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Welcome to the April Newsletter, my second last. As has been previously announced and because of my declining health I’ll be ‘hanging up the boots’ and handing over to two very competent people later in May. There is more on that announcement below.

It will be sad, but good, to say goodbye in the context of our annual gathering at the AACS AGM in Canberra in May. It is into that Canberra setting that the bulk of my work has been focused so a ‘wrap-up’ in that context is fitting.

Quite a range of issues have cropped up this month. It is good to have a bit of a break from funding and religious freedom (important as they may be). My favourite is the rant from a UK teacher that basically says, “let teachers teach” (see I Know the Real Source of Our Classroom Rot).

Blessed are the readers for their minds will be filled (hopefully with good things like wisdom and reflection).

Just a reminder – you will find words throughout the newsle tter with spaces in them. Unfortunately there are many simple words like joy, team and education which are spam triggering words which will spin the newsletter into your spam folder. To avoid this happening we put a sp ace in the words. It is slightly annoying but necessary. 

Shalom, Martin.


Every few years, as suits the political cycle, ISCA and AHISA hold a key one day political briefing event which is planned for August 20 in Canberra. Details are…

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New Leadership for AACS

Welcome Erik Hofsink and Annette Pereira. I am delighted to be able to write to you about the change in AACS leadership. As you are no doubt aware, due to declining health of our AACS Executive Officer…

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AACS Annual General Meeting – May 20

A reminder to RSVP to the AACS AGM event as soon as possible as places are limited.

Click here for all the details. 

National Policy Forum 2018 Update

You can still register for the National Policy Forum which is organised by CSA in Canberra on May 21-22, with the optional extra of the symposium on May 23…

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It is likely that the Chaplaincy program will continue with the hope that the Federal Government will commit to extending “funding for the program in the 2018 budget. Groups of…

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Catholic Schools Aren’t All the Same and Gonski 2.0 Reflects This

If you are after a simple explanation of Gonski 2.0 funding here it is. Peter Goss from The Grattan Institute again provides an overview of the present funding context and goes onto…

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I Know the Real Source of Our Classroom Rot

This article is an insightful ‘rant’ by a disgruntled UK teacher who after 30 years of teaching was fed up with the “permanent revolution of change – an unending…

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The Phonics Check

Jennifer Buckingham wrote in The Conversation (April 10) about a trial in South Australia. I would confess to being one of those initially quite alarmed about bringing in a new…

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Is the ATAR ‘Everything’?

A new paper from the Mitchell Institute, Crunching the number: Exploring the use and usefulness of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), examines the way different sectors use…

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Criticising NAPLAN

It is fairly easy to criticise NAPLAN. I have always attempted to find the middle ground that expresses the usefulness of NAPLAN, particularly as a simple diagnostic tool for…

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Why Migrant Kids do Better?

According to The Conversation (April 3) Australians from some migrant backgrounds, particularly students from the Philippines, China and India consistently achieve better…

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Schools Need to Educate, not Just Tra in

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald ran a pretty good editorial in response to NSW Edu cation Minister Rob Stokes touching a nerve when “he criticised the current heavy emphasis on…

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Risky Playgrounds Build Resilient Children According to Educators in New Zealand

According to Stuff NZ childhood experts have said that many children are not being challenged enough in playgrounds because of adults’ safety concerns which they claim can have a…

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New Leadership at Australian Christian Lobby

The Australian’s Inquirer (March 31) reports under the title “ACL’s Martyn Iles on mission to put traditional values at heart of political process”. Here are the three…

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NCCD Data and School Census Changes in 2018

The NCCD on School Students with Disability (NCCD) will be included in the main Census, rather than sitting outside, as happened last year. That means moving this…

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School Boards: Accountability, Governance and the School Community

Recently there have been several high profile cases involving non-government school boards and principals coming under fire from school communities and attracting…

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What is the Christian School Impact?

Our partners in North America, Cardus continue to undertake outstanding research work into faith formation, the impact of Christian schools, and what is the…

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Great Research Insights from Beth Green and Trevor Cooling

Another gem from Cardus is this conversation between Beth Green and Trevor Cooling (Professor of Christian education at Canterbury Christ Church University) about his…

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When Religious Freedom and LGBTI Rights Intersect

The Conversation (March 27) included this article – a very good overview of how our society looks at discrimination and the function of exemptions. I thought it was a…

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How to Play as the ‘Away’ Tea m Before a Hostile Crowd

Akos Balogh in his blog ‘See your world through a Christian lens’ (March 6) reflects on how Australia has changed. “To use a sporting analogy, Christians used to be…

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The Role of Online Information Sources in Parental Decision-Making About Schools

Ten years ago Education Minister Julia Gilliard took NY education specialist’s Joe Klein advice regarding keeping schools accountable via national testing and…

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J oy and Data

What a title! This is the title of the inaugural (ten years back) Australian Learning Lecture, delivered by Sir Michael Barber. It is a paper well worth reading. Have things changed and are we…

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A Broad, Interdisciplinary, Innovative Approach to Teaching Science

What an article! In my opinion – a compulsory read for science educators. The former chief scientist of Australia Robin Batterham argues for a broad, interdisciplinary, innovative approach to…

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Online Safety

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has produced a comprehensive online safety resource sheet (April 2018) a resource worthwhile to share with parents.

Click here for the resource sheet.


How to Make the Most of Reading to Your Children

The Conversation (April 2) provides five tips that can help parents read with their children – a wonderful theme for a school newsletter editorial. “Reading to your child is one of the most successful ways of…

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Victorian Principal Rebels Against School System and Gets Results

“Education HQ has reported on a Melbourne school, Templestowe College – a school with no year levels, no set subjects and which offers no…

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An Interesting Alternative Approach to Teacher Trai ning

The Australian (March 28) reports that “Victoria University’s innovative block teaching system, in which students study one subject at a time during an intensive four-week period, has…

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Why the Australian Christian Right has Weak Political Appeal

The Conversation (13 April) included an interesting article on the Christian influence in the political realm. The author says, “Conservative Christians in Australia have attempted to mobilise religion in…

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