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Welcome

Welcome to the March edition of eNews. There is so much happening on the political scene and in the world of edu cation. The Safe Schools Coalition debate has dominated the edu cation space for many weeks now. It is not directly a Christian schools issue but it is relevant because it speaks into the much broader ‘culture wars’ issues (political correctness – the acceptable speak and opinion; secularism vs Christianity). Here the stories: Same S ex Plebiscite and Religious Freedom are important reading. Also don’t miss Chris Uhlmann’s (ABC Political Editor) piece on Free Speech. It is great when even the traditionally non-aligned people speak in defence of true ‘tolerance’.

Just a reminder to register for the National Policy Forum if you haven’t done so already, and get on board with year’s AACS AGM Cr uise. 

Martin

Martin for eNews

UPDATES

Short Updates

It is an election year and polling and date speculation dominate the media space. We are hoping that an election campaign will cause the Coalition to release a fresh school funding policy. The timing of the May Budget should tell us…

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Voting Reform and a Possible Double Dissolution Election

A locked-down deal between the Coalition and the Greens on senate voting reforms is likely to pass both houses this week. This reform provides a motivation for a double dissolution election anytime from 1 July where the idea will be to wipe out…

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AACS 2016 Election Campaign

We have sent a pre election pack of materials out to all member schools to assist leaders to be aware of the issues. There is both a summary version and a detailed explanation of the four issues targeted…

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Safe Schools Coalition

This issue doesn’t directly impact Christian schools in that the Safe Schools Coalition (SSC) program is a ‘b uy in’ and only mandatory for state schools in Victoria by 2018. However on a broader level the politics of…

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Marriage Plebiscite and Legislation Preparation

If local schools are successful in having their local federal representative come out to vi sit the school, the following issue can be added to the discussion list. In preparation for the upcoming plebiscite, it is understood that the government will be preparing the draft of a revised form…

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AACS AGM

Recently you will have received an invitation for the AACS AGM Cr uise on Sunday 22nd May from 4 pm till 6 pm. This invitation is open to all AACS members (and partners) who might be in Canberra for either the CEN Conference and/or the National Policy Forum. You are invited to High Tea a board the MC Southern Cross, moored at the Southern Cross Y acht C lub Boat Jetty, 1 Mariner Place, Yarralumla, Canberra. Please RSVP to Christine Paech (Executive Assistant) before 22nd April as bookings for this cr uise are essential. 

Click here for more details.

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Unity Amongst Christian Schools – One Advocacy Body

We are sometimes asked why the different Christian school bodies aren’t more unified and what processes are happening to achieve this unification. As most members would be aware there have been many debates and models discussed over the years. The g oal of one unified…

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Christian Schools National Policy Forum – 23 & 24 May

If you aren’t already registered for the Christian Schools National Policy Forum , please do so as soon as possible. Click here for the link. If you are coming along, have you invited your local member or one of your senators (they often miss out) to the Monday evening gala dinner in the Great Hall?

Symposium – 25 May

Christian schools are concerned about the safety and well-being of all students. How are we to best understand and respond to the needs of students identifying as…

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Select Committee on School Funding Investment

This committee was obviously set by Labor and the Greens to embarrass the government regarding edu cation funding. The committee is to inquire on the effect of reduced Commonwealth funding for state and territory provided schools. The report is due by 30 August 2016. The AACS submission is closely aligned to our material in the Election Campaign brochure on Fair Funding.

Click here for AACS submission. 

School Enrolment Numbers – the Latest Data

The Bureau of Statistics has released its latest data on school enrolment and the growth of the non-government sector has slowed and plateaued for the first time in forty years. “Between 2014 and 2015, the number of students enrolled in schools in

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Closing the Gap – Annual Report

The 8th Annual Closing the Gap statement has been presented by the Prime Minister. The PM called for the many successes not be overlooked, or left uncelebrated, whilst recognising that in many areas the progress was mixed and that the gap…

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Students With Disability Data and Funding – ‘A System in Crisis’

Edu cation Editor, Natasha Bita, ran a big feature in the past Weekend Australian on the Nationally Consistent Col lection of Data (NCCD) which to date has been ‘under wraps’. According to Bita 19.4% of students nationally has a…

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National Disability Insurance Scheme National Framework

The National Disability Ins urance Agency has released its national framework to help support children with developmental delay or disability. The framework is based on evidence that early intervention…

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Male Teacher Numbers Dwindling

The ABC reports that male teachers have become a rare sight in primary schools across Australia, and, as the number of men enrolling in edu cation dwindles, there are concerns that they could become a thing of the past…

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South Australian Equal Opportunity Review

The South Australian (SA) Law Reform Institute is conducting a consultation on the exceptions to the SA Equal Opp ortunity Act and reporting back to the government. Presently there exists a religious institutions exemption that allows Christian schools to…

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Australian Law Reform Commission – Inquiry on Religious Freedom

The Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) fi nal report into Traditional Rights and Freedoms (ALRC Report 129) was released on 2nd March. The ALRC’s recommendations do not automatically become law. The Australian Government considers the…

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ADVICE

Religious School Loses its Funding

The media were all over a story regarding the Australian Government revoking millions of funding dollars to a very large Sydney Islamic school. Reports said the school was unable to address ‘significant concerns about their…

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Free Speech and the Culture Wars

In an excellent article, titled There was a time when journalists backed free speech the ABC Political Editor, Chris Uhlmann (The Australian, Feb 20) takes on his fellow journalists for the contradiction of support free speech but then shutting down those…

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Children’s Access to Inappropriate Online Sites can have Devastating Repercussions

Many principals will have examples of inappropriate student behaviour, where the assumption would be…

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Q Commons – A Great Think Tank

Retired AACS Executive Officer, Bob Johnston, recently made it to the Q Commons Symposium in Sydney, one of 60 separate locations around the world late last week. Q Commons is…

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John Collier’s Report on European Christian Schooling

Click here for the second installment of John Collier’s report, pages 67-74. 

Victorian Schools Axe A to E grades in Light of Updated Guidelines

This is welcome news, that Victorian schools have axed the A to E grades, as schools are now given greater flexibility in their reporting system. Some Victorian schools are scrapping…

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Former Student Sues Victorian Educ Department

We printed an article from School Governance (March 3rd) last month on the topic of students alleging that they were the victims of homophobic bullying and intimidation. School leadership need to make sure it has its…

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OTHER INTERESTING MATTERS

A Clash Between Commonwealth and State Anti-Discrimination Laws

I have wondered about the possibility of a contradiction between state and commonwealth anti- discrimination law might be resolved. Typically, Commonwealth legislation should prevail over state legislation, if they are covering identical fields. However, the focus…

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Separating Students on Ability – ‘Is a Failure’

About 98 % of Australian secondary schools use some form of streaming, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Despite this very high percentage, “a literature review published in the Australian Journal of Edu cation this month said…

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Australian Child Wellbeing Project Report

A new report on student well-being finds that while most young people are satisfied with school, too many are being bullied, missing school, or not getting enough to eat. The report is based on the responses of…

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Some Good Press – Covenant Christian School ACT

In a Canberra Times (Feb 8th) article responding to a report about non-government school fee rises, Covenant Christian School in Gordon, ACT, comes out quite positively. It is great to get some good press.

Click here to read more. 

Just for Fun

This obvious ‘tongue in cheek’ send up landed in trouble when it was sent out to school parents in a mass email. The story, ‘Elementary school under fire after sending ’embarrassing’ prank document to parents’ (News.com 20 Feb) comes from a primary school in the US state of Delaware.

Click here for the story.