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2012 TERM 1

School Reviews: Letter to the Victorian Minister for Education

15th November, 2011

Martin Dixon
Minister for Education
Parliament House
Melbourne, 3001

Dear Martin,

I hope that this letter finds you well, and that you have organised some time off after what I assume has been a very big year.

I am writing to you about the review process imposed on independent schools, a process that  is often experienced as hostile to the ethos of the independent school and detrimental to the delivery of good education.  I would like to seek your position, as Minister, on a particular issue regarding school reviews: what position will you take when there is conflict between a school's practice that is superior to the regulated practice and where this superior practice is seen to be in conflict with the regulations in place? 

I raise this issue based upon the following two assumptions:

(a) that the previous Labor Government's regulations for schools are not assumed to be infallible (or any regulations for that matter); and

(b) that schools now and into the future may operate (or develop) strategies that foster superior social, emotional and academic outcomes to those envisioned in these regulations.  I imagine that this is something that good educators should strive to do.

If you accept these assumptions, then I ask: when there is a conflict between superior practice and the regulated practice, what position will you take?

Will you as Minister support the school, or insist that it lower its performance to conform to the regulations?


I quote from a VRQA Reviewer (Fitzroy Community School, June 20, 2008) to our School Leadership Team, commenting on our practices:

“That sounds like a perfect situation, but have you considered whether it fits within the Act!”



Timothy Berryman (Principal)
BA DipEd GradDipEdStud BLitt MLitt MA

cc Michelle Green, Tim Johnston, Peter Garrett, Christopher Pyne, Rick Tutor, School Community


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