• State Member for Monbulk, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education

    As your State Member of Parliament, I am passionate about representing our local community. My office and staff are here to help you and your family. Please feel free to contact my office in Belgrave, or send through an email.

  • GETTING RID OF TWO MORE LEVEL CROSSINGS IN MELBOURNE’S EAST

    The Andrews Labor Government will build rail bridges to remove two more dangerous and congested level crossings in Melbourne’s East. Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan joined Member for Monbulk James Merlino to reveal designs for the Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale level crossing removals.

  • DELIVERING FOR MONBULK

    The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promises and delivering for the people of Monbulk, with major investments in local schools, roads, health and public transport in the Victorian Budget 2019/20.

  • MORE CAR PARKS AT BELGRAVE STATION A STEP CLOSER

    Geotechnical works will take place at Belgrave Station car park from next week, as the Andrews Labor Government gets on with building more spaces for passengers to park.

  • FREE TAFE KICKS OFF IN MONBULK

    Students and job seekers from Monbulk can now take up Free TAFE training under the Andrews Labor Government’s $172 million program to make 30 priority TAFE courses and 20 pre-apprenticeship courses tuition fee free from this year.

  • State Member for Monbulk, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education

    As your State Member of Parliament, I am passionate about representing our local community. My office and staff are here to help you and your family. Please feel free to contact my office in Belgrave, or send through an email.

Media Centre

Names For New Schools Opening In 2021 Revealed

The names of the new schools the Victorian Government is building and opening in 2021 have now been chosen. Minister for Education James Merlino today unveiled the official names for 12 new schools, following consultation with local communities. The new school names will replace their interim names, which they have been known by. They include: Aintree Primary School (interim name Rockbank North Primary School) Cranbourne West Secondary College (interim name Cranbourne West Secondary College) Docklands Primary School (interim name Docklands Primary School) Edenbrook Secondary College (interim name Pakenham Henry Road Secondary School) Edgars Creek Primary School (interim name Edgars Creek Primary School) Eynesbury Primary School (interim name Eynesbury Station Primary School) Gaayip-Yagila Primary School (interim name Merrifield West Primary School) Garrang Wilam Primary School (interim name Truganina South East Primary School) Keelonith Primary School (interim name Greenvale North West Primary School) Orchard Park Primary School (interim name Timbertop Primary School) Ramlegh Park Primary School (interim name Thoroughbred Primary School) Riverbend Primary School (interim name Wollahra Primary School) The names were chosen following community consultation and discussions with Geographic Names Victoria, with consideration given to factors including public interest, relevance to the local area, and the consideration of local indigenous languages. Oberon High School and Footscray High School will also open in 2021, bringing the total of new government schools to 14. The schools which are in some of Victoria’s fastest growing areas are currently under construction and will open for the first day of school in 2021. Under the Government’s school building boom, we are delivering 100 new schools by 2026 so that every child can access a great local school and a great start in life. The Victorian Government has invested $7.2 billion to deliver more than 1,460 school upgrades, supporting more than 7,500 construction jobs for Victorians. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is an exciting step for Victorian school communities and marks a milestone in establishing an identity for their new school.” “By new schools in our growth areas we are ensuring that every child is given access to great schools and delivering on our promise to open 100 new schools by 2026.” download the media release

Names For New Schools Opening In 2021 Revealed

The names of the new schools the Victorian Government is building and opening in 2021 have now been chosen. Minister for Education James Merlino today unveiled the official names for 12 new schools, following consultation with local communities. The new school names will replace their interim names, which they have been known by. They include: Aintree Primary School (interim name Rockbank North Primary School) Cranbourne West Secondary College (interim name Cranbourne West Secondary College) Docklands Primary School (interim name Docklands Primary School) Edenbrook Secondary College (interim name Pakenham Henry Road Secondary School) Edgars Creek Primary School (interim name Edgars Creek Primary School) Eynesbury Primary School (interim name Eynesbury Station Primary School) Gaayip-Yagila Primary School (interim name Merrifield West Primary School) Garrang Wilam Primary School (interim name Truganina South East Primary School) Keelonith Primary School (interim name Greenvale North West Primary School) Orchard Park Primary School (interim name Timbertop Primary School) Ramlegh Park Primary School (interim name Thoroughbred Primary School) Riverbend Primary School (interim name Wollahra Primary School) The names were chosen following community consultation and discussions with Geographic Names Victoria, with consideration given to factors including public interest, relevance to the local area, and the consideration of local indigenous languages. Oberon High School and Footscray High School will also open in 2021, bringing the total of new government schools to 14. The schools which are in some of Victoria’s fastest growing areas are currently under construction and will open for the first day of school in 2021. Under the Government’s school building boom, we are delivering 100 new schools by 2026 so that every child can access a great local school and a great start in life. The Victorian Government has invested $7.2 billion to deliver more than 1,460 school upgrades, supporting more than 7,500 construction jobs for Victorians. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is an exciting step for Victorian school communities and marks a milestone in establishing an identity for their new school.” “By new schools in our growth areas we are ensuring that every child is given access to great schools and delivering on our promise to open 100 new schools by 2026.” download the media release

More Mental Health Support For Victorian Students

More Victorian secondary school students will soon have access to the school-based mental health support they need, thanks to the Victorian Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the timeline for the 2021 roll-out for Victorian government secondary schools across the state that will receive extra support under the Mental Health Practitioners initiative. In recognition of the increased mental health challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the roll-out has been brought forward to be completed by the end of 2021. Under the initiative, schools in Outer Eastern Melbourne (Term 1), Ovens Murray (Term 2), Mallee (Term 2), Inner Gippsland (Term 3), Inner Eastern Melbourne (Term 3), Goulburn (Term 4), Wimmera South West (Term 4) and Brimbank Melton (Term 4) will benefit from access to additional mental health support for their students in 2021. The $51.2 million initiative, which began in July last year, provides funding to schools to recruit a mental health practitioner. It will see qualified mental health professionals in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses. Mental health practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, and coordinate support for students with complex needs, linking them with broader allied and community health services. All government secondary schools will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements. This builds on the $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiatives in schools, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support program, as well as increased investment in allied health and nursing services. All Victorian government school students, whether they are learning remotely or attending school on-site, have been able to access mental health and wellbeing support during the pandemic. Secondary school students can access counselling via a voice call or video conference through the headspace counselling partnership or via their school-based mental health practitioner. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “So many of our young people are experiencing mental health challenges - this will make it easier for them to access the support they need at school. This is one of the biggest issues raised with me when I talk to students, parents and carers and schools.” “We know that when our kids are happy and well supported, they can focus on their learning, succeed in their education and excel in life.” download the media release

More Mental Health Support For Victorian Students

More Victorian secondary school students will soon have access to the school-based mental health support they need, thanks to the Victorian Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the timeline for the 2021 roll-out for Victorian government secondary schools across the state that will receive extra support under the Mental Health Practitioners initiative. In recognition of the increased mental health challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the roll-out has been brought forward to be completed by the end of 2021. Under the initiative, schools in Outer Eastern Melbourne (Term 1), Ovens Murray (Term 2), Mallee (Term 2), Inner Gippsland (Term 3), Inner Eastern Melbourne (Term 3), Goulburn (Term 4), Wimmera South West (Term 4) and Brimbank Melton (Term 4) will benefit from access to additional mental health support for their students in 2021. The $51.2 million initiative, which began in July last year, provides funding to schools to recruit a mental health practitioner. It will see qualified mental health professionals in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses. Mental health practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, and coordinate support for students with complex needs, linking them with broader allied and community health services. All government secondary schools will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements. This builds on the $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiatives in schools, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support program, as well as increased investment in allied health and nursing services. All Victorian government school students, whether they are learning remotely or attending school on-site, have been able to access mental health and wellbeing support during the pandemic. Secondary school students can access counselling via a voice call or video conference through the headspace counselling partnership or via their school-based mental health practitioner. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “So many of our young people are experiencing mental health challenges - this will make it easier for them to access the support they need at school. This is one of the biggest issues raised with me when I talk to students, parents and carers and schools.” “We know that when our kids are happy and well supported, they can focus on their learning, succeed in their education and excel in life.” download the media release

Kinder Upgrades Across The State

The Victorian Government is repairing, expanding and building new kinders so every child can access Three-Year-Old kinder as the ground-breaking program rolls out across the state. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced 13 projects across Victoria that will share in more than $13.8 million in first round of grants under the Building Blocks program. The funding will deliver an integrated children’s centre, three new early learning facilities, two modular buildings, and seven kindergarten expansions across Mitchell Shire, Corangamite Shire and Wodonga City Council. Together the projects will create new kinder places, as well as boosting local jobs and local businesses as these areas rebuild from the economic impacts of coronavirus. The Building Blocks program creates additional places – well as improving facilities and access to technology – for Three and Four-Year-old Kinder providers across Victoria. Grants are available to local governments and not-for-profit organisations delivering a funded kindergarten program. This is part of the Labor Government’s $5 billion investment in funded universal Three-Year-Old Kinder for all Victorian children – in an Australian-first. The reform has started in six regional local government areas in 2020, with families in a further 15 regional LGAs – including East Gippsland – to benefit in 2021. As part of the roll-out, the Government is upgrading infrastructure through a $1.68 billion co-investment with the early childhood sector to build and expand kindergarten facilities across the state. Applications for the Building Blocks capacity building stream are open year-round. To apply, visit schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/buildingblocks. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “These projects will not only ensure these kinders are ready for the roll out of Three-Year-Old Kinder – they will boost regional jobs and local businesses as we rebuild from the economic impacts of coronavirus.” “We’re delivering unprecedented investment in early childhood services so our children can get the most out of great local kindergartens and set them up for the future.” download the media release

Kinder Upgrades Across The State

The Victorian Government is repairing, expanding and building new kinders so every child can access Three-Year-Old kinder as the ground-breaking program rolls out across the state. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced 13 projects across Victoria that will share in more than $13.8 million in first round of grants under the Building Blocks program. The funding will deliver an integrated children’s centre, three new early learning facilities, two modular buildings, and seven kindergarten expansions across Mitchell Shire, Corangamite Shire and Wodonga City Council. Together the projects will create new kinder places, as well as boosting local jobs and local businesses as these areas rebuild from the economic impacts of coronavirus. The Building Blocks program creates additional places – well as improving facilities and access to technology – for Three and Four-Year-old Kinder providers across Victoria. Grants are available to local governments and not-for-profit organisations delivering a funded kindergarten program. This is part of the Labor Government’s $5 billion investment in funded universal Three-Year-Old Kinder for all Victorian children – in an Australian-first. The reform has started in six regional local government areas in 2020, with families in a further 15 regional LGAs – including East Gippsland – to benefit in 2021. As part of the roll-out, the Government is upgrading infrastructure through a $1.68 billion co-investment with the early childhood sector to build and expand kindergarten facilities across the state. Applications for the Building Blocks capacity building stream are open year-round. To apply, visit schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/buildingblocks. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “These projects will not only ensure these kinders are ready for the roll out of Three-Year-Old Kinder – they will boost regional jobs and local businesses as we rebuild from the economic impacts of coronavirus.” “We’re delivering unprecedented investment in early childhood services so our children can get the most out of great local kindergartens and set them up for the future.” download the media release

Building Better, Safer Schools Across Victoria

The Victorian Government will deliver vital maintenance and safety works at more than 400 schools to support jobs and local businesses through the coronavirus pandemic and improve facilities for students and staff across Victoria. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced hundreds of schools will share in more than $15.3 million through the 2020-21 Bushfire Preparedness (Vegetation) Programand Planned Maintenance Program. The Bushfire Preparedness funding will see 346 schools share in more than $9 million to clear vegetation and undertake other essential maintenance ahead of the upcoming bushfire season. 109 schools will share in $6.3 million of Planned Maintenance Program funding for essential work to grounds and classrooms such as fixing roofs and windows, painting, resurfacing floors and replacing windows, as well as repairing landscaping like pathways and steps. Over $2 million of this will go towards maintenance to Shelter-in-Place buildings at 12 schools, which provide temporary accommodation to staff and students in the case of a bushfire. Works with contractors will be carried out under COVID-19 advice guidelines to ensure the health and safety of staff and students. If works can’t start immediately due to Stage 4 restrictions, offsite planning of these works and any that are essential for school safety will continue. The Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “These projects will create jobs, boost local businesses and create safer schools for kids across the state.” “Our record investment in school infrastructure is delivering high quality classrooms for our hard-working principals, teachers and students.” “We are ensuring that every Victorian school is well maintained and safe so that every student can learn in the best possible environment.” download the media release

Building Better, Safer Schools Across Victoria

The Victorian Government will deliver vital maintenance and safety works at more than 400 schools to support jobs and local businesses through the coronavirus pandemic and improve facilities for students and staff across Victoria. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced hundreds of schools will share in more than $15.3 million through the 2020-21 Bushfire Preparedness (Vegetation) Programand Planned Maintenance Program. The Bushfire Preparedness funding will see 346 schools share in more than $9 million to clear vegetation and undertake other essential maintenance ahead of the upcoming bushfire season. 109 schools will share in $6.3 million of Planned Maintenance Program funding for essential work to grounds and classrooms such as fixing roofs and windows, painting, resurfacing floors and replacing windows, as well as repairing landscaping like pathways and steps. Over $2 million of this will go towards maintenance to Shelter-in-Place buildings at 12 schools, which provide temporary accommodation to staff and students in the case of a bushfire. Works with contractors will be carried out under COVID-19 advice guidelines to ensure the health and safety of staff and students. If works can’t start immediately due to Stage 4 restrictions, offsite planning of these works and any that are essential for school safety will continue. The Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “These projects will create jobs, boost local businesses and create safer schools for kids across the state.” “Our record investment in school infrastructure is delivering high quality classrooms for our hard-working principals, teachers and students.” “We are ensuring that every Victorian school is well maintained and safe so that every student can learn in the best possible environment.” download the media release

Expert Panel Recommends New Standardised Test

An independent review of NAPLAN commissioned by Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT is recommending an overhaul of the national standardised assessment to ensure that it meets the needs of schools, parents and students now and into the future. The report was presented at today’s Education Council meeting of state, territory and federal ministers and will now be considered and brought back to a future meeting for a decision on the recommendations. The Review, conducted by Emeritus Professor Barry McGaw, Emeritus Professor Bill Louden, and Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, considered standardised assessment practices across the world, the uses of NAPLAN data, and the content and delivery of the assessment itself. These recommendations address longstanding criticisms and concerns with NAPLAN and provide a blueprint for high-quality online national standardised assessment fit for the 21stcentury. The NAPLAN Review Final Report released today recommends that: The current testing of students in Year 9 should move to Year 10 to enable greater engagement and to provide students with a more accurate indicator of learning achievement prior to their commencement of senior secondary education.  This will also give secondary schools much more flexibility in how they structure their year 9 programs. The test should be brought forward from May to as early as possible in the year, so that results can be used more productively by schools and teachers. Students and teachers should also get results within one week of the test. This will help schools avoid feeling the need to ‘teach to the test’ each year. The tests should move beyond literacy and numeracy to include a new assessment of critical and creative thinking in STEM. This would replace the current NAP Science Literacy test conducted every three years. Critical and creative thinking is widely regarded as a key skill for the contemporary workforce. Assessment of critical and creative thinking in this way would place Australia as a world leader. Substantial changes should be made to the writing assessment to address long-standing criticisms that the current approach merely encourages formulaic responses. National standardised tests should continue as universal, rather than sample, tests because of the valuable information they provide to schools, as well as students and parents. The new test will be called Australian National Standardised Assessments (ANSA), to reflect the significant redevelopment of the national standardised assessment. The report’s recommendations reflect the widely held views of educators that substantial reforms are needed to ensure standardised testing remains a source of important and relevant information on learning progress. The NAPLAN Review Final Report is available at: www.naplanreview.com.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is a big step forward for the future of standardised testing in Australia. If we’re serious about delivering the best outcomes for our students, these recommendations must be supported.” “I have always said we will need national standardised testing. This report clearly shows NAPLAN must be overhauled in order to be genuinely useful to our students, their families and our schools.” “The time is right for a new test. The reforms recommended in this report must be implemented to ensure we can develop standardised testing that meets the changing needs of our school communities and provides us with greater insights into student learning.”   download the media release

Expert Panel Recommends New Standardised Test

An independent review of NAPLAN commissioned by Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT is recommending an overhaul of the national standardised assessment to ensure that it meets the needs of schools, parents and students now and into the future. The report was presented at today’s Education Council meeting of state, territory and federal ministers and will now be considered and brought back to a future meeting for a decision on the recommendations. The Review, conducted by Emeritus Professor Barry McGaw, Emeritus Professor Bill Louden, and Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, considered standardised assessment practices across the world, the uses of NAPLAN data, and the content and delivery of the assessment itself. These recommendations address longstanding criticisms and concerns with NAPLAN and provide a blueprint for high-quality online national standardised assessment fit for the 21stcentury. The NAPLAN Review Final Report released today recommends that: The current testing of students in Year 9 should move to Year 10 to enable greater engagement and to provide students with a more accurate indicator of learning achievement prior to their commencement of senior secondary education.  This will also give secondary schools much more flexibility in how they structure their year 9 programs. The test should be brought forward from May to as early as possible in the year, so that results can be used more productively by schools and teachers. Students and teachers should also get results within one week of the test. This will help schools avoid feeling the need to ‘teach to the test’ each year. The tests should move beyond literacy and numeracy to include a new assessment of critical and creative thinking in STEM. This would replace the current NAP Science Literacy test conducted every three years. Critical and creative thinking is widely regarded as a key skill for the contemporary workforce. Assessment of critical and creative thinking in this way would place Australia as a world leader. Substantial changes should be made to the writing assessment to address long-standing criticisms that the current approach merely encourages formulaic responses. National standardised tests should continue as universal, rather than sample, tests because of the valuable information they provide to schools, as well as students and parents. The new test will be called Australian National Standardised Assessments (ANSA), to reflect the significant redevelopment of the national standardised assessment. The report’s recommendations reflect the widely held views of educators that substantial reforms are needed to ensure standardised testing remains a source of important and relevant information on learning progress. The NAPLAN Review Final Report is available at: www.naplanreview.com.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is a big step forward for the future of standardised testing in Australia. If we’re serious about delivering the best outcomes for our students, these recommendations must be supported.” “I have always said we will need national standardised testing. This report clearly shows NAPLAN must be overhauled in order to be genuinely useful to our students, their families and our schools.” “The time is right for a new test. The reforms recommended in this report must be implemented to ensure we can develop standardised testing that meets the changing needs of our school communities and provides us with greater insights into student learning.”   download the media release

Online Wellbeing Support For Families

The Victorian Government is helping parents and carers manage home learning and stay resilient during the coronavirus pandemic by providing a range of free online resources. Minister for Education James Merlino introduced child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg for a webinar on Tuesday 25 August – and following high demand, a second will be held, Tuesday 15 September – aimed at providing parents and carers with practical skills, knowledge and strategies for managing the lockdown period and remote learning. The webinars will focus on strategies and tools to help families manage their wellbeing, including establishing a supportive parental role and dealing with uncertainty and disappointment. Families will have an opportunity to ask Dr Carr-Gregg questions. The Government has also partnered with Raising Children Network and funded a 10-episode podcast called ‘Raising Learners’ featuring parenting experts from organisations including the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Career Education Association Victoria and eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant. Raising Learners will provide parents with practical advice, tips and ideas for supporting children’s health, wellbeing and engagement at school. Topics will include connecting with your child’s school community, how to best support your child’s learning, what to expect for VCE and VCAL students and how to keep your child safe online. These themes were drawn from common parent questions received by the Department’s coronavirus hotline and Parentline. The first three episodes will be launched on 1 September, the remaining episodes will be available throughout Term 3 and 4. Raising Learners will be available via Raising Children Network and podcast apps. Following an unprecedented response with more than 12,000 registrations, a second webinar will now be held on Tuesday 15 September at 7:30pm. Places are still available for Managing the Coronacoaster – Tips for building resilient families webinar on Tuesday 15 September at 7:30pm. For more information and to register, visit: eventbrite.com Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The health and wellbeing of students and families is particularly important during this uncertain time. That’s why we’re providing tailored resources to help parents and carers support their children – and themselves.” Quotes attributable to child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg "Coronavirus has turned the lives of many Victorian families upside down, asking them yet again to navigate a new reality of remote learning, working from home and for some, financial hardship. “Never has it been more important to provide families with simple, practical and evidence-based strategies to help them maintain the family's wellbeing and build resilience." Quote attributable to Raising Children Network, Executive Director, Professor Julie Green “All parents need support to help their children thrive, and podcasts are great ways to deliver engaging, reliable and credible information on topics that are on parents’ minds. Raising Learners will focus on how parents can support their children’s learning at school, and at home.” download the media release  

Online Wellbeing Support For Families

The Victorian Government is helping parents and carers manage home learning and stay resilient during the coronavirus pandemic by providing a range of free online resources. Minister for Education James Merlino introduced child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg for a webinar on Tuesday 25 August – and following high demand, a second will be held, Tuesday 15 September – aimed at providing parents and carers with practical skills, knowledge and strategies for managing the lockdown period and remote learning. The webinars will focus on strategies and tools to help families manage their wellbeing, including establishing a supportive parental role and dealing with uncertainty and disappointment. Families will have an opportunity to ask Dr Carr-Gregg questions. The Government has also partnered with Raising Children Network and funded a 10-episode podcast called ‘Raising Learners’ featuring parenting experts from organisations including the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Career Education Association Victoria and eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant. Raising Learners will provide parents with practical advice, tips and ideas for supporting children’s health, wellbeing and engagement at school. Topics will include connecting with your child’s school community, how to best support your child’s learning, what to expect for VCE and VCAL students and how to keep your child safe online. These themes were drawn from common parent questions received by the Department’s coronavirus hotline and Parentline. The first three episodes will be launched on 1 September, the remaining episodes will be available throughout Term 3 and 4. Raising Learners will be available via Raising Children Network and podcast apps. Following an unprecedented response with more than 12,000 registrations, a second webinar will now be held on Tuesday 15 September at 7:30pm. Places are still available for Managing the Coronacoaster – Tips for building resilient families webinar on Tuesday 15 September at 7:30pm. For more information and to register, visit: eventbrite.com Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The health and wellbeing of students and families is particularly important during this uncertain time. That’s why we’re providing tailored resources to help parents and carers support their children – and themselves.” Quotes attributable to child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg "Coronavirus has turned the lives of many Victorian families upside down, asking them yet again to navigate a new reality of remote learning, working from home and for some, financial hardship. “Never has it been more important to provide families with simple, practical and evidence-based strategies to help them maintain the family's wellbeing and build resilience." Quote attributable to Raising Children Network, Executive Director, Professor Julie Green “All parents need support to help their children thrive, and podcasts are great ways to deliver engaging, reliable and credible information on topics that are on parents’ minds. Raising Learners will focus on how parents can support their children’s learning at school, and at home.” download the media release  

Support For Educators Helping Students Start School

More support will be available to educators and teachers to better prepare for children moving from kindergarten to school. Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny announced additional support for early childhood services and schools will be available to prepare children in kinder for their transition to school in 2021 amid the pandemic. Educators will be able to register for online professional development workshops and webinars, to learn how to adapt existing transition programs during coronavirus restrictions - as well as adapt Transition Statements to support the continuity of learning as they make this transition during coronavirus. Educators will also be able access new resources including guidance for kindergartens on transition in a time of COVID-19 and guidance for schools to best meet the needs of Prep students who have had a disrupted kindergarten year due to the pandemic. These tools will help educators and teachers give practical advice on the transition to school processes to ensure children and families are ready for this significant milestone. Early childhood educators and schools need to work collaboratively together and with families to ensure kindergarten children can effectively transition and take on new challenges in the Prep classroom. A positive start to school, leading to greater and ongoing connection with school, has been identified as a factor in disrupting cycles of disadvantage, and in promoting resilience among young people. The Victorian Government is rolling out $160 million of School Readiness Funding to all kindergartens state-wide by 2021 to engage with professional support and evidence-based informed programs to help children learn. Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years – which is why the Victorian Government is also investing $5 billion over a decade to deliver a full 15 hours of three-year-old kindergarten to all Victorian children. Quotes attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny “By supporting educators and teachers, we are ensuring that Prep students starting school in 2021 have every opportunity to reach their full potential.” “This is about providing continuity of learning which is integral to successful transitions for children starting school and creating a positive learning experience."    download the media release pdf 200.49 KB  

Support For Educators Helping Students Start School

More support will be available to educators and teachers to better prepare for children moving from kindergarten to school. Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny announced additional support for early childhood services and schools will be available to prepare children in kinder for their transition to school in 2021 amid the pandemic. Educators will be able to register for online professional development workshops and webinars, to learn how to adapt existing transition programs during coronavirus restrictions - as well as adapt Transition Statements to support the continuity of learning as they make this transition during coronavirus. Educators will also be able access new resources including guidance for kindergartens on transition in a time of COVID-19 and guidance for schools to best meet the needs of Prep students who have had a disrupted kindergarten year due to the pandemic. These tools will help educators and teachers give practical advice on the transition to school processes to ensure children and families are ready for this significant milestone. Early childhood educators and schools need to work collaboratively together and with families to ensure kindergarten children can effectively transition and take on new challenges in the Prep classroom. A positive start to school, leading to greater and ongoing connection with school, has been identified as a factor in disrupting cycles of disadvantage, and in promoting resilience among young people. The Victorian Government is rolling out $160 million of School Readiness Funding to all kindergartens state-wide by 2021 to engage with professional support and evidence-based informed programs to help children learn. Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years – which is why the Victorian Government is also investing $5 billion over a decade to deliver a full 15 hours of three-year-old kindergarten to all Victorian children. Quotes attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education Sonya Kilkenny “By supporting educators and teachers, we are ensuring that Prep students starting school in 2021 have every opportunity to reach their full potential.” “This is about providing continuity of learning which is integral to successful transitions for children starting school and creating a positive learning experience."    download the media release pdf 200.49 KB  

Major Works Underway At Fitzroy Gasworks School

Families living in and around Fitzroy are a step closer to having a vibrant new senior secondary college campus, with construction now under way on the new Fitzroy Gasworks School. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Richmond Richard Wynne today announced the start of major construction works for the new senior school. This follows the release of designs and beginning of early works at the start of June. The campus will accommodate senior students from Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College and is one of 14 new schools and campuses set to open in 2022 under the Andrews Labor Government’s school building boom. This school will be one of seven vertical schools being rolled out by the Labor Government since 2017 which include Docklands Primary School, Fishermans Bend Secondary School, Prahran High School, Richmond High School, South Melbourne Primary School, and a new campus for McKinnon Secondary College. Watpac Construction has been appointed to build the new campus and once complete, it will include state-of-the-art general learning spaces, an arts and performance space, a digital design and technology hub, a wood and metalwork hub, indoor sports courts, and a rooftop terrace outdoor court and activity space. The Fitzroy Gasworks is an important part of Fitzroy North’s heritage - with the school campus part of plans to re-energise the former industrial site. The Gasworks site will serve the community well due to its proximity to public transport, open space and established community facilities. The Labor Government’s vision for the site – bordered by Smith Street, Alexandra Parade and Queens Parade – is an urban village that includes a school campus, new housing, and open space. Under the Labor Government’s school building boom, a total of 100 new schools will open by 2026, ensuring every child can access a great local school where students can achieve their best. The Labor Government is building the Education State so that every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This new campus is yet another great example of the school building boom that is happening right across Victoria.” Quote attributable to Member for Richmond Richard Wynne “It’s fantastic to see the start of major construction works on the new Fitzroy Gasworks school – this will help reinvigorate the area and ensure local students have access to the best possible learning environment.”   download the media release  

Major Works Underway At Fitzroy Gasworks School

Families living in and around Fitzroy are a step closer to having a vibrant new senior secondary college campus, with construction now under way on the new Fitzroy Gasworks School. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Richmond Richard Wynne today announced the start of major construction works for the new senior school. This follows the release of designs and beginning of early works at the start of June. The campus will accommodate senior students from Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College and is one of 14 new schools and campuses set to open in 2022 under the Andrews Labor Government’s school building boom. This school will be one of seven vertical schools being rolled out by the Labor Government since 2017 which include Docklands Primary School, Fishermans Bend Secondary School, Prahran High School, Richmond High School, South Melbourne Primary School, and a new campus for McKinnon Secondary College. Watpac Construction has been appointed to build the new campus and once complete, it will include state-of-the-art general learning spaces, an arts and performance space, a digital design and technology hub, a wood and metalwork hub, indoor sports courts, and a rooftop terrace outdoor court and activity space. The Fitzroy Gasworks is an important part of Fitzroy North’s heritage - with the school campus part of plans to re-energise the former industrial site. The Gasworks site will serve the community well due to its proximity to public transport, open space and established community facilities. The Labor Government’s vision for the site – bordered by Smith Street, Alexandra Parade and Queens Parade – is an urban village that includes a school campus, new housing, and open space. Under the Labor Government’s school building boom, a total of 100 new schools will open by 2026, ensuring every child can access a great local school where students can achieve their best. The Labor Government is building the Education State so that every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This new campus is yet another great example of the school building boom that is happening right across Victoria.” Quote attributable to Member for Richmond Richard Wynne “It’s fantastic to see the start of major construction works on the new Fitzroy Gasworks school – this will help reinvigorate the area and ensure local students have access to the best possible learning environment.”   download the media release  

 

Free Kinder For Families Through Coronavirus

All kinder in Victoria will be free for Term 3, and children will be supported to learn from home thanks to a relief package to support early childhood services through the pandemic from the Victorian Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced an extension to the free sessional kinder support and a further $1.6 million in grants, which will be available via the Australian-first School Readiness Funding program for kindergartens to help deliver early childhood education to children learning at home. Kinders can use the extra funding to access a range of online programs containing high-quality play-based learning activities for parents to do with their children at home. This funding will be available to services that are not yet receiving funding through the $160 million School Readiness Funding initiative and already able to access these supports. Under Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, permitted workers are able to access childcare and kinder if there is no one else in their household who is able to supervise their child. This may be for a range of reasons including the other parent could be a full-time student and must attend onsite, has a disability, or be working from home such that they cannot supervise the child, or there may be no other adults in the household. Early childhood care and education services in regional and rural Victoria can continue to operate as normal under Stage 3 restrictions, with appropriate safety measures in place. The Government will increase funding for sessional kinder services across regional and rural Victoria, meaning parents across the state will be able to send their children to kindergarten for free during Term 3. This is already the case for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Sessional kinders in regional and rural areas can also now access support for unfunded three-year-old kindergarten programs. The funding will be available for not-for-profit services, including community-based, local government and school providers that are offering sessional programs and are not already receiving JobKeeper payments. The Government will also provide any funded kindergarten service directed to close due to a confirmed COVID-19 case with extra funding to undertake an infectious clean before re-opening. This is in addition to cleaning grants worth between $900 and $1,500 that have been offered to all services delivering a funded kinder program. This additional funding is part of an up to $45 million support package for sessional kindergarten providers during the coronavirus pandemic. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our early childhood staff do a remarkable job day in and day out ensuring Victorian children continue to get the care and education they need during this challenging period.” “We’re providing a funding boost to give sessional kinders financial certainty and to help kinder kids receive their vital early learning while they are at home.”    download the media release pdf 212.54 KB

Free Kinder For Families Through Coronavirus

All kinder in Victoria will be free for Term 3, and children will be supported to learn from home thanks to a relief package to support early childhood services through the pandemic from the Victorian Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced an extension to the free sessional kinder support and a further $1.6 million in grants, which will be available via the Australian-first School Readiness Funding program for kindergartens to help deliver early childhood education to children learning at home. Kinders can use the extra funding to access a range of online programs containing high-quality play-based learning activities for parents to do with their children at home. This funding will be available to services that are not yet receiving funding through the $160 million School Readiness Funding initiative and already able to access these supports. Under Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, permitted workers are able to access childcare and kinder if there is no one else in their household who is able to supervise their child. This may be for a range of reasons including the other parent could be a full-time student and must attend onsite, has a disability, or be working from home such that they cannot supervise the child, or there may be no other adults in the household. Early childhood care and education services in regional and rural Victoria can continue to operate as normal under Stage 3 restrictions, with appropriate safety measures in place. The Government will increase funding for sessional kinder services across regional and rural Victoria, meaning parents across the state will be able to send their children to kindergarten for free during Term 3. This is already the case for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Sessional kinders in regional and rural areas can also now access support for unfunded three-year-old kindergarten programs. The funding will be available for not-for-profit services, including community-based, local government and school providers that are offering sessional programs and are not already receiving JobKeeper payments. The Government will also provide any funded kindergarten service directed to close due to a confirmed COVID-19 case with extra funding to undertake an infectious clean before re-opening. This is in addition to cleaning grants worth between $900 and $1,500 that have been offered to all services delivering a funded kinder program. This additional funding is part of an up to $45 million support package for sessional kindergarten providers during the coronavirus pandemic. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our early childhood staff do a remarkable job day in and day out ensuring Victorian children continue to get the care and education they need during this challenging period.” “We’re providing a funding boost to give sessional kinders financial certainty and to help kinder kids receive their vital early learning while they are at home.”    download the media release pdf 212.54 KB

Free Pads And Tampons In All Government Schools

Free pads and tampons are now available in every government school in Victoria – reducing the discomfort and embarrassment around periods for girls and saving families hundreds of dollars every year. Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to ensure all students attending government schools have access to free pads and tampons – with the initiative now in Victoria’s more than 1500 Government schools. The $20.7 million initiative helps students feel more comfortable managing their periods by providing discreet and easy access to products when they need them. Pads and tampons are available free of charge in school bathrooms, relieving anxiety and embarrassment for girls, and ensuring they can get the most from their education. Schools will play an important role in promoting a positive culture around menstrual health and build a supportive environment among the school community. The initiative also aims to reduce the stigma of periods, make school more inclusive and will ease the cost of living on families while helping students focus on their studies. Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact on students’ participation in sport and everyday school activities. Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or feel confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether. Sanitary items are a necessity, not a luxury, and this initiative is supporting tens of thousands of girls and young women in schools across the state. As part of this initiative, students also receive important health information about how to manage their periods. The Government is also supporting students’ health and wellbeing through a number of other initiatives including mental health practitioners in secondary schools and the expansion of the School Breakfast Clubs program to 500 new schools. Through its Education State Targets, the Victorian Government is committed to building resilience and physical activity in students, while also increasing access and equity in education. Right now, only senior secondary students and other students who are not able to be supervised at home and for who no other arrangements can be made – including children whose parents cannot work from home, vulnerable children and children with a disability – are learning at school. All other students are learning remotely. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re proud to be providing free sanitary items in all Victorian government schools to ensure that students – regardless of their background or circumstances – can focus and participate fully in their education.” Quote attributable to Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams “Getting your period is a normal part of life and sanitary items are a basic necessity. We’re ensuring all girls in our public schools have access to pads and tampons when they need them, so they can focus on their studies.” Download the Media Release (208 KB)

Free Pads And Tampons In All Government Schools

Free pads and tampons are now available in every government school in Victoria – reducing the discomfort and embarrassment around periods for girls and saving families hundreds of dollars every year. Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to ensure all students attending government schools have access to free pads and tampons – with the initiative now in Victoria’s more than 1500 Government schools. The $20.7 million initiative helps students feel more comfortable managing their periods by providing discreet and easy access to products when they need them. Pads and tampons are available free of charge in school bathrooms, relieving anxiety and embarrassment for girls, and ensuring they can get the most from their education. Schools will play an important role in promoting a positive culture around menstrual health and build a supportive environment among the school community. The initiative also aims to reduce the stigma of periods, make school more inclusive and will ease the cost of living on families while helping students focus on their studies. Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact on students’ participation in sport and everyday school activities. Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or feel confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether. Sanitary items are a necessity, not a luxury, and this initiative is supporting tens of thousands of girls and young women in schools across the state. As part of this initiative, students also receive important health information about how to manage their periods. The Government is also supporting students’ health and wellbeing through a number of other initiatives including mental health practitioners in secondary schools and the expansion of the School Breakfast Clubs program to 500 new schools. Through its Education State Targets, the Victorian Government is committed to building resilience and physical activity in students, while also increasing access and equity in education. Right now, only senior secondary students and other students who are not able to be supervised at home and for who no other arrangements can be made – including children whose parents cannot work from home, vulnerable children and children with a disability – are learning at school. All other students are learning remotely. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re proud to be providing free sanitary items in all Victorian government schools to ensure that students – regardless of their background or circumstances – can focus and participate fully in their education.” Quote attributable to Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams “Getting your period is a normal part of life and sanitary items are a basic necessity. We’re ensuring all girls in our public schools have access to pads and tampons when they need them, so they can focus on their studies.” Download the Media Release (208 KB)

Face Coverings And Masks For Metro Schools

Schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be one of the first priority areas to receive reusable face masks in coming weeks as remote learning returns. The Victorian Government has placed orders for 1.37 million reusable fabric masks from five Victorian manufacturers. These orders will be delivered across July and August. The manufacturers are companies Nobody Denim, StylePrint, NMBQ, The Ark and The Mask Project – supporting local jobs while keeping Victorians safe. Further orders will be placed as needed. All students aged 12 and over and staff who are attending school in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be required to wear a face covering or mask when at school from Thursday, 23 July. Masks will not be mandatory for teachers while they are teaching students but should be worn at other times. Specialist schools and primary schools are exempt from this rule. The Department of Education of Training will be one of the first to receive the reusable masks and will provide them to students if they are unable to access one from home. However, it is expected most students will provide their own face covering and mask. Reusable masks will also be available for staff and will be provided to both government and non-government schools. 23 million single use masks have also been ordered and will be distributed while the reusable masks are made. Around 500,000 have already been provided to DHHS for public housing tower tenants and 1,200,000 single use masks to the Department of Education and Training for use in schools. Senior secondary students will this week continue learning on-site across the state, together with other students who are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made – including children whose parents cannot work from home, vulnerable children and children with a disability. Following advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, most P-10 students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will today begin learning remotely and continue until at least 19 August. These arrangements will significantly reduce the movement of more than 700,000 students, as well as their parents and carers, across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Government school students will continue to receive the technical support they need, students without access to a tablet or laptop will be loaned one by their school or the Department of Education and Training. During the last period of remote learning, more than 61,000 laptops and tablets and 23,000 SIM cards and dongles were loaned to students. Schools will continue to provide multiple entry points and staggered drop-off and pick-ups where necessary, to reduce the number of adults around school grounds at any one time. Schools will also continue to implement physical distancing and cleaning measures for the safety of their staff. The Government has already invested $45 million for enhanced daily cleaning in government schools, which will continue throughout Term 3. Daily temperature checks have also been introduced for students at government schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “Returning to flexible and remote learning will limit the movement of more than 700,000 students, their parents and carers, and help slow the spread of coronavirus.” “We have over a million Victorian-made masks on the way and we will take steps to ensure every student has access to a face covering if they’re learning onsite.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know this is will be a challenging time for many families, but we will support our students, our teachers and our school communities every step of the way.” “Teachers, parents and school communities showed already this year they are up to the challenge of remote and flexible learning, and I have faith that we will be able to do it again – together.”   Download the Media Release (200 KB)

Face Coverings And Masks For Metro Schools

Schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be one of the first priority areas to receive reusable face masks in coming weeks as remote learning returns. The Victorian Government has placed orders for 1.37 million reusable fabric masks from five Victorian manufacturers. These orders will be delivered across July and August. The manufacturers are companies Nobody Denim, StylePrint, NMBQ, The Ark and The Mask Project – supporting local jobs while keeping Victorians safe. Further orders will be placed as needed. All students aged 12 and over and staff who are attending school in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be required to wear a face covering or mask when at school from Thursday, 23 July. Masks will not be mandatory for teachers while they are teaching students but should be worn at other times. Specialist schools and primary schools are exempt from this rule. The Department of Education of Training will be one of the first to receive the reusable masks and will provide them to students if they are unable to access one from home. However, it is expected most students will provide their own face covering and mask. Reusable masks will also be available for staff and will be provided to both government and non-government schools. 23 million single use masks have also been ordered and will be distributed while the reusable masks are made. Around 500,000 have already been provided to DHHS for public housing tower tenants and 1,200,000 single use masks to the Department of Education and Training for use in schools. Senior secondary students will this week continue learning on-site across the state, together with other students who are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made – including children whose parents cannot work from home, vulnerable children and children with a disability. Following advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, most P-10 students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will today begin learning remotely and continue until at least 19 August. These arrangements will significantly reduce the movement of more than 700,000 students, as well as their parents and carers, across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Government school students will continue to receive the technical support they need, students without access to a tablet or laptop will be loaned one by their school or the Department of Education and Training. During the last period of remote learning, more than 61,000 laptops and tablets and 23,000 SIM cards and dongles were loaned to students. Schools will continue to provide multiple entry points and staggered drop-off and pick-ups where necessary, to reduce the number of adults around school grounds at any one time. Schools will also continue to implement physical distancing and cleaning measures for the safety of their staff. The Government has already invested $45 million for enhanced daily cleaning in government schools, which will continue throughout Term 3. Daily temperature checks have also been introduced for students at government schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “Returning to flexible and remote learning will limit the movement of more than 700,000 students, their parents and carers, and help slow the spread of coronavirus.” “We have over a million Victorian-made masks on the way and we will take steps to ensure every student has access to a face covering if they’re learning onsite.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know this is will be a challenging time for many families, but we will support our students, our teachers and our school communities every step of the way.” “Teachers, parents and school communities showed already this year they are up to the challenge of remote and flexible learning, and I have faith that we will be able to do it again – together.”   Download the Media Release (200 KB)

Return To Flexible And Remote Learning

Most students in Victorian schools in areas under Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions will return to flexible and remote learning for the start of Term 3, limiting the number of people moving across our state to help slow the spread of coronavirus. On the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, students in Prep to Year 10 at government schools in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will learn from home from Monday 20 July until at least 19 August, following five pupil free days already scheduled for the coming week. Onsite supervision will be available for students when they are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made – including children whose parents cannot work from home, vulnerable children and children with a disability. These arrangements will significantly reduce the movement of more than 700,000 students, as well as their parents and guardians, across metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire to help slow the spread of the virus. Recognising the need to minimise disruption to Year 11 and 12, these students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to face-to-face learning from Monday 13 July, as will Year 10 students attending schools for VCE or VCAL classes. We also understand that remote learning can be an even greater challenge for parents of kids with special needs so all government specialist schools will also resume face to face learning on Monday, 13 July. All students in regional and rural Victoria, except the Mitchell Shire, will return to onsite learning as normal from Monday 13 July. Schools will continue to provide multiple entry points and staggered drop-off and pick-ups where necessary, to reduce the number of adults around school grounds at any one time. Schools will also continue to implement physical distancing and cleaning measures for the safety of their staff. The Government has already invested up to $45 million in enhanced daily cleaning in government schools, which will continue throughout Term 3. Those teachers not involved in onsite teaching next week will prepare for a return to remote and flexible learning and teaching, and provide a program of care and supervision for those students whose parents and carers cannot work from home and vulnerable students. To help our kids work though any mental health challenges they face due to the coronavirus pandemic, a range of wellbeing resources for students, parents and teachers will be introduced. The resources include simple wellbeing activities, and video tips developed in partnership with the Melbourne Football Club. Smiling Mind will also produce resources for senior secondary students to support their mental health and wellbeing. These resources complement the existing mental health and wellbeing support available to all Victorian government school kids. Secondary school students can access counselling via a voice call or video conference through the headspace counselling partnership or via their school-based mental health practitioner. Early childhood education and care services can continue to operate, in line with advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer and Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Eligible not-for-profit sessional kindergarten services in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be offered extra funding to enable them to provide free kinder to children during Term 3. The Victorian Government will offer funding of $460 for each eligible child enrolled in a funded kindergarten program within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. For all eligible not-for-profit sessional kindergarten services outside of these areas, funding of $230 per eligible child will be offered. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “Keeping kids home from school was a vital part of slowing the spread of coronavirus before, and it will be vital to our efforts again.” “As a father of three school-aged kids I know it won’t be easy for many parents, but we have to slow the spread of coronavirus to protect students, teachers and all Victorians.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I know a return to flexible and remote learning will be a challenge for many, but I am sure our principals, teachers, support staff, students and families will once again do us proud.”   Download the Media Release (250 KB)

Return To Flexible And Remote Learning

Most students in Victorian schools in areas under Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions will return to flexible and remote learning for the start of Term 3, limiting the number of people moving across our state to help slow the spread of coronavirus. On the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, students in Prep to Year 10 at government schools in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will learn from home from Monday 20 July until at least 19 August, following five pupil free days already scheduled for the coming week. Onsite supervision will be available for students when they are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made – including children whose parents cannot work from home, vulnerable children and children with a disability. These arrangements will significantly reduce the movement of more than 700,000 students, as well as their parents and guardians, across metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire to help slow the spread of the virus. Recognising the need to minimise disruption to Year 11 and 12, these students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to face-to-face learning from Monday 13 July, as will Year 10 students attending schools for VCE or VCAL classes. We also understand that remote learning can be an even greater challenge for parents of kids with special needs so all government specialist schools will also resume face to face learning on Monday, 13 July. All students in regional and rural Victoria, except the Mitchell Shire, will return to onsite learning as normal from Monday 13 July. Schools will continue to provide multiple entry points and staggered drop-off and pick-ups where necessary, to reduce the number of adults around school grounds at any one time. Schools will also continue to implement physical distancing and cleaning measures for the safety of their staff. The Government has already invested up to $45 million in enhanced daily cleaning in government schools, which will continue throughout Term 3. Those teachers not involved in onsite teaching next week will prepare for a return to remote and flexible learning and teaching, and provide a program of care and supervision for those students whose parents and carers cannot work from home and vulnerable students. To help our kids work though any mental health challenges they face due to the coronavirus pandemic, a range of wellbeing resources for students, parents and teachers will be introduced. The resources include simple wellbeing activities, and video tips developed in partnership with the Melbourne Football Club. Smiling Mind will also produce resources for senior secondary students to support their mental health and wellbeing. These resources complement the existing mental health and wellbeing support available to all Victorian government school kids. Secondary school students can access counselling via a voice call or video conference through the headspace counselling partnership or via their school-based mental health practitioner. Early childhood education and care services can continue to operate, in line with advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer and Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Eligible not-for-profit sessional kindergarten services in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be offered extra funding to enable them to provide free kinder to children during Term 3. The Victorian Government will offer funding of $460 for each eligible child enrolled in a funded kindergarten program within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. For all eligible not-for-profit sessional kindergarten services outside of these areas, funding of $230 per eligible child will be offered. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “Keeping kids home from school was a vital part of slowing the spread of coronavirus before, and it will be vital to our efforts again.” “As a father of three school-aged kids I know it won’t be easy for many parents, but we have to slow the spread of coronavirus to protect students, teachers and all Victorians.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I know a return to flexible and remote learning will be a challenge for many, but I am sure our principals, teachers, support staff, students and families will once again do us proud.”   Download the Media Release (250 KB)

SURVEY SHOWS LOCAL SUPPORT FOR BELGRAVE STATION CAR PARK

An online community survey asking for feedback on a concept design for the new multi-deck car park at Belgrave Station shows that overall, local residents, traders and station users welcome the car park upgrade and want it delivered as soon as possible. The survey, which was available on the Department of Transport’s Get Involved website in April and May this year, asked the community to provide feedback on an updated concept design for the car park. In total 291 people responded, with almost three-quarters of these being local Belgrave residents. Feedback showed that people want to see improved traffic management in and around the car park and bus interchange, and better access in and out of the station precinct. Whilst people welcome the new parking spaces, they want the multi-deck to complement the area’s unique character and values, particularly its natural environment. Safety was also rated as highly important by survey respondents, with more than a third of people stating that security and lighting was the most important aspect of the design. The feedback received will be taken into account by architects and designers when putting together final designs for the car park, which include provision for 470 additional spaces. Planning approvals will now be sought for the upgrade. The car park is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to increasing car parking at stations to improve access to public transport. Since 2014 almost 10,000 parking spaces have been delivered at metropolitan and regional stations across the state, and the government is now delivering 11,000 more new and upgraded spaces. For more information and to see the full community engagement report visit victrack.com.au/belgrave Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier and Member for Monbulk James Merlino “These survey results show that local people are largely supportive of increasing car parking at Belgrave Station, and want the upgrade to be delivered as soon as possible to help them access public transport more easily.” “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey and give their feedback on the car park designs.” Media Contact: Matthew Dixon 0438 190 148 | Matthew.Dixon@minstaff.vic.gov.au

SURVEY SHOWS LOCAL SUPPORT FOR BELGRAVE STATION CAR PARK

An online community survey asking for feedback on a concept design for the new multi-deck car park at Belgrave Station shows that overall, local residents, traders and station users welcome the car park upgrade and want it delivered as soon as possible. The survey, which was available on the Department of Transport’s Get Involved website in April and May this year, asked the community to provide feedback on an updated concept design for the car park. In total 291 people responded, with almost three-quarters of these being local Belgrave residents. Feedback showed that people want to see improved traffic management in and around the car park and bus interchange, and better access in and out of the station precinct. Whilst people welcome the new parking spaces, they want the multi-deck to complement the area’s unique character and values, particularly its natural environment. Safety was also rated as highly important by survey respondents, with more than a third of people stating that security and lighting was the most important aspect of the design. The feedback received will be taken into account by architects and designers when putting together final designs for the car park, which include provision for 470 additional spaces. Planning approvals will now be sought for the upgrade. The car park is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to increasing car parking at stations to improve access to public transport. Since 2014 almost 10,000 parking spaces have been delivered at metropolitan and regional stations across the state, and the government is now delivering 11,000 more new and upgraded spaces. For more information and to see the full community engagement report visit victrack.com.au/belgrave Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier and Member for Monbulk James Merlino “These survey results show that local people are largely supportive of increasing car parking at Belgrave Station, and want the upgrade to be delivered as soon as possible to help them access public transport more easily.” “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey and give their feedback on the car park designs.” Media Contact: Matthew Dixon 0438 190 148 | Matthew.Dixon@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Temperature Checks To Be Introduced In Term 3

Daily temperature checks will be introduced in schools across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire as part of the Victorian Government’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Following the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has today announced that students at government schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will receive a temperature check every morning, with thermometers also provided to all non-government schools. More than 14,000 non-contact infrared thermometers will be given to government, independent and Catholic schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, and to schools in neighbouring areas who need to undertake testing. The Government will also provide thermometers to those early childhood education and care services who require them. Temperature checks will also be introduced for children from metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire who attend schools outside of these LGAs. Operational guidance on temperature checks will be delivered to schools. If a student has a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or above, schools will be required to contact parents or carers to arrange for students to return home. Families will then be encouraged to seek testing for coronavirus or the advice of their healthcare professional who can advise on next steps. As announced on Tuesday, students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire enrolled in VCE and VCAL subjects, students whose parents and carers cannot work from home, and those attending local specialist schools will all return to school on Monday. In addition, on site supervised holiday programs are available next week for vulnerable students and children of essential workers. Schools in these areas will delay the return from holidays by a week with five pupil free days for Prep to Year 10 students next week to allow our teachers and school staff to prepare for a possible return to remote learning. A decision about whether these year groups can safely return to face-to-face learning will be taken in the coming week and based on the advice of our health experts. There will be no changes to Term 3 for schools in regional Victoria other than Mitchell Shire. Schools outside of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to face-to-face schooling as scheduled on Monday 13 July. The Government has invested up to $45 million in enhanced daily cleaning in schools and this will continue throughout Term 3. Schools will continue to provide multiple entry points and staggered drop-off and pick-ups where necessary, to reduce the number of adults gathering around school grounds at any one time. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “As we follow the advice of our health experts, we’re also making sure vulnerable students and those in the final stages of their education remain engaged in face-to-face learning.” “Daily temperature checks will help make sure unwell students stay at home and do not risk spreading coronavirus.” “I understand that this is a stressful time for parents, but we are following the best medical advice and taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of all Victorians.” Download the Media Release (214 KB)

Temperature Checks To Be Introduced In Term 3

Daily temperature checks will be introduced in schools across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire as part of the Victorian Government’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Following the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has today announced that students at government schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will receive a temperature check every morning, with thermometers also provided to all non-government schools. More than 14,000 non-contact infrared thermometers will be given to government, independent and Catholic schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, and to schools in neighbouring areas who need to undertake testing. The Government will also provide thermometers to those early childhood education and care services who require them. Temperature checks will also be introduced for children from metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire who attend schools outside of these LGAs. Operational guidance on temperature checks will be delivered to schools. If a student has a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or above, schools will be required to contact parents or carers to arrange for students to return home. Families will then be encouraged to seek testing for coronavirus or the advice of their healthcare professional who can advise on next steps. As announced on Tuesday, students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire enrolled in VCE and VCAL subjects, students whose parents and carers cannot work from home, and those attending local specialist schools will all return to school on Monday. In addition, on site supervised holiday programs are available next week for vulnerable students and children of essential workers. Schools in these areas will delay the return from holidays by a week with five pupil free days for Prep to Year 10 students next week to allow our teachers and school staff to prepare for a possible return to remote learning. A decision about whether these year groups can safely return to face-to-face learning will be taken in the coming week and based on the advice of our health experts. There will be no changes to Term 3 for schools in regional Victoria other than Mitchell Shire. Schools outside of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to face-to-face schooling as scheduled on Monday 13 July. The Government has invested up to $45 million in enhanced daily cleaning in schools and this will continue throughout Term 3. Schools will continue to provide multiple entry points and staggered drop-off and pick-ups where necessary, to reduce the number of adults gathering around school grounds at any one time. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “As we follow the advice of our health experts, we’re also making sure vulnerable students and those in the final stages of their education remain engaged in face-to-face learning.” “Daily temperature checks will help make sure unwell students stay at home and do not risk spreading coronavirus.” “I understand that this is a stressful time for parents, but we are following the best medical advice and taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of all Victorians.” Download the Media Release (214 KB)

Mental Health Support For More Secondary Students

Secondary school students in Melbourne’s north-west and the Central Highlands will soon have access to the school-based mental health support they need, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that more schools across Victoria will receive support under the Mental Health Practitioners initiative which is aimed at improving mental health outcomes for students in Victorian secondary schools. The $51.2 million initiative, which started in July last year, has so far provided funding for 120 secondary school campuses to recruit a suitably qualified mental health professional, with a further 32 secondary school campuses in Hume Moreland and Central Highlands to receive funding in Term 3 and 69 secondary school campuses in Melbourne’s south and west in Term 4. Once fully rolled out, the initiative will see suitably qualified mental health professionals in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses. Mental health practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, and act as coordinating support for students with complex needs, linking them with broader allied community and health services. All government secondary schools will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements. This builds on the $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiatives in schools, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support program, as well as increased investment in allied health and nursing services. The Victorian Government established a landmark Royal Commission into Mental Health and will implement every one of its recommendations. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Too many young people experience mental health challenges – this will make it easier for people to access the support they need.”  “We know that when our kids are happy and well supported, they can focus on their learning and have the best opportunity to succeed in education and excel in life.” Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley “We will implement every recommendation of the landmark Royal Commission into Mental Health and keep delivering practical support that Victorians need now.” Download the Media Release (212 KB)

Mental Health Support For More Secondary Students

Secondary school students in Melbourne’s north-west and the Central Highlands will soon have access to the school-based mental health support they need, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that more schools across Victoria will receive support under the Mental Health Practitioners initiative which is aimed at improving mental health outcomes for students in Victorian secondary schools. The $51.2 million initiative, which started in July last year, has so far provided funding for 120 secondary school campuses to recruit a suitably qualified mental health professional, with a further 32 secondary school campuses in Hume Moreland and Central Highlands to receive funding in Term 3 and 69 secondary school campuses in Melbourne’s south and west in Term 4. Once fully rolled out, the initiative will see suitably qualified mental health professionals in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses. Mental health practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, and act as coordinating support for students with complex needs, linking them with broader allied community and health services. All government secondary schools will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements. This builds on the $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiatives in schools, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support program, as well as increased investment in allied health and nursing services. The Victorian Government established a landmark Royal Commission into Mental Health and will implement every one of its recommendations. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Too many young people experience mental health challenges – this will make it easier for people to access the support they need.”  “We know that when our kids are happy and well supported, they can focus on their learning and have the best opportunity to succeed in education and excel in life.” Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley “We will implement every recommendation of the landmark Royal Commission into Mental Health and keep delivering practical support that Victorians need now.” Download the Media Release (212 KB)

School Building Boom Continues Across Victoria

Families in Victoria’s fastest growing areas are a step closer to getting the state-of-the-art schools they deserve, with the appointment of new principals at all 14 schools opening in 2021 and commencement of community consultation to name the new schools. Minister for Education James Merlino today visited the site of the new Docklands Primary School (interim name) with newly appointed foundation principal, Adam Bright, to inspect works on the three-storey vertical school. Construction is well underway ahead of it opening next year, with internal works having recently started. The exceptional new school will cater for 525 students and include modern classrooms, a library, music and arts rooms, a competition-grade indoor court for basketball and netball and outdoor learning terraces. An on-site early learning centre with two kindergarten rooms and 66 kindergarten places will also be included. It is one of 14 new schools and campuses opening next year across Cardinia, Casey, Greater Geelong, Hume, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Whittlesea and Wyndham. Consultation today opened for the naming of the new schools, with the Andrews Labor Government seeking the community’s input to help find a name for each school that reflects its unique identity, inspires local pride and that makes the school easily locatable. The consultation period will run until 15 July. To have their say, community members can visit engage.vic.gov.au/2021-school-naming The foundation principals have now been appointed for all new schools and will select talented and committed staff and build relationships with local families and the community. The Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Right across the state we’re building new schools so every child has the chance to get a great education, no matter where they live.” “We’ve now appointed the foundation principals for all new schools opening next year and I’m excited to see how these schools take shape.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Metropolitan Nazih Elasmar “Modern and innovative schools like Docklands Primary School and others across the state will give families access to the first-rate school facilities they deserve.” Download the Media Release (212 KB)

School Building Boom Continues Across Victoria

Families in Victoria’s fastest growing areas are a step closer to getting the state-of-the-art schools they deserve, with the appointment of new principals at all 14 schools opening in 2021 and commencement of community consultation to name the new schools. Minister for Education James Merlino today visited the site of the new Docklands Primary School (interim name) with newly appointed foundation principal, Adam Bright, to inspect works on the three-storey vertical school. Construction is well underway ahead of it opening next year, with internal works having recently started. The exceptional new school will cater for 525 students and include modern classrooms, a library, music and arts rooms, a competition-grade indoor court for basketball and netball and outdoor learning terraces. An on-site early learning centre with two kindergarten rooms and 66 kindergarten places will also be included. It is one of 14 new schools and campuses opening next year across Cardinia, Casey, Greater Geelong, Hume, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Whittlesea and Wyndham. Consultation today opened for the naming of the new schools, with the Andrews Labor Government seeking the community’s input to help find a name for each school that reflects its unique identity, inspires local pride and that makes the school easily locatable. The consultation period will run until 15 July. To have their say, community members can visit engage.vic.gov.au/2021-school-naming The foundation principals have now been appointed for all new schools and will select talented and committed staff and build relationships with local families and the community. The Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Right across the state we’re building new schools so every child has the chance to get a great education, no matter where they live.” “We’ve now appointed the foundation principals for all new schools opening next year and I’m excited to see how these schools take shape.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Metropolitan Nazih Elasmar “Modern and innovative schools like Docklands Primary School and others across the state will give families access to the first-rate school facilities they deserve.” Download the Media Release (212 KB)