skills, tools and support necessary to make effective decisions and lead the continuous improvement of their schools to lift student achievement. 4. Number of schools targeted for participation in the initiative As outlined in section 2, Victoria s implementation proposal comprises activities that will available to all government schools over the funding period, as well as activities targeted to support particular cohorts of government schools. Participation in the targeted activities will be based on school or participant interest. Once agreement is reached regarding Victoria s implementation activities and funding allocation, Victoria will commence school and participant selection processes. Information on numbers of schools participating in the initiative per year will be provided to the Commonwealth following this process. Cohort Year of Operation Number of schools TBC TBC TBC TBC Total TBC 5. School selection criteria School and participant selection processes will vary for each IPS activity, as outlined below. Activity 1: Provision of training and professional development for school leaders Prospective participants will be invited to express interest in programs through the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership or Department website. Program information will identify the target audience, as well as the capabilities and knowledge each program will cultivate. Where demand for programs exceed the number of places available, prospective participants who are new in their principal, assistant principal or business manager role will be selected for the relevant program. Priority may also be given to prospective participants requiring professional learning following a priority review.
12 The Department will approach new principal appointees to ascertain their interest in the Building the Capability of New principals program. For the two new Technical Leadership Coaches, the Department will approach experienced practitioners with the necessary skill set. The schools that use the coaches may be referred by the region or central office, or they may self-refer. Activity 2: Strengthen the skills and capacities of school councils All school councillors will be invited to attend training sessions covering induction, strategic planning, and finance. Induction training will be made available for school council presidents. Targeted training will be made available to school councils identified through the Department s financial audits, school reviews and regions, or to provide support with other identified needs. Activity 3: Principal Administrative Support (expanding the remit of Local Administration Bureau) Schools with enrolments of less than 100 students will be invited to apply to be part of the LAB expansion. Schools selection will be based on the level of administrative need demonstrated by the school, including the experience of the principal, enrolment numbers, location, previous financial school performance, regional advice and availability of appropriate levels of administrative support. Activity 4: Support interested school councils to take on additional powers The Department will oversee an expression of interest (EOI) process for interested school councils to take on additional powers. A selection panel will be convened to review the EOIs. Activity 5: Federated school governance models The Department will oversee an EOI process inviting any interested groups of Victorian government schools to apply for a grant to assist the formation of federated governance arrangements. Within the EOI, groups of schools wishing to access a grant will be required to outline: o the particular model of federation they wish to adopt (that is, for example, two schools remaining as separate entities under a single council, or the schools joining together to become a single school under that council); o the intended outcomes of federation, which may relate, for example, to improved capacity of the school council, enhanced economies of scale enabling a more diverse curriculum for students, or improved collaboration and flexibility amongst teaching staff; o the support of their respective school communities for the proposed federation arrangements; o their timeline for implementation to ensure this was sufficiently practical and consultative; and o the sustainability of the arrangements in the longer term, as it in the first instance it is envisaged that grants will be for one year only. The Department will convene a selection panel to review the EOIs, giving special consideration to issues of disadvantage and rurality. 6. Implementation activities Use of funding Activity 1: Provision of training and professional development for school leaders Year Total Funding amount ($m) Funding would support: Program design and content development, which will occur annually based on participant feedback Program facilitators and materials. Salary of the two new Technical Leadership Coaches, plus travel, administrative and PD related costs. Activity 2: Strengthen the skills and capacities of school councils Year Total Funding amount ($m)
13 Funding would support: Enhancement of existing training materials and development of additional materials for training councils as a whole, according to need Supply of training materials Delivery of training programs Project supervision and performance management. Activity 3: Principal Administrative Support (expanding the remit of Local Administration Bureau) Year Total Funding amount ($m) Funding would support: 40 additional schools receiving LAB support including induction, training, mentoring and administration processing, for months LAB portal maintenance and enhancements Central coordination, training and management of ongoing operations. Activity 4: Support interested school councils to take on additional powers Year Total Funding amount ($m) Funding would support: Additional specialised training for school councils and business managers Access to professional legal and financial advice and support Communications to schools and school communities regarding the changes. Activity 5: Federated school governance models Year Total Funding amount ($m) Funding would support: Engagement of experts to facilitate and support the set-up of school federations. Set-up of the new school federation, including funds to run consultation / briefing sessions with the school communities as well as briefing and induction sessions for the new federation council. Total Victorian IPS funding The activities outlined in this proposal would be delivered on a calendar year basis, however, in recognition of the Commonwealth s budget cycle, a summary of total proposed funding on a financial year basis is provided below. This summary is based on the assumption that funding would be paid at the start of the financial year (except for 2013/14), with an ability to carry forward any unspent funds. 2013/ / / /17 Total Proposed total funding allocation ($m) Acknowledgement of Commonwealth funding Victoria will acknowledge the Commonwealth Government s funding support for activities implemented under the IPS initiative, but not agree to branding participating schools as Independent Public Schools.
14 Reporting of Implementation Activities Reporting period 1 July 2014 to 31 March April 2015 to 31 March April 2016 to 31 March 2017 Implementation Activities Activity 1 Delivery of the Building the Capability of New Principals program Delivery of the Strategic Management for Principals program Delivery of the Leadership for Business Managers program Delivery of the Resourcing my Principalship program Appointment of two new Technical Leadership Coaches for principals. Activity 2 Develop a revised and enhanced training program for school councillors and councils consistent with new directions in school governance. Activity 5 Undertake a pilot project to assess the assistance required to schools to move to federated models of school governance. Develop a fund to support the establishment of school federations and identification of interested schools. Activity 1 Delivery of the Building the Capability of New Principals program Delivery of the Strategic Management for Principals program Delivery of the Leadership for Business Managers program Delivery of the Executive Management for Principals program Delivery of the Resourcing my Principalship program Ongoing funding for two Technical Leadership Coaches for principals. Activity 2 Delivery of revised and enhanced induction and training for school councils. Delivery of targeted training for school council presidents and other councillors with identified needs. Activity 3 Expand the reach of the LAB by 20 new schools. Activity 4 Identify school councils interested in taking on additional powers through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process and determine assistance required. Activity 5 Support interested schools to adopt federated models of school governance. Activity 1 Delivery of the Building the Capability of New Principals program Delivery of the Strategic Management for Principals program Delivery of the Leadership for Business Managers program Delivery of the Executive Management for Principals program Delivery of the Resourcing my Principalship program Ongoing funding for two Technical Leadership Coaches for principals. Activity 2 Delivery of revised and enhanced induction and training for school councils. Delivery of targeted training for school council presidents and other councillors with identified needs. Activity 3 Expand the reach of the LAB by a further 20 new schools. Activity 4 Pending outcomes of EOI process, develop specialised training and support activities to enable interested school councils to take on additional powers. Activity 5 Support interested schools to adopt federated models of school governance.
15 1 April 2017 to Activity 1 31 December Delivery of the Building the Capability of New Principals program 2017 Delivery of the Strategic Management for Principals program Delivery of the Leadership for Business Managers program Delivery of the Executive Management for Principals program Delivery of the Resourcing my Principalship program Ongoing funding for two Technical Leadership Coaches for principals. Activity 2 Delivery of revised and enhanced induction and training for school councils. Delivery of targeted training for school council presidents and other councillors with identified needs. Activity 4 As appropriate, implement specialised training and support activities to enable interested school councils to take on additional powers. Activity 5 Support interested schools to adopt federated models of school governance. 7. Evidence of impact Victoria will provide annual reports as per Part 4 of the Project Agreement: At the end of each reporting period, Victoria will provide a short (3-4 page) report to the Commonwealth detailing its implementation activities, including total numbers of participants and schools for each activity. The report may also include qualitative information regarding: o the implementation approach and target cohorts o the rationale and expected benefits o feedback from schools and/or individual participants on implementation o how the benefits can be maintained and shared.
16 The Parties have confirmed their commitment to this agreement as follows: Signed for and on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia by% Project Agreement for Independent Public Schools Initiative The Honourable Christopher Pyne MP Minister for Educatiol \ i Date: la H Signed for and on behalf of the The Honourable Martin Dixon MP Minister for Education Date: i:
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