The Challis Community Primary School Board’s role is focussed on direction setting and policy development, and on holding the school to account for its performance on behalf of the Minister for Education, the Director General of Education and the local community. The day to day running of the school is the province of the Principal, Ms Musumeci and her leadership team who are charged with providing the best possible academic, creative, physical and social and emotion education and care for each child enrolled at the school.
The Board is cognizant of the parameters under which the school operates and works closely with the school leadership in setting high expectation and pursuing improvement in student achievement. Although there is still much to be done in this regard trends in the data indicate that the school is making a discernable difference to the learning outcomes of the students and over time their life opportunities.
The Board and school have a shared Vision - To provide excellence in teaching so that our students can achieve skills that will maximise their opportunities and outcomes in life and Mission - As a school community our mission is to deliver a standard of education which produces levels of school performance equal to, or above state norms. Students will be supported to reach their academic, social and emotional potential whilst becoming valuable members of the community.
Within this the Board and school have agreed upon a clear direction with an unequivocal focus on the following Strategic intents:
Excellence in teaching;
The Board is confident that much has been achieved in this regard so far, but we also believe there is still a lot more to be done. That is the challenge, which the Board and school working together are determined to tackle in a positive and meaningful way in the best interests of all students who attend this school.
Significant Board-led Developments
The Board takes a strategic approach to its role, as evidenced by its engagement with the school in the development of shared Vision, Mission and Strategic Intent statements (see above) to provide a framework and reference point for planning, organisational structures and accountability for performance. These are the consequence of the Board’s and the school’s absolute belief that all students attending this school can and will achieve at the highest level.
These direction setting statements have been revisited several times since their development to ensure currency and applicability: each time with the same outcome; they stay the same as they are durable, they provide direction and although aspirational they are not outside the realms of possibility.
The Board has been, and remains pleased to see the way the staff, students and parents have accommodated these in the way they think and go about their daily involvement with the school.
The Board took into account the need for a birth to year twelve education and health program for local students; one which the Early Childhood Education Centre had been establishing with great success for the early years over an extended period of time. Challis is recognised at both the state and national level for its accomplishments in this regard and by becoming one school it consolidated its standing as a centre of excellence and all that goes with it for the benefit of all local children. It also greatly enhanced the ability of the school as a whole to capitalise on existing agreements the ECEC had with other government agencies (Department of Health in particular), tertiary institutions (Curtin and Edith Cowan Universities) and not-for-profit organisations such as the Minderoo Foundation, all of which make significant financial and in-kind contributions.
Whilst the above is a significant achievement it was not intended to be an end in itself. The real purpose was to provide a structure that would ensure continuity of learning and improved outcomes for all students. This we believe is beginning to be achieved as can be seen in the analysis of the school’s performance and achievement data. This is not to imply all targets have been achieved, far from it, but the pathway is clear and an upward trend evident.
Without diminishing its attention to the above, the Board is currently entering into discussions with the Department of Education about the rapid growth in enrolment and how that can be managed. This includes raising the prospect and articulating a case for a major capital works building program to enable the school to provide well-researched evidence-based instructional practices in a state-of-the-art learning environment for the betterment of our students.
The Challis Community Primary School Board comprises a judicious mix of parents, staff and community members. Each serves with distinction and commitment to the greater good of all students regardless of their personal position and or interests. The Board as it stands is as follows:
Members of the Board are cognizant of the role and functions of a Board as set out in the School Education Act and associated Regulations, and articulated within the constitution of this Board. Further the Board is diligent in enacting the role and fulfilling the intent of the functions.
Board members are also aware of the potential for conflict of interest and where it arises understand they need to takes appropriate action to absent themselves from discussions and associated decision-making. Other than at the time of appointing a new Principal after the amalgamation of the two schools there has been no need for this to be invoked.
Some, but not all members of the Board have had formal board training and all who have recently been appointed have taken part in an induction to this Board.
This Board is very much focussed on school effectiveness and therefore pays more attention to those procedures that contribute to it. Consequently it places an emphasis on the development, endorsement and monitoring of the Business Plan; holding the school to account for its performance against the Board’s strategic intents and the associated Business Plan; supporting the school in securing external expertise and support (financial and in-kind) through the establishment of targeted partnerships and sponsorship arrangements; overseeing and endorsing the school’s annual budget and staffing profile; and commissioning, participating in, assessing and acting on internal and external reviews/surveys etc where appropriate.
The Board pays lesser attention to those matters over which it has no manifest control, such as system level compliance and day to day system funding. As these are tightly managed and closely monitored by the Department of Education the Board only deals with reports in these areas by exception; that is where a matter impacts on the school’s ability to function in accord with its set plans. By way of example monthly expenditure reports and compliance-based system-designed surveys fall into this category. Instead the Board relies more upon information regarding high level funding agreements with external benefactors and evidence-based school-focussed frameworks and tools such, as the Diagnostic Index of School Alignment, to ascertain the organisational capacity and health of the school.
In addition the Board conducts an annual review of its own effectiveness and adjusts its practices accordingly. In the past this has identified deficiencies in the induction of new members as an issue while highlighting each time the Board’s coherence of purpose and ability to address controversial issues in a constructive manner for the common good.
The Challis Schools Cluster Board, as it was, was originally set up in 2010 to oversee the direction and performance of the Challis ECEC and the Challis PS, both of which occupied the same site, but operated separately, each with its own Principal and operating systems. The Cluster Board replaced the two existing School Councils, but necessitated a larger Board than the present Board so as to accommodate staff and parents members from each of the two schools.
The need for the larger Cluster Board changed when the two schools were amalgamated in 2015, enabling the present smaller more agile Board to be established. Corporate knowledge and continuity of service has been maintained however by the retention of the community members and some of the existing parent members and the re-election of staff members from previous years. The Board has approached, and is expecting to appoint a member of the local Indigenous community to the Board during term 1 2016.
The P & C Association, which from inception of the two schools has operated as one body serving both schools, is closely connected to the current Board as it was to the Cluster Board.
It is the view of the Board that it plays a significant role in setting expectations for the school and that it holds the school to account for its performance. This is unchanged from its previous iteration as a Cluster Board. It is also the view of the Board that the school is open and transparent with the Board and community about the performance information the school has to hand and that it is actively engaged in the pursuit of improvement to ensure the children at the school receive a quality academic, creative, physical and social and emotional education.