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


April 2019

It is with a deep sense of sadness that I open this report in Connected Leader. I refer, of course, to the events in New Zealand on March 15th. Our sympathy has been conveyed to our NZ Principals Federation colleagues as well as our empathy – many of us have endured events in our own parts of Australia which have touching points with the sadness of our friends, relatives and colleagues in New Zealand. I thank the dedicated Headspace team for their thoughtful contributions of professional support around Australia and New Zealand.

I mention, too, the heartbreak and challenge of drought, flood and fire that has afflicted Australia for many months and, of course, most recently – including the devastating flooding in north Queensland and further cyclonic activity in Queensland, the Northern Territory and West Australia. In touching on these events I want to recognise the work each of you do in leading your schools and communities – at all times, but particularly in times of sadness, loss and challenge. Your commitment, knowledge, skill and experience are priceless assets – especially to the children (and families) of our primary schools who look to you for guidance and support.

If you are leading under these trying circumstances please do not allow yourself to become isolated.

Earlier last month I attended the review of the Melbourne Declaration on Australian Schooling. More work will ensue from what was effectively an introductory activity. What I took away from the day was the importance of agreement amongst members of the education community and a focus on the purposes of education. I very strongly believe that the future of primary education is exciting and that there is concrete cause for optimism, even amongst the coolness and criticism about Australian education of which we are all aware.

Of course, a necessary component of school education is our teaching workforce. Again, we are all well aware that media assessments of this workforce are influenced by the ATAR scores for candidates – the supposition being that teachers need high ATAR scores; and that Australia’s schools are not delivering in the global league of standardised testing. Like most other elements of education the reality is far more complex than this. I personally want to know that the person entering teaching has the capability to thrive as they deliver high class education to diverse student groups while contributing to, and learning from, high performing teams. An ATAR score may be indicative of a level of capability but is not definitive. We know enough about learning to understand this. A test may be indicative of something – but precisely of what remains a moot point.

I also recently learned that around seventy per cent of applicants for places in initial teaching education courses are first choices. This is very encouraging as it is evidence counter to the notion that teaching is considered as a fall-back position – something you do if you don’t get into medicine or law, for example.

I recently heard six new, studying and/or prospective teachers speak about their motivation and experiences. Each of the people spoke with a passion, commitment and grasp of purpose that was impressive and truly inspiring. The levels of intrinsic motivation were crystal clear. Remuneration did get several mentions – a couple of people had fielded questions from friends and family who questioned teaching as a career choice when they were already earning significantly more and/or had higher earnings in prospect. The answer was the same – teaching matters. This example has fuelled my optimism.

I am also enthusiastic about steps being taken to address the difficulties and demands of work intensification on school leaders and teachers. All jurisdictions are facing up to this. We remain indebted to Professor Philip Riley and the longitudinal study into Principal and Deputy Principal Health and Wellbeing. Add this to the two Gonski papers – especially, perhaps, the first review paper with its emphasis on needs-based and equitable funding; and the close examination of standardised testing, with the OECD recently questioning the effectiveness of this strategy, and we have some solid foundations for the ongoing processes of continuous improvement across all sectors of Australian education. There is, of course, much work to be done – but as the teachers I mentioned made very clear, and as you do by your actions every working day, teaching matters.

In closing – Conferences. Many thanks indeed to the hard working committees of our Adelaide Conference from 3-6 September titled Leading the Way: collaboration, connection, community; and to our 2020 Melbourne Trans Tasman conference titled Leading Today For Tomorrow … We are also looking forward to the 2021 conference in Darwin which will be a joint NT/ACT effort. Please, come and join us.

Malcolm Elliott
President, Australian Primary Principals Association

Global Money Week

Teachers play an important role in teaching young people about money. During Global Money Week (GMW) we encouraged teachers to use our resources in the classroom and enrol in our free, independent professional development.

Although the week is over, teachers can still access our featured classroom resources:

  • Money Match - younger students learn how to identify and match Australian coins and notes.
  • Goods and services - students learn the difference between goods and services, and how to earn money.
  • Party time - students will organise their own birthday party. They decide between needs and wants, create a simple budget and learn about making wise financial decisions.
  • Helping out - students engage with budgeting, currency conversion, scams and online security by running a fundraising event to save a creature from extinction.

A MoneySmart school in action

Primary school students at the Hunter School of Perfomring Arts captured their GMW challenge answers on a whiteboard.

The Hunter School of Performing Arts took part in this year’s GMW Countdown Challenge. Students answered a money related question every day in the lead up to the week. They then photographed their answers, which they wrote on a whiteboard, poster or created digitally, and, once done, posted the response on the school's Facebook page.

Read more about the school’s GMW school’s project.

MoneySmart Grants for Principals

The MoneySmart Grants for Principals projects are now underway. The projects aim to teach students how to manage money. They will also help boost teachers' financial health and confidence in delivering financial literacy education in the classroom.

Projects feature gardens, market days, a café,  product development, a financial literacy classroom and a multimedia project.

Read more about each of the grants


SchoolAid launches ‘Hay and Hampers for Hope’ national campaign

With farmers suffering through what many are calling the ‘worst drought in living memory’ SchoolAid has today launched its ‘Hay and Hampers for Hope’ campaign.

The campaign is calling on 10,000 schools around Australia to donate $100 each, and in doing so raise $1 million to go towards hay for drought-affected livestock and hampers for farming families that are struggling with meeting their living expenses.

SchoolAid founder and CEO Sean Gordon said: “Farming families are often the last to ask for help and the first to lend a hand. ‘Hay and Hampers for Hope’ is about harnessing the collective power of Australia’s youth to help those who have given us so much, both economically and culturally. If you’re a young person and you’re distressed by these images on the news of starving sheep and farmers doing it tough, get involved because there’s now something you can do about it.”

Donations to the Hay and Hampers for Hope campaign can be made here

Dennis Yarrington, SchoolAid Board Member and President of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA), said: “Time and time again at SchoolAid we’ve seen the power of youth philanthropy; whether its helping the community of Tathra recover from bushfires or schools across Queensland overcome the impact of Cyclone Debbie, Australia’s young people are an incredible force for hope and optimism in this world. $1 million is a big number but Australia’s young people have big hearts - I’m convinced once they turn their attention to ‘Hay and Hampers for Hope’ great things will happen.”

INSPIRING STUDENTS TO READ MORE, and helping them find the books they will love to read, takes a combination of dedication, inspiration and engagement. We know you bring the dedication to work every day and with our ‘Reading Leader’ portal we hope to help with both the inspiration and engagement to get more kids reading and kids reading more.

At Scholastic we encourage the borrowing of brilliance and through our “Reading Leader Award’ we are seeking out the very best for you to borrow from. Scholastic and APPA are providing a platform to recognise Reading Leaders across the country, so that their ideas and efforts can reach more students, and remind us all to help children every day with their reading journey.

Visit our “Reading Leader” portal for reading programs, professional resources, brilliant book suggestions and more. NO COST offerings, all designed to help you be a better reading advocate and connect your students with books they will love to read.

Congratulations to Lesley Gollan of Queensland’s WoodLinks State School, who is the Term 2 Scholastic National Reading Leader Award winner.

Principal Vicki Caldow noted, ‘Lesley is a reading champion who works across the school to develop and implement programs that empower teachers and invites the wider community to support students in practising and enjoying reading.’


Under the spotlight

April 2019

Sam Prodonovich

Despite the suburb of Armadale continuing to be one of WA's most disadvantaged metropolitan communities, the school has defied expectations, recording a marked increase in academic achievement, student attendance and staff stability.

According to Gwynne Park Primary School's deputy principal, Sam Prodonovich, the turnaround has been largely down to a "commitment to the mundane".

Helen Aguiar

The new principal of Perth College has been described as ‘a highly-regarded leader with a passion for education.’ She report having had a ‘fantastic’ start to the school year.

Stan Kowalski

Vale, NSW principal Stan Kowalski, who passed away on 17 March at age 61. ‘Mr K’, as he was known to students and staff, was principal of Oberon Public for 15 years until April 2013, when he moved on to take up the principal position at West Bathurst Public School.

Kerri Clark

The principal of Theodore Primary School will take up a new position in the ACT education directorate, as parents continue to call for an independent inquiry into school violence across Canberra.

Belinda George

A first-time principal in the USA has gone above and beyond to get her students excited about reading. In her pyjamas, Ms George uses a livestream to read bedtime stories to her students at night.

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 2019

Leading change management

Communication is not the same as engagement, says DeAnne Aguirre, who discusses strategies that can help organisations transform quickly and effectively.

Leadership: growing school expertise

It is known that effective staff collaboration – including through Professional Learning Teams and Professional Learning Communities – can help teachers improve their own practices and, ultimately, student outcomes. This ACER article explains how three schools in the Northern Territory are prioritising staff collaboration and the impact this is having on staff and students

Leading change management

Communication is not the same as engagement, says DeAnne Aguirre, who discusses strategies that can help organisations transform quickly and effectively.

Can quiet leaders be effective?

Francesca Gino, associate professor at Harvard Business School, explains how quiet leaders with proactive teams can be highly successful.

The power of collaboration

Howard Rheingold talks about collaboration, participatory media and collective action.

Employee disengagement

Seven out of 10 employees are disengaged, say this presenter, and two out of 10 may even be working against you. Learn what engaged employers do to keep their staff on the same page.

Teach MoneySmart: Be MoneySmart

Take a practical, curriculum-based approach to teaching financial literacy and develop your own financial health.

This free MoneySmart course is curriculum-aligned and provides 1.5 hours of professional development or teacher identified activity.

You will learn how:

  • ASIC's MoneySmart program builds financial literacy education for the next generation.
  • To select MoneySmart resources to teach financial literacy.
  • To find MoneySmart resources to improve your financial health.
Enrol now

Connect MoneySmart: Use MoneySmart

Examine the importance of teaching financial literacy and find practical use classroom resources.

This free MoneySmart course is curriculum-aligned and provides 1.5 hours of professional development or teacher identified activity.

You will:

  • Learn why financial literacy education is important to the Australian school curriculum and read related research.
  • Connect to the key global and national initiatives for financial literacy education underpinning ASIC's MoneySmart Teaching program.
  • Use digital and other resources for primary, secondary and VET students to plan and deliver your lessons.
Enrol now

MoneySmart Maths (Primary)

Teach financial literacy through primary maths using curriculum-based resources and authentic contexts.

This free MoneySmart course is curriculum-aligned and provides 2 hours of professional development or teacher identified activity.

You will:

  • Examine why financial literacy provides a useful context for teaching mathematics.
  • Explore connections between financial literacy and the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics and its sub-strands.
  • Use MoneySmart teaching resources and tools to create authentic contexts to teaching financial literacy through maths to engage your students.
  • Use MoneySmart teaching resources and tools to develop strategies for adapting resources to suit your student cohort.
  • Reflect and provide feedback on your learning experience.
Enrol now

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 2019

Right to report social media abuse

Like other citizens, educators have recourse to legal action if they are abused or defamed online.. This article suggests that more parents are resorting to social media, rather than face-to-face meetings, in order to air their grievances about schools, principals and teachers.

Legal response to online defamation

More Australians are turning to the courts to protest against defamatory comments made about them online or in texts.

US state sues Catholic diocese

The state of West Virginia is suing a local Catholic diocese because it had knowingly employed paedophiles as teachers and did not inform the public. West Virginia’s Attorney General filed the lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, as well as its former bishop. The lawsuit said the diocese had ‘a long history of not providing a safe learning environment for students in its schools and children attending its recreational camps,’ and that it violated the state's law by failing to safely deliver on the services provided as they were advertised.

Call to end legal exemptions

Consultant to the United Nations, Dr Tiffany Jones recently argued that there should be no exemptions whatsoever to Australia’s anti-discrimination legislation, especially by church-based schools. Dr Jones quoted Section 116 of the Australian Constitution from 1900, which seeks to separates church and state: ‘The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.’

School sued over anti-vax policy

A US anti-vax mother is locked in a bitter legal battle over her teenage daughter’s right to remain unvaccinated, claiming their school had violated their religious beliefs.
She is claiming she is being religiously persecuted for not vaccinating her two daughters, aged 13 and 15.

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 2019

Link between screen time and emotional stability

According to Pasi Sahlberg, a recent Canadian study suggests a worrying link between screen time and the development of emotional stability.

Generational divide in WA

In 2010, 5534 registered teachers in Western Australia were 60 or older, with 6780 in their 20s. Today, there are 10,165 teachers over 60, while the number of teachers in their twenties in the profession has grown only by six per cent, to 7192.

Improved welfare for Down Syndrome students

The education and welfare of children with Down Syndrome could be improved by implementing a series of guidelines developed by an Australian researcher from the University of Queensland.

New research on learning

A new study examines the interplay between exploration and explanation, and how simple cues from adults involved in the process influences the children’s learning behaviour and abilities, particularly in relation to scientific reasoning.

Physical activity at school

The Active Healthy Kids Australia 2018 Report Card collected data on 12 separate indicators that can influence the quality of physical activity for children and young people, including two specific indicators relating to schools – the school environment as a whole and the current level of physical activity participation in schools.

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 2019


Improve your memory by ‘engineering’ your sleep. Based on the latest neuroscientific research, Penny Lewis shows why sleep is thought to be critical for combining and restructuring memories.

Managing workplace stress

Are you working toward a better work-life balance? This presentation recommends the ‘problem-solving’ approach to managing job-related stress.

The brain-changing benefits of exercise

Exercise is most transformative thing that you can do for your brain, says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki.

Emotional first aid

We'll go to the doctor when we feel physically unwell. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain, guilt, loss or loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological health issues on our own, says Guy Winch.

How to manage your mental health

Prolonged psychological stress is the enemy of our mental health, and physical movement is our best weapon to respond, says Leon Taylor.

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

Something different

April 2019

Students learn bitcoin mining

Students at Woorana Park Primary School, in Melbourne, are learning about digital currencies and blockchain. The school has also used bitcoin to purchase 3D printers and created its own token called Woorannacoin.

Gender neutral toilets

New guidelines for WA schools say they should include ‘gender-neutral toilet options’ to ‘establish a more inclusive environment’ for gender-diverse students.

Hydropanels for drinking water

Murrurundi Public School, in NSW, has become the state’s first school to install hydropanels, which harvest the sun and air to create clean drinking water.

School design for the future

What needs to be considered in designing a new school? This article by Dr Benjamin Cleveland points readers to the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) at the University of Melbourne.

Encouraging innovation in schools

How can educators find ways to make innovation part of the school’s DNA for both staff and students, improving learning outcomes for all?

My word

April 2019

Ian Anderson

WA Primary Principals’ Association president Ian Anderson said parents had a right to complain, but school leaders were increasingly finding their time being taken up by demands that were ‘unreasonable, habitual and excessive.

Anita Collins

This neuromusical educator advocates globally for better access to music education to improve numeracy and literacy. ‘Music processing and language development share an overlapping network in the brain,’ she told a recent business gathering.

Otto Sahlberg

In a thoughtful insight into mandatory clothing and personal identity, a Finnish six-year-old, who now lives in NSW, chose school uniform as his favourite aspect of Australian education. At the same time, he added that if wore his own clothes he ‘would probably look more who I am.’

T. Worsley, J. Nanayakkara & M. Burton

‘A comprehensive food education framework from preschool to senior secondary school is required to prevent repetition and reinforce skills learned in the early years. This has begun in the UK and in the RefreshED program in Western Australia. A more focused curriculum across all years of education is required.’

Michael Carr-Gregg

I believe that smartphones should be banned in primary schools and I would call on the Tasmanian Government to look at the results of the NSW inquiry,’ this well-known psychologist told attendees at the recent Resilient Kids Conference in Launceston.

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Money matters

April 2019

Rising cost of public education

‘Underfunded public schools are increasingly turning to parents to fund programs that allow for the day-to-day running of the school,’ says this parent.

Church at school

Several government schools in Tasmania are renting their premises to religious groups at the weekend. This article explains that the new trend is for contemporary churches to go into schools and community buildings, thereby avoiding the cost of maintaining their own buildings.

Home ownership or school fees?

According to this article, an increasing number of Melbourne parents face the ‘tough’ choice of either buying their own home or sending their children to non-government schools.

Unfairness in school funding

‘Australian school funding is unfair because it doesn’t live up to its own rules and standards,’ says Peter Goss.

School funding cuts in the UK

This report on the impact of school funding cuts in England includes one situation where teachers in Somerset have taken on cleaning duties in response to the reduction of ancillary staff.

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.

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