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.

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The latest education news for you.

  • President's message - NAPLAN, Dads' engagement cyber safety and election issues
  • Why is male engagement so important in children's education? Infographic
  • New ThinkUknow collaboration online now
  • Are you celebrating volunteers in your school community? Infographic
  • National Excellence in Teaching Awards are open for nominations
  • Mission Australia's 2016 Youth Survey
  • Reminder: Walk Safely to School Day
  • Have your say.

Please enjoy our April ACSSO News.

Read our President's message outline of the benefits of actively engaged Dads and Dads in loco in our children’s lives and learning. As a father of three remarkable children it is my most important role…


President's message

We’re already into term 2 and the year seems to be speeding by with another NAPLAN testing season fast approaching. There are changes afoot that, for some students, will see this year’s NAPLAN being the last paper-based test as it develops into an online assessment from 2017. It is vitally important to remember that it is only a snapshot of a moment in time and Andrew Fuller’s words may provide a point of reflection:

Let’s start by letting you know what NAPLAN is not. It is not a measure of how intelligent you are. It is not a measure of what you are capable of. Your results on NAPLAN don't effect if you pass the year or not. I could tell you as a psychologist that your results on NAPLAN aren't worth worrying about, but I’m not sure you are going to believe me. 

Andrew’s full article on preparing for NAPLAN can be found here and there are a variety of resources and information on his website that you may find helpful. Interestingly, ongoing developments will see NAPLAN become more closely aligned with the Australian Curriculum. If those two words leave you cold then please check out this link where you will find parent friendly information sheets that give a clear and straightforward outline of what your children will be learning in their various year levels - the sheets can be a great conversation starter with your child’s teacher.

Dads and male engagement in education

A vital element in any child’s learning is the role of Dads, male carers and other male mentors in a child’s learning. The downloadable infographic below will give you an outline of the benefits of actively engaged Dads and Dads in loco - those other male mentors - in our children’s lives and learning. As a father of three remarkable children it is my most important role…

Parenting support

Part of any parenting role is giving our children a sense of self and the confidence and skills to manage situations that may not always be in our control. With the growing use of a variety of social media platforms it is a constant challenge to keep up with new developments. The long established ThinkUKnow programme offers a website full of information, and the opportunity to book a presentation for your school community to learn first-hand as to how your family can safely negotiate the challenges that social media can present. For more information click here.

A fascinating development in this field is Reword - a new online anti-bullying tool that works as a plug in app in a similar way to spellcheck across a range of devices and platforms. It gives a real-time prompt, with a red line, that allows the user to reconsider their choice words or phrases that might give cause for concern - and to inform their future usage. There’s more information via the Reword media release, website and a clip of Chris Tanti, the CEO of Headspace, introducing the tool here. It could be something that your school’s staff and parent body may wish to explore as a whole school initiative. 

Have your say

Lastly, election fever looks soon to be upon us with the strong likelihood that education will be a central point of focus for the coming campaigns. 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 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 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.

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 funding agreements, with provision for additional disadvantage, and no special deals are vital for the future of our children. Children, who are constantly progressing through the system, will have to do the heavy lifting for the future of the economy and Australia as a whole. Maybe this is a point to ponder if a candidate comes calling at your door.

Wishing you all the very best for NAPLAN week and the inevitable electioneering to come.

Phillip Spratt

Family engagement infographics

Download this infographic as a PDF here and share it with colleagues.

ThinkUknow parenting site

Do you 

ThinkUKnow is a free, evidence-based cyber safety program that provides accessible cyber safety education to parents, carers and teachers through schools and organisations across Australia.

ThinkUKnow uses a network of trained law enforcement members and accredited volunteers from our program partner organisations to deliver the cyber safety education presentations nationwide.

Originally developed in the United Kingdom by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, ThinkUKnow Australia was established by the AFP in 2009.

ThinkUKnow is a partnership between Microsoft Australia, Datacom and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and is delivered in collaboration with the New South Wales Police Force, Northern Territory Police, Queensland Police Service, South Australia Police, Tasmania Police, Western Australia Police and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia

Volunteer engagement infographic

How do you celebrate volunteers in your school's community?

Head over to ACSSO's Facebook or Twitter and share your stories with us.

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Teacher excellence awards

2016 National Excellence in Teaching Awards are open!

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

There are so many fabulous educators who work in our communities who fly under the radar and now parents and community members  can nominate an outstanding teacher for the 2016 ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTA).

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, helping them to pursue further studies, embark on international study tours and 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.

To nominate go to: Teachers can be nominated across early childhood, primary and secondary school categories.  

Mission Australia Youth Survey

2016 Youth Survey

Mission Australia is calling on Australia’s youth to express their concerns and hopes for the future by taking part in the largest annual nationwide poll of young Australians, the Mission Australia 2016 Youth Survey. The 2016 Youth Survey is now open to all Australian youth aged 15-19 years old, providing a platform for young people to have their say.

Catherine Yeomans, Mission Australia CEO said: “This year we have included a new special focus questions to discover more about the young people’s experience in their local community and perceptions of discrimination. The survey will also seek to understand young people’s participation in education, employment and community activities, their family and social support networks and their values and concerns”.

The survey closes on 31 July 2016, with results to be analysed and released before the end of the year.

See more at:

Walk Safely to School Day

Reminder: Walk Safely to School Day

National Walk Safely to School Day (WSTSD) is an annual, national event when all Primary School children will be encouraged to walk and commute safely to school. It is a Community Event seeking to promote Road Safety, Health, Public Transport and the Environment.

More information and promotional tools for your school can found at: 

The event will be held throughout Australia on Friday 20 May 2016


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.