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The latest education news for you.

  • President's message - on fairness, passion and advocacy in education
  • Top five tips for successful School Transition Sessions
  • National Parent Engagement Conference in 2017
  • Starting Blocks for early childhood
  • More to learn from Parent Camps
  • What's in the evidence? Productivity Commission releases draft report
  • Anti Poverty Week 2016
  • Conferences across Australia
  • Recent event highlights: South Australia and Queensland celebrate parents in education

Please enjoy our September ACSSO News.

Read our President's message

"We also expect the various levels of government to look objectively across all sectors and take this unique opportunity to do away with the myriad of special deals, loadings, grandfathering clauses and the like."


President's message

Fairness and passion


Hear the roar of hope

The lioness’s roar of passionate advocacy for public education that is Jane Caro was heard loud and clear at the recent P&Cs Queensland conference. Its back to basics, forward to the future theme highlighting the essential role that parents play in the future of their children’s learning, and the vibrant school communities of which we are all part.

Jane’s mantra that public schools are about hope struck a chord with everyone present. Couple this with her inimitable wit and sense of irony and I’m sure you can imagine the energy in the room and the ongoing celebration of everything that is great about public education that ran through the whole event. I’m sure everyone headed home truly inspired and ready to try something new in their own school communities.

The COAG Education Council meets

The Council of Australian Governments’ Education Council meets this week and the stakes could not be higher. It will be the time for scene-setting and initial sparring in the negotiations of the post 2018 education funding agreements.

ACSSO is unrelenting in its advocacy for fair, simple and transparent funding agreements that everyone can understand. We continue to meet regularly with all parties and call on all levels of government that make up our nation to focus on the needs of our children, rather than that of political aspiration – our children’s future demands nothing less.

We also expect the various levels of government to look objectively across all sectors and take this unique opportunity to do away with the myriad of special deals, loadings, grandfathering clauses and the like. The Australian government’s current policy paper, Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes, that can be found here, comes complete with this telling line:

Deals and special arrangements have damaged the integrity of the needs-based funding model                           

Please take the opportunity to read this paper, and share your thoughts with your local state and territory parent body representatives, as well as your local and federal MP’s, and ask them what they are doing at their level to ensure that education ministers are fully aware of the need for absolute reform in education funding agreements.

This has to give our children and their schools the benefit of truly 'sector blind' needs based funding with additional provision, where necessary, for specific educational disadvantage. It resonates strongly with David Gonski’s tenet that an education funding system should ensure that the differences in a child’s educational outcomes are not the result of differences in wealth, income, power or possessions.

Is it too much to hope that there can at least be a cross party consensus on this basic point?

Evidence is everything?

The draft report of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the national education evidence base for school and early childhood education has been released and is available here together with an overview and quick highlights.

This report has the potential to guide the collaborative development of a relevant Australian evidence base, and mechanism, which can underpin objective policy formulation across all levels of Australian governments. The report identifies a number of gaps in data – particularly at an Australian level and also recognises the need to support a bottom-up approach to explore what actually works to improve learning outcomes at a grass-roots level.

It’s gratifying to see attention being paid to non-cognitive skills, parent engagement and the home learning environment – so often the x-factor in growing our children’s lifelong love of learning - and the recognition that parents are the primary and ongoing educators of their children.

Phillip Spratt

September 2016


Developing successful school transition sessions

ACSSO has released its top five tips to help school communities conduct great transition to school events for new children and their families.

Our advice is built around ensuring sessions are:

  • relational
  • developmental
  • linked to learning
  • interactive
  • collaborative

A sample of our infographic poster is pictured below and the full infographic should be downloaded from our website here.

father's day graphic for schools
Conference link

National Parent Engagement Conference announced

The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) and The Smith Family are conducting the Parent Engagement Conference Australia, to be held on 6-8 June 2017 in Melbourne, Victoria.

Supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, the conference will bring research, policy and practice together to advance discussion about the importance of parent engagement to maximise every child’s learning potential. A key focus will be on ways to increase the effectiveness of parent engagement strategies through relationships, and through capacity building


Starting Blocks: national advice for families of young children

Starting Blocks provides parents with information about early childhood education and care to help them make the best choice for their child and family.

Starting Blocks is a starting point to:

  • learn about children's developmental milestones
  • understand what to expect from an early childhood education and care service
  • find services and learn about their quality ratings
  • get tips on starting childcare or preschool, and what can be done at home to encourage your child’s learning and development.

Starting Blocks is brought to you by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). ACECQA is the national body, overseeing the implementation of the National Quality Framework (NQF), which has been developed to improve the standard of education and care.


More on Parent Camps, USA style

Thank you to the ABC Adelaide for extending the opportunity to ACSSO to further discuss and highlight our recent exploration of “Parent Camps” in the US.

Listen to the interview here (link opens in Facebook) or visit our News Room for more media updates.


Parent Camps interview

Developing a national evidence base for education

A public inquiry into the further development of the national evidence base for school and early childhood education, which is to be completed in nine months. The draft report is now available. The Commission is seeking further information and feedback.
Submissions are due by Friday 7 October 2016.


Poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians.

Around the world, more than a billion people are desperately poor.

ACSSO is supporting Anti-Poverty Week again this year by sharing ways your school community can help fight poverty and hardship.  Please follow the link below to read more about this excellent educational and social initiative.


Conferences across Australia


12-13 October 2016


Northern Territory

COGSO State Conference

12-13 November 2016



Parent Engagement Conference Australia (Melbourne)

6-8 June 2017


Recent event highlights

South Australia celebrates Parents in Education Week

The 2016 Parents in Education Week, 12-15 September 2016, was a collaborative cross sector statewide education approach to parent engagement. A range of renowned international and national childhood and learning development experts provided practical tips and easy to use strategies for parents to support their child’s learning at every age and stage. The information sessions were held during the week.


 Queensland P&Cs Conference highlights

September 9-10 saw 250 P&C members travel to Gladstone for the Annual Conference. Read more on the conference:


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