Well, Term 4 is flying by and I feel the pressure rising to get everything done before Christmas. I hope your year has had many highlights and there is plenty to celebrate at year’s end.
In this last 2016 edition of ‘Connected Leader’, we have some research highlights from the Scholastic: Kids and Family Reading Report; a brief report on the International Symposium in Toronto on Principal Health and Wellbeing; and a special acknowledgment of recently awarded APPA Life Members.
Congratulations to Norm Hart (QLD), Gabrielle Leigh (VIC), Dave Edwards (SA), Sally Ruston (NSW) and Steve Breen (WA) on receiving APPA Life Membership. At a Parliament House event attended by some 35 parliamentarians from both sides of the House and Senate, the Hon. Mr. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training and the Shadow Minister for Education, Tanya Plibersek, presented the APPA Life membership awards. Norm, Gabrielle, Dave, Sally and Steve have made an outstanding contribution to primary education through their leadership and work for APPA and their respective associations.
In late 2015, Scholastic, in conjunction with YouGov, conducted a survey to explore family attitudes and behaviours in Australia around reading books for fun. I will highlight just some of the findings at this point. For further reading, go to: www.scholastic.com.au/readingreport. The key findings Include:
The International Symposium, held in Toronto, Canada, saw delegates came from Canada, USA, Ireland, Australia, Finland, Italy, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and Aruba. The Symposium aimed to create a leadership network informed by research and group discussions that begins the development of advocacy strategies for effective professional associations.
Joanne Robinson from OPC welcomed delegates and described the Symposium as a way to focus the learning and to address a major challenge for associations in their support for principals.
‘The answers are in the room, we just need to work out what the questions are?’ said Joanne.
A presentation from Dr Katina Pollock and Dr Karen Edge, Global Trends for all Generations, looked at work demands and wellbeing. Key impacts include:
‘I Love My Job But...’ a presentation by Dr Katina Pollock highlighted the results of a survey conducted with a sample of leaders. The leaders had responses that talked about loving the work and job. However, comments came with a ‘but’...
Dr Karen Edge’s Bright Lights, Big Cities and Generation X Leaders: The quest for sustainable careers and work-life balance presented research from the Global Cities Study. Gen X career path and approaches to leadership are different to past models. Gen X, as leaders, have a ‘mix match’ with their leadership approach to the traditional structure of schools. They have grown their leadership in collaborative structures that can be in conflict when appointed to a different school. A key issue coming through is work intensification.
Karen had delegates consider these questions:
Delegates from Australia who were members of APPA met briefly and shared some ideas for follow-up action (Professional Association Action Plan). Suggested actions included holding a national symposium in Australia with the aim of developing a framework and strategy for principal health and wellbeing; adopting a declaration on principal health and wellbeing signed by all associations with a copy provided to every principal; a joint declaration signed by employers and relevant principal associations; and, every association meeting to have an item on health and wellbeing. APPA NAC will further discuss the ideas and provide an action plan for 2017-18.
In this final edition for 2016, I quickly outline several key priorities on the agenda for 2017.
At the end of this year we farewell a number of outstanding members of the APPA National Advisory Council – Gabrielle Leigh, Steve Breen, Mel Bolwell, Pam Erfurt, Grant Bock and Alex Cameron. Over the course of the year we also saw Deb Dalwood and David Cannon complete their terms. Each has committed much time to APPA, their colleagues and their schools and associations. Their contributions have been greatly appreciated and leave a worthy legacy.
Finally, thank you to all who have led our primary schools and primary school communities. Our work at APPA is founded on what each of you do ‘on the ground’ and strengthened by your commitment to your students, your staff and your colleagues.
Enjoy your Christmas and maybe a good book could be worth considering!
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 childrenthe 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
Modern learners experience the discord and melody of an ever-changing score while modern leaders are charged with conducting an orchestra of many diverse instruments and unifying them in harmony. This conference will explore the attributes of agile, innovative leaders who leave a legacy tuned with purpose.
Dr Muhammad is one of the most sought after education consultants in North America and currently serves as CEO of the highly regarded New Frontier 21 Consulting. As a middle school teacher, assistant principal and principal, he earned numerous awards both as a teacher and principal. Anthony is recognised as a leading expert in the fields of school culture and organisational climate. His work and passion for changing cultural dynamics have seen him work successfully with schools across the US and around the world.
Dr Fox is a modern day ‘wizard-rogue’, author and leadership adviser. With expertise in motivational design, Jason shows forward-thinking leaders around the world how to unlock new progress and build for the future of work. Named Keynote Speaker of the Year by Professional Speakers Australia, he delivers fresh thinking to instil the curiosity so needed for future relevance, purpose and growth. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, he’s the bestselling author of The Game Changer and his research has featured in the likes of Smart Company, BRW and The Financial Review.
Holly Ransome is the CEO of Emergent, a company specialising in the development of high performing intergenerational workforces, exceptional leadership and sustainable social outcomes. Working with corporations, governments and non-profit organisations, Holly is renowned for generating innovative solutions to complex multi-stakeholder problems. She coaches and professionally mentors leaders around the world and, in 2014, was appointed to chair Australia’s G20 Youth Summit. In 2016, she Co-Chaired the United Nations Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs and became the youngest ever female Director of an AFL Club.
Dr Murgatroyd is an expert on innovative policy and practice, the author of some 40 books and a frequent contributor to radio and news media. As a skilled communicator with the simple goal of improving performance, Stephen makes a difference to organisations through challenge, change and innovation. He is the new CEO of the Collaborative Media Group, a company focussed on providing organisations with creative technology solutions to their performance challenges, by using social media technology, consulting, mentoring and video production facilities.
Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert are co-leaders of Networks of Inquiry and Innovation and the Aboriginal Enhancement of Schools Network. They have served as principals, district leaders and policy advisors with the Ministry of Education in the areas of innovative leadership, district change, rural education, literacy and Aboriginal education. They are the co-directors of the Centre for Innovative Educational Leadership at Vancouver Island University and also Canadian representatives to the OECD international research program on Innovative Learning Environments.
The Royal ICC, or better known as the Brisbane Showgrounds, is just 1.6km from Brisbane CBD, 15 minutes from Brisbane Domestic and International Airports and is in easy reach of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
Address 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills Brisbane, QLD 4006.
Parking is available at the Royal ICC for a fee of $12 per day at various locations.
Trains Bowen Hills and Fortitude Valley railway stations are less than a 10 minute walk from the Royal ICC.
There are a number of accommodation options within easy walking distance to the Royal ICC:
Early Bird Registration to the 2017 APPA National Conference will open in Term 4, 2016.
Full registration to the APPA Conference includes the welcome function, opening ceremony, all conference sessions, the conference dinner and entertainment.
The APPA 2017 National Conference is organised by a committee made up of APPA and national sector principals association representatives based in Queensland, and representatives of QASSP, QCPPA and IPSHA – Qld. The Committee looks forward to bringing together another hugely successful conference in Brisbane 2017.
QASSP is delighted to be appointed Conference Organisers of the 2017 APPA National Conference. For more information about this conference, please contact Magdalene St Clare, QASSP Business Manager and APPA Conference Manager on ph (07) 3831 7011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A recent independent study by Associate Professor Catherine Attard from the Western Sydney Unversity showed that students who used Matific in their classroom improved their overall test results.
In fact, the quantitative data collected indicated an overall improvement of 34%.
One of the most significant outcomes that emerged from the data is that Matific assists learning. The size and structure of the Matific episodes allow students to maintain better focus on very specific mathematical concepts and skills, and this focus is maintained specifically because of the way the episodes are structured.
Matific is an online maths resource for students in K-6. Matifics’s pedagogy, interactive games and rich content really does make for the perfect teaching and learning environment.
Register your school for a 30-day trial in 2017 and see for yourself why 9 out of 10 Australian teachers would recommend the program to their peers.
You can even lock us in for your 2017 Professional Development day!
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
Primary schools do a fantastic job of developing the skills and strategies young people need to cope with the challenges of adolescence and transition to high school. Therefore, including body esteem education into already existing wellbeing programs can further benefit your students.
The Butterfly Foundation has offered Education Services around Australia since 2006 and is considered a reputable leader in prevention focused, body esteem education. Our sessions are evidence based and work to address the modifiable risk factors and protective factors that underpin the development of eating disorders.
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If you are concerned about someone contact
The Butterfly Foundation National Help Line 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673)
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.
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The 2011–2014 Principal Health and Wellbeing Report showed a number of factors contributing to principal stress levels. Conversations with staff, parents and students were highlighted as among the most fraught and challenging encounters faced by principals and deputies.
From the report:
There is an urgent need to establish an independent authority to investigate three types of offensive behaviour identified as consistently occurring in schools: 1. adult-adult bullying (occurring at 4-times the rate of the general population); 2. threats of violence (occurring at 5-times the rate of the general population); and, 3. actual violence (occurring at 7-times the rate of the general population).
Systematic attention also needs to be paid to the professional learning of principals and deputy/assistant principals, and presumably teachers, in the emotional aspects of their roles and the emotional investment of parents in their children, which may underlie the high rate of violence and threats principals and deputy/assistant principals are experiencing. In-service provision of education on the emotional aspects of teaching, learning, organizational function, emotional labour, dealing with difficulties and conflicts in the workplace, employee assistance programs, debriefing self and others appears to be urgently needed.
APPA partner, Parentshop, has been holding a series of Tough Conversations workshops nationally since 2015 to better equip principals and school leaders with a well-honed method for managing and resolving conflict. Over the past 12 months more than 400 leaders have benefited from the course. Each workshop provides practical steps for holding tough conversations with parents, staff and students.
From 2017 onwards, we are expanding the reach of our workshop audience to pre-school and lower primary school leaders. You can see what leaders have thought so far about Tough Conversations by clicking on this link.
An opportunity exists for a recently retired principal/leader to teach colleagues around the nation how to manage tough conversations with parents, staff or students.
As a lead trainer, your job would be to:
Expressions of interest are sought from experienced, recently retired school leaders, who would be willing to consult with Parentshop (under contract) to teach fellow leaders conflict resolution skills taught at this workshop.
To apply for this position, you will need to address each of the five selection criteria:
Psychological knowledge and qualifications would be well regarded.
Contact Michael Hawton to discuss if you’re interested in finding out more about this role. Michael’s phone number is 0422 214 430.
Applications need to be sent to: email@example.com
Applications close on 31 October, 2016.
Interviews for this position will be held in November 2016 with a start from early 2017.
Michael Hawton and Parentshop are valued APPA partners
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.
Describe your current school, its students, the demographics of your school community, and any special challenges and/or strengths.
I am one of two deputy principals of a coeducational college that ranges from kindergarten to year 10. While the focus of my role is specifically in the primary campus (K-6), I am a senior member of the college leadership team and will undertake college principal responsibilities when required to do so.
Sacred Heart College has a student population of approximately 950. Students are drawn from all social demographics, rural and urban, and from different cultures. We are a highly inclusive college, providing support for a broad range of learning and social/emotional needs, as well as having a high Humanitarian Entrant and EAL enrolment. The college has representation from over 35 different cultural backgrounds.
Our Josephite Catholic College is one of Hobart’s oldest, educating children from as early as 1888. Our central ethos and charism focuses on the values of love, compassion and justice. The multicultural and inclusive character of the college is definitely considered to be a major strength. In saying that, we do recognise the numerous challenges we face in ensuring the provision of appropriate resources and support in answering those needs.
How many years have you been a school leader?
I have been in my current position for the past six years. Prior to that, I held various leadership positions, both here and at other primary schools, over a period of about 10 years.
What motivated you to become a school leader (and when)?
When I returned from living overseas for a short time in 2004, I worked through a lengthy period of particularly challenging teaching. I came to realise that I might have something to offer in the way of furthering educational change and school improvement. I also worked with two different principals in different time periods, and both were particularly inspiring. I decided to undertake further study in a Master of Educational Leadership, which I completed in 2009. This study, and the work I’ve done with the principals, proved to be incredibly valuable learning that I continue to draw upon to this day.
What was your first leadership role, where was it located, and what were some of your early challenges as a new leader?
I had various acting roles before I undertook a permanent leadership position as assistant to the role I currently hold. Some of my early challenges were in coming to understand the responsibilities inherent in the roles and recognising that any vision or school improvement ideas I held were actually valid and had potential. Positive listening and communication skills were honed very quickly, as was an understanding that my colleagues actually looked to me for guidance and support in their endeavours, and that I had to be authentic in understanding their perspectives and needs, as well as my own.
When I began my current role as deputy, the College was also on the verge of undergoing major and much needed rebuilding and structural changes in the primary campus. The challenge for me was to look at our learning environments and teaching structures with fresh eyes and have major input into the college’s school improvement processes. It was a fantastic opportunity to be a ‘big picture’ thinker and help develop historic and traditional buildings into what are now highly effective open learning and teaching spaces. We have also developed wonderful nature-based play areas and collaborative, shared teaching teams in each year level, from kindergarten to year 6. We have exciting new furniture, too, which has been very well received.
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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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As a new principal, what was the most useful lesson you ever learned from a more experienced principal colleague?
To listen intently and not react, become defensive or judge. To not take things at a personal level and to show empathy wherever possible. To be approachable and try to understand first, before trying to help or be understood yourself (one of the habits of highly effective people).
What makes you smile at work?
The welcome I receive from students, parents and staff. The happy ‘Good morning’ that greets me every day.
In managing your staff, what are your most valuable skills and beliefs?
I like to think of myself as a team member, rather than a manager. In doing this, I think that I help to empower all staff to be leaders, in their own way. I have heard that I am very approachable and I make a point of valuing everyone’s ideas and suggestions, even if I do not always agree with them sometimes. I always try to reach compromise and/or consensus, wherever possible. Team membership is the most important belief that I have. I believe that everyone I work with has gifts and talents they can contribute as part of a team. The building of positive relationships is of paramount importance.
What was the best day you ever had as a school leader?
It is very difficult to name one best day, as I have been very fortunate to have had many. I guess the answer would be when everyone has worked towards a particular project or an educational change and it has been successful. It might be a special event, new buildings, curriculum projects or accreditation . . . the list is endless. There are always celebrations when something has gone right or when something has been well received by the college community.
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What was the toughest day you ever had as a school leader?
Again, I think the answer is the same as question 8. There have been many tough days to overcome, but I think the most prominent are when you are called upon to show pastoral support when things have gone wrong. This is usually the case when dealing with the high level behaviours of students who are struggling, both socially and emotionally. And, as part of that, it is challenging to show the highest possible pastoral care to parents, and sometimes staff, when required. But I always have the mantra that behaviours happen for a reason and an essential part of our leadership role is to try to identify and understand those reasons and then try to put strategies in place to assist in overcoming them. Most of the time it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. That’s when you need to take a deep breath, understand that you have done your best, and move on.
What was the funniest single thing that ever happened to you as a school leader?
Fortunately, I laugh a lot with my colleagues and our students and we are always up for harmless fun during the school day. I think the funniest times are when I laugh at myself, especially if I’ve made a gaff during important assemblies or events where parents are present. It’s great to see parents and students laugh along with me when I start to laugh at my own mistakes.
I also love to dress up whenever the opportunity presents itself, such as in Book Week each year, and find that the children love seeing their principal in costume. There have been some very funny episodes with those costumes, too!
What tips would you give new school leaders about staying positive and keeping their energy levels high?
Build a solid team around you and always remember that you are not on your own. There is always someone to seek advice from and they may be able to share a much clearer perspective. Talking about things always makes even the biggest issues seem smaller. Solving all of the problems is not your sole responsibility. Also, accepting that you may not have the answer is essential – but someone else might and a part of leadership is seeking out that person.
Another thing that I have found helpful is to maintain your classroom practice, where possible. I actively teach for a small part of each week and find that this not only keeps ‘my reason for being’ in the role front and centre, but also allows me to maintain my teaching skills, while at the same time putting new pedagogies into practice. After all, I cannot ask or expect our staff to practice something that I am unwilling or unable to do myself.
Also, always be mindful of maintaining ‘your own time’. This might take some practice at first. However, if you can be firm with yourself and take time out that is guilt-free, then this goes a long way to maintaining a healthy balance and keeps you smiling as you face those tough days.
If you could name just one thing that kept you going to school every day, even on the really difficult days, what would that be?
The Josephite charism of our College: to ‘Never see a need without doing something about it.’ The sense of service that is embedded in our school. Sometimes we do get a ‘thank you’ for some assistance that we might have offered and my response is always the same… ‘You’re more than welcome. It is all part of what we do.’
How do you achieve (or are trying to achieve) a positive work-life balance?
I have to admit that this has been a challenge over the past few years. However, I have found that as I have gained more experience in the role, I have started to lower the expectations of myself to more realistic levels and to understand that no one is irreplaceable. Taking time out away from school, to pursue whatever interests I find relaxing, has been essential. Lately, it has been in working on personal writing projects. I also play golf regularly and socialise with my family and friends. I love to travel, too, so will take opportunities when I can to experience different cultures and people.
What special measures do you take (if any) to protect and nurture your own health and welfare?
Recent challenging personal life experiences have taught me that there are much bigger things at play in my life than ‘just work’ and that, while it is very important to give of yourself as much as you can, you also have to protect yourself so that you can give your best. Relaxation and exercise have become very important. Meditation and long walks, playing golf, gardening and being present for family and friends have all helped to keep me grounded and healthy. I still have a little way to go in building ‘guilt free’ habits but am happy with the progress I have made so far.
What do you see yourself as doing with your life after the principalship?
Hopefully, that is a little way off yet, but initially I will want to continue to make valuable contributions to the College, or wherever else I might be working - maybe through teaching in learning support or in staff development. After that, in helping out in community projects through the college and parish.
And then ... I hope to focus on my family, to write and continue to travel. Maybe I’ll be able to combine all three!
Mrs Susan Walker, Deputy Principal
Sacred Heart College, Hobart, Tasmania
Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988
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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