The Victorian Association of Catholic Primary School Principals Conference was held from the 21-24th of March this year.
THE Victorian Association of Catholic Primary School Principals (VACPSP) is a professional collegial body that leads educational dialogue and initiatives to enhance Catholic Primary School Principalship.
VACPSP advocates on behalf of Catholic primary school principals; focuses on collegiality support for principals; fosters a dialogue with education authorities, Government, parents and other educational professional associations; and supports the enterprise of Catholic primary schooling.
VACPSP is the referring body for issues raised by members, liaises and advocates with all relevant organisations on behalf of Victorian Catholic Primary Principals in all professional and operational issues that affect the day-to-day management of their schools.
The Association provides opportunities for collaboration and professional discussion among Catholic Primary School principals and holds regular meetings across Victoria with Catholic education directors and Association members.
The biennial conference is the cornerstone of the work VACPSP does, and offers an opportunity for Victorian Catholic Primary School principals to come together to learn and network.
This year’s conference had attendees exploring the conferences’ theme of ‘Courage is Key – do the thing you think you cannot do!’; a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt.
Catholic Primary School principals in Victoria are facing challenging situations every day with enormous workloads and extreme pressures.
Principal health and wellbeing is a major focus of the VACPSP.
The conference brought together a range of experts in their field that had faced adversity and found a way through.
Delegates were able to hear methodologies that they could implement at their own schools to lift performance levels, change cultures, and create or renew energetic environments.
The objectives for the conference were to have a series of key note speakers presenting to all the delegates together. The presentations included adult learning principles of engagement, shared discourse, Q&A, visual presentations, and strong links to the theme of courageous leadership.
“This year there was a richness in the speakers and that [led to] really good professional learning.” VACPSP President Michael Gray said.
“I think that they all tapped into that domain of the social-emotional, not the technical aspect of leadership.
“We did not focus on management or the skills of educational leadership; rather mindset and courage.”
“Many principals can gain the technical aspects in many other ways, such as study, on the job training, and system briefings. I think we know these things otherwise we wouldn’t have the jobs we have.
“This year’s conference was about the passions and burning desires to make a difference that are at the core of inspiring leadership.”
“I think that some participants were in
“YOU HAVE TO HAVE WELL EDUCATED, WELL INFORMED, CONFIDENT LEADERS IF YOU WANT GOOD SCHOOLS THAT ARE WELL LED.”
need of hope and something to believe in again after the effects of the past few years and the Royal Commission into Child Abuse. “I have had feedback relating to that.
“I think people went away inspired and that’s a good thing for their wellbeing and for their leadership.”
VACPSP aimed to present authentic, quality and world recognised speakers with a dynamic range of world views, new thinking, and a positive mindset.
Key speakers included acclaimed Australian educator, speaker and coach Brendan Spillane, Emergent chief executive Holly Ransom, Semann & Slattery director and founder Anthony Semann, and experienced educator Hugh van Cuylenburg.
Speakers also included ‘Socialprenuer’ Peter Baines; Social entrepreneurs and founders of the Orange Sky Laundry Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett; as well as Geelong St Mary’s Parish Priest Father Kevin Dillon, a finalist in the Victorian Senior Australia of the Year award for his work with survivors of abuse.
“You have to have well educated, well informed, confident leaders if you want good schools that are well led,” Mr Gray said.
“The role of principal is vital in a school. It can make or break it” he said. International business and educational research supports the importance of leadership in learning and safety outcomes for students.”
“Persistence is the key to success and we need to think in the long term, not the short term with change.
“Catholic principalship is powerful and must always be held as a privilege.
“We are serving others and we work in a sacred place.”
On the cards for the next conference in 2019 are what Mr Gray considers upcoming trends in education, including agile hope filled leadership; awareness of the world that students are entering when they leave schooling; cultural diversity and shifting values systems; technology; social relationships; and engaging relevant curriculum for young people.
Attendees at the biennial conference.
Speaker Peter Bains.
Conference speaker Hugh van Cuylenburg.