Funding Opportunities - Sept 22, 2017

Sep 22 2017
Public Education Foundation's GO Foundat...

Are we developing appropriate skills for the digital economy?

Sep 21 2017
Project overview and objectives This workin...

Memo to the Principal: Are you the source of workplace dysfunction?

Sep 20 2017
Rudeness and bullying are rife, says Stanfor...

Research Confirms Students live up to Expectations of their Teachers

Sep 19 2017
Key  findings of NSW Governement Research ...

Psychometric Testing for 2018 Teacher Training aspirants to be introduced before the end of this year

Sep 18 2017
Victorian schools are scrambling to prepare ...

Australian Curriculum - A mile wide and an inch deep...

Sep 17 2017
A CROWDED curriculum is crushing Victorian scho...

Data Project - How CaSPA data compares to Australian Principals

Sep 16 2017
As you may be aware, the Commonwealth Depart...

You are invited to support Research into Parent Engagement in our Schools

Sep 15 2017
CaSPA is supporting this important initiativ...

Principals' Award Conditions - Comparison across Australia

Sep 15 2017
Over recent years, CaSPA has undertaken to s...

Future bright for quality VET in Schools studies

Sep 14 2017
New research linking the 2006 VET in Schools Co...

Prof Greg Craven meets with CaSPA Board in Perth

Sep 14 2017
The Board of CaSPA sees it is important to m...

Executive Officer Vacancy - Kildare Education Ministries

Sep 13 2017
Kildare Education Ministries is seeking a faith...

Principal Well Being - A new report focused on Catholic Sector

Sep 12 2017
For some time CaSPA has been working with CC...

CaSPA AGM held in Perth 10 Sep, 2017

Sep 11 2017
The CaSPA Constitution directs the Board to ...

Teaching Fellowship valued at $45,000 for you or your staff

Sep 11 2017
The Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards were crea...

CaSPA News


NCEC meet with CaSPA and other Key Stakeholders

Posted on 12 August 2017
NCEC meet with CaSPA and other Key Stakeholders

Above r.: Andrew Watson, CaSPA; Mark Mowbray, ACCPA; Christian Zahra, NCEC; John O'Brien, CSPA; Frank FitzGerald, CaSPA; Tony O'Byrne, CSPA; Carmel Nash, CSPA

An important meeting was held on August 9th at the National Headquarters of the Catholic School Parents Association [CSPA]. It was the first opportunity since the passing of the Gonski 2.0 legislation that key stakeholders:

  • NCEC
  • Catholic Secondary Principals
  • Catholic Primary Principals
  • Catholic School Parents

were able to meet as a group and not only consider the possible consequences of the new funding proposal, but also to reflect on how our sector managed during the announcement and subsequent finalisation of the proposal by Senator Birmingham.

The meeting was also an opportunity to meet the new National Director of NCEC - Christian Zahra. Christian provided us with background on his own experience in government and leadership of communtiy organisations, but also his reflection on his first few months in his new role. It would be fair to say that in this short period of time there have been more than a fair share of challenges...

Other items of discussion included the opportunity to provide feed back to the government on the recent Discussion Paper on Remote Schooling.  This has been an important topic of conversation at recent CaSPA Board meetings.  A copy of the Paper by Prof Halsey can be found here. CaSPA would welcome feedback on this important issue to no later than August 19, so we can then forward our submission to be included in the feedack that NCEC is preparing on behalf of our sector.

CaSPA values the opporutnity to meet with these other key stakeholders in Catholic Education and looks forward to future meetings to promote the importance of our work for the staff and families of Catholic Schools across Australia.

Posted in: NCEC   0 Comments

CaSPA Equity Scholarship Recipient - Mary Farah

Posted on 11 August 2017
CaSPA Equity Scholarship Recipient - Mary Farah

The CaSPA Board awards an annual scholarship to the value of $5000 to a principal in a school community that might otherwise not have the ready capacity to provide support for that person's Professional Development. The recipient of the 2016 Equity Scholarship was Mary Farah, principal of St Aloysius College, North Melbourne.

Applications are now open for the 2017 Scholarhsip - click here for details

Mary has kindly provided a summary of the course she attended at the Harvand Graduate School of Education [pictured above] during July 2017:

Mary Farah: Initial Findings and Reflections:

Evolving Leadership Course at Harvard University Preamble

Firstly, I wish to extend my great thanks for the wonderful opportunity provided to me, by way of support, for my enrolment in the Evolving Leadership Course at Harvard University; the course occurred between Sunday July 9 and Saturday July 15 2017. Throughout the week, I certainly marvelled at the outstanding presenters who challenged, who provided insights and set questions to take back to our own centres of learning. Having the opportunity to read and discuss their books and their work, and now having an opportunity to implement many of their findings and ideas is unmeasurable. During the course of the week, undertaking the study allowed me time to reflect upon my own role as a school leader and the daily and yearly challenges it presents. One of the most re-assuring aspects of the experience was hearing from colleagues right the across the globe, including many Principals and Educators from different parts of Australia, share the same experiences and similar challenges in their own leadership roles. The course may have only lasted a week, but the ripples it has created will be felt for many years to come.
Presenters and their Topics
As demonstrated by the comprehensive list below, the ideas and themes of the Evolving Leadership Course at Harvard are deliberately wide and many. Having the opportunity to discuss further with each presenter, and topic, ensured that appropriate depth was added. The professional conversations that followed, and continue to occur, added extra layers of meaning and interpretation, resulting in learning far beyond the initial presentation.
Pre-reading accompanied each presentation, and we that were enrolled were certainly far from being passive learners; we were involved, we were challenged on both the readings and the content, but more than that, we were engaged and motivated by the energy and vitality of the presentations and by the usefulness and relevancy of the content.

  • Strategy in action Elizabeth City
  • Project adventure Challenge by Choice
  • Leadership: A cognitive View Howard Gardner
  • Powerful Learning: From the Classroom to the System- Jal Mehta
  • Mindfulness for Educational Leaders - Metta McGarvey
  • Cultural Leadership for Transforming School Organizations- Ebony Bridwell-Mitchell Family Engagement - Karen Mapp
  • Maximizing the Impact of Technology for Learning - Chris Dede
  • Universal Design for Learning - Jon Mundorf
  • Engaging Your Publics - Joe Blatt
  • Supporting Beginning Teachers in Instruction -Katherine Merseth

Significant Learning and initial Reflections
As stated earlier, and as eluded to by the course title, Evolving Leadership Course, new learning will come when much of the take-aways from the course and implemented in our own environments. The notion of evolution was a strong one, knowing where we are in the present and evolving vision, systems, processes and people to move to an improved place. Nevertheless, some big questions started many discussions:
Schools and systems spend thousands of dollars on providing opportunities for staff to attend professional learning sessions and seminars. How though are new ideas and new literature, from these sessions, shared and, the next step, how are they implemented in schools?
How can we improve transfer of knowledge? How can we ensure that resources are shared, and used to create strong and sustainable cultures of learning?
School strategies need to allow for flexibility in order to get the best outcome it is important to remember (and embrace) the fact that strategy can be amended; the essential quality is the commitment.
Howard Gardner's presentation particularly resonated. Professor Gardner spoke about the core characteristics of a leader. Here's a precis of his thoughts:

  • Leaders change minds by affecting how people think and behave, they
  • tell a narrative, or story, which communicates their ideas and arguments to persuade individuals to follow their views. The key traits of exemplary leaders are:
  • High energy, and somewhat undirected energy
  • Elements of risk taking and the challenging of authority (which accumulates over
  • time)
  • They have charisma, but charisma comes in a wide variety of forms
  • They have varying relations to institutions and organisations (often creating, often
  • ignoring, often defying)

There are rhythms of success, but interestingly and conversely, these rhythms unchecked can ultimately lead to failure usually because of the over-confidence of the leader.
Professor Gardner made the truism that in order to be a leader, one must have followers, but expanded on that concept. These followers, he articulated, need to share the beliefs of the leader in order to achieve the stated goals. This is as true within schools as it is within the broader community. Staff must share a leader's vision in order for improvements to be achieved.

Karen Mapp in Building the capacity for effective family - school partnerships also explored leadership, distilling the five essentials:

  1. Leadership as the driver for change
  2. Professional capacity
  3. Student centred learning climate
  4. Instructional guidance
  5. Parent and community ties

A key thought was when hiring new teachers do we ever about their skills in creating and sustaining school family engagement?

Mapp emphasised family involvement not partnership - how do we involve our families? The proposed question was, do we give genuine opportunity for the parents in our schools to comment on their needs and how they would like to be involved, particularly in secondary schools?

Culture was a key theme, and much time was espoused on the definition of what is culture and cultural leadership for transforming school organisations. The importance of the right culture became very clear.

Deborah Helsing, author of Immunity to Change- a tool for developmental growth, was excellent. For those who are interested her book is also excellent, Immunity to Change, and I would certainly recommend it.

Jal Mehta in Powerful Learning: From the Classroom to the System, was very thought- provoking and explored the following questions and themes:

  • Why Deep Learning for Leaders?
  • Simply because we cannot produce deep learning unless the leader is fully cognisant.

Jal started with a question:
If you went to visit a class (or multiple classes) within a school, what would you be looking for as signs of powerful learning? Again, if you cannot answer this as a leader then how can we expect powerful learning to be occurring? Simply, we cannot produce deep learning consistently unless the leader has a thick vision of good, powerful learning and that means that the leader has mechanisms for modelling, communicating, and teaching that vision.

Posted in: Awards   0 Comments

CaSPA Data Project - Life After Principalship

Posted on 10 August 2017
CaSPA Data Project - Life After Principalship

The final area of focus in the current series of our Data Project considers what CaSPA Principals move to at the conclusion of their contract and/or when they finish at their current school. This has been a slighlty more difficult process to track as we have not always received either timely or clear information about a Principal's plans. In more recent times - with your help - more information is being passed on to CaSPA so we hope this trend continues as it is important we have a clear sense of what occurs at this important stage in a Principal's career.

The data collection began at the end of the 2014 school year, so represents the 3 years up until the conclusion of 2016. As the table show, there are six main area that cover this situation [in order of frequency]:

  • Almost 4 in 10 Principals take up an appointment at another school
    • 29% at CaSPA schools within their state
    • 7% at a CaSPA school interstate
    • 2% to other schools either Catholic Primary or other sector schools
  • Around 2.5 in 10 Principals move to another Catholic leadership position
    • 15% to a Catholic Education Office
    • 8% to leadership such as a Religious Institute or PJP
  • Around 2 in 10 conclude their paid working life
    • 16% to retirement and a less strenous lifestyle
    • 3% are forced to take this step due to poor health
  • Almost 1 in 10 have the unfortunate experience of not being able to continue on as Principal even though they would like to
    • This is certainly a delicate area, but a reality for those who work under contract conditions
    • While there is always two sides to each of these stories, we do understand the distress and anxiety that surrounds situation such as these
  • 6 in 100 elect to take on other paid employment, either setting up their own business as consultants &c, or taking on employment in some other area
  • The final 6% concluded in the role for a variety of other reasons:
    • The majority of these were only in an acting role during the period that their school was in the process of finding a permanent principal

CaSPA is conscious of the great service that Principals have provided to Catholic Education, and we endeavour to acknowledge this in following through with this data.

We believe it is important to acknowledge this significant milestone in the careers of those who conclude their time as Principals.  One means of doing this, will be to set up a data base on the CaSPA website, where those Principals who choose to leave their contact details, will have this listed should former colleagues wish to stay in touch.

We also believe that those finishing as Principal are a great resource to other schools through their experience and the wisdom they have accumulated over their careers.  Part of this database will also have a listing of "past" CaSPA principals who are willing to offer their services - in either a paid or voluntary basis - to current CaSPA schools in a variety of fields such as:

  • School Reviews
  • Performance Reviews
  • Special Projects
  • Service on School Boards/Governing Councils

More details will be available in later updates.

Posted in: CaSPA Case Study   0 Comments

Planning Well Under Way for Cairns 2018

Posted on 8 August 2017
Planning Well Under Way for Cairns 2018

Above: Kerry Swann and Frank FitzGerald at a recent planning meeting for Cairns 2018

The Queensland prinicipals [CaSPAQ] have formed an enthusiastic team to plan for the 2018 Conference in Cairns under the leadership of Dan McMahon and Lee McMaster.  

  • The venue has been booked
  • Great Presenters have been engaged - headed by Fr Frank Brennan and Kristina Kenneally
  • The Program is taking shape
  • Engaging Workshops are in the process of development
  • And we anticipate a great response by Principals across Australia.
  • We are hopeful of extending an invitation to Primary Principals also given the nature of the theme "Topical and Tropical", and the importance of key leaders in Catholic Education being able to gather and consider important recent developments such as the implications of Gonski 2.0

Planning is also being supported by the Executive Officer of CaSPAQ - Kerry Swann,  and CaSPA's Executive Officer Frank FitzGerald who amongst other things are co-ordinating a great team of Sponsors to support the Conference.

Posted in: caspa conference   0 Comments

CaSPA Students figure prominently in Future Leader Awards

Posted on 7 August 2017
CaSPA Students figure prominently in Future Leader Awards

We congratulate the Principals, staff  - and of course the students involved for their considerable success in the recent Future Leaders Awards Competition:

Future Leaders Future Justice Award

  • Angelina Clancy, Nagle College, VIC


Future Leaders Photography Prize

  • Georgia Colt, Sacred Heart College Geelong, VIC
  • Oisín Brady, Marcellin College Randwick, NSW
  • Sarah Ciccarelli, Santa Maria College, WA

Future Leaders Writing Prize

  • Marina Bishop, Stuartholme School, QLD


We very much appreciate the participation of schools, teachers and students throughout Australia in the Future Leaders Awards program.

Regards Helen

Dr Helen Sykes AM
Future Leaders
M 0407521411

Posted in: Awards   0 Comments
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