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From the CEO

So, what’s next?

I don’t know what your personality is like, but mine tends to be a bit of a ‘what’s next?’ type. I look forward to the next opportunity, the next challenge, and even (don’t cringe), the next meeting. You can imagine that I wrestle quite a bit with the discipline of quiet, reflective time with God and I can be a bit of a whirlwind for my peers. I have my strengths and I have my weaknesses (which strangely often look quite similar). As much as I am keen to bring you the ‘what’s next’ in the CEN space, I am also mindful that we will be reflective, listen to our members (yes, you) and grow together. Our organisation has experienced a lot of change over the last few years and even though you might be sick of the mantra of ‘Stronger Together’ I’m afraid you’ll be hearing it for some time yet as we are determined to ensure that each of our member associations and schools feel a part of the greater network of CEN.

We are in interesting times as Christian schools and it is so important that we constantly review what we are doing to ensure that we are relevant to the changing world around us. I have picked up the book “Disappearing Church” by Mark Sayers, as recommended by Ken Dickens at the National Conference and see in this book the great opportunity we have to be the “Head, Heart, Hands” of God in the education environment. We do things differently because it matters. We want our kids to have purpose in this world and we have so much to offer as an alternative perspective to what is being offered by our increasingly secularised society. Let’s not be afraid, let’s commit to being stronger together. Now there’s an idea!

Ken Dickens Resigning

It was announced at the end of April, that Ken Dickens had notified the board of his intention to resign as principal of the National Institute for Christian Education at the end of this year. This is a significant change to CEN and the National Institute after Ken’s 16 years of leadership and vision; both being instrumental to the shaping and growing of our organisation. Ken’s passion to lead teachers, young and old, towards deeper thinking and a transformed perspective is something we deeply treasure and respect. Although we are thrilled that Ken will continue to enlighten us and challenge us through his affiliation with the Institute, we are challenged by the change this new day brings. Please pray for the task force that is behind the recruitment of a new person for the National Institute to a newly developed role of Director of the National Institute for Christian Education.

Following is the communication from board to CEN members about Ken’s retirement:


Dear members of the CEN community,

We are writing on behalf of the National Board of CEN to advise you of some of the changes underway at CEN. It is with sadness and a sense of expectation that we announce the resignation of Ken Dickens as the Principal of the National Institute for Christian Education. Ken will conclude this role at the end of 2016, but we are thrilled that he will continue contributing to the CEN movement as an adjunct lecturer with the National Institute.  We will have the opportunity to farewell Ken appropriately at the AGM in 2017.

The Board of CEN and the National Institute have conducted a thorough review of the way in which NICE has been operating to ensure its long term future. As a result of the review, the Board has made the decision to appoint a full time Institute Director.  This person will be appointed to lead the Institute and develop and immediately implement a strategic plan for its long term sustainability in providing the rigorous intellectual stimulus that has helped our community of schools fulfil our vision and mission.

We envisage that this role will be filled by no later than January 2017. 

Gerry Beimers
CEN President

Michelle Dempsey

Recent AGM and National Conference

The recent CEN National Conference and AGM held in Canberra was a great encouragement to all board members and school executives who attended. Keynote speakers encouraged and inspired us with the foundations of Christian education, research into leadership and vision in Christian schools, and an overview of the history and current context of Christian schools in Australia.

The Annual General Meeting of the CEN membership saw no major decisions being made. However, we are pleased to announce that David Grey and Mark Steyn were re-elected to serve on the board.


New Members Associations

We welcomed Covenant Christian School (ACT) as a new member and Wycliffe Christian School as a returning member to Christian Education National.  


The Board

The CEN National Board consists of:

Anne Baker (Director)

Gerry Beimers (Chair/President)

Yvonne Bradley (Deputy Chair)

Geoff Brisby (Director)

Susan Goudswaard (Secretary)

David Grey (Treasurer)

Bill Rusin (Director)

Mark Steyn (Director)

Veronica Vanderree (Director)

John de Jong (Director)

Click here for images and contact details



Click here to download Ryan Messmore’s 2 keynote addresses

Recent Graduation

In March the National Institute for Christian Education celebrated with 20 teachers the completion of their postgraduate studies in Christian education. Six students completed their 4-unit Graduate Diploma of Education. Nine students completed the 8-unit Masters of Education, and five completed the Masters of Education (Leadership) course. We were honoured to participate in the formal graduation ceremony with Morling College on the campus of the Kings School, Sydney. It was exciting to see these CEN teachers and school administrators fulfilling this accomplishment in the furthering of their higher education preparation as qualified Christian educators and  leaders. 

Anniversary Celebrations

It has been a real privilege to be a part of the anniversary celebrations at 2 of our schools this year. And, the celebrations continue at Tyndale Christian School in a few weeks time. Rehoboth and Tyndale are both celebrating their 50th anniversaries whilst Leighland celebrates its 40th. I was so delighted at the Rehoboth celebration to see the effort the community had gone to, to honour the forefathers and founders of the school. A classroom had been set up to reflect what the school had been like in 1966 and the re-dedication service was moving in it its recognition of the hard work and dedication of the founding association. The celebrations have all been marked by a beautiful recognition of humble foundations and a God who can do all things.

Non-Government Schools Financial Performance Survey

After twenty five years of running the Prudential Health Watch for CEN schools, the CEN Board has decided to endorse a new partnership with Somerset Education from 2016 onwards.

The decision is based on providing improved and proactive reporting and to ensure benchmark reporting remains a standard practice in all our schools. We are very grateful for the 25 years that Bob East has been running the Prudential Health Watch and he has certainly provided a very good service to our schools. Bob will continue to provide advice to CEN schools and offer his expertise during the transition period.

Click here for more information on Somerset Education and the financial performance survey.


So how will this affect your school? The new partnership will:

• provide access to the expertise of Somerset Education
• provide online data entry which will significantly streamline the process
• enable schools to benchmark their financial performance against many more similar schools outside CEN
• highlight areas where ratios depart significantly from selected group averages
• continue to provide CEN access to individual school data and reports so that we can maintain our services and advice to our member schools

You will receive a customised benchmarking report for your school—this will be a snap shot of the year just completed. A report providing comparisons with previous years is an optional extra report, as is a report applying the same analysis to up to four budget years (Somerset Key Indicators (SKI) Report).

The additional reports are optional at an additional cost. However, the SKI report in particular will provide significant benefit for schools to be proactive in planning and budgeting. This will ensure sustainable financial performance which then strengthens decision making with boards and leadership teams.

CEN schools will be in a Christian Education National Grouping within the Somerset Survey to ensure that we can benchmark against our own schools. It will also provide an overall health assessment of our schools to CEN. Forming a benchmarking group will be more straight forward, either by the school for an individual report or more generally by forming a reporting group held by Somerset.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact David Grey, CEN Board Treasurer, at or 0409 132 284.

Launch of the NSW CEN Hub

CEN Hub – a company fully owned and managed with CEN NSW/ACT and committed to working together in Christ in the support of schools – was launched on Friday 20th May just before the CEN National Conference and AGM in Canberra. Thank you to everyone who attended this event and shared with the CEN NSW/ACT team in this exciting new step towards further supporting the needs of our schools.

Imagine a context where with in one sitting the State Education Act was amended to include a range of new requirements relating to governance of schools in the non-government sector  with a  requirement of school boards to demonstrate structures, policies, procedures and evidences of compliance with these amendments and the amendments being enacted immediately? Welcome to the world of CEN NSW schools! (As a by-note, these amendments have proven to be excellent and highly useful for our Boards to ensure they are meeting their legal requirements as responsible Persons under law).  For school leaders – Boards and Executives – the work begun in CEN Hub has already enabled a consistent, high quality response for all member schools in this one example and a range of others.

CEN Hub has come out of a deep desire of schools to not have to reinvent everything multiple times over in each individual school. Rather, to support schools by providing a hub for business and compliance resources that are quality controlled and readily accessible. We are committed to being a first-call centre for schools to run ideas and questions past as well as providing specific service delivery. CEN Hub is literally a “hub” – linking schools with services across our network and beyond. At CEN NSW/ACT, our vision is to build up school communities so they can fulfil their God-given purpose of providing education that takes all of the Bible into all of life. We believe that this involves partnership, responsive discipleship and loving accountability that supports how we do business and compliance as a network of like-minded schools.

Schools need now, more than ever, resources to help meet the ever-increasing compliance and educational demands. CEN Hub assists schools to address these from a uniquely Christian perspective.

CEN Hub member schools have access to:

  •         Compliance services – developed, audited and regularly monitored policies to meet registration requirements. Ongoing development of new policy documents and associated templates for schools.  Compliance networking and access for assistance.
  •         Risk management frameworks, policy and workshop
  •         Management of and provision of resources to schools for NSW Ombudsman requirements under the class or kind determination (and other statutory requirements as they arise). Liaison with ACT government relating to ongoing development of Child-safe policies and practices.
  •         Business  services advice
  •         Industrial relations contact and initial advice regarding general areas of compliance.

CEN Hub may also provide the following user-pays services, pending school interest:

  •         Pre-Registration school consultancy
  •         Compliance audit
  •         Payroll services – would need 100 staff across schools to make this viable)
  •         Accounts payable services
  •         BAS lodgement

Head Heart Hand – A New Resource

We were pleased to launch a new resource for schools at our recent National Conference. In its basic form, this is a glossy picture story book that winsomely unfolds the vision of Christian education. It is as a ‘coffee table book’ that has been produced in an affordable form such that a school might give one to all prospective families with their prospectus and have a number on the reception counter etc. It’s a beautiful publication.


We are also offering as suite of customisation options. You could choose from magazine style or book format and from the following options to make it flavoured for your school:

  • Some of the text customised
  • Some of the images customised
  • All of the text customised
  • All of the images customised

Click here for all options and pricing and to make an order

NZ Study Tour

There has been strong interest in the study tour of New Zealand being held from the 9th – 18th October this year.  Plans are coming together well and we are just finalising numbers.  A couple of people have pulled out so there are a few spots left if you would like to join this adventure. Kathy Pereira and Michelle Dempsey are leading the tour, so fun is guaranteed.  

Click here for an overview of the itinerary and further details.

Postgraduate Study Intensives

The National Institute for Christian Education is offering two study intensives this year. These will be in July in New South Wales and in Western Australia. Intensives are a great way to launch a postgraduate unit and and to begin study in a collaborative context face to face with an Institute lecturer. 

The details are as follows:

New South Wales
Wagga Wagga Christian College
18 – 21 July

Western Australia
Rehoboth Christian College
14 – 15 July

Click here for more information and an expression of interest

Professional Development Update

A large number of CEN and other schools have embraced the professional development resources/workshops developed by the National Institute already this year. Many more are booked for a Institute presenter to visit the school to take the staff/teachers (and sometimes community members) through Christ-centred, biblical worldview workshops all with the aim of inspiring teachers (and staff and parents) with the vision of Christian education through quality teaching and learning.

Certificate of Christian Education
The flagship professional development offering is the Certificate of Christian Education (CCE) suite.

Click here for more information on the CCE’s

Certificate of Christian Practice
The Certificate of Christian Practice (CCP) suite is delivered by our team of experienced school educators and presenters.

Click here for more information on the CCP’s

All Professional development can be used towards PD hours. The CCE (Design) and CCE (Deliver) and all CCP’s are accredited and provide 6 hours of accredited PD.


Professional development to date in 2016:

  • NT Christian Schools – CCE
  • Richmond Christian College – CCE
  • Wycliffe Christian School – CCE
  • Mountains Christian College – Certificate or Christian Education (Deliver)
  • King’s College – CCE (Design)
  • Heritage Christian School – CCE (Deliver)
  • Strathalbyn Christian College – CCE (Design)
  • Christian Schools Tasmania –  CCP (New Teacher Induction)
  • Torrens Valley Christian School –  CCE (God’s Story)
  • Sutherland Shire Christian School –  CCE
  • Covenant Christian School (VIC) –  CCP (Teaching Mathematics)
  • National Office –  CCP (New Teacher Induction)
  • Annandale Christian College –  CCE
  • Nepean Christian School –  CCE


Future PD Events:

You might have a member of your team that might like to join one of these?

  • 5 Nov Strathalbyn Christian College – CCE
  • 12 Jul Bayside Christian College – CCE
  • 27 Jun Carnarvon Christian School – CCE (Design)
  • 22 Jul Dubbo Christian School  – CCE (Design)
  • 3 Oct Chairo Christian School  – CCE (Design)
  • 31 August John Knox Christian School (Vancouver) CCE (Design)
  • 20 Jul Maitland Christian School – CCE (Design)
  • 18 Jul Covenant Christian School NSW (CEPA Conference) CCE (Design)
  • 18 Jul Marrara Christian School – CCE (Design)
  • 21 Jul Shire Christian School – CCE (Design)
  • Term 3 St Philip’s Christian College – CCE (Design)


Click here to register for an event


Godly Governance Conference

Please save the date for this year’s Godly Governance conference which will again be held in Melbourne on the 10th – 12th November. This year’s theme is ‘Risky Business’ and will include expert speakers on the importance of risk management in your school, including Catherine Brooks and Skye Rose from Moores Legal and Paul Campey from Resolve Consulting.  The conference will be educational as well as practical and will once again be a fantastic opportunity for networking. Whilst this is primarily aimed at board chairs, all board members are warmly invited and encouraged to attend. More information will be available soon.

If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Dempsey 0422 107 630 or



Influence of Parents on their Children

An interesting article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald last week on the place and influence of parents on their children. Here is an excerpt:

A landmark study shows young people are more likely to view their mums and dads as heroes, ahead of celebrities or political activists. Research by the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People reveals 1/3 of respondents under the age of 25 would describe their parents as heroes. 2/3 of the respondents identified education as a priority for the government…..Concerns about education included inequality between private and public systems, overcrowded classrooms, lack of life skills education, homework overload and ineffectual anti-bullying programs.”

CEN schools have a unique place in these discussions. We celebrate the role of parents in all of their children’s lives and that is a significant distinctive. We are involved with the raising the profile of the role of parents in our communities. Your school has a wonderful opportunity to do this overtly and also through the way we respect and support parents through our school visions. This will speak more and more into the values that shape the generation coming through our school communities.

NT Teacher Excursion

Are you interested in finding out more about what’s on offer for your students in the Northern Territory?  Applications are open for Tourism NT’s 2016 Teacher Excursion.  All expenses are paid including Flights, accommodation, touring and meals.

Tentative Dates: 1 – 6 July 2016.

Location: The Red Centre incorporating Alice Springs, Uluru and Kings Canyon.

Pre-requisites: Participants must be full time teachers of grades 6 – 12, and preferably have not been to the NT previously (or not taken an excursion to the NT previously), help to organise school excursions and are keen to see what the NT has to offer their students.

To find out how to apply contact Becky Forrest at