News for anyone interested in educational developments and parent organisations in Australia and beyond. Use the 'Forward' button in the footer section to share this email with your colleagues and friends.

No Images? Click here

The latest education news for you.

  • President's message - parent engagement opportunities, recognising teaching excellence, and election fever
  • Public Education Day 2016
  • ACARA consultation on disabilities data
  • Handwriting, keyboarding or both? 
  • Parent Voices Australia
  • Reminder: National Excellence in Teaching Awards are open for nominations
  • Census jobs still open 
  • Walk Safely to School Day feedback requested
  • Have your say - last chance before Election 2016

Please enjoy our May ACSSO News.

Read our President's message

The essential role of parents in education can never be underestimated, and we are all on a path of lifelong learning...


President's message

It’s official – we have an election looming and it looks to be a fizzer. Here’s hoping that with the many weeks to go until polling day it won’t turn into a long and drawn out damp squib. The pundits have it almost too close to stake their reputations on and education is looking to be at the forefront of discussion. Just where it should be for something so important for the future of our children and that of Australia as a whole.

Family engagement resources

NAPLAN has been and gone this year and hopefully most students have been in a position to actually enjoy the experience as a low stakes addition to their normal classroom activities. Looking to other and more significant exams still to come there are a number of resources that are available to support parents and our children in what can be challenging experiences. Check out ACSSO’s family engagement resources pages for a range of material that might help.

National teaching awards

The 2015 ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEITA) were presented in March – to twelve of Australia’s very best Teachers covering the three sectors of early years, primary and secondary. What makes them even more special is that they were among over 1,100 initial nominations made by parents and communities across Australia. Having met some of them it is their deep commitment and passion for giving their very best for the benefit of our children that shines through. ACSSO’s recognises that they also need the very best school leadership and vital needs based resourcing, and an engaged parent community to support this. Nominations for the 2016 awards are now open so please consider nominating a Teacher that works with your children and is worthy of greater recognition. The nomination information is here

Free ARACY membership

The essential role of parents in education can never be underestimated, and we are all on a path of lifelong learning, so please consider joining ARACY (Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People) as an individual member. It’s free and will give you the opportunity to join a number of specialist networks – one of which is the Parent Engagement Network that will focus on the vital role of parents as the first and most significant educators of their children. ARACY is working collaboratively to deliver the latest thinking and tools that will give you the opportunity to deepen your own understanding of what can make a difference in your child’s education, and that of your school. ARACY’s membership information is here

Election fever

 Back to election matters and election fever is fully upon us with education as a central focus point of the campaign. ACSSO meets regularly with the various party representatives and education stakeholders to advocate for the very best outcomes for public school students, their families and wider communities. ACSSO has a view that the value of teacher quality and parent engagement can be taken to be a point of consensus. However, we would argue that the quality of school leadership has an equal if not greater impact. Even with the very best school leadership, teachers and family engagement in learning there has to be adequate needs based resourcing to enable our principals and teachers to perform to the best of their professional abilities. A point reinforced by David Gonski’s recommendations that ACSSO heartily endorses.

Join in to be heard

Looking to your child’s school, its community as a whole, and parents’ role in helping the school to deliver the best possible outcomes, please be aware that each State and Territory has a peak parent body that is devoted to supporting the school communities in their jurisdiction. Support that is always there and freely available when you need it. In addition, they will have looked at the essential points of concern in the coming election that relates to your local area. ACSSO will be taking a national perspective on education derived from those same State and Territory members that form ACSSO. There is a direct and fluid connection so please feel free to channel your thoughts through your organisation and in turn please take those points to any federal candidates that you may encounter in the coming weeks – as we will too.

And the winner should be...

As education transcends the various party political aspirations, and is an ongoing responsibility of all Australians, there has to be an expectation that every layer of government is fully supportive of the future of our children. Truly fair, simple and transparent needs based education funding agreements, with provision for additional needs, and no special deals are vital for the future of our children. Children that are constantly progressing through the system and will have to do the heavy lifting for the future of the economy and Australia as a whole. Maybe a point to ponder if or when a candidate comes calling at your door.

Phillip Spratt


26 May marks two important days for Australia - National Sorry Day and Public Education Day  (see below) - how does your school mark these occasions?

public education day

26 May is Public Education Day

ACSSO invites all schools to share their Public Education Day photographs and stories with us.  

The day highlights the achievements of public education as a cornerstone of Australian society. Many schools take this opportunity to plan and celebrate with a variety of activities including tree planting ceremonies, school assemblies, grandparent days, performing arts displays and lunchtime concerts. 

"Our public schools are worth celebrating and should be a government investment priority,” ACSSO President, Phillip Spratt, said.

Read more from ACSSO's media release here and join us celebrating on Facebook and Twitter tomorrow. 


Data about students with disabilities on MySchool - your thoughts?

Education Ministers have asked the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (Authority) to examine the feasibility of publishing data about students with disabilities on MySchool.

ACARA will consult stakeholders including disability experts, schools and parent groups.  The aim is to report the data on My School consistent with best practice while ensuring the privacy of those students.

The data is collected through the annual Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability project. This counts the number of students with disabilities in all schools, and the level of educational adjustments they receive.

ACARA is seeking your feedback and suggestions about how this data might appear on MySchool via a questionnaire

The deadline for completing the survey is close of business: 10 June 2016.

Contact ACARA for more information.

Handwriting research

Support Australian research: handwriting, keyboarding, or both?

Charles Sturt University academic Dr Noella McKenzie is asking parents and teachers share how children are learning handwriting and keyboard skills in a new research project:  Handwriting, keyboarding or both? That is the question

International studies have suggested children learn and remember information differently depending whether they write it by hand or type it on a keyboard.

Dr McKenzie's online survey is confidential and open to parents of school-aged children and current or retired teachers.

Read more about the research on Dr McKenzie's personal website

Or, go directly to the survey, which takes around 15 minutes to complete:

 In a recent interview on Radio National, Dr McKenzie said:

"Research from the UK suggests that when handwriting is automatic and efficient it frees up the short-term memory to focus on the message that is under construction.

"There is recent research to indicate that even adults have better recall of words written by hand than words written on a tablet or keyboard," she said. "There are certain cognitive benefits to handwriting which may not be fully retained in keyboard writing.

"Other research suggests that efficient letter writing is the single best predictor of length and quality of written composition in the primary years."

Dr Mackenzie is a senior lecturer in literacy studies in the CSU School of Education in Albury-Wodonga and a member of CSU's Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE).

Parent Voices survey


Monash University PhD Student, Mariko A. Francis, is seeking parent responses to a study as part of her doctoral thesis on family perceptions of schooling in Australia.  

Ms Francis' research is titled Parent perspectives on education and learning environments in Australia: An exploratory study.  According to Ms Francis, 

'The Australian government's 'school-based management' framework gives Australian schools the autonomy to plan and manage their educational priorities to meet the needs, interests, aptitudes and aspirations of all students.

'Why then, are parents looking outside of school for educational support for their children?

'Be part of the discourse: Help us understand your attitudes and perceptions towards your child's education and learning environments. Your input as a parent or carer is valuable!'

To take part in this Australia-wide survey, please visit (via web or mobile link):

For more information please visit either of the following pages:


Linked In:


2016 National Excellence in Teaching Awards are open!

Nominations for the 2016 ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTA) are open. 

Now in its 22nd year, ASG NEiTA is Australia’s only community centred teaching awards where parents, grandparents, secondary student councils, school boards/councils, parent associations, committees of management and community organisations get to nominate teachers for an award. 

Nominated teachers, principals and centre directors have the chance of becoming the state and territory award recipients, with the national award recipients announced in March 2017.  

The national award recipients will be presented with $5000 professional development grants. One teacher also gets the opportunity to attend International Space Camp at the U.S Space and Rocket Centre in Alabama. One teacher is also awarded the Disability Inclusion Grant.

More than 30,000 teachers have been nominated by their communities across Australia and New Zealand since the awards started in 1994. ASG NEiTA started in 1996 in New Zealand. ASG NEiTA has distributed more than $800,000 in grants and prizes since the awards started 22 years ago

Nominations for the awards close on 31 July 2016

Census jobs still open in some areas

Make a difference in your community and join Australia’s largest logistical peacetime operation – the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

The Census is on 9 August, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics is looking for dedicated and enthusiastic self-starters. So if you are tech-savvy and know your local area, the ABS wants to hear from you.

Working on the Census is a great way to contribute to your community. The data you help collect provides an important statistical snapshot that supports planning, policy and funding decisions for a range of local services and infrastructure – from housing and transport to health and education.

Field Officers play a critical role by visiting households, encouraging online participation and ensuring everyone makes the count. And as a Field Officer, you’ll earn around $21 per hour (including 25 per cent loading).

You’ll need to be a good communicator, reasonably fit, licensed to drive and willing to travel and work independently. Because the Census is going digital, Field Officers will also need to be comfortable using a computer, tablet or mobile device.

These are part-time positions with flexible hours, and people from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Find out more at


Walk Safely to School Day is over for another year and the organisers want to hear from you!  

Use this link to participate in their survey and help make WSTSD an even better event in 2017.



There's going to be an election! What are youtop three education issues for Australia?


Help us to help you!

Head over to and share your top three education issues so we can present the widest possible views to each major party ahead of the next election and share their responses with you.