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Welcome

Welcome to the March newsletter. The big issues remain: How are “religious freedom” and “the right to equality” able to co-exist? As we await the outcome of the Ruddock Inquiry, I would like to again express my profound thanks for the level of political engagement that schools and parents took up over this issue. A significant number of the 17,000 or so submissions came from the religious sector. This amount of interest tells us a lot about the measure of concern that exists in the Australian community for the upholding of religious freedoms.

The PM announced this week that there has been an extension to the March 31 deadline for reporting to May 18. Will the Expert Panel be able to pull the ‘rabbit out of the hat’? As this involves such an outright clash of worldviews, a ready political and legislative solution is unlikely. However, we pray that our nation will find a helpful way forward, which we suggest, should include national legislation that unambiguously protects religious freedom and reframes anti-discrimination law in a way that recognises a positive right to religious freedom.

You can see where my work efforts have been directed of late. There are many other interesting issues that invite your interest.

Happy reading, Martin.

SHORT UPDATES

We have a break from elections for a while after conservative state wins in Tasmania (March 3) and South Australia (March 17). However, there could be more by-elections as the…

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LONG UPDATES

The Bible – a Part of the National Curriculum?

The Australian (Feb 27) ran two stories on the need for all students to study the Bible as a religious text. Rebecca Urban wrote that “Australian students should be required to study…

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ALP’s Catholic Schools $250m Promise

After The Australian reported (March 9) reported that the ALP had promised the Catholic sector an extra $250m over two years, AACS sent off a ‘Media Statement’ of concern. It was reassuring to…

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ALP’s $250m Promise to Catholic Schools Reveals a Funding Horror Story

These two Guardian (March 11) writers (typically very critical of funding to the Independent sector) provide a reasonable overview and critique of the favourable and parochial extra funding offer from the ALP to the Catholic sector.

Click here for the full article.

ALP Victory Fuelled by Catholic Educ ation Backing

The Australian (March 19) ran a story about the influence that a Catholic educ ation sector campaign had on the Batman by-election. In light of the fact that the Greens were…

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Review of SES Model

AACS was able to meet with the National Schools Resourcing Board (NSRB) (Feb 27) as they reviewed the SES Score Methodology. We were able to speak to the submission that AACS had made,,,

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Contrasting Responses to the Usefulness of NAPLAN

After 10 years of NAPLAN testing and no significant improvement in the measured areas of literacy and numeracy there have been increased calls for it to be…

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Will School Chaplaincy Continue?

Lobbying is presently being undertaken in an effort to see the current School Chaplaincy programmes continue. The government is weighing up whether to continue…

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Blueprint to Ditch School Reports and Age as Yardstick for Teaching

The Australian’s Education writer Rebecca Urban (Feb 22) reported on the ACER submission to the Gonski-led Educational Excellence Review. This Review is due…

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Noise Levels Dialled Up as School’s Total Phone Ban Gets Kids Talking

The Age (Feb 20) wrote about a Melbourne school banning students from having access to their phones and requiring them to store their phones in their lockers, even during…

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Serving in an Overseas Schools for a Short Term Placement

Did you know that one of the biggest concerns on the mission fields of the world is finding teachers to work in the schools where the children of Christian workers are…

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ADVICE

Helpful Internet Filtering Resources

At the recent Hobart CEN Executives Conference, Patricia Weerakoon shared some most helpful insights and also provided internet filtering sites that could be most useful for…

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Why I Send My Child to a Christian School

During the recent submissions phase of the Ruddock Inquiry we asked parents to answer the question of why they send their children to a Christian school. Here are a range of responses. This can be a helpful exercise to do during a Parent Seminar. Why not use the examples as a ‘starter’ to help parents begin writing their own stories?

We Need to Support More Men to Become Primary Teachers

The Conversation (March 9) wrote on the growing ‘crisis’ of insufficient male primary teachers, the reasons why this has been occurring and what is the impact. Here are…

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Enjoyment of Reading, Not Mechanics of Reading, Can Improve Literacy for Boys

The Conversation (March 8) writes on building a positive attitude towards reading particularly for boys. The article includes some helpful strategies for success for…

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The Need to Love Your Body

The Gospel Coalition (March 7) interviewed Nancy Pearcey, an American evangelical Christian author. She explained that the secular roots of the moral issues that we are…

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Play-Based Learning at Early Years

In the context of earlier starts for compulsory schooling, earlier national testing regimes and a greater emphasis on prescribed curricula for ‘early years’ I find this sort of article…

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Principal Welfare

The Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey latest annual report shows that threats against principals continue to be a problem, and that…

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How to Help Teenagers Navigate Our Secular Culture

Akos Balogh reviews Chris Parker’s new book ‘The Frog and the Fish’. It is highly recommended for senior school students particularly as a…

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The Creational Goodness of Sports and Comp etition

I heard Mike Goheen present this talk a fair while back when we were asking our PE staff to develop their biblical perspective for their area of teaching. Back then, for those PE staff this was hugely helpful. I saw it more recently on a CARDUS feed. It would be a good article to pass onto your PE staff.

Click here for the article.

OTHER INTERESTING ARTICLES

How Can We Get Along Better?

This Q Commons Miroslav Volf recording (18 minutes) is worth listening to particularly if your staff are addressing a topic like how do we retain our Christian distinctive in a…

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The Long Break

The Conversation (7 March) asks, ‘Should we shorten the long summer break from school?’ I found out some interesting details in this article about holidays that I wasn’t previously aware of.

Click here for the full article.

How Christianity has Actually Shaped Our Values?

Will Jones (London-based Theos Think Tank) reviews Nick Spencer’s book The Evolution of the West and says that Spencer “succeeds admirably in refreshing our memories of what…

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