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

President@APPA

June 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to another edition of Connected Leader. The APPA National Advisory Council (NAC) met recently in Melbourne and had a busy agenda. I will provide a brief update on two key areas and an emerging project that will have a national focus. I also have included a brief outline of four keynote speakers at the APPA conference in Hobart in September.

AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM

Following a limited consultation, ACARA has proposed changes and modifications to the Australian Curriculum. APPA has been involved in providing feedback and advice during the consultation. Some of our key points were:

  • Overall, there is an acknowledgement that ACARA has sought to redefine and modify aspects of the curriculum, especially with the change of moving from subject based to learning areas within the curriculum.
  • APPA encourages ACARA to provide an introductory framework for the primary curriculum. This provides schools with broad statements about the purpose and structure of the curriculum, the structure of the Achievement Standards and importance of schools having flexibility with managing the curriculum.
  • The message we are seeking is that communication needs to be clear that schools focus on Achievement Standards and then select which Content Descriptors to use in delivering the Australian Curriculum.
  • The English curriculum has an increased focus on phonics and reading. However, APPA does not support the inclusion of ‘levelled readers’ in the curriculum and the use of ‘all’ in the foundation Achievement Standard. ‘Prediction’ as a reading process should be retained.
  • The redraft around giving phonics greater prominence in the curriculum raised a number of questions. While the new ‘Phonics and Word Knowledge’ strand in itself looked reasonable, questions arise over the moving of Spelling to this strand (and separating it from Vocabulary).
  • The overall ‘rebalancing’ of the English curriculum raises some issues. APPA would recommend not moving away from the ‘comprehending, thinking, appreciating, creating’ aspects of English towards any view of the subject as a more ‘mechanical, rote’ one. There is a lingering concern about the ‘dumbing down’ of the English curriculum.
  • The HaSS learning area was accepted; however, the continued place of Economics and Business in the primary school curriculum was not widely accepted.
  • We understand there is a push to retain Achievement Standards for each subject of the Arts rather than the single Learning Area Achievement Standard. It was pointed out that this should not mean that schools are required to report on each subject of the Arts every semester.
  • As a priority, APPA sees the next step as the consolidation and monitoring phase of the Curriculum. This will enable many more schools to provide constructive feedback and effective strategies on delivery and management of the Australian Curriculum.

INITIAL TEACHER EDUCATION WORKING GROUPS

APPA is establishing four working, or reference, groups that will develop background papers informing AITSL about the key changes and actions needed to improve teacher education. Our fist focus is the initial teacher education ‘classroom readiness’ survey. This would have come as an email from your state or territory APPA councillor. I encourage everyone to complete the survey on classroom readiness. The initial results are showing concern over the gaps in graduate teacher training. I believe we will need to drive some of the changes; however, it is vital that we have as many principals responding as possible. Further details can be obtained from the APPA office at: natoffice@appa.asn.au

MATHEMATICS PROJECT

I am a member of the steering committee / reference group for the national research project looking at effective mathematics teaching strategies and practices. Schools will be selected based on the growth results for year 3 to year 5 (one standard deviation above the average). The research group will also include some schools that have been performing above national average. The aim is to interview the principal and teachers, and parents and students. The research team will complete some case studies to add to the data.

The information collected will be valuable research that we might well use to develop professional learning modules for leaders on leading numeracy in the primary school. We encourage principals to give this research project a priority.

APPA CONFERENCE IN HOBART 2015

The conference committee has released the program and I encourage all principals to complete their registration as soon as possible. Please follow the link to get more information: http://appaconference2015.com.au.

The following key speakers have been confirmed as well as a number of workshop presenters.

Dr Pedro Noguera is the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education and the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University.  His research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts.  He is the author of 11 books and over 200 articles and monographs.

Dr Bob Brown was elected to the Senate in 1996 after 10 years as an MHA in Tasmania’s state parliament. Since 1996, Bob has continued to take a courageous, and often politically lonely, stand on issues across the national and international spectrum. Bob was re-elected to the Senate in 2001. He stepped down as Leader of the Australian Greens, and then retired from the Senate in June 2012. After leaving parliament he founded the Bob Brown Foundation to support environmental campaigns and activists around Australia and our region.

Professor Lea Waters has been at the University of Melbourne for the past 19 years. She holds an Affiliate position with the Wellbeing Institute at Cambridge University (UK) and the Centre for Positive Organizations, University of Michigan (USA). She is on the Advisory Board for the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. She was the Co-director of the 4th Australian Positive Psychology Conference and is the Chair of the Scientific Committee for the Fourth World Congress for the International Positive Psychology Association Conference to be held in Orlando in 2015.

Dr Simon Longstaff is the executive director of the St James Ethics Centre. The Centre is a unique centre for applied ethics and the only one of its kind globally. Working both in Australia and abroad it is an independent not-for-profit organisation that provides an open forum for the promotion and exploration of ethical questions with individuals and corporates. Dr Simon Longstaff AO has a distinguished career that includes being named as one of AFR Boss True Leaders for the 21st Century with Carol Schwartz noting, ‘I don’t know one CEO or chairman in corporate Australia who has not worked with Simon Longstaff.’

Brendan Spillane is an acclaimed Australian educator, speaker and coach. He is a Growth Coaching International accredited Executive Coach and works in a coaching capacity with a range of senior leaders from business, education and elite sports. A former teacher and principal, Brendan has held senior roles at executive level on professional associations at both state and national level in Australia. Brendan is working with a range of corporate and sporting organisations, as well as with education providers, systems and professional associations. He is passionate about capacity building in individuals and teams, developing leaders to take personal responsibility for their work and also about the key behaviours that underpin the high performance mindset.

On top of the above speakers, there is a wide range of workshops and presentations; the conference is a great opportunity to meet and share new learning with fellow school leaders at a fantastic location.

We look forward to a great roll up in Hobart and wish everyone a safe and enjoyable school term break.

Best wishes,

Best regards,

Dennis Yarrington
President, Australian Primary Principals Association
E: dennis@appa.asn.au
Mobile: 0466 655 468

 

The best conference yet – hands down!

We invite you to attend the Trans-Tasman Principals’ Conference 2016 and discover the wonderful hospitality that Auckland offers.

The focus of the Conference programme will be on state of the art presentations, with the very best learning environments and excellent educational opportunities brought to you by some of the outstanding names in our profession.

Auckland awaits your arrival in 2016!

Interviewees urgently sought for 2015 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 2015 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: debrajoycrouch@gmail.com or 0413 009988.
 

Principals in the news

June 2015

Robyn Anyon

Robyn Anyon has been thanked for her time as principal of Skene Street Primary School, in Stawell, Victoria. The school is grateful for Ms Anyon’s highly organised and innovated approaches to leadership, which allowed for the advancement of a whole range of projects.
 
 

Nancy Gordeuk

A principal in Georgia, USA, has been fired for a racist comment at her school’s graduation ceremony. After apologising, Ms Gordeuk explained that her remark had been prompted by the devil.
 

Simon Gipson

The principal of St Michael’s Grammar School, in Melbourne, explains the personal reasons behind his extreme distaste for bullying.
 

Geoff McKee

A US principal is taking his school district to court after it allegedly used allegedly hacked emails as the basis for an investigation about his use of school resources and his relationship with a subordinate.
 

Peter Johnson

A recently retired NSW primary school principal received a Public Service Medal for his work in education.
 

Interviewees urgently sought for 2015 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 2015 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: debrajoycrouch@gmail.com 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
Email: info@ethicalclothingaustralia.org.au
Website: www.ethicalclothingaustralia.org.au

Opinion and analysis

June 2015

Mem Fox

‘The fact that private schools confer no material or educational benefit in comparison to good public schools is becoming widely known and must be sending a shiver of panic down the spines of private school boards,’ said well-known children’s author Mem Fox.
 

Clark Wight

Australian schools put too much emphasis on numerical scores and not enough on what sort of people their students become, says a former WA principal.
 

Educating the children of known terrorists

Strong opinions have been voiced about how, and where, to educate the children of known Islamic State terrorist, Khaled Sharrouf, should they return to Australia. ‘They are so young they are like puppets, they don't know anything’, said one commentator.
 

Brendon Hyndman

Charles Darwin University education academic Dr Brendon Hyndman says that the trend of ‘surplus safety’ at schools is worrying.
 

Fiona Scott

Teaching primary school children about the devastating effects of ice addiction is one of 10 strategies that are being recommended in the IceMeltdown report.
 

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

June 2015

The ‘Hunger in the Classroom’ report

Foodbank's latest Hunger in the Classroom report shows about three Australian students in every class are regularly arriving at school hungry.
 

Early childhood learning, the brain and society

Professor Patricia Kuhl, from the University of Washington, talks about children's ability to learn effortlessly and the importance of social interaction in the learning process.
 

Report on chronically ill students

A Victoria University report suggests that seriously sick children are not adequately supported by Australian school systems.
 

Development of index on school readiness

Researchers at the University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research and Psychometrics Centre have completed a study in which they developed a simple questionnaire, which is being called the Brief Early Skills and Support Index.
 

New study on impact of mobile phones

Schools in Birmingham, London, Leicester and Manchester took part in a London School of Economics study, which found that test scores improved by 6.4% when mobile phones were banned from school.
 

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

June 2015

Save the Children

Many schools in Nepal have opened, for the first time in more than a month. However, it is estimated that nearly one million children may not be able to return to their classrooms due to the extensive earthquake damage.
 

Low teacher training entry score

In what is being described as ‘a major concern for the teaching profession’, recently released national data has revealed that 12 per cent of all aspiring teachers did not receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) higher than 50 in their year 12 exams.
 

Trend to ban ‘hands-up’

An increasing number of schools are banning students from raising their hands to answer questions in class, as suggested by the UK’s Professor Dylan William. The strategy is thought to protect teachers from mistakenly assuming that all of their students are learning.
 

Divided opinion on sport for transgender student

An unnamed WA principal is supporting the sporting preferences of a year 3 transgender student, against some vocal opposition. He told parents that the school had an obligation to ‘uphold and respect the rights of all children.’
 

Chinese teacher executed

A former Chinese primary school teacher was recently executed for sexually abusing 26 students, some as young as four, in a case underscoring the vulnerability of rural children left behind by parents seeking work in the city.
 

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

June 2015

How to really live every day of your life

If you are dissatisfied with your life, facing a mid-life readjustment or just overloaded with work, Jack Dunigan provides a 16-step analytical process that will help you determine what, and where, changes can, and should, be made.
 

The importance of exercise for your brain

Aerobic exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus and increase levels of a protein that aids the growth of new brain cells, improving memory function and potentially holding off age-related changes in the brain.
 

How to gain confidence: stop being so nice

Is the way you relate to people working for you? How important is it that everyone likes you all of the time? Perhaps you are self-denying, says this social confidence expert.
 

The mindful way through depression

Zindel Segal provides some useful insights into current thinking about how to treat depression and prevent relapses.
 

Manage yourself

Learn to manage yourself, instead of just managing time, says life coach Dieter Pauwels.
 

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

June 2015

Victorian children learn Mandarin by Skype

Mandarin classes are increasingly being taught by Beijing-based Chinese teachers over Skype in regional and rural Victorian schools. The resource is called My Chinese Teacher, and was established four years ago, as a salve to chronic language teacher shortages and poor resources in outer areas.
 

The Story Dog program

The Story Dogs program involves volunteer handlers and their dogs visit primary schools to help children with literacy and hopefully inspire in them a love of reading.
 

Door knock for student diversity

Faced with an increasingly segregated education system, Dutch immigrant children have taken to the streets of their ethnically mixed Amsterdam neighbourhood seeking ‘white’ pupils to attend their schools and help their integration.
 

Teacher-led research

Every one of Sandbank Primary School’s teachers has, for the past 18 months, been leading their own educational research in a groundbreaking project with the Open University, in the UK.
 

Compulsory maths or science?

Federal education minister Christopher Pyne received a lukewarm reception to his proposal that all students must do a maths or a science subject in year 11 and 12. If implemented, what would this mean for primary level maths and science teaching and learning?
 

The best conference yet – hands down!

We invite you to attend the Trans-Tasman Principals’ Conference 2016 and discover the wonderful hospitality that Auckland offers.

The focus of the Conference programme will be on state of the art presentations, with the very best learning environments and excellent educational opportunities brought to you by some of the outstanding names in our profession.

Auckland awaits your arrival in 2016!

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

June 2015

Learning from failure

Amy Edmondson, Harvard Business School professor, presents some strategies for analysing workplace mistakes and producing more intelligent solutions.
 

Suffering from Elephant Syndrome?

‘We remember those things that stymied us before, those tactics that failed, those efforts that fell short. And there well could be a good reason not to pursue them again. On the other hand, it might be more effective to take another look at it,’ says Jack Dunigan.
 

How to deal with four types of difficult people

Behavioural investigator Vanessa Van Edwards provides advice on how to identify and manage ‘Tanks’, ‘Better Thans’, ‘Passives’ and ‘Downers’.
 

Snow Day 2015

Like the principal and staff at Douglas School, in the USA, use the power of Youtube to have fun in the workplace and make key announcements to your school community at the same time.
 

Education Leadership Symposium in Switzerland

The conference program of the Education Leadership Symposium in Zug, Switzerland (2-4 September 2015) can be found on the link below. Over 160 speakers will be taking part. Registration is available until 30 June 2015. So far, 400 participants have registered and there is a discount for non-Swiss participants.
 

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.

Money matters

June 2015

Hefty rise in foreign students

In the past year there has been a 17 per cent increase in the proportion of foreign students enrolling in government-run primary and high schools.
 

Different perspectives on Gonski changes

State and territory Labor ministers say Australian schools will be left with a $30 billion black hole from 2018 after the Federal Government made changes to a six-year Gonski funding deal signed under the previous Labor government. However, federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne maintains there are no cuts and funding for schools will actually increase over the next four years.
 

We have been ‘let down’, says principal.

‘Our school community has been let down by a lack of action on needs-based Gonski funding from successive Victorian governments,’ says the principal of South Morang Primary School, in Victoria. ‘That means that our kids will struggle to compete on a fair playing field with children from wealthier areas and better-resourced schools.’
 

Funding cuts herald an early summer vacation

At least eight school districts in Kansas, USA are starting their summer break early in response to the state’s mid-year education funding cut. In March, Governor Sam Brownback cut $51m from the education budget, pushing schools to reduce the school year and trim or cut education programs.
 

School marketing: ‘Principals on Principles’

US independent school principals talk about how they are marketing their schools, using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email.
 

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

June 2015

Mr Adam Lear

Head of Junior School, St Luke’s Grammar
Sydney, NSW

Where are you currently working as a school leader?

My current role is Head of Junior School, at St Luke’s Grammar School, in Dee Why, on Sydney’s northern beaches. St Luke’s Grammar School is a member of the Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation and is a co-educational day school accommodating students in cottage (pre-K) to year 12.

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

I accepted my first formal role as a school leader in 2009, while teaching in a remote community school in the most northerly community in Western Australia; a small Aboriginal community called Kalumburu. Serving as acting deputy principal for 12 months in this challenging, yet inspiring, context provided me with the added invaluable opportunity to network with other school leaders in the region. This collegiality, combined with the faith shown toward me by my own principal, enabled me to envision the impact that school leaders can have on transforming lives and communities.

 

The best conference yet – hands down!

We invite you to attend the Trans-Tasman Principals’ Conference 2016 and discover the wonderful hospitality that Auckland offers.

The focus of the Conference programme will be on state of the art presentations, with the very best learning environments and excellent educational opportunities brought to you by some of the outstanding names in our profession.

Auckland awaits your arrival in 2016!

Love the job

June 2015

Mr Adam Lear

Head of Junior School, St Luke’s Grammar
Sydney, NSW

(continued from previous page)

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

Throughout my career in education, I have been blessed with one amazing boss after another. I will admit, though, that some of them have been so hard-working and seemed so committed to their job that early in my teaching career I thought, ‘I never want to be a ‘principal!’ However, it has been through relationships with my school leaders that I have understood the values, passions, strengths and even the weaknesses they carry unashamedly in their mission to lead schools of purpose. The realisation that I share similar values and passions and (if you’ll excuse the alliteration) that personal and professional perfection is not a prerequisite for principalship, inspired me to seek a path toward school leadership.

What was your worst day?

The hardest day is the one where you are asked for a recommendation about whether a particular student should be withdrawn from the school. This point is usually reached after the student, the parents and staff have travelled a long and rugged road, and when such a recommendation has to be made, it feels like nobody is a winner. Fortunately, these days are very few and far between and, if they are handled in the right way, they can be reframed as a fresh start.

 

Love the job

June 2015

Mr Adam Lear

Head of Junior School, St Luke’s Grammar
Sydney, NSW

(continued from previous page)

What makes you smile at work?

There are few more satisfying and inspiring experiences than seeing and hearing a teacher bubbling with excitement as they recount a moment of breakthrough in student learning. When this happens, it’s not just me who’s smiling; everyone is smiling! The other smile I love is the ‘knowing smile’. Often this one happens when there’s a bump in the road we should have seen coming, but which we know can be overcome. The ‘knowing smile’ represents the understanding and resilience that we need, as teachers and leaders, and that we try to foster in our students. I’m a great believer that happiness is not the experience of constantly smiling, but of knowing that you’ve made it through times when you weren’t smiling and yet you’re here to talk about it and to embrace another day.


Mr Adam Lear

E: hojs@stlukes.nsw.edu.au


 

Interviewees urgently sought for 2015 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 2015 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: debrajoycrouch@gmail.com or 0413 009988.
 

Managing Editor, APPA 'Connected Leader'

Debra J. Crouch
E: debrajoycrouch@gmail.com
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.

Disclaimer

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.