The National Advisory Council (NAC) recently met in Sydney. We started the day congratulating and thanking Mark Mowbray for his wonderful contribution to APPA, principals associations and his colleagues over some four years. Replacing Mark as NSW Catholic rep is Julie King and we look forward to Julie continuing the fine contribution of her sector and state.
As you might imagine, the meeting covered many topics and below is a brief summary of the key outcomes.
Rob Randall, ACARA Chief Executive Officer, presented at the meeting and provided an update on the work of ACARA and on the review of the Australian Curriculum. Knowing the reality of schools, we continue to hold concerns about the amount of learning expected in the Australian Curriculum. With this in mind we see considerable value in focusing on the Achievement Standards as the starting point for program design in schools. While each jurisdiction will make decisions on the design for its curriculum, there is no doubt that ACARA should have a role in supporting the implementation of curriculum.
As you know, APPA has been strong in advocating reductions in the curriculum and in ACARA providing clear advice on curriculum design and structure. While pleased that steps have been taken this is an ongoing issue and one that needs to be viewed in light of the particular implications of national, and state and territory education acts. We have followed up this issue with the Federal Education Minister’s office and now await departmental advice in relation to the 2013 Australian Education Act curriculum requirements of non-government schools.
We have also written to ACARA in relation to its next four-year plan. As well as offering several suggested activities to the authority we see considerable value in primary principal representation on reference groups and have recommended such. The Monitoring and Evaluation of the Australian Curriculum process is critical to seeing, firstly, how well the curriculum is working but also to determine what changes need to be made over time. We recommended a repeat of this year’s focus groups’ activity where feedback from practitioners was provided to ACARA. Key aspects of ACARA’s four-year plan include research in assessment; online sampling for Science, and Civics and Citizenship; and trialling of Online NAPLAN (with Education Services Australia building the platform).
NAPLAN 2015 results for state and territories have been released and you would have heard or read of the concerns about the small gain in results over time. APPA is supportive of this level of reporting; however, we do not support the publication of school results on the My School website. School results should be on school websites and individual results distributed to parents. We are concerned the test will / has become the focus and lead to unintended outcomes such as teaching to the tests, narrowing of the curriculum and ‘one size fits all’ learning. Few could argue such outcomes align with 21st Century learning.
NAPLAN Online will have a “sandbox” trial in July / August 2016. ACARA is working on an assessment framework that is aligned with the Australian Curriculum. A small group met with ACARA recently to discuss NAPLAN Online and raise the issues. There are many questions to be addressed including the transition phase, keyboard skills required for writing tasks particularly in Year 3 and the complex issue of online access. A communication of the advantages of online testing, as well as the possible unintended consequences, needs to be presented to provide a balanced perspective to the debate. Do we really want the unintended consequences? APPA is currently working on its NAPLAN Online position paper.
We have written for AITSL a discussion paper on Initial Teacher Education and thank the over 500 principals who contributed through the online survey. An electronic copy of the paper has been received by your NAC member for wider distribution and for use in discussions with, for example, universities and jurisdictions. We are also working closely with AITSL on professional experience, course content and accreditation, as well as the research needed for responding to the government’s response to the recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) Report.
Following on from the discussion paper the National Advisory Council wrote an Areas for Action paper which highlighted four key areas for action – Entry and Selection for Teacher Education Courses; Course Content and Program; Teacher Practicum; Transition and Induction. There are many tasks ahead and much that needs to be achieved. Both papers are available on the APPA website.
APPA provided a submission on the government’s response to the Chief Scientist’s Vision for a Science Nation paper. Our key point was the need to ensure a collaborative approach that included school leaders in any future strategy. APPA’s submission will shortly be found on the APPA website.
APPA Conference in Hobart 2016: Thanks to our conference committee reps for their work. Over 400 Delegates! There is still time to register so spread the word!!
Trans Tasman in Auckland 2016: The organising committee are working hard on the program. Dates for diaries: 31 May – 3 June 2016. Start planning now, as some associations may need to get overseas travel approval and organise funding arrangements.
Below are other items in brief that may be of interest.
RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN: APPA has completed a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and we will have a public launch of the APPA RAP when the NAC next meet in Canberra.
PRINCIPAL PREPARATION: We are continuing the work on the program with the development of shadowing program. A group of NAC representatives and principals will meet to complete the work and we hope to have the package finished by the end of Term 3.
STUDENTS DISABILITY INQUIRY: APPA will prepare a submission to the inquiry over the next few weeks. Please email if you wish to contribute to the submission.
PARENT ENGAGEMENT: At the NAC meeting, members spent time working on a parent engagement document. The Federal Government has been funding research into engaging parents and APPA is keen to develop a support document for primary schools on the role of parents in primary school education.
SCHOOL AID and IT’S NOT FAIR WEEK: Hopefully your school student leaders have viewed the KidsGive website and are planning an event. Please register your school online as APPA has listed the schools signed up on our website.
NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK: August 15-22.
Wear It Purple Day, 28 August 2015: This year Wear it Purple is encouraging schools to host an exclusive preview screening of the documentary feature film GAYBY BABY. The film is a portrait of four Australian kids – Gus, Ebony, Matt and Graham – whose parents all happen to be gay. As they each wrestle with the challenges of oncoming adolescence, the outside world wrestles with the issue of marriage equality, and whether or not kids like them are at risk. Simply go to thegaybyproject.com/wear-it-purple-day to register. Read through the screening guide attached. For more information, contact Sandy Da Silva from the GAYBY BABY team at email@example.com.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: September 9 is National Health and Physical Education Day. I encourage all schools to participate in this event. One way could be to encourage the student leaders to organise a special activity at recess or lunch for the whole school – maybe something similar to ‘drop everything and read’.
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING: School For Living aims to promote wellbeing of children's mental health by focusing on current strategies that have been well researched to incorporate a prevention rather than intervention approach. Visit the School for Living website to find out more.
The term is certainly moving fast and I can feel spring around the corner (and finals footy!). To better connect with principals, school leaders and interested groups, APPA will launch a new look website to coincide with the Spring Season. In the next Connected Leader we will be looking at curriculum with the recent announcement of a new partnership between APPA and the MAPPEN, the online curriculum and professional learning solution.
I look forward to visiting more primary schools over the term.
President, Australian Primary Principals Association
Mobile: 0466 655 468
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Achieving best practice auditory learning is a challenge. We know the intelligibility of a teachers voice varies; the further a child is from a teacher, the harder it is to comprehend instruction.
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“In the past, I thought of any technology like this as being relevant only to children with impaired hearing. We now know that creating an environment where it sounds like our teachers are standing next to every child benefits all students and creates a truly inclusive school” said Frank.
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Where are you currently working as a school leader?
I proudly have the role of Principal at Briar Road Public School located in Airds, South Western Sydney. Briar Road is a dynamic and innovative school supporting students Preschool to Year 6 and services a diverse group of students and families. We are located on Dharawal land and have a high number of Aboriginal students and significant interagency approaches to address the educational needs of all students.
How long have you been a school leader? What/where was your first appointment?
I was merit selected to the role of Principal at Briar Road Public School in April 2013. I still happily fulfilling my first Principal appointment. My passion for the school runs deep. I was a student of the school and after finishing Year 6 I went on to receive a quality secondary education at Airds High School which is located directly across the road. Prior to my appointment as Principal at Briar Road Public School I was an Aboriginal Education Resource Teacher and Assistant Principal at Briar Road. I then worked as a Deputy Principal within the Airds Community of Schools with a responsibility for the Aboriginal Education portfolio.
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When, and why, did you originally want to become a school leader?
Since being a young girl I aspired to work in schools. I was unsure about the capacity in which I wanted to work in schools, but all I knew was that I wanted to be in schools and in particular work in the area of Aboriginal Education. After fulfilling a number of roles including class teacher, Aboriginal Education Resource Teacher, regional personnel, Assistant Principal and Deputy Principal I knew I wanted to affect change in all areas of education within a school. I truly believe that I have had amazing mentors such as AEOs, teachers, Principals and my parents when I was a student and as a teacher who have influenced my professional decisions and pathway. I have had executive teachers, colleagues and Principals that have supported and mentored me in a positive and culturally supportive way. I truly believe teaching is my calling and I look forward to seeing the impact on the school communities in which I have taught in years to come. My other passion is helping other Aboriginal teachers achieve their leadership goals. I have been blessed to be supported by some amazing Aboriginal people in leadership roles within the department and see it as my cultural and professional responsibility to give back to others. I enjoy being involved in collegial networks such as the NSW Aboriginal Deadly Leaders Alliance and creating life-long connections and networks.
What was your worst day?
When at times you do as much as you can for a student, staff or community member and the outcome may still stay the same. It may stay the same for a variety of factors, however as a person who has a desire to see all people achieve seeing people not get a positive end result can be challenging. I’d like to think that I always remain committed to ensuring that school relationships and my connections with people assist us to get a positive result 90% of time.
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What makes you smile at work?
Everything! On any given day there is a positive to be found – most days there are more than one to be found I this job. How can you not smile when you have 100’s of children each day who are eager to talk with you or smile at you when you walk around the playground? Schools are the happiest places ever!
At my desk in my favourite school!
School events like ANZAC make me an extremely proud Principal.
Mrs Tammy Anderson, Principal, Briar Road Public School, NSW
Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988
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.