Executive Director’s Update to Principals #7 - 26 February 2024
Fire Danger Update
As you will be aware fire danger ratings throughout much of Victoria will be elevated during this week.
While we know you will already be ensuring school preparation and planning is well underway, please be reminded of the following important matters:
- Should a Catastrophic fire danger rating be called in a particular region, all schools on the BARR in that region are required to close.
- School bus routes will be impacted. School bus coordinators are required to inform client schools, who in turn must inform all families.
- In some instances schools in an Extreme fire danger rating region may choose to close - this should follow discussion with your DOBCEL Education Consultant and neighbouring schools.
- It is necessary to re-assess your risk assessments for all camps and excursions proposed for this week.
- Entering all school offsite activities into the School Activity Locator is paramount.
To assist school principals in communicating how their school is responding to potential or determined Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating Days, a series of VCEA letter templates have been developed; these are attached and include:
- Warning of potential school closure
- Confirming school closure
- Cancelling school bus routes, where a client school remains open
- Cancelling off-site activities
- Telephone Script – Closure for elevated fire danger or catastrophic days
- Poster information for closure
If the fire rating does move to Catastrophic attached is a checklist for principals
When using the VCEA templates, schools are advised to:
- review the text for relevance to their specific circumstance - noting that red text indicates statements that are optional or that must be reviewed for each use.
- copy the required text onto the school’s letterhead and/or website.
Please note that Simon O’Brien is currently on leave. For further advice, please contact your Education Consultant in the first instance, or Megan Ioannou or Matt Byrne.
Creative Use of ICT - Invitation
New Secondary Religious Education Resources and Professional Learning
As you may be aware, new resources were developed last year to support the Awakenings Secondary Religious Education curriculum. Since the introduction of the Awakenings curriculum, a need was identified by both the Religious Education Leaders and RE teachers that further support was needed for the development of units of work in Religious Education. Consequently, a team of experienced secondary Religious Education Leaders from across the Diocese came together to create these resources for schools.
While Shared Christian Praxis has proven to be a wonderful methodology for Religious Education in this Diocese, it was developed before ECSI, and its preferred stance became an important driver in the development and delivery of Religious Education in this Diocese. Consequently, other elements had to be incorporated into the Shared Christian Praxis methodology. From our own experience and the feedback from Religious Education Leaders, this was proving problematic for developing units of work.
In developing these resources, it was decided to adopt a more ‘ECSI friendly’ methodology while still meeting the needs of Shared Christian Praxis. The chosen methodology is still based on five movements, but these movements are inclusive of the important elements of ECSI, such as dialogue with other worldviews and opportunities for meaning-making.
The team of Religious Education Leaders that developed these resources have noted the need for professional development with this new approach to Religious Education. These new developments and accompanying resources were introduced at the Religious Education Leaders gathering in November 2023.
Through the dialogue that ensued, all present felt that it would be beneficial for other teachers of Religious Education to also receive some professional learning on the use of these new resources and adapted methodology. Consequently, a day of professional learning will be offered in each zone to support understanding of and use of both. The details are:
Catholic Education Ballarat
We extend an invitation to teachers of Religious Education to attend this professional learning opportunity, and teachers are invited to register for this professional learning opportunity on TryBooking. For this year only, this day would replace the secondary Religious Education Leaders gathering in semester one.
We are looking forward to working with you this year.
Bernadette Tolan - Religious Education Officer
Kate Lawry - Team Leader CI&M