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


October 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back to Term 4, and the run to the end of the year. I would propose that while it might feel like a finish line, the line is really the start of the next phase of the journey. A strong finish is a great way to have a strong start in 2017. The wind down should not be seen as passing the time, but a time to challenge, invite enquiry and energise by doing something that will develop learning in other areas. For example, have students spend time in week 10 on hobbies, interests and talents that will hopefully be followed-up in the holidays. Yes, it is a time for reports and end-of-year events but also a time for celebration and acknowledgement of achievement. It is also a time for stress and heavy demands, so plan to have the stress breakers and supports in place. To support others, you need to look after yourself first. As principal, what is your support plan?

A few things to focus on in this edition...


Over 1100 schools participated in the trial. A number of schools reported a very successful trial and appreciated the opportunity to test devices, connectivity and the format of the revised assessment. The online assessment will be an adaptive test that will provide a more accurate assessment of a student’s achievement.

APPA conducted a survey for participating schools through our State and Territory National Advisory Council members. The survey has enabled APPA to provide a realistic view of the Trial and feedback supported the earlier concerns raised by APPA. However, given there is a three-year implementation period, ACARA, systems and schools are currently identifying strategies to address any issues and develop a risk management plan to achieve success.

The Trial and Survey results also highlighted the range in technology experiences and skills of students across schools and within schools. This will be a major factor for school and system leaders in addressing the equity of access to technology learning on devices suitable for the NAPLAN Online test. Principals reported that students who have a higher level of access to computers outside the school were observed to be more comfortable with the test requirements.

The administration of NAPLAN Online will need additional support for school staff to develop confidence and competency in managing the tests. This may include additional training and opportunities to experience delivering the tests. Staff will need strategies to assist students to deal with possible interruptions such as freezing, power problems, internet connections, sound or functioning challenges.

Schools will need time and resourcing to prepare for completing NAPLAN Online. Additionally, for schools whose technology hardware is not sufficient, systems will need to provide assistance to purchase devices, and ensure connectivity and power supply are reliable. Principals also reported that they would need to have an onsite person with a high level of technology knowledge in order to manage the challenges that may occur in running the tests.

Schools who participated in the Trial will be able to provide valuable information to other schools on preparation to undertake NAPLAN Online testing. APPA will be working with ACARA to develop advice to assist schools prepare for undertaking NAPLAN Online.

APPA acknowledges and thanks the principals and school leaders who have taken the time to complete the Survey and provide comments and suggestions. A copy of the summary report is on the APPA website.


APPA, in collaboration with Camp Australia, aims to explore and identify the key strategies and actions that contribute to, and enhance, principal health and wellbeing. We have evidence that illustrates a drop in the number of applicants for principals’ positions, rising health and wellbeing concerns for principals, and an upcoming retirement of many experienced principals from systems.

This project will explore more deeply the role of employers and identify the current range of strategies and actions. It will also propose recommendations for enhancing current practices and provide suggestions for additional strategies and actions. These suggestions will address current work practices and processes and will make recommendations for policy development.

The project will draw on the feedback from current principals and school leaders, system and, where possible, department personnel and employers. A desktop review of current policy for principal health and wellbeing will complement the surveys and case study components for the project. The project team will look to draw on information from international studies, and reports and input from other education systems and professional associations.


It has been 12 months since APPA released its Top Ten Elements of Initial Teacher Education Courses. What has happened and what needs to be put on the board for further attention? We have seen the release of the strengthened standards for accreditation of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses and induction guidelines. The key outcome of the standards is the requirement for recognised partnerships between ITE providers and schools for professional practice. How is this aspect going in your school? I have been informed of a partnership between one school and a provider that is in place for 2017. This will enable the principal to carefully plan the timing of visiting students and the support required for the professional practice session. Hopefully, this example will be the norm and not the exception.

Over the next 12 months, we will be focusing on the curriculum of the ITE course. APPA’s Top Ten Elements include the following:

  1. Courses must have a strong emphasis on the teaching of literacy and numeracy with the depth of learning required for students being educated and trained to teach across the years of primary schooling.
  2. Course content should include professional studies in child psychology, social and emotional child development and promote the understanding and development of skills that take account of student diversity and needs.
  3. Courses must ensure students develop skills and knowledge in:
    1. a range of successful and evidence-based pedagogical approaches
    2. the use of assessment data to drive teaching and learning
    3. modern and classroom-targeted technologies
    4. student behaviour management
    5. teaching students with disabilities or special learning needs
    6. curriculum mapping, integrated learning and lesson planning
    7. pastoral care responsibilities that include social and emotional support strategies.

In particular, we will be advocating that all graduates have the required knowledge and ability to teach the Australian Curriculum and, for example, have a demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the BIG 6 of Reading: Oral Language, Phonological Awareness, Vocabulary, Letter-sound Knowledge (Phonics) Fluency, and Comprehension.


This is the national conference for primary school leaders and I encourage you to put it on the calendar for 2017. At this conference, you will be challenged, affirmed and inspired to be a creative and agile leader, and ensure your leadership legacy is powerful and enduring. We are aiming to have networking opportunities, times for discussion, sharing of practice and opportunity to meet and hear from school education leaders from across Australia and around the world.

I look forward to catching up with principals and school leaders during the term. The education focus at the moment is on funding, and rightly so. However, hopefully the shift will move to how our governments and jurisdictions can support principals and schools to do what works in addressing the learning needs of all students, no matter the location, context, background or circumstance. A quality learning experience should be in place for all children.

Best wishes,

Dennis Yarrington
President, Australian Primary Principals Association
Mobile: 0466 655 468


Are you a Masters student looking for a research project to help principals?

Michael Hawton, psychologist and teacher, who runs the Tough Conversations workshops nationally (see registration form) is seeking an educator who is currently undertaking a higher degree to evaluate the impact of professional development in reducing principals’ stress levels. The research would need to be done ‘at arms’ length’ from the programme developers. There is good anecdotal evidence from the 200+ school leaders, who have already completed the program, that it is benefiting members of our association. But, it is important to build the evidence base. There may be some opportunity to liaise with Associate Professor, Phil Riley, who is willing to discuss any design issues. So, if you’re looking for a topic and you want to do some applied research, please contact Michael Hawton on 0422 214 430. Michael can describe the topic and its parameters.

Interviewees urgently sought for 2017 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2017 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

Under the spotlight

October 2016

Julie Townsend

The headmistress of St Catherine’s School, in Sydney, recently told the media that ‘outdated caps’ on student numbers were making it difficult for independent schools to keep up with increasing demand from local families. The article also contains the views of other Sydney principals, from both independent and government schools.

Bobby Court

The principal of Guilford Young College, in Tasmania, is reported to having told an ACER review that the amount of time teachers use to collaborate with each other is being whittled away by the measurement of student performance. ‘Teachers become demoralised by the time they have to give over to providing data,’ she said.

Mal Cater

Photographed in a hard hat outside Mentone Grammar’s soon-to-be-completed Creativity Centre, this principal explains his deep personal and professional connection to this Victorian independent school and reflects on the changes he has witnessed over many years.

Vasily Sukhomlinsky

ABC Radio’s Richard Fidler interviews an Australian researcher about his biography of a Ukranian school principal who developed an educational philosophy that aspired to change society for the better. The altruistic motives of the late Vasily Sukhomlinsky will resonate with educators in today’s troubled world.

Carolyn Edwards

Congratulations to Carolyn Edwards, principal of Henbury School, in the Northern Territory. Ms Edwards won the Public Sector and Academia Award in the recent 2016 Telstra Northern Territory Business Women’s Awards.

Interviewees urgently sought for 2017 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2017 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

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

October 2016

How to get people to follow you

Combining aspects of biology and psychology within the context of the human condition, Simon Sinek provides some useful insights on how people interact in organisations. Mr Sinek is the author of ‘Together is better’ and ‘Start with why’.

Managing up

How well do you, as a principal, manage more senior managers in your education system, department or group of schools? Lauren Mackler is interviewed by Harvard Business School about ‘managing up’

Make body language your super power

This video will also show you strategic body language skills for public speaking. It also provides useful tips on how to read your audience's body language and what you need to do when they look bored or disconnected.

Managing difficult people

Learn the four types of difficult people and how to deal with them. Finding the ‘value language’ of difficult people is the starting point in their management, advises Vanessa Van Edwards.

Think fast: talk smart

Matt Abrahams outlines some techniques that will help you speak spontaneously in public, with greater confidence and clarity, regardless of content and context.

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

October 2016

Legal action on asbestos exposure

Legal proceedings have been launched against the NSW Education Department, based on allegations that a number of children were exposed to asbestos in the playground of the Baryulgil Primary School, more than four decades ago.

Mother sues over probable snake bite death

The mother of a seven-year-old boy, who died from cardiac arrest after attending a school camp in Belgrave, in the Dandenong Ranges, has filed a civil action in Victoria’s County Court.

Grey area surrounds fees for children of temporary residents

Government school fees of more than $10,000 annually for the children of temporary residents have been criticised by the ACT Human Rights Commissioner. Ms Helen Watchirs is concerned that charging fees, in some cases, may be unlawful and in breach of the ACT’s Human Rights Act.

Controversy over ‘pop up’ school

Critics have questioned the NSW Department of Education’s plan to build a temporary ‘pop-up’ primary school for 300 children at Wentworth Park, in Ultimo. Their concerns focus on protecting children from toxic contaminants in the soil and, in particular, how the way the Department secured approval for the site.

Boys charged over sexual assault

Two unnamed 12-year-old boys have been charged by police and will face court in relation to the alleged rape and indecent assault of a six-year-old girl. The multiple events are alleged to have taken place at a Sydney primary school earlier this year.

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

October 2016

Inherited intelligence

Most educators are professionally curious about intelligence. However, some may wish to challenge the results of this study by Scottish neuroscientists.

Repeating prep in Victoria

Government figures have shown that 2191 Victorian children repeated prep in the past three years, not including language and special schools. Unfortunately, this report does not make it clear whether this figure is significantly more or less than previous periods of time, although it does go on to state that fewer parents are choosing to defer their child’s school attendance until he or she is a year older.

Survey indicates need for more technical support

A recent Australian Primary Principals Association survey has indicated that many schools require far more technical support for online NAPLAN testing. Around 10 per cent of schools will move to online NAPLAN testing in May next year.

More building blocks for classrooms?

Research from Indiana University, in the USA, supports the idea that building blocks might help children develop the spatial skills needed in science- and math-oriented disciplines.

Steiner schools rising in popularity

Steiner schools are rising in popularity across Australia, says this report.

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


Balancing act

October 2016

How to lean in without burning out

Recovering perfectionist Vanessa Loder explains the main internal obstacles that are preventing women from becoming successful in their professional and personal life. She provides three strategies for experiencing success with ease.

Coping with stress

Professor Cary Cooper provides some techniques for managing stress, such as exercising and using relaxation techniques, and explains who you can talk to if you're feeling under pressure.

Old Men Grooving

Why not take up dancing? This video demonstrates that dancing is wonderful aerobic exercise that is not just for the young. ‘Age is nothing but a number,’ enthuses one of the judges.

Twelve easy ways to relieve anxiety

Reduce stress with these 12 simple strategies. One of these is reading, which the presenter describes as ‘another form of meditation’.

Exercise and nutrition for middle-aged and older individuals

Be more proactive about looking after your body and your personal and professional life will benefit.

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

Body Esteem Education – Not Just for Secondary Schools

Why body esteem education?

Children as young as 4 are already developing a weight bias – thin is good, fat is bad. It is no wonder then that for young people aged 6-19, body image continues to be a significant and growing concern (Mission Australia Youth Survey, BTN Happiness Survey).

It is easy to see then how body esteem, which relates to the thoughts, feelings and attitudes a person has in relation to their physical self, is closely related to self- esteem.

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.

How can Butterfly Education support your school?

  • For years 3-6, workshops and presentations with consistent, progressive and appropriate messaging and are mapped to the Australian curriculum.
  • Free to BE: A Body Esteem Resource for years 3-12.
  • Staff professional development on the importance of prevention and implementing strategies.
  • For parents, an interactive session to help families better understand body esteem and support the development of healthy body image in their children.

To find out what services are available in your state contact

Helen Bird – Education Administration
02 8456 3908

If you are concerned about someone contact
The Butterfly Foundation National Help Line 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673)


Something different

October 2016

Reception to year 12 bilingual program

Two South Australian schools have combined to offer a French and English bilingual program to students from reception through to year 12. This is the first time an R-12 bilingual program has been offered by government schools in South Australia.

Improvement program for WA schools

A raft of measures aimed at improving the performance of WA public schools includes the introduction of online school report cards for students in pre-primary to year 12.

The Port Macquarie Nature School

The Port Macquarie Nature School is a not-for-profit, community-run organisation that offers outdoor preschool sessions for three to six-year-olds. Its future plans include the establishment of a primary school.

Impact of increasing student surveillance

An ANU criminologist has co-edited a publication on the psychological and learning-related impact of increasing electronic tracking and surveillance of children, both in and out of school. Educators may be surprised to read of the subtly changed classroom dynamics and other school and family-related behaviours that were observed by researchers in seven countries.

Recycled bottle greenhouse

Youngtown Primary School, in Tasmania, features a greenhouse built from about 6,000 plastic bottles. Students use the greenhouse to accelerate the development of seedlings for the school garden.

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.

My word

October 2016

Eleanor Ramsay & Michael Rowan

‘Learning from the Finns’ success, shouldn’t we change our schools rather than keep our children out of them?’ Commenting on Tasmania’s new Education Act, which lowers the school starting age to four-and-a-half, Eleanor Ramsay and Michael Rowan advocate a new model for early childhood education.

Cat Atkinson

‘Why in God's name must religious education be so specific?’ asks this social commentator. ‘Surely it's possible to teach children about different religions,’ she says.

David Gillespie

‘There is no reasonable justification for the extraordinary public subsidy of private choices in Australian education. It doesn’t save money, it doesn’t improve results, it divides our education system along class lines and it entrenches legally justified discrimination,’ says the author of ‘Free schools: how to get a great education for your kids without spending a fortune’.

Miranda Devine

‘Where once we used to lament that girls lagged behind boys and invent all sorts of strategies to right the imbalance, now there is untrammelled joy as boys fall further and further behind,’ claims this social commentator.

Megan Lilly

‘Problems in the classroom are now causing concerns in the boardroom,’ says the head of education and training at the employers' organisation, Australian Industry Group, Megan Lilly. ‘Australia needs the best possible human capital it can get for its future’, she added. This article focuses on the business community’s concern about the disparity in learning outcomes between Australian states and territories.

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.

The problem – school leaders are feeling the effects of other people’s emotional distress

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.

A solution – run workshops for school leaders to assist them in how to better handle tough conversations

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.

The job – become a Tough Conversations trainer

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:

  1. Initially shadow Michael Hawton or Dr Rob Steventon – lead trainers in this field – so that you can present these workshops independently in 2017-18.
  2. Make yourself available to attend training / workshop days led by Michael or Rob (for which you would be paid a stipend, accommodation and travel expenses).
  3. Be willing to work to an already-in-use script and PowerPoint presentation.
  4. Observe behaviour during, for example, role-plays, and noting presence/absence of desired behaviours.
  5. Demonstrate practices, engage all participants and be willing to role-play.
  6. Be very organised – by preparing well, keeping to commitments (turning-up at the right place on the right day) and maintaining a tight schedule for the day, so that everything is covered. (You will be supported by our events coordinator, who is ‘all-over’ the events- logistics!)
  7. Give both corrective and affirming feedback after role-plays.

How to apply

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:

  • Demonstrated adult-to-adult teaching ability.
  • Experience in managing tough conditions (we’ll ask you about this at interview).
  • Demonstrated interest or well-read background in conflict resolution (again, we’ll ask you about this at interview).
  • A motivation (bordering on a passion) to help principals reduce their stress levels.
  • A capacity to travel to training events nationally and throughout the year.

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:

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


Money matters

October 2016

Extra financial support for NT schools

The NT media reports on two financially challenged schools that have been given additional money to continue operating.

Principal advocates school voucher system

In an essay published in a metropolitan newspaper, the principal of South Australia’s Scotch College explains how a carefully managed school voucher system could increase competition and raise education standards. Dr John Newton also believes that ‘a redistribution of as much power as possible to school leaders will mean that far fewer students are stuck in underperforming schools.’

Medicare-type levy for wealthy parents of government school students?

David Robertson, the executive director of Independent Schools Queensland, said parents who choose to send their children to independent schools are saving taxpayers a lot of money. Instead of demonising public spending on private schools, he said, public attention should be focused on parents who can afford to pay school fees but choose not to. ‘Perhaps a more useful public policy debate might be whether or not affluent parents who choose a state school for the education of their child might make a contribution to the costs through a Medicare-type levy,’ he suggested.

Unprecedented opportunity to improve school funding

‘Our current economic circumstances have created an unprecedented opportunity to fix school funding without blowing the budget,’ says Peter Goss, from the ‘Financial Review’.

Proposed sale of junior campus

An Adelaide independent school is investigating the sale of its junior campus to help fund a multi-million dollar upgrade of its middle and senior campuses. Consultation with parents and students has been a strong feature of the school’s modernisation program, says principal Mike Millard.

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.

Love the job

October 2016

Mrs Jodie Hoenig

Head of Junior School, Masada College
St Ives, Sydney, NSW

Describe your current school, its students, the demographics of your school community, and any special challenges and/or strengths.

Masada College is a Jewish Day School proudly celebrating its 50th jubilee anniversary this year. It recently combined onto one campus and opened a new purpose-built Early Learning Centre. The College is ‘Open to All’ with close to 550 enrolments and over 100 staff. We are a non-selective, high performing school, with focuses on building Cultures of Thinking in the classrooms and developing the Leader In Me in our Leading Learning Educational Package. With Jewish, non-Jewish and international students, and waiting lists in most year groups, our challenges are finding classrooms to meet the demand, without turning students and families away.

How many years have you been a school leader?

I have been Head of the Junior School for almost two years. This brings my education and teaching career full circle, after attending Masada College from pre-school to year 12 and returning for my first teaching placement.

What motivated you to become a school leader (and when)?

There were pivotal women who had a significant impact on my passion for teaching and who showed confidence in my leadership. It was their positive influence on me, coupled with my enthusiasm and commitment to ongoing learning, which saw my natural and incremental progression to school leadership. I readily volunteered to lead KLA committees and Stages, before becoming Coordinator K-2 (2009), Head of Primary (2012), IPSHA Social Issues Chair (2014) and Head of Junior School (2015).

What was your first leadership role, where was it located, and what were some of your early challenges as a new leader?

In truth, my first leadership role was in the classroom, as a graduate year 4 teacher at Masada College, in a dual-stream school. The challenges were keeping abreast of every child’s needs and working hard every day to provide a responsive and engaging curriculum to sufficiently support and extend them with meaningful learning experiences.

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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.

Love the job

October 2016

Mrs Jodie Hoenig

Head of Junior School, Masada College
St Ives, Sydney, NSW

(continued from previous page)

As a new principal, what was the most useful lesson you ever learned from a more experienced principal colleague?

I learned so many important lessons quickly as a leader; some taught at university and others gained through experience. The most useful lesson I learned from a principal colleague would have been the power of working in a team! The benefits are numerous and include collegiality, building professional capacity, hearing different perspectives, sharing responsibilities, enhancing staff engagement and motivation and making use of the brain’s trust of the school.

What makes you smile at work?

I’m known to smile and unknowingly click my fingers when I’m happy at school. I can’t help but smile when I have the opportunity for conversations with colleagues and students in the classrooms, playground, corridors, philosophy club and staff meetings.

In managing your staff, what are your most valuable skills and beliefs?

I am a strong advocate for using Solution-Focused, Growth Coaching and open to learning conversations in my management of staff. It allows me to help staff identify their goals, their reality, what’s currently working, options for change and improvement and to affirm their useful qualities and resources. My staff have a broad range of experiences, beliefs, values and passions which I try to encourage them to share and learn from each other.

What was the best day you ever had as a school leader?

That’s a tough question . . . to identify just one ‘best’day among such a broad array of experience. Was it the annual awards ceremony, showcasing all the students and their talents, or the BOSTES inspection, receiving affirmations for the school’s teachers, programs, environment, students and management?

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Love the job

October 2016

Mrs Jodie Hoenig

Head of Junior School, Masada College
St Ives, Sydney, NSW

(continued from previous page)

What was the toughest day you ever had as a school leader?

My toughest day/s are always when children are putting themselves at risk and I have to protect them from harm’s way. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting to help a child in crisis and see them suffering.

What was the funniest single thing that ever happened to you as a school leader?

Nothing in particular stands out for me right now, although I’ve always been able to count on my younger students to say the most remarkably entertaining, truthful or provocative comments.

What tips would you give new school leaders about staying positive and keeping their energy levels high?

I still remind myself that I am only as good a leader on the outside as I am on the inside. My tips to energise yourself are to connect with fellow colleagues, enjoy exercise, family and friends, eat and sleep well and give back to the community to refuel your soul.

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?

Without a doubt, I’ve always looked forward to seeing my staff and students each day as I drive the long distance to work.

How do you achieve (or are trying to achieve) a positive work-life balance?

Prioritising what needs to be done and what’s important, helps to me to try to find a greater-work life balance. I also trust in my staff to work towards our common goal alongside me. I make time to eat dinner with my family daily, travel with them during school holidays and go to yoga on weekends.

What special measures do you take (if any) to protect and nurture your own health and welfare?

To protect and nurture my health and welfare, I enjoy the luxuries of a take-away coffee or freshly baked treat or the views around Sydney. I make appointments with medical professionals when they’re needed and I keep in touch with my coach.

What do you see yourself as doing with your life after the principalship?

When the time comes to retire from education, I would be lucky to spend more time with my extended family and friends, as well as explore new opportunities. Most likely, they’ll involve social enterprises or mentoring young principals.

Mrs Jodie Hoenig, Head of Junior School
Masada College, St Ives, Sydney, NSW


Interviewees urgently sought for 2017 series of ‘Connected Leader’

Do you love your job?
Primary school principals across Australia, from Catholic, government and independent schools, are invited to contact the Managing Editor of ‘Connected Leader’, Debra Crouch, who is currently seeking interviewees for the remainder of the 2017 series of ‘Love the Job’ (written) interviews. To express your interest in assisting with this project, please contact Debra at: or 0413 009988.

Managing Editor, APPA 'Connected Leader'

Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988

Connected Leader

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