Support handbook for first-time principals

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1 Support handbook for first-time principals


3 Message to newly appointed principals Congratulations on achieving your appointment as principal. This important role will require you to utilise the leadership qualities of drive, determination, vision and refection. How you act, how you feel and what you do will be pivotal in ensuring the focus in your school is on learning. Teams, not individuals build success. As school leader you will reach out to others to build teams, create a capacity for continuous improvement and develop a belief in maximising the potential of your students. You will continue to learn as you reflect on the strategies and challenges that will characterise and shape your role as principal. This will allow you to continue to adapt, change and grow as leader. The purpose of this booklet is to provide support and answers to some of the questions you may have in your early days as principal. I wish you well as you begin this journey of leading and managing a NSW public school. Robert Randall Director, Professional Support and Curriculum Acknowledgements This handbook for first-time principals was developed (1996) and revised (1997) by Gai McMurtrie, Principal, Copacabana Public School, with support from the Principals Induction Reference Group. It is revised annually by members of the Educational Leadership Unit. Materials by Don Nordenheimer, Principal, Edmonton Public School, Alberta, Canada and the NSW Department of Education and Training are also hereby acknowledged. The State of NSW, Department of Education and Training, Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate, 2003 Revised January 2003 ISBN SCIS number

4 4 Support handbook for first-time principals

5 Table of contents Page Chapter 1 Prior to entry on duty as principal 6 Chapter 2 Staff profile 10 Chapter 3 Student profile 18 Chapter 4 Community profile 20 Chapter 5 School organisation 27 Chapter 6 Policies and planning documents 30 Chapter 7 Grounds, buildings and equipment 36 Chapter 8 Finance 40 Chapter 9 Communication 43 Chapter 10 School culture 48 Chapter 11 District office 51 Chapter 12 Principal s welfare and development 53 Appendices 56 Reading list 67 Internet sites 68 5

6 Chapter 1 Prior to entry on duty as principal Try to visit your new school before you enter on duty. You ll learn a lot, especially if you have a chance to meet the outgoing principal. Site visit Good luck in your new job: * Congratulations! * Keep healthy! * Enjoy your new role! On your visit to the school you should consider the following topics for discussion with the outgoing principal or relieving/acting principal if possible. If this person is not available then consider discussing the issues with the District Superintendent. Any contentious issues such as industrial issues, unresolved conflicts, properties issues, student issues and issues related to staff (e.g. efficiency). Ongoing planning issues. Financial considerations. Priorities for the year. Introduction to parent organisation president and school council president. Access to documents The following documents could help you become familiar with your new school. At some stage request the following: Document School management plan (last year) Found (Yes/No) School management plan (current year) Student/family list from OASIS Staff list OASIS Report 241 Staffing entitlement Faculty variation (secondary/central schools only) Maps/plan of school/map indicating school zone 6

7 Document Budget (last year) Found Yes/No Budget (current year) Annual financial statement (last year) Staff handbook Parent handbook (school information) Annual report (last year) Anticipated organisational return (current update) Sample of school newsletters Achievement test results, e.g. BST, ELLA SC, HSC Specific focus programs, e.g. CAP, PSPF Don t panic as not all schools will have these documents. Look for some of these documents under a different name. School governance information The following information about school and community leaders will be very useful as you become familiar with your new school. P&C office bearers Names/contacts School council office bearers Names/contacts School captains Names SRC office bearers Names 7

8 Handover Starting any new job can be daunting: * These checklists might help. * Don t worry if you don t find out the answers to all of these questions. As the incoming principal you will need to attend to the following significant procedures as part of the handover process. Procedures Keys Security School accounts Communication Staffing Teacher housing Points or actions to consider Who has them? Where are they located? How do you get them? Where is the key cabinet? Where is the key register? Is there a security system? Are any buildings not on the security system? Who monitors the security system and what is the contact number? Where are the alarm panels? What are the codes? Who has the code? Contact security company with your contact name and number. Contact local police as the new key holder? Is there a safe? What is the combination? What accounts (investments)? Which branch? Account numbers? Get the latest statements if possible Who are the signatories to the accounts? Add your signature and remove predecessor s Access to vacation mail for HSC results (secondary/central schools only) address (password to use computer) Fax/phone numbers of school Answering machine School mobile phone number Who is your Department of Education and Training staffing contact? What is their phone/fax number at Blacktown or district office? Are there any staff movements pending? Address, location of keys, telephone number Water, electricity, gas 8

9 Preliminary organisation to start the school year or term Spend some time planning what information you will share with staff and parents at your first meeting. Meet with executive to plan and/or review the first day. Contact district office to introduce yourself. Gather and process information to check staffing allocation. Getting off to a good start in your new school Plan what you will say at the first staff meeting. Consider mentioning your background, your educational vision and expectations. Present a positive view of your new role and your early impressions of the school. Access your new office and familiarise yourself with the telephone system, the daily routines and school procedures. Meet the senior school assistant and discuss current office procedures and roles. Personalise your desk and office to suit the way you like to work. Prepare a draft version of your first message to parents for the newsletter. Plan how you will introduce yourself to the student body. 9

10 Chapter 2 Staff profile Get to know the staff: * Find a recent staff photo to learn everyone s name. * Try to spend recess and lunch breaks with the staff. Try to spend as much time as possible getting to know the staff at your new school. Hopefully this checklist may help you interpret your school s staffing. Important staffing information The most important and helpful document to locate is the staffing entitlement. This will indicate all your staffing entitlements including support staff. The anticipated student enrolment document is equally as vital to assist with staffing at the beginning of the year. You will have to consider how you will ensure accurate student enrolment numbers to complete the actual student enrolment return due in the first two weeks of the year. These student numbers will affect your staffing entitlement. Another helpful document is the OASIS print-out of the staff list which indicates staff names, contact phone numbers and staff category. Some other considerations include: Staff movements such as transfers. Contact your district s staffing officer in State Office, Blacktown. Staff on leave/exchange. Consult the school s leave plan. New teaching staff. Consider an executive induction program or beginning teacher induction program. Staffing supplementation (if appropriate) for primary/secondary, flexible ancillary, whole-school staffing (central schools only). Information on secondary staffing variations, procedures for nominated transfers of teachers and appointment of casual teachers to the supply casual payroll is contained in Memo 99/358 (S.266) Anticipated Staffing Entitlements. 10

11 Types of staffing In the school you may have some or all of the following staff. Some questions for your consideration are included with each category of staff. Support staff School administrative support staff. What is the allocation? General assistant. What is the allocation? School counsellor. What is the procedure for referrals? School counsellor: Phone number: Home school liaison. Who monitors the class rolls? Home school liaison officer: Phone number: Support teacher learning. Is there a learning support team? Release from face-to-face teacher Teacher-librarian English as a second language teacher Reading recovery teacher Community language teacher Integration/teachers aides Aboriginal education aides Itinerant support teachers behaviour, speech, hearing, sight. Are any of these people located in your school? Casual teaching staff Where is the current contact list of casual teachers. What are their interests? What is the policy for engaging casuals? Who contacts casuals? Are there any supply casual agreements already made for the coming year? Contact the Casual salaries section in Blacktown State Office on for more information. 11

12 Part-time staff Are there any current or imminent leave arrangements? Are any staff permanent part-time? What are the arrangements? Are any staff on maternity leave? When are they scheduled to return to work? Are any staff on part-time leave without pay? Cleaning contractor and staff Cleaning specifications. What are the specifications? Cleaning contract/arrangements. Who is the cleaner/contractor? Contact person: Phone number: Scripture teachers Scripture roster arrangements. Who organises the roster? What are the supervision arrangements for non-attenders? Buses Bus duty staff arrangements. Who organises the bus duty roster? Bus company contact person: Phone number: Canteen Canteen supervisor arrangements Parent, school or privately operated canteen? Canteen contact person: Phone number: Other staff Paraprofessional staff District staff based at school Student teachers 12

13 Staff with specific responsibilities and roles Role Teachers Federation representative Contact person Teachers Credit Union representative Industrial relations spokesperson Anti-racism contact person Public Service Association representative Spokeswoman program representative Computer technology coordinator Occupational health and safety (OH&S) coordinator Priority Schools Funding Program (PSFP) coordinator Training and development coordinator 13

14 Roles and responsibilities of all staff It is useful to clarify everyone s role in the school early in your principalship. Spend some time talking with everyone about their role in the school. You will also need to determine the roles and responsibilities of all staff: Executive staff Teaching staff School administrative support staff General assistant see Memo 97/274 for duty statement (26 September 1997) Teachers aide (Special) Aboriginal education aides Itinerant support teachers. Get to know the staff Consider carefully how you will get to know the staff in the first few weeks of your principalship. Plan your first staff meeting so that it is successful. If possible, contact a few staff members and meet informally over coffee or lunch before school starts. Staffing agreement 2002 Is there a vacancy at your school? Does a staff member want a transfer? Is there a nominated transfer at your new school? Look for a copy of the Department s staffing agreement 2002, or contact your district s staffing team leader on for more information. These procedures are effective for the current staffing operation. The documentation and forms are: Promotion and transfer: procedures for teachers booklet Merit selection procedures manual Application for transfer primary/ssp teacher Application for transfer secondary teacher Application for executive transfer primary Application for executive transfer secondary Application for lateral transfer principal. 14

15 Staffing formulas (K 6 only) How do you calculate your school s staffing? A copy of the primary staffing schedule is provided below. Classroom teachers and relief from face-to-face (Use K-6 enrolments only) Part-time teacher librarian (Use K-6 and student support enrolments) Enrolment Classroom RFF Enrolment Teacher P/T T/L teachers value A B C D E F G based on based on formula: formula: Kx Kx Y1x Y1x Y2x Y2x Y3-6x Y3-6x (minimum of SSx seven teachers) (minimum of seven teachers)

16 Management of employee relations Do you need advice and support in matters relating to efficiency, misconduct and discipline of staff (except in cases of child sexual assault or improper conduct of a sexual nature by a staff member against a student)? In the first instance contact the personnel support officer or staff welfare officer in your district office. Principals may wish to directly contact the appropriate Staff Efficiency and Conduct Industrial Officer for their district to seek additional advice and support in managing a particular matter of concern to them. Officers in the Staff Efficiency and Conduct Unit will also provide advice about the management of complaints and grievance issues covered by the proceduces for Responding to suggestions, complaints and allegations and on conditions of service issues. The contact number for The Staff Efficiency and Conduct Unit is or Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 Memo 98/322 (S.258) is a summary of the notification procedures that must be followed for workplace injuries. A notification form and a sample Register of injuries in the workplace are in the Appendices. Teachers handbook Information related to staff can be located in the Teachers Handbook under the following headings: General Conditions of Employment Casual Teachers Staff Welfare Leave Provisions Legal and Professional Responsibilities of Teachers Permanent Part-Time Employment Salary - Allowances Separation from the Service Superannuation. Industrial Relations Services Industrial Relations Services is comprised of Industrial Awards and Conditions Unit and the Staff Efficiency and Conduct Unit. The two units report to Mr Paul Irving, General Manager of Personnel. 16

17 If you need advice in matters relating to efficiency, grievance issues, conditions of service and disciplinary matters Mr Jim Ironside the Manager of the Staff Efficiency and Conduct Unit may be contacted on The Staff Efficiency and Conduct Unit plays a vital role in matters relating to misconduct including criminal matters. When an allegation of misconduct comes to your attention, you must notify your District Superintendent. When an allegaion of misconduct of a sexual nature or an allegation of physical or emotional abuse comes to your attention, you are required to notify the Child Protection Investigation Unit or Directorate, DOCS and your District Superintendent, as per the DET child protection procedures. Please note that as of 7 May 1999 the NSW Ombudsman has the role of overseeing and monitoring investigations into allegations of child abuse made against employees of the Department as outlined in the Ombudsman Amendment (Child Protection and Community Services) Act The Ombudsman is required to determine whether an investigation has been monitored or conducted properly and whether appropriate action has been taken as a result of the investigation. The Ombudsman s Office may decide to undertake its own investigation into the matter. 17

18 Chapter 3 Student profile Get to know the students: * Visit the classrooms. * Go to assemblies. * Spend some time in the playground. An important document which establishes the student enrolment at your school is the anticipated enrolment report sent from staffing in Blacktown. This report will give you numbers only, so you will need to find the answers to the following questions to discover more about the students at your new school. Student profile Are there any students who identify as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander? Children with special needs/disabilities. Are there any students with special needs? Do they receive support within the school? Do children with learning disabilities receive support? Are any students receiving integration support? Full fee paying students. Are there any full-fee paying students from overseas? Gifted and talented students. Are there any students who are accelerated in any subjects? New arrivals. Have any students recently arrived in Australia? Non-English speaking background (NESB) students. Are there any NESB students? Do they receive support from an ESL teacher? Out of area placement of students. Are any students enrolled from outof-area? Where are the boundaries? Where are the maps? Have any students been identified as at risk? Talk with the school counsellor about any confidential issues to do with students and their families. Student lists. If classes have already been formed then class lists can be obtained through an OASIS report, Roll Class List. Another useful report is Students in Year. 18

19 Finding out about the students through OASIS Age grade distribution You should be able to obtain a print-out from OASIS of the number of students in the school. This information will give you an overview of grade/year numbers of students. (See Appendices for a sample copy of an age grade distribution graph from OASIS.) Student/family contact information You can print out information about each student including emergency contacts and family information such as family address, parent home and work phone numbers from OASIS through a report called Emergency Contacts. This information needs to be regularly updated. Student enrolment procedures Kindergarten or Year 7 enrolment. Who coordinates the Kindergarten or Year 7 enrolment and orientation procedures? How many new students are anticipated in the new year? Have they been placed in classes? Have they completed an orientation to the school? Orientation for new enrolments. What is the procedure for new enrolments? How are the students placed in classes? Student record cards. Where are they kept? Who has access? Try to meet with the student leaders as soon as possible. Find out their role in the school. Student leaders School leaders. Who are the captains and prefects? Who are the sporting captains? What roles and responsibilities do the student leaders perform? Student Representative Council (SRC). Is there a Student Representative Council or a student parliament? Who coordinates this aspect of school life? What is the role of the SRC in the school? When and where do they meet? Ask to see the folder A Practical Guide for Student Leaders and Teachers: Student Representative Councils, sent to schools late in This promotes awareness and discussion of student leadership issues. Contact your district student welfare consultant for additional information. 19

20 Chapter 4 Community profile You only get one chance at a first impression: * Listen with both ears. * Keep an open door. * Be visible in the community. Everyone in the community will be keen to meet the new principal. It is important to meet with the key parent and community leaders as soon as possible. You ll learn a lot about the community informally at the school gate and formally by attending meetings. Getting to know your school The most common parent/community bodies your school may have are the Parents & Citizens Association and/or a school council. You recorded the contact details for these people under School governance information in chapter 1. As well, you may have other committees operating in your school. These committees may operate under the auspice of the school, the parent organisation or a community group. School-based committees most likely would be: finance committee curriculum committee student welfare committee community use of school facilities OH&S committee training and development committee learning support team. Parent organisation committees most likely would be: canteen committee fund raising committee uniform committee safety house program before/after hours/vacation care. Community committees: ASSPA 20

21 Aboriginal homework centre Preschool/playgroup. Associated issues may include: Community use of school facilities. Who uses the school? What is the standard fee? Where are the agreements kept? Who has the keys? Fund raising plan. Is there a fund raising plan? Preschool/playgroup. Is there a preschool/playgroup on site? Contact person: Phone number: Safety house program. Is your school part of the safety house program? Who coordinates the safety house? Contact person: Phone number: Before/after hours/vacation care. Is there an onsite care centre? Contact person: Phone number: Aboriginal homework centre. Who coordinates the homework centre? What are the hours of operation? Contact person: Phone number: You are ex-officio to any committee in operation in your school, however the responsibility for the oversight and operation of any parent or community-based committee rests with the organisation that established them. Information such as fund raising plans, canteen mark up schedules, etc. should in the first instance be sought from the organisation responsible for convening the committees. 21

22 Getting to know the community Sister school arrangements. Is there a sister school? Primary and high school links, TAFE links. Does your school share programs and/or facilities with other schools? Feeder area. What is the feeder area for the school? Refer to the zone map for your school. Feeder preschools (K 6 only). What are the main feeder preschools? Feeder preschool Names/contacts Feeder preschool Names/contacts Feeder high/primary school. What are the main high/primary schools that students go to/come from? Feeder high/primary school Names/contacts Feeder high/primary school Names/contacts 22

23 Profile of specialist education facilities. Are there any specialist education facilities locally such as specialist high schools/universities/tafe/field studies centre? Specialist education facilities Names/contacts Specialist education facilities Names/contacts Other organisations in the community Businesses. What are the local businesses? Does the school have any special relationships with local businesses such as work experience arrangements? Service clubs. What are the local service clubs? Are representatives invited to school assemblies and special events? Are any school staff members of services clubs? Sponsorships. Do any local businesses/clubs offer sponsorships? What are the arrangements? Community facilities. Does the school use local facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts? Community groups. Do staff attend community group meetings such as Landcare, Schoolwatch? Chamber of commerce. Is the school a member? Local council. Who is the local mayor? Mayoral office Name/contact 23

24 Members of parliament. Who are the state and Federal members? Local state member Name/contact Local Federal member Name/contact Working with parent and school community organisations The P&C and school community organisations are autonomous associations, established under the Education Reform Act 1990 and operates under a ministerial approved constitution. The Act states that P&C associations and school community organisations are established to: promote the interest of the school by bringing parents, citizens, students and teaching staff into close cooperation assist in providing facilities and equipment for the school and promoting the recreation and welfare of the students at the school encourage parent and community participation in curriculum and other educational issues in schools report, when requested by the Minister, on the material requirements of the school and advise on the subject of maintenance of the school, alterations and additions to school facilities and the selection of new sites assist and cooperate with teaching staff at public functions associated with the school be responsible for the election of parent representatives to any school council constituted at the school in consultation with the principal of the school assist in any other matters in which the Minister may seek the cooperation of the Association. 24

25 These objects and functions are included in the standard and prescribed constitutions for both incorporated and unincorporated association. The principal is ex-officio to the P&C or school community organisations including and any subcommittees. Ex-officio means by virtue of the office. It confers full membership status: that is, the right to vote, move and second motions and to speak in debate. The principal is the only member of the association not required to pay a membership fee. The role of the principal is addressed in the Department of Education and Training s February 1998 Memorandum to Principals, The Partnership Between Schools and Established Parent Bodies. The P&C and school community organisations are advisory bodies. They may make suggestions and voice opinions on any matter pertaining to the school. Their constitutions prohibit them from interfering in the day-to-day management of the school. There is, however, no parliamentary privilege, so P&C and school community organisations should not discuss individual teachers, students, fellow parents or association members as defamation laws can apply. P&C and school community organisations have total control of their finances. The organisations operate their own bank accounts and are responsible for their own accounting procedures and audit. Global budgeting is a school process and does not impact on the school parent organisation s accounts. Parent organisations are not obliged to meet school budget estimates. The voluntary nature of the fund raising activity means that they should best be described in the global budget as possible donations rather than expected donations. The principal s role in the P&C and school community organisations is one of support, information, explanation, cooperation and authority. It will grow and become strong if it is based on mutual respect and an understanding of the different perspective that parents can bring to the schooling experience. If you are in any doubt or need further information contact the Federation of P&C Associations NSW on

26 Useful community information Fire Name/contact Police Name/contact DOCS Name/contact Doctor Name/contact Health services and agencies Name/contact Neighbourhood and/or rural watch Name/contact Emergency services Name/contact 26

27 Chapter 5 School organisation Start with the checklist below: * Let s get organised. * Ask for help. * What are the procedures in place? Before we delve into the practicalities of school organisation it is well worth reflecting on the immortal words of Douglas Adams, Don t panic. While this document may not be the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy it does contain vital information for you as the principal in a new environment. A quick checklist You will probably find that the types of organisation listed below have been developed and put in place by the previous principal. The list that follows is only intended as a quick checklist. Remember that these items may be found as an individual document or as parts of a number of other documents. Organisational documents Tick if found Plan of the school Classes, plan of classrooms Timetables Curriculum structure Period allocations Staff profile/executive structure Release from face-to-face teaching rosters Teacher/class allocation Special positions, e.g. year patrons KLA coordinators School day organisation (bells) start of day, recess, lunch Yearly calendar/diary Committees (structure/membership/function) Technology (what, where, how used, coordinator) 27

28 Organisational documents Tick if found Staff roles and responsibilities statements Transport bus, train, ferry (contact address/phone number, passes, duty, policy) Emergency evacuation procedures How does your new school deal with the following issues? Some of these issues may be dealt with by Departmental policies. Look for more information about policies in Chapter 6. Schools tend to be highly organised establishments that function effectively through clearly defined and articulated practices and procedures. Administration of medication to students Absences of staff Absences of students Accidents to staff Accidents to students Annual calendar Assemblies Badges Banking school funds Benchmarking student progress Behaviour referrals Bicycles Book clubs Book week Borrowing school equipment Breakages and minor repairs (to fixtures) Breakages to electrical equipment Budgeting Casual teachers Child assault (sexual) notification Class rolls and attendance Classroom helpers Committees Consultative processes Counsellor referrals Circulation of written materials Critical incidents Departmental returns Duty of care End of day End of term Enrolment of students Equipment register Equipment repair Excursions Farewells (Years 6, 10 and 12, staff) 28

29 Formal complaints Freedom of information General assistant Good discipline and effective learning Goods (ordering and receiving) House system Illegal entry/breach of security Information day/night Library Lost property Mail/fax/Internet Media in the school Meetings (administration) Meetings (developmental) Meetings (management groups) Newsletters Parent and Citizens Association Performances Presentation day/night Recording student lateness Release from face-to-face teaching Reporting to parents Responsibility/behaviour level systems Repetition of students School council School committees School photographs School rules School times Scripture Staff duties Staff leave Students at risk Staff leaving school grounds Student banking Student illness Student information Student lateness Student record cards Students with medical conditions Students use of toilets Use of telephone and fax machine Written communication 29

30 Chapter 6 Policies and planning documents Look for the planning documents: * Where are they? * Find out what is planned for this year. * Is there a calendar of important dates. All schools have a range of planning documents plus working papers, background papers and documents that provide information to assist with planning on a schoolwide basis and a student by student basis. It is imperative that you trace this documentation as it will provide background to what is happening and what is planned to happen in your school. Finding documents through OASIS Throughout this chapter reference will be made to school generated documents and policies. It is possible that your school has used the functions within the OASIS system to keep track of this documentation. If the tracking system within OASIS has been used then the job of locating relevant documents will be a lot easier. To access the tracking system, an overview of its operation is provided below. Log on to OASIS in the normal way, at the initial screen of the OASIS menu select E1 School Information. The following options are then available to the user: G1 Enter Data Name of Policy Source Arrival Date Location Action Date Complete G2 G3 G4 G5 Relevance Search Circulation Search Keyword Search Action Search 30

31 Important documents Can you locate these important documents? Document Location in this school Last year s management plan This year s management plan Last year s annual financial statement Last year s budget This year s budget The school s strategic plan BST, SC, HSC, ELLA, SNAP results Selective schools test results Student profiles Student record cards Student assessment information Confidential information on students Details of specific programs, e.g. ESL Records of student programs, e.g. integration Last year s school calendar This year s school calendar Minutes of meetings, e.g. staff, grade, faculty, curriculum committees 31

32 School policies Where a school policy does not exist then the Departmental policy or State legislation will be the guiding document. Documentation in the form of policies will be found in the school. These policies may be in a number of forms and could be sections of other school documents. These policies provide the framework of reference for decision making and action within the school. Policies are a reference for staff and community on the expectations and actions of the school. Most school policies are based on either departmental policy or state legislation. The relevant departmental policies or state legislation should provide the basis for school policy. Teaching and learning policies Vital policies and documentation to do with our core responsibility of teaching and learning will need to be located and read. These policies and documents form the foundation for all that happens in our classrooms. Listed below are the types of things you will need to locate. Policies and documentation Location in this school KLA policies KLA scope and sequence information Teaching programs (past years) Staff supervision policy and TARS Assessment and reporting policy 32

33 Student welfare policies All school-based student welfare policies were revised in Closely associated with our teaching and learning responsibilities are your responsibilities for student welfare. The range of student welfare responsibilities is usually outlined in a student welfare document. You will need to locate a copy of this document or the individual policies that cover the realm of student welfare. The following list is an indication of the types of individual policies or sections in a student welfare document that you will be looking for. Policies or section Location in this school Accidents to students Administration of prescribed medication Asthma Attendance Child protection Code of conduct Critical incident management Discipline Drug education Emergencies Excursions Girls and boys at school: gender equity Good discipline and effective learning HIV AIDS Homework 33

34 Policies or section Location in this school Human sexuality Infectious diseases Immunisation Non-violence in school Peer support Personal development/self esteem Playground rules Playground duties Prejudice/racism School rules Street sense Student awards Student representative council/parliament Student welfare statement Suspension/exclusion/expulsion SunSmart Student support structures Talented and gifted Weapons in schools 34

35 Registers needed to complete reports Some departmental policies and state legislation require that data be collected and stored at the school level and often also require regular reports to be made to appropriate directorates or district office. It is important that you locate these data collections and keep them. The following registers fall within this category. Some sample proformas are supplied for your convenience in the Appendices. Register Location Register of suspensions/exclusions/expulsions Register of injuries in the workplace Register of receipt of child protection documents Register of participants in child protection update Register of formal complaints Register of first aid training Register of probibited persons 35

36 Chapter 7 Grounds, buildings and equipment Find out as much as you can about: * grounds * buildings * equipment. As the principal you will need to have a detailed knowledge of your school and all that it contains. Try to find the answers to the following questions about the grounds, buildings and equipment in your new school. You could begin by becoming familiar with the documents, School Building Maintenance Guidelines and School Asset Management Guidelines. These contain information related to grounds, buildings and equipment. Your general assistant could assist you. Locate the data capture plan for your school. It s a large document (approximately 50 cm x 30 cm). This contains specific information about your school. Buildings and grounds Who has the maintenance contract for your area? Where are the electrical distribution boards? Where are the gas mains or tanks and stop valves? Where are the water mains and stop cocks? Where are the communications distribution boards? Where are the security controls? What are the codes? Who has codes? Who monitors the systems? What happens if there is a break in? Where is the telephone junction box? Where are the telephone, fax, data cables located? Where are the completed and blank managed claim forms? Who is your district properties officer and school service officer. What are their telephone numbers? What is the incidence of vandalism or breach of security? Are there any special requirements regarding parts of the school, e.g. joint funded halls? 36

37 Equipment Is the assets register up-to-date? When was the last stocktake completed? Is there a library stocktake? How safe is the playground equipment in the school? Is all equipment engraved or clearly marked? Where are the warranties and manuals for equipment kept? Are there any lease agreements covering equipment? How are stores issued to staff members? Is there a sound system or public address (PA) system across the school? How is the PA used? Is there an asset replacement plan? Does the school have a mobile phone? What is the OASIS password for the principal? What is the Internet password and address? Where are the backup discs for last year s annual financial statement (AFS)? What arrangements are made for storage of equipment during school vacations? Where is the equipment loans book? Is it up-to-date? Where are the keys? Who has keys? Locate the key register. School s responsibilities The following list identifies the areas of maintenance that are the school s responsibility. Other items will be the responsibility of the Contractor or the Department. Maintenance of these items is not included in the Contract and so must be paid for from the school s own funds: damage due to vandalism during school hours blinds and curtains flyscreens internal and external signage (statutory signage, e.g. safety labels are contractor s responsibility) 37

38 light globes, lamps, tubes and diffusers grounds and landscaping including line marking, trees, shrubs, garden beds, lawns and synthetic turf unpaved roads, car parks or footpaths windmills swimming pools and associated equipment and chemicals external gymnasium equipment and playground equipment computer systems emergency alarms fire safety items: blankets, extinguishers, etc. note: these must be supplied and maintained by government contractors chilled water systems irrigation systems school bell and PA system school bell and post coat hooks and bag racks lockers bicycle racks footscrapers rubbish bins noticeboards whiteboards chalkboard repainting murals, sculpture and other artwork loose floor coverings, e.g. mats bathroom fittings: toilet roll holders, toilet seats, towel rails, towel dispensers, hand driers, soap holders, soap dispensers, mirrors, water saving devices, shower roses, shower rail and curtains and any associated brackets, fixings, etc. kitchen fittings: stoves, ovens, hotplates antennas and satellite dishes 38

39 electronic scoreboards portable or hand-held electrical equipment and wiring to it plug-in appliances, e.g. audiovisual equipment stage spotlights and lamps padlocks keys. These items will be inspected during the Contractor s annual condition assessment. If any of the items are in a substandard condition the Contractor will let you know. They won t investigate or report on their condition unless you specifically direct them to do so, and agree to pay for this service. General exclusions sheds and lightweight prefabricated roofed structures which are not shown on the plans, e.g. covered outdoor learning areas, tools sheds or tractor sheds note: covered walkways are included in the Contract whether shown on the plans or not fabric-covered shade shelters shipping containers railway carriages dental clinics day care or preschool buildings note: DET-operated preschools are included in the Contract farm outbuildings, e.g. sheds staff residences. Specific exclusions The district properties officer will clarify with you whether any of your buildings or facilities are excluded from the maintenance contract, and if necessary discuss with you any alternative maintenance arrangements for them. 39

40 Chapter 8 Finance Find these documents first: * Last year s AFS. * This year s budget. * School funding entitlement. OASIS provides information point to determine the school s actual income and expenditure for this financial year. As the principal you are accountable for the dayto-day managing and monitoring of the school s financial resources. Try to find the answers to the following questions about the finances in your new school. Useful financial documents Annual financial statement (AFS) from the previous year. How much income was carried forward to this year? Where are the backup discs kept off site? Audit reports. When was the last audit completed? Any recommendations for followup? Budget. Where is it? Schools must have an annual budget showing expected income and expenditure programs. Bank account statements. Where is the latest bank statement? What are the collection and receipting procedures? Who does the banking? Cash flow budgets. How much income has been received this year? How much has the school already expended? Look for a model chart of accounts in the Money Matters Kit. It is very useful. Chart of accounts. Is the chart of accounts set up for this year? Cheque book. Who are the signatories for the school account? Investments. Does your school have any investment accounts? Look at last year s AFS for copies of all bank accounts to see if there are any investments. Minutes of budget/finance meetings. Who is on the budget/finance committee? Has a budget for this year been approved? When is the next meeting? School funding entitlement. How much funding will you receive through your school s global budget? 40

41 Hints Find the folder Financial Matters and the Money Matters kit. They contain useful information on all aspects of financial management. Help through OASIS The OASIS finance system can generate a variety of reports. The following reports may help you determine and monitor the school s finances: budget review report dissection summary report income/expenditure to date: OASIS H1/H2 chart of accounts bank reconciliation report. Funding for specific focus programs Does your school receive funding for any of these special focus programs? Priority Schools Funding Program (PSFP) Country Areas Program (CAP) Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness Program (ASSPA) Anti-violence program Staying on program Integration Student Assistance Scheme Multicultural education program Tied grants Trust funds. Insurance Community use insurance. How is it paid? Is it taken out automatically from your global budget? P&C or parent organisation. If it is affiliated with the Federation of P&C Associations or has paid the kindred association levy? They have automatic public risk cover of $5mill per activity per claim as a basic cover. This insurance covers all volunteers working for the parent organisation or on any endorsed activity whether they are members of the P&C or not. P&C contributions. Has the P&C agreed to purchase or fund raise to purchase any equipment or resources? 41

42 Possible sources of income P&C contributions. Has the P&C agreed to purchase or raise funds to purchase any equipment or resources? Donations. Do service clubs or businesses make donations to the school? Fund raising. Are any activities planned for this year? Sponsorships. Are there fees for advertising in the newsletter? Voluntary contributions. Have contribution levels been set for the year? Have notes been prepared to send home to parents? Community use of school facilities. What is the agreed fee? Interest from bank accounts. Funds generated from education programs such as concerts. Other financial matters Asset control. Is the equipment register up-to-date? Where is the condemning register? (Remember to include asset replacement in your budget.) Delegation for expenditure. Who is authorised to spend funds? What is the limit of expenditure before the principal has to authorise expenditure? Obtaining and recording of quotes. Who obtains quotes? Petty cash. How much petty cash is kept on the school premises? Sales tax exemption. Are there any lease agreements? This chapter is only a starting point. Look for more information in the DET School Manual on Financial Management or ask the school administration staff. Don t be afraid to ask! 42

43 Supplementation of global budget Sample copy of proforma for request for supplementation of Global Budget: Memo 97/215, 15/08/97. Contact School Financial Support Unit on for more information. 43

44 An annual cycle of financial events DEC FEB MAR Complete the rollover Generate annual financial statement (AFS) and make appropriate notes Final finance meeting. Consider annual report and ratify draft budget for new year Draft budget figures entered into OASIS for new financial year Send new contracts to community users of school facilities with thanks for use during previous year Check last year s AFS and note unpaid goods on order, utility and phone accounts received during holidays, lease costs and other commitments due and monies set aside for asset replacement. Prepare overview of cash flow for year Semester 1 payment of global funds deposited into school account, check funds, check number of students enrolled Complete reconciliation for January Present draft budget at P&C/school council meeting. Review dates for fundraising activities for the year Set dates for at least six finance meetings during the year Confirm various program budgets with coordinators and discuss approvals for purchase Finance Meeting 1 - about 10th of the month to allow for reconciliation of previous month. At each meeting produce copies of H1 and H2 (expenditure and Income for financial year) on different colours and adjust as necessary. Print out first page of AFS, statement of receipts and payments for discussion. File copies of adjusted H1 and H2 and finance committee minutes for audit APR Check payment of textbooks, hire of school facilities, excursions and school contributions at regular intervals throughout the year MAY Finance Meeting 2 JUNE Finance Meeting 3 JULY Semester 2 payment of global funds deposited into school account. Check amount and number of students enrolled AUG Finance Meeting 4 SEPT Begin planning for next year s school management plan and budget, ideas/ submissions from staff, P&C/school council. Discuss and set voluntary school contributions for next year OCT Finance Meeting 5 NOV Finance Meeting 6 Indicative funding advice arrives to help with planning for next year s budget If possible, minimise cheques and orders for the second half of the month to simplify rollover Prepare for rollover. Check chart of accounts and ensure that all subdissections are tagged correctly. Print draft AFS and check Complete a reconciliation about 20th of the month 44

45 Chapter 9 Communication How does your new school communicate with: staff students parents/community? What kind of impression does your school give to those who work and study there and to those who visit and phone? Try to find the answers to the following questions about how your school communicates with staff, students, parents and the wider community. Communicating with staff Staff bulletin. Who coordinates the bulletin? When is it published? How do staff contribute to the bulletin? Staff whiteboard. Is there a staff whiteboard for messages and/or diary dates? Who maintains it? School newsletter. Who coordinates the newsletter? When is it published? Weekly or monthly? Who is the editorial supervisor? How is news collected for inclusion? How is the newsletter distributed? Staff memos. Who authorises staff memos? How are the memos broadcast? Staff messages. What is the procedure for conveying messages to staff from phone calls? Sick leave. Who do staff contact if they are absent from school? How do other staff know of absent colleagues? Students leaving school during the day. What is the procedure for informing staff that students have left school with a family member? Meetings, e.g. staff, executive, training and development. When and where are meetings held? How is the agenda formed? Where are minutes of meetings kept? Communicating with students Messages. How are messages conveyed to students from parents/guardians? Use of phone. Do students have access to a phone? Assemblies. What is the procedure for conveying messages to the whole school? Who coordinates the assemblies? Is your school pleasant and welcoming? Is the phone answered promptly and pleasantly? How does your new school feel? 45

46 Communicating with parents and community members P&C and school council. Who attends the meetings? Are minutes regularly published in the newsletter? Are the meeting dates and times conveyed to all interested parents? Is there an agenda? Does the principal present a written or verbal report? School calendar. Is there a school calendar of events/activities? Who coordinates the calendar? When is it published? Yearbook/magazine. Does the school publish a yearbook or a magazine? Parent/teacher/student interviews. When are parent/teacher/student interviews held? Information evening. Is there an information evening to facilitate working parents to visit the school and classrooms? Publicity. Who is the publicity officer? Media contact. Are press releases regularly sent to local papers? What are the local papers? Report cards. What is the format of the report cards? Where are they kept? Do students sign them? Portfolios. Do teachers keep portfolios for each student with annotated work samples? How do parents see them? What happens to the portfolios at the end of the year? Class journals and stories. Do classes make journals of their excursions? Where are they kept? Do parents read them? Are they published in the newsletter? Is there a prospectus? Who prepares it? When was it last reviewed? Does it reflect the school s current philosophy and teaching practices? Are the contact names and numbers correct? School signs. How old are the school signs? Are there adequate signs around the school for visitors? Is it necessary to have multilingual signs? Visitor information and reception area. What information is there for visitors who wait in the foyer? Is the information relevant for casual visitors and new families? Are visitors who wait for extended periods offered refreshments? Are the noticeboards kept up-to-date? Is there a parent helper sign-on book to indicate that they are in the school in case of emergencies? 46

47 Other issues Principal s office. Has the office adequate seating for visitors? Is there enough privacy for interviews? Phone calls. Who generally answers the phone? What is the greeting? How are phone calls transferred to the principal? Is there an answering machine for after hours? What does the answering machine message convey to callers? How are messages conveyed to staff members? Faxes. Who clears the fax machine? What is the procedure for sending a fax? First aid/serious incident. Who is responsible for first aid in the school? Where is the serious incident plan? Who contacts parents/carers if students are sick or in need of medical attention? How do staff know that their students have gone home when sick? Is there a partial attendance record book? Communication register (record of all outgoing communication). Is there a procedure for editing/checking communication to parents from staff? Are copies kept of all written communication? Requests for typing or photocopying. What is the procedure for having work typed or photocopied? Internet/address/password. What is the password for the Internet? Who clears the messages? Does the school have a homepage? Incoming mail. Who processes it? Is incoming mail recorded? What procedures or protocols are in place for communication between the principal and the front office? Confidentiality. What procedures are in place to ensure confidentiality? Are there guidelines for parent volunteers/student teachers in the classroom? 47

48 Chapter 10 School culture Ask a few students: what they like about the school what they don t like about the school what they would do if they were principal. Finding out about the school culture will take some time and a bit of research on your behalf. If you discover that something is amiss then you will need to boost your new school s image. Over the first few months try to find the answers to the following questions. A starting point School mission/vision. What is the school mission or vision? Is the school s mission statement well known by staff and students? School management plan. Who gets a copy of the school management plan? Is it easy to understand? Do staff members know the main goals for the year? School logo. What is the logo? What is its significance? Who created the logo? School creed/prayer. Is there a school creed/prayer? When are these spoken? School song. What is the school song? When is it sung? Do students and staff know the song? Who wrote the song? School rules. What are the school rules? Are they visible around the school? Do staff and students know the rules? What are the consequences for disobeying the rules? Sporting houses. What are the names of the houses? What do they represent? School uniform. Do students wear a school uniform? Is there a uniform shop or clothing pool? Who coordinates the clothing pool or uniform shop? Documents may offer some clues! Annual reports. Where is it? Can visitors easily access them? What are the main achievements of students, staff and the school? Minutes of meetings, e.g. staff, faculty, P&C, school council. Read some of the minutes to see how many people attend meetings such as the P&C meetings? What sort of topics are discussed at meetings? What are some of the contentious issues recorded in the minutes? Are there many records of absenteeism from staff meetings? Parent handbook. Is it up-to-date? Is it easy to read with relevant and useful information? Who organises the printing and circulation? 48

49 School prospectus. Is it appealing and well presented? How is it distributed to new and prospective families? Does it contain address, phone, fax and contacts? P&C or school council pamphlet. Are there pamphlets about the main parent bodies in the school? Do new families have access to this information? Merit certificates and awards. What is the quality of the merit certificates and awards? Who presents them to students? Do parents attend the presentation assemblies? Are students proud of the awards? What happens in and out of school? Volunteers. Are there many parent and community volunteers working alongside teachers in the school, in the canteen, at sport, at the working bees? Student teachers. Are staff eager to participate in student teacher practicuums and share their expertise? Major excursions. What are the major excursions? Are they fully supported by the staff and community? Sister schools. Is there a sister school arrangement? How do the sister schools communicate? Are there interschool visits? Discipline. Are there excessive numbers of students being sent to the office or placed on detention for misbehaviour? What is the suspension rate of students? History of the school Past principals. Who were the past principals? Are they invited to special events if appropriate? Serious incidents. Have there been any recent serious incidents? Is followup counselling required? Memorials. Are there any staff or student memorial plaques or trees in the school site? Contentious issues. Are there any contentious issues in the school? Honour board. Is there an honour board? Is it up-to-date? Are there any significant past students? Gifts to the school from Year 6 or Y12 students. Are there any gifts on display around the school? Are they clearly labelled? Are they well maintained? Celebrations such as centenaries. Does the school have any special celebrations scheduled? How old is the school? Archives. Where are the archives kept? Are any archives on display for visitors? 49

50 Photos. Are there photo displays around the school? Are any framed? Who changes the displays? Trophies. Is there a display of trophies and/or shields in the school? Why have they been awarded? Schools are complex organisations and have their own characteristics. 50

51 Chapter 11 District office Your district office: * Where is it? * What is the phone number? * What is the fax number? A visit to your district office is advisable to meet with the district staff who will be helping you and your staff for most school matters. Who works at your district office? Most district offices have the following staff although there is some variation among districts: District office staff Staff name and contact details Superintendent Office manager CEO, school improvement Clerical staff Properties officer Personnel support officer T&D/curriculum coordinator KLA consultants Mathematics: Literacy: Home school liaison officer 51

52 Special education consultant Staff welfare officer Student welfare consultants Aboriginal community liaison officer Technology adviser VET District office staff will be able to advise you about the location of District Special Education Centres such as the ED/BD units and IM/IO classes. 52

53 Chapter 12 Principal s welfare and development Take time to adjust to your new role: * Talk with other principals. * Take part in the induction program. * Plan some time to relax. Because you are both new to the school and new to the role of principal you may feel quite overwhelmed at times. Adjusting to the new environment, new people and the new role will take time. Enjoy getting to know your staff, students and the school community and don t forget to continue with your own professional development. Professional development Induction/orientation program Try to attend an induction program even if you might feel a bit hesitant about leaving your new school! You will benefit from the professional contact with other firsttime principals. Professional networks Make contact with some of the local principals. Maintain your professional networks with the colleagues from your previous school and district. Attend the local principals meetings to become acquainted with new colleagues. Professional reading Plan some time each day to read even if it is a professional journal or 10 minutes surfing the net. Professional reading is part of the role of a principalship. Conflict resolution Practise conflict resolution strategies such as listen to understand, negotiate, work on the positives, attack the problem not the person. Contact your district office for more information and support. Professional associations Join a professional association to help you manage your new and complex role as principal. 53

54 Australian Council for Educational Administration (ACEA) Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA) Australian Principals Associations Professional Development Council (APAPDC) Australian College of Education (ACE) NSW Primary Principals Association (PPA) NSW Secondary Principals Council (SPC). And don t forget Principals Council/Association You can contact the Primary Principals Association or the Secondary Principals Council for advice, assistance and support. Each district has an executive team to help you as well as state reference groups to advise on policy matters. Employee Assistance Program If you would like to have some professional counselling then a confidential service is offered free to all teachers through the Employee Assistance Program. The trained counsellors will assist with any personal or work-related difficulties. More information is available through the staff welfare officer in each district office. As a part of a principal welfare package, DET in cooperation with the Secondary Principals Council and Primary Principals Association have seconded two principals to support colleagues who may be experiencing difficulties or need advice on work related issues. Keep your sense of humour! Humour will help you cope with the stresses of the new job. Swap stories and anecdotes with staff, lots of things that happen at school are amusing! And most importantly manage your time so that you can be with family and friends. Coping with stress Although stress is an integral part of daily life, too much stress can be detrimental. You will need to watch yourself carefully as you settle into your new school. There are so many new things to learn and people to meet but remember to make time to relax and be with your family and friends. Look out for some of the symptoms of stress as they are indicators that you may not be managing everything as you would like. 54

55 You can eliminate or modify some stressors. Try some of these techniques: Try to slow down when you eat, talk, walk and even drive! Develop good time management skills. Schedule time to walk around the school. Follow your to do list. Have your school assistant take phone calls first. Return the calls later or have an appointment made. Use breaks to walk, talk or just sit quietly. Focus on the problem, not the person. Make time to do something that you really enjoy at least once a week. Have favourite posters or photos in your office. Every time you look at them take a deep breath and relax. List three things that you would like to modify then work toward your goals. Leave work earlier one afternoon and celebrate your success so far in your new job. Meet with a small group of local principals and talk about some of the issues that are concerning you at school. Attend a principal s meeting or conference and catch up with your peers. You will find that you have common concerns and issues. Some of your problems may even be resolved. If you are feeling worried about your ability to manage your new job, then ring a colleague or friend for support. Talking with someone is an effective stress management technique but first you have to find a good listener. So remember to maintain your relationships with family and friends away from school. 55

56 Appendices Sample copy of staffing entitlement Sample copy of age grade distribution graph Staff bulletin Meeting agenda Important dates for this year Term dates and school vacations 2003 School development day notification form Management of serious incidents Serious incident report proforma Register of injuries in the workplace 56

57 Sample copy of staffing entitlement 57

58 Sample copy of age grade distribution graph 58

59 Staff bulletin Term Week Date: Assembly: Bus: Staffroom: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Next week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 59

60 Meeting agenda Date: Present: Note taker: Agenda topics 1 Action

61 Important dates for this year Contact Student Assessment and School Accountability Directorate to find out dates for basic skills testing, OC placement testing and selective high school placement testing. Month Dates Event January February March April May June July August September October November December 61

62 Term dates and school vacations 2003 Term 1 Wednesday 29 January 2003 to Friday 11 April 2003 Eastern Division 53 days Wednesday 5 February 2003 to Friday 11 April 2003 Western Division 48 day Autumn Vacation Monday 14 April 2003 to Friday 25 April 2003 Term 2 Monday 28 April 2003 to Friday 4 July days Winter Vacation Monday 7 July 2003 to Friday 18 July 2003 Term 3 Monday 21 July 2003 to Friday 26 September days Spring Vacation Monday 29 September 2003 to Friday 10 October 2003 Term 4 Monday 13 October 2003 to Friday 19 December days Summer Vacation Monday 22 December 2003 to Monday 26 January 2004 (Eastern Division) Monday 22 December 2003 to Monday 2 February 2004 (Western Division) Number of school days: 202 Eastern Division 196 Western Division 62

63 63

64 64 Support handbook for first-time principals

65 65

66 Register of injuries in the workplace 66

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