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Welcome – May Newsletter

What a month it has been. NAPLAN has drawn more commentary than usual particularly after NSW Minister Stokes called for dumping it; the Budget showed the government holding the line on its schools funding approach; the long awaited Gonski 2.0 Report with its promise to overhaul Australian learning arrived (the critique of the industrial metaphor was a shock, though one that should open up useful discussion for some time); and Parliament was again rocked by the citizenship fiasco. There is a lot to report on.

There are two items not to be missed in this newsletter: the SEIROS study (which has been a long time coming) and how it looks at the contribution of Christian schooling to Australian society (check out the suggested newsletter editorial); and the analysis of the Gonski 2.0 Report. You might have already seen this as it was sent out as a separate mailing.

This is my last newsletter as I hand over the reins to Erik Hofsink and Annette Pereira, who will serve AACS members from Canberra. I look forward to introducing them to the AACS members and also the Minister and Shadow Minister. I wish them well in their new roles.

It has been a real honour to serve you as the Executive Officer of AACS. This newsletter has been my main communication mechanism with you and I appreciate it when leaders make use of it to understand the ‘issues at hand’.

My highlights have been: coming to an understanding of the funding model; representing your voice into the religious freedom debates; and sitting in the Parliament to see the passing of Australian Education Amendment Bill in June 2017 (the realisation of a very good piece of policy work). At the other end, I am deeply sorry that we were not able to see the establishment of a structure that could incorporate all of the Christian school groupings into a ‘one voice’ Christian school’s political advocacy body, which would have been a genuine alliance of all groups. Into an increasingly ‘embattled’ context  there is evermore the need to see this objective realised. I hand the baton onto the new AACS executives.

Again, thank you for the privilege of serving in this role. My thanks also to Christine Paech, a trusty and faithful servant of the Lord. I look forward to personally saying farewell to those coming along to Canberra.

Shalom, Martin



It is NAPLAN week. This national test has been in the news for weeks now. After 10 years of operation there has been an enormous amount of…

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Ruddock Review

The Ruddock Review is due to be handed to the Prime Minister by the end of this week 18 May. We will then need to wait as the government considers its…

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Budget – Overview

This year’s budget saw the Turnbull government attempting to balance being fiscally responsible whilst still appealing to voters. Who knows whether this is the pre-election budget or…

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Budget – Chaplaincy

After some strong lobbying by a number of Coalition backbenchers an additional $247m will be provided to the National School Chaplaincy Programme. The program has a new…

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Well Done ‘Staying the Course’ on the Funding Model Minister Birmingham

I have written to Minister Birmingham on a number of occasions congratulating him on his bold policy initiatives – basically the best schools’ funding model that we…

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Introduction to the Gonski 2.0 Review

The Government released the review to Achieve Educa tional Excellence in Australian Schools (also known as Gonski 2.0) on April 30 and said that it will be accepting all the…

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AACS Response to the Gonski 2.0 Review

The Gonski 2.0 report is the most significant Australian educ ational review document since the Melbourne Declaration in 2008. The Report could have far-reaching…

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Other Responses to the Gonski 2.0 Review

In terms of other responses, there have been so many articles and commentaries that it has been difficult to keep up with it all. I have provided three responses…

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Gonski in Push to Boost Status of Teachers

Michael Koziol from Fairfax (April 30) takes a look at some of the ‘teacher’ findings in the Gonski 2.0 Report. These reflections were…

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Ignoring Myschool Data

Research published in the Economic journal has found that schools have largely ignored data on their students’ performance published on the government’s…

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Finkel Calls to Abolish ATAR

Not only is NAPLAN under the pump but the ATAR measuring tool has also copped a hammering after Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel called for radical changes to…

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The Pros and Cons of NAPLAN

In the lead up to the May NAPLAN testing week and after 10 years of operation, there are increased voices questioning the role of NAPLAN within the Australian…

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Why we Need NAPLAN – CIS Report

The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) has been a long term supporter of NAPLAN. In this report they come to its defence whilst suggesting some tweaks. Their conclusion in…

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Andrew Laming Argues that Teachers Should to do an Eight Hour Day

Coalition backbencher Andrew Laming made some interesting comments recently (SMH May 1) by criticising “the soothing” approach to school reforms…

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Purpose Built School for Children with Autism in Queensland

Emmanuel Christian College, an incredibly busy Queensland school of 1600 students has recently opened Josiah College – the first ever school purpose-built for…

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Autism Spectrum Resources

Amaze has released a school resource and lesson plan centred on Spectrospective 2018. This shares individual stories of people on the…

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The Christian School Effect – Australia

There is a good deal of interest amongst Australian Christian educators and parents as to the long-term impact of Christian schooling on students, particularly in relation to the…

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Are Board Members Responsible for a Bad Culture?

In the light of the Banking Royal Commission and the questions about Directors’ responsibilities many Board Members might be wondering about their responsibility for the…

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The Review into Regional, Rural and Rem ote Educ ation

This review into Regional, Rural and Rem ote Educ ation was commissioned last year and its Final Report was released on April 13. It was seeking to address the problem of the…

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Seven Reasons Why People no Longer Want to be Teachers

The Conversation (April 16) discussed the issue of declining interest in the teaching profession giving seven reasons, including…

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Eight Things That Should be Included in Screen Guidelines for Students

The Conversation (April 24) ran this informative piece on managing students’ screen times and making eight positive suggestions concluding with “Technology is important, but so is student health, so we need more comprehensive guidelines.”

Click here for the full article.

Bright Children Must be Helped Too

Cynthia Fenton, a high school teacher, writes in The Age (May 9) putting in her appeal for academically gifted students. This is worth reading and the questions it opens up. She says, “with all the talk of ‘‘differentiation’’, it is the strugglers that are well catered for, not those who crave knowledge from the start.”

Click here for the full article.


Why Our Declining Biblical Literacy Matters

The Conversation (April 16) ran this article on the influence of the Bible within Australia today and yesterday. Here Meredith Lake asks the question, “Does it matter if…

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For the Love of God

The Centre for Public Christianity (CPX) has produced a documentary which takes on honest and hard hitting look at what the church has done. It was released on May 9 and is well worth watching. The CPX overview…

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NZ Kindergarten Teachers Given Tree-climbing Workshop

More than 100 Auckland kindergarten teachers have been ordered to take a tree-climbing workshop in order to be permitted to supervise students tree climbing. An AKA spokeswoman said the…

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