Newsletter Number 9, Monday June 22nd June, 2015


  Dear Principals, 

My first duty is to apologise for the time between Newsletters, with the last one sent just before the May Conference in Dubbo.  I have not been well and we have been so busy with post Conference reviews and settling the details, this has prevented an earlier Response.  We hope to return to fortnightly messages now.

Another apology, is that I did not receive a digital copy of the CEC Report, Dr Brian Croke delivered at our Meeting on the 11th June.  I will follow this up and send it as soon as I get it, as it has many important matters there.

Laudato Si Arrives

Pope Francis gained worldwide recognition for his courageous intervention in the Global Warming Debate, with the release last Thursday of his wonderful Encyclical Laudato Si, the opening words of which explain the title:

“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” –“Praise be to you, my Lord”.

In the words of this beautiful canticle,

Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our

life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord,

through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit

with coloured flowers and herbs”.
It is a very long Encyclical, about 200 pages, but I enclose here the complete Text for those who will find that helpful, Principals, REC's and Staff Members  (click here).
Father James Martin, SJ. writing forThe Jesuit Journal "America" gave a reduced version of the Encyclical which he called "Top Ten Takeaways from Laudato Si" and I enclose that briefer summary article here  (click here)

I have also found some really interesting articles from NCR, the Catholic Magazine from America that are well worth the Reading:

1.  " Laudato Si Arrives"   (click here)
2.   "US Church Grateful for Pope Francis "marvellous" Encyclical"  (click here)
3.   " Francis Encyclical is a Step in the Right Direction, those Outside the Church Say"  (click here)

Articles such as these are highly suitable to inform parents, staff and Students of this important document, in more readily accessible language

John Hatties Latest Research"What Doesn't work in Education:  The Politics of Distraction"

Whilst I have only flicked through it, it appears this 40 page document is well worth the reading for any Principal or Curriculum Coordinator.  His opening comments set the scene for what follows, when he says:
"While many of the academic papers he has reviewed show a particular education intervention to have a positive effect (as John memorably puts it, ‘perhaps all you need to enhance learning is a pulse!’), he has made the case that unless an intervention has an effect size of 0.4 or greater (the average expected growth effect size for one year of progress in school), it would be unwise to base decision-making on it. In other words, John asks for more impact for our effort, and he has identified the relatively few ideas that pass this benchmark at a classroom level.
In this new paper, the first of two, he addresses the question of what this search for more impact means, and he does two things powerfully. The first is to make the case that the minimum goal of education, when rightly expressed, should be for all students to make at least one year’s progress for one year’s input, no matter where they start. The second is to argue that at the level of public policy there are many ideas, many of them popular and plausible, which do not pass the 0.4 test."

I enclose the full Report "What Doesn't Work:  The Politics of Distraction"  (click here)

There is enough reading based on the Encyclical and Hattie'e Paper to justify this whole Newsletter.

APPA Presentation from Professor Stanley Rabinowitz

Another Interesting piece of Information from ACARA was presented at the APPA National Advisory Council Meeting on the 20th May, 2015.  Dr Stanley Rabinowitz presented a PowerPoint on issues around NAPLAN.  I enclose it here, as it could be very useful for a Staff Meeting  (click here)

Increased Support for Students in Non Government Schools

On Friday, the 19th June, 2015 Minister Adrian Piccoli responded to the intense lobbying that has gone on with Local Members, to increase the amount of State Government Support for the Building Grants Scheme, which had been severely reduced in a recent Budget.  If nothing else, it proves the power of the Catholic Lobby in matters of great significance.  The Media has highlighted the great need for building new Schools to accommodate increased demand, in both Government and Non Government Schools and this is the Government's response to that need.

The Media Release from the Minister is enclosed (click here) and the Media Release response from the CEC is also enclosed (click here)

A Series of Communications from Associated Groups.

1.   ACPPA National Executive Meeting Communique (click here)
2.   APPA Classroom Readiness Survey  (click here)
3    APPA Paper On Graduate Teachers Being Classroom Ready  (click here
4.   This Week in Catholic Education (click here)
5.   APPA Connected Leader e-Journal   (click here)
6.   CaSPA Newsletter 19-6-15  (click here)

At Last, the School Holidays.

We talk a lot about Principal Well Being.  I read a recent Report from the Director of Maitland Newcastle CSO, Ray Collins, where it was quoted that "the average hours at work by Principals and Deputies/Assistants ranges between 51-60 hours per week during term time and 25-30 hours per week during gazetted holiday periods.  Too many participants in the Survey are working too many hours and it is taking a toll on their greatest support group; their Families.  Work -Family Conflict occurs at approximately double the rate for the population generally.  The amount of emotional labour expected of Principals and Assistant Principals is 1.7 times that of the population.  When job demands are this high, they need to be balanced with significant resources to buffer the demands....What is clear is that this level of demand is dangerous to the long term health and well-being of Principals who find consistently that the resources available to them are not comcomitant with the demands."  (Australian Principal Well Being Report 2014, p.8)

At least the problems are being identified.  Solutions? Still to come.  More pay is not the answer. Try not going to school for a whole week during the holidays.  That could be a start. I give you permission!



Stephen Aitken
ACSP Executive Officer