Recently the APPA National Advisory Council (NAC) met in Adelaide. It has been a while since we’ve met there and our South Australian representatives appreciated the short journey and also ensured our visit and meeting was successful and enjoyable. We began by welcoming new NAC members, Louise Peyton (Ind. NT) and Brad Nelson (Ind. Vic). During the meeting it was also highlighted that there will be some members retiring at the end of the year. I will acknowledge these members in a later edition.
I would like to highlight just some of the key topics discussed at the APPA NAC meeting and positions agreed to by the NAC. You’ll also see mention of three of our Business Partners who took the time to speak with us while in Adelaide.
The Coalition has been returned and has formed government with Senator Simon Birmingham reappointed as Minister for Education. APPA was asked to provide a response to the government’s Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes document. This was discussed during our meeting and a response paper will be finalised over the next week. The key focus will be on literacy, numeracy and STEM; school leadership development; and the resourcing of primary schools to prepare our students to work in a global 21st Century world.
APPA is continuing to push the position that the online writing assessment is not supported for Year 3. We have raised this issue in various forums. The Education Council (all education ministers) Communiqué notes that Year 3 Writing will be a jurisdictional decision for 2017. Principals associations will look to meet with state ministers about the decision to move to NAPLAN Online and the various implications. Actions supported by your representatives included:
The National Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey is open. There has been a great response already and we encourage every principal to complete the survey. Our focus will be to draw out evidence of the impact of strategies or actions that employers and school principals themselves have implemented, or will be implementing, to improve principal health and wellbeing. In addition, APPA will support a follow-up project in collaboration with Camp Australia, to develop a framework of support that employers could provide to assist principals in their role and in managing their health and wellbeing.
We have developed an implementation support page for the Leaders Shadowing Leaders package. This has been distributed to state and territory associations. We look forward to supporting associations in piloting the project. The package provides a shadowing framework for aspiring principals to gain valuable insight onto the leading and managing a school.
While in Adelaide we caught up with Academy Photography, one of silver partners. Natalie Kelly (Academy CEO) outlined the brilliant range of services and products available to schools across Australia. Visit the Academy Photography website to find out more. Your support of APPA Business Partners is appreciated!
The leadership scenarios and leadership pathways projects are now on the AITSL website. The scenarios focus on common challenges that face new and experienced principals. The videos will present the challenge and provide successful leadership strategies and recommended resources. The NAC recommended the scenarios being used at local principals association meetings.
AITSL have also announced the release of the Graduate to Proficient: Australian guidelines for teacher induction into the profession. More information will follow to support the guidelines. The guidelines are available on the AITSL website.
The KidsMatter and MindMatters programs have funding until December 2016. At this stage, there is no word on when the tender process will start or finish. APPA will be supporting PAI in its bid to continue to support schools with these programs. This will include seeking school and principal association support. These programs are very successful and provide great support to schools to implement positive strategies that promote positive wellbeing and mental health.
APPA has also been discussing with PAI the road forward in regard to principal certification and principal preparation. APPA would support the development of a national framework for aspiring principals with a national accreditation process that is independent of employers. We will update as more information becomes available.
At the APPA NAC meeting we welcomed Petrah Haslett from Teachers on Net in launching the new App for schools to simply and easily find relief teachers. We were shown a short video on the functions and use of the App and there was unanimous applause for a system that will change the way we find our teachers. It’s great value and well worth a look!
This survey is being funded by the Federal Government. The Department of Education is keen to get the views of principals on a range of topics. The peak principal associations have been involved in consultation with the department on form, function and survey construct. Associations have nominated topics for inclusion, which will be fed into the instrument design.
The conference committee have released a flyer outlying some of the keynote speakers with further information to follow. We encourage principals to write the dates on their 2017 calendar. The committee have announced a special one day Aspiring leaders option. Delegates attending the conference can enrol an aspiring leader for the Friday for a greatly reduced price. This day is about supporting our future leaders and giving them an opportunity to join their principal or school leader for the day and participate in the program. Further details will follow when the registration forms are released.
Rob Steventon presents the hugely successful Tough Conversations workshops that are presented around the country. Rob spoke to NAC about his work and the fantastic responses he receives each time he works with school leaders and teachers. Tough Conversations is well worth considering for your team.
Thank you to those schools who have already participated in the My Hero Day July 29 (Captain Courageous Foundation). There is still time to support this worthwhile event that is raising funds for Bone Marrow research. If you can help, go to the kids give website for details and view the great video made by the students of Stirling East Primary School in SADennis Yarrington
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Describe your current school, its students, the demographics of your school community, and any special challenges and/or strengths.
I currently work at Maranatha Christian School. We are a large school located on three separate sites, operating with two junior schools and one middle and senior school. Maranatha is a leader in the Christian education field and was established over 45 years ago. We seek to combine an inquiry-based approach to learning with teaching from a Biblical perspective to help students learn to think Christianly about the world in which they live. A strength of Maranatha is our unity in diversity. We have students from dozens of different countries and over 100 different church backgrounds. Our challenge is to remain Christian in everything that we do as we prepare students for a life of Christian service that makes a real difference in the world.
How many years have you been a school leader?
I have operated in various leadership roles in a number of schools and have held some form of leadership position for 15 years.
What motivated you to become a school leader (and when)?
I had always wanted to lead, having held various leadership roles in churches I had attended. I am the sort of person who can’t help comment on what I think can be improved. This has invariably ended up in being offered some form of leadership position. I have also worked for several inspiring leaders who made me aspire to leadership and encouraged me to work towards leadership positions.
What was your first leadership role, where was it located, and what were some of your early challenges as a new leader?
I was a house master at an elite independent school. The main challenges as a new leader were to do with leading staff who were older and more experienced than me.
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.
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As a new principal, what was the most useful lesson you ever learned from a more experienced principal colleague?
The job of leading a school is all about making decisions and implementing change. Perhaps the best advice I have had is to try to keep myself physically and mentally well so that I am able to make hopefully what prove to be well considered, wise decisions.
What makes you smile at work?
I stand out the front of the school before and after school every day and meet and greet the children as they arrive and depart. Primary school children come to school bright and bubbly every day and full of enthusiasm. I can’t help but smile at this and it reminds me what a privilege it is to be involved in directing the lives of the children. I spend a lot of time in each of the primary classes at Maranatha Christian School and cannot help but smile as the children warmly greet me every time I enter their rooms.
In managing your staff, what are your most valuable skills and beliefs?
I believe that, as a leader, you have to have confidence, communication skills and commitment. A key objective is to keep everyone working and moving ahead. Having confidence is tantamount as part of the job of a leader is to put out fires and maintain team morale. Part of a healthy working culture is having clear lines of communication and making time for, and talking to, staff on a daily basis is something I work very hard to maintain. I try to show my commitment to the role by working hard and being as fair as I can and I hope that this helps motivate the staff.
What was the best day you ever had as a school leader?
There have been many good days. It would be difficult to pick a single one but a particularly fond memory was as the Head of Primary at a previous school, when the year 6 class arranged an amazing surprise 40th birthday party for me. It was a very special day.
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What was the toughest day you ever had as a school leader?
I cannot pinpoint a singular day but it would be to do with finding out that a particular student, staff member or family in the school community is suffering and going through a difficult time. It is also then that you realise what a wonderful place a school is as I observe people seeking to genuinely help someone in need. At Maranatha Christian School we have a very supportive community; it is a wonderful place to work.
What tips would you give new school leaders about staying positive and keeping their energy levels high?
Spend a lot of time getting to know the staff, listen to them and find out what is working in the school and what is not. Try to articulate a clear vision to the staff and then work collaboratively to try to transform the classroom culture. I would also encourage them to find a mentor, I see this as very important.
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?
The thing that keeps me going is seeing student success. It is the best feeling to see a student work hard, with encouragement and support, and make progress towards a goal.
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?
One thing that keeps me going is that kids matter. Children are the adults of tomorrow and being in a position to affect the future through our youth is a wonderful position to be in as a leader and an educator. Never underestimate the power of your influence on, love and acceptance of another human being.
How do you achieve (or are trying to achieve) a positive work-life balance?
I am aware that the role requires long hours of work. I think it is hard to achieve a positive work-life balance and I try to think of it as work-life satisfaction instead. When I feel satisfied in my role then the job seems less overwhelming. That said, I arrive at school and leave at approximately the same time each day and make sure I have time to myself and with my family on the weekend.
What special measures do you take (if any) to protect and nurture your own health and welfare?
I have tried hard over the last couple of years to keep physically fit and to make time for running a few times each week. I also spend a lot of time in my garden each weekend, and I find that very cathartic.
What do you see yourself as doing with your life after the principalship?
I have not got to a point yet where I know what I would like to do if I was not a school leader. I really enjoy my job and can’t imagine not working or being in a different profession. Part of me would like to move to a property with lots of land and spend the day gardening.
Sharee Gaiser, Head of Junior School, Oxley Christian College
15-49 Old Melbourne Road
Chirnside Park, Victoria 3116
Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988
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