Welcome back to the start of another year! I’m sure we’re all looking towards a great 2017 in our schools and in primary education across the country. To those who are starting their first year as a principal, I particularly wish you the very best for the year ahead.
This year will no doubt see plenty of ‘firsts’ and, yes, some experiences that may not be repeated in years to come. (We all remember our first year leading a school and remind ourselves of the things we would do differently!) And so it is that I urge all new principals to join their local principals’ association and invite a nearby colleague for coffee.
Returning principals, hopefully you have had a good rest and renewed the batteries for the year ahead. I would encourage our experienced principals to ring a new colleague with an invitation to meet up and come to the next association gathering. This type of connection has been shown as extremely valuable in building support networks and maintaining good health and wellbeing.
So, what will be on the radar or agenda for 2017? Further along I will cover a few of the key APPA issues that will impact on primary schools. Keep these in mind and take along your thoughts to the local principals’ association meeting.
This conference is for all primary school leaders and is being hosted by the three Queensland principals associations – QASSP (Government) QCPPA (Catholic) and IPSHA-Qld (Independent). Register yourself here now and then identify an aspiring leader to join you for the Friday’s program.
At the end of 2016, the Education Council decided that Year 3 Writing would remain a pencil and paper test for 2017. Further studies and research was to be conducted to determine the impact and effectiveness of conducting the writing test online. The key message was NAPLAN Online will run in 2017, but with a reduced number of schools.
APPA has a reference group that meets with ACARA to provide feedback and advice on the implementation of NAPLAN Online. For many schools already use online assessment, moving to NAPLAN Online will be relatively easy. However, due to results being used to compare schools and states (My School), APPA is working to ensure that the delivery and function of the test is fair for all children and all schools. Location, technological capability and connectivity cannot be barriers to a successful experience. I would encourage any principal who has a concern to talk with their principals’ association and jurisdiction or system employers. If in doubt, check it out! Be careful not to assume your school is ready and that students will have the technology skills to manage the test. NAPLAN is testing literacy and numeracy, not technology skills.
ACARA has produced information and support material that’s available on the NAPLAN website. Now is the time, if your school is going with NAPLAN Online this year, to check if you and your teachers are ready, your school community is ready and your students ready. NAPLAN Online for 2017 will see schools in a number of states and territories participating with around 110 schools in the ACT; 110 in Queensland; 200 in Victoria VIC; 100 in WA; and 50 in SA.
Education Ministers have also made the decision to proceed with a review of the NAPLAN standards. State and territory assessment authorities agreed to coordinate jurisdictional and system participation in the standard setting activities. No date has been set for adoption of any revised standards.
And a quick update on My School for 2017...
And speaking of the Education Council, there was considerable media on education funding, with the Minister committing to a needs-based model to be finalised in early 2017.
National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA); National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions project; Work Samples; Illustrations of Practice; 2017- 2020 Program of Research: Curriculum of the future and Global citizenship and the general capabilities.
Further details for the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progression, include version one was developed in Semester 2 2016 using evidence and expert advice. Approved in December 2016 by ACARA Board for trial and validation in 2017. Trial will proceed in March and April 2017 with approx. 600 Australian teachers. Progressions revised mid-year for Education Council approval late 2017. Check the ACARA website for information.
The 2016 Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey Report will be released this week. The report’s author, Professor Phil Riley (pictured with APPA Board), met with the APPA Board and provided an overview of the report. We have also been working with Teachers Health Fund on the communication strategy.
APPA is proceeding with a research project on policies and practices that support principals. A survey will be finalised at the APPA National Advisory Council meeting next month and roll out during Term Two.
APPA is aiming to hold a National Symposium on Principal Health and Wellbeing on 1 August. Bringing together representatives from key principal associations, education organisations, employers and other key stakeholders the aim is to develop a national strategy to address principal health and wellbeing. We are keen to have a national statement agreed upon by the group that will raise the profile and importance of addressing principal health and wellbeing. This will contribute greatly to our endeavours to ensure that a high performing principal is in every school.
APPA Board recently met with new AITSL CEO Lisa Rodgers (also pictured with APPA Board) and discussed the AITSL workplan for 2016-17. This included the following:
AITSL will also release shortly the new Teacher Induction app. Please check the website for latest information on supporting professional learning and development of your teachers and leaders. AITSL has announced a reduction in the cost of the 360º reflection tool.
APPA’s recent media release responding to the announcement of the Year 1 Check Expert Advisory Panel emphasised the need to examine current practice and develop a pilot study. This was communicated to the Minister’s office last year. We expect to provide a submission as well as seek input from state and territory associations. The development of an evidence-based Check or suite of Checks available to schools is welcomed but APPA does not support a ‘one size fits all’ or heavy compliance requirement.
We will also be pushing that funding should be available to address identified needs. The other push will be for teacher education providers to train teachers to teach reading and be skilled in supporting students who may need additional support. The APPA Board recently met Dr Jennifer Buckingham, a member of the panel set up by the Minister, to discuss the proposed Year 1 Check and the phonics check used in England. The panel will investigate current practices and development of a pilot study.
SchoolAid, Halogen and APPA will continue the partnership to support student leadership development and initiatives. Halogen organises student leadership days in the major cities. SchoolAid Board supports schools in establishing Kids Ambassador Teams (KATs) that organise social action activities for students.
APPA is supporting this worthwhile event and encourages schools to have their student leadership team organise activities to help to raise funds for Bone Marrow disease in children.
Finally, I look forward to meeting principals and visiting schools during the year.
Best wishes,Dennis 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
Modern learners experience the discord and melody of an ever-changing score while modern leaders are charged with conducting an orchestra of many diverse instruments and unifying them in harmony. This conference will explore the attributes of agile, innovative leaders who leave a legacy tuned with purpose.
Dr Muhammad is one of the most sought after education consultants in North America and currently serves as CEO of the highly regarded New Frontier 21 Consulting. As a middle school teacher, assistant principal and principal, he earned numerous awards both as a teacher and principal. Anthony is recognised as a leading expert in the fields of school culture and organisational climate. His work and passion for changing cultural dynamics have seen him work successfully with schools across the US and around the world.
Dr Fox is a modern day ‘wizard-rogue’, author and leadership adviser. With expertise in motivational design, Jason shows forward-thinking leaders around the world how to unlock new progress and build for the future of work. Named Keynote Speaker of the Year by Professional Speakers Australia, he delivers fresh thinking to instil the curiosity so needed for future relevance, purpose and growth. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, he’s the bestselling author of The Game Changer and his research has featured in the likes of Smart Company, BRW and The Financial Review.
Holly Ransome is the CEO of Emergent, a company specialising in the development of high performing intergenerational workforces, exceptional leadership and sustainable social outcomes. Working with corporations, governments and non-profit organisations, Holly is renowned for generating innovative solutions to complex multi-stakeholder problems. She coaches and professionally mentors leaders around the world and, in 2014, was appointed to chair Australia’s G20 Youth Summit. In 2016, she Co-Chaired the United Nations Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs and became the youngest ever female Director of an AFL Club.
Dr Murgatroyd is an expert on innovative policy and practice, the author of some 40 books and a frequent contributor to radio and news media. As a skilled communicator with the simple goal of improving performance, Stephen makes a difference to organisations through challenge, change and innovation. He is the new CEO of the Collaborative Media Group, a company focussed on providing organisations with creative technology solutions to their performance challenges, by using social media technology, consulting, mentoring and video production facilities.
Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert are co-leaders of Networks of Inquiry and Innovation and the Aboriginal Enhancement of Schools Network. They have served as principals, district leaders and policy advisors with the Ministry of Education in the areas of innovative leadership, district change, rural education, literacy and Aboriginal education. They are the co-directors of the Centre for Innovative Educational Leadership at Vancouver Island University and also Canadian representatives to the OECD international research program on Innovative Learning Environments.
The Royal ICC, or better known as the Brisbane Showgrounds, is just 1.6km from Brisbane CBD, 15 minutes from Brisbane Domestic and International Airports and is in easy reach of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
Address 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills Brisbane, QLD 4006.
Parking is available at the Royal ICC for a fee of $12 per day at various locations.
Trains Bowen Hills and Fortitude Valley railway stations are less than a 10 minute walk from the Royal ICC.
There are a number of accommodation options within easy walking distance to the Royal ICC:
Early Bird Registration to the 2017 APPA National Conference will open in Term 4, 2016.
Full registration to the APPA Conference includes the welcome function, opening ceremony, all conference sessions, the conference dinner and entertainment.
The APPA 2017 National Conference is organised by a committee made up of APPA and national sector principals association representatives based in Queensland, and representatives of QASSP, QCPPA and IPSHA – Qld. The Committee looks forward to bringing together another hugely successful conference in Brisbane 2017.
QASSP is delighted to be appointed Conference Organisers of the 2017 APPA National Conference. For more information about this conference, please contact Magdalene St Clare, QASSP Business Manager and APPA Conference Manager on ph (07) 3831 7011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A recent independent study by Associate Professor Catherine Attard from the Western Sydney Unversity showed that students who used Matific in their classroom improved their overall test results.
In fact, the quantitative data collected indicated an overall improvement of 34%.
One of the most significant outcomes that emerged from the data is that Matific assists learning. The size and structure of the Matific episodes allow students to maintain better focus on very specific mathematical concepts and skills, and this focus is maintained specifically because of the way the episodes are structured.
Matific is an online maths resource for students in K-6. Matifics’s pedagogy, interactive games and rich content really does make for the perfect teaching and learning environment.
Register your school for a 30-day trial in 2017 and see for yourself why 9 out of 10 Australian teachers would recommend the program to their peers.
You can even lock us in for your 2017 Professional Development day!
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.
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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.
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Describe your current school, its students, the demographics of your school community, and any special challenges and/or strengths.
Ormiston College is an independent, co-educational non-denominational Christian school located in Ormiston, in the heart of Redland City, Queensland. We focus on a well-rounded education that unlocks each student’s personal and academic potential. Ormiston College has been recognised for its innovation in education and as a leader in using digital technologies in the curriculum.
How many years have you been a school leader?
What motivated you to become a school leader (and when)?
I was actually ‘tapped on the shoulder’ and asked to take on an acting role. The motivation to accept the invitation was the new challenges posed by taking on a leadership role and the opportunity to work with teachers across the school to achieve positive outcomes for students.
What was your first leadership role, where was it located, and what were some of your early challenges as a new leader?
My first leadership role was a combined one. I was the Acting Head of Curriculum and Student Services at West End State School. One of the early challenges I faced as a new leader was making the transition from class teacher to leader. I knew I had the trust and respect of the staff as a teacher but I now needed to earn this as a school leader. I was also relatively young, compared to many school leaders in our region and across the state. This motivated me to prove that, although I may not have had as many years of experience as others, my passion for teaching and learning, and making a difference, would ensure I was an effective and positive school leader.
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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?
Invest time in developing strong relationships with all members of the school community. Just like we know the effect that positive relationships have in the classroom, it is the same for the school as a whole.
What makes you smile at work?
There are so many things that make me smile at work. From students sharing something new they have learned or a goal they have achieved, being blown away by a talent and/or passion you didn’t know a student had, to seeing the amazing learning opportunities my colleagues create for our students each day.
In managing your staff, what are your most valuable skills and beliefs?
As I mentioned before, I believe in the importance of developing positive relationships with my staff. By creating a sense of trust and respect, it ensures that if we do have to tackle an issue or have a challenging conversation, then we have a strong foundation from which to do it.
Another one of my beliefs can be summarised in this quote from John Cotton Dana, ‘Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.’ This is why a key focus for our team is creating a professional learning community in which we embody the belief that, to be an educator, you also need to be a lifelong learner.
Finally, it is important to make time to acknowledge the strengths and achievements of your staff. I do this in a number ways, including a section in my weekly update, a quick email and another way which I think is the most powerful – handwritten thank you notes.
What was the best day you ever had as a school leader?
One of my best days as a school leader actually happened when I wasn’t at school. I was waiting at a bus stop after attending a workshop and noticed some teenagers approaching. One of the boys stopped and said ‘Mr Goulter!’ It was then I recognised him as a student from a school I had once worked at. We had a great discussion about how his family was, and what some of the other students I knew were up to. I asked what he planned to do when he graduated from high school next year. He said that he wanted to be a primary school teacher because of the difference I had made for him when he was at primary school. This conversation really hit home about the positive effect you can have as a school leader. Although I didn’t actually teach this student, the supportive learning environment I helped to create, and the positive relationships I formed with the school community, obviously had made a bigger impact than I ever realised.
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What was the toughest day you ever had as a school leader?
The toughest days as a school leader have to be when a student or colleague has lost a family member. Initially, it is challenging, as members of the school community battle with grief and tragedy and, as a leader, you need to determine the best way to support them. On the other hand, it is also inspiring to see the school community come together and display such care and compassion, in so many different ways.
What was the funniest single thing that ever happened to you as a school leader?
It’s hard to narrow down to one single thing but, on a recent excursion I attended, there was a moment that was ‘right up there’. I helped with our recent year 5 excursion to St Helena Island which, in the late 1800s/early 1900s, played host to a prison. One of the guides was describing to students what prisoners ate, e.g. mutton and corn starch, when one student raised a hand. With total sincerity, the student asked ‘What did the prisoners who were gluten free eat?’
What tips would you give new school leaders about staying positive and keeping their energy levels high?
It is important to be actively involved in a professional learning network. Both through your principals’ association, such as IPSHA, and also online. I cannot recommend highly enough using Twitter to network with fellow educators, education leaders and academics.
Ensure you make time each school day to spend time in classrooms, to share and participate in the learning experiences. Spend time in the playground engaging with students. It will help you to focus on the many positives within your school and help to ensure you stay focused on what is important.
Organisation is key to ensuring you can maintain your focus on the key priorities and invest your energy in tasks and projects that will make the biggest difference for your students and the school community as a whole.
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?
That, each day, you can make a real difference - a positive difference for your students, colleagues and school community.
How do you achieve (or are trying to achieve) a positive work-life balance?
In a quest for a positive work-life balance, I ensure I make a conscience decision to ‘switch off’. That is, create a boundary between balancing work and personal time. For example, I have intentionally turned off email notifications on my mobile phone. Once again, time management and organisation are key to creating a positive work-life balance. When I plan my week, I make it a point to schedule time with family and friends, and activities that help me recharge.
What special measures do you take (if any) to protect and nurture your own health and welfare?
I go to the gym around four times a week. I usually like to attend before school because I find that, not only is it good for my overall health, but it helps me get in a positive mindset in preparation for the day ahead. Although my knees are telling me to stop, I still love playing basketball each week.
Something we tend to undervalue is sleep. I had made it my mission this year to get regular sleep. Having a newborn baby has thrown a spanner in the works but it has reinforced to me how important sleep is to our overall health and welfare.
What do you see yourself as doing with your life after the principalship?
I actually don’t have an answer to this question. At the moment I’m focused on being the best principal I can be, so you’re better off asking me that question in about 20 years.
Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988
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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