how to get and keep people involved 4

a toolbox for creating healthy places to learn, work and play
how to get and
keep people
booklet 4
what is a health promoting school?
There is an important relationship between student, staff and
community well-being and the ability of any school to function at
its best and achieve all that is expected from the process of formal
school education. If people in schools are happy and healthy they can
learn, work and play better.
A health promoting school is one that works in a way which
demonstrates a whole school commitment to improving and
protecting the health and well-being of the school community. More
specifically, a health promoting school is one that uses a health
promoting schools approach. A health promoting school cannot be
defined by the presence of special projects, educational activities or
specific physical characteristics. Nor is it a program with a beginning
or an end.
the health promoting schools approach
A health promoting schools approach is really a way of thinking
and working that is adopted by the whole school in order to make
the school the best possible place to learn, work and play. The
approach is defined by:
• people from across the school community working together to plan
and deliver school activities
• an ongoing consideration of the broad range of factors which make
up the school, to ensure that positive and comprehensive school
systems, environments, programs and activities are provided.
Many schools that adopt a health promoting schools approach
find the health promoting schools framework an extremely helpful
instrument for ensuring their thinking and planning processes are
comprehensive and consider all aspects that make up the school.
the health promoting schools framework
The health promoting schools framework highlights three interacting
components of a school. The framework is a useful guide to help plan
what happens in your school in a comprehensive and holistic way.
refers to what is taught and learnt
and how it is taught and learnt
teaching and
ethos and
includes the physical and social
setting of the school
refers to the partnerships formed between the school
and members of the community including parents, local
businesses, non-government and government organisations
how to get and keep people involved
how to get and keep people
The support and involvement of others in the school
community is crucial to the success of the health promoting
schools approach. How you treat people and gain their
support will determine whether or not they become and stay
tools that can be used to encourage and maintain
school community participation include:
— types of participation ..........................................................2
— how to identify who could be involved ............................... 5
— how to look at the influence and support of
different people — stakeholder analysis.............................6
— how to help create a shared vision of your
‘ideal school’ — visioning activity ........................................9
— how to identify ways to involve people
– using a group discussion............................................... 14
— how to identify ways to involve people
– using a questionnaire .................................................... 16
— how to identify barriers to participation
– using a checklist ............................................................ 18
— how to encourage participation and overcome
barriers .............................................................................20
— how to maintain ongoing involvement .............................22
— references .........................................................................24
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how to get and keep people involved
types of participation
background information
Looking at participation as a continuum is often useful. It
helps us to see the range of involvement that people can
have. All types of participation are important and should
be valued. Involvement and participation in the health
promoting schools process can occur at any point along the
continuum. Various degrees of participation will be required
at different times and for different activities.
Figure 1: a continuum of participation
The following table provides examples of parent involvement
as passive participants and as active participants. This
example relates specifically to parents but can easily be
applied to other participants such as students, teachers,
other staff, health professionals, and members of the broader
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how to get and keep people involved
Table 1: examples of parents as passive and active participants1
parents as
passive participants
parents as
active participants
Sharing Information
— receive written information
— read notices
— attend parent/teacher
— play an active role in planning
and/or meetings
— share information about family
interests, needs and
— attend joint in-service training
Involvement in
activities or
special events
— help with excursions
— participate in organised
fundraising activities
— contribute to an activity
eg. donate food
— initiate and/or organise
activities or special events eg.
multicultural dinner
— give considerable time, energy
or resources
— take responsibility for specific
and planning
— participate in decisions
about own child
— complete questionnaires
— participate actively in
management of school
— contribute to decisions about
school policies and practices
what to do
Identify and create opportunities for all types of participation
to get people involved. See How to identify ways to involve
people — group discussion and How to identify ways to involve
people — questionnaire in this booklet for activities that
identify ways to involve people.
Encourage and improve participation by removing
the barriers and reasons people have for not getting
involved. Refer to How to identify barriers to participation
— checklist in this booklet.
Let people know what is in it for them by emphasising the
benefits of getting involved. Involvement is a commitment
for most people that can have costs, for example, time,
travel expenses, potential to fail, etc. But there are also
many rewards of involvement. Benefits to participants
can include:
— development of new skills
— enhanced self-esteem
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how to get and keep people involved
contribution to children’s education
increased circle of friends
increased awareness of own health
being valued by others
acting as a good role model for others, etc.
Help people to see that the benefits are likely to outweigh the
Remember: all types of participation are valuable.
page 4
how to get and keep people involved
how to identify who could be involved
background information
Working with the whole school community is very important
to the health promoting schools approach. School community
involvement should be more than fundraising, voicing
concerns or audience participation. A health promoting
school not only consults the school community; it encourages
members to play an active part in the management,
decision-making and activities of the school.
A high level of school community participation takes time
and effort to achieve. However, many benefits result from
an inclusive and collaborative approach. These can include
sharing the workload, gaining specialist skills and knowledge,
and an increased chance that any recommendations will be
carried out and be ongoing.
what to do
This activity can be completed individually, or used as a
brainstorming session within a group or meeting. See How to
brainstorm in Booklet 8.
List as many ideas as you or the group can think of to answer
the following questions:
— Who makes up our school community?
— Who has a stake in what happens within our school?
(Who are the stakeholders?)
— Who will be affected by
adopting a health promoting
schools approach?
— Who will benefit from adopting
a health promoting schools
— Who needs to be involved?
page 5
how to get and keep people involved
how to look at the influence and support of
different people — stakeholder analysis
background information
The term ‘stakeholder’ refers to all people who are, or could
be, affected by the health promoting schools approach. That
is, all people who hold a stake in what goes on.
This activity will help you think about the impact stakeholders
can have on implementing the health promoting schools
approach or implementing a specific activity. It allows you to
estimate the level of support each stakeholder is likely to give
you and how much influence they are likely to have. This will
help you determine what actions can be taken to increase
their support.
A stakeholder analysis as shown in Table 2 can be used to:
• understand who and what you are dealing with
• identify the amount of support you have
from different people, groups or organisations
• identify the lack of support from people or
• decide how to overcome difficulties
and barriers before they arise
• understand the influence and power certain
people have so you can choose who to target
to help make the health promoting schools
approach successful
• decide who will make up a health promoting
schools working group.
what to do
page 6
Use the steps listed below to complete this table2. The activity
can be completed by an individual or by a group. See the
example on the next page of what this table could look like
when completed.
how to get and keep people involved
Table 2: stakeholder analysis2
eg. President P & C
eg. Principal
Discuss with
Step 1: List all stakeholders in Column 1. Include all people or
organisations that may be interested or can help you.
Do not forget to identify agencies, personnel and
community groups and the rest of the school community.
Step 2: In Column 2, record your estimate of how supportive or nonsupportive each stakeholder is likely to be. Useful codes are:
strongly supportive
indifferent or undecided
strongly opposed
Step 3: In Column 3, for each stakeholder, record how confident you
are in your estimate of their support. For example:
some doubt
considerable doubt
wild guess
Step 4: In Column 4, record your estimate of how much influence
each stakeholder is likely to have. Useful codes are:
low or none
Step 5: In Column 5, record how confident you are in your estimate of
each stakeholder’s influence. For example:
some doubt
considerable doubt
wild guess
Step 6: In Column 6, record actions you can take to check your
estimate and/or increase the support of the stakeholder.
As you plan actions, consider the following:
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how to get and keep people involved
— Have you checked that your estimates are
— Is it likely that you will be able to turn opposition
— Are you wasting resources on those you cannot win
— Have you considered and tried to overcome
barriers that may be preventing the support of
— Are you targeting influential stakeholders?
Table 3: example stakeholder analysis
degree confidence
President P & C
Head of Department
Head of Department
– Science
Head of Department
– Home Economics
Head of Department
– Manual Arts
Head of Department
– English
Head of Department
– Maths
degree confidence
Discuss with
Address staff
Address staff
Address staff
Address staff
Address staff
Address staff
Carry out your planned actions.
You may like to complete the
table again at a later stage as
stakeholder support and influence
may have changed, especially after
implementing your actions.
page 8
how to get and keep people involved
how to help create a shared vision of your
‘ideal school’ – visioning activity
background information
To help create a shared vision of the ‘ideal’ health promoting
school, you can invite members of the school community to
participate in a visioning exercise.
This activity is designed to involve people in creating a vision
of their school as they would like it to be. It can assist in
developing a sense of community and ownership of ‘their’
school. It can also generate support and enthusiasm for
initiatives that move the school towards their shared vision.
what to do
The activity could be run during an information forum, a
health promoting schools meeting, within an existing meeting
or with a health promoting schools working group.
you will need
coloured pens, large sheets of paper, reusable wall adhesive,
sticky note-pads.
the activity involves the following steps
Explain that participants are going to be asked to
envisage their own school transformed into the ideal
Ask participants to move to a comfortable position and
close their eyes.
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how to get and keep people involved
Read the visioning script to participants. Be sure to pause
and leave plenty of time for people to visualise what you
have been saying.
sharing ideas about their ideal school
page 10
When participants have finished the visualisation, invite
them to form small groups.
Ask participants to recall what came to mind as being
most important to their vision of the ideal school, and to
share ideas within the group.
Ask each group to record their vision of the ideal school.
This can be done by:
— writing words or phrases, or drawing pictures on a
large piece of paper
— writing or drawing their ideas on sticky notes and
making a collage
— writing or drawing their ideas on a school map.
Display the responses of each group around the room for
example, attached to the wall or window.
Invite participants to go on a ‘gallery walk’ around the
room to view the ideas of other groups.
Invite participants to return to the large group and
present/discuss the elements of their ideal school. Use
these ideas to develop a whole group vision of the ideal
school. This could be used:
— to display to the rest of the school community
— to draw comparisons between the vision and the
school as it currently is, and point the way for possible
changes within the school community.
how to get and keep people involved
visioning script
(Speak slowly, pausing to allow participants time to
“We’re now going to take a trip into a school community
where the students and staff have the best possible
opportunities and conditions for learning and working. The
school is part of an ‘ideal’ wider community that supports
and encourages the school. As we take this trip, try to picture
your school as this ideal school community. Think about your
school as you would like it to be.
“Make yourself comfortable, perhaps close your eyes.
“Now, imagine that we’re hovering above the school in a
hot-air balloon. It’s after 8.30am. From your position, you’re
able to take in the school environment as a whole - look at
the buildings, the grounds, the play areas, the students. What
colours, sights, sounds and smells come up to meet you?
“Now the balloon is descending slowly into the centre of
the school. We’ve landed. We’re leaving the balloon and
wandering around the grounds. Look around you. What
impresses you most about what you see? What is the general
environment like? What sort of buildings and facilities are
available in this school? Are the grounds attractive and
well kept? Are there signs around which make it easy to
understand what sort of behaviour this school encourages;
what its standards are?
“We’re leaving the grounds now and going through the school
buildings – the admin building, the staff rooms, the toilet
blocks, the walkways, the library, the other facilities… What’s
your first impression? What helped you form that impression?
What do you see as you proceed through the buildings? Are
they clean, comfortable and welcoming? What facilities are
available and what items can you see to tell you that this is a
school that values the well-being of its members? Are there
certain areas or rooms set aside for specific groups to work,
such as parents, or guidance staff or health care personnel?
What facilities are available for teachers? Is it a comfortable
working environment for staff?
“Classes have begun now and we’re going to have a look
through the classrooms. As we enter one classroom after
another, take notice of the students’ surroundings and
the general atmosphere of each room. Are the facilities
comfortable in terms of lighting, temperature, space? Do
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how to get and keep people involved
the students look motivated and involved in the activities
offered in their classrooms? How would you describe the
way teachers are working with their students? How are the
students relating to their teachers? Do you see students
participating in class decision making? What sort of values
are being communicated through the interaction of teachers
and students, and students with one another? What’s on
the walls? Do you see any health related lessons or units in
progress? What about community involvement - are there any
parents or community members contributing to classroom
activities? How are they contributing? What obvious signs tell
you that people’s well-being is an integral part of this school’s
ethos and curriculum?
“At morning tea and lunch we venture outside again. What are
the students eating? Where are they seated? Are they together
in groups or seated individually? Are there enough bins and
are they being used? What does the general area look like?
Some of the students are going to the tuckshop. Let’s follow
“As we approach the tuckshop, what prominently displayed
items first catch your eye? What do you notice about the
menu as you read it? Which items are the students buying?
Who is working in the canteen, making and serving food? Are
parents, students or other community members involved?
What sort of advertising is around? How is the tuckshop
supporting the nutrition activities that you may have seen
going on in the classrooms?
“Most of the students have finished eating now, and are out
in the playgrounds. As we wander and observe the students,
what strikes you most about their general appearance and
behaviour? What kinds of activities are they involved in?
How are they interacting with one another? See that student
standing alone? Watch what happens.
“Let’s take a closer look at the recreational areas. Are the
play areas safe and appealing? What sort of planned outdoor
spaces are there for educational and recreational purposes?
Are they open or shaded? Where are the students spending
the most time? What sort of supervision is there? Are there
any organised activities going on? Who is involved in those
activities? Now look at the teachers who are on duty - what are
they doing? How are they interacting with the students? Do
the teachers and students seem comfortable together?
“From here we also visit the staff room. What do you notice as
you enter? What is the general atmosphere and
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how to get and keep people involved
environment like? What facilities are available for the staff?
What are they doing or discussing? What evidence is there
that staff are supported, involved and motivated? Are
professional development activities encouraged and given
full support within the school? Is there a broad cross section
of staff present in the staff room? Do teaching support staff
and administration staff also participate in the staff room?
Does this strike you as a happy staff room? Why?
“Let’s jump forward to the end of the school day now and
move with the students as they travel home. Some students
are being picked up by parents or carers, while others are
walking, riding and even skateboarding. What sort of safety
precautions are evident? Is the students’ departure from the
school grounds supervised by teachers, parents or other road
safety personnel?
“When the students arrive home, what do they do? Do the
students talk about their day and the things they did and
learned? What sort of information is shared between the
school and the home and how is this information shared?
Does the home demonstrate a positive attitude towards the
“The day is at an end and it’s now time to reflect on all that
you’ve seen and heard. Think about the things that pleased
you as you moved about the school. What are the things that
really impressed you?
“Now we have finished our trip, you can open your eyes. It
would be good now to share some of our visions for our ideal
school with others.”
page 13
how to get and keep people involved
how to identify ways to involve people
– using a group discussion
background information
To help create opportunities for participation and remove
barriers, it can be useful to gather ideas from the school
community about how people can be involved.
what to do
The following activity3 could be completed during a planning
or information sharing session to identify opportunities and
barriers to participation. You may want to follow some, or all
of the following steps:
Explain and discuss ‘passive’ participation and ‘active’
participation. Refer to Types of participation in this
booklet. Do not forget that all levels of participation are
As a group, brainstorm all the opportunities for school
community inclusion and participation that currently
exist in the school. List these on a whiteboard using the
following table. If you wish, place each opportunity along
the continuum of passive and active participation.
passive participation
Spreading information
Gathering information
Involvement in activities or
special events
Decision-making and
page 14
active participation
how to get and keep people involved
Look at the list of opportunities for participation that you
have developed and discuss the following questions.
List any new ideas that arise on the whiteboard or have
someone record them on butchers paper.
— Have we considered all school community members?
non-teaching staff
school/youth health nurse
other health workers
interested community
members and organisations
— Are there areas where opportunities for participation
are particularly well handled? Why is this so? What
are some factors that contribute to high levels of
— Are there areas where opportunities for participation
do not exist or are extremely limited? Why?
— What are some of the reasons why people don’t
participate or get involved?
— What actions can be taken to open up opportunities
for participation and overcome barriers?
(The term ‘barriers’ refers to anything that
discourages participation.)
— Does anyone want to ‘do something’ to
overcome these barriers? Who wants to work
together to do it? Who else needs to be
included? When and how will you
Set a time and date for interested
people to develop an action plan
of strategies that will encourage
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how to get and keep people involved
how to identify ways to involve people
– using a questionnaire
background information
A good way to identify barriers and create opportunities for
participation is to ask people in the school community about
their perceptions of these. A questionnaire allows you to ask a
large number of people. It also allows you to target a specific
group of people, for example, parents, community members,
or students for whom participation may be a problem.
what to do
page 16
Using the sample survey shown in Figure 2 as an example,
create your own questionnaire with open-ended questions
that can be used to identify ways people can be involved.
Distribute copies of this questionnaire to members of the
target group and allow a reasonable amount of time for them
to fill it in and return it to a designated place. Remember to
state the time it is due to be returned. Providing some sort of
a reminder to the group will usually improve the number of
responses you receive.
how to get and keep people involved
Figure 2: example of a simple survey designed to
identify ways people could be involved
Healthsville State School
Healthsville State School is interested in
looking at participation within the school. We
want to use this information to create better
opportunities for participation. Your input is
very valuable and we would greatly appreciate
it if you would take the time to fill in this
survey. (Please return to the school office by 20
1. Why do you think some parents, community
members or students don’t participate or get
involved in school activities?
2. What could be done to change or overcome
these barriers?
3. In what ways would you like to be involved in
school activities?
4. What would make it easier for you to participate
in school activities?
Thank you for your valuable time
For more information on questionnaires, refer to How to
conduct a survey in Booklet 6.
page 17
how to get and keep people involved
how to identify barriers to participation
– using a checklist
background information
Barriers to participation are those things that prevent
members of the school community from being involved.
Sometimes the school can take a specific action to overcome
barriers, if the barriers are recognised. This checklist can
be used at different times throughout the health promoting
schools process to prompt your thinking and acting about
what to do
page 18
Complete the following checklist to identify possible barriers
to participation of school community members. Those
planning school activities, for example, the health promoting
schools working group, could use the checklist. Alternatively,
if you want to find out what many members of the school
community think, the checklist or related questions could be
used as part of a survey.
how to get and keep people involved
Table 3: checklist of possible barriers to
Do school community members
face these barriers?
times do not suit (eg. day activities may
exclude some people)
problems with transport and accessibility
limited availability of quality childcare to
attend activities
new to the school — “I don’t feel as though
I belong”
family culture is different from school
main language spoken at home is not English
work commitments make involvement difficult
formal meeting procedures exclude some people
feelings of alienation towards school,
teachers and/or administrators
educational jargon is used in our school
and excludes others
complex or unclear decision-making
processes are used in our school
time-consuming decision-making
processes lead to frustration
hesitancy to work or speak out in groups
feelings that their contributions are not
important or that they have little power
to influence others
not interested in the school except for
educational purposes
page 19
how to get and keep people involved
how to encourage participation and overcome
background information
Once barriers to participation have been identified, taking
action to remove them will help involve more people.
what to do
page 20
The following suggestions include a range of opportunities
that exist to encourage participation.
Hold meetings – encourage attendance by thinking of
the most appropriate time and location to hold meetings.
Consider types of assistance you can offer to encourage
participation. Meetings could include:
— health promoting schools information nights
— health promoting schools working group meetings
— consultation with existing groups, for example, P&C,
P&F, tuckshop, staff groups, student council or
school council.
Invite feedback — place articles and messages in
newsletters inviting comment and feedback. Invite new
people to participate whenever health promoting schools
information is given.
Give feedback — regular feedback is most useful. Present
ongoing progress reports in newsletters, newspapers, etc.
Consider including health promoting schools information
in languages other than English.
Use a coordinator — a coordinator can keep in contact
with people and receive feedback and suggestions,
possibly by phone.
Provide a community/family centre — this could
consist of an area where parents, students, community
members and school staff are welcome. The area is an
ideal place for family/student breakfasts, tea and coffee,
casual chats and sharing information on social services,
translation services, current school activities and the
progress of health promoting schools.
Develop policy — a parent participation policy and/or
a community member participation policy. The policy
how to get and keep people involved
could include guidelines for parent/community members
working with the school and guidelines for the school
working with parent/community members. Strategies
that address barriers to participation, for example cultural
differences, can be included. See Booklet 9, How to
develop and revise policy.
Hold events and ceremonies — organise special events
to publicise and celebrate health promoting schools
activities and progress.
Use technology — resources can be taken home, for
example, videos of special events, school activities or
information. Set up a website or send e-mails. See How to
use e-mail and websites in Booklet 5.
Have a health library — make information about health,
the school, the curriculum, health promoting schools,
upcoming events, parenting, child development and local
services accessible to the whole school community.
Use worksheets — encourage students to take home
health worksheets and discuss health issues and
concerns with others.
Hold a ‘launch’ — publicise your school’s adoption
of the health promoting schools approach by holding
a special event or ‘launch’. Invite key people in the
school community. Have an opening speech and
presentation to let people know what is happening.
Provide refreshments. People can chat informally about
the health promoting schools approach which will create
enthusiasm and motivation.
page 21
how to get and keep people involved
how to maintain ongoing involvement
background information
In addition to creating opportunities for involvement and
removing barriers to participation, there are other ways that
help keep the school community involved. These include:
what to do
providing a sense of achievement
giving positive reinforcement
saying ‘thank you’
ensuring open communication
providing regular feedback.
provide a sense of achievement
People need to have some sense of achievement if their
interest and enthusiasm is to be maintained. It is important to
let those involved know what has been achieved.
See Booklet 5 How to let people know for ideas.
Before you can let people know what has been
achieved, you must first recognise an
achievement. It is often easy to get lost in longterm goals without recognising the little steps and
smaller contributions that are just as important.
To help you recognise achievements along the
— set short-term as well as long-term goals
— identify achievement of short-term goals and successes
— break long-term goals into smaller, more manageable and
achievable objectives or steps
— consider the achievability of goals when planning
— decide on and use ways of monitoring progress.
It is important to start small and build on your successes,
celebrating each step along the way. This will maintain and
page 22
how to get and keep people involved
encourage participation rather than taking on something too
large and then becoming disheartened when things go wrong.
give positive reinforcement
People need to feel that their time and energy is useful and
appreciated. It is important to acknowledge the input and
contribution of all participants. It is amazing what a small
‘thank you’ can achieve. Sincere, frequent and ongoing
thanks and acknowledgment are the most effective. Show
that you value the efforts of people in everything you do, not
just at the end of an activity.
say ‘thank you’
The efforts of participants can be acknowledged informally
and formally. However, there needs to be a balance between
not saying ‘thank you’ enough, having people think their
efforts are unappreciated, and saying it so often that it
becomes meaningless. When the time is right to do this, there
are a number of different ways that can be used:
— thank people publicly — as you spread information, for
example, list some ‘thank you’s in newsletter articles
— present awards at meetings to participants for their
special contributions — awards can be serious or fun
— present certificates of participation and appreciation at
assembly or a special ceremony
— celebrate your efforts — organise a special celebration gettogether for those who have participated
— thank people personally — write personal ‘thank you’
— say ‘thank you’ in person to individuals.
ensure open communication
Communication should be a two-way process. It is good to
maintain open communication with participants on all levels
about the progress and outcomes of activities. Participants
should be able to communicate openly with the school. Keep
invitations open to new people at all stages and make them
feel welcome by involving them quickly in activities.
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how to get and keep people involved
Don’t allow new people the time to feel left out of what is
happening in their school.
provide regular feedback
Providing regular, ongoing feedback on the progress of
health promoting schools can help to create enthusiasm and
encourage new interested people to participate. Refer to How
to let people know Booklet 5.
page 24
Adapted from Cervone Tucker B & O’Leary K (1982)
A conceptual framework for parent involvement,
Educational Leadership, pp. 48-49 cited in Department
of Education (1996) Learning and working together, Book
3 Taking action: strategies and resources, Publishing
Services, Facilities and Services Directorate: Brisbane
Beckhard’s Stakeholder analysis in Course Notes from
Social Consultancy; Griffith University, Dick R (1990)
Adapted from Department of Education (1996) Learning
and working together, Book 3 Taking action: strategies
and resources, Publishing Services, Facilities and
Services Directorate: Brisbane
Adapted from Department of Education (1996) Learning
and working together, Book 1 Listening and learning
together, Publishing Services, Facilities and Services
Directorate: Brisbane
This manual has been collaboratively developed by
Queensland Health with Education Queensland,
Brisbane Catholic Education Centre and
Association of Independent Schools — Queensland.
Reprinted 2005
Queens and Government
Queensland Health
Education Queensland