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


November 2018

Dear Colleagues,

As I write my last president’s report for Connected Leader, I am buoyed by the evidence showing a growing engagement in principal associations by primary school leaders. This positive move is creating a momentum that will build a strong network for aspiring and new leaders, but also ensure our current leaders are supported and can play a major role in the succession plan for the next generation.

I have observed the growth in partnerships and collaboration between employers and principal associations on principal health and wellbeing initiatives. It is finally receiving the focus and attention required to address serious issues with principal wellbeing and, just as importantly, leading to changes in policy and practice around the role of the principal. This will lift status of the role and lead to more people wanting to apply for positions and better retention rates with current principals.

APPA has achieved much over the last four years, including:

  • major report on teacher education and the development of the Top Ten Essential Elements of ITE Courses
  • major research projec­t and report Back to Balance: How Policy and Practice Can Make Primary Principals Highly Effective
  • national symposium on Principal Health and Wellbeing
  • national statement on Principal Health and Wellbeing
  • NAPLAN year 3 writing remaining a pencil and paper test
  • APPA was the key advocate for the Australian Curriculum changes from subjects to learning areas
  • NAPLAN reporting moved from school performance to student achievement and growth
  • a key advocate for not implementing a national phonics test
  • ‘School leadership guidelines: leading for impact’ was launched at a NAC meeting
  • Teacher Registration Review Panel member and the report, ‘One Teaching Profession: Teacher Registration in Australia’ was launched at the 2018 APPA National Conference
  • Established the National Professional Charter for Primary School Leaders
  • national campaign on Reader Leader Award and Readiness for Learning: Thrive with 5
  • major submission and representation on school funding which supported a review of the funding model and saw an increase in the primary SRS allocation
  • APPA was a key contributor to a number on national reviews and reports
  • APPA is a partner in the Principals as STEM Leaders professional learning program for principals
  • established a primary school education Parliamentary Friendship group - this has enabled APPA to meet and discuss with MPs on a range of topics impacting primary education.

APPA has continued to oppose the My School website. My School has resulted in increased competition and negative comparison of schools. Students are the pawns in the battle for best performing schools, therefore curriculum has narrowed and innovation in teaching has been reduced. I would encourage principals across the nation to convince their education minister to drop reporting school results on My School and only report sample testing for data needs. It’s time for teachers and schools to focus on the needs of their students not the needs of politicians, data researchers or newspaper sales. Education is not a commodity based on a share value but should be a right for all students and be highly valued by the community. Schools are not sporting teams in a league. Equity and equal opportunity is lost when excellence in achievement is the only value measured.

The voice of primary principals is being amplified at the national level and the local level. The work of APPA’s national advisory council has provided a collective position on national topics and issues and support the work of state and territory principals’ associations. There is still work to be done, as we move into a national election and the national funding agreements. These agreements will have initiatives that will impact on primary schools and principals. A number of recommendations from the Through Growth to Achievement report are embedded in the agreements. APPA has reservations on several of the recommendations and mostly concerned with the change not having enough consultation on the detail around implementation. APPA has developed a response and identified 13 recommendations that need to occur if real change in education is to be achieved. Our key focus is that governments and employers work with principals to achieve change and build empowered accountability, not compliance, over control and micro management. The key message from principals in the Back to Balance report was the need for employers and governments to build trust, show belief and provide support for the primary school principal.

I acknowledge the tremendous support over my term as APPA President of the APPA Board and APPA National Councillors. The development of policies and positions has been achieved through collaboration and collective contributions. The term ‘leaving our sector hats at the door’ has permeated the meetings. The great thing about APPA is we come to the table with primary education and the children in our care as the primary focus. Our ability to influence and direct policy has been underpinned by the long credibility established and maintained over time. The APPA office staff, Phyllie and Linda, have worked tirelessly to support APPA Board and NAC. Supporting APPA in various roles has been our Executive Officer Michael Nuttall. Michael has been the behind scenes person that has provided advice and feedback, networked with government, completed many submissions, key editor of APPA publications, connected with business partners and been a great support to me personally.

I sincerely wish Malcolm Elliott, APPA’s incoming president, all the best in the role. It is an exciting time in education nationally and APPA has a major role to play. I hope the Board and NAC continue to be proactive and assertive on issues impacting primary school leaders. We know that to create a better position for primary school leaders starts with ourselves and the collective support of principal associations.

Best wishes,

Dennis Yarrington
President, Australian Primary Principals Association

MoneySmart update

Principals Project grant

Grant applications have closed for the ASIC MoneySmart Principals Project.

The money smart team is reviewing applications and will soon announce the recipients.

The grant aims to build school teachers’ financial capabilities so they can confidently teach financial literacy to students. The next round of grant offers will open later next year.

Professional development

The MoneySmart team recently launched two new professional development courses for teachers called Teach MoneySmart: Be MoneySmart and Connect MoneySmart: Use MoneySmart.

The team has had great feedback on both courses so if your teachers haven’t signed up for a course, encourage them to.

Both courses are free, curriculum-aligned and provide 1.5 hours of professional development.

Teach MoneySmart: Be MoneySmart provides teachers with curriculum-based lessons and resources to improve their students’ financial literacy. The course also helps teachers boost their own financial skills.

Connect MoneySmart: Use MoneySmart builds on the Teach MoneySmart: Be MoneySmart course by explaining why financial literacy is important to teach and provides more useful resources to teachers.

MoneySmart school in action

MoneySmart school Singleton Primary in Western Australia has been busy spreading the MoneySmart message to Japan.

Two professors and an interpreter from a teacher training university in Japan, Osaka Kyoiku, visited the school to see the MoneySmart program in action. The professors loved what they saw in the classroom and plan to take these ideas back to Japan.

Testing times: a cautionary tale from the United Kingdom

Nick East

They came in their thousands. Headteachers from across the United Kingdom marching together through the busy streets of London to rail against the endless cuts to schools that have left the country’s schools on their knees, an act of protest unprecedented in the country’s long history. They sought to deliver a message to the government, a cautionary message warning of the rapid decay of an education system already brought low by years of austerity and the impending doom of Brexit.

How did it get to this? As an Australian teacher who has taught here for almost three years this is a question I have asked myself many times. In my quiet times of reflection when all the children have gone home, I sit in my dilapidated classroom and shake my head in disbelief. How did it get to this? Let me paint a picture for you of an education system shattered and broken and may it be a lesson to those back in Australia to tread a different path to that taken here.

At the heart of it all is OFSTED, the government’s school inspectorate. The original purpose of OFSTED was to standardise inspections across the country. Unfortunately, over the years, it has devolved into something quite different, a spectre that strikes fear into the nation’s schools. Poor inspections can destroy schools forever and, in turn, the communities at which they are often at the heart. Schools have no right of reply to the inspections findings, no opportunity to correct areas of needs, the personal whims and opinions of the inspectors upon which the report is founded are published publicly for all to enjoy. A school with which I am very familiar received a failed inspection report that painted a picture of a school alien in every aspect to that I knew so well. Unqualified remarks about the use of racist and homophobic language were splashed across the local tabloid’s front page to devastating effect. The headteacher was sacked and following a breakdown took a job as an Amazon delivery driver. Teachers quit, families left the school and the school will now have to wear that reputation until OFSTED next choose to conduct an inspection.

Teacher morale is at record lows. The current career span of a UK teacher is three years. Schemes similar to Teach For Australia have completely failed to bring top graduates into teaching. Perceptions of stress and pressure make teaching very unappealing to all but a hardy few. There has been a deficit of teaching graduates for three consecutive years now. Pay rates are stagnant and senior teachers and headteachers have not had a pay rise in close to a decade. The result is an exodus of experienced teachers from the school system. I have met second year teachers considered senior staff, deputy headteachers in their fourth year of teaching, even a headteacher five years into the trade. Here the idea of teaching for life is a long forgotten dream. Part-time roles are proliferating as teachers struggle to find a sustainable way to continue their vocation. Vacancies for headteachers are notoriously hard to fill. In my county of Somerset, twenty headteacher positions remained vacant at the start of the new school year.

School funding is in crisis. Specialist programs are the preserve of the private sector. Classroom teachers teach everything; languages to physical education, art to music. The result is an overreliance on schemes of work that makes teaching dull and uninspiring. Schoolyards are littered with tired and old playground relics in desperate need of updating. During teacher planning time, classroom assistants earning barely more than minimum wage increasingly cover classes. Australia must learn from the errors of the United Kingdom. School funding must remain a priority for the state governments. Teacher pay must be competitive in order to attract top graduates and teachers must be respected for the trained professionals they are.


Nick East is an Australian primary school teacher living in the lush green countryside of Somerset, UK. He spreads his time between classroom teaching, content writing for Twinkl and raising his three very lovely children.


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

November 2018

Stacey Miller

After successfully facing many challenges, the new principal of Menzies Community School, in WA, has triumphantly returned to the area in which she grew up. ‘You just need to stay positive, be around people who support your journey, look at the big picture and follow your dreams,’ she said.

Belinda Burton

Congratulations to the newly appointed principal of St Patrick’s Primary School, in NSW. Belinda Burton recently received the JA Sutherland Memorial Award for 2018 by the Australian College of Educators.

John Southon

China Global Television Network recently aired a video featuring the principal of Trundle Central School, in NSW, where many students and their families are affected by drought.

Niamh Marzol

The new principal of St Catherine’s Catholic College, in NSW, is pleased to be returning to Singleton, the town she first lived in after arriving from Northern Ireland as a 15 year-old.

Vallabh Dobariya

A principal in Gujarat, India, was fortunately unharmed after he recently received a parcel bomb. Although the package was marked as having been sent by a former student, police now believe that an alternative, unidentified person is involved.

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

November 2018

Managing difficult people

Karen Kane, a leadership and team coach, discusses why the most important part of managing a challenging employee isn't to focus on them but rather to focus on managing yourself effectively.

Two rules for great leadership

In this TED Talk, Peter Anderton takes us on a whistle stop tour of leadership in the last 16 centuries and tells us why everything you ever need to know about leadership comes down to only two rules.

Leadership without ego

The rarest commodity is leadership without ego, says Bob Davids.

A mind shift in team leadership

Make a mind shift in team leadership if you wish to be truly effective, says William Klepper.

The need for self-leadership

Great leadership begins with self-leadership, says Lars Suddman.

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

November 2018

Former student to sue school

A former student who says she was relentlessly bullied by classmates, who shoved dirt and rubbish in her mouth, is suing an independent school in Melbourne for negligence. The student, now 17, has been unable to return to school since year 8 and claims she is ‘totally incapacitated for work’ as a result of psychological injuries sustained at Preshil.

Compensation for student and parent

A student and her father are suing the South Australian Education Department over the girl’s alleged sexual assault by another student. Both the girl and her father claim they now suffer from depression and each wants up to $50,000 in compensation, as well as damages.

Alleged failure to report

Police are investigating the alleged failure of a former Queensland principal to report child sexual abuse. ‘Not doing that is just protecting a brand and that's not good enough when you've got children's lives and wellbeing at stake,’ said child abuse protection advocate Kelvin Johnston. There are no allegations of child sexual abuse being committed by Gilbert Case.

Fundraising president arrested

The former president and treasurer of the Freeman School District’s non-profit fundraising group is under investigation for first-degree theft after allegedly stealing more than $US6,000 from the US group’s bank account.

Supreme Court writs expected

The Catholic Church will soon receive a flood of Supreme Court writs from Victorian survivors of clerical abuse who previously received modest ex gratia payments and who will now attempt to sue the church for further compensation.

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

November 2018

State-by-state performance breakdown

The Grattan Institute recently published Measuring Student Progress: a state by state report card. The report ranked state’s progress against each other based on NAPLAN results for numeracy, reading and writing.

An unfair start

A recently released report, ‘An Unfair Start: Inequality in Children’s Education in Rich Countries’, incorporates new data from 41 wealthy member countries of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The report says that high national wealth does not guarantee equal access to a quality education and that some of the poorest countries demonstrate higher preschool enrolment and more compatible reading performance among its students than wealthier countries.

Researcher call for organophosphate ban

According to a team of researchers from the University of California, there is compelling evidence that the exposure of pregnant women to very low levels of organophosphate pesticides is associated with their children’s lower IQs and difficulties with learning, memory or attention.’

Advantages of music

Engaging in musical activities such as singing and playing instruments in one-on-one therapy can improve the social communication skills of autistic children, improve their family's quality of life, and increase brain connectivity in key networks, report Canadian researchers.

Improving reading speed

A recent study described in an article by Brazilian and French researchers reports increased reading speed for nine and ten-year-old volunteers with dyslexia who used green filters. The filters had no effect on age-matched children without dyslexia. Eighteen children with dyslexia and 18 without dyslexia were selected for the study at Robert Debré Hospital, in Paris.

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

November 2018

Reducing stress in the workplace

Carolyn McManus shares five tips to reduce stress in the workplace.

Improve your relational wellness

Learn important stress management techniques and find out how to become an expert in relational wellness and how to actualise it in your life to help you manage stress.

Seven signs of emotional health

To be emotionally healthy you must take into consideration how your emotions impact your relationships, work life, and social life.

Eat real food

Mark Hyman reminds us of the profound impact of food choices on mental and physical health.

Ten tips to keep your brain young

This social entrepreneur designs anti-ageing games to stimulate memory, concentration and focus. Here, Elizabeth Amini suggests some lifestyle changes to keep your brain healthy.

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

November 2018

Combining music with sign language

In a bid to better include a hearing impaired girl, students at Leanyer School, in Darwin, are learning Auslan within the context of music.

Radio to boost Indigenous attendance

Students at Smithton Primary School, in far north-west Tasmania, edit, produce and write weekly 15-minute radio shows. One-third of students at the school identify as Indigenous, one of the highest rates in Tasmania, and their culture is often the subject of the radio programs.

Mandatory shorts or pants

Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School, in Melbourne, has replaced dresses with shorts or pants, in a bid to increase the physical activity of preparatory and year 1 girls.

The Beacon School initiative

Datacom has teamed up with HP Australia, Google for Education and BenQ to roll out a range of Google-powered devices to Melbourne's Mount Waverley Heights Primary School, in Victoria. Called the Beacon School industry collaboration, the initiative will deploy some 100 HP Chromebooks, touchscreen devices, Chromebox' and mini desktop PCs to both students and teachers.

Students research war history

Students at Westbury Primary School, in Tasmania, are working with the Westbury RSL Sub Branch and the Westbury and Districts History Society to research and publish a book that remembers the contribution of the 245 service men and women from the Westbury district who fought in World War.

My word

November 2018

Jesse King

‘If you haven’t had the opportunity to explore Indigenous knowledge, your education system has done you a disservice,’ says this education commentator.

Max Loomes

‘The students and majority of the teachers at my former school were loving, open-minded and would not have condoned this sort of action,’ says the former student of an Anglican school in Sydney. Max Loomes recently organised an open letter to 34 schools, in which Anglican principals were asked to relinquish their right, under current discrimination legislation, to sack LGBT staff.

Leanne Charlton

‘Australia has a massive gambling and drinking problem and by letting children grow up watching events like the Melbourne Cup it is showing them it is normal,’ says a NSW parent who does not approve of children watching horse races in the classroom.

Andreas Schleicher

‘Future schools are empowered and use the potential of technologies to liberate learning from past conventions and connect learners in new and powerful ways. The past was interactive, the future is participative. We need to understand that learning is not a place, but an activity,’ says the OECD’s Director of Education and Skills.

Halee Isil Cosar

A NSW teacher has called for an extra minute of silence on Remembrance Day for fallen Turkish soldiers. Some of her former schools have agreed to her request and added the extra minute. ‘I try to teach my students to think critically and to appreciate that history is not one-sided,’ says the Turkish-born educator.

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Money matters

November 2018

Fresh fundraising ideas

Quirky school fundraising ideas that involve fun are steadily becoming more successful than traditional sales strategies. Here are some novel ideas.

Stray cats to boost local economy

Six students from Hujing Elementary School, in Japan, recently suggested cat tourism as a way of boosting the struggling economy of their small island. According to the school’s principal, the abundance of felines on some remote islands in Japan is a drawcard for foreign tourists. It seems that students would be actively involved in the cat tourism initiative, should it go ahead.

Questioning shop-to-fundraise programs

This article from the USA discusses the efficacy and ethics of various shop-to-fundraise programs used by schools.

School benefits from grant

Specimen Hill Primary School, in country Victoria, will be able to complete a long-held plan to make its grounds more inclusive to students with additional needs. A $200,000 grant will see a sensory garden created for students with an autism spectrum disorder, allowing them to participate in a more positive way at school.

Landcare Grants

Applications are now open for the first round of the Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants program. The program is being funded with money made from the sale of the Woolworths 'Bag for good', which was launched earlier this year when the supermarket went single-use plastic bag free across all stores nationwide.

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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