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Welcome Back

Principals and staff have been back for many weeks now, with the hurly-burly of getting ready for the year can send you into over-drive. As we sit in the fast lane, I like what Jamie Smith says about us, “We are disciples of the slow take. As we enter 2017 [our] eyes are peeled to see what others skate past: the beautiful glory of everyday saints who bear the image of the Son.” Enable me do that well this year, Lord.

You would think that over the December – January period politico-educational matters would take a bit of a break, but far from it. International test comparisons, religious freedom inquiries, renewed funding debates, gender politics, the ground-shake and counter-reaction of right wing populism. Sorry about the length of eNews this month. I hope the heading of each article will give enough of an idea of what to read. That being said, I do ask that you (if it is all you have got time for), read Paul Kelly’s article ‘The Rejection of Identity Politics’ – it is a very helpful and enlightening piece.

Sorry about the length of eNews this month. I hope the heading of each article will give enough of an idea of what to read. That being said, I do ask that you (if it is all you have got time for), read Paul Kelly’s article ‘The Rejection of Identity Politics’ – one of the best pieces I’ve read in this area.

Just a reminder – if you come across gaps in “wo rds”, these words are known triggers which will send eNews into your spam. The best way to read the eNews is to use “PRINT VIEW’.

As we venture into 2017 our hope and prayer is that we can enthusiastically live out our faith as we play our part in public life seeking to bring the hope of Christ to our communities.

Shalom, Martin


Short Updates

With Senator Bernardi’s defection, the numbers are: Government – 29, La bor – 26, Greens – 9, Others – 10, Vacant (due to Bob Day and Rod Culleton departures) – 2. For a majority presently the government…

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Seismic Political Shifts and the Boom of Right-Wing Populism

In an interesting overview of 2016 and the political world, three authors in The Conversation (Dec 26) said, “If you had the feeling that…

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How will the Australian Conservatives Go?

The defection of Cory Bernardi led to some articles reflecting on the disaffected ‘right of centre’ vote. Political academic Nick Economou writes a commentary on…

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The Catholic Church Under the Spotlight – The Royal Commission

Since 2013 we have been regularly hearing the shocking tale of ab use within school and church contexts as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child…

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Marriage Bill and Religious Freedom

Along with numerous others, AACS made a submission to the Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment Bill. It was a…

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Review Into 18C – The Racial Discrimination Act

Back in November AG George Brandis asked the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to inquiry into concerns about 18 C & D and whether they imposed unreasonable restrictions…

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Charity Status and Political Involvement

It is no surprise that Cat ch the Fire Ministries has lost its charity status after being so closely connected to the political group Rise Up Australia. Under the Charities Act 2013, promoting…

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Year 1 Phonics and Numeracy Tests

When I first heard that the Minister was progressing on an election promise of requiring Year 1 students to undertake a national phonics and numeracy test, I thought…

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A Sikh Turban – Can School Boards Maintain their Uniform Policies?

One of AACS member schools caught the eye of SBS news January 19 due to an enquiring prospective parent initiating a VCAT hearing on the basis of claiming discrimination. The discrimination complaint being made…

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Does Gender Politics Mean Uniforms are Under Review?

In the present gender identity politics discourse it is no surprise that attention is swinging towards the school uniform. The author of The Conversation (Feb 9) article has the view that schools shouldn’t divide students…

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Gender Theory Banned in Class

The Australian (Feb 9) reports that “NSW public school teachers have been banned from teaching gender theory in the classroom after an independent review into the state’s…

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Safe Schools Coalition Update

There has been a small shift in Victoria as the Andrews’ Government has listened (a little) to critical feedback about who controls the Safe Schools Coalition (SSC) program. The Victorian Government has taken…

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Keeping Australia Day on January 26?

Kevin Donnelly argues in this provocative article that it is worth keeping January 26 January because of all the benefits that western civilisation has brought us, and essentially that…

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Funding Update

Sometimes it feels like each month we could just write ‘ditto’ on the last update, as we await some significant developments in terms of Federal Government long term education…

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The Christian School Voice on Funding

We have received a reply from Minister Birmingham to our updated Statement on Future Funding Priorities. There is nothing surprising in the Minister’s reply with the usual declarations about the amounts being spent and commitments…

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Continuing Claims of an Uneven Playing Fi eld

In the context of seeking to influence the government funding policy, Bernie Shepherd and Chris Bonnor, frequent disparagers of the independent sector, presented their…

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What is the Real Cost?

The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) released (Jan 17) estimated costs of educ ating a child in their marketing approach to get parents to sign up. They said, “The cost of a private…

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Grattan Report – Student Disengagement

A new Grattan Institute report says comprehensive reform is needed to attend to ‘widespread student disengagement in the classroom’. The report ‘Engaging students…

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Finland is Getting Rid of School Subjects

An interesting article in Curious Mind Magazine (Dec 27, 2016) regarding radical change to the Finnish curriculum. Finland has decided to replace subjects with an inter-disciplinary approach, something they believe is…

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Parents and the Home are the Key ‘Shapers’

The Courier Mail’s (Jan 20) refreshing article ‘Parents, not schools, are to blame for our education crisis’. Christian schools make this point all the time, that…

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Indigenous Boarding Schools and ‘Closing the Gap’

AACS made a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs regarding the funding crisis in Indigenous Boarding Schools. The submission’s summary….

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The Rejection of Identity Politics

This brilliant Paul Kelly article is a ‘must read’. Kelly opens his article explaining what, for many of us outside of the US, have found quite perplexing – how could the…

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Registration Troubles in Hobart

All independent schools are concerned about compliance, registration and when the next inspection is coming. Each state has its own system of checking that schools are providing a quality education. Therefore when a…

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Here’s Why Non-Government Schools Work Better

Trust Kevin Donnelly to go for a provocative title. It is probably not helpful for our relationship with the government sector. That being said, he makes some great points…

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Educating Australia Series

During February, The Conversation ran a series that explored ways in which to improve schools in Australia, based on essays from a new book, Educating Australia: Challenges for the Decade Ahead. Some of the sectors most prominent..

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Best of School Governance 2016

School Governance usually offers quite helpful advice. The December 15 newsletter ‘A Year in Review’ listed the 10 most read articles of 2016,,,

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Yard Duty

School Governance (Feb 9) ran an excellent article outlining the issues involved in running a responsible and compliant yard duty roster or program. Whoever is responsible for developing…

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Schools Connected to Churches and Charity Status

Moores Legal ran a story reminding schools about ‘not-for-profit’ requirements. The issue arose after the unsuccessful appeal by Malek Fahd Islamic School in Sydney against the Federal Minister withdrawing…

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Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Tick?

The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission’s (ACNC) new Registered Charity Tick is now available for eligible registered charities. The Tick is available to charities that are up to date with their ACNC reporting. I am unsure about how strongly to promote this: compliance and ‘all things in good order’, obviously, but clogging up your electronic media messages?

Click here if you want to know more about the ACNC Charity Portal.

National Institute

The Institute provides post-graduate courses and accredited professional development for teachers and Christian schools. Please consider using the services of the National Institute for Christian Educ ation. Contact (02) 4773 5888. 

Click here for information regarding their staff.

Does Your School Have a Fundraising Policy?

School Governance (Feb 2) ran a helpful advice piece to assist you think through what needs to be in place for fundraising events. Boards remain responsible and accountable for all fundraising activities even if they are outsourced.

Click here for the full article.


Things You Were Taught at School That Are Wrong

I have often appreciated the reflections of University of Canberra academic Misty Adoniou (frequent writer in The Conversation). This article reminds me why there are so many arguments about the grammar. And, another thing, should this sentence have a comma or begin with ‘and’? Don’t ask me, I get someone who understands the rules of grammar to proofread what I write.

Click here for this fun article.

Has 2016 punched truth in the face?

Jonathan Freeland writes in The Guardian (Dec 17) that “ 2016 has punched truth in the face leaving it bruised and bleeding”. His ‘Don’t call it post-truth…

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The Trump ‘Apocalypse’

Ever since November 8 most of us have been trying to make sense of what has happened in the US political landscape. In his blog ‘See your world through a Christian lens’ Akos Balogh provides four lessons for Australian Christians under the heading, A Christian’s Brief Guide To The Trump “Apocalypse”. An interesting read.

Click here for the article.