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Federal parliament is back and budget repair, the SSM plebiscite, 18C and free speech are the topics of the day. In Victoria the big issue is the proposed changes to the Equal Opportunity Act which will introduce ‘inherent requirements’ and limit the authority of Christian schools over their employment policy. It is an important issue because many other states could follow Victoria’s lead if it gets through. Another month of issues to get across.

Enjoy the read. Martin


Short Updates

Greens leader has switched Senators Nick McKim and Sarah Hanson-Young between the educ ation and immigration (aka – asylum-seekers) portfolios. The Greens call this portfolio area…

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Funding Update – Long Term Budgeting

It is suggested that Business Managers note this information for budgeting purposes. The Coalition will not be able to enact this longer term education funding policy (Budget 2016) without changing the Australian Education Act 2013 because of the Act’s formulated…

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A New Battle Looming Over Funding

Boston says, “Gonski is now history” delivering a pessimistic account of the state of schools funding. Five years, two federal elections and three educ ation ministers after the landmark…

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The Marriage Plebiscite

At the time of writing the government’s plebiscite on SSM will only get off the ground if the ALP supports it, with the Greens and enough other cross-bench senators announcing they will vote against its…

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Has 18C of the Federal Radical Discrimination Act Gone too far?

Free speech and 18C of the Federal Radical Discrimination Act has been receiving a lot of attention. Tony Abbott said he shouldn’t have dropped it. Will the Coalition pick up…

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Why is it so Hard to go up Against the PCC?

Michael Sexton in The Australian (Aug 16) says that the politically correct class (PCC) has no tolerance for differences of opinion. He says…

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FFF Melbourne Conference – September 23

Join with lawyers, academics and policy makers for a one day FFF conference with keynote speakers including Father Frank Brennan and Mark Dreyfus QC (Former Attorney General and Member for Issacs). Other speakers include…

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The Victorian E O Debate

Changes to E O legislation and how affects Christian schools has been a see-sawing thing in Victoria since 2009. As promised the Andrews ALP government has…

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The Institute for Civil Soc iety

The Institute for Civil Soc iety is a new think tank which promotes recognition and respect for the institutions of civil soc iety which…

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Heathdale Christian College

The DLP member for Western Metropolitan in the Victorian Upper House, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins wrote in a recent post (Sept 5) — “Last Tuesday I had the privilege of attending the commissioning service of…

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Religious Instruction – Queensland Update

We have been awaiting the outcomes of a review and decision by the Palaszczuk Government regarding reformed guidelines for religious instruction in Queensland state schools. From what is known so far the Queensland government won’t go so far as their counterparts in Victoria – effectively removing it from the curriculum. It is likely that enrolment forms will be changed to an explicit ‘opt in’, i.e. ensuring only students whose parents explicitly give permission for their child to attend religious instruction take part in the classes.

Who Gets What? The Long and the Short of it – Senate Seats

The major parties have agreed to use the order-of-election method to determine who gets the three and six year seats. Below are the long term seats and the short term seats follow in the second table. Long term senators Short term senators Click here for the full article.

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Gender Dysphoria (GD)

The Australian has been running a bit of a campaign against the Safe School Coalition (SSC) ideology. This article (Sept 2) seeks to understand why cases of gender transitioning are increasing. In previous…

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VET Data Review

Many of our secondary schools have some involvement with VET. Schools with Trade Training Centres even more so. The federal minister for Vocational Educ ation and Skills has called for submissions into a review of VET data. If you have something worthwhile to say – submissions close Sept 16.

“The objectives of national VET data collec tion are to increase the transparency and efficiency of the VET sector, to support understanding of Australia’s VET market, and to enhance management of the national training system. This helps students, business, industry, training providers, regulators and governments to make informed choices.”

Click here for further information.

New Educ ation Authority in NSW Replaces BOSTES

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports (Aug 19) that, “A new, beefed-up independent authority will have the power to close non-compliant schools and conduct random unannounced

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Hope, Engagement and Well-being Linked to Students’ Future Success

Quite a number of AACS schools have undertaken Gallop’s HOPE survey, which Gallop says is a holistic approach to measuring student success. The results have been at times challenging but…

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How does your School Deal with ‘Problematic’ Parents?

“Does your school have a culture of openness regarding parent complaints? Do you have documented processes in place to deal with problematic or aggressive parents?” School Governance (Aug 18) contributed a very helpful article on working with parents through good and fair process and procedures. A most worthwhile read with other helpful links.

Click here for the full article.

Schools Responding to Harm Being Done to Australian Children

It was hoped that the Senate inquiry into the harm being done to Australian children through access to explicit material on the Internet would assist schools to develop policies and programs responding to the…

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Damaging our Children’s Future

I have been running any new material that I think is sensible and balanced and that might assist Christian Schools in dealing with the challenges of ready access within the…

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What will School Educ ation Look like by 2020?

This excellent piece of data crunching, well captured into graph form was written by the Conversation Educ ation Editor Claire Shaw (August 31). The article covers:

  • Primary school student boom which started in 2008
  • The numbers differ between states
  • Teachers working outside of their expertise
  • Too few male teachers; gender imbalance
  • Teaching is an increasingly part-time occupation.

Click here for the full article.

Raising the Status of Teaching

The Conversation ran a series written by in their areas that addressed ways in which teacher education could be improved. In this article (Sept 2), ex ACARA Chair Barry McGaw reflects on the ways to raise the status of teaching by raising selectivity of initial teacher education and membership of the teaching profession. There are some challenging propositions.

Click here for the full article.

Australians Together – Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People Working Together

Recently, I met with Sue Starling (Christian school leader of many years now working with Australians Together), to chat about this most important work. On their website it states that…

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Ten Key Elements for Child Safe Organisations Nation-Wide

The Royal Commission has released (Aug 18) another interim report and publication that identifies 10 key elements for creating child safe institutions. It is based on research that would…

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Father-Friendly Parenting Program Launches

The University of Sydney launched ParentWorks this week (Aug 22). ParentWorks is Australia’s first online-only, nationally available, evidence-based, father-friendly free parenting program. ParentWorks aims to increase the participation of both parents to improve outcomes for families and soc iety, and is accompanied by the release of a series of videos, the ‘Father Effect’.

Click here for the link to ParentWorks.

Want to Improve NAPLAN Sco res? Teach Children Philosophy

Here is a “strange” plug for philosophy. Whenever I see something that critiques the mainstream approach and the dominance of NAPLAN wagging the educ ational dog, my ears pick up.

Click here for the full article.

NAPLAN Online Position Paper – APPA

The Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) paper on NAPLAN Online is a worthy read. It expresses concern about perceived logistical and fairness issues with NAPLAN Online testing, particularly in regards to…

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Has Spending Gone up While Student Achievement has Stalled or Declined?

The claims and counter claims about whether school funding has increased; are there linkages between funding and performance; and which direction have Australian results gone – it’s all very confusing. The Grattan Centre undertook a FactCheck on some of the claims, in The Conversation (Sept 7).

Click here for the full article.

Supporting Students with Autism in the Classroom: What Teachers Need to Know

In supporting teachers with students on the spectrum, it is sometimes helpful to show them an article like this one from The Conversation (Sept 8).

Click here for the full article.

Doct ors in Schools – What are the Boundaries?

The Victorian Government is running a pilot program in that places a doct or in 100 Victorian government secondary schools for up to a day a week. This is an interesting debate about the limits and boundaries of state, school and home authority. On the one hand we would applaud the care of the whole child and particularly wanting to see children being assisted, who are otherwise not getting acc ess to medical assistance when they need it. On the other hand we don’t think the state should usurp the parents in having prime responsibility for the health of the child. We would want to be reassured that parents are being informed and providing consent.

Click here for the full article.


Talented Teachers Crushed by Administrivia

Julia Baird writing for Fairfax Media (August 13) reflects on the story of a brilliant and inspiring, but ‘burnt out’, and now self-described ‘recovering teacher’, Gabbie Stroud. There are so many worthwhile…

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Fearing Men in Schools will do More Harm than Good

The Age (Sept 4) had a great story on the vital role of men in teaching and being role models to boys. The statistics point to an increasing imbalance of male to female teachers, particularly in…

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Students are not Hard-Wired to Learn in Different Ways

In The Conversation (Sept 5), Melbourne Uni academic Stephen Dinham critiques the notion that students are hard wired for different learning styles. The research does not support the claims and at best, he argues, it simply reflects differences and preferences and doesn’t rate on the performance register. This is an interesting article.

“The reason researchers roll their eyes at learning styles is the utter failure to find that assessing children’s learning styles and matching to instructional methods has any effect on their learning.”

Click here for the full article.

The Problem of ‘All-or-Nothing’ Re-engineering

In his brilliant Comment editorial James K A Smith critiques the revolutionary ideas of the left and the right which use as their platform an assumption that what they are correcting is a static place, rather than recognising the forebears. This is worth reading. Here is one paragraph:

“What has been eclipsed in our revolutionary age is precisely a robust vis ion for reform as a wise, strategic, faithful pursuit of justice and the common good. There might be ways to effect change that don’t require scorched earth, all-or-nothing reengineering of everything that’s preceded us.”

Click here for the full editorial.

Does Homework Work for You?

A Texas teacher’s homework policy went viral when one of her student’s parents posted the letter on Facebook. The teacher said, “homework just wasn’t working for her classroom anymore. So, she decided to make meaningful change… [Students] work hard all day. When they go home they have other things they need to learn there. I’m trying to develop their whole person; it’s not beneficial to go home and do pencil and paper work.”

Click here for the full article.

Top 10 Findings on Teens and the Bible

I have no idea of what the Australians results would look like but I suspect the place and importance of the Bible among Australian teens is nowhere near that of their US counterparts. Research conducted by the Barna Group in Faith and Christianity (Aug 26).

Click here for the summary of the findings.

Bring Back Risky Play

There’s a movement in Canada to bring back risky play for children because they say the ‘safe’ pendulum has swung too far towards cotton wool. Go the movement I say.

Click here for more.