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


October 2018

Dear Colleagues,

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. 0403 071 842 07 38674715

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:

  • by the age of 7, children have grasped concepts such as how to recognise the value of money
  • children are never too young to learn about money and financial literacy
  • 70% of primary school teachers are women, and
  • women typically retire with lower super balances than men but live longer and are generally less confident when it comes to managing money.

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
President, Australian Primary Principals Association


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

October 2018

Daniela Frasca

According to the principal of Canterbury South Public School, in Sydney, parents should celebrate when their children score a ‘C’. Ms Frasca’s comments drew a strong response from education academics and others.

Shane Gorman

Speaking at a recent inquiry into standardised testing in ACT schools, the principal of Wanniassa School warned those present that he was ‘likely to get emotional’ when he related the story of a student who attempted suicide during NAPLAN testing.

Virginia Crawford

A New Zealand principal who used emotive language and predicted extreme future scenarios, in a bid to reduce truancy at her school, has sparked a local furore.

Krystal Stanley

The 28-year-old principal of Boulia State School, in outback Queensland, personally picks up all of her 41 students each morning, using a small bus donated by the local council.

Goolbai Gunasekara

A Sri Lankan principal recently defended a former student who has been arrested as a possible terrorist in Australia. She bases her disbelief in the arrested man’s guilt on the basis of his polite and helpful behaviour as a schoolboy and her view that he had ‘no reason’ to become a terrorist.

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 2018

Dealing with four types of difficult people

Behavioural investigator Vanessa Van Edwards provides advice on how to identify and manage ‘Tanks’, ‘Better Thans’, ‘Passives’ and ‘Downers’.

The body language of confident people

This presentation provides some practical strategies you can use to present yourself as a confident, successful professional.

The three types of eye gazing

How do ‘alpha’ leaders use ‘power gazing’ in order to be taken more seriously?

Incomplete or incompetent

‘Incomplete leaders are humble enough to recognise and accept their weaknesses,’ advises this presenter.

Know when to stop talking

‘Leaders often defeat themselves. They claim no one will speak up, no one listens to them, no one has any ideas, when almost always it is not anyone’s fault but their own. Know when to talk and when to shut up,’ advises Jack Dunigan.

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 2018

School fee scam

An education consultant was recently convicted in the Frankston Magistrates Court. Ms Kate Choi pleaded guilty to stealing $94,573 from six international students who were clients of her business and the Melbourne Education and Information Centre, where she worked as a manager. One family was scammed of $37,792, for a phoney enrolment at Whitefriars Catholic School for Boys, in Melbourne.

Former principal jailed

An 80-year-old Marist brother and former school principal, who sexually assaulted five boys in regional Victoria while giving them ‘sports massages’, will serve nine months in jail.

Police investigation

Allegations of teacher negligence were recently aired through the media after a ten-year-old boy from Wat­tawa Heights Public School, in Sydney, suffered a cardiac arrest at lunchtime. Police are investigating the incident.

Parent sues bus company

The mother of a five-year-old child dropped off in the wrong location by a US school bus in 2015 is suing the transport company for $9 million.

Litigation risk on unequal expenditure

English schools have been warned that they will be breaking the law if they spend more on boys sports teams than on girls sports teams. While the British Government said that schools could still have single-sex sports teams, they were advised that any discrimination in treatment would be unlawful.

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 2018

Physical activity and student writing

Leah Carter and Hugo Engele are undertaking a two-year action research project at St Aloysius College, in Kirribilli, to investigate the impact of physical activity on student writing ability. In this article on the ACER website, they share the research aims and what has happened so far.

Building positive attitudes to STEM

Action research at the University of Iowa, in the USA, aims to change STEM results by changing the classroom experience.

Technology for autistic students

The Empowered Brain, a suite of apps for Google Glass intended to aid and intervene in educating learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), continues to be tested in the classroom. Earlier this month, a team of US researchers, led by the Empowered Brain founder Ned Sahin, published a case study of the technology in use at a public school in Massachusetts.

Tide turns against multi-tasking

Research continues to mount that the brain functions best when focused on one demanding activity at a time.

Research-inspired innovation

Research-informed teaching has provided teachers and students at Mary Immaculate School, in Wales, with the opportunity to benefit from a large scale European project which furthers our understanding of how robotics can be used in STEM education to engage and inspire young people, particularly girls.

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

October 2018

Comparison with post-traumatic stress

An annual study into the mental health and welfare of New Zealand principals has shown that significant numbers are experiencing high level stress.

Finding the ideal balance

What is the ideal balance between family time, personal time and productivity?

Why fly solo?

It is not necessary for us to deal with psychological health issues on our own, says psychologist Guy Winch.

Regular exercise for leaders

Thirty minutes of exercise a day for three days a week will release chemicals in the body and brain to help boost the immune system and stave off some effects of depression, certainly a drain on anyone’s ability to think clearly and work well.

Effective time management for leaders

The author of ‘Empowered in 10 Minutes a Day’ discusses tips on how leaders can regulate their stress levels and manage time effectively.

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

October 2018

School attendance incentive

The Dust Up is an annual two-day camp provided to students as a reward for strong attendance at the remote Aboriginal campuses of the Ngaanyatjarra school, in Western Australia.

Win for giant parrot float

Coolgardie Primary School’s participation in the Awesome Arts Australia’s program has enabled it to win first place in a local float competition. The initiative sends artists to regional communities around WA to promote arts education and creativity among country students.

Canine therapy for drought-stricken

A school in drought-affected Central West New South Wales has fast-tracked the support of a therapy dog to help its students through the drought. A golden Labrador named Ajax was recently placed in a permanent role at the school.

Encouraging girls in STEM

The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) has formally launched a public consultation to inform its efforts to develop a 10-year plan to boost the number of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Mental health education in schools

New York and Virginia recently became the first two US states to enact laws requiring mental health education in schools.

My word

October 2018

Greg Cudmore

‘Education, more than ever, has become a political football with our students suffering the collateral damage from this lack of bipartisanship.’ 

Jane Caro

‘An award-winning public school principal I know responded wistfully to the extra $4.6 billion in education funding Prime Minister Scott Morrison is giving exclusively to fee-charging schools. Of course, she could have used some extra money, but it was our new PM’s grandiose claim that this extra dosh will “end the schools funding wars” that hit her hardest, says this well-known education commentator.

Emma Teitel

Advocates of the first name approach tend to believe that, if instituted properly, such a policy can frame the teacher-pupil relationship in a friendlier, more collaborative light. This article from Canada quotes some Australian opinions on calling teachers by their first name.

Harper Nielsen

The phenomenon of the nine-year-old girl, who caused a national furore by her refusal to stand for the national anthem, has raised many philosophical questions for educators, including the right of minors to speak (and act) on key political and cultural issues. Ms Neilsen’s comment that that she was not someone who abides ‘by the rules of older people just because they’re older’ will draw a range of diverse opinions from Australian educators.

Jennifer Hewett

‘… Despite complaints by state education ministers, the failings of the Australian school system largely reflect the failings of their own state education departments, education experts and teacher unions,’ says this education commentator.

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Money matters

October 2018

High national spend

The proportion of public money being spent on independent schooling in Australia is higher than in any other advanced economy and has increased significantly over the last decade, a new OECD report reveals.

Financial literacy program

The School Entrepreneurs Program has so far been delivered to over 80 schools, youth and community groups in Western Australia.

Schools hire lobbyist

The independent school sector has turned its eye to the next federal election and a possible change of government by hiring a Labor-aligned lobbying firm to push their case in the ongoing school funding saga. Independent Schools Victoria and the Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales have both hired lobbying company Hawker Britton to represent them in Canberra.

UK head teachers march

On 28 September, more than 1,000 head teachers from across England marched today and delivered a letter to the chancellor to convey their concerns about the state of school funding.

Fiver for a farmer

Catholic schools across the Brisbane archdiocese joined the Fiver for a Farmer movement to raise much-needed money to help farming families struggling through Australia’s drought. Fiver for a Farmer is the brainchild of 10-year-old Jack Berne, a student at St John the Baptist Primary School, at Freshwater, in Sydney.

Love the job

October 2018

Anthony Moses

Head of Primary, South Coast Baptist College
Waikiki, Western Australia

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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Love the job

October 2018

Anthony Moses

Head of Primary, South Coast Baptist College
Waikiki, Western Australia

(continued from previous page)

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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Love the job

October 2018

Anthony Moses

Head of Primary, South Coast Baptist College
Waikiki, Western Australia

(continued from previous page)

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


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.


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