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


March 2019

Leadership development

I hope these few words may lead you to reflect on your pathway to leadership. I wonder if you are one of the people who have found their way into the principalship in their 50’s with a likely tenure of maybe 5 to 10 years in the role. Or perhaps you’re someone in your 30’s (or even 20’s) who is a school principal perhaps a decade or two before you thought you might be. Regardless of your age I am interested in what were the important components in building your leadership credentials, or the steps you took on your pathway.

Reports from around Australia are that the numbers of applicants for principal positions are low. There are clearly systemic and social issues evident in our schools which may be mitigating against wild enthusiasm for the principal role. Anyone who has been a principal can attest to the challenges of leading a school yet this year’s edition of The Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey 2018 Data report by Philip Riley says “participants report significantly higher job satisfaction than the general population” (p.15).

This being the case current leaders face the task of ensuring that there are others who are well-prepared not only to follow in our footsteps but to thrive in the challenges of the pivotal role of advancing Australian society. One way of developing leadership density is careful delegation of tasks to others. BUT - this is a very easy thing to say and much harder to do. Everyone who works in a school seems busy so its tough to ask someone to take on more work. Are more people the answer? This is an expensive proposition but it must be part of the solution for many of Australia’s schools. Perhaps the funding flowing from major political parties’ commitment to equity will provide part (maybe all) of the answer.

This year’s survey report shows an upward trend in expectations of the employer as a stressor, while sheer quantity of work and lack of time to focus on teaching and learning remain clearly dominant in the graphs. It is heartening that governments, systems and departments are taking steps to address these factors which are so powerfully affecting the wellbeing of our school leaders but there is still much to be done.

I strongly encourage you to attend this year’s APPA conference to be held in Adelaide in early September. Give yourself the opportunity to network with others, learn and reflect. In so doing there will be an opportunity for colleagues in your schools to get another experience of leadership and perhaps take a step towards the wonderful, fulfilling and challenging role of the school principal.

Malcolm Elliott
President, Australian Primary Principals Association

MoneySmart Principals Project

In 2018, APPA partnered with ASIC’s MoneySmart Teaching program team to build the financial capability of primary school students and teachers. The program is the only national financial literacy program for schools endorsed by state and territory education departments. Together, we are running a grants program to boost teachers and their students’ financial literacy. There are three components:

1. MoneySmart Grants for Principals

Congratulations to the nine first ever MoneySmart grant recipients. There are some great projects featuring market days, gardens, product development, a café, a financial literacy classroom and a multimedia project. The next round of grant applications will reopen in the second half of 2019. This year’s projects will be showcased during the APPA National Conference in Adelaide in September. We look forward to watching this year’s projects develop over the year. Find out more on the MoneySmart website.

2. The MoneySmart Teaching program

The MoneySmart program provides free:

  • Professional development for teachers aligned with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
  • Resources for teachers to use in their classrooms that are aligned to the Australian Curriculum and the National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework.
  • Information for teachers wanting to boost their own financial health.

MoneySmart also offers a grants program to help schools implement financial literacy projects.

3. The APPA – ASIC Partnership

In coming years, APPA is working with MoneySmart to:

  • Deliver grants for school-based innovative learning projects to build the financial capability of teachers, students and whole school communities.
  • Promote commitment across Government, Catholic and Independent schools to build primary students’ financial capability, recognising the impact principals have on student and teacher development.
  • Build our teachers’ and staff’s personal financial literacy and health by providing clear, practical and manageable resources.

SchoolAid launches ‘Hay and Hampers for Hope’ national campaign

With farmers suffering through what many are calling the ‘worst drought in living memory’ SchoolAid has today launched its ‘Hay and Hampers for Hope’ campaign.

The campaign is calling on 10,000 schools around Australia to donate $100 each, and in doing so raise $1 million to go towards hay for drought-affected livestock and hampers for farming families that are struggling with meeting their living expenses.

SchoolAid founder and CEO Sean Gordon said: “Farming families are often the last to ask for help and the first to lend a hand. ‘Hay and Hampers for Hope’ is about harnessing the collective power of Australia’s youth to help those who have given us so much, both economically and culturally. If you’re a young person and you’re distressed by these images on the news of starving sheep and farmers doing it tough, get involved because there’s now something you can do about it.”

Donations to the Hay and Hampers for Hope campaign can be made here

Dennis Yarrington, SchoolAid Board Member and President of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA), said: “Time and time again at SchoolAid we’ve seen the power of youth philanthropy; whether its helping the community of Tathra recover from bushfires or schools across Queensland overcome the impact of Cyclone Debbie, Australia’s young people are an incredible force for hope and optimism in this world. $1 million is a big number but Australia’s young people have big hearts - I’m convinced once they turn their attention to ‘Hay and Hampers for Hope’ great things will happen.”

INSPIRING STUDENTS TO READ MORE, and helping them find the books they will love to read, takes a combination of dedication, inspiration and engagement. We know you bring the dedication to work every day and with our ‘Reading Leader’ portal we hope to help with both the inspiration and engagement to get more kids reading and kids reading more.

At Scholastic we encourage the borrowing of brilliance and through our “Reading Leader Award’ we are seeking out the very best for you to borrow from. Scholastic and APPA are providing a platform to recognise Reading Leaders across the country, so that their ideas and efforts can reach more students, and remind us all to help children every day with their reading journey.

Visit our “Reading Leader” portal for reading programs, professional resources, brilliant book suggestions and more. NO COST offerings, all designed to help you be a better reading advocate and connect your students with books they will love to read.

Congratulations to Lesley Gollan of Queensland’s WoodLinks State School, who is the Term 2 Scholastic National Reading Leader Award winner.

Principal Vicki Caldow noted, ‘Lesley is a reading champion who works across the school to develop and implement programs that empower teachers and invites the wider community to support students in practising and enjoying reading.’


Under the spotlight

March 2019

Jacqueline King

A Queensland principal recently apologised to her school community for a serious error of judgement. In a dignified public statement, Ms King said that principals like her needed to be ‘beacons of leadership and guidance’ to parents and act as role models both inside and outside the school.

Ed Black

Here, the principal of Huntingdale Primary School, in Western Australia, shares a quirky and heart-warming story that reminds us of the lifelong impact of early values education.

Marni Morrison

The new principal of Goondiwindi State Primary School feels she has returned ‘home’ after many years in other regions of Queensland. The rich professional growth she has accrued during her absence can only be admired. ‘I’ve had a lot of experience, particularly in the last four years, with generational poverty and trauma informed practice,’ Ms Morrison told a local reporter. ‘While it’s a challenge, it is also very rewarding. About two-thirds of the children at my last school used English as a second language, many being refugees.’

Simon Kidwell

A British primary school principal inadvertently found himself at the centre of religious controversy when a group of parents objected to a school play about Charles Darwin. The student performance was eventually replaced with a more inclusive, traditional play called ‘Porridge’.

Carol Bell

The incoming principal of St Mary’s College, in Broome, WA, says that ‘no matter what role you are in at a school, you are a teacher first and it is important to recognise the role education plays in shaping the lives of these young kids.’ ‘I am looking forward to getting to know each and every one of them and their families,’ she added.

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

Learning curve

March 2019

Instructional leadership

John Hattie discusses the differing impact on students of various styles of leadership.

Principal certification

The CPP award is a formal endorsement that a principal has demonstrated, to a high level, the requirements of the Australian Professional Standard for Principals based on evidence they have generated and presented themselves.

Team building

Recognise anyone on your staff in this entertaining animation about team work? Unfortunately, the ultimate solution, while effective, is not easily achieved in a school context.

What is your leadership identity?

This presentation by US principal Baruti Kafele looks at the construction of ‘leadership identity’.

How to start a speech

Conor Neill addresses the following questions you should ask before making a public presentation. What are the first words of a speech? What should be the first sentence of a speech? How can you engage an audience from the first moment? There are three ways to start a speech, he says.

Teach MoneySmart: Be MoneySmart

Take a practical, curriculum-based approach to teaching financial literacy and develop your own financial health. This free MoneySmart course is curriculum-aligned and provides 1.5 hours of professional development.

You will learn how:

  • ASIC's MoneySmart program builds financial literacy education for the next generation.
  • To select MoneySmart resources to teach financial literacy.
  • To find MoneySmart resources to improve your financial health.
Enrol now

Connect MoneySmart: Use MoneySmart

Examine the importance of teaching financial literacy and find practical use classroom resources.

This free MoneySmart course is curriculum-aligned and provides 1.5 hours of professional development.

You will:

  • Learn why financial literacy education is important to the Australian school curriculum and read related research.
  • Connect to the key global and national initiatives for financial literacy education underpinning ASIC's MoneySmart Teaching program.
  • Use digital and other resources for primary, secondary and VET students to plan and deliver your lessons.
Enrol now

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:

Legal eagles

March 2019

Dissatisfaction with level of accountability

Parents from four independent schools recently applied to Queensland’s Attorney-General to have the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association give up its incorporation under Letters Patent. Instead, they want the Association reincorporated under the Corporations Act, thereby forcing it into greater accountability. The Queensland Attorney-General has referred the parents' issue to the Office of Fair Trading, which is investigating their concerns.

School sued over school camp death

Parents are suing a Victorian independent school for the death of their son on remote cattle station in South Australia. In a writ filed recently in the Victorian Supreme Court, Xiao Jung Wei and Yinei Li say their son's death was ‘entirely avoidable’. They claim staff from Huntingtower School did not check the temperature on the day their son died. In addition, it is alleged that they failed to ‘exercise reasonable care and skill’ and were ‘negligent’.

Duty of care concerns

According to the WA Primary Principals' Association (WAPPA), more students are arriving early at school, with some working parents dropping their children off between 7:00am and 7:30am, up to an hour and a half before the bell. WAPPA president Ian Anderson said that early arrival was a growing problem for schools, with many responding by banning before-school sport and play in order to meet their ‘duty of care’ obligations.

Defamation case settled

A Sydney independent school has settled out of court and issued an apology to its former principal. Debra Kelliher was accused in emails of ‘tyrannical’ leadership, ‘bullying’ and ‘unethical behaviour’. Unable to discuss the details of the January settlement, Ms Kelliher said that she is satisfied with Kambala’s apology.

Police investigate student death

Northern Territory police are investigating the out-of-school-hours death of a Darwin student. The deceased nine-year-old was found in the playground of Wanguri Primary School, which he attended.

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.

Challenge your thinking

March 2019

Literacy report

According to a new report released by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), only 82 per cent of year 10 students reached the international baseline level for reading in 2015, compared with 86 per cent of students in 2006.

Changing school communities

A study by Tim Slade from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has confirmed women are now drinking more than they used to, putting their intake closer to that of men. This article focuses on a mother who, after hearing a comment by one of her young sons, sought help to give up alcohol as a way of relieving stress at the end of a working day.

Disruptive classrooms

This interview focuses on research from the OECD, which shows that Australia ranks among the worst in the world for disruptive classrooms. ‘The survey of more than 14,000 students from 760 schools, revealed 40 per cent said there was high levels of noise and disorder, that students didn’t listen to the teacher and “they found it difficult to learn”.’

Impact of insufficient outdoor play

Associate Professor Tonia Gray says a growing body of research shows that children who miss out on outdoor play are more stressed and moody, have shorter attention spans and are less likely to reach their full academic potential. They are also more likely to have poor eyesight.

Research reveals education wish-list

Recent research from Monash University shows that Australian adults want to see ‘life skills’, including money management, job preparation and domestic tasks, introduced into the school curriculum.

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

March 2019

How talk therapy helps

We all deal with stress in our lives. And sometimes, we can benefit from some extra help to work through that stress. Here, Jackie Bender talks about how talk therapy works, and why you shouldn't be intimidated about going to an appointment.

Psychological assistance

Government school principals in Victoria are to get free counselling sessions in a bid to fight against the stress and strain of their job. More than 1500 principals and acting principals will sit in two sessions with an experienced psychologist every year, while those new to the job will be required to undergo counselling within eight weeks.

Principal wellbeing in Tasmania

The Tasmania Department of Education recently launched its Principal Wellbeing Strategy. A psychologist and support staff will now be available to work closely with principal Wellbeing Leaders during critical incidents, to ensure that the wellbeing needs of principals are addressed as part of a system-wide response.

Tackling middle-age spread

Some useful advice on how to tackle unwanted weight gain in middle-age, and the health benefits in doing so.

What happens to your body when you exercise?

We all know exercise is good for us, but what actually happens inside your body when you get active? Watch to find out, and learn more about the benefits of exercise for your heart.

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

Something different

March 2019

South Australia’s seven-storey vertical school

This $100 million school, in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD and parklands, has been designed to reflect the way young people will work and learn in the future, says its principal Alistair Brown.

Parents urged to install spyware

Students at Birkenhead College, in Otago, New Zealand, are not permitted to access the school’s wifi network unless their parents have first installed a particular surveillance app on their children’s devices.

More assistance for profoundly deaf

A new Macquarie University project will explore how to help profoundly deaf students more effectively learn to listen and speak.

Solar and battery powered classroom

Australia's first solar-and-battery-powered portable classroom is currently being trialled in Queensland.

Cosmetics on the curriculum

Students from years eight to ten at Karoonda Area School, in South Australia, recently participated in a make-up tutorial to learn about using cosmetics.

My word

March 2019

Stephen Lamont

Commenting on proposed laws to end discrimination against gay students, the principal of a Western Australian independent school told a parliamentary inquiry that the ‘ad hoc’ and ‘overtly political’ legislation was ‘nothing short of an attack on religious practice’. Mr Lamont said the changes would ‘seriously weaken’ the quality of education provided at his ‘unashamedly Christian’ school.

Peter Sutton

Commenting on the case of a principal whose actions were videoed and spread via social media, this commentator warns against what he describes as ‘this level of transparency’. Peter Sutton argues that principals ‘do not deserve trial by 30 seconds of footage on a mobile phone’.

Kellie Bousfield & Jacquie Tinkler

Participation by students in climate change protests . . . ‘meets many of the key goals of our current education system, including students’ capacity to engage in, and strengthen, democracy. Rather than proof of a flawed education system, politically active and engaged students are evidence many aspects of our education system are working well,’ say these two educationists from Charles Sturt University.

Erin Canavan

‘The scope of Australian education is becoming increasingly narrow. Many of teachers’ professional decisions are driven by expectations about student performance in high-stakes, national tests and the need to meet school-wide and national achievement benchmarks. In the constant pursuit of academic outcomes and evidence of quantifiable student achievement, opportunities to make autonomous decisions about our teaching are rare,’ says this early career teacher.

Annastacia Palaszczuk

‘There’s a high level of confidence in our public schools and this is thanks to the hard work and determination of our principals,’ said the Premier of Queensland at a recent state-wide conference.

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Money matters

March 2019

Projected spend on new schools

Australia will need an estimated 400 to 750 new schools to accommodate 650,000 additional students within the next decade, costing state governments up to AUD$11 billion, according to the Grattan Institute.

Ethics of ‘positive closure’ fundraiser

The ethics of a party fundraiser by a US school, which was closed after a student death, has been questioned by a number of stakeholders, including the boy’s parents.

Independent school fees

With fees at one school tipping over $40,000 this year, Victoria has emerged as the second most expensive state in Australia for independent schooling.

Poor financial literacy

Around a fifth of Australian 15-year-olds do not have basic financial literacy, according to a new OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) financial literacy assessment results report.

Fundraise for UNICEF

This UNICEF website provides useful ideas for individuals and schools wishing to raise money for charity.

Managing Editor, APPA 'Connected Leader'

Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988

Connected Leader

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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