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


May 2019

I love the title of this magazine – The Connected Leader.

I found that the challenges of leadership were greatest when I felt disconnected or isolated. Sometimes I felt that only I had responsibility for what was happening. Over the years I learned that there was no need for me to ever feel that way. It was up to me to contact another staff member, friend, colleague or partner to share my feelings and experience. Of course, I pretty quickly learned that by so doing I gained the advice and sensitive support that enabled me to progress whatever issue or circumstance had arisen.

I learned this bit of wisdom through some pretty tough experiences – some of which turned out happily in the end. As a beginning principal I got a memo from Departmental HR stating that all staff seeking transfers had to lodge their transfer request forms (copy attached) by the end of the month. So, I diligently copied a transfer form and put one in the pigeon hole of all staff members.

Job done (I thought).

At that afternoon’s staff meeting the atmosphere was a little unusual, perhaps you might have said “odd”. I asked if something was wrong – everyone looked a bit tired or down. One of the more senior teachers looked me in the eye and said “we’re a bit shocked. We’ve all got transfer forms put in our pigeon holes.” As the staff had arrived from their classrooms they had checked their mailboxes (this is twenty years ago) and found the forms. They had quickly decided the boss wanted to clean out the staff!

As the realisation of what I had done sunk in I well and truly felt isolated. Fortunately, the staff accepted my grovelling explanation and heartfelt apology.

There were other instances, too, where the emotional impact was deeper and longer lasting, but, by staying connected with respected others, valuable perspective was gained, and retained.

The Survey on Principal and Deputy Health and Wellbeing (Riley Report) has a theme of networking (formal and informal) of which I have written previously. One evening about thirty years ago I was invited to attend a network meeting of principals convened by John Laing (of APAPDC/PAI fame) who was principal of a Launceston primary school. I tagged along with the late Grant Garwood (ACHPER luminary), who was the guest expert. I was delighted by the informality of the meeting (held in a bistro), the seriously professional nature of the discussion in the informal setting, and the collegiality of the gathering – formality and informality happening simultaneously – and all in a group of about six people.

I offer these two stories as a means of explaining how easily we can become isolated, how easy it can be to repair connection, and how effective and rewarding networks with others can be. Clearly both those stories remain stuck in my memory.

Of course, professional associations are an important and supportive network. School leadership is such a complex undertaking that sometimes it is only other people doing your job who can understand what it is that you’re experiencing. This is another link to the wellbeing study which has been so influential in bringing issues to the attention of the leaders of bureaucracies and Boards. With whom should/can we connect and about what? Work intensification and the desire to do more as instructional leaders remain atop the list of stressors for leaders. There has been a good deal of publicity regarding other issues since the February release of the Riley Report. I have, over many years, found it helpful for me (and, I hope, for others) to share my experiences, worries and frustrations with my colleagues. I have learned a great deal and benefitted from sincere and confidential support. I have also found that this sharing engenders high levels of trust.

As school principal I established a “senior executive” group. Included in this group were the assistant principal(s) and the School Business Manager. This was the group to whom I turned as professional support when I was handling an issue of the highest levels of sensitivity – to double check on processes, to add to the perspectives being brought to bear, and to share experience. Clearly, this was in larger schools where there were assistant principals.

In closing, allow me to put in a word of encouragement to join us in Adelaide in September for our APPA Conference – I would love to meet you in person and for us to join our ranks of connected leaders.

Malcolm Elliott
President, Australian Primary Principals Association

MoneySmart Grants for Principals

Students are getting real life experience in managing money through the MoneySmart Grants for Principals projects.

The projects are underway with gardens, market days, a café, product development, financial literacy classrooms and multimedia projects, all aligned with the Australian Curriculum.

Above are pictured Pomonal Primary School Year 6 students selling their handmade products at the local market.

Their stall is part of the school’s market project where students researched and created handmade products to sell. They learnt how to budget and market their product, and are now thinking of ways to increase their profits during their next market stall.

Read more about each of the grant projects and find out what’s possible in your school.

MoneySmart in schools

You don’t have to be part of the grants project to get involved with MoneySmart.

Many schools successfully deliver consumer and financial literacy education through the curriculum using our classroom resources or enrolling in our free professional development.

See how other principals and teachers are implementing MoneySmart in their schools.

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

May 2019

Greg Yeo

The principal of a remote school in the Pilbara explains how his students learn empathy through a program called Aussie optimism. Mr Yeo first arrived in Nullagine four years ago and said he now has a close relationship with the community.

Derrick Nelson

A US principal died recently in an act of breathtaking altruism. ‘Everything he did in life was for a purpose,’ said his father.

Todd Murfitt

The principal of St John the Baptist Catholic School, in Adelaide, shares the journey of his life, after an unexpected diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease at 35.

Richard Minack

A Melbourne principal who used a racist word, in explaining racist ideas to a school assembly after the Christchurch shootings, was recently advised by the Victorian education department that he should have used more appropriate language.

Steve Warner

A Melbourne P-12 principal who was captured on video dragging a student by one arm will soon return to his post, after a two-month suspension. The Victorian education department said its investigation was complete, stating: ‘We are confident that he is the best person to lead the college.’

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

May 2019

New head for AITSL

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) has confirmed the appointment of Mark Grant as its new CEO. Mr Grant will join AITSL from mid-April, having most recently held the position of Executive Director, Leadership and High Performance at the Department of Education, NSW.

Program for rural leaders

School leaders from rural Victoria recently commenced a unique program at Flinders University, in South Australia, which aims to help them overcome the challenges of their regional schools.

Leading change management

Communication is not the same as engagement, says this presenter. This video discusses techniques that can help organisations transform quickly and effectively.

Different styles of leadership

This presentation explains how quiet leaders, with proactive teams, can be as successful as extroverted leaders.

The new power of collaboration

Howard Rheingold talks about the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action.

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 or teacher identified activity.

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 or teacher identified activity.

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

MoneySmart Maths (Primary)

Teach financial literacy through primary maths using curriculum-based resources and authentic contexts.

This free MoneySmart course is curriculum-aligned and provides 2 hours of professional development or teacher identified activity.

You will:

  • Examine why financial literacy provides a useful context for teaching mathematics.
  • Explore connections between financial literacy and the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics and its sub-strands.
  • Use MoneySmart teaching resources and tools to create authentic contexts to teaching financial literacy through maths to engage your students.
  • Use MoneySmart teaching resources and tools to develop strategies for adapting resources to suit your student cohort.
  • Reflect and provide feedback on your learning experience.
Enrol now

MoneySmart HASS (Primary)

Teach financial literacy through Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) using curriculum-based resources and authentic contexts.

This free MoneySmart course is curriculum-aligned and provides 2 hours of professional development or teacher identified activity.

You will:

  • Explore why financial literacy is a useful context for teaching HASS.
  • Make clear connections between Australian Curriculum: HASS, its subjects and financial literacy.
  • Use MoneySmart Teaching resources to explore authentic contexts to engage your students and teach financial literacy.
  • Explore enterprise initiatives and cross-curriculum priorities to develop strategies.
  • Reflect and provide feedback on your learning experience.
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

May 2019

Law tightening investigated

A local politician has said he will investigate to see whether the law needs tightening after a convicted child sex offender was found to be working as a contractor on a NSW school property when children were present. The Catholic Diocese of Wagga Wagga said the contractor was only meant to work outside of school hours at Sacred Heart Primary School, but a meeting he was attending ran late and he was still there when students were being dropped off.

Legal assault

While assaulting a child is a criminal offence in many jurisdictions, corporal punishment is still theoretically an exception to that rule in Queensland schools. According to this report, lawyers have been campaigning to change corporal punishment laws for years, accusing the Queensland Government of breaching international treaties on the rights of children.

Teacher faces possible jail term

A US teacher has pleaded not guilty to charges of child cruelty and battery after cutting a student’s hair while singing the national anthem. Margaret Gieszinger faces up to three years and six months in jail if she is convicted of all six counts. Students posted a video of the classroom incident online.

Police investigation

Police will investigate the circumstances around the death two Japanese school boys who recently drowned in Lake McKenzie, on Fraser Island, in Queensland.

Child sexual abuse

Despite being aware of sexual abuse by one of his staff in 1971, a former principal of Marist College, in Burnie, Tasmania elected to simply move the offending teacher to another parish. Greg Ferguson was not to be convicted of child sex offences for a further 35 years. ‘I am, of course, frightened of a court case. It would need only one parent to lay charges,’ wrote Father Bernard Hosie, the then school principal, in a recently discovered letter to a colleague.

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

May 2019

Student conduct disorders

According to new research, behavioural problems in young people with severe antisocial behaviour -- known as conduct disorder -- could be caused by differences in the brain's wiring that link the brain's emotional centres together.

Future of autism

Recent research, where genetic material is introduced into fetal brains using CRISPR technology, may have implications for the future treatment of autism.

Augmented reality

This report provides a useful summary of new learning technologies and their likely impact on pedagogy.

Helping anxious students

This report provides a description of a US program being used to help children experiencing anxiety.

Hunger and learning

Researchers have found that food insecurity - having limited access to sufficient safe and nutritious food at home - negatively impacts on learning across the education life span. The news will be of interest to those in the Australian early childhood education and care sector, with research showing that two in five families seek food assistance from charities to combat food insecurity in Australia each year.

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

May 2019

Overestimating commitments

Time management expert Laura Vanderkam studies how busy people spend their lives, and she's discovered that many of us drastically overestimate our commitments each week, while underestimating the time we have to ourselves. She offers a few practical strategies to help find more time for what matters to us, so we can ‘build the lives we want in the time we've got.’

Managing stress through imagination

This University of California presentation, Dr Martin Rossman explores guided imagery which uses the imagination to reduce stress, relieve pain, change lifestyle habits, and stimulate healing responses in your body.

What constitutes a good life?

Robert Waldinger, the current director of a long-term study on adult development, reports what he has discovered about true happiness and satisfaction.

When busy becomes overwhelmed

Being busy is a deliberate choice, says Sara Cameron. In this presentation, she explores why we become busy, and what we can do to feel less overwhelmed and more balanced.

Defusing angry confrontations

This video offers a practical strategy for remaining calm during an angry verbal confrontation.

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

May 2019

Reward-free school

St James Parish School, near Ballarat, in Victoria, has made a conscious decision to dispense with prizes. The school started phasing out classroom and whole-of-school rewards 15 years ago, hoping to teach its students that success requires hard work, and shifting the focus to reclaim the love of learning instead of focusing on the prize.

Birthday invitation ban

Mosman Public School, in NSW, has banned the distribution of birthday party invitations at school, urging parents to more discretely invite their child’s guests via email.

Urban orchard

With assistance from Buddy up Australia, students at Kinross College, in Australia, are planting an orchard in their school ground.

Mandatory armed guards

Manatee School of the Arts is the first to equip guardians with semi-automatics after the state of Florida, in the USA, mandated that all schools must have armed guards on campus last year. The school also features bullet proof glass windows.

Reconciliation Garden

Hopetoun Primary School’s newly opened Reconciliation Garden provides a space for children to relax. It is also intended to acknowledge the Nyungar people of Esperance, in Western Australia.

My word

May 2019

Peter Goss

‘Since the 2014 Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) review, the Commonwealth has tightened the accreditation requirements for initial teacher education courses, and made a number of other sensible changes such as ensuring all would-be teachers have strong literacy and numeracy skills. The next federal education minister should announce a major review of these reforms. It should assess the effectiveness of the changes that have been made to date and explore whether additional sanctions are needed for universities that are failing to deliver quality improvements.’

Fran Kelly

Does the Australian education system prepare young people for the jobs of tomorrow? This ABC Radio presenter interviews several guests who provide different answers to this question.

Pasi Sahlberg

‘Kids have inadequate and poor quality sleep and it is causing problems with learning. Kids are not able to concentrate on reading any more,’ said this education expert in response to a question about smart phones and declining academic performance.

Jill Blackmore

Education professor Dr Jill Blackmore says that the concentration of privately schooled people in certain professions means the same elite class of people can be replicated over and over again in our society, and our institutions.

Melissa Fyfe & Henrietta Cook

‘Furious Facebook posts, abusive emails, school sit-ins, menacing behaviour: the bullying of staff by parents is becoming increasingly common and can have devastating consequences,’ says this report.

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

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Money matters

May 2019

NAPLAN and house prices

“According to a recent submission being led by former University of WA senior deputy vice-chancellor Bill Louden, there is evidence that parents are buying or renting homes in specific catchment areas of schools with particular NAPLAN results.

Investment in farm schools

Fifteen Tasmanian schools are to benefit from the State Government’s investment of $16 million into expanding school farms. Within that amount, seven million dollars has been allocated to employ 10 new full-time equivalent agriculture teachers.

Principal salaries

There are many professional business roles that pay a salary greater than that earned by Australian politicians. For some reason, those in independent education attract disproportional community and media indignation, as demonstrated by this article in the ‘Daily Mail’.

Cash injection for 300 schools

Australind Primary School is among 300 public schools in Western Australia set to receive a slice of a multi-million-dollar funding boost from the State Government. An additional $18 million investment in schools will address maintenance needs and create jobs for local tradespeople, while supporting the WA economy.

Opt-out note

A school in Alabama, USA, is giving parents the opportunity to formally opt-out from all forms of fundraising, providing they make a donation instead. ‘It is a breath of fresh air,’ said one busy parent.div>

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.

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.