2018 Annual Report

Logo of AIS ACT

Profile photo of Rita Daniels Chair

A message from the Chair

2018 has been yet another busy year. Perhaps this has become the "new normal" in the world of education after many years where we have faced significant changes in funding and curriculum, as well as other aspects of education.

Message From the Executive Director

2018 was a somewhat special year for the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT. It may not be in the consciousness of us to consider just how long the organisation has been here, we have been here for a long time!

The Association Key Functions

The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT) represents and advocates for the interests of all independent schools in the ACT, consulting with governments, statutory authorities and a wide range of other educational stakeholders.

The Association also provides a number of professional learning opportunities throughout the year to Member schools. The professional learning covers a number of areas including curriculum, coaching, leadership, student wellbeing and support, governance and innovation.

In representing the views of the diverse group of Member schools, AISACT adheres to the following key principles:

  • Parents are entitled to exercise choice in selecting the most suitable school and education philosophy for the education of their child(ren).
  • The Association advocates for and represents the issues of the independent school sector.
  • All students, irrespective of where they are educated, are entitled to a high quality education.
  • Governments have a responsibility to provide a suitable level of funding for all students to achieve high quality education outcomes, regardless of where they go to school.
  • All independent schools in the ACT are Members of the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT.
  • Each ACT independent school is a separate and autonomous entity.
  • Independent schools are not-for profit entities with an independent governing body.
  • As independent entities and self-governing organisations, independent schools have the right to select and employ their staff.
  • While all schools are required to comply with relevant legislation with regard to alignment with the Australian Curriculum, individual schools will make choices about the breadth of the curriculum offered and the subject choices provided within their context.
  • Independent schools vary in size, educational philosophy and ethos.
  • The work of the Association is focussed on its Mission: The advancement of educational excellence through the promotion of a strong independent school sector in the ACT


The Association has 18 Member schools, which are a diverse group of non-government schools serving a range of communities. The Schools are of different types, sizes, religious affiliations and educational philosophies and are a vital part of the ACT education system.

In 2018 Member schools educated over 14,300 students with enrolments ranging from 25 to over 1800 students. In 2018 students in Member schools made up 19% of the total student population in the ACT, with 27% of ACT secondary students attending an Independent School.

The Association also provided its two Associate Member schools with support and opportunities in 2018. These schools have been able to access professional learning in addition to other services that the Association offered. They will continue to be a vital part of the Association and its strategic direction.

Inforgraphic of 2018 Enrolments. 14,300

Inforgraphic of Enrolments Range

Inforgraphic total student population in ACT (19%)
Inforgraphic of secondary students in ACT (27%)

Governance and Executive Committee & Subcommittees

General Meetings

The Association’s General Meeting is comprised of nominated representatives from each of the 18 Member schools. Each school is able to nominate two representatives, one of whom must be the Principal, and the other being a representative of the School’s governing body.

In addition to the Member school representatives, the AISACT invites its Associate Members to participate in the Associations activities and meetings.

The Association extends the invitation to be an observer to the Association of Parents and Friends of ACT Schools (APFACTS). APFACTS is a partner of the Association and plays a pivotal role in supporting the parents of students at Independent schools.

Executive Committee

The General Meeting membership elects the members to the Executive Committee. Members of the Executive Committee considered the wide range of strategic impacts to the Association, the Association’s best response to those impacts on behalf of Member schools, and the strategic oversight of the services and new initiatives to support to Member and Association Member schools.

AISACT Executive Committee membership details are provided in the Appendix.

Executive Subcommittees

The Executive Committee supported the role of four strategic subcommittees: the Finance Subcommittee, the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee and the renamed Education Support Subcommittee formally the Schools for All Subcommittee and an Early Years Learning Subcommittee. All subcommittees continued their work to provide advice on strategies, opportunities and approaches to the Executive Committee to achieve the Association’s key directions. In addition an executive committee working group was established to consider changes to relevant Legislation during 2018.

AISACT Executive Subcommittee membership details are provided in the Appendix.

Decorative Photo of Hot Air Balloons

Strategic Intent

The Office of AISACT continued to develop and provide Member schools with opportunities and support in line with the AISACT Strategic Intent 2018 which was endorsed by the Executive committee to replace the previous Strategic Plan 2014 – 1017. Member Schools provided the Office with feedback and direction via the AISACT Services and Functions annual survey.


As the representative body for the Independent School sector, the Association represents the sector’s view to Territory and Federal governments on matters of significance and importance in education and in independent schools.

The Association continued to work closely with the ACT Minister for Education and Early Childhood, Ms Yvette Berry MLA, ministerial advisors, and senior officials from the ACT Education Directorate. The Association also worked closely with The Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Catholic Education to continue to advance the specific issues relating to Non-Government Schools in the ACT.


The Association made a number of submissions on behalf of Member schools'.

  • ACT Education Act 2004 - ongoing
  • Review of the Socio-Economic Status Score Methodology
  • Supported School Transport and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Discussion Paper
  • ACT government Inquiry into Standardised testing
  • Consultation Paper – Transport Canberra and City Services - School Bus Policy
  • Early Education for Every Three-Year-Old Child in the ACT
  • Proposed Amendments to the Senior Practitioner Act 2018


The Association, through Principals, Members, office staff, and teachers from Member schools, represents the interests of Independent Schools, Independent Education, and the Association on a wide variety of committees, consultative groups and boards.

In 2018 the Association of Independent schools was invited to have representative on the Senior Practitioners Committee and working groups. The Association’s involvement on committees and groups includes:

National Representation

  • ACARA Curriculum Directors' Group
  • Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Professional Growth Network
  • Association for Learning Environments
  • Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA) Board
  • ISCA Executive Directors Council (EDCO)

ACT Representation

ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS)
  • BSSS Board
  • BSSS Curriculum Advisory Group
  • BSSS Accreditation Advisory Group
  • BSSS Vocational Education and Training (VET) Group
  • BSSS Innovation Committee


  • ACT Cross Sectoral Education Committee
  • ACT Curriculum Advisory Group
  • Communities of Practice (various)
  • ANU Secondary College
  • NAPLAN Online Project Board
  • NAPLAN Online Cross Sector working group

Schools for All

  • Cross sectoral Everyone Everyday Committee
  • Improving Education Outcomes for Students in Out of Home Care Committee
  • Schools for All Project Board
  • Schools for All Program Working Group
  • Schools for All Working Group – Project 5: Professional Learning and Support for Staff
  • Student Voice Forum Committee

Teacher Quality Institute

  • TQI Board
  • TQI Initial Teacher Education Committee (ITEC)
  • TQI Professional Learning Advisory Committee (PLAD)
  • TQI Standards and Professional Practices Committee (SPPC)


  • ACT Animal Ethics Committee
  • ACT Block Grant Authority (BGA) Board
  • ACT BGA Priorities Committees
  • Be You Implementation and Engagement Group
  • ACT Positive Partnership Reference Group
  • Canberra Business Chamber Education Taskforce
  • CBR Innovation Network
  • NDIS Education and Employment Working Group
  • School Sport ACT Board
  • School Transport Liaison Committee
  • Sector Leaders group (ACT ED, CE, AISACT)
  • Senior Practitioners Working Groups
  • Standby Advisory Board

Our Partners

During 2018 the work of AISACT has been supported by a range of partners. We thank and appreciate the ongoing role of our major partner NAB Education which allows the Association to continue to deliver programs and events, and to develop new ones in response to member feedback. In addition we appreciate the partnership with AON, and Nexia Australia.

Programs and Initiatives

The Association’s Strategic Intent has guided the decisions and work of the Association and articulates the key directions needed to achieve the Association’s goals. The Strategic Intent is supported by a number of operational plans.

This report outlines the key activities of the Association to meet Member School needs and to positively advance and further develop the capacity of Independent schools in the ACT to meet their community’s expectations. This work and direction was greatly supported by the Commonwealth’s priorities through the Non-government Reform Support Fund.

To this end, AISACT provided a strong supportive range of programs beginning in January 2018. Building on previous work on the quality assurance, moderation and support for the continued improvement of Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability, the organisation provided online training modules on the Disability Standards for both teaching staff and assistants. There was a strong focus on Moderation, working cross sectorally, and with new focussed sessions for all member schools through the established Students with Disability Network. There was a focus on leadership development with targeted programs for Principals and Executive staff of Member Schools. These programs were in addition to the provision of expert advice from a newly appointed staff member providing both hotline support and advice through on-site support at individual schools. Professional development focussed on the collection of evidence and data, and developing programs to ensure that the support and planning for individual students is at the centre of everything schools do, and will achieve the best possible learning outcomes for students.

During 2018, the transition year for the implementation of online delivery of the National Assessment program, AISACT worked to ensure that all 18 Member Schools had access to advice and assistance with regard to their readiness for the implementation of the online delivery of the National Assessment program. Importantly, AISACT provided financial assistance to access for external support for platform solutions to those schools who are not in a position to internally address implementation issues. AISACT ensured relevant communication and resources were provided on its website, and NAPLAN Online was a focus and a set agenda item for all Board meetings throughout 2018.

The priority addressing the improvement of governance and financial management practices in non-government schools saw a program provided by the Australian Institute of Company Directors available to all member schools Board Directors. The focus through the provision of these short courses and sessions, addressed the practice, monitoring, planning and sustaining of good governance. These courses or sessions built on best practice and were provided by a range of experts throughout the year. AISACT also incorporated focussed agenda items at the Business Managers Forums.

AISACT continued to be responsive to Member Schools’ needs, through the provision of specialist professional learning programs as evidenced by the other identified programs, addressing National Curriculum, Emerging Leaders, Literacy and Numeracy Coaching and provision for Gifted and Talented students to name a few. These programs also incorporate elements of the reform priorities.

Governance and Financial Management Practices

Masterclasses/workshops in this series provided opportunities for attendees to benefit from expert knowledge on a particular topic, and to collaborate with peers.

These opportunities have been developed in response to two drivers: first, an overwhelming response from Members through the 2017 Member Survey (82.5%) who indicated interest in Professional Learning opportunities in governance for School Board members; and second, one of the Commonwealth Government’s reform priorities as articulated in the Non-government Reform Support Fund is improving governance and financial management practices in non-government schools.

Masterclass Topic: Board Effectiveness - Roles and Responsibilities

Presented by Phil Butler from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Thursday 17 May

Phil Butler, NFP Sector Leader for the Australian Institute of Company Directors, set the scene of why building governance capability is critical to your school. He delved into the governance relationships in the education system, in particular, the challenges around operational versus governance issues.

Australian Institute of Company Directors - Schools Governance Development Programs

The workshops were an opportunity for the officers and relevant officials of Member Schools to participate in an inclusive and shared discussion about how they might apply the various principles, elements and practices of governance in the area of Schools Governance.

They were highly interactive sessions with facilitated discussions on points raised and questions, points of views and divergent opinions of the participants welcomed.

This program consisted of three courses —

Duties and Responsibilities of the Not-for-Profit Director, Strategy and Risk for the Not-for-Profit and Finance for the Not-for-Profit Director.

Image of people attending a workshop

Support for School Students With Disability

Students with Disability Network

In 2018 the Students with Disability network continued to provide an opportunity for Learning Support staff within AISACT Member Schools to discuss a range of topics and make vital connections to assist in the education of students who have a disability. Topics covered included developing Individual Learning Plans, sharing strategies and resources, professional learning feedback, as well as ongoing discussion and input on the NCCD.

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD)

In 2018 all Member Schools participated in the NCCD, requiring schools to collect and report on the adjustment level and the category of disability for identified students within the school. To support schools, the Association again provided individual school support through meetings and telephone conversations, and an information package outlining the key aspects of the NCCD. Additionally in 2018, a series of 3 workshops was run across semester one to support and inform school processes and collection/ collation of evidence. This workshop series was attended by an average of 15 participants each session. The workshops were accredited by TQI.

Cross Sectoral Moderation Sessions were held again in 2018 and were attended by our Member schools. Each attendee provided de identified case studies of students who they were planning to include in the data collection. In small groups, attendees discussed each case study to assist in better understanding the decision-making process of the adjustment level and the disability category.

Based on feedback from all 3 sectors, there will be an expanded set of activities to support the NCCD processes in 2019.

In 2018 Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) conducted a National quality assurance project focussed on collection and management of evidence for NCCD. Four AISACT schools were selected to participate and reported that the process itself was thorough and supportive in assisting their school planning.

Each school received a detailed feedback report from PWC and teachers further reported that they found the research results valuable for future work. These reports also identified that the AISACT schools showed strong, appropriate levels of evidence across all areas.

In addition to network support, professional learning and representational work, the AISACT initiated an Action Research Project to enhance the work of schools in the area of supporting students with disabilities. The project has been developed and facilitated by Dr Michael Arthur-Kelly from the University of Newcastle. There are 7 projects from 6 AISACT schools underway. The projects will be implemented in 2019 and the results will be published in the Australian Journal of Special Education.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

AISACT continues to represent Member Schools on the NDIS Education and Employment Working Group; this work will continue into 2019.

Senior Practitioner Act 2018

The implementation of The Senior Practitioner Act aimed at reducing/ eliminating restrictive practices impacted on the work of the AISACT schools in 2018. The Senior Practitioner presented a Principal’s Masterclass to outline the key elements of the act and the responsibilities of schools in response.

AISACT had, and will continue to have, representation on both the Oversight Steering Committee and the Education Working Group.

Professional Learning

Teaching and Learning

The Australian Curriculum is designed to develop successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. It is presented as a progression of learning from Foundation-Year 10 that makes clear to teachers, parents, students and others in the wider community what is to be taught, and the quality of learning expected of young people as they progress through school.

The Australian Curriculum Implementation Schedule for ACT Schools outlines the requirements for implementing the K-12 Australian Curriculum. The Office of the Association supports schools to ensure that the Australian Curriculum taught is the most current curriculum published by ACARA on the Australian Curriculum website. Cross-sectoral Communities of Practice (CoP) in subject specific areas help to build shared understanding and enhance teaching practice.

Currently, the ACT Cross-sectoral Curriculum Group (ACTCCG) works collaboratively on jurisdictional curriculum implementation matters such as the annual ACARA monitoring report. The ACTCCG provides advice to the Minister regarding implementation of the Australian Curriculum across the ACT and shares curriculum implementation challenges and strategies.

Throughout 2018, the AISACT Teaching and Learning Subcommittee has continued to inform and support the work of the Association. The Subcommittee was formed by the Association’s Executive Committee in 2015 for the purpose of supporting the work of the Association in the area of Teaching and Learning. It also brings together and aligns those aspects of the Strategic Intent associated with the Key Direction Support for Member Schools.

In 2018 the subcommittee’s membership numbers were increased, the benefits of doing so being that:

  • Ideas and discussion would be reflective of more AISACT perspectives/voices
  • Increased membership assisted in ensuring that robust numbers attend the quarterly meetings, in turn, providing better direction to the work of the Office
  • Increased membership enhanced communication channels to Member Schools regarding existing and emerging teaching & learning programs and opportunities.

In July of this year, the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee was instrumental in responding to an invitation from the Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs of the ACT Legislative Assembly to contribute to an AISACT submission to its Inquiry into Standardised Testing in ACT Schools. The resulting paper reflected the professional and considered opinions of representatives from a range of independent schools, and staff from the office of the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT.

Diagram of the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum

Image of people attending workshop for Curriculum of K-10

The AISACT Australian Curriculum K-10 Workshop series

Throughout 2018, The Australian Curriculum K-10 Workshop Series, based on the work of Dr Tracey McAskill, provided insightful learning opportunities for all AISACT teachers and coordinators. Each workshop was extremely well attended and St Edmund’s College generously provided the venue and videography skills. The input for each workshop is based on the work of Dr Tracey McAskill who managed the development of 24 of the 34 subjects of the F-10 Australian Curriculum. She also developed the validation of achievement standards process and managed the implementation of this process for all 34 subjects of the Australian Curriculum. The workshops provided a foundation for effective use of the standards to plan for student learning, to develop assessment, to make judgements about student performance and to effectively differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students. These workshops were TQI accredited.

Workshop Overviews:

Workshop 1: Unpacking achievement
standards and levels of performance

The most important element in a standards-based curriculum is the standards and yet in the Australian Curriculum, the achievement standards are the most difficult element to understand. This workshop emphasised the structure and language of achievement standards. By the end of the workshop, participants had the tools to unpack the achievement standards and understand how to use them to discriminate between levels of achievement or student performance.

Scored 8 and Above Before After
I now have the necessary understanding and skills to unpack an achievement standard. 15.9% 75.3%
I can now identify the levels of performance within an achievement standard and report achievement on a five point scale. 21.6% 76.7%

Workshop 2: Standards-based
planning and assessment

This workshop lead participants through the backwards design planning process using the Australian Curriculum. This process begins with the end in mind [achievement standard] and then derives the curriculum from the evidence of learning [skills and understandings] and the teaching needed to equip students to perform [Content descriptions]. This workshop deepened participants’ understanding of achievement standards and their role in planning for student success. A key take-away message was that planning using the Australian Curriculum is not a checklist of content descriptions. The workshop clarified the intention of the Australian Curriculum and the relationship between achievement standards, content descriptions and assessment.

Scored 8 and Above Before After
I understand the relationship between achievement standards and content descriptions. 25.1% 86.6%

I must say how fantastic and helpful I have found the workshops in the Australian Curriculum K-10 Workshop series. It has made such a difference to our planning and reporting for this semester.

Just a note to say how grateful I am to you for organising these workshops. They have shaken resistance and catalysed change in a profound way.

Workshop 3: Using the Australian
Curriculum to differentiate

The Australian Curriculum assumes that all students can and will learn. Teachers are tasked with ensuring every student learns age-appropriate content and achieves year or band level learning expectations as described in the curriculum or in ILPs. Yet, increasingly, each classroom has a range of students with varying levels of readiness, learning preferences and interests. This workshop focused on how the Australian Curriculum can be used to differentiate content, process and product, with a focus on achievement standards. A number of practical examples were unpacked to develop understandings about how to change the complexity and breadth and depth of learning to support, enrich or extend students.

Scored 8 and Above Before After
I have the necessary strategies to differentiate my lessons to cater to the variety of student needs in my class. 34% 77%

Workshop 4: Using the National Literacy and Numeracy Progressions to differentiate

In January 2018, ACARA released the National Literacy and Numeracy Progressions. The primary purpose of this resource is to provide a tool for teachers to locate students’ levels of literacy and numeracy to facilitate differentiated instruction. The workshop familiarised participants with this tool and provided strategies for schools to support the development of student literacy and numeracy so that students can achieve across all learning areas in the Australian Curriculum.

Scored 8 and Above Before After
I have the necessary understanding and skills to use the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions 0% 78.3%

Australian Curriculum 2018 General Capabilities in Action PL series

(TQI accredited)

This cross-sectoral series of workshops was delivered in partnership with curriculum specialists from ACARA, led by Danielle Cavanagh (Curriculum Specialist, General Capabilities). Four independent schools were involved in this pilot program, with artefacts shared via a General Capabilities Google Classroom. Catholic Education generously provided the venue for this cross-sectoral workshop series.

An overview of each workshop is provided below:

Workshop One: Understanding the General Capabilities

This session introduced each of the General Capabilities, providing participants with an understanding of how each capability is presented on the website and structured. Participants unpacked the continua and examples of practice.

Loved hearing about the examples of what’s happening in schools with the general capabilities

Great to go through all capabilities with a practical approach of how these can look in a classroom

Workshop Two: Connecting the General Capabilities to the Learning Areas

This session linked the General Capabilities to identified Learning Areas and provided opportunities for participants to work in small groups with ACARA curriculum specialists on how specific capabilities are embedded within learning area content. Proposed approaches were scaffolded via a Project template.

Really enjoyed seeing how the capabilities can be mapped to the Achievement Standards and how you can link to assessment tasks

Leaving reinvigorated and looking forward to developing a project

Project Progress Sharing session

Working in an appointment style process participants presented their project and the work undertaken to a small group to receive feedback. This session provided participants with an opportunity to discuss wins and challenges via the protocols of Empathy Map Canvas and Compass Points Canvas.

Left with a much clearer understanding of capabilities and their usefulness in classroom practice. Enjoyed learning about ethical and intercultural capabilities across all age groups.

Image of Workshop for the Coaching Academy of Literacy Numeracy STEM


In this session schools presented their project and results. The session provided each school with an opportunity to present their own approach and investigate other schools’ approaches.

Great to hear about how the capabilities can support extensive differentiation

AISACT Literacy, Numeracy and STEM Coaching Academy

The 2018 AISACT Literacy, Numeracy and STEM Coaching Academy is a proven program that provides an opportunity for AISACT Member schools to further embed coaching as an approach to professional learning and instructional change. Through the provision of professional learning for a coach from the school site, and ongoing support from an AISACT mentor, 10 teachers expanded their coaching approach for school change.

Each nominating school identified an Instructional Focus Area (either reading, writing, numeracy, or STEM) based on current education data and plans. Participants provided an overview of this work at the 2018 Celebrating Teaching and Learning event.

This coaching approach is an opportunity to improve pedagogy and outcomes for our students and staff

This is a great opportunity to look at and use our data

I can directly apply some of these strategies and improve outcomes in writing

I’ve a thorough insight into new strategies for use in the classroom

The power of STEM to engage students in AC subjects is great


(TQI accredited)

Concluding in 2018 a bespoke Train-the-Trainer Model of professional learning has, for the past three years, supported teachers in the development of a sound understanding of evidence-based best practice in gifted and talented education. The AISACT program was designed to align with current research and the Australian Curriculum and, in 2017, was showcased at the 22nd Biennial World Conference—Global Perspectives in Gifted Education.

Executive and classroom teachers from our independent schools have enhanced their understanding of the learning needs of gifted learners in their schools and current research and strategies which underpin the practical classroom, differentiation and whole school processes required to recognise and best support these learners. Participants have examined current situations within their teaching of gifted and talented students and subsequently improved classroom and whole school practice in the recognition and identification of gifted learners and the effective design and implementation of differentiated inquiry units of work.

Schools now support an expanded view of giftedness that focuses on abilities and talents in all areas of the Gagne’ Model. This may be evidenced in the appropriate and ongoing identification of gifted students across all designated areas of giftedness and talent; appropriate interventions to meet the specific characteristics of these students, research based inquiry-driven models to inform differentiated teaching and learning strategies; and, an increase in student engagement and well-being.

Participants presented their action research projects at the 2018 Celebrating Teaching and Learning event. Inquiry focus examples:

  • How does understanding current staff attitudes and knowledge of Gifted and Talented Education influence the development of staff professional learning?
  • To what extent does the use of ability testing better inform student placement in a gifted writing program?
  • To what extent do students identified as having “high academic potential” benefit from differentiated structures and strategies developed and implemented to cater for their learning needs?
  • Does teacher identification and perceptions of Gifted and Talented students match identification tools and general achievement?
  • To what extent does identifying gifted students inform in-school provisions and opportunities?
  • To what extent does acceleration (subject, whole grade and radical) improve student engagement with learning in their Zone of Proximal Development?
Image of women in the talented students Workshop
Image of women in the talented students Workshop
Image of women in the talented students Workshop
Image of women in the talented students Workshop

Very grateful for these outstanding PL opportunities

Thank you for another wonderful day full of learning, practising, collaborating, etc…

Loved how the scary concept of action research has been made easier to understand (and actually do)

Thank you for challenging my thinking and practice

Another ‘crunchy eyebrow’, thought provoking and extremely useful session


The AISACT Learning Frontiers community concluded its innovative journey in 2018. Originating in 2015, this program of targeted professional learning and engagement with some key strategic partners, established solid foundations for exploring innovative practices in teaching and learning.

In 2017 the journey of innovation continued, modelled on a Conversation Series. Teachers from AISACT Member Schools came together and considered opportunities to apply new approaches to teaching and learning, in response to specific provocations provided by leading practitioners in innovative practices.

Throughout 2018 this exciting journey of innovation continued via a forum that combined the powerful concepts of TeachMeets and Mastermind Groups. We acknowledge the commitment of Mr Tim McNevin who pioneered and supported the AISACT Learning Frontiers community throughout this four year journey.


(TQI accredited)

Throughout 2018 a total of seven cross sectoral workshops were delivered for teachers by Toni Falusi, the ACT Project Officer for the Adelaide University Computer Science Education Research (CSER) MOOC project. These workshops assisted teachers to develop their skills and knowledge of the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. This was achieved by supporting teachers to progress through the MOOC content and hands-on workshops with a variety of tools such as Sphero, Edison, Ozobot, MakeyMakey, Microbit and unplugged activities.

Image of a hand drawn map of a workshop game


Following the success of the AISACT Emerging Leaders Program in both 2016 and 2017, AISACT was delighted to offer a version of this program again in 2018. This exciting program was developed with, and delivered by, AIM ACTNSW to emerging leaders across AISACT Member Schools and was accredited by TQI.

The program aligns with contemporary adult learning methodology, consequently blended learning underpinned the delivery approach. While customised for AISACT member schools within the ACT and Australian education context, the learning outcomes also provide alignment with the nationally recognised Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management.

In 2018, 18 staff from a range of Member Schools participated in the program. Each participant presented their project at the 2018 Celebrating Teaching and Learning event covering topics such as:

  • Accelerated Mathematics Program
  • Review of Modification and Adjustment
  • Students at Risk Identification Procedures
  • Co-curricular Programs: past, present, future
  • Literacy Essentials
  • Where they belong, they flourish
  • Implementing change based on the History challenge
  • Induction and Procedures manual
  • Feedback and Feedforward
  • Differentiation

Image of people in a Workshop for the Emerging Leaders Program

Image of people in a Workshop for the Emerging Leaders Program

Leadership Coaching Professional Learning

Alumni from past AISACT programs were provided with two opportunities throughout 2018 to attend a coaching workshop. The Introduction to Leadership Coaching two day program, provided by Growth Coaching International (GCI), was attended by a range of teachers from across the ACT education sectors and received excellent feedback.


The transition to NAPLAN Online in 2018 for the majority of Member Schools was significant and the mechanics of preparing for, and conducting the assessments, have been anecdotally reported as varying from school to school. The majority of participants stated that the preparatory time component was found to be significant, however, it is anticipated that the impact on time will be reduced over the next couple of years as processes become streamlined.

A benefit of moving to NAPLAN Online is the faster receipt of more useful information for use in the classroom. The Student and School Summary Report (SSSR) is the first time that NAPLAN information has been received so quickly at the school level and it is expected to improve the timelines even more in the future.

The transition from SMART to Scout, a Microsoft platform called Power BI, also supports the analysis of NAPLAN data. This cloud based application, accessible via the Scout website, provides independent schools with three Apps – NAPLAN Item Analysis, School Performance and Student Performance. Workshops providing Scout training were well attended.

reSolve: Maths by Inquiry Showcase

This year, the federal government- funded project, reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry, drew to a close with a showcase event at The Shine Dome on 15 August. This national project, managed by the Australian Academy of Science in collaboration with the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, was designed to promote a spirit of inquiry in school mathematics.

We are delighted to congratulate 24 reSolve ACT Champions (of which nine are from ACT independent schools) who undertook a 12-month professional learning program, Leading reSolve, which equipped them with the skills and knowledge to help others engage with inquiry in school mathematics.

ACT Teacher Mentoring Mini-Conference: Mentoring for School Improvement

Organised by the ACT Teacher Quality Institute, this mini-conference was held on the 18 October at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning. Of the eight workshops, two were provided by teachers from AISACT Member Schools.

The Embedded Coaching Model

(Murray McKay – Canberra Girls Grammar School)

A program designed to embed effective professional learning in teams to support 21st century pedagogy. Embedded Coaching is an equivalent of the ‘think, pair, share’ model where Professional Learning is tied to team goals and school vision.

Learning Cells Coaching Model

(Jason Ward and Naomi Cole – Trinity Christian School)

Trinity Christian School uses Learning Cells as the next phase of its teaching mentoring program. The aim is: Developing Skills and Expertise as Educational Professionals.

Image of people attending Leadership Breakfast

Significant Events

AISACT Leadership Breakfast Series

In 2018 the Association continued its successful Leadership Breakfast series. The series seeks to bring together the wider ACT education community to hear from pertinent leaders and speakers from around Australia and the world.

The speakers in this year’s series were:

Photo of Jan Owen OAM

Jan Owen OAM

Jan is a highly regarded social entrepreneur, innovator, influencer and author who has spent the past 25 years growing Australia’s youth, social enterprise and innovation sectors.

In 2018, Jan received the Doctor of the University (honoris causa) from Murdoch University; in 2012 was named Australia’s inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac Woman of Influence; in 2014 received the Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney; and was awarded membership to the Order of Australia in 2000. She is the author of Every Childhood Lasts a Lifetime (1996) and The Future Chasers (2014).

Jan is the CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians and YLab, the global youth futures lab. Her lifelong mission is to unleash the potential of young people to lead positive change in the world.

Photo of Professor Patrick McGorry AO

Professor Patrick McGorry AO

Professor Patrick McGorry AO is the Executive Director of Orygen, Professor of Youth Mental Health at The University of Melbourne, and a Director of the Board of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

He is a world-leading researcher in youth mental health and, as a key architect of the headspace model, has been successful in advocating with colleagues its national expansion. Professor McGorry also has a strong interest in promoting the mental health of the homeless, refugees and asylum seekers.

Professor McGorry is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the current President of the Society for Mental Health Research, and the President of the Schizophrenia International Research Society.

Professor McGorry was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010, and earlier that year was named the Australian of the Year for his services to youth mental health.

Photo of Jodie Griffiths Cook

Jodie Griffiths-Cook

Jodie Griffiths-Cook commenced as Public Advocate and Children and Young People Commissioner for the Australian Capital Territory on 2 May 2016.

Jodie is a psychologist who began her human services career with 8 years in frontline service delivery working with children, young people and adults. Prior to coming to the ACT, Jodie worked in various government and non-government leadership roles where she gained extensive experience in policy development, project management, program design and practice improvement culminating in being appointed as Public Advocate for Queensland in August 2012.

With over 25 years experience in human services, a strong interest in social justice, and a commitment to upholding and advancing human rights, Jodie is committed to pursuing effective outcomes that contribute to a sustainable and cohesive human services sector.

AISACT Colloquium
- 30 August 2018

Building on a Culture of Excellence – NURTURING LEARNING

This cross sectoral event began with a panel of students who engaged in a conversation and shared their thoughts on what “Excellence” means to them and how their learning is best nurtured.

Keynote: Lee Watanabe Crockett

Future – Focussed Learning

“Today’s students will inherit a legacy of global challenges that we see and read about each day. They will face critical issues that impact our entire planet, along with challenges that we cannot yet imagine. We can empower them to overcome these obstacles for present and future generations now, in our classrooms. To do this we must move beyond literacy and numeracy and into the realms of critical and creative thinking, ethical action, and a deep awareness and understanding of our global culture.”

In Future-Focused Learning, we looked at inspiring examples of the solutions-focused ingenuity students around the world are demonstrating in innovative learning environments—including STEM, inquiry, and PBL—utilising Solution Fluency to cultivate ethical, responsible Global Digital Citizens taking positive action and striving together to solve problems that matter.

Keynote: Tom Brunzell

Enabling Teachers to Create a Culture of Urgency and Excellence

The Berry Street Education Model is a progressive training model that provides teachers with practical strategies to successfully improve all students self –regulation, relationships, growth and academic achievement. This sessions unpacks how the five building blocks of the Berry Street Model correspond with the child-development capacities that each student must build in order to be “ready to learn”. When considering how best to meet the needs of students, we focus first on building their capacity to engage and then nurturing their willingness to engage.

AISACT thanks Member schools for supporting this event and look forward to presenting the next Colloquium in 2019.

AISACT Celebrating Teaching & Learning Event
– 7 November 2018

The 2018 AISACT Celebrating Teaching and Learning event, now in its fourth iteration, proved, yet again, to be a wonderful opportunity to hear about and discuss the extensive range of teaching and learning projects and programs that have occurred in AISACT Member Schools throughout the year.

Photo of AIS ACT Workshop Attendees

Held again at East Hotel, the event provided an opportunity for 71 teachers from AISACT Member Schools to present and celebrate the successes enjoyed, challenges met and lessons learned. Presentation examples:

  • Social Science students working intentionally to tackle Global water issues
  • Building a Maths Bridge between Primary and Secondary School
  • Engagement in Science: inspiring all learners
  • Creating Connections to Industry through workshops and symposiums
  • Driving Improvements in Teaching & Learning: Leading School Wide Strategy and Data Driven Directions from the Middle.
  • Portfolios in Languages
  • Observations on the Practical Implementation of the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities.
  • Fostering Disagreement and Discussion in the Classroom
  • Physical Prototyping for Creative Thinking
  • New Programs, New Focus: AD ASTRA
  • Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) Across Curriculum Areas
  • Mentoring—positive support for Early Career teachers
  • Mentoring Early Career Teachers
  • CGGS Tiny House Project—Collaboration and Entrepreneurship through STEM
  • Student Development at MCC: Using Data to track pastoral and academic concerns.

There is much to celebrate in regards to the quality of teachers in AISACT schools.

Lots of food for thought about great practice within schools

Deeply encouraged by inspirational teachers, leaders and presenters that deliver programs and approaches that injects fuel into pedagogy and contributes strongly to the quality teaching and learning in the ACT Independent schools

The power of teachers investigating their own practice

Photo of a man holding an award at a function


The Association welcomed guests, Board Members and staff from Member Schools to the AISACT Annual Cocktail Event held at the National Portrait Gallery on Friday 16 November 2018. The event provided attendees with the opportunity to celebrate the work of the Association in 2018.

Guests included the ACT Minister for Education and Early Childhood, Yvette Berry MLA, Speaker of the Assembly Joy Burch, Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe, Shadow Minister for Education Elizabeth Lee, and MLAs Vicki Dunn and Candice Burch. Also in attendance was Senator David Smith, and key staff from the ACT Education Directorate and Catholic Education.

During the evening, departing Board Members of AISACT were farewelled by the Chair, who sincerely thanked them for their work and contributions to the Association, and of course, to their schools. Leaving us this year were: Ann Coutts, Principal Canberra Girls Grammar School; Linda Baird, Principal, Orana School; and David Johns, Principal Islamic School of Canberra.

Each year at this event the Carl Palmer Award for Leadership and Excellence in ACT Independent Education is awarded. The award recognises an individual who, in the opinion of the Members, best met the Association’s mission of “Excellence in ACT Independent Education”. This year’s recipient of the award is Erik Hofsink, Principal of Emmaus Christian School. The nomination of Erik recognised, above all else his leadership of Emmaus Christian School, and also noted his Membership of the Association’s Executive Committee, being Chair of the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee, and his work at a national level through the Australian Association of Christian Schools.

Photo of people at function

Financial Statements

ABN: 51 980 437 786

Interest income 28,570 24,938
Funded programs 109,512 2,520,000
Other income 18,556 16,320
Program administration 12,168 -
Services to schools 371,862 366,533
Student first support fund 68,404 908,762
Subscriptions 275,906 227,437
Reform support fund 461,000 -
1,345,978 4,063,990
Administration and office expenses 66,838 49,852
Consultancy and legal 5,701 16,838
Depreciation 17,549 9,909
Funded programs 109,512 2,520,000
IT expenses 14,755 7,060
Projects 235,213 299,100
Rent and equipment lease 39,929 56,266
Services to schools 371,861 365,467
Subscriptions 48,403 45,860
Travel - domestic 16,129 16,563
Employee benefits expense 574,309 548,852
1,489,199 3,935,767
(Deficit)/surplusfor the year (143,221) 128,223
Total comprehensive (loss)/income for the year (143,221) 128,223

Scanned image of Auditor's Independence Declaration


Staff of the

Andrew Wrigley
Executive Director

Joanne Garrisson
Senior Manager Strategic Programs

Kath Morwitch
Senior Manager Curriculum and Professional Development

Sue Roche
Manager, Education Support

Serita Cordeiro
Finance Officer/Office Manager

Member Schools

Blue Gum Community School

Brindabella Christian College

Burgmann Anglican School

Canberra Christian School

Canberra Girls Grammar School

Canberra Grammar School

Canberra Montessori School

Covenant Christian School

Daramalan College

Emmaus Christian School

Galilee School

Islamic School of Canberra

Marist College Canberra

Orana Steiner School

Radford College

St Edmund’s College

Taqwa School

Trinity Christian School

Associate Member Schools

The Anglican School Googong

Snowy Mountains Grammar School

Board Members

Maureen Hartung OAM
(Blue Gum Community School)

Christine Lucas, Andrew Kent
(Brindabella Christian College)

Steven Bowers, Joel Anderson
(Burgmann Anglican School)

Bree Hills
(Canberra Christian School)

Anne Coutts, Matt O’Brien
(Canberra Girls Grammar School)

Dr Justin Garrick, Kent Peters
(Canberra Grammar School)

Anthony Vandermolen, Kate Luck
(Canberra Montessori School)

Martin Keast, Tim James
(Covenant Christian School)

Rita Daniels, Hugh Boulter
(Daramalan College)

Erik Hofsink, Charlotte Kruger
(Emmaus Christian School)

Tim McNevin
(Galilee School)

David Johns
(Islamic School of Canberra)

Matthew Hutchison, Christine Worth
(Marist College Canberra)

Linda Baird, Jacqui Lee, Peter Shipp
(Orana Steiner School)

Fiona Godfrey, Simon Wallace
(Radford College)

Joe Zavone, Samantha Brady
(St Edmund’s College)

Asma Ahmad
(Taqwa School)

Ian Hewitt, Karen Achurch
(Trinity Christian School)

Merryn Clarksmith, Heather Walsh
(The Anglican School, Googong)

Dr Andrew Bell, Liz Heath
(Snowy Mountains Grammar School)

Executive Committee

Rita Daniels (Chair)
Daramalan College

Dr Justin Garrick (Deputy Chair)
Canberra Grammar School

Steven Bowers (Immediate Past Chair)
Burgmann Anglican School

Heather Walsh
The Anglican School, Googong

Christine Worth
Marist College, Canberra

Samantha Brady
St Edmund’s College, Canberra

Erik Hofsink
Emmaus Christian School

Ian Hewitt
Trinity Christian School

Andrew Wrigley

Finance Subcommittee

Heather Walsh (Chair)

Christine Worth
Marist College Canberra

David Holmesby
Block Grant Authority

Karen Achurch
Trinity Christian School

Charlotte Kruger
Emmaus Christian School

Peter Shipp
Orana Steiner School

Tim James
Covenant Christian School

Andrew Wrigley

Serita Cordeiro

Teaching and Learning Subcommittee

Erik Hofsink (Chair)
Emmaus Christian School

Jane Pamenter
Marist College Canberra

Naomi Cole
Trinity Christian School

Lisa Hivers
Galilee School

Chris De Britt
Daramalan College

Alison Easey
Burgmann Anglican School

Marcia Melville
Emmaus Christian School

Marianne Geoghegan
St Edmund’s College

Louise Wallace Richards
Radford College

Rael Matthews
Orana Steiner School

Jane O’Brien
Canberra Girls Grammar School

Sarah Trotter
Canberra Girls Grammar School

Paul Southwell
Radford College

Joanna Leaman
Canberra Grammar School

Kath Morwitch

Joanne Garrisson

Education Support Subcommittee

Ian Hewitt (Chair)
Trinity Christian School

Grant Barclay
Marist College Canberra

Leonie Owens
St Edmund’s College

Kerry-Anne Kwong
Canberra Girls Grammar School

Michelle Woodward
Brindabella Christian College

Jenny Ward
Trinity Christian School

Andrew Wrigley

Joanne Garrisson

Sue Roche

Early Years Learning Subcommittee

Andrew Wrigley (Chair)

Subhadra Chapman
Blue Gum Community School

Kate Columbine
Canberra Girls Grammar

Annaliese Barry
Brindabella Christian College

Joanne Garrisson