Welcome to the October edition of ‘Connected Leader’. As usual, ‘Connected Leader’ provides all involved in schools informed, interesting and, at times, challenging articles that are carefully selected and easily accessed. Use ‘Connected Leader’ for professional learning and personal growth, and don’t hesitate to pass it along to your school colleagues.
Towards the end of Term 3, the APPA National Conference was held in Hobart, Tasmania, with the theme, The Heart of Leadership. The keynote speakers used the theme to connect leadership to the personal aspects of being a principal in today’s school. While the Keynote and Short Talks speakers provided a depth of material to take away or reflect on as leaders, I have selected, from the keynote speaker sessions I attended, a one-line takeaway to share. I hope you find them helpful.
Are you writing your poem that will tell the life you wanted?
What is driving decision-making: economic, ethical or moral leadership?
Speak the truth to the powerful and from the heart.
We need collective intelligence to solve the challenges of today.
Source of leadership is in your stance. Schools run best on engagement not compliance.
Adaptive leadership. Do we know the children we are serving? We need to cultivate the talent in children rather than measure and sort. Poverty is not disability.
Schools need to be good enough for our own children. Create schools that create excellence.
Learning is in the feedback not in the test score. Students demonstrate what they have learned.
The presence of wellness: we need to work on removing negatives plus building the enablers. Make the enablers visible!
The role of principal is a huge responsibility. Education is the answer to avoid the likelihood of social disadvantage. Students need to be job ready. Teacher quality paramount and leadership is the key.
Rise of platform information and ability to construct knowledge online. Create a platform for others to create the knowledge. What are the currencies of exchange?
Inspiration and belief comes from within the team.
I hope everyone who attended has taken from the conference something new, something confirming and something to challenge. The opening presentation was memorable and never have I experienced such a beginning to a conference. Well done to the organisers for the courage to challenge the mindset! We plan to have the presentations on the website, once permissions have been received. Congratulations to all the prize-winners and thank you to everyone who stopped and spoke with exhibitors and sponsors.
Congratulations to the committee, led by Malcolm Elliot, Elizabeth McDougall and Brigid Knight for the presentation of a fantastic conference. The speakers and presenters were well-supported and briefed by facilitator Bob Phillips and Tony Fagan. The social program was very enjoyable and the venue excellent. The dinner was very special and we can announce that the auction on the night for the daily art work representations raised $4168 for the Syrian Refugee Appeal. Thank you to the Tasmanians for being great hosts and welcoming everyone to Hobart.
In 2016, APPA combines with our New Zealand colleagues for the APPA/NZPF Trans-Tasman Conference in Auckland, from 31 May to 3 June. The theme, Knowledge in Our Hands, will inspire us about the power of stories and storytelling. Presenters will showcase and share the best that Australia and New Zealand have to offer in learning, teaching and leadership, using dynamic and interactive formats.
Check out more details at: www.transtasmanconference.co.nz. Early bird registrations close 31 March 2016.
The Australian Education Council – made up of the federal and state ministers of education – has now confirmed the recommended changes to the curriculum. APPA supports the revised structure of the curriculum into Learning Areas and the expectation that there is flexibility with the how, when and what is taught in schools.
APPA remains concerned about implementation support for schools and the challenge to resource all aspects of the curriculum. We will continue to work with ACARA on increasing the number of work samples, strategies for curriculum management and online information on understanding the achievement standards. APPA has been asked to be involved with a monitoring process that is to be developed by ACARA.
The agreement by the Education Council to move towards NAPLAN Online has gained significant media attention. APPA has provided ACARA with the questions and concerns of principals and will hold ongoing discussions with ACARA regarding the move. Issues included: bandwidth and hardware issues; disparity between receiving data; the comparisons arising out of pen vs online testing; computer-based marking of writing tasks; the in-school timeline.
During Term Three, a trial program was conducted in a number of schools. We would appreciate any comments that can be used to inform our discussions with ACARA as we would any other questions or concerns you hold.
APPA held a National Forum on Initial Teacher Education at the National Conference in Hobart. Over 70 principals from across Australia attended the forum, which included the involvement of Commonwealth Department of Education representatives and also the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) General Manager, Edmund Mission. Edmund provided very helpful teacher education background information in his presentation.
We were able to identify key principles for teacher education courses from the forum and APPA will now develop a document that states clearly the expectations principals have for teacher education courses.
The forum also provided areas for action and follow-up questions for associations to discuss. It was recommended that principals associations meet with local Deans of Education and have a conversation around ‘What we can do to get things going?’ Associations should use APPA’s ‘Initial Teacher Education: Areas for Action’ paper to structure conversations.
Questions for consideration by principals include:
APPA has provided responses and submissions to various inquiries. We have completed a submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Senate Inquiry into Students with Disabilities, a response to the Vision for a Science Nation and response to AITSL’s paper on demonstrating the impact on student learning of teacher education and supervisors of students. Copies of these papers are on the website.
The Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey has now closed and we thank all who completed the survey. Dr Phil Riley is now working on the report that will be released in early December. Our key focus will be to identify the enablers that support principals in their role and support a positive wellbeing.
At the Hobart Conference APPA Forum, we launched the new APPA website. We expect it will be easy to manage, visually appealing and contain all the great resources built up over the last 40 years. We’ve come a long way since 1974!
When you visit the website at www.appa.asn.au you will see that we’ve used real (that is, not stock photos!) photos from real schools. No stock photos for APPA! If you have any great shots you reckon would work well on our website send to email@example.com. Please ensure permission to publish has been received and advise same in your email.
Finally, Term Four is always a busy but an exciting time in schools. We wish everyone a successful term and hope the end of the year leaves you with just enough energy to enjoy the many celebrations that lay ahead!Dennis Yarrington
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:
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
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
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.
Call 1800 816 224 for your SPECIAL OFFER as an APPA member.
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.
Exmouth District High School is a public school catering for Years K - 12 and the only school serving the relatively isolated community of Exmouth. We are surrounded by Cape Range National Park, which is the gateway to the unique Ningaloo Reef, a World Heritage site. We are passionate about providing the best possible education for all our students. In this endeavour we are fortunate to have enthusiastic students, highly skilled staff and a supportive community.
How many years have you been a school leader?
I have been in my current acting role for a term. My substantive role is as Principal of Watheroo Primary School, which I have led for the nearly four years. I also have eight years experience of leadership roles in the UK.
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.
(continued from previous page)
What motivated you to become a school leader (and when)?
In the UK, distributed leadership is embedded in the structure of most schools. I was eager to launch myself into a core curriculum leadership role when I was in my second year of teaching. I became I school leader because I wanted to make a greater difference to student learning beyond the boundaries of my own classroom.
What was your first leadership role, where was it located, and what were some of your early challenges as a new leader?
At my first school in the UK, I led whole-school improvement in the teaching and learning of science. Teaching staff how to differentiate their teaching of science inquiry skills and trying to build their capacity to teach the science content were some a couple of the early challenges.
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.
What makes you smile at work?
The students. Seeing students’ who are thrilled to be learning – who demonstrate obvious pride in what they have accomplished. Faces overcome with awe and wonder. For example, I believe strongly in the value of mental calculation strategies and I love to see children as they work out shortcuts or a flexible method to compute in their head. The thrill is written all over their faces.
In managing your staff, what are your most valuable skills and beliefs?
Three key beliefs/ skill sets guide my work with staff: commitment to coaching, auspicious inquiry, and the importance of praise and gratitude. I am an adept coach and I believe that staff are often unconsciously skilled in many areas. With the benefit of coaching, they can improve their performance to an incredible extent. I believe in ‘auspicious inquiry’, i.e. that you build school improvement on what is going well and look at how success can be learnt from and replicated. I know that how important it is to look for how you can praise staff often and express your gratitude regularly.
(continued from previous page)
What was the best day you ever had as a school leader?
I am fortunate to have a huge catalogue of ‘best days’. There is usually something in every day as a school leader which makes me smile. The days I spend involved in our Joint Schools Network do stand out for me. For the last six years, I have been leading a network of small relatively isolated schools that come together each year to joint pursue a series of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) project. The purpose of the network is twofold: (1) to provide challenging collaborative learning for students and (2) to build the capacity of staff in the five schools to teach STEM. Due to the research available about the value of peer observations, teacher observations are embedded at the core of each project. As a reflective leader, I have ensured that feedback has been translated into improvements in the design of our project which now consists of: two days of student workshops; challenges which the students pursue at their home schools; and a showcase day where students evaluate their work. Annually, I lead the planning, preparation and evaluation of each phase of the project, as well as modelling effective pedagogical practises. The data I have collated shows that, year on year, we are highly effective at achieving both our aims. I credit much of the success of the network to the incredible amount of work done by the staff in the network schools and the parent body at Watheroo.
What was the toughest day you ever had as a school leader?
As school leaders, our challenges on some days are many and various but I believe that every event or issue provides an opportunity for us to learn.
What was the funniest single thing that ever happened to you as a school leader?
Recently, I came out of a classroom here at Exmouth to find myself greeted by five emus on the school lawn. Subsequently, I found out that the emus are a common sight around town here but I was surprised to meet our feathered friends that first time.
What tips would you give new school leaders about staying positive and keeping their energy levels high?
Focus on our key business, which is student learning. Spend more time in classrooms working with the students and staff. I find that spending time with the children always ‘recharges my batteries’ and ‘super charges’ my enthusiasm.
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 satisfaction I gain from seeing children learn.
How do you achieve (or are trying to achieve) a positive work-life balance?
I don’t think I’m the best person to answer that question. ‘Workaholic’ is often a term used by others to describe me. I prefer ‘highly motivated’ and ‘dedicated’.
What special measures do you take (if any) to protect and nurture your own health and welfare?
I’m very fortunate that my husband is happy to be the stay-at-home parent. He inspires and nurtures me and our two children. I try to make time every day to read with my own children and this is a special time for us.
What do you see yourself as doing with your life after the principalship?
For me, that time is still a long way off so I haven’t given retirement much thought. My husband and I will probably do some more travelling.
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.