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Welcome to our November E-News

Many of you will be aware that the Foundation is right in the middle of its main round of scholarship applications and deliberations for 2017. The number of applications we have received has grown again and we thank all of the families, students, teachers and Principals who have submitted applications. Applicants can expect to hear their results via email before Christmas and successful scholars will start receiving their funding early in Term 1 of 2017.  

I am particularly excited to welcome support for the establishment of two new scholarships to support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students who attend Connected Communities schools. In addition, we are thrilled that Teachers Mutual Bank has extended its partnership with the Foundation to offer a new scholarship supporting Executive Leaders within state and federal education departments. 

I would also like to thank all of our generous donors - new and ongoing - who make it possible for us to offer our life-changing scholarships to more students.  

Our scholarship deliberation panels are considering applications now; if you would like to speak further about how you can help, please don’t hesitate to contact the Foundation, or to make a donation online. All gifts made in the next 6 weeks will directly benefit students who have applied for a 2017 scholarship. 

Michelle Stanhope, General Manager

Getting to know David Hetherington, PEF's new Executive Director

We are excited to have David Hetherington join our team. David is passionate about public education and brings a wealth of public policy experience to the role.

Scroll down to view the full interview or access via our website.

David spent most of his early childhood in Sydney then moved with his family to the Philippines where he finished high school.  After beginning his undergraduate study in political science at the University of California Berkeley, David returned to Australia and graduated from the University of New South Wales, with a BA majoring in history and political science.  His postgraduate degree is an MPA in public and economic policy from the London School of Economics.

For the past 12 years David has worked in the public policy area in both London and Sydney. He established Per Capita which, under his leadershi,p has become a leading public policy think-tank in Australia.

David is looking forward to working on the Public Education Foundation's thriving scholarship program and also exploring new opportunities where the Foundation can act as a catalyst or platform for a range of players in the education sector. 

Scholarship Applications open for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students

Applications for the Una May Smith Scholarship for students with an Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander background, are now open. If you know a high potential student enrolled in year 1 in 2017 who would benefit from extra financial assistance please encourage them to apply.

This fantastic scholarship supports a student through their primary, high school and tertiary education. 

The Public Education Foundation’s Camburn Withers Scholarship supports Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in Connected Communities schools to strive and reach their full potential and to excel, by providing support for their endeavours and successfully completing their primary years of schooling.

The scholarship is named in memory of Camburn Withers s a man of vision, integrity, wisdom, humour and generosity of spirit; a believer in equal opportunity and in doing one’s best.  Camburn understood the value of education, learning, history, perseverance and belief in oneself.

This year for the first time, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Students can apply for the Dr Heather Radi Scholarship. Dr Radi was a teacher, historian, feminist and environmentalist. She knew from personal experience that a scholarship could change, improve and enrich one’s life, and impact positively on one’s community.

To be eligible for the Camburn Withers Scholarship and the Dr Heather Radi Scholarship, students need to be enrolled in a Connected Community School.

More information on these scholarships can be found here.

Calling All Mid-Career Principals

The Public Education Foundation’s Harvard Club of Australia Education Scholarship and Teachers Mutual Bank Harvard Club of Australia Education Scholarship provides scholarships for mid-career Principals of government primary and secondary schools to undertake a short professional education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the USA.

The Scholarship provides a successful applicant with the opportunity to ‘reflect, refocus and recharge’ through a professional education program tailor-made for school Principals.

Each Scholarship is valued at approximately $14,000 and includes:

  • All tuition fees for one of two Harvard Graduate School of Education programs – either ‘Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership’ or ‘Leadership: An Evolving Vision’;
  • Return airfares and accommodation for the duration of the course

What courses are on offer as part of this Scholarship?

Scholarship funds are available for two courses at the Harvard Graduate School of Education - Principals Center. The choice is:

  • Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership  - suitable for 1-5 years of leadership experience. Course Dates: 25 – 30 June 2017
  • Leadership: An Evolving Vision - suitable for 3+ years of leadership experience Course Dates: 9 – 15 July 2017

Teachers Mutual Bank Executive Leadership Scholarship

We are delighted to embark on a new partnership with Teachers Mutual Bank to deliver the Teachers Mutual Bank Executive Leadership Scholarship.  This opportunity provides a scholarship for Senior Education Executives to undertake a short professional leadership program at Harvard Kennedy School in the USA. The Scholarship provides a successful applicant with the opportunity to explore modes of collaborative working and to identify opportunities for innovative leadership.

Each Scholarship is valued at $16,000 and includes:-

- All tuition fees for either:

  • Creative Collaborative Solutions: Innovations in Governance
  • Driving Government Performance: Leadership Strategies that Produce Results
  • Leadership Decision Making: Optimising Organisational Performance
  • Leadership in the 21st Century: Chaos, Conflict and Courage

- Travel insurance, return airfares and accommodation for the duration of the course

The application closing date for all the above scholarships is 27 February, 2017. More information can be found here.

David Hetherington interview

Let's get to know David Hetherington a bit better.

Tell me about where you grew up and your schooling?

I grew up in middle ring suburbs in Sydney in Chatswood - a very typical suburban middle class up-bringing at a public primary school. I spent a bit of time in Wollongong, but Sydney has been my home primarily. At high school I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to Sydney Grammar School at the start of high school but at the end of year 8 my parents announced that the family was going to live in the Philippines. So I finished my high school at an international school in Manila.  I had been doing quite well as a competitive swimmer and I was lucky enough to get accepted into the University of California at Berkeley, for both swimming and academics, where a spent my first couple of years of university. I finished my degree in arts with majors in history and political science at University of New South Wales. My studies didn’t end there. Later on, mid-career, I went to London School of Economics and did a Masters in Public Administration.

You’ve spent a good deal of your career involved with social policy. What’s the main attraction to this area of work?

For the first part of my career I was a management consultant for one of the big strategy firms. But I was conscious that I was applying my abilities in an area where many other capable people were trying to help businesses perform better. As I thought about what I wanted to do with my life, I felt I could apply whatever talents I had, better and more purposefully in the public policy space. That’s when I had a mid-career change and went off to London School of Economics. I then worked in a think-tank in London. Here I looked at a lot  important social policy issues through a social justice lens. Since then that has been my primary passion.

You’ve established a successful public policy think-tank with Per Capita. What’s prompted you to change course slightly and join the Public Education Foundation?

Really, the success of Per Capita has allowed me to think that I contributed to creating something important and valuable. I’ve enjoyed the process of building a non-profit social change organisation from scratch and through its early formative years. I wanted a new set of challenges and the Public Education Foundation combines two different kinds of challenges. One, a focus on a space that is very important to me, public schooling. But also the Foundation is coming out of its early year start-up phase and it has the opportunity to leap to a new level and I want to be part of that journey.

What do you think are the key challenges facing the education sector in this country?

The obvious one that is eternally revisited is funding. All our public spending on essential services like education is under funding pressure constantly. That is a debate that never goes away and we’re going to have to remain vigilant on an ongoing basis. But there are other important things going on in public education that aren’t necessarily funding-related. Australia has been slowly sliding down the scale of international performance, from a very high level, admittedly. But each time these big PISA scores come out we find that, on the basis of test scores, we’re falling back. It’s not the only way you measure school performance or the contribution of an education system, but it is an important measure. And so understanding that, and contributing to a wider movement of organisations and people who want to turn that around, is important.
Another thing that I am conscious of is that there are families out there that rely on the public education system for whatever opportunities they are going to have presented to them in life. Public education is the springboard for a child that grows up in a disadvantaged family, in a family with no working parent. It’s the public education system that has to provide that kid with a platform to go on and do great things in whatever area they choose. It is important for that child and for us as a community to ensure that everyone has access to a great public school. It's important to ensure that that child can continue to contribute to the prosperity that Australia has enjoyed for a long period, but that we certainly can’t take for granted.

As new Executive Director of the Foundation what do you hope to achieve first in the short-term and then the longer-term?

In the short-term I'd like to be a successful custodian of the core strengths of what the Foundation has already built. I’m conscious that I'm arriving on the back of the outstanding work of many people: the founding board group and the staff group. We have a thriving scholarships program that provides real difference, real opportunity to hundreds of students but also teachers and principals. I want to see that continue to thrive and grow.
But I think there is an interesting opportunity to add some initiatives alongside that. It is very early days for me. We are in the process of asking the staff team and the board what those new initiatives should be. But I can see potential roles in advocacy, in research, in sharing best practice and innovation. The foundation could act as a broker or a catalyst or a platform for many of the different players in the education sector to come together to invest, to share, to build together in a very collaborative way. I think there are creative combinations out there that I would be keen to pursue in my time as Executive Director.