EDUCATORONLINE.COM.AU ISSUE 2.4
HOT LIST The who’s who in education 2016
THE BIG INTERVIEW Robyn Hughes, North Sydney Boys High School
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LEGAL INSIGHT What can you do about poorly behaved parents?
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Gonski’s next crusade: K-12 philanthropy
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EDITORIAL www.educatoronline.com.au NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 EDITORIAL Managing Editor Iain Hopkins Editor Tim Garratt Journalist Brett Henebery Production Editor Roslyn Meredith
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IS THERE STILL A GLASS CEILING IN K-12 EDUCATION? IT’S A debate that has raged in the corporate world for the last few years: why are there so few female CEOs and business leaders? Words, calls to action and ‘women in leadership’ initiatives launched by individual companies have done little to move the dial on this area. Surely the situation is different in K-12 education? It seems not. The latest OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey found that Australia has a significantly lower proportion of female principals than men, despite women making up the majority of the teaching workforce. In fact, when it comes to the ratio of women principals to men, Australia ranks dead last. The survey showed that while 57% of upper-secondary teachers are women, only 39% of principals are female – the lowest
When it comes to the ratio of women principals to men, Australia ranks dead last proportion among all countries surveyed. NSW Teachers Federation’s women’s coordinator Anna Uren dismissed the idea that the gender imbalance was as simple as saying that discrimination occurs at the point of employment of principals. “There is a range of factors contributing to the situation,” she told The Educator. “For example, there are barriers which exist along a teacher’s career path, which can affect women in a particular way.” However, Uren pointed out that some of these aspiring principals are mothers whose climb up the administrative ladder can often clash with caring responsibilities back at home. Unpredictable hours, after-hours work and weekend work are further hurdles. Uren said that women who aspire to become school principals should be encouraged by the strategies in place that can help develop and groom them for the top job. “Affirmative action is needed at all points along the career path, with careful analysis of leadership capacity building strategies in place in schools to ensure no group is disadvantaged,” she said. I’m heartened by the number of female leaders featured on The Educator’s Hot List, for which hard work, innovation and perseverance are the only qualifiers – as they should be in all facets of life. Iain Hopkins, managing editor
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UPFRONT 01 Editorial
Is there still a glass ceiling for female leaders in K-12 education?
04 The data
Bullying: old problem, new solutions
06 News analysis FEATURES
What can you do about poorly behaved parents?parents?
WELL-ROUNDED EXPERIENCE Robyn Hughes has taken on a diverse range of roles throughout her career. Now principal of North Sydney Boys High School, she talks to The Educator about the importance of balance in education and contributing to the wider community
What do schools need to do to develop more female leaders? Mobile learning is on the rise – how can your school benefit?
2016 HOT LIST
08 Learning and development update
10 Technology update
Who are the movers and shakers in education in Australia? Who are the pioneers? For the second year in a row, The Educator shines a spotlight on 40 individuals leading the way in the field
Crunching the numbers: is Gonski working?
TAKING FORWARDTHINKING TO A NEW LEVEL
Brett Henebery speaks to St Paul’s School principal Paul Browning
FEATURES 20 Pioneering a school funding revolution
Brett Henebery sits down with business leader David Gonski, who recently launched a philanthropy initiative to help alleviate educational disadvantage in Australia
PEOPLE 12 Head to head
Should schools abandon standardised testing?
54 Career path
Lila Mularczyk has had a big impact on public education, which she hopes to sustain in her latest role
TURNING CHAOS INTO CLOCKWORK How effective timetabling transformed three schools
56 Other life
President of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council Chris Presland outlines his special connection with a distant European city he calls his home away from home
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FEATURE / BROKER EDUCATION STATISTICS
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST BULLYING
As many as 70% of high school students have been bullied, but many never report it because they are afraid or because they feel the school will not take action.
It’s no surprise that bullies have embraced the tools of the digital era – but how are schools fighting back? TODAY’S DIGITAL world has allowed bullying a reach a level that would have been inconceivable when the last generation finished school. Social media has provided a new medium through which offenders can reach – and target – their victims. Traditional schoolyard bullying was visible and tangible; modern technology, however, has created a 24/7 cycle of cyberbullying that can be both carried out
anonymously and distributed to a much larger audience. The implications for students and the schools they attend can be immense. Students can be publicly ridiculed to an audience of thousands, schools can be sued and offenders can go to prison. From use of forums and message boards to text messages and social media posts, modern bullying is a scourge that schools are only just starting to adapt to – and confront.
of Australians access social networks with their smartphones
of teens have witnessed online bullying
of Year 5 students and 29% of Year 8 students have been bullied
of bullying cases have peers present, mostly as onlookers who do nothing to help the victim
BULLYING IN AUSTRALIA: A SNAPSHOT Over 20,000 students aged 8–14 in Australian schools recently completed a survey about bullying. The results were published in the Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study. Sadly, these are just the cases that were reported.
CYBERBULLYING IN FOCUS
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
Children do not only have to deal with bullying at school, but also online. The internet has revolutionised social communication and interaction, and while much of it is benign, there are those who use technology to cause emotional harm.
A survey of 1,300 online users across Australia and New Zealand, conducted by Enjoy Safer Technology (ESET), found that the general public believe cybersecurity education should primarily be the responsibility of parents and teachers. Here are the key findings on who was deemed responsible for cybersecurity training:
of those who bullied others online would also do so offline
of those who were bullied online were also victims of bullying behaviour offline
of all cyberbullies target people they do not even know
of females from Years 6 to 12 have reported being cyberbullied
• High mobile phone usage makes cyberbullying easier • Older students (or those with more access to technology) are more likely to cyberbully than younger students
73% – parents 71% – high school teachers 54% – primary school teachers 41% – federal government In addition, 42% of participants had low confidence or were ‘not confident at all’ about the education levels of today’s youth regarding cybersecurity. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said they had received no training whatsoever, while just 9% of respondents said they had received formal education on cybersecurity from schools and educational institutions.
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While one in four students (27%) have reported being bullied from primary to high school, this is lower than the 38% reported in 2006.
Bullying by females tends to be more covert, while males are more ‘in your face’ about it.
TOOLS AND RESOURCES TO FIGHT BULLYING As schools begin to understand the scale of cyberbullying – as well as how offenders are using social media as a vehicle to intimidate, harass and threaten others – new resources and tools are being developed to counter it. These resources allow schools to be more proactive about how they address bullying.
Brainstorm Productions – an award-winning anti-bullying resource, certified by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner. Bullying. No Way! – a government website which provides resources to schools, helping them counter bullying and create safe and respectful environments.
Hurtful teasing was reported as the most common bullying behaviour, closely followed by lies.
Friendly Schools – the first anti-bullying initiative Racial bullying against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders has actually improved from the 31% rate reported in 2005. Three years later the figure was down to 10%.
for schools, developed through extensive research with Australian children and adolescents.
The Children’s eSafety Commissioner – since 1 July 2015 the Commissioner has had the power to issue a notice “to a large social media service” requiring it to remove any cyberbullying material targeted at an Australian child.
INTERVENTION METHODS AVAILABLE TO SCHOOLS In a 2010 workshop, Professor Ken Rigby from the University of South Australia identified the six intervention methods that are available to schools.
The traditional disciplinary approach
Strengthening the victim
A role-playing method involving a ‘practitioner’ and a ‘bully’, whereby the consequences of the bully’s actions are explained.
If the target of bullying can respond effectively, the ‘bully’ need not be confronted by the school.
This occurs when the ‘bully’ and ‘victim’ agree to seek help from a mediator, a teacher or trained peer mediator, to resolve the issue that is causing the conflict.
Designed to restore damaged relationships. Ideally, the ‘offender’ acknowledges wrongdoing and apologises.
The support group method
The method of shared concern
An interview with the victim, followed by a meeting between the 'bully' and students (other than the victim) – ending with meetings with the individuals who have taken part.
This method facilitates the emergence of a solution to a bully/target problem through the use of a series of interviews and discussions with the parties involved.
01 02 03 04 05 06 Source: Bullying Interventions in Schools: Six Major Approaches, Ken Rigby, University of South Australia
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FEATURE / BROKER EDUCATION UPFRONT
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS: IS GONSKI WORKING? There are few issues as contentious in education as school funding. Brett Henebery looks at how much of an impact Gonski funding is having on student outcomes – and whether Australia needs to go back to the drawing board IN SEPTEMBER, the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, met with state and territory leaders to discuss rolling out a new and “nationally consistent” school funding model that would replace the 27 separate agreements currently in place. Perhaps the most contentious issue highlighted by the talks was how much funding should go where, and why. A new four-year school funding agreement is due to be signed off by leaders at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in early 2017. Whatever details emerge from that agreement, it is likely to face particular scrutiny from prominent public school advocates like the Australian Education Union, which claim the sector has been left to struggle with minimal resources while the wealthier independent sector continues to enjoy a larger share of funding. In September, data from the Federal Education Department showed that some private schools were receiving taxpayer funding that was almost three times greater than their entitlements. The data – which was tabled as part of the 2014 Senate Estimates – revealed that in 2014 more than 150 private schools across Australia received funding above the Schooling Resourcing Standard. At the heart of the issue are the needs-based Gonski reforms. Since being unveiled following the 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling, the
reforms – named after prominent Australian businessman David Gonski – have been the topic of debate over whether increased funding alone can improve student outcomes and Australia’s standing in global education rankings.
The story so far Under the details of the original model, laid out in 2014, school funding was to be increased by
– titled National Education Evidence Base – urged leaders to do further research to determine how to improve outcomes before committing more money to schools. The report highlighted that, despite a 14% increase in spending per student over the past decade, student performance in national and international assessments has barely improved. “Notwithstanding substantial increases in expenditure on education over the past decade,
“Malcolm Turnbull wants to take us back to a system where schools are funded by sector, not need, which will leave our children worse off ” Correna Haythorpe, Australian Education Union $14.5bn over six years, with $12bn directed towards public schools, $1.5bn to Catholic schools and $1bn to independent schools. As a result, it was hoped that these schools would be able to afford the resourcing and programs they needed to improve teaching and learning. However, various reports – including a recent analysis by the Productivity Commission and the OECD – have shown that funding has had little impact on improving Australia’s standing in global education rankings. The Productivity Commission draft report
national and international assessments of student achievement in Australia show little improvement, and in some areas standards of achievement have dropped,” the report stated. “Without improving and applying evidence to policy-making and teaching in schools and classrooms, there is a substantial risk that increased resourcing of schools will continue to deliver disappointing outcomes.”
Leaders plan ahead In the lead-up to the last federal election, the
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Have we got it all wrong? According to the Education at a Glance report, released by the OECD, while Australia spends more on education than most developed countries, funding is making little difference. “Higher levels of expenditure on education cannot automatically be equated with better performance by education systems,” the report stated. “This is not surprising, as countries spending similar amounts on education do not necessarily have similar education policies and practices.” The report added that there was “no simple relationship between overall spending on education and the level of student performance”. However, the Grattan Institute’s school education expert, Peter Goss, said the OECD report was not definitive. “It says there’s no simple relationship between overall spending on education and the level of student performance,” Goss told the ABC. “That’s like saying, if I pay more for premium ingredients, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to cook a nicer meal. The states and territories have to recognise that the Commonwealth has budget pressures,” he said.
SPEND VS STUDENT PERFORMANCE Over the last 10 years government spending has increased
across Australian schools
But performance of students remains static...
NUMERACY Yr 9
federal government promised to put aside $1.2bn, which would flow into schools between 2018 and 2020. This included $118.2m to support students with disabilities. However, this funding would be conditional on literacy and numeracy checks for students in Year 1, as well as schools demonstrating a proportion of literacy and numeracy specialists. Under the Coalition’s plan, teachers would also be paid based on competency rather than length of service – a move aimed at improving teacher quality. The announcement followed Labor’s promise of $4.8bn to schools, to be allocated over 2018/19. Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the extra money would be raised as part of Labor’s promise to fund the final two years of the needs-based Gonski funding model by increasing the tax on tobacco from next year. However, a global education report released in September warned that increased funding would not necessarily lead to improved student outcomes.
Yr 7 Yr 5 Yr 3 2008
2016 (Source: Productivity Commission)
“The Turnbull Government’s student achievement plan is tied to a needsbased distribution of funding and proven measures that will improve outcomes in literacy, numeracy, STEM subjects, teacher quality and engagement with our region” Simon Birmingham, Federal Education Minister SCHOOL FUNDING: A WAR OF WORDS he Productivity Commission’s National Education Evidence Base report says PISA T [Programme for International Student Assessment] outcomes have not improved, despite a 14% increase in per-student funding. An analysis by education funding expert Jim McMorrow says schools will be $5.28bn worse off in 2016/17 under the federal government’s plan. The federal government wants to make school funding conditional on literacy and numeracy checks, and says there is no evidence that Gonski funding works. he Labor Party wants to fund the full six years of Gonski, saying that the needs-based T funding model is making a real difference to learning outcomes.
FEBRUARY 2015 | 7 www.educatoronline.com.au
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LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK There is work to be done when it comes to advancing women into leadership positions in K-12 education
Data from a recent study has found that women fall behind early in the business world and face rising challenges the more senior they become. The Women in the Workplace 2016 study – conducted by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org in the US – was based on pipeline data and information on human resources practices from 132 companies employing more than 4.6 million people. It found that women negotiate for promotions and pay rises as often as men do, but face pushback when they do. They are also far more likely than men who
negotiate to receive feedback that they are ‘intimidating’, ‘too aggressive’, or ‘bossy’. Women also receive informal feedback less frequently than men – despite asking for it as often – and are less likely to receive the first ‘critical promotion’ to manager. “We know that diverse teams perform better and inclusive workplaces are better for all employees, so we all have strong incentives to get this right,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of LeanIn.Org. Despite commitment to gender diversity being at an all-time high, companies are
New program builds principals’ management skills A first-of-its-kind program is helping principals become better managers. The program was created through a partnership between Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Executive Education in 2014. Tom Ristoski of the ACU said the course would help principals expand their management skills, and in doing so free up their time and resources. The CEM/ACU collaboration resulted in a tailored MBA program designed to meet the needs of today’s principals.
struggling to put their commitment into practice. Indeed, less than 50% of employees say their companies are doing what it takes to improve diversity, and many employees do not see gender diversity as a personal priority. However, the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia’s national chair, Karen Spiller, told The Educator that there had been an increase in the number of female principals since 2010, driven by a growing recognition of the value that gender diversity has on school boards. “We’ve seen a big improvement on 2010’s numbers of female secondary school leaders. In fact, nearly half of all leadership roles in secondary schools are now occupied by women,” Spiller said. “Between 2010 and 2013, there has also been an increase in the number of female primary school heads, from 57% to 65%.” Spiller points to the increasingly gender diverse public school system, which is also contributing to the appointment of females in leadership roles. However, she cautions that there are some stubborn obstacles when it comes to achieving a level male–female playing field in Australian education. Despite recent improvements, Spiller says there is still more work to be done – particularly when it comes to increasing the number of female principals in the independent sector, which she says continues to have school boards that are conservative by nature.
Study aims to boost teachers’ emotional strength The Sharon Faye Foundation (SFF) is conducting research into building emotional strength in teachers for the improved academic, emotional and behavioural performance of students. It is seeking expressions of interest from West Australian primary schools interested in participating in a 12-month pre- and post-test study. Teachers will work with corporate psychologist and founding chair of the SFF Sharon Faye in an intensive program of building emotional strength. Email tristan@sharonfayefoundation.
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PAVING A SMOOTHER PATH TO EXCELLENCE Joe Thurbon Chief technology officer EDUCATOR IMPACT
Fast fact Estimates from the Australian Principals Federation indicate that while principals work between 60 and 70 hours per week, they spend only 2% of their time on their own professional development.
Professional development is clearly an important area for principals, but it can sometimes be complex and time-consuming. In what ways can PD be simplified? It’s important to make sure that the right data is in the hands of the right people at the right times. When teachers collect feedback to inform their development, and when school leaders collect feedback from teachers to inform their own activity, things start to get simpler because people are more engaged. Teachers are motivated to participate because they’ve been involved from the outset. Likewise, principals are comfortable knowing that their investments have an evidentiary basis. Making it easy to collect data is a great place to start simplifying things.
Educator Impact (EI) offers online professional development for principals. What are some of the benefits of this, as opposed to face-to-face? It’s all about access. EI is designed to be available to schools anytime and anywhere, on their own terms and timeframes, so we become very convenient for schools to use within their broader PD framework. One unexpected benefit we have noticed has been that the less we are involved in person, the more ownership schools demonstrate in the process, driving engagement internally.
Making PD scalable can be a challenge. In what ways can this area be navigated?
do it themselves. We’ve seen schools succeed by partnering with groups that have specialist expertise. The other big challenge at scale is to make sure staff personally tune in to the PD program, and three things are key to ensure that engagement. First, ensure people see value from their effort as early as possible, because delays make people feel that their effort is wasted. Staff also feel more engaged if they’re in control of their feedback and data. Finally, staff need to be connected to their peers throughout the process.
“Technology is a great enabler, but we’ve seen it become a real problem for principals who try to do it themselves” When it comes to principals seeking better PD, are there any particular areas they tend to focus on more than others? For many schools the focus is very much on ‘what are we going to do to improve student outcomes?’ Research has clearly shown the biggest impact on student outcomes to be teacher effectiveness, and the biggest impact on teacher effectiveness comes from feedback from students. So a common focus of many principals is ensuring that feedback is engrained in their school culture.
Technology is a great enabler, but we’ve seen it become a real problem for principals who try to
Aerobic exercise improves brain performance The gold standard of exercising for better brain performance is simply 20–30 minutes of daily aerobic activity, said Dr Jenny Brockis, medical practitioner and author. That’s the kind of exercise that boosts the heart rate and makes us breathe faster, which has been shown to increase the amount of cerebral blood flow. “If you have got more blood pumping to your head, you have got more nutrients and oxygen arriving,” Dr Brockis said. “That helps with better performance and really sets us up for better thinking across our day.”
Fellowships to reward teachers and principals The newly launched Teaching Awards and Fellowship Program is supported by Commonwealth Bank and Pioneers in Philanthropy, a key initiative of Schools Plus. Twelve outstanding teachers and principals will become the inaugural Teaching Fellows when the awards are presented in March 2017. Each fellowship is valued at $45,000, including $10,000 for professional development as well as participation in a year-long program and a group visit to Singapore to observe its education system, valued at $5,000.
Online program provides bright learning spark Launched 18 months ago, Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) started using the online Brightspace platform to power its Connect & Learn program, which supports more than 8,500 educators in nearly 200 schools by delivering ongoing professional development for educators. Since adopting the new platform, ISQ has been able to provide a range of new courses. Brightspace has seen a 90–98% satisfaction rating among member schools, compared to 70–80% for face-to-face courses.
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TECHNOLOGY NEWS BRIEFS Data visualisation the way of the future A recent survey covering the uses of education technology found that by 2025 the key methods students use to engage with material and content will be through realtime video collaboration and mobile devices. With this in mind, Queensland University of Technology is launching a research project that aims to enhance the way visual data is displayed and delivered in classrooms across Australia. A pilot of the project will be launched in Term 3 next year and will look at how to create the tools and techniques for ‘spatial data visualisation’ in a classroom setting.
Augmented reality a safety risk for kids A survey has found that one in 10 students have almost been hit by a car while playing Pokémon Go. This was just one of the findings of an NRMA survey involving more than 1,100 NSW primary school students across 35 classrooms. It found that 40% of students aged five to 12 admitted walking into a tree while playing the game, while 10% said they’d had a “near miss” with a passing car. NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said that as augmented reality games like Pokémon Go became more popular, the issue was only going to become more widespread.
Fighting cyberbullying with technology A new anti-cyberbullying resource is mitigating risks for schools while giving students fast and anonymous help at their fingertips. The real-time reporting service allows users to get help instantly via administrators who can immediately ask questions and follow up on reported
incidents. The program, called STOPit, was developed in 2014 and allows principals to report inappropriate behaviours, deter unethical or illegal activity, and mitigate financial and reputational risks to schools. Schools using the service have reported a 50% reduction in the number of incidents.
Australia hitting the mark for education tech Australian schools are leading the world when it comes to building the learning environments of the future, according to D2L CEO John Baker. D2L is a recognised innovator in the learning management system market. Baker told The Educator that for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) the retention rates seen in Australia were among the best in the world. He added that principals were becoming more aware of the importance of tailoring technology to the learning needs of students – an area he had observed progress in. “This is mainly due to the technology maturing and schools measuring results through feedback mechanisms,” he said.
Sexting complaints on the rise The Children’s eSafety Commissioner has fielded a “staggering increase” in sexting complaints involving teenage girls. Complaints rose from 3% of all matters last financial year to 25% since 1 July. In a disturbing trend, teenage girls were being coerced into sending images to people – often strangers – they mistakenly believed they could trust. Dan Brush of Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers told The Educator that, while schools could do little to prohibit sexting outside of school, they should develop strategies around how to deal with students’ complaints and/or potential litigation.
MOBILE LEARNING ON THE RISE Education technologist Matt Parker tells The Educator how schools can harness the changes taking place across the digital landscape As education technology advances and niche providers specialise in particular areas of the learning experience, it’s becoming easier to mix and match the best platforms and technologies to provide students with an increasingly compelling experience. Traditionally, the learning management system (LMS) has been the centrepiece of the online learner’s experience. While this is likely to continue, one educational technologist sees a scattering of the LMS space into “an ecosystem of specialised solutions”. Matt Parker, general manager of operations and IT at Online Education Services, told The Educator that one opportunity that had arisen from this was for schools to replace the traditional LMS with other versatile options, such as the Canvas LMS. “This platform is a contemporary system that was designed with the online learner in mind, and with a technology stack that allows easy and seamless integration with a host of specialist solutions,” he said. Parker added that the future of learning lay in the use of mobile devices, and therefore schools should factor them into their ICT infrastructure in a more thoughtful and targeted way. “Many online students are leading busy lives and want to be able to optimise the time they have available to study. Having the ability to use their mobile phones or tablets as a study tool, even in short bursts
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of time, is very important to them. Therefore it is crucial to enhance the mobile experience,” he said. “However, it’s not only important to understand what students expect from the mobile user experience now but to anticipate what they will look to do in the future. If you look at the banking industry, the customers are much more comfortable, and in fact more demanding, of the use of mobile banking features than they were even a few years ago.”
The future of learning lies in the use of mobile devices Parker said the proliferation of mobile devices, the focus on customer needs, advances in security, and increased customer confidence had fuelled this in banking, and he saw a parallel trend occurring in education as students demand a more mobile experience. “To stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to learn more about advances in technology that aren’t necessarily directly related to education and test the potential application of these in the education space,” he said. “Some examples of these are technologies delivering augmented reality, which involves creating something digital and placing it in the real world, or simulated reality, which involves creating a whole new digital reality.”
KEEPING AHEAD OF THE TECH CURVE Brett Armstrong National education manager JB HI-FI SOLUTIONS
Fast fact The Committee for Economic Development of Australia’s report, Australia’s Future Workforce?, has revealed that nearly 40% of Australian jobs will be automated in 10–15 years. Subsequent studies show that much work still needs to be done to prepare Australian youth for the future.
What are the most important developments taking place in the education technology space in Australia today? The traditional view of ordered classrooms – with desks in rows facing the front of a classroom, limited access to technology and end-user devices for each student – has clearly evolved over the last few years. Beyond devices there is a significant shift to other types of technology to provide content: 3D printers, augmented reality, 4D modelling, robotics and coding are all becoming part of the mainstream curriculum for teachers as we head towards a greater emphasis on digital learning in the curriculum for 2017. A big part of ensuring streamlined tech is solid ICT infrastructure. What do principals need to know? A school’s core network and wireless infrastructure needs to be scalable to cope with the greater use in today’s schools of video collaboration, streaming content, conferencing, cloud-based app learning and storage of students’ content, including backing up of that data, typically now to the cloud. Wireless collaboration of devices to these displays is a key focus of many schools, with traditional ICT and audio-visual requirements now often coming under the responsibility of the IT department within a school. Principals need to ensure they continually involve their ICT manager in long-term strategy sessions for the school, allowing schools to plan, budget and be up to date with the latest and emerging technology trends. In what ways is JB Hi-Fi Education Solutions improving education solutions in schools? JB Hi-Fi Education Solutions are in a unique position where we employ a dedicated national education team for schools nationally; this allows us to engage with all manner of schools around the country, discussing trends and providing solutions that meet the needs of educators both now and in the future. The education team at JB Hi-Fi Solutions is broken into a number of different teams, allowing for expertise and passion across key technology areas, such as ICT, cloud, audio-visual and telco, to come together with dedicated education account managers to bring the best solutions to schools. Each technology area has a team of practice managers that provide tremendous support to schools and account managers alike. What are the most significant challenges in terms of ensuring technology improves teaching and learning? From 2017 and beyond, we will see a significant uptake of Bring Your Own Device within Australian schools. BYOD programs are a cost-efficient way to integrate education-specific devices and accessories that have been created specifically for the interactive learning environment. Professional learning and development of the educators will play a key part in how successful schools will be in taking the latest technology and turning it into meaningful results for the students.
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HEAD TO HEAD
Should schools abandon standardised testing?
Robert Randall CEO ACARA
Professor University of Melbourne
The 2010 NAPLAN moratorium dispute was a watershed moment for Australian education. It arose because teachers asserted that the profession should control the use of test data rather than have student assessment turned into an adult spectator sport. Bans were put in place on NAPLAN testing for that year and were lifted once protocols were agreed to in order to protect the misuse of the data. But there are still concerns: too often, testing is distorting pedagogy, curriculum options are narrowing, and school-based assessment is de-emphasised. Not too many teachers would mourn the death of standardised testing. A more economical approach would be sample testing enabling governments to still collect data from across the system for the purposes of planning.
NAPLAN provides valuable information for teachers, parents and governments about the key areas of literacy and numeracy, showing us where students are doing well (and not so well). NAPLAN assessments complement those conducted by teachers in schools on a regular basis. However, NAPLAN provides parents and carers, teachers, school leaders and policymakers with national-level data against which they can benchmark local information. For students, NAPLAN involves four hours of tests four times over seven years of schooling. This small investment in time lets us measure our successes and allows us to make decisions about where further improvement is necessary.
Australian schools should keep standardised testing. Australia has very little standardised testing below Year 12 and we are not part of the testing epidemic spreading elsewhere. In contrast to testing in some other countries, NAPLAN tests content that teachers are aiming to teach. Teachers see the items and the results and can use these to understand strengths and weaknesses in their program. However, NAPLAN cannot test all the goals of the Australian Curriculum, such as problemsolving and reasoning in mathematics. Good schools should not be satisfied with good NAPLAN results but must also monitor their studentsâ€™ achievement of the whole curriculum.
President NSW Teachers Federation
DOES STANDARDISED TESTING NEED A RETHINK? For decades, standardised testing has been a familiar and long-running part of Australian education, but is it doing more harm than good? Around the world, some countries, including Finland, and Wales in the UK, have moved away from this kind of testing to accommodate a broader assessment of studentsâ€™ academic skill sets. So far, the experiment has delivered promising results, particularly in Finland, which sits near the top of the global education rankings. Yet the debate persists. While standardised testing aims to hold schools accountable and let parents know how their kids are performing, some argue it is too narrow a measure and causes unnecessary anxiety for students.
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RECOGNISING EXCELLENT LEADERS IN EDUCATION Former principal Lynne Symons has been recognised in Principals Australia Institute’s John Laing Awards for Professional Development 2016 THE JOHN Laing Awards for Professional Development have attracted 26 nominees for 2016. One of the recipients is recently retired principal Lynne Symons from South Australia. After 35 years of service, and 24 of those as a principal, Lynne has had a significant role in leading professional learning with colleagues since her initial appointment as a principal. She has spoken nationally and internationally at conferences as diverse as the International Conference on Maths Education, to the National Early Childhood Conference. The underlying themes of all her presentations have been focused on improving
(MOC) that she made a significant contribution to the profession. In 2012-13 the teaching staff at MOC were relatively inexperienced: over 50% were in their first five years of teaching and over 70% in their first leadership experience. Capacity building through professional learning was a priority. Lynne successfully engaged teachers in thinking and talking about how to make learning better and hence improve students’ achievements. One key strategy was to build the capacity of the staff, which led to a series of structured ongoing professional learning events for educators from across Australia. The school’s mission statement became
“The award recognises the contribution of principals who have undertaken significant professional development and contributed to the professional learning of other school leaders” learning opportunities for students through quality teaching. Her presentations have been on visionary leadership, student centred curriculum, reimagining schools, positive education, the role and impact of social media, data sources and the future role of technology in educational improvement. But it was through her work as the foundation principal of Mark Oliphant College
to “Make Learning Better” for all in this digital age to enable the development of high-achieving students and staff. One of the key strategies of this mission was to host and facilitate professional learning opportunities of the highest order to develop not only the staff but also other educators. These regular events included hosting a major annual two-day conference, from 2013
to 2015; over 600 conferees attended over the three years. Lynne and her team also organised open days to enable staff to visit from other sites and organised master classes across various topics. The results for the school were: that five leaders left MOC to win positions as principals; six other staff achieved promotion positions in other schools; over 40 staff were selected to become members of other schools. (This was an achievement that had hitherto never been thought possible – that staff from category 1 schools could be so well sought after); having two staff awarded Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher status in 2015; three staff awarded Apple Distinguished Educator status and, in 2015, MOC was named one of the 40 most innovative schools in Australia. These results were largely due to Lynne’s leadership in providing quality professional learning opportunities for her staff and educators across Australia. “Principals Australia Institute is honoured to present these awards each year with the support of the principal associations across Australia. The award recognises the contribution of principals who have undertaken significant professional development and contributed to the professional learning of other school leaders,” said Paul Geyer, Chief Executive Officer. Lynne has certainly demonstrated these qualities and we congratulate her on her nomination for 2016.
ABOUT THE JOHN LAING AWARDS FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT The awards were set up in 2004 in honour of John Laing, a former Tasmanian school principal who worked for Principals Australia Institute (then the Australian Principals Association Professional Development Council) in 1993. He was the driving force behind the first cross-sectoral professional learning projects for all principals in Australia, and was a pioneer in recognising excellence in educational learning for school leaders.
15/11/2016 8:36:21 AM
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THE BIG INTERVIEW
WELL-ROUNDED EXPERIENCE Robyn Hughes has taken on a diverse range of roles throughout her career. Today, she’s principal of North Sydney Boys High School and talks to The Educator about the importance of balance in education and contributing to the wider community
THE EDUCATOR: Can you provide a brief rundown of your career in education? ROBYN HUGHES: I began in the ACT public school system, teaching secondary and primary schools as a languages and ESL teacher, and later as an ESL consultant. I then moved to Sydney in 1990 and began my career again … and I taught in NSW public schools – a number of them – and then was promoted to head teacher at Wilkins Intensive English Centre, which was for new arrivals and refugees … and I was there as head teacher for
Cape York and the Torres Strait and parts of the Northern Territory.
TE: What has been your greatest achievement as a senior leader and/or the most rewarding time of your career? RH: I’m immensely proud of leading a large school of gifted boys here in Sydney. The school is taught by professional and dedicated staff, so that all comes together as a pretty incredible experience. The boys achieve outstanding academic results whilst they’ve also engaged in
“Kids are capable of great things, well beyond what we sometimes believe. Teachers have the capacity to work miracles in their classrooms, and I’ve seen it many times” six years. I then moved to the southwest of Sydney. I was promoted to deputy principal at James Meehan High School in Macquarie Fields, and later as deputy to Randwick Boys’. And then I was very fortunate to be appointed on merit to North Sydney Boys High School as principal in 2001. I’ve been principal since that time, but I’ve just returned from three years of leave without pay in Far North Queensland, working as a principal in a very disadvantaged P-12 school, catering for Indigenous students from all over
a broad spectrum of school and community activities. They are remarkable young men and they consistently achieve amazing things, including the best results in the country for boys’ schools generally … They achieve things that many people thought would not be possible. And then, secondly, my three years in Far North Queensland were memorable for many reasons. Despite seemingly impossible workloads and some pretty daunting obstacles, we had a dedicated staff who turned around a
school that served students from some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia. There was so much to learn and so much to do, but the experience of getting through it all and making a real difference in that school was incredibly rewarding for me. TE: What’s been a lesson you’ve learned in
CHALLENGING TIMES Asked to reflect on her lengthy career in education and single out her greatest challenges, Robyn Hughes pinpoints two specific periods. Firstly, she cites the challenge of moving to NSW from the ACT as a young teacher, and having to restart her career in a different education system. Secondly, Hughes mentions the opportunity that she took up four years ago in Far North Queensland to work to make a difference in an Indigenous school. “It involved a very different education system with very different teaching programs and accountabilities, and very different levels of student disadvantage that I’d never previously seen in my career,” Hughes says. “There were many challenges, and I worked pretty hard when I was up there. It was a great experience.”
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THE BIG INTERVIEW
ROBYN HUGHES your time as an educator, which you think has been of substantial value to you in shaping your approach to leadership? RH: Never ever give up on kids. Never sell them short, because all things are possible. Kids are capable of great things, well beyond what we sometimes believe. Teachers have the capacity to work miracles in their classrooms, and I’ve seen it many times. I’ve seen kids with significant learning difficulties do some great things in the right educational setting. So, given the right combination of teachers and expectations and a belief in kids, they can achieve some incredible things, and I’ve seen it in two schools: my current school and the [school] in Far North Queensland.
TE: Are there any misconceptions about education in a selective school that you think it’s important to clarify? RH: I think one of the biggest misconceptions – and many believe it – is that selective schools are simply academic hothouses; that they just turn out young men and young women with high ATARs. They’re actually places where great things happen, and they are a credit to the public school system. North Sydney Boys is a
very special place because we work consistently hard to develop young men here to fully engage in life, well beyond the classroom and its academic programs. So, our young men immerse themselves in a rich array of enrichment and co-curricular programs that we offer, and we encourage our
“We never lose sight of the importance of experiencing joy in life and having fun and giving new things a go” students to become engaged in the world at large, being really good global citizens. And so much of what I see in our school is testament to this philosophy, that our students are inclusive, incredibly supportive of each other – and I see that daily; they’re courteous and respectful to members of the community, and I get some great correspondence from members of the community regarding their encounters on public transport and out in the community … The school culture is based on something that, at North Sydney Boys, we call ‘Falcon
TECHNOLOGY AT NORTH SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL “Technology is not seen as an end in itself at the school, but it is increasingly an important tool that supports learning,” Robyn Hughes tells The Educator. She talks about the key role social media now plays in student communication, both with each other and with teaching staff. “Social media is a great medium [students] use to support each other in their learning, and teachers are often involved in that. Technology allows students to easily access resources and textbooks and school-developed platforms,” Hughes says. “Students build their own wikis, their own websites, and they collaborate and develop those together; [they use] discussion boards, they submit tasks online and, importantly, they study together using Skype and Facebook, usually outside school, and there’s a lot of that collaboration and working together.” Hughes says North Sydney Boys High School students have access to a range of new technologies. “Probably most exciting is in Technology and Applied Studies with their 3D printing that opens up learning and a really exciting new area,” she says. “Technology is rapidly changing the way that teachers work as well. There’s much greater access to information, and distribution of information is changing the way that teachers and the executive team within the school work, and collaboration between teachers is made so much easier and more effective. Microsoft and Google Docs are making communication and access to that information so much easier and more timely in the school.”
Pride’. We’re on Falcon Street. The falcon is our school mascot and, each year, Falcon Pride culture is handed down to successive generations of our new students, and helping them on their journey to adulthood, and we work to consistently develop fine young men.
TE: What do you think is pivotal to the school’s success in ensuring its students can consistently achieve outstanding academic success? RH: I think it’s all about balance in everything that we do as a school, that we don’t lose sight of the big picture and being part of the community. It’s about excellence in everything we do. It’s excellence in the classroom, achieved by a committed teaching staff, and it’s also about excelling in all the other things that they do – so, achieving personal bests and really going out to do their very best in everything they try, and participating in chess and soccer and music and debating. And I think we never lose sight of the importance of experiencing joy in life and having fun and giving new things a go. Through the school year, we make sure there are plenty of fun activities for the boys to engage in, and a lot of that is led by the boys themselves. Another thing is that the boys do feel very safe in their school, and they love learning. TE: Is there a particular program, initiative or approach the school has implemented that you see as especially unique? RH: What we call ‘student voice’ is very strong in our school. We have an extensive number of student bodies, including our student leadership groups, and they all provide opportunities for the boys to get involved, make choices [and] set directions. It helps the school to determine its strategic directions because the boys are doing so much; they’re helping to make our school a better place. So, I think it’s students being very much in charge of their learning and a lot of the co-curricular programs as well, and helping to provide that strategic focus for us as a school.
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The other is probably coming back to this Falcon Pride, this sense of belonging, being part of a wonderful culture that does look after each other, and it contributes enormously to the wellbeing of the school.
TE: Can you talk about how your students are active in the community and what you think they gain from that experience? RH: That’s a really important part of the work our students do here. It’s incredibly important to us in the development of our well-rounded young men. Education is about so much more than just sitting in a classroom and filling up your brain with academic learning. Contributing to the community is a prerequisite to formal student leadership in our school. So, if you want to be a prefect or you’re aspiring, let’s say, to be captain, community service is one of the prerequisites leading up to eligibility. The community involvement has so many benefits, not just for the community but for the boys themselves. It builds self-confidence
and awareness of the needs of others and, particularly for our boys who have so many things that are going for them – they have wonderful, supportive parents who are highly aspirational. In their community work, they’re meeting people who are far less fortunate than themselves, and it does help to build bridges for our kids. It’s a great way to create the well-rounded young men that we work so consistently hard on. The benefits are obvious: social skill develop ment and learning to interact with other people that they may not necessarily ever meet, and developing a social conscience to become better citizens. These experiences help to change, often, their own life aspirations as they grow into young men and leave North Sydney Boys.
TE: Is there a trend or a new concept in educating school-aged students to which you’re currently paying close attention? RH: Apart from technology, it’s really building collaborative learning and working across
subject boundaries to help students build greater connections and meaning in their own learning. We’ve been spending a lot of time on that. In high schools, you have fairly clearly defined subject boundaries, and we’re working to collaborate across some of those traditionally sharply defined boundaries. Another area that is pretty important for us, particularly in a selective high school – our boys have a lot of pressure on them, significant expectations that the boys place on themselves just from peer pressure. They expect a lot of themselves and their friends, and the families have high hopes, as does the school and the wider environment. If you go to a selective school, you’re expected to do well academically when you finally complete Year 12. So, building emotional resilience in our students is a priority, and we have a very supportive mental health program. We have a great wellbeing team that works to identify and support boys right through to a successful graduation at the end of Year 12.
FEBRUARY 2015 | 19
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PIONEERING A SCHOOL FUNDING REVOLUTION Brett Henebery sits down with business leader David Gonski, who recently launched a groundbreaking philanthropy initiative to help alleviate educational disadvantage in Australia DAVID GONSKI, the businessman and philanthropist whose name has become synonymous with education in Australia, is again shaking up the school funding landscape. In 2011, Gonski became chair of the Expert Advisory Panel of the Commonwealth Government’s Review of the Funding of Schools in Australia – or, as it famously became known, the ‘Gonski Review’. However, while his needs-based school funding model has received widespread attention, one of the model’s lesser-known recommendations was the greater use of
– along with a cohort of influential philanthropists – unveiled the Pioneers in Philanthropy initiative, which will see business leaders donating $5.25m in funding to Australian Schools Plus, a national charity founded in 2013 by a group of eight not-for-profit organisations with bipartisan political support. Schools Plus will then distribute the funds over five years to disadvantaged schools that apply for them. The Pioneers include its chair, David Gonski, and his wife, Orli Wargon; Schools
“We recognise that we all have to contribute if it is within our capacity, and we do believe that those of us who have done well have a responsibility to give back” philanthropy to support schools. In particular, he recommended that the federal government create a fund to provide national leadership in philanthropy in schooling and to support schools in need of assistance in developing philanthropic partnerships. In October, Gonski’s vision took shape when he announced a new initiative that aims to make a meaningful difference to disadvantaged schools across Australia. Speaking at the NSW State Library, Gonski
Plus CEO Angus James and his wife, Sarah James; John B Fairfax and Nick Fairfax; Kerry Stokes; Roger Massy-Greene; John Grill; Rosie Williams; and the Commonwealth Bank, represented by its CEO, Ian Narev. When he announced the initiative, Gonski immediately sought to dispel any misconcep tions that it was “a way of indicating that government doesn’t give enough to schools”. “I want to categorically deny and say to you this is entirely wrong,” he said, adding that his
own review recommended philanthropy be factored into a new funding approach. “We recognise that we all have to contribute if it is within our capacity, and we do believe that those of us who have done well have a responsibility to give back.” In an interview with The Educator, Gonski says the Pioneers each acknowledge the greatness of teaching and are doing their part to help alleviate educational disadvantage. “I think that it’s a wonderful thing that people like the Pioneers are investing in the long term, because what we’re doing is assisting schools to look after the next generation,” he says. Gonski echoes an earlier call he made in May at the Competitive Advantage Forum in Sydney, in which he said “long-termism is very important for this country”. “That next generation is vital in the longer term to Australia. It is a long-term decision that each of the philanthropists who are part of the Pioneers have made – because there won’t necessarily be a result in five minutes, but there will hopefully be a wonderful dividend for Australia in the years to come.”
A helping hand to principals Gonski says an advantage of philanthropy over general state or federal funding is that it can be on a case-by-case basis. He points out that the initiative has value for principals of struggling schools, as philanthropists can answer their
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K-12 PHILANTHROPY IN NUMBERS
requests for teaching and learning resources. “Governments cannot favour one school over another, but a philanthropist can. For example, if a principal says, ‘I need something over and above any moneys we get’, a philanthropist can make it happen,” he explains. “The difference that such a thing as this can make is simply amazing.” Gonski adds that, in some other countries, donations to schools are encouraged through incentives like tax deductions, but Australia has not had such a structure in place – until now. “In our particular structure, until this happened it was hard to give to schools unless it went to a scholarship fund, or into a building,” he says. “That generally meant that it wasn’t for a disadvantaged school, because they didn’t have the framework.”
Breaking down the barriers One of the outcomes of the Gonski Review into school funding that Gonski said he was most pleased about was the creation of Schools Plus, a charity established to help break down socio-economic barriers between schools. The charity also facilitates connections between organisations and the people who want to support those organisations. Gonski says a significant difference can be made by giving to organisations like Schools Plus, which “will bring a rigour to putting it together” with other funds and “making sure that it has an effect”. “What this allows philanthropists to do is make their grants tax deductible and get the endorsement of those they help. At the same time, we’re ensuring that schools in need are able to get support through the structure of Schools Plus,” Gonski says.
Philanthropic organisations provided $23.6m in donations to school education in Australia in 2013. Close to $400m was distributed in FY2012/13 by 37 philanthropists. Of this, about 6% went to education. 90% of schools are new or inexperienced when it comes to engaging in philanthropy via traditional avenues of seeking and applying for grants. In contrast to schools, most not-for-profits (75%) are experienced or deemed ‘expert’ when it comes to engaging in philanthropy. There are estimated to be about 5,000 philanthropic foundations in Australia. Source: 2013 Australian Council for Educational Research survey
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2O16 HOT LIST
HOT LIST Who are the movers and shakers in education in Australia? Who are the pioneers? For the second year in a row, The Educator shines a spotlight on 40 individuals leading the way in the field
WELCOME TO The Educator’s second annual Hot List. It’s an unenviable task compiling a definitive list of the true leaders in this space, given the abundance of excellent work being undertaken across the country to enrich the educational experiences of K-12 students. So we once again turned to readers, asking for your submissions as to who warrants a place on this prestigious list. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response that we received. It attests to the outstanding efforts of those
working in a broad range of educational institutions across Australia. In the end, the team at The Educator selected 40 individuals, who are profiled on the pages that follow. Some readers may firmly agree with the inclusion of particular educators, while others may shake their heads in disbelief at the omission of an individual they believe well and truly fits the bill. Feel free to email your comments to the editorial team.
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TIM DODDS Principal Chatswood Public School (NSW)
Director of innovation and technology Lutheran Education Queensland
Derek Bartels is the driving force behind innovation in Queensland Lutheran schools. He has drawn from the most up-to-date research globally to lead educators to innovate according to their individual school contexts. Bartels has promoted and encouraged innovative practices through face-to-face interaction, public speaking, social media and study tours. As a direct result of Bartels’ leadership and passion for innovation, Queensland Lutheran schools are leading the way in contemporary and innovative practices in pedagogy, physical learning spaces and technology. Despite his employment in Lutheran education, Bartel’s influence extends to other sectors and industries not only in Australia but worldwide.
Tim Dodds’ career in education has spanned four decades. In his 15 years as principal of Chatswood Public School, he’s overseen the establishment of two community language programs, which have seen all students learning Mandarin and students of Korean background receiving tuition in Korean. This year, Dodds founded a bilingual Korean program, which will next year see two kindergarten classes begin a seven-year learning journey during which half their time will be spent learning in English and the other half in Korean. Dodds has also promoted a culture of celebrating diversity and respect outside of the classroom, establishing several annual community events. He is also regularly consulted at regional, state and national level on the benefits and strategies associated with implementing an Asian literacy program.
Director Barbara Kiker Memorial Kindergarten (Kidman Park, SA)
Steven Cameron has been director of Barbara Kiker Memorial Kindergarten for the past seven years and has received several accolades. In 2011, he was named Australian Children’s Service Director of the Year at the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards, and in 2012 he won the Young Citizen of the Year Award at the Australia Day Awards, as well as the National Excellence in Teaching Award for Leadership. Additionally, Cameron was recently named a finalist for the Leadership Award in South Australia’s Excellence in Public Education Awards. Cameron has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, a Master of Education (Early Childhood) and a Graduate Certificate of Neuroscience. He’s currently studying for a Doctor of Education and a Graduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership.
Principal Westfields Sports High School (Fairfield West, NSW)
In the past two years Roger Davis has focused on two major projects, which will set the benchmark not only for his school but for sport in schools for years to come. This year saw the launch and implementation of a groundbreaking partnership between a national sporting body – Football Federation Australia – and Westfields Sports High School. Davis led the negotiation that now sees WSHS piloted as the first-ever Football Federation Australia accredited High Performance Football School in Australia. This initiative will see the establishment of an elite development program designed to utilise the school’s sport, education and welfare capabilities.
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2O16 HOT LIST SIMON HERD
Principal Medowie Christian School (NSW)
Cyclone Pam, which struck the islands of Vanuatu in March 2015, was the most powerful cyclone ever to hit the Pacific, killing 15 people and leaving 75,000 homeless. Following the cyclone, Simon Herd led development and aid teams to reinvigorate education in Vanuatu. This involved working alongside international aid agencies, government authorities and local indigenous staff and students. Herd continues to dedicate substantial time to supporting education in developing nations. Recently, he led an initiative aimed at giving young people from impoverished regions the chance to break the poverty cycle. Additionally, Herd has provided opportunities for Australian high school students to experience servant leadership by visiting and supporting education in Vanuatu.
Assistant science coordinator Rosebank College (Five Dock, NSW)
Kelly Hollis is helping to change the face of science education by presenting at various TeachMeets and conferences, as well as working with educators all over the world through social media. On Twitter, Hollis is a co-moderator of #aussieED, a weekly Twitter chat that has become one of the most popular in Australia. In September, Hollis was named one of the top 100 educators leading flipped learning worldwide. It is her aim to increase student engagement in science, with the overall goal to develop students’ skills and knowledge in the subject to prepare them for a STEM-based future.
SUMMER HOWARTH Director of learning Education Changemakers
A colleague of Summer Howarth told The Educator that it’s “inspiring to witness Summer’s endless passion for education and her means to encourage collaboration, innovation and leadership”. Howarth is the director of learning at Education Changemakers, an organisation dedicated to the encouragement of teacher-led innovation in Australian schools. For the past two years, she’s led Education Changemakers’ national conference, an event run at no cost to teachers that brings together more than 500 educators to promote innovation and leadership inside schools. Additionally, Howarth is a founding member of TeachMeet, a group of communities across the country devoted to sharing ideas and resolving education challenges.
STEVE GRIFFITHS High school science teacher Cavendish Road State High School (Holland Park, Qld)
Steve Griffiths is passionate about helping students develop 21st century skills to prepare them for life outside of school. A leader in flipped education, Griffiths has this year made over 100 educational videos, which are shared with all teachers and students across Queensland’s state education system and with the wider community via YouTube and ClickView. Griffiths has presented on flipped learning and active learning pedagogies at three conferences this year, including ClickView’s Flipped Education Leaders’ Roundtable. He leads flipped learning at Cavendish Road State High School and has run a number of professional development courses for teachers and pre-service teachers on flipped learning, active learning and video production. Teachers and pre-service teachers regularly visit Griffiths’ classrooms to observe his teaching.
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SIMON BREAKSPEAR Founder and executive director Agile Schools
Described as a “local educator and thinker who holds his own on the world stage”, Simon Breakspear is executive director of Agile Schools and a research fellow of the Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change at The Education University of Hong Kong. His views on innovation in learning and continuous pedagogical improvement aim to have a significant impact both at classroom level and in shaping educational leaders’ reflections on the future of learning. Breakspear has advised and spoken to school and system leaders in over 10 countries. One principal, who engaged Breakspear to work in his school in recent years, told The Educator, “I can state unequivocally that Simon’s input has had a profound effect in developing the learning culture of our school.”
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2O16 HOT LIST STEVE FRANCIS Managing director Happy School
The Happy School program created by Steve Francis is boosting staff morale and reducing teacher stress around Australia. It provides weekly professional development articles designed to assist school staff in better managing their stress and coping with change. Francis works extensively with school leaders and staff from schools across Australia, helping to reinstate the status of the teaching profession by appreciating and supporting great practitioners and ‘raising the bar’ in the profession. Through his innovation and multifaceted approach, Francis is shaping the education industry.
Principal Parkmore Primary School (Vic)
In 2016, during Saraid Doherty’s first year as principal, Parkmore became the only Victorian government school to win an Innovative Schools Award (for its integration of social and emotional learning into its literacy and numeracy program). Over the past five years Doherty has contributed significantly to positive educational leadership in Victorian government schools. In 2012, she was awarded a Master’s in School Leadership by the University of Melbourne, which inspired her to undertake a Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). In 2014, Doherty was in the first cohort to graduate with this internationally recognised qualification.
Founder and executive chair YourTutor
In 2003, Goodman founded YourTutor, which has delivered more than 1.2 million personalised online learning experiences and become Australia’s most trusted on-demand, online study support platform. Today, YourTutor partners with hundreds of Australian schools and 75% of Australia’s universities and TAFEs to give more students the opportunity to turn moments of frustration into study success. Through this initiative, Goodman has helped secondary and tertiary students in both rural and metropolitan areas in all corners of the country. His deep belief in the power of technology to relieve household stress around study has impacted on how students learn throughout their school years and enhanced their aspiration and capability to pursue and succeed in tertiary education.
Head of junior school Ormiston College (Qld)
Travis Goulter is a teacher who understands the role educational leadership plays in preparing students for life beyond school. In his leadership role, Goulter has implemented strategies to improve student outcomes in 21st century environments. They include implementing a social media program to build stronger connections between the school and home environment so that students are surrounded by learning opportunities at all times; and implementing a positive behaviour system using gamification and rewards. In 2016, Goulter was named an Australian Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator for his leadership in innovative approaches to professional learning.
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2O16 HOT LIST SUSAN HYDE
Associate professor and principal Australian Science and Mathematics School (Bedford Park, SA)
Susan Hyde has been principal of the Australian Science and Mathematics School for seven years, leading the innovation of the school into the 21st century. In 2013, she oversaw a restructure of its curriculum, which was the catalyst for the development of a truly interdisciplinary curriculum. Working with a design engineer, Hyde led the creation of the ‘Ideation Space’. It is used by students for activities required by the curriculum and for their own projects, and it includes 3D printers, a laser cutter and small hand tools. It’s a non-teaching space, so students are required to work out their ideas for themselves. Currently, the school is working with Workforce BluePrint to explore careers beginning to emerge which, Hyde says, will be the destination of the school’s students.
KHALIL KHAY PETER ELLIS & PETER HUTTON Co-principals Templestowe College
Co-principals Hutton and Ellis not only work to improve their own school but also lead the Templestowe College (TC) consultancy, a group of students and staff committed to supporting other school communities in taking on genuine models of student empowerment. TC has no bells, no year levels and no detentions. Students, supported by staff and their families, develop their own five-year individualised learning plan and develop their own academic program from more than 150 electives. Students can even take time out of the curriculum to write a book, run their own business or pursue a passion of their choice. TC employs over 80 of its own students to help run the school, including in areas such as IT, reception, maintenance and even tutoring other students.
Deputy principal K-12 Hunter School of the Performing Arts (Broadmeadow, NSW)
According to one colleague, Khalil Khay “represents the very essence of transformational change”, embedding the concepts of best practice and research-based leadership in order to drive improvements. Khay has 25 years of educational experience encompassing work across the early childhood, K-12 and university sectors and including teaching, mentoring and senior leadership roles. He’s been a course designer, coordinator and lecturer in education at the University of Newcastle, as well as an online and face-to-face facilitator of teacher professional learning courses for the University of Wollongong. Over his 25 years as a member of the Australian College of Educators, Khay has passionately supported the arts and education communities in Newcastle and the Hunter region, and at state level. “His commitment to teacher and student learning, knowledge of effective curriculum and leadership development, pedagogy, assessment and reporting is outstanding,” said another colleague.
JAMES KOZLOWSKI Principal Endeavour Sports High School (Caringbah, NSW)
If leadership is about self-reflection, interpersonal skills and an ability to unify others to achieve a collective goal, James Kozlowski is a true leader, one colleague tells The Educator. Kozlowski was appointed principal at the beginning of 2015 and has made substantial gains in changing negative perceptions about the school within the local community. A range of initiatives – including the introduction of opportunity and extension classes; nurturing stronger relationships with partner primary schools; and the implementation of a code of conduct for both students and staff – have led to a 15% increase in enrolments from local primary schools since two years ago, as well as a notable increase in positive local media coverage.
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2O16 HOT LIST DYLAN MALLOCH
Director of marketing and communications St Paul’s School (Bald Hills, Qld)
In 2015, Dylan Malloch revolutionised the internal and external marketing functions of St Paul’s School by spearheading a charge into digital advertising and social media engagement. The school now has the highest number of Facebook followers of any independent school in Queensland, while Malloch’s social media advertising approaches have made all school print advertising redundant. His marketing approach is not only raising the profile of St Paul’s School but also highlighting inside the classroom and in the broader media how education in Australia needs to better prepare students for a world vastly different from the one we know today.
Principal Gymea Technology High School (NSW)
Peter Marsh has been in his current principal role for the last five years. Four years ago, he led the school community in an evaluation of classroom learning environments that ultimately led to the revitalisation of learning spaces as part of a Design2Learn program. All general learning spaces and the school’s technology centre have been transformed since that time, in keeping with 21st century learning research and the needs of the community. A key feature of the program was the significant role of both staff and students. Marsh also led the introduction of the Head Start to High School program, an initiative for students moving from Year 6 into high school, allowing those new students to connect with their high school through a range of after-school activities.
CEO and managing director LiteracyPlanet
E-learning teacher leader Ormiston College (Qld)
Adam McArthur heads up the team behind LiteracyPlanet, a digital resource to support literacy development from preschool and early reading to secondary school and competency in advanced literacy skills. Founded and headquartered in Australia, LiteracyPlanet is used by approximately 150,000 children in 40 countries and is one of the most comprehensive online-based English literacy programs for school students in the world. The company is constantly updating the program to incorporate changes to the curriculum, improve usability, and be at the forefront of trends in ICT use for education, such as the use of reporting data and mobile devices.
CEO Seven Steps to Writing Success
As a Churchill Fellow, Jen McVeity spent two months promoting Australian authors to American publishers. She has also authored over 20 books and been a keynote speaker at 50 conferences across Australia, Asia and the US. McVeity is the CEO of Seven Steps to Writing Success, a program she founded 14 years ago to share author techniques behind writing in an effort to enable educators to teach creativity and writing skills to young learners. Her goal is to inspire children to love writing by using the latest and best practices in education, and today the program is used by over 50,000 teachers in Australian schools.
Annette McArthur has extensive knowledge and experience in designing and delivering training programs focused on STEM education in 21st century environments. In her current role, McArthur leads programs aimed at building capacity at a school level to support teachers in designing and developing authentic project-based learning experiences that advance student learning and innovation in and beyond the classroom. This year, she was awarded a grant project by Independent Schools Queensland to undertake action research in the area of innovative professional development to improve student learning in the 21st century.
Principal Melbourne Girls Grammar School (Vic)
Catherine Misson has always questioned the status quo of educational paradigms, and now she is leading the way by designing school programs, including new ways to imagine the use of time, new roles in schools, and new ways of young people taking control of their learning. She has developed an educational narrative that champions the development of an enterprising mindset, to ensure that children today are being equipped for a digital age in which their experiences of work and wellbeing will be vastly different to those of their parents. Through her establishment of the Centre for Educational Enterprise in 2015, Misson has taken this agenda internationally, and launched the Enterprising Schools Network in 2016 to connect like-minded educators.
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Founder and CEO Begin Bright
At 20 years old, Tina Tower began her first tutoring business while also studying teaching at university. In 2008, she founded Begin Bright and its school readiness and primary tutoring program was born, its mission being to help create happy, smart and confident children. Tower started licensing the program and then later, in 2011, began franchising the centres. Today, Begin Bright has more than 26 centres throughout Australia, employs 120 teachers, and each week 2,000 children attend its sessions. In July, Begin Bright was acquired by Cognition Education, but Tower has remained as its CEO to help build the organisation and reach even more children, the plan being that there will be 100 centres operating in Australia by 2018.
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2O16 HOT LIST
ALEX BORLENGHI & ADRIAN PUCKERING
In his role, Geoff Newcombe has made an outstanding difference in supporting and representing the independent school sector in NSW. He leads his dynamic team at AISNSW, who support member schools’ efforts to achieve excellence and be professional and responsive to school needs. He also organises conferences and is an advocate for professional development, which he believes truly makes a difference to teachers. And while Newcombe represents the largest independent group of schools in Australia, a group totally diverse in their philosophies and needs, he is able to lead with unity, representing the independent school sector at top political levels.
Together, Adrian Puckering and Alex Borlenghi have influenced a number of schools through their innovative approach to the teaching of STEM in K-12. One way in which they have done so is through TIDE, which encompasses Technology, Innovation, Design and Engineering (as opposed to STEM). In TIDE classes, along with coding and the use of HeavyM (video mapping) software, the introduction of the use of augmented reality in the classroom has been a leading tool in innovation. In 2017, a Virtual and Augmented Reality Elective will be introduced at St Catherine’s, which was the first girls’ school in Australia to purchase and use the zSpace Virtual Reality machine.
CEO Association of Independent Schools NSW
Director of curriculum innovation and head of digital learning St Catherine’s School, Toorak (Vic)
Director of vocational education & RTO manager (careers education) Trinity Grammar School (Summer Hill, NSW)
Frederick Osman has played an instrumental role in the implementation of Trinity initiatives aimed at broadening the curriculum to service non-ATAR, mixed-ability students who don’t wish to attend university, thus ensuring those students obtain certification that facilitates their transition to employment. The Trinity Vocational Academic Course enables students to take up school-based traineeships and still receive an ATAR, which is new to the NSW school system. All eight students who completed these traineeships last year have moved directly into employment. Additionally, the program has grown to a point where Trinity has itself become a registered training organisation. Year 11 and 12 students are offered an alternative vocational pathway, with VET Certificate ll and Certificate lll courses offered.
MEGAN PARSONS Instructional leader Dubbo West Public School (NSW)
Megan Parsons is a highly respected member of her school community, a community she’s been part of for the past four years. The Educator is told that she works tirelessly to ensure every single student achieves the very best that they are able to. “Regardless of whether a student needs extra support or extension, she ensures that that is what occurs,” said Parsons’ nominating colleague. As part of her efforts, Parsons has taught staff to use Learning Intentions and Point of Need teaching. She is said to have played a pivotal role in ensuring that staff capacity within the school has increased, and in leading innovation in respect of student achievement.
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LISA O’BRIEN CEO The Smith Family
Headmaster The Southport School (Qld)
Over the last five years, Lisa O’Brien has driven the successful implementation of a strategic plan which has significantly increased the effectiveness and reach of The Smith Family’s programs. Each year these programs support over 100,000 disadvantaged Australian children and young people. Under O’Brien’s leadership, The Smith Family has implemented a whole-of-organisation approach to measuring and improving the educational outcomes of the young people it supports. This has resulted in year-on-year improvements from 2011 to 2014 in the rates of school attendance, Year 12 completion and post-school engagement in employment and study for students on the program.
Greg Wain has been headmaster of The Southport School for the past 12 years and has introduced a number of innovative programs. Those have included programs in positive psychology, wellbeing, habits of mind and heart, thinking skills and leadership. His current strategic priorities include the creation and implementation of a world-class ‘Learning to Lead’ program for students in Years 7 to 9, with the goal of developing their academic abilities, 21st century leadership skills and intelligent dispositions. It will include positive psychology courses, thinking skills, Habits of Mind, and a Chinese living, language and culture program. Another priority for Wain is the implementation of a program that will invest in developing teachers to ensure the school grows as a learning organisation in which all staff seek feedback, reflect on practice, and are continually learning.
For more than 40 years, Lloyd Dawe has contributed significantly to mathematics education in Australia. With a PhD in mathematics from Cambridge University and having been head of the former Sydney Teachers’ College, Dawe is one of the leading educators on the subject. Since 2012 he has been the mathematician in residence at PLC Sydney where he has supported the teaching and learning of girls. The mathematics faculty at PLC Sydney has entered more students into enrichment programs in mathematics than any other school and has achieved results in English and mathematics that are on a par with each another.
Mathematician in residence PLC Sydney (Croydon, NSW)
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National chair Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia
When it comes to empowering female leadership in education, Karen Spiller’s impact is profound. In her 16 years as principal of St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in Brisbane, Spiller has exerted a significant influence on school leadership – particularly women in leadership – and girls’ education in Australia and internationally. In 2006, Spiller established the multi-award-winning annual Aspiring Women Leaders Conference, and has also delivered similar programs for the Associations of Independent Schools of NSW and Western Australia. Spiller also serves Australian education in her role as vice president of Independent Schools Queensland and as a director of Yalari, an organisation that assists young Indigenous students in gaining quality education. She is also a past national president of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia.
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DEREK SCOTT Principal and CEO Haileybury (Keysborough, Vic)
Head of senior school/VCE coordinator St John’s College (West Preston, Vic)
John Savopoulos was appointed to his current role in 2013. Responding to the school’s desire to lift its VCE results, he introduced a three-year ‘Strategic Directions’ program designed to achieve that goal. Over the past three years, St John’s has improved its median study score by eight points (from 25/50 to 33/50), improved its percentage of study scores of 40 or more out of 50 by 11.1% in 2015, and improved its ranking from 424th out of 528 schools in 2011 to 66th out of 528 schools in 2015. Additionally, 27.2% of its students achieved an ATAR score above 90 in 2015.
Derek Scott leads Australia’s largest school with the bold vision to be recognised as a great world school. This year, under his leadership, the school received a record 10 Premier’s VCE Awards, the highest of any school in Victoria. Scott has been driving and managing the two biggest projects in Australian primary and secondary education today: establishing the first Sino-Australian school – the Haileybury International School, Tianjin – and opening Melbourne’s first vertical school, dubbed ‘Haileybury City’. This innovative schooling approach is not only creating a new model of education but providing Melbourne families with education opportunities that were previously unavailable.
Executive director, public schools NSW NSW Department of Education
Jane Simmons began her career in education as a music teacher almost 30 years ago. Since that time, she’s made a substantial contribution to education across NSW. After taking on senior roles within schools, including deputy principal and principal, Simmons moved into wider leadership positions, including school education director and then regional director in Northern Sydney. Based on her ability to drive whole-system improvement, she was selected as executive director in the newly established Learning and Leadership Directorate in the NSW Education Department, responsible for statewide policy development and implementation of early learning, primary and secondary education, and arts and sports programs in the state’s 2,200 public schools. Additionally, she is executive producer of the Schools Spectacular, a prestigious annual event showcasing the talents of more than 5,500 NSW students.
Deputy principal Aspect Hunter School (Adamstown, NSW)
By recognising potential and drawing that potential out in students through solid frameworks and accessible learning activities, there’s no question that Craig Smith is at the visionary edge of autism pedagogy. An Apple Distinguished Educator, Smith supports the needs of students on the autism spectrum freely through his ebooks, iTunes U courses, staff development activities, small workshops, local community events and conference presentations. Smith is a highly influential figure across the education industry as his passion and enthusiasm ensure that he maintains an exceptional level of involvement in inspiring others to step outside the box and try a range of innovative strategies to reach all learners.
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2O16 HOT LIST
Peter Sutton is a social media adviser, author and educator who is devoted to assisting schools in harnessing the power of social media for good. Over the past five years, he has worked with more than 250 schools to help them minimise the risks associated with social media use, while building strong connections with their local communities. Sutton’s work involves educating those schools on the impact social media can have on organisations, and on how its use can lead to positive outcomes for the school community. For Sutton, it’s about creating a space for schools to celebrate their impressive achievements.
When Paul Taylor became principal at Turramurra North Public School in 2014, he set out to revolutionise the school’s classrooms to adapt to 21st century realities. In his two years as principal, Taylor has provided his school with Wi-Fi, transformed the library into a modern learning zone, and combined the Year 5 and 6 students to create a ‘super class’ of 76 students led by three teachers. Students have published books that are now found in every public primary school in NSW, and the school’s NAPLAN results have increased as a result of improved student engagement: 82% of Year 5 students achieved Bands 7 and 8 in reading.
Social and business strategy Kai Ming Consulting
Principal Turramurra North Public School (NSW)
CEO Skilling Australia Foundation
Nicholas Wyman has impacted on the lives of thousands of young Australians through his focus on promoting skilled careers and fixing a spotlight on school-to-work transition. In 2014, Wyman arranged for the Australian prime minister to join him on a visit to the first P-TECH school, located in the US city of Brooklyn. The P-TECH model is changing the way traditional high schools deliver STEM and real-world skills to students. Today, there are two such schools in Australia, located in two areas of high youth unemployment in Victoria: Newcomb Secondary College near Geelong and Federation College in Ballarat. The Australian government has since announced it will support a further 12 P-TECH schools across Australia as it continues to expand its innovation and science agenda.
ANTHONY SACKER Founder and director GradeXpert Education Pty Ltd
In 1999, Anthony Sacker developed a system for a school that was looking for an easy way to centrally track and report on student assessment results from year to year. And now, for over 10 years he’s been directing the course of the GradeXpert system. GradeXpert Education works with both primary and secondary schools across Australia to provide a comprehensive student data management and tracking system that facilitates easy monitoring of student growth over time in any subject or year level. The organisation’s Student Data Management System allows schools to centralise all student data in a single location (including assessment outcomes, reports on welfare and behavioural incidents, and semester reports), making it easy for teachers to quickly apprise themselves of gaps in student learning and progress over time.
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Turning chaos into clockwork Without an organised timetable, schools can be chaotic places. Three principals tell The Educator how processes that used to be complex are now running like clockwork FROM THE very moment a principal walks through the school gates, they are tasked with of the busiest job in the world. Their day begins
always go smoothly when they need to. However, some principals have been able to resolve these issues in a simple and efficient way.
‘‘A good timetable not only shares resources effectively but takes into account many other metrics to achieve harmony within a school” Catherine Elliot-Jones, Edval Timetables with the task of responding to a range of emails, dealing with urgent compliancy paperwork, and addressing the school assembly. As for the cup of coffee on their desk, that’s more often than not cold before they take their first sip. So it’s no wonder that principals are struggling with intense workloads and compliance. And timetabling is just another task on an ever-increasing to-do list. Whether it’s booking a room, managing student data or organising a replacement teacher, things don’t
Edval Timetables came on to the scene 20 years ago, providing timetabling software, solutions and support to schools across all states and territories in Australia, as well as in Ireland, the UK and Asia. Over 700 schools and hundreds of thousands of students are using the service, which is helping to simplify complex day-to-day administrative processes for educators.
Using limited resources efficiently Catherine Elliot-Jones, managing director of
Edval Timetables, tells The Educator that today’s principals are faced with ever-increasing challenges, and that streamlining complex and time-consuming tasks has never been so important. “On the one hand, principals have at their disposal a greater range of resources than ever before; on the other hand, these resources are limited and need to be used efficiently and equitably across the school,” she says. “The school timetable, the construction of which is too often thought of as a necessary evil, is the key to achieving and maintaining this balance. A good timetable not only shares resources effectively but takes into account many other metrics to achieve harmony within a school.” Elliot-Jones points out that classroom management can become difficult if students are in subjects that they did not select, or are in the right subjects but these are suffering from poor timetabling, such as too many last lessons. “Getting these things right instantly improves student morale. Teachers also benefit from a good timetable: they are more likely to be allocated the subjects that they enjoy, and their own teaching is spread evenly over the cycle, ensuring that they do not have full days,” she says. “Edval consistently produces better timetables when assessed on any of these metrics. All the requirements of a school are taken into account at the point of timetable construction, meaning that any issues are identified early and there is a greater likelihood of a satisfactory solution all round.” She adds that a range of adjustable parameters allow each school to modify the algorithms to their own unique needs. “Although Edval is intuitive and easy to use, a number of schools choose to adopt our timetabler-in-residence [TIR] service whereby an Edval consultant works year-round with a school in all timetable-related activities,” Elliot-Jones explains.
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USEFUL TIMETABLING TIPS areful thought and planning C needs to go into curriculum modelling. Best practice is to model the curriculum and then test each model against all others. This second part is rarely done, which can lead to more clashes and inefficiencies in the schedule. xtract as much information E as possible from department heads, because it is often the case that requests are made and then considered mandatory by the timetabler at the expense of an efficient schedule. lways remember that, if A careful work is not done at the start, a school is left with an inefficient timetable for an entire year. Try to quantify all inefficiencies in a schedule and multiply for 20 or 40 depending on your cycle length.
Case study 1: Northern Beaches Christian School Mark Burgess, assistant principal at Northern Beaches Christian School, located in Terry Hills in Sydney, tells The Educator that staff at the school are no longer confronted with awkward issues such as double-booked rooms or having to scramble for last-minute replacements when teachers fall ill. “We adopted Edval in 2011, and the single motivating factor for this was for our teachers to book their own rooms for lessons,” he says. “Before this, some of our teachers had to
use rooms that didn’t have desks and weren’t set up properly for classes, so bringing Edval on board meant that throughout the day our teachers would have the flexibility to move to the space that was most suitable for their lesson.” Burgess points out that his school is now operating more smoothly as a result. “The value for us in using Edval is that they have the process as well as the software. They provide guidance and support in the process of timetabling, and this is important because it can be a time-consuming thing,” he says.
ook for flexibility in your Year 12 L schedule; often, students will drop classes throughout the final year, leaving diminished class sizes. In larger schools, it is often possible to reprocess Year 12 lines to free up load. The classroom teacher will teach five classes per year; if you can drop one single class, that equates to 20% of a full-time teacher’s salary. nly block classes when there O is a proper plan to stream students. Blocking can be very beneficial for teaching, but it makes scheduling tougher, so only do it when absolutely necessary. Blocking PE classes, for example, is not advised. In many cases it is still possible to schedule gender-specific classes without blocking. Source: Edval Timetables
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Case study 2: Christian Brothers College Sean Mangan, assistant principal at Christian Brothers College in Adelaide, says his school began using Edval six years ago in order to implement a more efficient way of managing timetabling. “I worked with Catholic Education, and they had a reference group that compared different timetabling packages. That reference group made a recommendation in favour of Edval,” he explains. “My understanding of that recommen dation was that Edval had a more powerful algorithm in terms of constructing timetables than the other products.” Mangan says his school has just completed
QUESTION EVERYTHING! Continually ask yourself this question in the context of your timetable structure and requirements: ‘Why?’ Why do we predetermine certain aspects of the timetable? Why don’t we let the system decide which staffing arrangement is best? Why does teacher X need period 1 off all week? Doing this can help you evaluate every step of the process. Source: Edval Timetables
EDVAL TIMETABLES Edval Timetables provides timetabling software, solutions and support to over 700 schools and hundreds of thousands of students. Its products originated from a research project at Sydney University 20 years ago, and Edval now has a team of 25 passionate and committed consultants serving its clients.
come back and say ‘this is what you entered’, rather than the student disputing that they picked that subject,” he says. “Also, we have the daily organisation done through Edval, which means that if any teachers are away and relief teachers are required, this is done through Edval.”
Case study 3: Aquinas College Aquinas College, located in Perth, has been working with Edval since 2014 in the development of the college’s timetable. Its deputy principal, Nick Ognenis, says the key reason for the move to Edval was the “increased flexibility and autonomy” it gave the school in managing its timetable,
“We adopted Edval in 2011, and the single motivating factor for this was for our teachers to book their own rooms for lessons” Mark Burgess, Northern Beaches Christian School the subject selection for 2017, which is now a more organised process. “Our students are entering the data themselves, whereas historically, when I was involved with timetabling, a form was filled out and we would enter the data on their behalf,” he says. “You can imagine how time-consuming it would have been to sit down and enter 900 students’ data. Students now go online, enter a password and are presented with choices they have for the following year.” Mangan also points to the data integrity of the service, which has avoided confusion around students’ subject selection. “If the student has entered the data, the parents then sign off on it once the form is printed. This allows us as educators to
compared to previous years. “Edval has allowed the college to implement certain timetable-blocking (halfblocking) patterns that were not previously possible without compromising student subject selection choices,” he says. Ognenis adds that the timetabling service has been instrumental in improving the school’s ability to manage its supervision roster through Edval Daily. “It has also increased the flexibility of our examination timetables that are also developed using Edval Daily,” he says. “If a school is interested in developing a timetable that is more flexible, provides the school with greater choice and saves a few dollars in the long run, then Edval is worth considering.”
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PARENTS BEHAVING BADLY What options can school leaders pursue in their efforts to deal with unusually difficult parents? Two education lawyers share their insights
IN 2013, the UK’s High Court heard a breach of contract action bought by two parents against their children’s former school in southwest London. In adjudicating the contractual claim, the Court examined the parents’ conduct towards school staff. That conduct involved sending a considerable volume of emails and letters of complaint to the school, and culminated in a particularly heated meeting between the parents and members of staff. The behaviour in question was described by Deputy High Court Judge Jeremy Richardson as having gone “well beyond the realms of even the most zealous, some might say pushy, parents”. He concluded that the parents in this case “viewed everything in a self-centred, self-contained artifice as though no one else but them and their children mattered”, and that they had “interfered and meddled in the school and made unwarrantable demands”. Nathan Croot, a senior associate at Emil Ford Lawyers, discusses the case with The Educator and says he’s dealt with a matter for a Sydney school that concerned “very similar facts”, though that matter was settled out of court. “Parents do blow things out of proportion and … it takes a lot of effort for the school to have to fight back parents when they’re that unreasonable and cause that many issues,” Croot says.
Perceived parental entitlement Alex Kohn, a partner at Makinson d’Apice Lawyers, says nowadays there’s a culture of
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perceived parental entitlement, a consequence of which is many instances of parents engaging in unacceptable behaviour towards their children’s educators. “I don’t know whether it’s a whole-ofsociety issue but, certainly in the education sector, parents believe they can challenge the school on every issue, that they know better than the school on how to educate their child,” he says. “It’s a very complaint-driven education world in which we live.” While parents have a right to raise legitimate concerns about their child’s education and to question decisions made,
sometimes disputes escalate to a point at which behaviours become extreme, well beyond the limits of what a school could reasonably be expected to deal with. So, at what point does a parent’s behaviour pass the point of what is acceptable and actually constitute a breach of contract? “That’s a very good question and, as far as I’m aware, there is no existing case law on that point,” Kohn tells The Educator. “It would have to be pretty extreme behaviour.”
What can be done? Kohn says a number of private schools now incorporate behavioural guidelines for parents either into the enrolment process or into school policies that can later form part of the enrolment contract. “If there was an extreme case where the parents’ behaviour was so appalling that it breached that policy, then in those situations, technically, there could be a breach of contract, if it had been incorporated into the
that it’s no longer workable,” he says. “If you have that sort of clause, that gives the school a clear-cut ability to say, ‘This is just not working’. Obviously, they can’t just say, ‘We don’t like you any more. You’re out’, but there is certainly that possibility [that with] those really problematic, aggressive parents who are just causing trouble, the school can rely on that sort of clause and say, ‘We have the right to terminate and we’re using it’.” Croot says it becomes more difficult when schools don’t specifically deal with parent behaviour in that enrolment contract. “At a minimum, the school should have a right to terminate the contract on reasonable notice, but that means you can terminate it after a term or so. That doesn’t provide the immediate relief you may be looking for. So it’s really important for schools to know what their contract says and to anticipate that this could be a problem and to have something in their enrolment conditions to deal with
“In the education sector, parents believe they can challenge the school on every issue, that they know better than the school on how to educate their child” Alex Kohn, Makinson d’Apice Lawyers enrolment contract.” Kohn stresses that this would apply in a private school situation, rather than a public school situation. He adds, “Theoretically, there could be some sanctions, but exactly how those sanctions would work would be quite difficult to ascertain because it’s problematic trying to expel a child from a school based on the parents’ behaviour, rather than their own behaviour.” Similarly, Croot talks about addressing parent behaviour specifically in the enrolment contract. “When we advise schools when we prepare their conditions of enrolment, we will include a clause that says that the school can terminate the contract if the principal believes that the relationship between the school and the parents has broken down to such an extent
the behaviour of their parents, because it’s becoming an ever-increasing problem area.”
Other legal avenues In more urgent situations, schools also obviously have access to criminal law sanctions, such as apprehended violence orders (AVOs). “I had a situation a number of years ago with a female school principal … where we had to get an AVO to protect her when a big, burly dad kept rolling up at 8am and banging on her door, and she felt quite threatened by that because the school was still quite empty at that point of the day,” Kohn says. He also highlights the difficult situations in which schools can be placed in respect of family law disputes. “For example, if you have a situation where mum and dad are arguing at the school gates
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LEGAL at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon over who’s going to have access to the child that particular weekend and, despite what a Family Court order might say, mum and dad won’t agree on who’s meant to have the child. “There have been situations where schools have had to call in the police and to move the parents on and say, ‘This is totally inappropriate to behave in this manner within eyesight and earshot of other children in the school’ … Sometimes it gets to a situation where the police have to be called.”
Stuck in the middle However, Croot raises a complication which schools may be inadvertently confronting in making a decision about whether to call the police. He recalls a matter on which he recently gave advice, in which a father wasn’t meant to enter his children’s school and the mother had demanded that, should he do so, the police be contacted. “The problem with doing that, of course, is that these parents have two children at the
assistant principal or principal. You can take the heat off the classroom teacher.”
The road less travelled Discussing other avenues of recourse that schools can take against parents engaging in extreme behaviour, both Croot and Kohn refer to the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901, legislation in NSW that aims to prevent trespass onto enclosed lands, including schools. Kohn says a notice under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act is something he’s seen used to stop parents from continuing to enter school property and making a nuisance of themselves. “It provides a mechanism where parents can be served with a notice that they are not to enter upon that particular property, which is enclosed by a fence … quite similar to a ‘warning off ’ letter, and the sanction there is that, if they don’t comply, you can approach the court for an order, which is essentially like an injunction, prohibiting the parent from entering the school property,” Kohn says.
“The school should have a right to terminate the contract on reasonable notice, but that means you can terminate it after a term or so. That doesn’t provide the immediate relief you may be looking for” Nathan Croot, Emil Ford Lawyers school, and it’s going to be hugely embarrassing for them if other students see the police escorting their father out of the school.” Croot says that when a parent becomes violent the school may have no choice, but in a situation where someone is causing a nuisance rather than violence, it might be best for all if the school tasks a staff member with talking to a parent and trying to convince them to leave the grounds voluntarily. “You can set up management plans for the parents,” he says. “What a lot of schools will do, if there’s a particularly problematic parent, [is] tell the parent that if they have a complaint, they have to report to a particular staff member, and that will usually be … an
UNACCEPTABLE CONDUCT ONLINE
But he also stresses the severity of such a sanction. “That’s a costly exercise going to court to seek an order along those lines, and no guarantees of success could be given,” he says. “The other problem with that is that it’s not instant, whereas calling the police if mum and dad are about to get into a physical confrontation will generally result in a local police officer coming down to the school within 10 or 15 minutes and sorting it out.” It’s of course hoped that any of the above remedies will only be needed infrequently, and that schools can remain focused on providing good education and pastoral care for their students and have an ability to pull people into line where necessary.
It’s not just physically threatening conduct that can land parents in hot water. Their behaviour online, including on social media channels, may also find them facing school action. “If a parent were to make disparaging comments on a particular school teacher or principal or anyone else at the school, that individual can bring a claim for defamation of character, whether it be on social media or published on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald,” says Alex Kohn. “It is not to inhibit free speech and appropriate exchange of opinions. There’s a big difference between legitimate comment and making disparaging comments about a particular teacher or principal.” In 2009, the principal of a Sydney primary school brought defamation proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court against a parent. The parent sent an email to 14 other parents, which said the principal was “an incompetent, dishonest and untrustworthy person” and should not remain in her role at the school. The Court found that the email had defamed the principal and that the parent who sent the email had established no defences. It assessed damages in favour of the principal in the amount of $80,000. Both Nathan Croot and Kohn agree that, as with any dispute, resolving the issue before initiation of legal proceedings is best, where possible. “Parents should be warned or confronted about their misconduct or inappropriate behaviour and, ideally, given the chance to issue an apology,” Croot says. “One issue that schools need to work through … is to have good social media policies which should apply to anyone in the school community, so that there are guidelines as to what people should and shouldn’t do.”
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EMPOWERING TEACHERS IN NEW WAYS Alexander Young discusses how AutoMarque software can be used to efficiently and effectively assess the learning needs of school students WHEN I was a primary school student in a one-teacher bush school, grades one to six, our teacher engaged us all at our respective year levels, applying differentiation. Although that was some decades ago, the notion of differentiation is something which can be applied to either a single year group or class to better come to grips with the learning needs of each student. Traditionally, the teacher would conduct a pre-test (assessment for learning) of the class and then group the students for separate instruction based on their test scores (Table A). The test could be written, practical or multiple choice, or a combination of any of the three, and cover a range of strands of learning. Therefore, the score that is used to group the students is, by implication, vague in identifying each student’s learning needs. A considerably more effective process of differentiated instruction is to rank the students in ‘a single strand of learning’ each time. This is facilitated by a function called ‘Learning Needs Analysis’ (Table B) within AutoMarque software. AutoMarque does the marking and data entry of students’ work using your school photocopier connected to your computer, saving considerable teacher time. This enables the teacher to understand where each student is in their learning continuum. Being able to tackle one strand of learning at a time makes teaching considerably more effective, thus lifting all students up the ladder of success. Given that most schools in Australia take two years to achieve an average student gain of one year (NAPLAN student gain), it is high time teachers were provided with such a powerful tool as this, to effectively meet their students’ learning needs.
TABLE A: TRADITIONAL RANKING OF A TEACHING GROUP TO ENABLE DIFFERENTIATED TEACHING Enrolment number
TABLE B: A 21ST CENTURY RANKING OF A TEACHING GROUP BY A SINGLE STRAND OF LEARNING EACH TIME AutoMarque Learning Needs Analysis Test: Grade 5 Reading Benchmark Test Strand: Inferential Student
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
Grade 5 A - Steele
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FEATURE / BROKER EDUCATION SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT
ST PAUL’S SCHOOL
TAKING FORWARD-THINKING TO A NEW LEVEL While preparing students for the future workforce is a core challenge for school leaders, St Paul’s School principal Paul Browning is going one step further and actively implementing a range of innovative programs that are crafting the next generation of innovators LOCATED IN Bald Hills in Queensland, St Paul’s School occupies a single 51-hectare campus, which includes the school’s buildings as well as its sports fields and grazing land. The school was founded in 1960 as a boys-only high school. It became co-ed in 1993 and added a junior school in the late 1990s. Today, St Paul’s is a pre-prep to Year 12 school and includes an international school. The school enrols 1,400 students overall on the one campus. While the school’s name, building and grounds are not radically unique, how it is preparing its students for tomorrow’s world certainly is. Since taking the school’s helm in 2008, Paul Browning and his executive have implemented a strategic planning process that stands out in ways that few others do. “We established a vision to become leaders in educational thinking and practice. That vision really tells you to think very carefully about what you’re doing, because you can’t follow other people as a leader – you have to be out in front,” he says.
Scenario planning in action In 2014, Browning and his team undertook another strategic planning process, which
involved scenario planning. The plan they hatched was innovative and exciting: the school would look ahead to the world in 2028 when its youngest students – who were four years old at the time – would reach Year 12. “Scenario planning is not about predicting the future; it’s about looking at what possible futures could occur as a result of trends that we’re seeing today,” he says. By researching, and interviewing 30
“We established a vision to become leaders in educational thinking and practice. That vision really tells you to think very carefully about what you’re doing, because you can’t follow other people as a leader; you have to be out in front” thought leaders from around the world – including renowned education experts Pasi Sahlberg, Yong Zhao and Andy Hargreaves – St Paul’s created four scenarios of possible
futures of the world in 2028. “Based on that, we realised that schools need to change dramatically as a result of what’s happening in the area of technology
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St Paul’s principal Paul Browning with students
ST PAUL’S SCHOOL AT A GLANCE
St Paul’s School was founded in 1960
There are currently 1,400 enrolled students
in particular – otherwise they face the risk of becoming redundant,” he says.
Schools require ‘big changes’ “One of the things you do in scenario planning is look for trends. Through our research, we identified 82 trends that have some implication for our school and, I would argue, for schooling in general,” Browning explains. “We then categorised those trends and found two critical uncertainties. We couldn’t really predict where they were going, because we weren’t certain as to how they would play out.” In 2014, St Paul’s created a video, called Did you know that in 2028, about several of
these trends. The video, which has since been viewed more than 437,000 times, has been used by Ernst & Young in Switzerland and other major corporations for their strategic planning processes. “The two critical uncertainties we found were employment and technology. The reality is that the employment landscape is changing dramatically, largely impacted by technology. There is a lot of rhetoric and research out there about the fact that 40% of the jobs we know of today will be replaced within the next decade by artificial intelligence and robotics,” he says. “Even jobs like journalism, law and accountancy and medicine will not be immune to this change – but what will they be replaced
St Paul’s consists of five subschools, which include pre-prep and an international school.
The school’s scenario-planning video, titled Did you know that in 2028, has been viewed more than 437,000 times on YouTube
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FEATURE / BROKER EDUCATION SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT
ST PAUL’S SCHOOL with exactly? We don’t know the answers to this question yet.” The Foundation for Young Australians suggests that only 20% of the population will possess the skills for 60% of the new jobs that will emerge. Browning says his school is taking a proactive approach to this challenge by focusing on the skills that are likely to be most important when this reality takes shape. “One of the key skills will be creativity; the ability to innovate and become an entrepreneur. These are the sorts of skills we are focused on developing in our students today,” he says. Technology was identified as the other uncertainty, and again, no one can predict where this is heading. “Technology has the power to enhance life as we know it, but also the power to overwhelm life as we know it,” Browning says. “Stephen Hawking said that artificial intelligence would be the last thing that the human race invents, and that’s a scary prospect.” Browning adds that while humans will most certainly be engaging technology more in the years to come, this may be taken to a new level entirely – when people may be able to mentally connect to the Internet directly via surgical implants in their brains. “We did find some evidence that it’s possible we may, at some point in the nottoo-distant future, be directly linked to the Internet by an implant to the neocortex, allowing us to download exactly what we want simply by thought. Pearson is even working on artificial intelligence-based learning programs that are personalised and allow students to learn without the assistance of a teacher.” Browning says it’s possible that, in the near future, governments will deem the old model of educating young people as inefficient and expensive. “The question will be how we can improve education, and the answer to that question could be that those technologies are the solution. If that does occur, and teachers are taken out of the equation, that’s a frightening prospect, because where do they learn the skills of communication, or relationship-building, or developing purpose to their lives?” he says. “So it’s a challenge for teachers to think
about their role. It’s not just about imparting knowledge and getting them through a test. It’s about raising a human being, being a mentor and coach, and helping a young person realise their dream and their passion.”
‘Heads of learning’ making a difference In 2008, the school created five ‘heads of learning’ positions in the learning realms of creativity, entrepreneurialism, design thinking, enquiry-based learning and global sustainability. “Each of the heads of learning has designed unique pedagogies to instil in young people the
them to be creative, but within a box. He had put boundaries around them in terms of how creative they could be,” Browning explains. “As a result of the coaching he received, he has given his students control over their learning, which has allowed them to be creative within the framework of what he’s teaching.” Browning adds that the teacher’s Year 3 kids have since “leapfrogged” the learning that would normally occur in Year 4 by an entire year. “He’s now had to redesign the units of work in his Year 4 class because his Year 3 kids have gone way beyond them already. It’s remarkable,” Browning says.
“In the future, kids will need to create their own employment when they leave school, because many of today’s jobs won’t be there. They could well be competing for work online against people around the world” skills they need to be successful in life, and those are embedded into the curriculum and into the classroom. It’s not a question of either/ or the national curriculum and NAPLAN, or creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking – it’s both/and,” he says. St Paul’s employs a head of learning for creativity who has spent the last six years doing research with a university to understand what creativity is and how to foster that inside the classroom. “It’s not just the domain of creative arts; it involves mathematics, history, English, science and other subjects, where we’re encouraging students to think creatively,” Browning says. Browning shares that one of his teachers went through an appraisal process two years ago, and worked with the school’s head of learning in creativity. He has since experienced a significant turnaround in student outcomes as a result of the coaching he received. “He reviewed the design-based projects that he had rolled out for a Year 3 class, and he had assumed that he was asking kids to be creative. What he discovered was that he had asked
An Entrepreneurs Club This year, St Paul’s School started the prototype of an Entrepreneurs Club – a partnership with River City Labs, the company owned and run by Steve Baxter, who is one of the ‘sharks’ on the Channel 10 show Shark Tank. “Anyone who has an entrepreneurial idea can apply to be a part of this club, which occurs after school. We have mixed-age learning where kids as young as 11 and 12 are working with adults to learn about how to launch a start-up,” Browning says. “At the end of the year, the kids pitch their ideas to a panel of specialists. We have partnered with external coaches in the corporate world so that students can learn about marketing, finance, business modelling and business planning … all the tools they need to be successful entrepreneurs.” Going back to the school’s scenario-planning program, Browning says the Entrepreneurs Club is a way of providing students with a head start to the careers that will already have been well established in the Australian – and global – workforce by the time they leave school.
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Vertical learning breaking barriers
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR TOMORROW’S WORLD t Paul’s has five heads of learning S for each of its departments, who provide specialist mentoring for teachers. he school has established an T Entrepreneurs Club, which allows students to develop, and pitch, an innovative idea to industry leaders. t Paul’s School is looking to S establish a ‘vertical learning’ program, in which older students mentor younger ones in groups.
Next year, the school will roll out a vertical tutoring system which will involve each of its Year 7 and Year 12 students being placed in daily tutoring groups where they will engage in peer-to-peer mentoring. “This will open the door to peer-to-peer mentoring and learning, which will be the stepping stone to vertical learning. In the next couple of years we will start looking at how we will restructure the school,” Browning says. “Instead of students learning in year levels and progressing through the school based on their age, they will not be constrained by their age. They will be in courses that are aligned to their passions and their abilities.” Browning says this will “break all of the boundaries” of contemporary education by allowing children of all age groups to jump ahead to more complex units in their chosen fields without the obstacle of age and grade levels holding them back. “For example, if Year 7 kids have a particular passion for physics,
why should they have to wait until they’re 15 or 16 if they have the genuine interest, knowledge and skills to excel in the subject?” “Our Entrepreneurs Club is an example of what we hope to achieve through this. We have kids who are 11 and 12 years old learning alongside older kids and adults who are up to 60 years old. The thing they have in common is that they all have a passion for an idea they’ve got which they want to see become a reality.” Browning says the world has reached a point in its history that is unlike any before it, and suggests that principals should recognise the trends taking shape so they can better prepare their students for the future. “Principals must bring an acute awareness to the organisation of what is happening around us, and make sure we’re agile as an organisation, preparing ourselves to be sustainable well into the future. “If schools don’t wake up to what’s going on around them, they could find themselves redundant.”
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CAUGHT ON CAMERA CONSTRUCTION OF MELBOURNE’S ‘HIGHRISE SCHOOL’ BEGINS The five-storey building in South Melbourne, which will include rooftop netball courts and take 500 students, is due to be finished by 2018. The site of Melbourne’s first vertical school is a high-growth location with many new young families moving into the area.
Armed with toy shovels, students from Port Melbourne Primary School help workers turn the first piece of soil
Concept artwork for the ‘high-rise’ school, set for completion by 2018
ROBOTS BRING EDUCATION TO LIFE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA A little under two years ago, NAO (pronounced ‘now’) robots arrived in South Australian independent schools. The programmable robots talk, dance and even speak German, as well as providing students with engaging and innovative ways to learn.
NAO robot teaching a young student in Paris, France
Noosa Library Service has become the first Australian public library to recruit a NAO humanoid robot, which they have named ‘Dewey’
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THE EDUCATION SHOW KICKS OFF IN MELBOURNE
Visitors stop by an exhibition at the event
Educators converged on Melbourne for The Education Show recently, with close to 2,700 visitors attending the three-day event, which was held on 2–4 September at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. A keynote speaker addresses crowds at the show
Students look on as their teammate counters her opponent’s argument
SCHOOL HOLDS ‘SMALL TALK’ DEBATING COMPETITION
A Hill End Public School student participates in the debate
Hill End Public School in NSW recently held a successful virtual debating competition which linked students from a dozen Central West small public schools. The debating challenge uses the NSW Department of Education’s Connected Classrooms videoconferencing facilities to pit debaters against each other.
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LEADING FROM THE FRONTLINE
In 34 years of teaching, Lila Mularczyk has had a big impact on public education, which she hopes to sustain in her new role In 1994, Lila Mularczyk became the deputy principal at Lurnea High School in NSW. Two years later, she took on the role of regional/state coordinator of new HSC implementations.
BECOMES AN INDUSTRY SPOKESPERSON Mularczyk began working in an executive role on the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council. In 2012, she would become its president, serving in the role for a further four years. “The NSW Government’s support for principals is second to none. Our minister and our department will always listen to the voice of principals and the profession. I genuinely cannot think of a single instance when they have not consulted or listened to the voice of principals.”
LAUNCHES A NEW VENTURE Mularczyk was included in the International Who’s Who register. In 2013 she also initiated a very successful and collaborative Education Alliance to advocate and combat education cuts in NSW.
“Gonski resourcing in NSW schools is showing significant improvements in student learning. The young people most in need are accessing targeted learning support, as highlighted by the evidence shared in recent years by NSW school principals” 54
TAKES STEPS TOWARDS SENIOR LEADERSHIP
GETS HER FIRST RUNS ON THE BOARD
Mularczyk became principal of Merrylands High School in Western Sydney. Under her leadership, the school has been heralded around the world. “Since Gonski money has been coming in, we’ve been working on the engagement program, which has seen some very significant results. We also have teachers who are engaged in helping students who have had great gaps in their learning.”
CONTRIBUTES TO ‘A REVOLUTION’ Between 2008 and 2011, Mularczyk chaired the NSW Digital Education Revolution Taskforce (the foremost 1:1 laptop program in the world). She was the secondary representative for the original Learning Management Business Reform project and earlier for the Department Visiting Industry Program model as an education officer in industry.
PICKS UP ACCOLADES AND TAKES ON NEW ROLE Mularczyk assumed the role of regional president of the Australian College of Educators for Sutherland/St George. Early in 2015, she was highly commended for her work with Bridges to Higher Education as a ‘Woman of the West’ leader on International Women’s Day.
CONTINUES HER PUBLIC EDUCATION ADVOCACY This year, Mularczyk retired from teaching and became the director of secondary education at the NSW Department of Education. In her new role, she intends to continue her advocacy for public education and the Gonski funding reforms. “I’m always optimistic about NSW. Our state, in terms of education, is absolutely leading the nation. Because we are so large, we have the capacity to ensure that initiatives, reforms and new policy can be implemented with support.”
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Number of times Chris Presland has travelled to Dubrovnik
Number of months he spent there during his longest visit
Length (in kilometres) of the ancient walls and fortifications that surround the city
HOME AWAY FROM HOME As president of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council, Chris Presland’s job tends to ground him, but outside Australia he has a special connection with a distant European city he calls his home away from home IN HIS professional life, Chris Presland is the president of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council, and that means living life at a pretty hectic pace. He is also a great lover of science fiction and fantasy literature, so it goes without saying that Presland is a huge Game of Thrones fan. Oddly, though, he also has a strange connection with one of the settings of the series (the fictional King’s Landing), which is filmed on location in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.
Presland’s job involves a lot of time away from home, but that’s nothing like really getting away. He loves to travel and has a special affiliation with Dubrovnik, a place he says is “spectacularly beautiful”, with a “proud history, amazing architecture and crystal-clear water off any coastline”. The family of Presland’s wife originates in a village just south of the city, and they have many relatives living there. “It’s easy to enjoy the area, the hospitality and family, and escape the tourism when
needed. I’ve been there several times now and can’t wait to go again,” he tells The Educator. “Anyone who’s been there understands why Lord Byron dubbed it ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’.” Presland says being an educator is an essential and demanding role, and the perspectives he gains from travelling around the world are incredibly important in helping him to understand the backgrounds of many students. “It’s just a challenge fitting it all in,” he says.
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Master of Education (Leadership) Master of Education (Social Ecology) Master of Inclusive Education Master of Education (STEM) Graduate Certificate in Primary Mathematics Education Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Education
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Australia’s only business magazine written for the most senior educational professionals & decision makers.