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Welcome to the first AACS eNews for 2016. I’m hoping that your school year has started well.

This newsletter picks up on the funding debate that has been reignited by ALP’s full embrace of the Gonski 5th and 6th years. It is also welcome to an election year – things are going to warm up. The findings and resulting implications of the Se xual Ab use Royal Commission and Students with Disabilities continue to be relevant. Whilst everything is important, there are two issues that are ‘must reads’ in this issue and they are both in the ‘Advice’ section: Please give attention to the Child Protection Toolkit and read the article at the end on ‘The relationship between Principal and School Board’. Also the ban on Christmas carols in Victoria will likely to leave your head spinning.


The annual AACS AGM in Canberra is just a few months away. We will have more details about the AACS AGM in next month’s eNews. For the moment note the date and time in your diaries – Sunday May 22nd at 5pm.

Christian Schools National Policy Forum – May 23 & 24th

If you aren’t already registered, please do so as soon as possible. Click here for the link.

Now is also the time to invite your local member or one of your senators (they often miss out) to the Monday evening gala dinner in the Great Hall. Details about the symposium on Wednesday 25th May have also just been released and that promises to be an interesting program – on ‘sexuality issues’ in the school context.


Update Summary

Just when we were thinking that Gonski might be gone, the ALP takes a big dip and places it back on the agenda. It will be an election issue. See the stories that follow. Even though Gonski has grabbed some headlines at the present time the GST debate has swamped all other matters. It would appear unlikely…

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The ALP’s Funding Policy

The ALP has gone early on what has traditionally been a big winner for them. The Your Child Our Future Plan commits the ALP to fully implementing the Gonski funding model agreements for Years 5 & 6 and provides an extra…

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The Contentious Issue of Funding – Extra AACS Comments

Much attention has been grabbed by Labor’s big Gonski funding announcement. One wonders whether their big call (a full Gonski package is expensive – in excess of $30 billion over 10 years) is a little easier because they don’t expect to win government and it sets up a clear line of difference…

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Is There Much That Separates the Parties on Educ Policy?

Academic Glenn Savage writing in The Conversation wrote a fine summary article (Feb 1, 2016) about the few policy differences between the parties except for Gonski funding.

Click here for full article.

Election Preparation

Even though a lower house election must occur before January 14th 2017, we will have an election this year. The pundits presently are forecasting an August – October date because a joint House of Representatives and Senate election…

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Easier for Parents to Volunteer Their Time at School – South Australia (SA)

The South Australian Government has updated its child-related work screening policy to make it easier for parents to volunteer their time at schools and preschools. In response to the Royal Commission (RC) comments about…

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New Child Safe Standards Come into Force in Victoria

In Victorian, the new Child Safe Standards are now law, with all Victorian schools needing to comply with the new Standards from the start of August 2016 as part of their registration requirements. This introduces revolutionary change in relation to…

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Small Change to National Employment Standard (NES) Parental Leave

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act) eligible employees were entitled to take 12 months’ unpaid parental leave (known as the ‘available leave period’), and can request a further ‘up to’ 12 months unpaid parental leave. As of November 27th, 2015 an employer is not permitted…

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Senate Committee Reports on Disabilities

The Senate Inquiry into Students with Disabilities (SWD) has reported on how children with a disability fare at school. We made a joint submission (along with CSA and ASA) and recommended that SWD funding should immediately become a fully funded loading based on…

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Child Protection Toolkit

This whole area of school work and policy is hard going, but it can’t be avoided. This resource is the most up to date, ‘easy to work with’ and comprehensive resource presently available, in my view. The appendices include a sample…

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John Collier, Some Worthy Study Notes

Our friend John Collier, head of St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney, completed a recent study tour of Europe and Scandinavia. He forwarded his study notes and after reading them I couldn’t help back think how worthwhile parts would be for members…

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Risk Management – Attention Business Managers and Principals

Victorian schools were required to sign state funding agreements recently in order to receive 2016 state funding. The contract included a new clause regarding ‘risk management’ where schools were required to…

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Independent Schools are a Broad Church

A new research report from the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) challenges some ‘of the misconceptions and stereotypes associated with public, Catholic and independent schools’. One School Does Not Fit All by Dr Jennifer Buckingham and Ms Trisha Jha, argues that…

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The Northern Territory Narrows a Definition

School Governance ran a story in their January 21st newsletter titled, ‘Northern Territory considers controversial narrowing of child ab use definition’. As we come to grips with the issues that have caused so much…

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Mental Health, Disabilities and Bullying

The attached article from School Governance (January 14th, 2016) is one of those articles that can make you sigh as you think about a school’s duty of care, it’s policies and responsibilities and what school leaders are responsible for. However…

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The Relationship Between the Principal and the School Board

The relationship between a school board and the Principal is a critical one for the health of our schools. This excellent School Governance article (January 14th, 2016) has great suggestions for both principal and school boards to ensure the relationship works well. A great read.

Click here for article.


Christmas Carol Ban is out of Tune

Just before Christmas last year we heard that the Victorian Educ Minister, James Merlino, had issued a ministerial directive that has the effect of banning most Christmas carols within State schools from 2016. On the one hand I might observed that…

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Why was Tony Abbott so Unpopular?

In an interesting article in The Conversation (January 7, 2016) Gregory Melleuish explores the question of Tony Abbott’s leadership style and lack of appeal. Some interesting comments, particularly…

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Do we Take our Fair Share and Does our Practice Have Integrity? – Students with Disabilities

Christian schools operate from the belief that all people are made in the image of God. We see all children as intrinsically valuable and unique. Christian schools are committed to partnering with all families who desire…

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Teachers are Leaving the Profession

The reasons why many teachers do not stay beyond the first five years of teaching are complex. Recent data shows an average of 5.7% (21,404) of teachers left the profession in 2014. We don’t have data for the Christian school sector, it would be interesting to do a comparison…

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The Horrible State of Political Donations

AACS has made a number of representations to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters about the dangers that surround political donations and the need for increased public funding. In an excellent article in The Guardian (January 15th, 2016) Lenore Taylor recommends…

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Pornography Harms Kids

Increasingly a growing body of evidence is pointing to the harmful impacts of early exposure to internet pornography. I’ve run a number of stories that remind school leaders of the need for schools to engage with this issue and develop responses. The findings…

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The New School Year can be a Time of Dread for Parents

Sarah Gill, mother of an ‘ideator’ doesn’t look forward to the start of another school year. She claims that, “Students with learning differences struggle in an…

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2015 the Year that was ‘Educ ation’

Claire Shaw The Conversation’s Educ ation Editor (December 29, 2015) writes a pretty good overview article about Educ ation in 2015 – worth a read. Click here for the article.

Why are our 15 Year Olds Falling Behind in Reading and Writing?

Misty Adoniou (University of Canberra) reflects in The Conversation (December 15, 2015) on the failures of our approaches to literacy teaching. I can’t help but agree with her reflections. The opening section, “Our 15 year olds are continuing to fall behind…

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Labour Day

The Christian Connection series put out by Diduno can be a helpful place to look at key dates, events and people in the history of Australia. Click here for website. 

As Labour Day comes up in WA (March 7), TAS and VIC (March 14) and NT and QLD (May 2), NSW, SA and ACT (have to wait until Oct 3) it might be useful to tell the story of one of Australia’s great Christian labour heroes. Click here for the story.