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


April 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Firstly, let me wish each of you the very best wishes for the coming term and I hope that you’ve had an enjoyable break over recent weeks.

There will be plenty that crosses your desk and, at the risk of adding to the pile, I bring three quick items to your attention:


Now is the time to register for the 2017 APPA National Conference. Held this year in Brisbane from 12 – 15 September, the conference will bring together outstanding keynote speakers, quality Master Classes and an innovative program all within one of Brisbane’s most stunning venues. The theme of the conference, “Agility, Creativity, Legacy”, will explore the type of agile, innovative leadership that leaves a valuable legacy for the future.

Visit the conference website and register now at the Early Bird rate!


The Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) is conducting a national survey of primary principals and school leaders on the impact of employer and system policies on principal health and wellbeing. Titled Principal Health and Wellbeing: Policy to Practice, the survey builds on Dr Phil Riley's pioneer work in this area and takes around 20 minutes to complete, maybe a little longer if you'd like to add in a few comments.

The Principal Health and Wellbeing: Policy to Practice Survey can be found here and is also being distributed by your state / territory principals association. It’s open until early May.

The survey will collect responses with the aim of identifying and advocating for those policies that help make a positive difference to a principal's workload, and health and wellbeing. Please spend the time voicing your views on this important issue for us all.


We return having seen stories in the news about the UK Minister of State for School Standards, The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, speaking with Australian educators about developments – including the Year One Check – in English schools. We’ve heard that the NAPLAN Online testing trial is not happening in some parts of the country and that the Safe Schools Program is being replaced in NSW government schools. Amongst all this and much more we have the Commonwealth Government working through school funding arrangements with the state and territory governments, Catholic systems and Independent schools. Most, if not all, of this is either on or will find its way onto the APPA Agenda. Principals can be confident that APPA has been, and will continue to be, on the ‘front foot’ when it comes to those issues affecting primary schools and the students, teachers, staff and principals within them.

Finally, as I write this article for Connected Leader, The Australian has carried a headline “Teacher flaws stifle students, say principals”. The story was based on ACER’s report, PISA 2015: Reporting Australia’s Results, and highlighted the relationship between teacher and student, and the perceptions principals have of that relationship and its impact on learning.

A quick point must be made that PISA is concerned with the performance of 15yo students in maths, science and reading. From my experience, the following might help put the ‘primary perspective’ in the frame:

  • A good primary school is focused on working with parents and carers in regards to issues such as student behaviour and absenteeism.
  • Overall, primary teachers are not subject specialists. They teach all areas of the curriculum and the change of class and change of students each year means that primary teachers are generally flexible by nature and open to the change that makes a real difference.
  • School culture is important and, because primary schools have strong relationships with parents and community, primary schools are well placed to embed programs and pedagogy that respond to the needs of the student population and of those individual students that require particular help or attention.
  • Principals, of course, play a critical role in strengthening school culture, building teacher expertise, and setting clear goals and expectations for the school.

And a good teacher...

  • structures learning so that students are given, and build upon, the foundations of literacy and numeracy;
  • knows the curriculum;
  • prepares thoroughly and works hard;
  • manages the classroom in a firm, fair and friendly way;
  • knows the school community;
  • works and communicates effectively with parents and carers.

Best wishes,

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



8 - 9 June 2017 | International Convention Centre, Sydney As a principals’ association and APPA member, you're entitled to a 10% association discount on any of the EduTECH packages! Use 'APPA10' to take 10% off.

Are you a Masters student looking for a research project to help principals?

Michael Hawton, psychologist and teacher, who runs the Tough Conversations workshops nationally (see registration form) is seeking an educator who is currently undertaking a higher degree to evaluate the impact of professional development in reducing principals’ stress levels. The research would need to be done ‘at arms’ length’ from the programme developers. There is good anecdotal evidence from the 200+ school leaders, who have already completed the program, that it is benefiting members of our association. But, it is important to build the evidence base. There may be some opportunity to liaise with Associate Professor, Phil Riley, who is willing to discuss any design issues. So, if you’re looking for a topic and you want to do some applied research, please contact Michael Hawton on 0422 214 430. Michael can describe the topic and its parameters.

Under the spotlight

April 2017

Rebecca Cody

Geelong Grammar, in regional Victoria, has appointed its first female principal. Ms Cody will also become Geelong Grammar’s first Australian-born principal.

Dennis Yarrington

This in-depth interview provides personal insights into the rich, diverse and purposeful career of the APPA President.

Pauline Grewar

Just a few months short of her 80th birthday, the principal of Castletown Primary School, in WA, has retired from 60 years in education. Mrs Grewar began teaching at Boulder Infants School in 1956, when she was 18.

Kylie Champion

The heart-warming story of an assistant principal who has involved her Victorian primary school in fundraising for the animal rescue organisation Pawsome Friends.

Debra Kelliher

The principal of Kambala School, independent E-12 girls’ school in Sydney, has resigned in challenging circumstances.

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

Learning curve

April 2017

Why leaders eat last

Simon Sinek, author of ‘Leaders eat last’, explains why some teams pull together and others do not. The presentation explains how to build high performing teams.

Dealing with people who always have to be right

Mel Robbins provides some useful tactics on how to deal with argumentative people and those who always have to be right.

Nick Gibb, Mark Scott & Rob Stokes

This excellent Centre for Independent Studies video presentation on school and literacy improvement comprises the views of three influential education policy-makers, The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, UK Minister of State for School Standards, Mr Mark Scott AO, Secretary of NSW Department of Education and The Hon Rob Stokes MP, NSW Minister for Education.

Defuse difficult people

Nina Godiwalla outlines how to change your reaction to a disagreement in order to create a better situation.

The surprising secret to speaking with confidence

Caroline Goyder shares a personal story of moving from stage-paralysis to expressive self and provides some valuable advice on public speaking.

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 childrenthe best possible start at school. Order at:

Legal eagles

April 2017

Principal seeks legal counsel

An Adelaide principal has sought legal advice over a student who has used Facebook and other social media platforms to spread ‘malicious and unsubstantiated allegations’ about her.

Magistrate critical of prosecution

South Australian magistrate Susan O’Connor recently dismissed charges against special school teacher Jemima Raymond, describing the prosecution as a ‘travesty’ and ‘one of the most ‘unmeritorious’ she had ever seen.’ She said the case was a lesson for schools to call police at the earliest opportunity. Ms Raymond’s mother, Jen Mathwin Raymond, was principal of the R-12 school at the time of the playground incident that sparked the aggravated assault charges.

National security

The NSW Department of Education has stated that it is working closely with law enforcement agencies to manage complex and highly sensitive national security concerns that have reportedly impacted a number of primary and secondary schools in Sydney.

The law on children walking to school alone

An interesting state-by state comparison of the different laws relating to leaving children unsupervised, and particularly when walking to school. According to Queensland law, children under the age of 12 must not be left alone.

The law, school uniform and cultural sensitivity

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has warned schools that their uniform policies need to respect student diversity. Recent media debate surrounded a Melbourne school’s (recently reversed) decision that two South Sudanese twins had to remove the hair braids they had worn since birth.

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.

Challenge your thinking

April 2017

Australia’s most educationally disadvantaged postcodes

The postcodes 2839, 3047 and 6770 are among the most educationally disadvantaged in Australia, according to a new report titled ‘Dropping off the Edge’.

Why children shouldn’t sit still in class

‘Activity helps the brain in so many ways,’ says Professor James F. Sallis, who has conducted research on the link between activity breaks and classroom behaviour. This article refers to ‘GoNoodle’ and ‘BrainErgizers’, two US classroom activity programs that Australian teachers may wish to check out.

Technology changing the way we learn

‘Environmental factors are always changing us and are always changing the way we think,’ says memory and cognition expert Dr Benjamin Storm. However, in the same way that advances in technology are outpacing our understanding of what it's doing to our behaviours and relationships, those changes are also outpacing our understanding of how it's affecting learning and thinking, he says. This article provides a useful range of viewpoints on the advantages and disadvantages of new learning and communication technologies.

Impact of early food insecurity

The results of several episodes of food insecurity in early childhood have implications for future learning, this study concludes.

Figures on changing market shares

University of Canberra researcher Louise Watson says it is impossible to pinpoint why government schools are gaining ground on non-government schools in the ACT but sees it as indicative of a national trend.

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

Modern learners experience the discord and melody of an ever-changing score while modern leaders are charged with conducting an orchestra of many diverse instruments and unifying them in harmony. This conference will explore the attributes of agile, innovative leaders who leave a legacy tuned with purpose.



Dr Muhammad is one of the most sought after education consultants in North America and currently serves as CEO of the highly regarded New Frontier 21 Consulting. As a middle school teacher, assistant principal and principal, he earned numerous awards both as a teacher and principal. Anthony is recognised as a leading expert in the fields of school culture and organisational climate. His work and passion for changing cultural dynamics have seen him work successfully with schools across the US and around the world.


Dr Fox is a modern day ‘wizard-rogue’, author and leadership adviser. With expertise in motivational design, Jason shows forward-thinking leaders around the world how to unlock new progress and build for the future of work. Named Keynote Speaker of the Year by Professional Speakers Australia, he delivers fresh thinking to instil the curiosity so needed for future relevance, purpose and growth. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, he’s the bestselling author of The Game Changer and his research has featured in the likes of Smart Company, BRW and The Financial Review.


Holly Ransome is the CEO of Emergent, a company specialising in the development of high performing intergenerational workforces, exceptional leadership and sustainable social outcomes. Working with corporations, governments and non-profit organisations, Holly is renowned for generating innovative solutions to complex multi-stakeholder problems. She coaches and professionally mentors leaders around the world and, in 2014, was appointed to chair Australia’s G20 Youth Summit. In 2016, she Co-Chaired the United Nations Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs and became the youngest ever female Director of an AFL Club.


Dr Murgatroyd is an expert on innovative policy and practice, the author of some 40 books and a frequent contributor to radio and news media. As a skilled communicator with the simple goal of improving performance, Stephen makes a difference to organisations through challenge, change and innovation. He is the new CEO of the Collaborative Media Group, a company focussed on providing organisations with creative technology solutions to their performance challenges, by using social media technology, consulting, mentoring and video production facilities.


Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert are co-leaders of Networks of Inquiry and Innovation and the Aboriginal Enhancement of Schools Network. They have served as principals, district leaders and policy advisors with the Ministry of Education in the areas of innovative leadership, district change, rural education, literacy and Aboriginal education. They are the co-directors of the Centre for Innovative Educational Leadership at Vancouver Island University and also Canadian representatives to the OECD international research program on Innovative Learning Environments.


The Royal ICC, or better known as the Brisbane Showgrounds, is just 1.6km from Brisbane CBD, 15 minutes from Brisbane Domestic and International Airports and is in easy reach of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

Address 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills Brisbane, QLD 4006.

Parking is available at the Royal ICC for a fee of $12 per day at various locations.

Trains Bowen Hills and Fortitude Valley railway stations are less than a 10 minute walk from the Royal ICC.


There are a number of accommodation options within easy walking distance to the Royal ICC:


Early Bird Registration to the 2017 APPA National Conference will open in Term 4, 2016.
Full registration to the APPA Conference includes the welcome function, opening ceremony, all conference sessions, the conference dinner and entertainment.


The APPA 2017 National Conference is organised by a committee made up of APPA and national sector principals association representatives based in Queensland, and representatives of QASSP, QCPPA and IPSHA – Qld. The Committee looks forward to bringing together another hugely successful conference in Brisbane 2017.

QASSP is delighted to be appointed Conference Organisers of the 2017 APPA National Conference. For more information about this conference, please contact Magdalene St Clare, QASSP Business Manager and APPA Conference Manager on ph (07) 3831 7011 or email


    A recent independent study by Associate Professor Catherine Attard from the Western Sydney Unversity showed that students who used Matific in their classroom improved their overall test results.

    In fact, the quantitative data collected indicated an overall improvement of 34%.

    One of the most significant outcomes that emerged from the data is that Matific assists learning. The size and structure of the Matific episodes allow students to maintain better focus on very specific mathematical concepts and skills, and this focus is maintained specifically because of the way the episodes are structured.

    Matific is an online maths resource for students in K-6. Matifics’s pedagogy, interactive games and rich content really does make for the perfect teaching and learning environment.

    Register your school for a 30-day trial in 2017 and see for yourself why 9 out of 10 Australian teachers would recommend the program to their peers.

    You can even lock us in for your 2017 Professional Development day!

Balancing act

April 2017

The emotional benefits of exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve one's mental and emotional health, says Dr Cullen Hardy. Exercising regularly can help alleviate depression, anxiety and other mood disorders, he says.

The surprising science of happiness

Dan Gilbert, author of ‘Stumbling on happiness’, challenges the idea that we'll be miserable if we don't get what we want. Our ‘psychological immune system’ lets us feel truly happy even when things don't go as planned.

Men and depression: the hidden symptoms

Depression shows up in men differently from women, in symptoms not recognised by the generic descriptions of depression. This video by Mark Marion is for men and presented in a down to earth, humorous style. Talking about depression isn't something most men do, he says.

Finding a psychologist in Australia

This useful resource provides specific advice on how to locate an appropriate psychologist in Australia.

Sustaining a healthy work-life balance

Work-life balance is an ongoing battle, says Nigel Marsh, the author of ‘Fat, forty and fired’.

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

Body Esteem Education – Not Just for Secondary Schools

Why body esteem education?

Children as young as 4 are already developing a weight bias – thin is good, fat is bad. It is no wonder then that for young people aged 6-19, body image continues to be a significant and growing concern (Mission Australia Youth Survey, BTN Happiness Survey).

It is easy to see then how body esteem, which relates to the thoughts, feelings and attitudes a person has in relation to their physical self, is closely related to self- esteem.

Primary schools do a fantastic job of developing the skills and strategies young people need to cope with the challenges of adolescence and transition to high school. Therefore, including body esteem education into already existing wellbeing programs can further benefit your students.

The Butterfly Foundation has offered Education Services around Australia since 2006 and is considered a reputable leader in prevention focused, body esteem education. Our sessions are evidence based and work to address the modifiable risk factors and protective factors that underpin the development of eating disorders.

How can Butterfly Education support your school?

  • For years 3-6, workshops and presentations with consistent, progressive and appropriate messaging and are mapped to the Australian curriculum.
  • Free to BE: A Body Esteem Resource for years 3-12.
  • Staff professional development on the importance of prevention and implementing strategies.
  • For parents, an interactive session to help families better understand body esteem and support the development of healthy body image in their children.

To find out what services are available in your state contact

Helen Bird – Education Administration
02 8456 3908

If you are concerned about someone contact
The Butterfly Foundation National Help Line 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673)


Something different

April 2017

Plan for no bins in seven years

Students at Immanuel Primary School are working out ways eventually reduce school waste to one wheelie bin each week. The Adelaide school has been inspired by the Keep South Australia Beautiful program and the Wipe Out Waste schools program.

Parents use SeeSaw to monitor classroom performance

An app called Seesaw allows parents to receive text and video information on how their child is performing in class. Parents receive an email when their child has uploaded new content. They can then offer their feedback to teachers.

The Arrowsmith Program

Marryatville Primary School, in Adelaide, will trial a Canadian program that claims to alter brain functions so children can overcome learning disabilities.

Runners’ Club

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning before school, around 120 students at Halls Head Primary School, in Western Australia, take part in the school’s Runners’ Club. Distances range from one to 2.5 kilometres.

Mindfulness and Bounceback

Mindfulness and Bounce Back was introduced this year at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School, in Sydney, to help children learn resilience.

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.

My word

April 2017

Tom Purcell

A NSW government primary school principal is standing by his decision to hold a ‘happy hat parade’, despite an online petition signed by more than 600 people calling for the word ‘Easter’ to be reinstated into a description of the event.

Greg Ashman

School leaders are invited to read and discuss the ideas of Australian teacher Greg Ashman on his stimulating blog. His most recent post is entitled, ‘Why do I blog about education?’

Max Haimendorf

This principal of a high performing school, in a disadvantaged area of London, firmly believes in an eight-hour school day, followed by two hours of homework or detention. When students are tired during the day, he works with parents to confiscate their children’s electronic game devices for an indefinite period. His views on digital literacy are challenged by other commentators in this article.

Andreas Schleicher

This ‘Age’ editorial titled ‘How to improve Australia’s education system’ includes the views of Andreas Schleicher, from the OECD. The most successful education systems tend to have larger class sizes than those in Australia, he says. In addition, teachers have less structured class time, which means they have more time to engage with individual students.

David Gregory

‘What actual problem-solving goes on in traditional education? None! And this the problem and the key factor in clawing back our rank position from former Soviet block countries that are killing us in terms of educational standards,’ says this Australian teacher.’

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.

Call 1800 816 224 for your SPECIAL OFFER as an APPA member.

Money matters

April 2017

Catholics address pay disparity

A landmark agreement, to equalise the salaries of primary and secondary Catholic school principals, is the focus of this discussion.

Student art for sale

Clare Primary School, in South Australia, recently held an art exhibition which allowed students to sell their art pieces and retain some of the profits. The exhibition also helped raise money for the school’s art program.

MBA for principals

Catholic Education Melbourne and Australian Catholic University Executive Education have developed a new MBA (Executive) program for school principals.

Rainbow Fun Run

Leschenault Catholic Primary School, in Western Australia, has just held it third annual fundraising Rainbow Fun Run. The money raised will be used to improve the school’s security, purchase more equipment for the nature playground and resources for the mathematics program.

School lunch debt

This article from the USA provides an insight into the complexities of providing school lunch for everyone, especially where parents are experiencing financial difficulty.

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.

Royal Far West

Do children at your primary school have developmental, speech, language or behavioural needs? Do you need the support of specialist psychologists, speech therapists and occupational therapists?

If accessing specialist allied health services is challenging for your community, and your school lies in a rural or remote area of Australia, trusted charity Royal Far West can help you via telehealth!

We can deliver:

  • Screeners
  • Specialised Assessments
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Teacher Capacity Building

(All services are delivered directly into school via technology.)

All schools are eligible for highly subsidised rates!

Contact Royal Far West today for more information

m 0419 700 919



Love the job

April 2017

Dr Darnelle Pretorius

Head of the Primary School, St Stephen’s School, Carramar

Describe your current school, its students, the demographics of your school community, and any special challenges and/or strengths.

St Stephen’s School is a multi-campus Uniting Church School situated in the northern suburbs of Perth. The school promotes a Christ-centred, student-focused education for our community and upholds five core values: faith, learning, service, care and community. The school motto is ‘Serve God, Serve One Another’, which is demonstrated in a committed approach to service learning throughout the school. The school promotes the education of the whole child through positive relationships, while striving for academic excellence. St Stephen’s School is well known for its strong pastoral care programs, which are presented within a house system.

How many years have you been a school leader?

St Stephen’s School has an executive of eight staff, including two heads of primary school, two heads of secondary school; a director of finance and administration, a director of corporate development; a chief knowledge officer, and the principal. I have served as Head of the Primary School on the Carramar Campus for almost six years. Prior to this, I worked as the dean of a secondary house for seven years.

What motivated you to become a school leader (and when)?

Operating in a leadership role allows one to take part in the development and guidance of change within the current system, something I was involved in. Added to this, being part of a motivated and dynamic leadership team in a large school allows one to grow and learn alongside your colleagues, and thus, be effective in guiding the school. St Stephen’s School focuses on distributive leadership within a relational style. This style resonates with my philosophy, and thus working within the executive of the school presents me with a challenging and stimulating environment. As a leader, my hope is to support and work alongside a team of people who are passionate about what they do; leading and guiding young people to responsible adulthood, to positively make a difference to our society.

What was your first leadership role, where was it located, and what were some of your early challenges as a new leader?

My first leadership role was in South Africa as an early years deputy in a primary school that catered for two streams of children who were being educated in different languages. The challenges of this role involved working with a team who were dealing with very different cultural groups. One group spoke English and were quite liberal in their outlook. The other group, the Afrikaans, were known for their very conservative world view. Thus, the approach to pedagogy and the education philosophy within the staff team was diverse. We spent a considerable time in conversation to establish a common culture and community of practice. Ultimately, our department enjoyed close relationships and this translated into commendable student outcomes.

(continued on next page)


NEW resilience and wellbeing program

Dusty and Friends is a great resource for learning and building resilience in children. Game ON highlights the importance of being calm and prompts children to see how consequences result from actions. A popular resource in Early Stage 1- Stage 1 classrooms, children identify and relate to different characters. The program aligns with the Australian Curriculum and works well for Stage 3 in a peer support model. Available for immediate download through the School For Living website.

Love the job

April 2017

Dr Darnelle Pretorius

Head of the Primary School, St Stephen’s School, Carramar

(continued from previous page)

As a new principal, what was the most useful lesson you ever learned from a more experienced principal colleague?

As Head of the Primary School in a K-12 school, I have had the privilege of working with two different heads of secondary. Working closely together, we soon realised that the tone we set would be felt across the entire campus. Thus, we chose to mirror our leadership style, which we set in a relational, and not a transactional, philosophy. This allowed us to guide and lead our staff and community to operate in a similar way. This resulted in setting up opportunities for strong links across the primary and secondary school, where staff and students enjoyed several joint activities to the benefit of our students. For example, two groups of secondary students regularly operate in the primary school; Primates (Year 10 students), who work with younger students, and High Mates, who support the year 6s moving into year 7.

What makes you smile at work?

Undoubtedly, happy students, especially three and four-year-olds. Good relationships with my colleagues and a school tone that promotes wellness and laughter.

In managing your staff, what are your most valuable skills and beliefs?

Leaders need to be people of integrity. What we say and do should be in line with our message to the community. Added to this, fostering trusting and respectful relationships with staff, where a whole-school approach can be adopted, allows for resonance across the school, which is a platform for trust in the community. This atmosphere will enhance student learning and improve student achievement.

What was the best day you ever had as a school leader?

Every year in the last week of term 2, our school holds an Arts and Academic festival, where students nominate to participate in a Faction House Competition. The various events cover science, maths, music, dancing, and spelling, among others. The Friday of this week accommodates all the music events and the best days of our school life occur on this day, watching students perform on their various instruments; piano, drums, violin, rock bands, and vocals. Together with parents, we celebrate the tenacity and success of these students as they bravely perform for the whole school. This event makes for a really great day.

(continued on next page)


Love the job

April 2017

Dr Darnelle Pretorius

Head of the Primary School, St Stephen’s School, Carramar

(continued from previous page)

What was the toughest day you ever had as a school leader?

The passing of a student. The announcement of the death of a student is devastating and confusing for the entire community and needs careful management across all areas of the campus.

What was the funniest single thing that ever happened to you as a school leader?

At the end of a year, a group of year 12 students ‘pranked’ their favourite teacher’s office, which was situated next to mine. They filled the entire office with inflated balloons. When the staff member entered, he was promptly ‘consumed’ within it. It was a great moment of innocent fun, with much laughter as we tried to help the staff member escape the room.

What tips would you give new school leaders about staying positive and keeping their energy levels high?

Stay true to yourself, love people, keep wellness high on your priority list and pray continually. I find studying motivating (although that sounds counter-intuitive) and it allows me to broaden my vision and put school life into perspective.

If you could name just one thing that kept you going to school every day, even on the really difficult days, what would that be?

A firm Christian faith and belief that prayer can change either my perspective or the circumstance in which I find myself.

How do you achieve (or are trying to achieve) a positive work-life balance?

Being mindful of health and wellbeing. Diet, exercise, sleep and spiritual input need to be part of our routines. Added to this, a good round of golf is a guaranteed ‘high’.

What special measures do you take (if any) to protect and nurture your own health and welfare?

Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, regular sleep, attend church and spend time with family and friends.

What do you see yourself as doing with your life after the principalship?

Enjoying my family and, ultimately, my grandchildren. Volunteering in areas of education. Learning another language and how to play a musical instrument also seem very attractive.

Dr Darnelle Pretorius
Head of the Primary School, St Stephen's School, Carramar


Managing Editor, APPA 'Connected Leader'

Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988

Connected Leader

Connected Leader Copyright ©. Australian Primary Principals Association 2016. 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 straight to the point, 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.