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.