Australian Primary Principals Association - Connected Leader: The APPA e-journal for Australian primary school leaders


April 2015

Initial teacher education: classroom ready or not?

A number of articles have appeared in the media regarding the recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG). These have included articles from Ben Jenson (‘Weekend Australian’, 2015), Roberts-Hull, (2015) and Andrew Bracey (‘Education Review’, 2015). Jenson identified employment or registration as a possible key transformer lever by having universities advertise results for successfully employed graduates. Poorly performing universities would be keen to improve courses to ensure they attract students. Jensen also looked at selection to courses and indicated the focus on the ATAR score may not be the answer. Incidentally, in Finland, all applicants to teacher education need to complete an academic entrance assessment before they are considered for the next phase of selection. Bracey’s article pointed out that many organisations and groups have welcomed the government’s response and believe the recommendations will lead to improved courses.

APPA strongly supports the Government’s position that universities should select students with demonstrated high academic achievement through a rigorous screening of applicants. Such screening is required in other high preforming countries where applicants need to demonstrate a readiness and capability for undertaking initial teacher education. In Australia, the selection of students to courses needs clarity and transparency. This is also a clear view held by APPA.

The Learning First organisation has released a report called ‘A new approach: Reforming teacher education’ (Roberts-Hull, et al. 2015). This report identifies the key problems and issues with Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and options for reform. The report believes there is a lack of evidence-based content and teaching practice in the university course, low subject knowledge training, insufficient focus on data collection and analysis skills, and limited integration of theory and practice (practicum). APPA’s submission to TEMAG identified similar key concerns and areas that need to be improved. We have identified four key areas that APPA sees as critical for reforming initial teacher education:

  • selection of people for teacher education
  • teaching practicum
  • teacher preparation, course content and curriculum
  • induction.

The Learning First Report also stated that ’…improving the connection between ITE providers and schools is crucial, since teachers and school leaders have long reported that ITE is failing to adequately prepare teachers for the realities of classroom teaching’ (p..8). APPA strongly supports this view and believes the partnership between schools and universities needs strengthening to ensure graduates are ‘classroom ready’.

Increasingly, principals report that they are having to provide intensive induction programs for beginning teachers to meet the demands of the classroom. Beginning teachers seem to be coming into the school with gaps in their learning and training. This requires additional resources and adds to the work of principals and supervisors. APPA will shortly be undertaking a project to identify the key behaviours, skills and knowledge beginning or graduate teachers need to demonstrate to be classroom ready. There seems to be different interpretations of the graduate teacher standards; so the information from the project will help inform universities and all involved in teacher education as to what it means to be classroom ready and trained to teach the primary curriculum. I believe this is a key area where the voice of primary principals needs to be loud and strong about the need for urgent change in initial teacher education.

The emphasis of Minister Pyne of the need for preservice teachers to have an early school experience is strongly supported by APPA. Simply stated, this means in the first semester of the course. APPA believes it can provide practical advice and feedback on developing the framework for the practicum part of the teacher education course. We also welcome the opportunity to investigate innovative teaching practicum options, especially for people studying in rural and remote areas of Australia. The integration of the practicum relies on the support and willingness of principals to accept pre-service teachers. Additionally, the university needs to support the school and mentor with ongoing collaboration to ensure the practicum is successful. Unfortunately, there seems to be with some universities a ‘one-sided partnership’, dictating when and how the practicum is to run. This is not collaboration. I could well understand a principal refusing to take pre-service teachers if collaboration and resourcing were not forthcoming from a university.

While it is early days in the tasks that emanate from the report, APPA has written to Minister Pyne welcoming the recommendations and also to Professor John Hattie, Board Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). Our goal is to ensure that primary school principals are key stakeholders in developing the responses to the recommendations. I see APPA and the state and territory principals associations as key partners in the work ahead. As the Learning First report (p19) states, ‘Attracting strong candidates into well-executed ITE programs should be the ultimate goal.’

I look forward to the task ahead and call on all principals to be proactive and involved with improving initial teacher education courses.

Best regards,

Dennis Yarrington
President, Australian Primary Principals Association
Mobile: 0466 655 468


Bracey, A. (2015) ‘Teachers, get ready’, In Education Review, p 10.

Jenson, B. (2015). ‘The six steps to better teachers’, In Weekend Australian, March 28-29, p 19.

Roberts-Hull, K., Jensen, B., & Cooper, S. (2015). A new approach: Teacher education reform, Learning First, Melbourne, Australia.

School Aid KidsGive: This program is about students conducting projects and events to raise awareness and funds for other less fortunate children. School Aid will be launching the It’s NOT FAIR Week on 25 June in Canberra. The week will see student leaders in primary schools organising events to raise funds and awareness for a school-selected cause.

More information will be available on the website:


Interviewees urgently sought for 2015 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2015 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

Principals in the news

April 2015

Anthony Vincent

The University of the Sunshine Coast has recognised the leadership of a former Queensland school principal by awarding him an Honorary Senior Fellowship.

Omar Hallak

The principal of Victoria's largest Islamic school, al-Taqwa College, has been called to a meeting with Victorian Government officials to explain why he told students that Islamic State was a plot by western countries.

Maureen Gray

Explaining her duty of care, the principal of Cromer Public School has warned parents that their dangerous driving before and after school will likely result in a tragedy.

David Harris

Former school principal David Harris comfortably claimed the seat of Wyong for the Labor Party at the recent NSW state election.

Lalit Verma

The case of an Indian primary school principal, who is reported to have beaten an 11-year-old boy to death for allegedly stealing a pencil, has made international headlines.

Interviewees urgently sought for 2015 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2015 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

Locally made ethical school wear

Through their own procurement policies local schools have the power to support an ethical Australian clothing industry and help prevent the exploitation of workers. There are local school wear manufacturers who are committed to making clothes locally the right way.

Ethical Clothing Australia is responsible for accrediting local clothing and footwear manufacturers to ensure that their workers are receiving their legal wages and entitlements, and working in decent conditions.

To find out more contact Ethical Clothing Australia to ask how we can assist your school to source ethically accredited school wear.

Phone: 03 94190222

Opinion and analysis

April 2015

Michael Rowan

University of Tasmania’s Michael Rowan is one of a number of critics who are concerned about the strength, certification process and credibility of Tasmanian education.

Ben Neutze

As schools commemorate ANZAC Day, this opinion piece explores the meaning of the Gallipoli campaign. Neutze quotes historian Peter Stanley, who says that ANZAC has grown in significance because it fills a void in our national history.

Robert Randall

‘The debate about NAPLAN’s value is a tired one,’ says the CEO of ACARA.

David Zyngier

It’s time to follow the lead of Chile, says this Monash University academic, and ‘stop all public funding to private schools and redirect it to disadvantaged public schools.’

Zoltan Istvan

This personal summary of futuristic (but nevertheless fledgling) political movements in several countries places free education and free internet at the centre of possibly transformed societies.

Written by internationally recognised school and early education experts, Your Child's First Year at School: Getting off to a good start, is highly valued as a home and school resource which provides excellent advice to parents, teachers and all interested in giving children the best possible start at school. Order at:

Research, reports and statistics

April 2015

Comparison of academic results

A University of Queensland study has compared the academic results of students from independent, Catholic and government schools.

Anxious children sought for UQ study

Researchers are seeking families of anxious children to participate in a ground-breaking intervention called Fear-less.

Long-term impact of poverty

Poorer children who fall behind in reading at an early age earn around 20% an hour less in later life, according to a study commissioned by the UK’s ‘Read On. Get On.’ campaign.

Research on long-term effects of childcare

A QUTstudy has found that children who spent more than 20 hours a week in a childcare centre are potentially better prepared for school but more likely to develop social, emotional and behavioural problems.

Impact of Harry Potter on brain

Scientists used an MRI scanner to map the brains of volunteers reading excerpts from JK Rowling's books about the young wizard, Harry Potter. The results will not surprise those who love literature.

PR1ME Mathematics—based on the world’s best practice used in Singapore PR1ME has been developed by Scholastic in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Singapore.

How does it work? PR1ME: explicitly and systematically teaches the problem solving processes and strategies; uses consistent and carefully structured pedagogy; takes a carefully scaffolded, deep-dive into conceptual development; actively involves students in metacognition; and provides professional learning for teachers.

Education news

April 2015

Professional sports coaches

Under a new program Play. Sport. Australia, schools will be able to apply for grants to pay for professional coaches or train their own teachers as coaches.

Acorns to remember ANZACS

Lieutenant WL Cooke sent nine acorns home from Gallipoli in 1916, hoping they would grow on the family farm near Hamilton, in Victoria. Acorns from one of the resulting trees are soon to be planted in hundreds of Victorian primary schools.

Call for homeschooling vouchers

The Victorian Government has been asked to provide taxpayer-funded vouchers to help the growing number of homeschooling families pay for stationery, curriculum resources, computers and internet access.

Student suspensions in Queensland

QASSP President Michael Fay says that it’s ‘really important that significant inappropriate behaviours are not condoned or ignored in [the] early years, to help those young students who need support to make better choices throughout their later years.’

Early warning signs?

A Dutch principal has been asked to comment on a former student who moved to Australia, highlighting the ethical challenges and responsibilities for schools, and school systems, in their management of young people exhibiting anti-social behaviours.

For 40 years, Scholastic Australia has been partnering with schools across the country to give kids access to books they want to read through Clubs and Fairs. In 2012, Scholastic gave Australian schools over $11 million worth of Scholastic Rewards. To find out how you can spend Scholastic Rewards on resources and save your budget, visit

Balancing act

April 2015

Imaginative solutions for stress relief

Dr Martin Rossman explores guided imagery, which uses the imagination to reduce stress, relieve pain, change lifestyle habits, and stimulate healing responses in the body.

Men’s depression: the benefits of getting help

A short discussion about how men can benefit from getting help for depression and why seeking help is necessary.

How to make healthy eating easy

Luke Durward provides some ‘secret’ advice about healthy eating; a simple strategy that is repeatedly overlooked, he says.

Put important things first

It's easy to lose focus on the important things in your life and to fill the precious time you do have with things that don't mean so much.

Protect yourself by not getting defensive

Practising ‘verbal aikado’ is one strategy that protects you from difficult people.

Camp Australia delivers after school care solutions, building on the educational experience of school communities. As the nation’s leading after school care provider Camp Australia has partnered with school communities for 25 years, adding value by delivering high quality care, well-trained staff, systems and support. Find out how Camp Australia will add value to your school community at

Policy and innovation

April 2015

Chilled water on tap

Students in every government primary school in Canberra now have access to chilled water on tap as part of a plan to encourage water as the drink of choice.

Exemption from homework

At Cambridge Park Public School, in Sydney, parents can give permission to permanently excuse their children from homework, with other schools including Maroubra Junction, Yarrawarrah and Mingoola having similar opt-out options.

3D printers in primary schools

As 3D printing becomes more affordable, one IT company is offering to supply the 3D printing hardware, software and training for teachers who integrate 3D printing programs into their curriculum.

Prefabricated classrooms that generate energy

The Energy Positive Portable Classroom, developed by architects at the invitation of the government of Hawaii, possesses a range of features that transform it into a generator of electricity.

Extending education for girls

An Indian school principal has been asked to help a 13-year-old student avoid an unwanted, arranged marriage. It is estimated that the number of child brides across the world will reach over 140 million by 2020.

KidsMatter Primary is a proven mental health and wellbeing framework for primary schools. It provides expert knowledge, tools and support to help schools grow healthy young minds and care for children’s mental health. KidsMatter is backed by the expertise of Principals Australia Institute, beyondblue and the Australian Psychological Society.

Professional skill-building

April 2015

Disadvantaged Perth schools boost results with leadership program

EDvance, developed by the not-for-profit Fogarty Foundation, provides mentoring, training and peer support to principals in Western Australia, to help them set and achieve goals to lift student outcomes.

International education symposium

In partnership with the Tasmanian Government, the University of Tasmania has organised an international education symposium to be held at Wrest Point from 14 to 16 July.

Digital disruption and leadership course

Organisations in every sector are being disrupted by the forces of digital technology and education is not exempt. According to Jan-Martin Lowendahl, traditional educational business models are being fundamentally challenged by digitalisation.

The ‘Science of Learning’

The University of Queensland has launched a new online, open-access, journal that focuses on research on the neurobiology of learning.

Women in leadership: tips for success

Eleanor Shakiba provides some tips for women who wish to be more successful in leadership roles.

Academy Photography are proud sponsors of the Australian Primary Principals Association. Academy Photography services include school photography, yearbooks, complete printing and educational solutions using latest technologies.

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Money matters

April 2015

Fee discounting continues in Victoria

As the competition for enrolment increases, the last-minute booking website, School Places, is offering discounts of up to 50 per cent at 30 Victorian independent schools; up from 11 schools when the site was launched a year ago.

Financial divide within government sector

There's a growing class divide within the government school system and it's all to do with some schools having lots of educated, middle-class parents with spare cash.

Nation-wide survey on fundraising

In a survey of 725 principals nationwide, Victoria stands out as the state that is most dependent on community fundraising, with 70 per cent of principals saying it was ‘very important’.

Long-term consequences of BER

If the avoidable cost of projects is still as it was found by the BER Taskforce, then the public is also being burdened by largely avoidable public debt, says David Chandler.

Extent of Australian poverty

More than a million Australians live in poverty, says a recent CEDA report.

Catholic Super has been providing outstanding superannuation and retirement services to members and employers for more than 40 years. As a leading industry super fund that anyone can join, we offer award-winning superannuation and pension products, long-term superior investment performance, a broad range of investment options and competitive fees.

Love the job

April 2015

Ms Shelley Travers

Head of Junior School, Seymour College
Adelaide, South Australia

Where are you currently working as a school leader?

I recently took up the position of Head of Junior School at Seymour College, an independent girl’s school in the beautiful eastern suburbs of Adelaide. This is my first primary principal role, following extensive experience as Deputy Head of Primary at Matthew Flinders Anglican College, on the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland. Moving from the Sunshine State to the Festival State has proven to be an incredibly rewarding professional and personal adventure, giving me the opportunity to continue working with outstanding educational practitioners and leaders at Seymour College.

How long have you been a school leader and where/what was your first appointment?

My first formal leadership position at Matthew Flinders was Junior Primary Coordinator, a title which later became Dean of Junior Primary. This role combined pastoral and curriculum responsibilities for the preparatory to year 3 sub-school. During the first few years in this role, I maintained my junior primary classroom teaching responsibilities, carefully balancing the classroom and leadership roles. As the school continued to grow, it became obvious that a greater commitment to the leadership role would benefit my teaching colleagues and the students in my care. My decision to leave the classroom and take up the full-time leadership role was a difficult one. I loved being a classroom teacher, nurturing a class of little ones and guiding their growth and learning. Teaching brought me great joy; it is a significant part of my life’s purpose. I was incredibly proud of what I had achieved professionally. It was my husband, Graham, who helped me in the early days to see that a leadership move out of the classroom was not the end of what I loved, but simply the beginning of a new way of touching the lives of children and their futures.


Love the job

April 2015

Ms Shelley Travers

Head of Junior School, Seymour College
Adelaide, South Australia

(continued from previous page)

Why did you originally want to become a school leader?

I am a fierce advocate for young children and the power of lifelong learning. Intelligent educational change and new professional initiatives have always excited me. My transformation from classroom teacher to school leader was inspired by some exceptional school leaders, mentors who lit the fire inside me to strive towards excellence. They helped me to recognise and hone my professional strengths and fuelled my desire to do the same for others.

I came to realise that by seeking a leadership role I could directly, and indirectly, positively influence the lives of more children, whilst simultaneously supporting the aspirations of my teaching colleagues. Becoming a school leader has proven to be far more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. I have learned the value of leadership from every student, every parent and every teaching professional who has shared my journey.

I am extremely grateful to those who have walked beside me on my path as a leader. They have guided me on a journey that continues to bring me joy and fill me with a unique sense of purpose after so many years.

What was your worst day?

My worst days at school have involved the loss of people who were part of the school community. Unfortunately, there has been more than one such day. The passing of anyone in a close-knit school community is a particularly heart-wrenching and tragic loss. These are moments when you truly appreciate the unique role we have in society and the words, in loco parentis, assume a meaning beyond mere legal principle. The opportunity to play a special and sensitive role in helping children at school who have experienced the loss of a parent is a unique reward of our position.


Love the job

April 2015

Ms Shelley Travers

Head of Junior School, Seymour College
Adelaide, South Australia

(continued from previous page)

What makes you smile at work?

The highlight of my day is being around young people. I love getting out into the playground at lunch times, hearing the stories of the day and watching the informal, but no less important, learning play out. Witnessing the magical milestones of first monkey bar crossings, seeing shaky cartwheels perfected, and looking on as imaginary fairy gardens are created, are among the special moments that I have the privilege of sharing. They make me smile. Our junior school playground at Seymour College energises and invigorates me, even on the busiest of days and is yet another reminder of the true value of this magnificent profession.

Shelley Travers



Interviewees urgently sought for 2015 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2015 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

Managing Editor, APPA 'Connected Leader'

Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988

Connected Leader

Connected Leader Copyright ©. Australian Primary Principals Association 2015. This whole publication, created as a deliberately selected compilation of internet-based resources, may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA).

Connected Leader is an official publication of the Australian Primary Principals Association. In close collaboration with APPA, Connected Leader is designed, produced and edited, specifically for APPA members, by Debra J. Crouch, Managing Director of Vivid Word and Image design, to enhance the professional learning of Australian primary school leaders.


The opinions expressed in any of the internet-based resources accessed by links from Connected Leader, belong entirely to those who created those resources, and do not necessarily represent official APPA views and policies. At times, links to some resources may be deliberately selected to reflect the wide range of views held by Australian primary school leaders, and the views therein may be subject to debate in some sections of the education community. Readers are advised that, in the interests of brevity, not all of the available personal opinions or information about a particular event, development, issue or policy direction may be published in resources made available through links in Connected Leader. Interested readers who require more comprehensive information, or who seek the opinions of all stakeholders, are advised to directly contact the institution/s or persons cited in the resource/s or conduct their own private research.

Neither APPA, Debra J. Crouch nor Vivid Word and Image Design can guarantee, or take responsibility for, the accuracy or otherwise of any of the information and/or views contained in any of the internet-based resources accessed by links from Connected Leader, or from subsequent webpages accessed via links within (or in material/text following) those suggested resources. The duration of all links cannot be guaranteed by APPA or VIVID Word and Image Design. Nor do these two parties accept responsibility for any loss or damages arising from statements or opinions contained in any published article or advertisement.