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Welcome to the AACS November eNews

How the political landscape can change in a short period. The Coalition is feeling buoyant and starting to re-engage in some serious education debate. Funding is back on the agenda. The political update below gives an overview of these changes. One of our member schools has been accused of discrimination after a gay father withdrew his child with claims of discrimination. The Tassie discrimination case is a situation to watch. It will have far-reaching implications. It is school reporting time again and there is some helpful stimulus for a possible school newsletter editorial. 

In preparing eNews, we have come across an annoying formatting problem. You may have noticed in past issues of eNews that a number of words have a “sp ace” in them. This has become a necessity as there are many words in eNews that are “spam” triggering words. We change the words where we can, but when this becomes problematic, a space is inserted into the word. This is very annoying for those “would be editors” out there, but we beg your indulgence so that eNews does not end up in your junk mail.

Happy reading.


Political Update

With the change of PM and educ ation minister there have been a lot of changes in recent times. Here is an overview…

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This will begin in 2017 for schools that are ready and it is planned to be fully implemented by 2019. The two key benefits are seen as faster processing and far greater use of diagnostic possibilities. Whilst large scale technology projects often have challenges…

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The two major options regarding the present GST debate are: to raise the present rate to 15%; or, to broaden the scope to include some areas presently excluded (food, educ ation and health). One temptation of extending the GST to educ ation (not relevant for state schools) is that it is perceived…

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Funding Again – The Coalition Re-enters the Fray

There has been movement from the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Educ ation Minister Simon Birmingham about funding. The PM’s entry into the debate has seen a renewed focus on educ ation funding. The PM said in an ABC interview when asked about the fifth and sixth years of Gonski funding…

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A Fresh Set of Principles for Funding – Simon Birmingham

In a speech at the launch of the new AISNSW Institute (Thursday 29th Oct), titled ‘Principles for Future National Educ ation Policy’, Senator Simon Birmingham addressed the issue of school funding. He outlined five key principles…

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A Link Between Educational Outcomes and Funding

In an interesting Australian article (Nov 5) Educ ation Minister Birmingham revealed changes to the previously light accountability of the 2014-17 funding guidelines. “Educ ation Minister Simon Birmingham said yesterday that schools would have to justify their spending. The Turnbull government will funnel schools funding to…

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A Challenging Discrimination Case

On Thursday 29th October, a story was reported in the Mandurah Mail of a gay father withdrawing his 7 year old daughter from Foundation Christian College (an hour south of Perth) and claiming he had received discriminatory treatment. It was picked up by all the Perth commercial T.V news…

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Dates for AACS AGM and National Policy Forum

With the Parliamentary Sitting Calendar for 2016 now confirmed, you can put the following dates into your calendar.

AACS AGM – Sunday 22 May 5pm at the Hyatt Canberra.

National Policy Forum – Monday 23 May – Tues 24 May 2016 in the Great Hall. Dinner will be on Monday 23 May.

More details for registration and program will follow.

NSW Prayer Groups

In the wake of reports that a student at Epping Boys High was preaching Islamic State-style extremism the NSW Government required an official audit of prayer groups across the NSW educ ation system to ensure they were properly supervised…

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Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Test Case

Dennis Shanahan in the Australian (13 Nov) reports on an anti-discrimination case that will have far reaching consequences for freed om of religion and speech within Australia. “All Australia’s Catholic bishops have been drawn into a national test case for freed om of religion…

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NSW Christian Schools Roundtable

A newly formed NSW Christian Schools Roundtable has had its first meeting with the NSW Government with Minister Piccoli and senior staff committing to biannual meetings with the minister as well as three meetings a year with the senior bureaucracy to discuss individual issues…

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher Warns Democracy will be Tested by Same S-x Marriage Plebiscite

The SMH (Oct 16) reports that the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher has warned of a future in which bishops are jailed, political dissent is all but silenced, scripture lessons are banned, and religious tax exemptions are eroded, should same-sx marriage be…

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Notices of Non-Compliance

The federal government has formally notified six Islamic schools (affiliated with the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils – AFIC) that they have not complied with the ‘financial management and governance requirements of the Australian Educ ation Act 2013’. This followed an audit of the schools, which identified concerns…

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Ethos Clauses

School Governance writes about ethos clauses that many faith based (particularly Catholic) schools have written into their enterprise agreements for teachers. This is a helpful means for employers to set out their values and the expectation that an employee will align with the school’s values.

Click here for the full article.

New Child Safe Standards to be Introduced in Victoria

All states will be responding to the recommendations of the Se xual Ab use Royal Commission. This will mean that it will be very busy over the next 12 months. In response to its own inquiry, Victoria has introduced new minimum standards that come into place from the beginning of next year. Victorian schools will need to attend…

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Important Royal Commission Report on Reasons Why Schools Fail to Stop Abuse

School Governance (an outstanding newsletter) in their Oct 22nd edition picks up on the latest findings out of the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Se xual Ab use (Royal Commission) commissioned an independent research report on understanding the reasons…

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Mandatory Reporting: Children’s Statements to Teachers About Abuse

The following article comes from Emil Ford Lawyers Educ ation Law Notes (Term 4 2015). One day in 2010 a three year old boy arrived at his preschool in Ohio with a bloodstained eye. Two teachers at the preschool asked the boy ‘who did this to you?’ The boy replied it was his mother’s boyfriend…

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School Structures and Taxes

The whole realm of tax and reporting for ‘not for profit’ organisations is complex and difficult. Within the NFP sector Christian schools are either incorporated associations or Ltd. companies each having different regulators and different…

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The Pillar

Recently Dr Darren Iselin from Heritage College in Brisbane mentioned that I should read the fortnightly posts that Dr Ryan Messmore was posting under The Pillar. It was good to read thought-provoking material and I thought school leaders might be interested in…

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Wardrobes, Witches and Why We Need Logic

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C S Lewis), Professor Kirke listens to Susan and Peter as they wrestle with a conundrum: Is their sister Lucy telling the truth about entering a world called Narnia? Finally, the professor exclaims…

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All our eggs in the phonetics basket?

You might have picked up through some of the articles in this issue, that I’m not convinced about Christopher Pyne’s massive turn towards a ‘back to the basics’ phonics approach for literacy. I agree that phonics and the structures of language need to be taught…

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Facebook Concerns

The West Australian newspaper reports (October 26) under the title, ‘School defamation risk with so cial media’ that schools may be liable for defamatory comments from parents. The following is the opening paragraph from the article. Schools are being warned they could be liable…

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Reporting Time

Here is a good story to pick up in a school newsletter when reports are distributed. The Conversation reports (October 29) under the title, ‘If you want your child to bring home better grades, stop yelling and try this’. “But what about parents? What guidelines…

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Parent Teacher Interviews

An interesting article from the Harvard Family Research Project (Oct 2015) titled ‘Reimagining the Parent-Teacher Conference’ makes some helpful suggestions about ways we could improve this vital meeting between teachers and parents…this time of year: a parent and teacher sit across from each other…

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Seven Myths About Dyslexia Put to Rest

The following interesting article from The Conversation (Oct 22, 2015) reflects on the challenges of dyslexia and how reading is a complicated task and that it can go wrong in many different ways. “As researchers who study dyslexia, we often read articles…

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Welcome to the December AACS Newsletter

Carols are cool in Victoria but not hymns. But what do you do with a carol that is also a hymn? Bizarre new guidelines have descended from on high. The freshness of a new federal minister and some encouraging messages about long term funding and Students with Disabilities (SWD) funding has emerged from Edu cation Minister Simon Birmingham’s desk. The need to secure the finances (in the May budget) and an up-coming election will mean some hard policy should replace the verbal reassurances. The biggest current issue remains matters around discrimination, exemptions and the further squeezing the freedoms for Christian edu cation whether in state schools or our Christian schools. S-xting and por-nography’s impact is also gaining attention. As Principals seek to clear the desk and get home for holidays they might be interested in looking at the findings of the Principal Occupational Well-Being report.

The two must read (if you can’t read all the eNews) articles in this December issue are Paul Kelly’s ‘Same-sx marriage debate’ in the Good Advice section, and David Brooks’ ‘Finding peace’ in the Other Interesting Articles section.

There is no AACS January newsletter so the next AACS eNews will come to you in mid-February.