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, particularly in your school's parent organisation. No Images? Click here

2015's last education newsletter for your school!

  • President's message
  • Teen driver education trial
  • Nominate your school library
  • Read the Children's Rights 2015 Report
  • National resources for drug and alcohol education

Read our President's message

... remember that a sense of wellbeing, resilience and engagement with their community is equally important. 


President's message


With the end of the year upon us it seems like only last week that we were sending our children off to start the year that was. What it does bring is the start of the holiday season and a break from school routine and early starts for our children. It also gives us as parents the opportunity to reflect on how we have engaged our families in appreciating the value of learning – this time may even give us the chance to do more of the informal and family based activity that is such a vital part of wellbeing.

Resilient youth survey

Speaking of wellbeing ACSSO recently met with Andrew Fuller who has been looking into this very topic in an ongoing study. In an era when so much is expected of our children in terms of academic achievement it’s always good to remember that a sense of wellbeing, resilience and engagement with their community is equally important. Andrew has developed a survey to explore the various elements of this and would welcome your involvement here . 

The future of early years education

As part of the Federation White paper review the subject of early years education has been taken on by the SA and NT Governments. The essential role of early years as the foundation of all learning is well recognised and a recent nationwide Early Childhood National Reform Symposium was held to explore the opportunities at some length. Early years education with the pivotal role of parental input will be a growing part of ACSSO’s work.

Ongoing role forthe Royal Commission

On a more considered note ACSSO was part of a private schools roundtable with the Royal Commission into the institutional response to child sexual abuse. The crucial role of transparent policy and procedure was noted as was the number of people that have participated in private sessions with the Commissioners to expound their experiences. The Commissioners get the sense that there are many more people who may wish to make contact – the Commission would welcome any enquiry or questions on the process, and how it works, if anyone is at all unsure and would like to participate. The Royal Commission’s work is vital and will be ground breaking in its scope and as a future resource of best practice. The input from individuals has been profound in its impact and the courage displayed to come forward is readily appreciated and truly respected. You will find more information on the Commission's ongoing role on its website here.

Help us to help you

Looking to next year the subject of the election is becoming ever more present in everyone’s thinking. As you think back on what went well this year, and what could be better for the future, can I ask you to consider your family’s education priorities for the coming federal election. While they are fresh in your mind please go to and send them in to us on the ‘Have a say’ link. ACSSO can then compile them to table for the various parties’ response.

Wishing you all the very best for your summer break and we’ll be back with the first newsletter of 2016 early in the New Year.

Phillip Spratt


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Ford drunk suit

'Drunk suit' featured on The Project

An outfit that simulates drunken physical reactions, used in the ACSSO/Ford Australia teenage driver training trial, was recently featured on top-rating national program The Project.

Our November newsletter was dedicated to the Driving Skills For Life partnership we have forged with Ford to help schools support families and teenagers in positive driver education.  

You can catch up on this great initiative by watching this short video.

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Nominate a great school library

It's time to recognise your school's library! 

Library associations across Australia have joined forces to promote the value of well-resourced school libraries and they want to hear about yours.  

Head over to the Great School Libraries web page to find out how you can nominate your school's library and support access to high quality information and resources for all students and teachers.

The award campaign is supported by FAIR (Freedom of Access to Information and Resources) with The Australian Library and Information AssociationALIA SchoolsAustralian School Library AssociationQueensland School Library AssociationSchool Library Association of NSWSchool Library Association of South AustraliaSchool Library Association of VictoriaWestern Australian School Library Association and EducationHQ 


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Report highlights affect of family violence on children

Anti-violence campaigner Rosie Batty, National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell, and Professor Kerry Arabena from the University of Melbourne last week launched the Children’s Rights Report 2015.

The report includes new data which reveals the incidence and impact of violence inflicted on children and young people by family members.

Commissioner Mitchell said new data included in the Children’s Rights Report 2015 shows that 1 in 12 men and women experienced physical abuse by a family member, and one in 28 experienced sexual abuse by a family member, before the age of 15.

Victims of Crime data for some jurisdictions in the four years to 2013 shows more than 14000 physical assaults and over 12000 sexual assaults of children perpetrated by parents or other family members - mostly directed at younger children under nine years of age.

“For me these are shocking statistics that show just how many children are direct victims of violence in the home,” Commissioner Mitchell said.

“Previous studies have also estimated that over 20% of children and young people have witnessed violence against a mother or step mother.”

Commissioner Mitchell has made a number of recommendations in the report including:

  • urgent research is required about children's exposure to domestic violence 
  • early intervention must be improved and begin with a child's conception in a violent home

Commissioner Mitchell said:

Research is now clear that exposure to family violence can have significant negative impacts on the developmental trajectory of children, including in utero, and has been directly linked to mood and personality disorders, impaired cognitive functioning and learning, antisocial and aggressive behaviours, heightened anxiety and pervasive fear.

This information is based on the National Children's Commissioner's media release.

You can watch the launch on Youtube here, read the full media release here, and download the report here.

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National parent portal

Drug and alcohol education resources

for schools and parents  

With Schoolies Week making national news and the long summer holidays ahead of us, many parents will be looking for ways to speak with their older children about alcohol and drugs.

The Australian Department of Health's updated Parents Portal on its Positive Choices website accompanies a wide range of teaching resources designed to support education about substance use and abuse.  The site also has a student portal including interactive games and fact sheets designed for teenagers of all ages.

From cigarettes and alcohol through to methamphetamines such as Ice, the website is a useful source of information and guidance for parents, principals, teachers and teens.

Student portal

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