EDUCATIONAL AND FINANCIAL REPORT 2014
School Overview Information 2
School Strategies 6
Staff Information 9
School Policies 10
Student Outcomes and Performance 16
Student Information 16
Financial Information 17
SCHOOL OVERVIEW INFORMATION
Liberty College has been providing quality Christian Education in Tamworth since 1999, a period of 16 years. The College serves as a ministry of Liberty Church Inc. Liberty College is fully registered and accredited by the NSW Board of Studies as a primary school. The current registration certificate expires in 2018.
The school is located on the southern edge of Tamworth, just minutes from the city centre. The school property is surrounded by small farms with picturesque views of the Tamworth hills. As the city grows, major development is happening in closer proximity to the school; including retail, industrial, tourism and housing.
The school provides a family atmosphere in which parents are encouraged to be involved in their children’s education through in-school volunteer work, participation in the Parent Club and home support. The school staff understand the importance of their role as facilitators for learning and models of Christian values to the children in their care. As committed Christians, all staff undertake the privilege of supporting parents in their responsibility to bring up their children “in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). With this as the foundation, all subjects are taught from a biblical perspective, allowing the values of the Bible to form the basis of all teaching and learning experiences.
At Liberty College, the teaching of literacy and numeracy is of high importance. One of the aims of the college is for students to be efficient users of the English language and competent in all areas of Mathematics. In order to meet this aim, Liberty College offers intensive teaching and learning in literacy, utilising the MINILIT and MULTILIT programs, a Home Reading Scheme and Typequick; a typing program specifically designed for children. The MINILIT and MULTILIT programs meet the literacy learning needs of students from as early as Stage 1 and recognise the value of the tiered instruction model for student support. Liberty College has a well-stocked library including a large selection of modern resources in each subject area. The college is also well equipped with a network of computers in the library and classroom, all hosting internet access and large interactive technology in the classroom.
In the 2014 school year, there were 20 students enrolled from Kindergarten to Year 6. Of this number, 7 were girls and 13 were boys. These students live within the town limits or in outlying townships. The children represent 17 families, 12 of which were of Anglo-Saxon background, 4 Indigenous and 1 NESB (Non-English Speaking Background). The students interact well together and enjoy the opportunities and challenges of learning together in a multigrade learning environment.
Messages from Key Bodies
2014 was a challenging year at Liberty yet as we look back there were many areas of strength and growth. The school received positive feedback from the Registration and Accreditation process and met compliance obligations. Liberty acknowledges the staff for their tireless efforts in preparation for this. A staff devotions and prayer time commenced in 2014 and this was a helpful time for staff as they met together to focus for the day, learn more about God’s plans and purposes and pray for each other and the school community. Starting the year with smaller enrolment numbers than anticipated placed much pressure on administration, however a turnaround was seen through the year with many new enrolments.
Throughout the course of the year, Liberty offered a wide range of activities for students and families to be involved in. These are listed and some are expanded on below. I would like to thank the staff for their involvement in planning and running these events. Their invaluable input provides a rich learning environment for our students.
• Swimming Lessons • Welcome BBQ • Transition to Highschool Program
• Crazy Canteen • International Tastes Lunch • Student-Parent Reading Program
• Swimming Carnival • Lifefest • National Simultaneous Storytime
• Trivia Night • Life Education Program • Australian Mathematics Competition
• Information Morning • Presentation Night • Powerhouse & Art Gallery Excursion
• ANZAC Day March • Ten Pin Bowling Program • Kindergarten Transition Program
• GRIP Leadership Seminar • Calala Cottage Excursion • Farming Excursion
The school operated as predominately 1 class, with a second class running on occasion throughout the year. There was an increased level of parent participation in volunteering within the classroom and for special events. In addition, a volunteer elected to undertake their training hours for a support worker course at Liberty.
One students was farewelled at the end of the year 6 following a successful 2-year Transition to High School Program. This program provided numerous opportunities for primary students to visit the local High School and participate in lessons and activities with confidence.
In August, the first Information Morning was held. This was a new advertising initiative to encourage enrolments and general awareness of the school. Following advertising in local pre-schools, the information morning was held with a focus on Kindergarten enrolment the following year. The morning included a tour of the school, visiting classrooms and a presentation on what Liberty offers and the Transition to School Program. This was a worthwhile event and an enrolment was secured Kindergarten 2015.
The Parent Club are an active group within the school community, meeting monthly to work towards providing additional funding for resources and bringing fresh ideas into the life of the school. The Parent Club is involved in hosting fundraising events, student activities and family social events.
The 9th Annual Trivia Night was held in June and raised over $2500. The goal was to pay for the School Advertising Banner. The banner was used at the Anzac Day March and the school received many positive comments from onlookers at the march. This was the first time since the commencement of the school that Liberty had participated in the Anzac Day March. It was well supported by families and the students represented the school with pride.
During Term 4, a Transition to Kindergarten Program ran to screen and prepare incoming Kindergarten students. 3 students participated in a series of 8 visits; 4 half days and 4 full days. This was a successful program and we look forward to having these children join us as full time enrolments in 2015.
The final event for the year was the Presentation Night. This event provides an opportunity to acknowledge the great achievements of the students throughout the year and honour the staff. The staff are a great asset to our school and we are blessed by their dedication.
I wish to thank the school and church community for their concerted efforts throughout the year as we continue to show students and their families the love of Christ.
Liberty Parent Club 2014 has had a productive and cooperative year. Well attended monthly meetings and activities are a pillar of our supportive school community. Social activities, planning and running fundraising events, helping staff and students inside and outside of the classroom, providing a forum for parents and reporting to the school council are the functions of our Parent Club.
Active involvement from our parents with the school is notable, through listening to reading, crunch and sip, excursions, swimming carnival, welcome and farewell barbeques, trivia night and end of year activities. Crazy Canteen has continued to run twice a term with parental support.
Our annual Trivia Night was once again fun and successful. As this is where we concentrate our fundraising efforts we are grateful for the support of church and community alike.
The Parent Club acknowledge the contribution made by everyone involved and would like to thank you for your time, money or expertise throughout the year.
Liberty College has its mission as bringing learning into Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus is the source of all knowledge and learning. We are purpose driven to bring our children into the fullest of freedom in every aspect of their development into young men and women. We desire the very best for our staff and families.
Year 2014 was a challenging year in many ways. We started the year with a lower enrolment than expected and this put some stress into our financial position. It was obvious to the Board of Liberty Church Inc. that our staffing levels were too high for the school’s income. There was a voluntary pay cut by the staff of Liberty, including the school staff, which enabled the school to be financially viable for the latter half of 2015. Late enrolments in the year for 2015 meant a more healthy position and necessitated planning for extra staff and a second classroom to be established.
The second classroom of K to 2 students in the coming year will provide more specialised teaching to our infants and allow greater individual learning for them and to provide greater opportunities for the primary students. Our focus on literacy and numeracy continues to be expanded with extra hours provided for the Multilit programme. Our parent reading programme has increased in the number of parents and family members involved, allowing for even more individual reading by our students.
Students have a wide range of learning opportunities in academic, sporting and cultural endeavours. Tree planting on the school site is ongoing and the school playground remains well presented and maintained. We continue to take our Year 5 & 6 students to a Leadership workshop, to further develop their interpersonal and leadership skills.
Capital works are budgeted for 2015 with the driveway to be resealed and better heating in our library. New offices are mooted to provide a separate office for the Principal and a general purpose room for casual staff and students.
There is a great sense of belonging within the school and the depth of interaction between students, and with the staff is a very pleasing outcome for the school community. The involvement of the Parent Club continues to be essential in providing a bridge between families and school, and their input into Crazy Canteens, fundraising and other aspects of school life is very much appreciated by the school community. Our trivia night this year was very successful raising the most funds in the 9 years of hosting this event. Funds raised went to the purchase of a school banner.
The School Council thanks both the parents and staff for their most valuable contributions to our children in 2014.
School Community Satisfaction
To evaluate the views of the school community, both discussion and questionnaires were used. The questionnaires encouraged reflection on 5 areas: Communication, Student Welfare, Teaching Program, Resources, Parent Club and Chaplaincy. Respondents graded a list of indicators in each area using a three point grading scale.
Grading Scale Excellent = 3 Good = 2 Fair = 1
Responses indicate that the school community had a high level of satisfaction in relation to these areas. The average responses were all greater than the previous year which reflects the focus on taking on board community feedback and providing a quality learning environment.
Components Average Response Comments
Communication 2.8 Responses indicate that the level of communication between key bodies and stakeholders is particularly good. One response indicated that contact is made by text message or phone call which reflects a quick turnaround of correspondence.
Student Welfare 2.9
The school community rated this category the highest. Respondents indicated that this is an area that Liberty excels in. ‘The teachers and staff go beyond their duties. They care and love the children and the children love them’ highlights the effectiveness of how Liberty undertakes this responsibility.
Teaching Program 2.8 Responses in this area are quite positive. Most responses indicated an excellent level for the teaching program meeting students’ needs and the evidence of Biblical Principles within the program.
Resources 2.8 This area has been steadily improving in recent years. Comments included ‘A1’ and ‘This is a wonderful school’ because the teaching and learning resources are plentiful at Liberty and meet a wide range of learning styles and curriculum areas.
Parent Club 2.8 The majority of responses indicated that the service provided by the Parent Club was excellent. The Parent Club meet at 2pm on the first Thursday of each month during term time. Responses indicate this is a suitable time as it finishes alongside afternoon school pick up.
Chaplaincy 2.7 The School Chaplaincy role remains a well-supported and well-utilised service within the school community. One respondent commented, ‘great service helps us to deal with kids and other issues we were having’.
Life Education Program GRIP Leadership Seminar International Tastes Lunch ANZAC Day March
Achievement of Priority Areas from 2014
Priority Area Desired Aim Progress
Enrolments Increase enrolments and the awareness of the school within the community An Information Morning was held in August to highlight the advantages the school offers. 1 family who attended enrolled their child into Liberty for the following year.
Student Achievement Increase achievement in Literacy and Numeracy skills in the early years of schooling At the conclusion of 2014, all students undertaking Minilit had progressed on to Multilit and only 1 Early Stage 1 student required literacy intervention.
Curriculum Work towards implementation of the National Curriculum in Mathematics and History 2014 was implementation year for the new English curriculum. Much effort was involved in this KLA with some minor development in Mathematics and History.
Community Action Establish links between the school and community agencies to foster positive involvement in the life of the school The link between school and mainly music is a positive outcome of this priority. Community members can see students serving and supporting others in this area of ministry to the community.
Technology Provide staff training in the use of interactive technologies in the classroom This is still an area requiring attention. Often a result of inadequate internet access which will be addressed in the coming year.
School Environment Students have regular and active involvement in the vegetable garden’s development, maintenance and production Students were eager to be involved in the establishment of 6 self-watering raised garden beds in 2014. Crops include chilies, strawberries and tomatoes. Produce is being sold to the community and eaten by students for Crunch & Sip®.
Student Wellbeing Develop strategies to improve the educational outcomes for students who are at risk of disengaging from school Increased communication with parents and regular follow-up regarding poor attendance has been a key to providing students with the access required to the curriculum on a regular basis.
Communication Review mechanisms to inform parents and caregivers of student achievement With the changes to the Curriculum, the school reports were reassessed. Some changes were made that would clearly inform parents and caregivers of achievement.
Staff Establish a regular staff devotions and prayer time to build the spiritual capacity of staff Staff devotions and prayer is held each morning for a short time before morning supervision. This is attended by most staff on a regular basis and spiritual growth is evident in staff.
Priority Areas for Improvement in 2015
Priority Area Desired Aim
Enrolments Increase enrolments and the awareness of the school within the community.
Student Achievement Increase achievement in Literacy and Numeracy skills in the early years of schooling.
Curriculum Review curriculum documents in KLA’s implemented in recent years.
Community Action Establish links between the school and community agencies to foster positive involvement in the life of the school.
Technology Increase access for staff and students to portable devices with full internet access.
School Environment Students have regular and active involvement in the vegetable garden and other garden areas. Work towards upgrading vehicle access into the school.
Student Wellbeing Develop strategies to improve the attendance of students disengaging from school.
Communication Review strategies to convey information to the school community effectively.
Staff Work towards building the concept of ‘team’ within the staff.
Respect and Responsibility
The school has taken action to promote respect and responsibility between all members of the school community. The current discipline policy’s underlying principles are based on responsibility and therefore this is already an integral part of the ethos of the school. The school is committed to encouraging a high level of respect among students and staff.
• Class-based teaching and learning activities – what is respect?, how do we show respect?, respecting others, gaining respect, taking responsibility for our actions and personal responsibilities. Such values are readily displayed in the multi-grade classroom as students interact and respond to each other, regardless of a student’s age. Issues of respect and responsibility are reflected in many of the Key Learning Areas.
• A list of responsibilities for staff, students and parents are published in the school handbook.
• The fortnightly school newsletter is also used to promote respect and responsibility with parents and caregivers and also inform them of school activities that promote the development of these characteristics among students.
• Year 5 and 6 students continue to attend a leadership training day run by the GRIP Leadership Team. This event provides student leaders the opportunity to liaise with peers from other schools, learn and practice leadership skills, learn the importance of showing respect for those around them and develop confidence in their ability as leaders to take on this responsibility at a school level. This has proven to be a worthwhile strategy towards promoting respect and responsibility within the school. In a small school, the value of senior students in modelling and mentoring younger students has a profound impact and building capacity in senior students to take on this responsibility is a key to success in this area.
• Senior students are also involved in serving in a church community outreach called mainly music. Stage 2 and 3 students accompany Kindergarten students during a music session. In addition, each Stage 3 student has the opportunity to serve in the sound desk for the session.
• Students are rostered to collect the mail from the letterbox. Younger students are accompanied by an older student. It is the students’ responsibility to collect the mail daily and return in to the office for the duration of one week.
• A ‘Student of the Week’ award is presented to a student each Friday. The criteria to achieve this award includes demonstrating behaviour that shows respect to peers and school staff, responsibility in various areas, ability to follow directions and represent the school with pride.
All staff at Liberty College are committed Christians and are committed members of their local church. All staff subscribe to the school’s Statement of Faith outlined in the staff contracts and are committed to teaching from a Christian worldview perspective.
During 2014, school teaching staff remained in the same roles as in the 2013 school year. The Principal worked in a part time capacity and had a component of classroom teaching. All teaching staff are Australian-born with nil indigenous background.
One teacher’s aides was retained from the previous year. Support personnel are specifically employed for the support of students with disabilities and literacy and numeracy support needs and provides individual support lessons as part of the schools’ tiered support structure.
Staff Attending Position Title Duration Provider
Lee Cooper Teacher
Aide In-School PD (including Child Protection Yearly Training) 4 days minimum Liberty College
Susan Philp Principal Care and Protection: Law for Community Sector Workers ½ day Legal Aid
Susan Philp Teacher
Principal Positive Behaviour Management 1 day Ian Luscombe
Tamworth High School
Susan Philp Principal Principal’s Retreat 3 days Christian School Australia
Susan Philp Principal ACC State Conference 4 days Australian Christian Churches
Both of the two (2) teachers on staff have teaching qualifications from a higher education institution within Australia or as recognised within the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR) guidelines.
At Liberty, parents are encouraged to make a phone call or send an SMS to the school in the event of an absence from school. If notification is not received by electronic means, parents may provide a note of explanation or complete a standard form letter. These forms are sent home with students following an absence. For unexplained absences of several days, the parents are contacted as a matter of pastoral care. Parents may be required to provide a doctor’s certificate if requested for absences in excess of four days. In the event that no explanation or an insufficient explanation is provided, the School Liaison Office may be informed. To increase attendance at school, strategies include meeting with parents, incentive programs and transport plan or other plan determined by identified barriers to attendance.
Information about non-attendance can be found in the school’s attendance policy. A full text of this policy is available upon request from the school office.
A full text of the school’s enrolment policy is below.
Liberty College will provide education to families who desire a Christian Education for their children and who actively support the vision and mission of the school.
Who must comply with this document:
Staff, Parents and Students
CLAUSE TITLE PAGE
Policy Statement, Compliance, Related Documents and Index 1
1 Enrolment Process 2
3 Conditions of Enrolment
4 Continuing Enrolment 3
7 Class Sizes
8 Role of the School Council
9 Special Needs
10 Testing 4
11 Enrolment Pack
12 Student Forms
13 Cessation of Enrolment
1 Enrolment Process
The process of enrolment includes, but is not limited to these steps:
a) initial contact made either by phone or in person at the school office
b) information pack provided at time of enquiry or posted within 1 day
c) follow up: phone call made by Principal within 1 week of information pack being sent
d) meet at the school where a tour of premises is conducted, general questions answered
e) trial day offered for the student, up to 2 days, no cost
f) interview with the Principal, outlining school vision, mission and statements of faith
g) application enrolment form lodged with office
h) induction and commencement for the student
i) student forms are issued and returned to the office
j) review: Principal or Class teacher meets with parents within 2 weeks to discuss transition to school
Multiple steps can be achieved at the same time according to the needs of the family.
The interview process will include the following:
a) completion all necessary forms and that the enrolment application fee has been paid
b) child’s report cards are provided from their previous school or Pre-School paying particular attention to learning disabilities, behaviour problems and / or giftedness that may be indicated
c) explanation of Christ Centred Education
d) an explanation of how Biblical values are included in the curriculum and how the NSW syllabus is covered within this context.
e) responsibility for the child’s education being with the parents and the school working alongside them supporting them in their God given task
f) discussion of the school’s communication with parents
g) discussion of the relationship between the school, church and families
h) provision of opportunities for parents to ask questions
3 Conditions of Enrolment
Upon enrolling a child, parents must sign the declaration on the reverse side of the Enrolment Form acknowledging that they have read and will adhere to the statements in contains. The basis of this declaration includes:
a) acceptance of the school’s Statement of Faith and the conditions of enrolment
b) support the school’s vision in providing Christian education to the students and families
c) agreement to pay the set school fees as determined by the school board
4 Continuing Enrolment
Enrolment can be revoked under the following circumstances, but is not limited to:
a) failure to comply with signed declaration on reverse side of Enrolment Form
b) behaviour consistent with the criteria for the Red Student Level of the school’s Welfare and Discipline Policy
5 School Fees Concession
These concessions can be applied for by the family upon successful enrolment. Any concession is generally based upon the capacity of the family to pay, and is related to documented family and financial hardship. These are reviewed on an annual basis as determined by the Fee Committee or in the event that the family’s financial situation changes. Liberty College’s Fees Policy contains further details.
Priority of enrolment will be given according to:
a) Child of a member of Liberty Church
b) Siblings of current families
c) Parents who are committed Christians.
d) Date of application received or waiting list placement date
7 Class Sizes
In order to provide students with optimal teaching and learning opportunities, class sizes will notionally not exceed 25.
8 Role of the School Council
The School Council is responsible for setting the enrolment policy and the school fees. The school council makes the final decision on any appeal regarding enrolment.
9 Special Needs
Students who present with special educational needs are required to undertake or provide reports from recent testing indicating level of need. Enrolment of students with Special Needs must be considered in light of current class loads.
Students will be asked to undergo testing upon enrolment if staff consider that this would help to plan and teach according to student needs. This may occur, but is not limited to: kindergarten students, students with special needs and students that could present with learning difficulties.
11 Enrolment Pack
Upon enquiry, an Enrolment Pack is provided containing the following items:
a) School Handbook
b) Uniform List
c) Enrolment Form
d) Q&A Booklet
e) other documents
12 Student Forms
Following confirmation of enrolment, the following forms are required to be completed and / or provided:
a) Emergency Contact Form
b) Medical Information Form
c) Bus Forms (if applicable)
d) Excursion Form
e) Electronic Communication Form
f) Birth Certificate
g) Immunisation Record or Doctor’s Letter
13 Cessation of Enrolment
Appropriate documentation must be maintained in the event that a student is withdrawn from the school. Where a child is withdrawn prior to completing year 6, a formal notification must be received from parents or caregivers including:
a) Name of Student
b) Last day of attendance
c) School student will be attending
d) Reason for decision (optional)
The school’s policy on Student Welfare, Discipline and Anti-Bullying is embedded in the Student Welfare and Discipline Policy. This policy was last reviewed in 2014 and has been implemented since that time with no alterations. A full text of this policy is available upon request from the school office.
Liberty College will provide a safe and supportive school environment for the whole school community through considering the welfare of students, the need for encouragement for every student and by providing fair and appropriate discipline.
The premise underlying the school’s approach to student welfare is ‘Responsibility’. Students, parents and teachers have a responsibility to maintain the caring and nurturing nature of the school, and at all times aim for excellence.
The Student Welfare and Discipline Policy outlines the approach to discipline within the school. A strong emphasis on encouragement reflects the Biblical command to aim for excellence and to encourage.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Encouragement at Liberty can be verbal and non-verbal. There are many strategies used to encourage appropriate behaviour and respond with procedural fairness to matters requiring a more formal method of discipline. The Colour Level System is the formal mechanism for assessing and responding to discipline issues.
Corporal punishment is not administered at Liberty College due to the provisions of the Education Reform Amendment (School Discipline) Act 1995. The school does not explicitly or implicitly sanction the administering of corporal punishment by non-school persons, including parents, to enforce discipline at school.
The school community are committed to ensuring a safe and caring environment for each member. Liberty College does not tolerate bullying in any form. The policy outlines the responsibilities of staff, students and parents in relation to maintaining a bully-free, safe school. The Colour Level System is utilised as a means for determining discipline warranted as a result of bullying amongst students.
Complaints and Grievances
The school’s Complaints and Grievances Policy provides a procedural pathway for complaints with compassion, fairness, equity and in the grace of Jesus. Liberty College takes as its foundational principle the conflict resolution expressed in the Bible through the following passages:
If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
This policy has been reviewed in the reporting year. A full text of this policy is available upon request from the school office.
STUDENT OUTCOMES AND PERFORMANCE
Standardised National Testing
NAPLAN testing in grades 3 and 5 is used to assess student learning and to compare performance against national averages. Literacy and Numeracy are taught in accordance with the NSW Board of Studies syllabi and amount to approximately half of the school timetable subject allocations.
Comparative results from previous years in NAPLAN are not available, nor is a comparison with similar schools. Due to the small student cohort being below reporting threshold, tabulated presentation of the data would breach the school’s privacy policies.
Visit My School for school profile.
The 2014 school cohort of 20 students are from 17 families.
Student Composition per Grade
Student Attendance Rates
The attendance rates for 2014 are outlined in the table below.
Year Level K 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total
Attendance Rate 95% 91% 99% 43% 89% 93% 90% 85.92%
School Fees 19 350
Other Private Income 37 721
State Government Grants 32 639
Commonwealth Government Grants 149 171
Other Recurrent Grants NIL
TOTAL RECURRENT INCOME 238 881
Other Capital Income NIL
TOTAL CAPITAL INCOME NIL
Salaries and Allowances
General Teaching Staff 121 892
Salaries – all other staff 27 354
Salary Related Expenses
Workers Compensation and other salary related expenses, LSL provision 1 241
Superannuation 13 324
Non Salary Expenses
Teaching expenses and materials, administrative and clerical expenses and sundry administrative expenses 57 340
Buildings and grounds operations, rent building and equipment – maintenance 2 082
Interest – bank overdraft and recurrent loans NIL
Depreciation 11 198
TOTAL RECURRENT EXPENDITURE 234 431
Land, Buildings and improvements NIL
Plant and machinery NIL
Other capital expenditure NIL
TOTAL CAPITAL EXPENDITURE NIL
Refundable Enrolment Deposits
Opening Balance NIL
Closing Balance NIL
Opening Balance 3 298
Closing Balance NIL
June 30, 2015