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


February 2016

Dear Colleague

Welcome back to 2016! I particularly welcome and wish the very best to all who step into the principal position for the first time or have begun at a new school. While there will be challenges, we look forward to another great year for primary education.

Over the course of 2016, ‘Connected Leader’ will arrive each month bringing you informative and interesting articles that can be used in so many ways. Many principals see ‘Connected Leader’ lending itself to ongoing professional learning, whether it be for themselves, their leadership team or any member of staff.

From an APPA perspective, we have an election on the table and more work to do on a range of issues facing principals and schools. Now is an opportunity to highlight just some of the activities APPA will undertake in 2016.

Our Principals’ Health and Wellbeing: Everyone has a role

The 21st Century environment seemingly brings an ever-increasing strain on people’s ability to be resilient and respond appropriately to events and actions that bring conflict or disappointment. The 2015 National Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey, for example, reports an increasing incidence of bullying, intimidation, verbal aggression, threats and even violence from parents and students towards our school principals. The survey has been a five-year study, undertaken initially by Monash University and now by the Australian Catholic University, endorsed and financially supported by the four peak national principals associations (APPA, ASPA, AHISA and CaSPA), with a generous contribution from Teachers Health Fund.

Put simply, the data trends are not good! We are seeing parents and students displaying behaviours that are totally unacceptable and do not contribute to a positive and supportive school community. This is happening at a time when principals are experiencing an unprecedented surge in workload and responsibilities.

The report provided recommendations for key groups and individuals. It is clear that a multifaceted response is needed to change the trends and create a positive and healthy working environment for our school principals and all members of the school community. The challenge is for each group to own its responsibilities and respond appropriately. Let me highlight various aspects of these recommendations.

Parents: Support your school and principal to develop policies that achieve positive outcomes. Stop the unacceptable behaviour and learn to use the procedures in place to address concerns or issues. Be the model for your children to follow.

Employers: The report highlighted two aspects. The first is to support principals with the resources to do the job. The second is to trust rather than rule educators. That is, work with principals to identify what decision-making processes work effectively and efficiently, and how best to meet school and system accountability requirements. This will come through targeted professional learning and ongoing access to mentoring and coaching.

Principals’ Associations: Collaborate to develop a common voice that works for the health and wellbeing of all principals, no matter the sector, state or territory. Use the professional networks to support principals in their role and provide opportunities for principals to meet and share effective practice.

Principals: The report identifies that individual principals need to look for opportunities to further their development and exert influence over the workload; respectfully remind aggressors of the school’s expectations of acceptable behaviour and what procedures are in place to deal with issues, complaints and concerns; ensure passion for the job is positive; and, take a positive and proactive approach to personal work-life balance. This is much more achievable if principals join with colleagues as part of a professional network.

Governments: We need governments across all jurisdictions working collaboratively to ensure every school has the resources required to address the needs of their students. The report reinforced the point that ‘we need highly motivated educators, if we are to have the best school system possible.’ This will require long-term funding agreements that provide transparency, consistency, flexibility, trust-based professionalism and equity. We need a nationally coordinated strategy to support principal preparation and development.

What is the outcome if we do not change the trend? Well, we will see less people applying for principals’ positions and more principals leaving the profession early. In many places, this is already happening. We will see an increase in the cost of supporting principals who develop health issues. However, more importantly, we will see school communities begin to underperform and other issues will arise that will further impact the school. The bottom line is that this impacts negatively on student learning and future generations.

Great schools have leaders who have great support from their community, employer and professional networks. We need all school communities, employers and principal associations working together to ensure this vision is reality.

2015 Principal Health and Wellbeing Report:


This year will be big with a National Election, the Trans-Tasman conference, NAPLAN Online, implementation of the Australian Curriculum, Principal Health and Wellbeing, Next Generation Principal program, and Teacher Education.

We will continue the ongoing conversation with ACARA on the implementation of the Education Council’s decision to move NAPLAN Online. The key issues are around access (connectivity), required hardware, technology skills required for the tests, timeframes for completing, Year 3 writing assessment (impact on practice) and the validity of auto marking. ACARA has indicated it will expand research to include a larger sample of students and multiple prompts to cover both narrative and persuasive writing. There will be further trials for schools in scheduled for later in 2016. APPA is planning to conduct a survey in Term 2 to gain feedback on the implementation of the Australian Curriculum across sectors and jurisdictions.


Join us (or send your deputy) in Auckland 31 May – 3 June for what promises to be an exciting few days in the land of the long white cloud.

The programme for this very special conference will be a mixture of Keynote and Mini-Keynote speakers together with innovative Taster Talks from a range of practitioners and follow-up workshops. The interesting array of speakers includes:

  • Kaser and Halbert from Canada, whose work is currently informing Ministry policy, especially around their innovative Spiral of Inquiry. There are excellent messages here on leadership.
  • Georgette Mulheir, a delightful Irish woman who heads up JK Rowling’s Lumos Foundation, which is seeking to do away with institutionalised care for children worldwide.
  • Edwards and Martin whose new book, ‘Schools that Perform’, will be launched in the US just prior to the conference and will be coming to us hot off the press. The stories in the book have been drawn from schools from around the world.
  • Noel Pearson who will bring us some challenging messages about indigenous education.


The Next Generation Principal: Inspiring Leaders Residential Course is a must for aspiring leaders and early career principals. Learn the essentials for principals and be inspired by great speakers. Information for this exciting initiative has been sent to State and Territory Principal Associations and placed on the website. The program will involve completing learning modules and action research in based in your workplace and visiting experienced principals as part of a shadowing program. The modules are aligned to the Principal Standard.


The Education Council approved the revised Standards for Teacher Education. APPA, at its NAC meeting in March, will develop a response to the Standards in relation to the APPA Top Ten Essential Elements for Teacher Education document. State and Territory principals are now using this document in discussions with Universities. APPA will work with AITSL and principal associations in 2016 to continue the work around teacher education and school leadership.


APPA endorsed the Office of Chief Scientist paper on strategies to improve outcomes in STEM education. The key aspect is working to develop a professional learning package on Principals as STEM Leaders. APPA is also working with the Australian Science Teachers Association on a program aimed at establishing science coaches in primary schools. And if any school is looking for support with coding and digital technology, try ScopeIT Education.


We all recognise that energy efficiency has a twofold benefit – environmental and financial. Below and elsewhere in Connected Leader you will find information about the Energy in Education program. Your school community may wish to consider the program.


Halogen and APPA will work together to support student leadership development and initiatives. We are aiming for corporate support for Sean Gordon, CEO SchoolAid, to roll out across the nation the Kids Ambassador Team (KAT) package on social action by students. Halogen organises student leadership days in the major cities. My Hero Day July 29: Captain Courageous Foundation. I would like to propose that APPA support this worthwhile event to raise funds for Bone Marrow disease in children. SchoolAid through KidsGive will support primary schools with developing a campaign and event for My Hero Day.

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



Engineered to suit individual schools, CSR Bradford’s ‘Energy in Education’ Program assesses a school’s energy use and suggests how operations can be upgraded to reduce energy demand and utility expenditure. The program is operated in partnership with ASCA, a national procurement body comprising of 3,500 schools, and the National Australia Bank. (The NAB partnership can help schools fund participation in the program through the energy savings.)

The ‘Energy in Education Program’ builds on the success of the National Solar Schools Program, a government initiative that provided over $217 million to implement a range of energy efficiency measures in almost 60 per cent of Australian schools until its conclusion in 2013.

In this program, CSR Bradford works with schools and is responsible for the initial designs and recommendations, through to implementing and managing all installations. Energy reduction can be achieved through technologies including solar and lighting, but also power quality technologies like Power Factor Correction and Voltage Optimisation, which bring improved power quality to schools.

The program also incorporates an educational package to integrate into the curriculum allowing students to track and analyse the energy production profile of the school. The solar system’s in-built monitoring system feeds data directly to the classroom.

For more information about Bradford’s ‘Energy in Education’ Program contact:

Matthew Jones, National Schools Program Manager at CSR Bradford Energy Solutions
T: 03 8756 6843 | M: 0447 906 413 | E:


Interviewees urgently sought for 2016 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2016 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

Trans Tasman Principals' Conference 2016

Trans Tasman Principals' Conference 2016

31 May - 3 June 2016, Auckland, New Zealand

Register now, pay later!

On behalf of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation, the Australian Primary Principals Association and the host committee from Auckland Primary Principals’ Association, we invite you to register for the Trans-Tasman Principals’ Conference to be held at SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland on 31 May – 3 June 2016.

Payment via invoice is available for all registrations received before the end of November, don’t delay register now!

The theme of the conference is “Knowledge in Our Hands” with the emphasis on telling the stories that excite us within education. In the spirit of collaboration, we have structured a programme that showcases stories and story tellers from both sides of the Tasman, which we are sure will provoke energetic discussion and professional debate.

Please check out the exciting Conference programme and the high calibre speakers confirmed to date.  Speakers include Noel Pearson, Andrew Patterson, Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser to name but a few.

We look forward to seeing you in Auckland next year!

Jill Corkin
Chair – Organising Committee
Auckland Primary Principals’ Association


Principals in the news

February 2016

Doug Ambrose

The principal of Bundaberg East State School, in Queensland, has been awarded an OAM for services to primary education in this year’s Australia Day honours list.

Dan Jarrad

As we all know, principals rarely shy away from really tough assignments, such as the funerals, where life and work blend into a deep professional and personal commitment to members of the school community.

Denice Scala

The principal of MLC, in Burwood, NSW, resigned in early January, one month after 30 staff left the 129-year-old school following a series of workplace allegations. MLC has appointed Louise Robert-Smith, the former principal of Ascham and North Sydney Girls High School, as the interim principal. An international search for a new principal will be conducted in 2017. 

Susan Jordan

Susan Jordan, the principal Amy Beverland Elementary School, in Indianapolis, USA, was instantly killed in late January when she lunged forward to push a group of children away from an out-of-control bus. A tribute to her leadership of the school over the past 22 years, videoed last year and titled ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’, is heart-wrenching in the circumstances.

Chris Sarra

The renowned former principal of Cherbourg State School, Chris Sarra, is now involved in a far-reaching project across Australia. In the past 10 years, the Stronger Smarter Institute has reached more than 500 schools and 38,000 students nationwide, with learning outcomes, attendance and community support rising significantly.

Interviewees urgently sought for 2016 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2016 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

Locally made ethical school wear

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

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

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

Phone: 03 94190222

Opinion and analysis

February 2016

Alexandra Meldrum

‘If we’re going to maintain our current standard of living and social, environmental and economic wellbeing, then we’ll need to do things differently and we’ll need to innovate … We’ll need more smart people and we’ll need to give them the skills to drive sustainable technological change.’ It is important that ‘STEM education begins in primary school,’ argues this Engineers Australia board member.

Peter Goss

Decisions about where, and when, to build new schools can be politically and environmentally fraught, says Peter Goss. ‘More transparency about detailed population projections would be a good start,’ he says. However, ‘without a clear view of the challenges, it's too tempting for politicians to duck hard choices that span multiple electoral cycles.’

Susan Horsburg

Only days into the new school year, the ‘Women’s Weekly’ announced that schools are ‘failing’ working mothers by enforcing a ‘curious double standard’.

Anna Dabrowski

University of Melbourne researcher Anna Dabrowski said the vast majority of studies into single-sex education used poor methodology. ‘In this day and age there isn’t any place for it,’ she said. ‘We don’t separate by race, so why do we do it by gender?’

Michele Bruniges, Brian Croke, Tom Alegounarias & Geoff Newcombe

An article in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ of 28 January, written by Dr Kevin Donnelly, ‘demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of education in NSW. Dr Donnelly presents an ill-informed and shallow view of NSW education, with little awareness of our ongoing reforms.’

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

Research, reports and statistics

February 2016

Dyslexia and brain structure: new research

New research at Boston Children’s Hospital, in the USA, shows that children with a strong family history of dyslexia have noticeable differences in key brain structures from the time they are babies.

Looking back and moving forward

This ‘Report Card’ provides some useful reflections on Australian education in 2015, from some the perspective of various heads of Australia's national education associations, including APPA. Interviewees explain their key priorities for 2016.

University of Melbourne research

The UMNOS project, based in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, at the University of Melbourne, involves a diverse collection of schools working together to solve common literacy problems. Results so far are very encouraging.

Study: non-attendance at preschool improves numeracy

The E4Kids project is following a group of preschoolers for five years to determine what forms of early education are best for their development. Using data from 1300 participants, University of Melbourne researchers compared the maths and language skills of children who attended preschool, long day care and family day care, with those looked after by non-professional child carers. After controlling for child and family characteristics, they found that children in informal care ‘significantly outperformed’ their peers in maths.

Study into impact of gentrification

Focusing on one gentrifying Sydney suburb, research conducted by University of Technology Sydney found that the influx of middle-class Anglo-Australians into a traditionally working-class, migrant-dominated area has led to a polarisation between and within schools.

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

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

Education news

February 2016

Helicopter parents hover, even at the weekend

Teachers are increasingly reporting unreasonable expectations from parents in relation to homework. A Queensland University of Technology study of nearly 900 parents found those who tended to over-parent had a stronger belief that teachers have a 24/7 responsibility for children completing their homework.

Will there be enough teachers?

The population of school students is expected to increase by 26 per cent by 2022. An Australian Council for Educational Research report estimates that there will be an extra 92,000 primary school kids in New South Wales by 2020, as well as more than 100,000 both in Victoria and Queensland.

Australia’s oldest continually running school

Newcastle East Primary School, in NSW, will celebrate its 200th birthday in February. Sixteen children, from a mix of convict and free-settler backgrounds, made up the first class in 1816.

Schools evacuated after day of bomb threats

A number of schools across Melbourne, Sydney, London, Norway, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Belgium and France received personal or automated hoax bomb threats on or around 27 January. The British media reported that a Russian Twitter group calling itself ‘Evacuators 2K16’ appeared to claim responsibility for some of the hoaxes and had invited students to get in touch if they wanted to ‘get out of school’.

Always in the public eye

Education leaders at all levels are never immune from public scrutiny, especially when they make mistakes. Ken Davies, the chief executive of the NT Department of Education, has apologised and taken full responsibility for speeding through a primary school zone on 9 December..

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

February 2016

Connecting principals to principals

‘The only person who can really understand the principal's role is another principal and so how do we connect principals so they feel supported?’, asks Australian Primary Principals Association President Dennis Yarrington. APPA is planning to run a ‘next-generation’ principal course this year to help principals develop the skills to manage stress.

New focus on personal wellbeing and fitness

This two-year retired Queensland primary school principal looked back at her successful career in education and ‘realised through the long hours of work I had neglected my personal wellbeing and fitness.’ Carol Greenwood is now teaching Nia, a worldwide movement practice which incorporates elements of dance, martial arts and healing arts like yoga and tai chi.

Bring your whole self to work

Mike Robbins challenges us to bring our whole, complete being to work. Through authenticity, we can find fulfillment, he says.

The truth about your health

In this TED Talk, Dr Lissa Rankin speaks about healthy behaviours like good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep. She also encourages health and authenticity in relationships, work, creative expression, spirituality, sexuality, finances, and living environment.

Top sleep rule for waking up refreshed

How much sleep do you really need? Dr Carol Ash, medical director of the Sleep for Life Centre, in the USA, explains why the right amount of sleep is different for everyone.

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

Policy and innovation

February 2016

Foreign language app for young children

Federal Minister for Education Simon Birmingham recently announced the development of two education initiatives targeting preschoolers. The trial of an interactive app that teaches 4-5 year-olds a second language was expanded to continue through 2016 at 1000 childcare centres across Australia.

Vertical primary and secondary school announced

Designs for NSW’s first high-rise government secondary school, co-located with a five-storey primary school have been unveiled. More than $100 million will be spent to transform Parramatta Public School and Arthur Phillip High School into a vertical school. Concept plans were released on 21 January.

Abandoning school uniform

Several schools in New Zealand are questioning or abandoning the idea of a compulsory school uniform, on the basis of cost to parents and the expression of cultural diversity. ‘It doesn't actually make any difference at the end of the day to the quality of education,’ said Linley Bruce, the principal of Royal Oak Primary School.

Boys-only prep class

Hampton Primary School, in Melbourne, has created a boys-only prep class to accommodate the unusually high number of males who started school this year. Almost two-thirds of the school's preps are boys.

Transport safety school opens

Work on Western Australia’s first Transport Safety Learning School was commenced on 28 January. The $4 million project will be built at the Constable Care Child Safety Foundation headquarters at the former Maylands Primary School. Developers will recreate some of Perth’s heritage buildings in miniature, as well as rail platforms, traffic lights and intersections. The facility is set to teach some 30,000 children a year, aged four to 11, about road safety, public transport and bicycle safety.

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

Professional skill-building

February 2016

Why we have too few women leaders

Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions. She offers three powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for ambitious career goals.

New STEM resource for principals

School principals will soon have more than 250 STEM programs to help students excel in this area. The resource about to be distributed is part of the STEM Skills Partnerships program. It is the result of growing interest from the business community and STEM professionals in sharing the task of building Australia’s future economy.

Giving up control: leadership in the digital era

Charlene Li explains that being an effective leader is less about control and more about empowerment. It’s more about enabling employees to acquire the information they need, so they can make their own decisions.

How to avoid toxic disputes between parents and teachers

Rebecca English, a lecturer in education at Queensland University of Technology, writes for this edition of ‘The Conversation’ on the relationship between parents and teachers.

What it takes to be a great leader

Roselinde Torres describes 25 years of observing truly great leaders at work. She shares the three simple but crucial questions that aspiring leaders need to ask to thrive in the future.

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

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Money matters

February 2016

Labor’s new position on Gonski funding

The Labor Party has announced that, if elected, it would fully fund the last four years of the Gonski agreement.

Strategic expenses for zoned-out parents

In order to secure their child’s enrolment in a preferred government school, a number of Queensland parents are presenting fake rental agreements or even renting properties they have no intention of actually living in. Only around 120 public schools do not have Queensland Government-enforced enrolment management plans.

Schools notified of non-compliance

Six schools affiliated with the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) have been issued with notifications by the Department of Education and Training. It is alleged that the schools have not complied with the financial management and governance requirements of the Australian Education Act. The six schools, which may have their funding withdrawn, are in Canberra, NSW, Brisbane, Melbourne, South Australia and Western Australia.

Increasing cost of private school education

A national survey of 12,000 families, conducted by the Australian Scholarship Group, looks the rising cost of private school education.

School faces Fair Work Commission

Reddam House, in Sydney, faced the Fair Work Commission in December over allegations that it had not paid some of its Early Learning Centre staff overtime, penalties or provided them with pay slips. The disputing parties will face the Commission again on February 12.

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

Love the job

February 2016

Mrs Sharon Lollback

Head of Primary, The Lakes College
North Lakes, Queensland

Where are you currently working as a school leader?

I am Head of Primary at The Lakes College. Aptly referred to as ‘TLC’ by its staff, students and families, The Lakes College is a ministry of the Uniting Church and genuinely reflects the Christian ethos in all aspects of school life. Located in North Lakes, a rapidly growing northern Brisbane area, The Lakes College offers a rich and diverse curriculum for boys and girls from prep to year 12.

I commenced as the inaugural Head of Primary at The Lakes College in 2012. At that stage, the College was only seven-years-old.

How long have you been a school leader? What, and where, was your first appointment?

Well, I was appointed School Captain when I was in year 6 in 1973 so I suppose that’s quite a long time when you think about the wider definition of school leadership. However, I have held ‘grown-up’ school leadership positions since 1999. It was in that year that I was appointed mathematics co-ordinator at a very large Catholic school in the Sydney diocese and got my first official taste of school leadership. It wasn’t all pretty. Juggling a large year 6 class, while trying to make my mark in the world of curriculum, and raising three young children all at the same time, was quite tough. There just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Welcome to the world of leadership!

After a year as maths co-ordinator, I was appointed the religious education co-ordinator at the same Catholic school. I absolutely loved this job. It was during my years as REC that I began to get a feel of what authentic leadership was all about – relationships! Yes, it was hard work and, yes, I was still juggling (who isn’t?) but I felt I was making a real difference in the lives of my colleagues, the students and their families.

At the end of 2002, my husband and I decided to take a sea change and headed north with our three children to beautiful Queensland, where I took a position as year 1 teacher at a brand new school - St Andrew’s Anglican College, on the Sunshine Coast. The following year I was appointed as the deputy head of primary, and there I stayed until the end of 2011. My years at St Andrew’s were exhilarating and exhausting, as this new school developed rapidly. It was during these years that I learned a lot about myself as a leader. Yes, it was still most definitely all about relationships but I quickly learned that the things I wanted to do for the staff, students and parents were constrained by such things as budgets, facilities and available resources. In other words, money! I was so enthusiastic and passionate about supporting others that I would often need to be reined in by my mentors, good naturedly, of course. This was all part of my learning journey. While I was extremely happy in my role, I was beginning to feel a little complacent and I then knew I needed a change, a challenge, a new frontier.

I then moved to The Lakes College as the head of primary and my husband and I relocated to Redcliffe, another beautiful part of the Queensland coast. Our children, adults by this stage, had all flown the coop so there was nothing stopping us beginning this next stage of our lives. I felt excited at the prospect of this next step in my career.


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

February 2016

Mrs Sharon Lollback

Head of Primary, The Lakes College
North Lakes, Queensland

(continued from previous page)

When and why did you originally want to become a school leader?

I remember as a still quite young teacher, getting frustrated when decisions were being made by management or educational systems; decisions that directly impacted what I was doing in the classroom but in which I had no say. This was during a time when collaboration was not part of the educational dictionary and ‘chalk and talk’ was a popular teaching strategy used not only in the classroom but also in the staffroom. I was so passionate about children and their education and had so many ideas and opinions but no one to share them with.

As teamwork became the flavour of the day, I finally got a chance to express my views and I soon realised that these were respected by my colleagues. I found that I was being sought out more often by management for my opinions on educational and pastoral issues. In the background, I continued to further my professional development, completing my graduate diploma while caring for my newborn twins, and my Master’s degree while raising three very active children. It was after returning to full time work in the late 90’s that I made my decision to pursue a leadership role. I wanted to have a say about my beliefs, both professional and personal, and I wanted to make sure my colleagues had a say, as well.

What was your worst day?

Evacuating 900 students as bushfires raged around the school was pretty horrific. Going into school lockdown during a cyclone was also quite memorable. But the worst experience I ever had as a school leader was when I had to tell one of my students and her young sister that their mother had died in horrendous circumstances. This responsibility fell to me, as the father was too grief-stricken. I still can’t think about it without feeling an overwhelming sadness.


Love the job

February 2016

Mrs Sharon Lollback

Head of Primary, The Lakes College
North Lakes, Queensland

(continued from previous page)

What makes you smile at work?

So many things. First and foremost, I have to say the kids! Teachers everywhere are in the enviable position of spending time with wonderful examples of innocence and curiosity. The questions and comments I receive are hilarious. I remember doing playground duty a few years ago and a year 1 boy asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up? I answered, ‘I am grown up and I am a teacher.’ His quick but somewhat impatient reply was, ‘I know that, Mrs Lollback, but what do you really want to be?’ I wasn’t exactly sure what to answer. The beautiful staff make me smile as well. A sense of humour goes a long way in a job like teaching. The students and staff at TLC know that a smile is an essential part of our school day.

Mrs Sharon Lollback, Head of Primary, The Lakes College, North Lakes, Queensland


Interviewees urgently sought for 2016 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2016 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

Managing Editor, APPA 'Connected Leader'

Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988

Connected Leader

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

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


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

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