The Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) recently held its National Advisory Council (NAC) meeting in Canberra. The Advisory Council is made up of a representative from each state and territory Government, Catholic and Independent principals’ association. Also joining the Council are the presidents of the national sector associations. We meet each term.
The key areas for discussion included teacher education, curriculum review, ACARA review, Federation education issues paper, principal preparation, principal wellbeing, APPA’s strategic plan and reports from national associations. In the evening, the NAC joined some twenty-five members of parliament for the APPA Parliamentary Friends of Primary Education Dinner. This event allows parliamentarians to share a meal and discuss key issues impacting on primary education. It’s a very worthwhile occasion.
The curriculum focus will step up now that the Education Ministers have agreed to the ACARA work plan and recommendations of the Review. They have agreed to combine history, geography, civics and citizenship and economics and business under one heading called humanities and social sciences. (This aligns well with APPA’s submission to the Review.) A number of meetings have been organised around the country to meet with ACARA representatives to undertake a feedback process. We appreciate the attendance at the meetings of principals and key curriculum people given the short notice. The feedback will be used to guide ACARA in addressing overcrowding, curriculum management, and assessment and reporting of achievement standards.
APPA has also provided a response to the review of ACARA’s structure and functions. We strongly support the role ACARA provides in the development of a national curriculum and the development of resources to support teaching and learning. We feel the ACARA Board would greatly benefit from having members who can provide directly the practitioner’s perspective to curriculum development, delivery and resourcing. The school, or classroom, perspective is vital in ensuring the curriculum remains relevant, engaging and responsive to the learning needs of our students.
The NAC spent time discussing principal preparation and the different programs offered around Australia. APPA will continue to investigate what is available and what works. In the meantime, we have been approached to partner in a research project on: ‘What will be the principal’s role in the future?’ We will keep you informed of developments.
NAPLAN results have been made public via the My School website. Of course, schools and parents received the results last November. APPA’s view is that NAPLAN results belong to the school community and so should be made available through the school website and annual report. The results are one aspect of reporting and achievement. We do not believe the publication of the results or attempting to compare schools on the My School website result in positive outcomes. We support the NAPLAN assessments and the information being available to teachers and parents on student progress. APPA believes the publication of results on My School has led to a high stakes environment with the resulting production of simplistic league tables. We hope the school community sees beyond the My School website, and that parents and guardians visit the school to work with principal and teacher in meeting their child’s learning needs. Let us know if any concerns are raised.
NAPLAN Online is coming and we will begin developing a position paper outlining the key issues, concerns and what will be required for it to be successful. If you are moved by this work, please send your writings to us to help develop the draft.
NAC were informed on the latest information available by the organising team. This promises to be an exciting conference that takes us to the heart of leading our primary schools. We encourage all principals and school leaders to book their place now via the conference website at http://appaconference2015.com.au
Student wellbeing was discussed at the NAC meeting and the need for the government to provide ongoing support and funding for KidsMatter. APPA will be writing to the Minister seeking an early decision on this funding.
APPA will write to the Federal Minister requesting the government to make a decision on universal funding so that schools can plan for 2016. You may wish to write or email federal members raising this concern with a local context. At our next meeting we will look to establish an Early Childhood working group to investigate the regulations around the Early Learning Framework.
APPA NAC has identified the four key areas for addressing reform with teacher education. The areas are: Selection of people for teacher education; Teaching practicum; Teacher preparation, course content and curriculum; and Induction. APPA will be form working groups to develop key messages and feedback to ATISL on developing the standards and expectations for teacher education.
As part of the operational plan for 2014/15, APPA will develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) The working group (Mark Mowbray, Dyonne Anderson, Ellie McGuiness, Trudy Moala, Mel Bolwell) will begin drafting in consultation with colleagues and support from Reconciliation Australia.
The Closing the Gap Report has been released and a copy is on the APPA website. I believe this important report needs a response, but one that is carefully considered. At our next meeting, APPA will develop a response and action plan.
APPA has been working with the following groups to develop stronger partnerships between schools and the community. They include:
The Smith Family: This project involves establishing a principal advisory group to support The Smith Family in their work with young people. The Smith Family is keen to change their perception held by the community from welfare to education support. They support over 34,000 children in education assistance through a number of programs.
Australian Research Council (ARC) Impact Project: This project is being led by Griffith University and is looking at the Collective Impact of agencies when working with families. The researchers are seeking to identify the factors that increase the learning outcomes for children from families receiving support. The project is working with the Commonwealth Department of Social Services to develop a central database for outcomes. APPA is an active partner on the project team.
School Aid: This program is about kids giving. The It’s NOT FAIR Week will allow primary school student leaders to focus on world and national issues that can lead to improved educational opportunities for other kids. More information will be provided to schools.
We are moving into interesting times and the role of APPA as the Voice for Primary Education is to maintain its momentum and strength. However, this will only be built upon by the actions of individual principals and the work of state and territory associations. We are always looking at how we can better communicate our work and the strong connection between APPA and the state and territory associations, and welcome those ideas that build upon our united voice for primary education.
President, Australian Primary Principals Association
Mobile: 0466 655 468
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 children the best possible start at school. Order at:
PR1ME Mathematics—based on the world’s best practice used in Singapore PR1ME has been developed by Scholastic in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Singapore.
How does it work? PR1ME: explicitly and systematically teaches the problem solving processes and strategies; uses consistent and carefully structured pedagogy; takes a carefully scaffolded, deep-dive into conceptual development; actively involves students in metacognition; and provides professional learning for teachers.
For 40 years, Scholastic Australia has been partnering with schools across the country to give kids access to books they want to read through Clubs and Fairs. In 2012, Scholastic gave Australian schools over $11 million worth of Scholastic Rewards. To find out how you can spend Scholastic Rewards on resources and save your budget, visit
Camp Australia delivers after school care solutions, building on the educational experience of school communities. As the nation’s leading after school care provider Camp Australia has partnered with school communities for 25 years, adding value by delivering high quality care, well-trained staff, systems and support. Find out how Camp Australia will add value to your school community at
KidsMatter Primary is a proven mental health and wellbeing framework for primary schools. It provides expert knowledge, tools and support to help schools grow healthy young minds and care for children’s mental health. KidsMatter is backed by the expertise of Principals Australia Institute, beyondblue and the Australian Psychological Society.
Academy Photography are proud sponsors of the Australian Primary Principals Association. Academy Photography services include school photography, yearbooks, complete printing and educational solutions using latest technologies.
Call 1800 816 224 for your SPECIAL OFFER as an APPA member.
Catholic Super has been providing outstanding superannuation and retirement services to members and employers for more than 40 years. As a leading industry super fund that anyone can join, we offer award-winning superannuation and pension products, long-term superior investment performance, a broad range of investment options and competitive fees.
Where are you currently working as a school leader?
I am currently the Principal/CEO of Maranatha Christian School, a three-campus school in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I moved here in July 2014 after finishing a three-year contract leading an international school that taught the Australian curriculum in the United Arab Emirates. From January to July in 2014, I found myself in the unusual position of leading two schools, in two hemispheres, simultaneously!
How long have you been a school leader? What/where was your first appointment?
Teaching and school leadership has taken me both around Australia and twice across the globe. My career started in Sydney in the early 80s in the independent sector, teaching grade 5. I still remember my ‘mentor’ saying to me on Day 1, ‘We believe in professional independence in this school’! With that, he shut his door, and I never heard from him again, although we taught in adjoining classrooms. An exchange to Adelaide, followed by four years in the UK, quickly passed before I was appointed as a deputy principal in Sydney in 1993. Not being one who wanted to stand still, we moved to Brisbane so that I could become principal/head of junior school in a large traditional all-boys school in 1996. At the time I really thought I had ‘made it’, and in many senses I had. It was a great school, wonderfully resourced and supported by a fully engaged community. At times, I felt I could stay in the role forever ... but I like challenge and an opportunity arose to be the inaugural principal of a new school in Brisbane in 2005. Having the opportunity to start something, appoint all the staff, and build traditions is not to be missed, though it is incredibly demanding. Knowing the school was well established, the seven year itch struck again and I moved to the United Arab Emirates to be principal/CEO of the Victorian International School of Sharjah in 2011. It was a wonderful position with a very diverse community. I had found my niche, but the call of family proved irresistible, so in July 2014 we moved to Melbourne. Who knows what the next chapter will bring!
I think all principals should contribute to the broader campaign of raising educational outcomes for all. For me, this belief lead to a long involvement with APPA, and was privileged to be made an honorary life member in 2009.
(continued from previous page)
When, and why, did you originally want to become a school leader?
I like leading schools - I always have. I have been fortunate to have had leadership roles from early in my career. School leadership is like a complex jigsaw, and there is enormous satisfaction putting all the pieces together to make a greater whole – one that benefits children by supporting them in their learning.
I do believe in the statement, ‘To whom much is given, much is required’. So, if you know you have the ability to lead, then I think we must try and improve ourselves to be able to step up when required. Lifelong learning should be something we, as leaders, exemplify.
Having said that, school leadership can be quite lonely at times. Building a good support network (that is more than just your family) and ensuring your own ‘down time’ is really important. Finding good mentors or role models can also be a great support. Over the last few years, I have trained and mentored school leaders, and while it is incredibly encouraging to see them develop, I have found I have also continued to learn and grow.
What was your worst day?
School leadership parallels the roller coaster of life. We have awesome days and we have very low days. I have not had to deal with the death of student but identifying the body of a dead staff member or consoling children over the death of their parents were difficult. In the end, a significant aspect to school leadership is managing the different relationships and the various expectations different groups have both of us and the school. My worst days are those days when, for whatever reason, expectations either are not met, or cannot be met, trust is broken and the relationship lies in ruins. Making someone redundant or asking a child to leave the school because of their behaviour always leaves me asking whether we could we have done more. If I had to choose one day, it would be from several years ago when I uncovered ongoing forgery for personal gain from a senior staff member who was a trusted colleague and well respected in the community. The sense of loss still remains. Managing the fallout was intense, but ensuring that integrity (both mine and the school’s) remained intact was the key to limiting the damage.
(continued from previous page)
What makes you smile at work?
Frankly, even on the toughest days, I love my job, and that is always because not only have I had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented and hard- working staff, but more importantly, it is a joy to work with children. How can you not smile at some of the unexpected things that children say or do? How can we not smile when we see such endeavour and energy?
Finally, the sheer satisfaction I get from seeing children grow from little boys and girls into fine young men and women will always make me smile. As the A Team used to say, I love it when a plan comes together, and that is what we do as principals. Whether we have a Divine sense of calling or not, I do believe education is a vocation and so to put the skills you have been given, so that others might benefit, well, that’s a purposeful life. As Henry Adams said, ‘Teachers (or principals) affect eternity, they do not know where their influence will end,’ and that, for me, is the greatest reason to smile.
Dr Roderick Crouch,
Principal, Maranatha Christian School, Melbourna, Victoria
Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988
Connected Leader Copyright ©. Australian Primary Principals Association 2015. This whole publication, created as a deliberately selected compilation of internet-based resources, may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA).
Connected Leader is an official publication of the Australian Primary Principals Association. In close collaboration with APPA, Connected Leader is designed, produced and edited, specifically for APPA members, by Debra J. Crouch, Managing Director of Vivid Word and Image design, to enhance the professional learning of Australian primary school leaders.
The opinions expressed in any of the internet-based resources accessed by links from Connected Leader, belong entirely to those who created those resources, and do not necessarily represent official APPA views and policies. At times, links to some resources may be deliberately selected to reflect the wide range of views held by Australian primary school leaders, and the views therein may be subject to debate in some sections of the education community. Readers are advised that, in the interests of brevity, not all of the available personal opinions or information about a particular event, development, issue or policy direction may be published in resources made available through links in Connected Leader. Interested readers who require more comprehensive information, or who seek the opinions of all stakeholders, are advised to directly contact the institution/s or persons cited in the resource/s or conduct their own private research.
Neither APPA, Debra J. Crouch nor Vivid Word and Image Design can guarantee, or take responsibility for, the accuracy or otherwise of any of the information and/or views contained in any of the internet-based resources accessed by links from Connected Leader, or from subsequent webpages accessed via links within (or in material/text following) those suggested resources. The duration of all links cannot be guaranteed by APPA or VIVID Word and Image Design. Nor do these two parties accept responsibility for any loss or damages arising from statements or opinions contained in any published article or advertisement.