I write this following what was a tremendously successful APPA Conference in Perth. With 750+ full delegates and another near 100 coming in for a day or two, the APPA 2018 conference theme of Visionary Leadership saw Government, Catholic and Independent principals from across Australia gather as one. Each primary school no matter state, territory or sector is quite unique; yet there is also much we share as leaders and as school communities. As I travel and meet those working in primary education, I am always struck by the deep focus teachers and on each child.
The conference saw an exceptional array of keynote speakers and insightful concurrent sessions. Whether delegates heard Lee Watanabe-Crocket giving context to the practical actions required in modern classrooms or AITSL CEO Lisa Rodgers highlight the importance of effective leadership and quality teaching, there is no doubt that this was a conference that inspired and engaged.
Many thanks to all our Western Australian colleagues – too many to name – who played a part in ensuring the great success of Perth Conference. The venue, organisation and program were all superb.
Keep in mind next year’s APPA Conference in Adelaide. The value of hearing from quality speakers and presenters but also meeting colleagues from schools vastly different from your own cannot be underestimated. We’ll keep you informed of registration details.
It was said to me recently that APPA is ‘a force in education’. Maybe we’re a ‘force for education’ but nevertheless, we do this is by setting clear goals and simply working together in the political, agencies or school spheres. Always, the experiences and knowledge of the National Advisory Council (NAC) are used to progress towards making a difference for primary school principals and the schools they lead.
A meeting or two back, the NAC saw the need to produce simple, effective messaging targeted at parents / carers with young children. The message was around readiness for learning being a major influence on future success and Thrive with Five was the result. I’d suggest printing copies off and distribute to the parents in your school with young children.
Another school-focused project has seen APPA team up with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to bring the MoneySmart Program into primary schools across the county.
Apply for up to $5,000 to implement your MoneySmart idea in your school. ASIC and APPA have launched the new ASIC MONEYSMART: Principals Project, see the APPA website for more information about the grant. Grant information can also be found on the ASIC website.
ASIC’s new 1 hour, free, on-line professional learning modules ‘Connect MoneySmart: Use MoneySmart’ and ‘Teach MoneySmart: Be MoneySmart’, were launched in September. We urge you and your staff to participate in these learning opportunities and explore the range of information and resources on the MoneySmart website.
Please contact us by phone or email to share your ideas about how we can work with you and your school.
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Financial health is essential to personal wellbeing and we know of the impact principals have on all aspects of young Australians’ development as well as the development of their teachers. The MoneySmart Teaching Program is the only national financial literacy program for schools that is supported and endorsed by state and territory education departments.
MoneySmart aims to increase the financial literacy and capability of not only students but, just as importantly, teachers and the wider school community.
Research tells us:
Visit MoneySmart through the APPA website to find out more.
Another piece of work has been in developing a national charter for primary school leaders. Over the course of 2018, the National Advisory Council has been working on a Professional Charter for Primary School Leaders, the aim of which is to position the ‘profession of primary leadership’ in the hands of principals’ associations.
APPA and its member associations hold the position that raising the status of the profession occurs when a ‘for the profession, by the profession’ maxim is in place. Establishing and managing a National Professional Charter for Primary School Leaders will clearly set the path for the maxim to become reality. To be recognised, and successful, a Charter must build and gain the support of three key stakeholders: principal associations, employers and registration authorities. We have achieved this with our member associations.
Our aim is to position the National Professional Charter for Primary School Leaders as the key reference point for appropriate professional practice for Australian primary school leaders. I will keep you informed of its progress.
Very best wishes for the term,Dennis Yarrington
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.”
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.’
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.
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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
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Describe your current school, its students, the demographics of your school community, and any special challenges and/or strengths.
South Coast Baptist College is an independent private school located in Perth’s southern corridor in the coastal suburb of Waikiki, between Rockingham and Mandurah. The College lies approximately 56km south of the Perth CBD. South Coast Baptist College commenced in 1985 under the name Maranatha Christian College and was re-named and rebranded mid-way through 2012 as South Coast Baptist College. The College’s Index of Community Socio- Educational Advantage (ICSEA) is 1033. The school has provided a low fee, private education to the many students who have attended over the past 33 years. South Coast Baptist Colleges’ mission statement is ‘Rigorous minds and compassionate hearts’. This statement indicates our focus on shaping content and character as we normalise striving for excellence for our students in life, both at school and in their future careers.
The College is a childcare to year 12 learning environment, with a current population of over 940 students, of which over 500 attend the primary school years that I lead. The College is currently completing stage one of a five-stage, $45 million redevelopment, which will equip our students with facilities that offer the latest education methods as we continue to invest in the future.
We are currently developing a ‘wellbeing centre’ for our student body. It is anticipated that this centre will allow in-school professionals and health care services opportunities to work together, ultimately enhancing our students’ health, wellbeing and opportunities for academic success.
A strength of the school is the diversity of the high-quality programs on offer. The College offers a specialist Football (Soccer) Academy program for boys and girls from years 4 to 12. This year, the primary school won and was also runners up (year 5 team) in the Peel Regional Championships, and our year 6 primary school boys’ team has won the West Australian State Football championships for the past two years. Our specialist gymnastics program is accessed by over 100 primary school students across three afternoons, and our competition squads placed second in the Western Australian State Interschool competition for the second year running in 2018. Other specialist programs in the primary school include Digital Technologies (robotics and coding), Music, LOTE Mandarin (an online learning platform with direct links to Chinese teachers in Beijing) and the Arts.
How many years have you been a school leader?
I have worked at three different independent Christian schools over the past 25 years and have had the opportunity to lead the primary school at two of these schools over the past 13 years.
What motivated you to become a school leader (and when)?
Prior to moving into a leadership role, for the first 12 years of my career I worked as an upper and middle primary classroom teacher. Working directly with a class of students is something I do miss. Classroom teachers can make a distinctively positive impact on the students that they work with. My move into leadership was influenced by my work as a classroom teacher and the positive difference I felt that I could make for staff, students and parents by taking broader opportunities of influence offered through school leadership.
What was your first leadership role, where was it located, and what were some of your early challenges as a new leader?
My first leadership role was at Armadale Christian College (now Southern Hills Christian College) in Bedfordale, Western Australia. I attended this school (originally named Emmaus Christian School) in 1983 and 1984 with the first groups of secondary students and was an inaugural prefect in year 10. I was also a teacher at the school for seven years (1997 – 2005) prior to moving into leadership. While being a fulltime classroom teacher at Armadale, I organised and ran primary school swimming and athletics carnivals, before-school swimming training, interschool carnivals, chess club, student graduations, annual camps and coordinated and oversaw a school basketball club with five teams (girls and boys) that played on weekends, ranging from under 10’s to under 18 students, so life certainly was busy as a teacher. I think these activities that I voluntarily undertook as a teacher assisted me in a great way with the necessary acumen and organisation to successfully move into a leadership role.
Transitioning from the classroom teaching role to a leadership position at any school is an interesting experience, as you move from a collegial setting to managerial position from many of your peer’s viewpoints. The early challenges of leadership included adjusting to the culture of a leadership role, workload demands, task completion and conflict management, curriculum issues and the need for support inside and outside of the school setting.
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As a new principal, what was the most useful lesson you ever learned from a more experienced principal colleague?
Lead by example, keep your word, don’t forget the one percenters, and remember that you can’t please everyone!
What makes you smile at work?
The students I work with and seeing my staff enjoy their work. Student welcomes and seeing students succeed are such a wonderful motivations. Daily greetings from students, their friendly smiles, waves and handshakes always make me smile (if not on the outside, on the inside).
In managing your staff, what are your most valuable skills and beliefs?
Lead with integrity and try to always carry through on what you say you will do. Foster positive relationships with your staff, get to know them individually and embrace their professional abilities. Make sure you acknowledge their contributions. Delegating responsibly, identify and develop staff strengths, never ask others to do something you wouldn’t do or help them to do yourself.
What was the best day you ever had as a school leader?
I’ve had some great days at school and some wonderful opportunities to travel nationally and internationally in my role as a school leader. In October 2016, I was one of 15 primary school leaders from across Australia, and the only leader from WA, who had the opportunity to travel with IPSHA (the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia) on a study grant to visit New York and Toronto and learn directly from the Ontario Principals’ Council at the Ontario Ministry of Education. The focus of the study tour was on principals leading schools in the 21st century. Key aspects included professional learning communities, the engagement of school communities and the mentoring of aspiring leaders. It was an outstanding leadership opportunity.
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What was the toughest day you ever had as a school leader?
I think the toughest days you have are when you experience a critical incident at your school. This might be something that happens outside or inside the school that directly impacts staff and students. Facing some of life’s challenges is not always a positive experience, but part of life which will, from time to time, impact a school. Some of the tough days that I have faced have included death of a student’s family member, a parent’s inappropriate actions towards students at the College and one of our school family’s houses being burnt down. These situations are extremely difficult to deal with and often require thoughtful and reflective insight and management. We certainly don’t live in a perfect world!
What was the funniest single thing that ever happened to you as a school leader?
The funniest thing that ever happened to me occurred in a classroom while teaching a mathematics lesson some year 7 students quite a few years ago. The school was located in a rural setting, adjacent to bushland. While I was teaching the lesson, a blue-tongued goanna crawled into the classroom, the students found this very entertaining. I picked the goanna up and removed it from the room. Shortly afterwards a pink and grey galah flew into the room and I spent some time chasing it around in an effort to have it fly back out of the door or at least tire it out so that it could be removed. Once the bird had been removed, I said to the class, ‘That’s it, I’m closing the door, or the next thing that will probably be in here is a Kangaroo!’ I’m sure that was the most memorable mathematics lesson those year 7’s had ever had!
What tips would you give new school leaders about staying positive and keeping their energy levels high?
Effective leaders are easily identified by their competence in planning, coordination, evaluation and in their ability to build capacity in others. Enjoy the company of your staff and students and continue to aim for the greatest outcomes for those that you lead. Every day is different; don’t fret the small stuff, work hard and always give more than you take!
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?
My passion, dedication and impetus to create a school that is valued by staff and students alike. Essentially, the drive to make a positive difference to others’ lives is something that keeps me motivated. In every cloud there is a silver lining!
How do you achieve (or are trying to achieve) a positive work-life balance?
To be honest, I think it’s pretty difficult to maintain the work-life balance if you are applying yourself fully as a leader in a school. This is reflected in current research on school leadership. In the role as a community leader, time is taken up by daily meetings, paperwork and legal requirements. Meeting with staff, students and parents and arranging and chairing meetings all takes a considerable amount of time.
What special measures do you take (if any) to protect and nurture your own health and welfare?
I think having a release from work is important to your own mental and physical wellbeing. My personal interests are fishing, AFL (West Coast Eagles!), gardening, cricket and basketball. I also really enjoy watching school teams represent the College in a range of sporting endeavours. When the opportunity avails itself, I will take it as it’s great to take time to enjoy the aspects of life that you find fulfilling.
What do you see yourself as doing with your life after the principalship?
I hope I have the experience, acumen, relational skills and drive to be involved in school leadership for quite a few years to come. When I feel that the demands of school leadership outweigh the impetus of drive and passion that I have for the role, I think educational consultancy and mentoring future leaders is an area I would be interested in pursuing further.
Anthony Moses, South Coast Baptist College
Debra J. Crouch
Mobile: 0413 009988
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