I will remember this year in education for… the inaugural Arts Learning Festival, hosted by ISV in May. The five-day festival, open to all students in all school sectors, involved Victoria’s major cultural institutions as well as international participants. The event reflected our commitment to the role of arts in education and to community engagement. Nationally, the passage of landmark reforms, despite imperfections, offer the prospect of a degree of clarity, consistency and fairness in Australian Government funding for schools.

Our proudest achievement at ISV this year has been… the Arts Learning Festival, a major undertaking by ISV staff and the arts community, with events held in multiple locations for students and teachers across the state. Once again, we took pride in supporting the achievements of ISV Member Schools, whose number grew in 2017 with new schools, and expanded services by existing schools, to serve students who are disengaged from mainstream education, come from refugee families, or face other barriers to education.

I predict the biggest issue in Victorian education for 2018 will be… managing the ever-growing pressures on principals and teachers in all schools as they deal with expanding and sometimes conflicting government and community expectations – to improve student results, apply new technology, impart social skills, apply a crowded curriculum, guarantee safe environments, comply with increasing regulations, and provide support and guidance in areas that were once seen as the preserve of parents. Compounding the challenge is that this is happening at a time when teachers’ professionalism is not always respected. 

 Next year, our priorities at ISV really will be…enhancing support for Member Schools, including through new online delivery of services relating to all of the complex areas of running a school, including curriculum and student support, compliance, the professional development of school staff, governance, compliance, management and administration. Nationally, we will ensure our voice is heard in responding to the review by David Gonski into how new government funding is used to improve student achievement.