PRINT VIEW Forward to a Colleague Subscribe Calendar Events Contact Us ARCHIVE

From Our CEO

It’s been some time since we’ve brought you an eNews, and a lot of things have happened! I suggest you grab a cuppa and have a good read of what’s been happening on the CEN front.

Of particular note is the success that our ITEC conference was. As over 1000 people gathered together with a common purpose, to re-imagine Christian education, God did something really special. I believe he opened hearts and minds. Even months after this wonderful event, I am personally receiving stories from schools and individuals that they have been transformed by this experience. While I continue to marvel, this is not what research would suggest is possible. Research suggests that transformation is not best experienced in a conference. However, from many accounts, ITEC19 lead to something pretty significant. Here’s one example that I received recently from a member school:

The conference has been truly transformational for our staff!

Our Director of Teaching and Learning and I recently met with teaching staff, as part of our Professional Learning Conversations and were overwhelmed at the way that staff articulated the value of the Conference to them. There was no question that ITEC challenged staff to re-imagine practice, leading to innovation, initiative, re-engagement and re-energising! This has affected non-teaching staff in the same way!

Click here to check out some photos from ITEC.

Staff have also been impacted significantly by the release of the Transformation by Design: Crafting Formational Learning resource. They have been re-engaging in pedagogy and it is having an impact on our classroom practice and student outcomes.

Recently we were delighted to announce that CEN is joining with other Christian school groups to participate in a Cardus research project, specific to Australia. Our board has committed to engage over the next two years with this essential research that will give us a clearer picture of the effectiveness of the distinctive type of schooling that we provide.

Click here to read further about this project.

May God bless you in this final term for 2019.


Michelle Dempsey

National Board News

The board would like to keep you informed of the following news following their meetings in September.

  • Board member Marzelle Delport has been appointed Company Secretary of CEN National Board.
  • The Board accepted a new strategic plan for the National Institute, presented by Dr Rod Thompson and Dr Chris Prior. This included the acceptance of the updated mission statement for The National Institute:

The National Institute for Christian Education provides formative tertiary training grounded in biblical immersion that shapes cultural engagement, specifically in the ar ena of education, for leaders, teachers, board members and others within CEN school communities and further afield.

  • The board approved the Audit and Risk Committee’s recommendation that the per-student fee for CEN membership is $29.50 for 2020.

Changes at the National Institute for Christian Education

There have been some changes to staffing at The National Institute. The following email went out to member schools last month:

Following direction from the National Board, we have been working towards financial cutbacks, including staffing. As a part of this process, the Academic Dean role for The National Institute for Christian Education has been made redundant. Dr Beth Beech will be ceasing that role, effective as of the 30 September 2019.

Beth has been a huge asset to the National Institute. Bringing clarity to enrolment processes, updating our learning management system, engaging tirelessly with our students, bringing academic robustness to the organisation, overseeing the course transitions (including a full rewrite of courses) to Alphacrucis, is just naming a few of the marvellous things that Beth has achieved. We will miss her.

Further to this, the existing roles have been re-structured. We are pleased to announce that starting in 2020 the board has appointed Dr Chris Prior to the role of Principal for four days per week. Chris will also continue to serve Victorian schools in a reduced capacity from next year (Victorian schools stay tuned). Chris holds great insight, capacity and intellect to serve us well in this role. Dr Rod Thompson will continue to serve the National Institute community as our Emeritus Principal, assisting in strategic planning and direction. Rod will also continue to work in CEN as our Biblical Foundations Coordinator.

School Leadership Changes for 2020

During this time of the year, we begin to hear more about the changes in leadership in our member schools. These are the latest changes that you may or may not be aware of:

  • Calderwood Christian School (NSW) has appointed Darren Hutton to the role of Principal commencing in 2020. Darren is currently serving as the Head of Middle and Senior School at Bundaberg Christian School, QLD. Whilst the team at Calderwood look forward to Darren’s arrival, they (along with the staff at Illawarra, Cordeaux) will also farewell their Executive Principal, Tony Horsely.
  • Covenant Christian School (NSW) has appointed Melissa Brown to the role of Principal, commencing in 2020. Bill Rusin will be farewelled towards the end of this year.
  • Orange Christian School (NSW) has appointed Ken Greenwood to the role of Principal. Ken is currently SEO for CSA schools in Victoria. The team at Orange look forward to welcoming him on board in 2020.
  • Son Centre Christian School (VIC) has appointed Brett Allen to the role of Principal commencing in 2020. Rachel Richardson has served this vibrant little community with great determination and strength. She will be farewelled at the end of this year. Brett comes to Son Centre from St Phillip’s College – Port Stephens (NSW).
  • Recently, Debra Twartz stepped down from the CEO position for NT Christian Schools and is currently on study leave. Phoebe Van Bentum has been appointed as Acting CEO.
  • Jack Joyce has resigned as Principal from Tyndale Christian School (NSW) following over 10 years of faithful service at the school. Jack will finish up at the end of this year.

CEN has been pleased to be of assistance to these member schools in their executive appointments through CEN Consultancy Services.

From The National Institute

This year, we have been blessed with a range of learning opportunities that have assisted our understanding of Christian schooling. We have been encouraged to lead with a biblical vision for life. We have continued to think through how our worldview shapes our practice. We have been reminded that our teaching practice is formational, and been inspired to ensure our teaching actions are consistent with the biblical story. The importance of this learning should not be understated. In the article titled, There arose a generation that did not remember, Darren Iselin (2009) reminds us that,

“the preservation and perpetuation of core institutional vision, values, ethos and identity to succeeding generations are critical imperatives that confront all Christian educational organisations” (p.16)

At the National Institute, we love to learn from each other. We value our opportunities to gather together and share our understandings and practices at conferences. We also value the importance of ongoing learning about Christian schooling and how we can teach Christianly. We believe that postgraduate studies offer an opportunity for deep reflection, for collaboration, assist us perpetuating our approach to Christian schooling, and improve our practices.

Right now, we have over 80 students enrolled in Semester 2. We also have nearly 40 new students this year! Well above our total for last year. So we thank God for a sense of growth and excitement among our students and faculty. We also had a good response to the 2-3 day ‘Kickstarters’ offered at Chairo Christian School and ITEC.

This year, under Alphacrucis College, Semester 3 will be the same length (13 weeks) as a regular semester, so no one should feel rushed to completion. For those interested in studying with the National Institute in Semester 3 (which starts on November 25), you can enrol through the Enrolment Portal. This portal is the place to enrol in the Master of Education or the Master of Education (Leadership) as well as for continuing students to enrol in their next subject. Subject information is available for National Institute students in the eLearning Portal.

Please do not hesitate to contact Belinda at the National Office for further information or call (02) 4773 5888.

Dr Chris Prior
National Institute Deputy Principal


From Our Governance Coordinator


It’s only about four weeks now until our ‘Tone From The Top’ Governance Conference to be held in Melbourne from the evening of Thursday 14 November – Saturday 16 November. This is always a time of deep professional learning for board chairs and other board representatives as well as sharing of ideas and fellowship. We are very much looking forward to seeing you there!

Click here to register. 

The online board training courses continue to provide a helpful tool for the professional learning of CEN boards. If you would like further details about these or would like to make suggestions regarding future courses, please email Kathy Pereira with your ideas.

CEN is also able to offer face-to-face board training workshops at a time that best suits your board. If you would like to have a face-to-face workshop in 2020, please contact the CEN office to make a booking as these fill up fast. Contact Julie Badman or phone 02 4773 5800.

CEN is hoping to develop a resource for boards that gives a simple snapshot for families of the value of being engaged in their school Association. This is being designed to be a template that you can personalise for your own school community. We anticipate this will be available early in 2020.

Thank you to each and every CEN school board member for your commitment to your board and for sharing your experience and expertise in this way. Without you, our schools could not exist. If you have any suggestions as to how CEN can continue to best serve our school boards, please contact me via phone or email as I am very keen to hear your feedback.


Kathy Pereira
Governance Coordinator

Coram Deo Leadership Intensive

The Coram Deo Leadership residential kicks off in March next year. This is a training and mentoring program aimed at existing Principals. 

It is not too late to register for this residential as there are some limited spots available.

Click here for more information, or contact Michelle Dempsey 0422107630.


Professional Learning

Your school has a distinct vision and mission focused on unfolding authentic Christian education that is grounded on the Bible. A continued commitment to professional learning in-line with this vision is crucial. CEN can help you with this. We have workshops and resources dedicated to inspiring and equipping teachers (and other staff and parents) to unfold your school’s vision.

Places are filling for options during pupil free days in January/February 2020.

Click here to explore ways that we could help you run a day (or equivalent) of Christ-centred, authentic-Christian-education-focused professional learning for your team.


The Workshops

The following eNews articles show the workshops and which resource they flow from.


Foundation Workshops

We continue to offer our foundation workshops that are highly booked and well received. A significant number of schools have a policy that all new staff complete one (or both) of these. How are you inducting new staff into the beauty, heritage, and understanding of distinctive Christian education?


Foundations: Authentic Christian Education

Foundations: The Bible in the Belly of the School

Curriculum Design Workshops

These two workshops are a day of hands-on development in curriculum design using the Transformation by Design framework. Part 1 is a stand alone workshop. However, for those schools wanting to follow-up with more intensive focus and practice, we can return and work through Part 2 with your team.

Curriculum Design and the Big Picture (Part 1)

Curriculum Design and the Biblical Perspective (Part 2)

Teaching and Learning Workshops

As Dr David Smith reminds us (as he did recently at ITEC19), rigorous curriculum designed from a Christian perspective must be augmented by teaching and learning practices that are flowing from a Christian perspective and intentionally designed to facilitate formational learning towards discipleship. The following workshops provide professional learning that explores and equips this vital practice.

Classrooms and Formational Learning

Classrooms and Deeper Learning

Classrooms and Assessment for Learning

Classrooms as Grace-shaped Communities


In the September edition of Nurture, we have a wonderful collection of articles challenging parents towards a fuller and deeper understanding of what it means to raise their children in the Lord, and how they partner with their school in this.

The article ‘The P’s of Partnering’ helps to unfold what partnering can look like in this day and age, I expect it could be both very affirming and challenging for your parents. If you would like a copy of this article to distribute with your school newsletter – please be in contact.

What about you?
Do you have something you think you could share with the Nurture audience? Or maybe you know someone you could encourage to write? Someone you go to sounding ideas or to seek wisdom from years of experience?

We love to receive submissions for Nurture articles. We love to hear a brief tale, a well-reasoned argument, a crafted poem, and even snippets to share in the “A Few Things” page. Many articles stem from our schools and playgrounds, though they are shaped to be more than news stories. Instead, they are mutually edifying for many parents and carers around our schools.

Most articles are either around 400 words or 800 words. Though some things just don’t fit in that pattern, and that is fine. At the back of each edition is our editorial policy if you are wondering what guides us as we carve out each edition.

Please be in touch, even if it is to dob someone in!

Nina Edlin

Christian Teachers Journal

The coming November edition features articles from ITEC19 presenters. You might find an article by a presenter that you were not able to get to. We recommend it to you.

What about you?
One of the richest professional development adventures can be found in writing for colleagues. CTJ is ‘for teachers and by teachers’. We love submissions from practitioners and leaders who are not only thinking about Christian education practice but are doing it. How you recently presented something to your staff team that could be written up (does not need to be perfect as we have an editorial team that can work with you). Have you recently read a book that has impacted your practice that you could write a book review on?

Click here for submission guidelines.


Chris Parker

Christian Education National Podcast

There are many education-based podcasts available. You might like to subscribe to the CEN Podcast to listen to great talks on Christian education (maybe listen in the car on the way to school).

Click here for the CEN Podcast (or simply search in your podcast app).

Centre for Public Christianity

Recently the Centre for Public Christianity interviewed Dr David Smith when he was here in Australia for ITEC19 on their Life and Faith podcast.

Click here to access the episode.

2020 Principals and Executives Conference: Declutter

S ave the date for the 2020 Principals and Executives Conference in Perth, WA. The theme of the conference is ‘Declutter: Capturing the Essentials’. We are excited to be welcoming Henry Contant from Canada and Mark Sneddon from The Institute for Civil So ciety, Victoria as two of our speakers.

Registration is now open with further details to come.

Click here to register.

Henry Contant Visit to Your School?

There is an opp ortunity for you and your school community to have Henry Contant sp end time in your school with your leadership t eam, board, staff or community development t eam. Henry has made himself available to us in the week beginning the 9 March (before the conference) and the week beginning 30 March.

Please contact Melinda Storm if you would like to take advantage of that opp ortunity.

Crafting Formational Learning NEW RESOURCE

A new resource to help Christian teachers reflect on the practice of teaching and learning, this new resource builds on Transformation by Design: The Big Picture.

It highlights the importance of designing teaching and learning that seeks student formation. Transformation by Design: Crafted Formational Learning recognises Christ as Lord of all, and the shaping influence of His gospel in all spheres of life—including the classroom and teaching practice.

A practical resource

Laced with examples for Christian teachers working with any age student, and at any stage of their career.

Offers a planning framework

Explores the crafting of lesson plans, learning activities, assessments, and a classroom culture that positively impact student formation.

Click here to order a copy today.

Senior Secondary Pathways

In August 2019, the Chair of the COAG Education Council, the Hon Minister Dan Tehan MP, launched the Review of senior secondary pathways into work, further education and training.

The review is being chaired by Professor Peter Shergold AC and supported by a panel with expertise across schooling, vocational education and training, higher education and industry.

The review is one of eight national policy initiatives under the National School Reform Agreement.

The review will seek to bring together the different elements and related system level reviews; and most importantly, put the experience of senior secondary students at the centre. As our future citizens and leaders, students must be better supported to make informed decisions about life beyond school, whatever pathway they choose to follow. In undertaking the review, the expert panel will give consideration to the different contexts faced by disadvantaged students, including students with a disability, those in regional, rural and remote areas, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Discussion Paper for feedback

The panel has released a Discussion Paper, to stimulate debate. A companion Background Paper has also been released and provides a deep dive into some of the issues, along with supporting data.

The discussion paper outlines key questions, which are drawn from the terms of reference:

  1. What are the essential skills and knowledge young people should leave secondary school with, and whose job is it to make sure they have them?
  2. Are current arrangements both in schooling and entry arrangements for tertiary education supporting students to access the most appropriate pathway?
  3. What are the barriers to students being able to equitably access to all pathways?
  4.  What is being done well to help students make effective choices through career education, different schooling models, VET in schools, work-based learning and industry partnerships, higher education and supporting student wellbeing?

Do we have the data we need to understand pathways and make informed policy?

You are encouraged to provide feedback on these questions and other topics not explicitly captured, however, please note that views on the Australian Curriculum are outside the scope of this review. The expert panel is particularly interested in hearing from a wide range of people, especially young people themselves, on ways senior secondary students can be supported to better understand and select the most appropriate pathway to further study or work.
How do I provide feedback?

Feedback can be provided through the website at until 7 December 2019 and will inform the Review’s findings.

Job Vacancies

There are many opportunities for educators seeking a change, or a job through our CEN website. 

Click here to view the current vacancies.

Click here to post a job vacancy. This is a free service to member schools.