This is the final Connected Leader for 2015. I hope you enjoy it!
The APPA Charter for Primary Schooling was launched at Parliament House in Canberra last week in front of a large number of parliamentarians from both Houses and members of the APPA National Advisory Council (NAC).
APPA’s initial Charter was released in 2007 at a time when primary principals were dealing with an increasingly crowded curriculum. More and more, schools were being asked to solve social problems. Technology in schools had taken off. It’s difficult to say that much has changed. In fact, the pace of change has only gathered pace. The Charter is, then, about giving direction to education policymakers as to what’s unique about primary education and what we need to focus upon each day in our schools.
We know that schools must stay tuned to the business of educating children. We must stick with our core principles – quality teaching in every classroom, highly competent principals and strong partnerships with families. And, of course, our communities should respect and value education.
Our Charter begins, ‘primary schools teach our children and contribute to our nation’s future’. If we invest in the young, we know the social, educational and economic benefits to be found in the years ahead. It’s an investment that must be made.
This exciting conference is well on track with speakers and workshop presenters being finalised. We are hoping for a large contingent of Australian primary principals and school leaders. This is a once in 8-year chance to join with New Zealand leaders in New Zealand to discuss and share views and information on primary education.
More details at: www.transtasmanconference.co.nz. Early bird registrations close 31 March 2016.
APPA has established a reference group to meet with ACARA about the issues involved in moving NAPLAN online. Our first meeting was held recently and we heard about the initial outcomes from the online trials and next phases. The full report on the trials will be out early 2016. As things currently stand, schools will need to choose how to do the tests; either all on paper or all online. We raised the serious concern regarding the Year 3 Writing assessment moving online and the use of automated scoring for writing.
We are currently discussing the benefits and possible consequences of this development. The Education Council, made up of the Federal and the State and Territory Education Ministers, has agreed to move NAPLAN online by 2019. Some will begin in 2017. At this point, APPA is calling for further investigation to ensure validity, consistency and equity are assured with NAPLAN Online. Another question is, if writing will be typed and then assessed by a computer, does this create less of a need for handwriting skills as we move to a more technological world of digital devices?
APPA has developed the Teacher Education: Essential Elements document. This document states clearly the expectations principals have for teacher education courses and can be found on the APPA website under Policy and Media – Position Papers.
SchoolAid will roll out a major appeal for the Syrian Refugees. The main focus will be to set up a support fund. Primary school principals can apply for a “Start-up Package” for students enrolling in the school who have come from Syria. The appeal will be directed through www.kidsgive.com.au.
This event saw the awarding of the Excellence in Science Teaching to Rebecca Johnson from Windaroo State School. On the night, the Prime Minister spoke and acknowledged the great work primary teachers do and the importance of innovation and science in the curriculum.
The APPA Conference will be held in Brisbane 13-15 September 2017. Theme: A Symphony of Diversity Agility, Creativity, Legacy. Stay tuned!
I want to acknowledge and thank the National Advisory Council (NAC) members for their work this year. I have appreciated the professionalism and dedication each member provided to the many issues we dealt with this year. This has been a transition year for APPA as we moved to a new governance structure and process.
We especially acknowledge Dave Edwards who will be retiring from the Board as National President of ACPPA and member of the NAC. Dave has been a keen advocate for primary principals and represented his sector well. Dave has been a strong contributor and we thank him for his time and willingness to attend meetings on behalf of APPA.
I also acknowledge the contribution from Adrian Bosker, Mark De Kluyver and Andrew Boyd.
We wish Rose Nuttall all the best with her move into teaching. Rose has been a fantastic executive assistance for APPA. Her diligence to detail and wonderful approach to all members of APPA has been a highlight.
To everyone, have a great end of term and we look forward to catching up again in 2016.
Best wishes,Dennis Yarrington
APPA’s Business Partners work with us in supporting primary school principals and their communities. In turn, your support of them is greatly appreciated. Here’s something interesting about each. Visit the APPA website to find out more.
On behalf of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation, the Australian Primary Principals Association and the host committee from Auckland Primary Principals’ Association, we invite you to register for the Trans-Tasman Principals’ Conference to be held at SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland on 31 May – 3 June 2016.
Payment via invoice is available for all registrations received before the end of November, don’t delay register now!
The theme of the conference is “Knowledge in Our Hands” with the emphasis on telling the stories that excite us within education. In the spirit of collaboration, we have structured a programme that showcases stories and story tellers from both sides of the Tasman, which we are sure will provoke energetic discussion and professional debate.
We look forward to seeing you in Auckland next year!
Chair – Organising Committee
Auckland Primary Principals’ Association
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:
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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
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Where are you currently working as a school leader?
I am currently the Head of Junior School at Redlands School, a four-campus, co-educational school in Sydney that caters for students aged 3-18. My role oversees approximately 420 students in years 3-6 but I work closely with my counterparts in early childhood (P-2) and the secondary school (7-12). I moved to Sydney from the UK and joined Redlands in 2006, initially as a class teacher and then moved back into leadership through this role in 2009, the second headship of my career. Redlands has been a wonderful school for me to continue to grow as a leader, providing the perfect balance of support and challenge for me to continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved here.
How long have you been a school leader? What/where was your first appointment?
I have been a school leader for nearly 12 years. Prior to relocating to Sydney with my wife, I was the Head of Salcombe School in London in the UK. That was my first school leadership role and one I enjoyed for nearly five years. Crucially, I was fortunate to have had two respected, experienced school leaders as mentors. I now look back on this assistance as an integral factor to the successes I enjoyed in my first leadership role. These mentors continue to be great sounding boards for me today and I have since added others to my professional support network.
NEW resilience and wellbeing program
Dusty and Friends is a great resource for learning and building resilience in children. Game ON highlights the importance of being calm and prompts children to see how consequences result from actions. A popular resource in Early Stage 1- Stage 1 classrooms, children identify and relate to different characters. The program aligns with the Australian Curriculum and works well for Stage 3 in a peer support model. Available for immediate download through the School For Living website.
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When, and why, did you originally want to become a school leader?
I did not start my teaching career with a desire to become a school leader. In fact, when people ask me what I do now, I always respond by saying that I am a teacher rather than a school leader. Teaching and the love of the job was exactly what drew me into this privileged career and spending time in classrooms is still one of the most essential and enjoyable parts of my day-to-day leadership role. After a year as the deputy head at Salcombe, the incumbent head left at relatively short notice and I was given the opportunity to step into his shoes at the tender age of 28. Challenges have always motivated me and at the time professionally, this was the biggest one I had faced with the additional ‘bonus’ of an OFSTED school inspection in my first year. However, the opportunity was also one that energised me and I felt I could add value to; looking back, the trust and support placed in me during my five years I spent as Head of Salcombe set me on my leadership journey for which I will be eternally grateful.
The art of leadership is an area of learning which I am passionate about and supported by Redlands, I spend considerable time researching and engaging in this area for both my own professional growth and to share with colleagues. Some of the most insightful learnings I have found on leadership are actually from leaders in other fields and this opportunity to transfer knowledge learnt from accomplished and respected leaders from other industries into the context of schools is something that I have found adds significant value.
The opportunity to help shape a school’s vision, direction, culture, values and expectations were all contributory factors in my desire to be a school leader. These things take time and in a world that craves short term outcomes, having the patience and being given the time and support to influence these is critical. As leaders we are all slightly different but having a positive influence on others is of common importance and I find that combining the heart and the head serves my style best. Integrity and emotional intelligence in leadership are other values that cannot be underestimated but, ultimately, for me, it has always been about striving to provide the very best academic, extra-curricular, social and emotional learning opportunities for the children entrusted in the schools I have had the privilege of leading.
What was your worst day?
I cannot recall ever coming home from work and thinking, ‘that was my worst day’. Yes, some days are more challenging than others but this is part of the nature of our roles and indeed, leadership in any environment. It is these difficult and confronting times that really test our leadership capacity and at these points, I have always seen my role to be empathetic, compassionate, clear of thought and calm under pressure, key personal leadership traits that I feel are intrinsically part of my own DNA as a leader. The flip side is that I regularly have days where I’ve arrived home and felt like I’ve had one of the greatest days of my career!
As a new principal, what was the most useful lesson you ever learned from a more experienced principal colleague?
I have been very fortunate to be coached as a new principal by Trevlyn Geiles, who was a member of the Principals’ Advisory Team here in WA. I am also member of a strong school network, the Southern Association of Instructional Leaders. I have a strong belief in lifelong learning so I am continually learning from others. One particularly important lesson I have learned is that you need to coach your staff to solve their problems because this will build their capacity. Particularly when I first became a principal here in WA, I would eagerly pick up all the staff’s issues and solve them for them because I wanted to improve the school for everyone. What I have learnt is that you need to listen carefully to your staff and coach them to identify their own options and then support them in implementing their chosen solution so that you build the staff’s knowledge, skills and confidence.
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What makes you smile at work?
We spend so much of our lives in our workplaces that it is imperative to work in a career, or in a school, that fosters a sense of happiness, fulfilment and purpose. There are many things that make me smile at Redlands and I also believe that smiling is infectious. As a school leader, you have the opportunity to set the tone of your environment and I am confident that colleagues, students and parents at schools where I have worked would tell you that I love my job.
What specifically makes me smile? The joy of seeing children enjoying the learning process and their sense of accomplishment when overcoming challenges. The look of unadulterated joy when students achieve something that they had thought was beyond them is a priceless moment and exactly why I became a teacher. Seeing growth in students and teachers is also a key element of great pleasure in my role and I am equally excited by exciting learning opportunities for teachers. I make time on a daily basis to engage with students, staff and parents and if this includes teaching, my day is a happier one. I still love coaching school sports teams as well and outdoor education, two more environments where, as teachers, we get to know and understand our students even better and conversely, they see us in a different light. All these things contribute to a genuine sense of both purpose and enjoyment in my job at Redlands.
The beauty of our profession and leading schools is that no two days are ever the same, a fact in itself that creates a sense of hope and anticipation each and every day.
Ari Guha, Head of Junior School, Redlands School, Sydney, New South Wales
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.