NSW Branch News

Message from Branch President, Kylie Lipcscombe


Thank you to all members who nominated colleagues and peers for the 2022 NSW ACEL Annual Awards. I am pleased to announce the following outstanding educators who, after a rigorous nomination and section process, are our 2022 awardees.

ACEL NSW The Dr Paul Brock Memorial Medal

Associate Professor Nicole Mockler, The University of Sydney

ACEL NSW Educational Research Award

Early Start Research Team- Early Start, The University of Wollongong

ACEL NSW Media Award

Mathew Green, Blairmount Public School

ACEL NSW Leadership Awards (Individual)

Professor Jioji Ravulo, The University of Sydney
Lyn Davis, School Leadership Institute, NSW Department of Education
Donna Heemi, Auburn Girls High School
Denise Lombardo, St Patrick’s College
Ann Walton, Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst

ACEL NSW Leadership Awards (Team)

Project Zero Sydney Network
Amanda Conray and Chris Lukins, School Leadership Institute, NSW Department of Education
St Luke’s Catholic College Coaching Team
Self-Select Team at Liverpool Girls High School

ACEL NSW Mary Armstrong Award for Early Career Teacher Leadership

Nicholas Kovacs, Wenona School

NSW Fellowships

Andrea Stringer, Growth Coaching International
Iris Nastasi, Rosebank College
Dr Simon Crook, CrookED Science
Dr Andrew Fraser, Catholic Schools Office, Broken Bay

On behalf of the ACEL NSW Executive committee, a very warm congratulations to all awardees. A highlight of the ACEL NSW Branch is the annual celebration and presentation of awards. Please join us in celebration at the awards ceremony on Friday October 21st at the Rydges in Parramatta. You can register for this event here.

National Conference- Inspiring Hope, Leading our Future

Finally, the National Conference is here and it isn’t too late to register. The national conference is in Sydney from September 28th-30th and includes an outstanding line up of international and national presenters. Register here.

For those who are about to begin holidays, enjoy a well-deserved break.

Special Editorial by Tony Bracken


Inquiry- the heart of leading learning

This year ACEL(NSW) hosted four Virtual Seminars led by four well-known thinkers and writers in the field of educational leadership, each contributing a perspective on the series theme: Inquiry- the heart of leading learning.

In order to have impact, notes McIntyre (session one), leaders need an inquiry stance in order to improve teaching and learning. Timperley and Twyford (session 2) argue that it is the interdependencies that make make most leading learning challenges in schools complex. Moreover, these problems can remain stubbornly unsolvable if leaders only apply their routine thinking and problem-solving expertise appropriate for less complex problems that are often linear, cause and effect. Rather, inquiry is underpinned by evaluative thinking that recognizes complexity and approaches the problem holistically by recognizing the need to understand how the interdependencies combine in the presenting problem or challenge in teaching and learning.

To illustrate, the authors identify how the solution to mathematics underperformance may traditionally have been solved by assuming the solution lay in the introduction of a new mathematics program; or new concrete mathematical materials; or a particular pedagogical approach. In contrast, inquiring into and hypothesizing as to the causal influence of the multiple interacting variables- and testing these hypotheses leads to a process of iterative knowledge building. When school teams share a commitment to inquiry, mindful of complexity, and with deep commitment to understanding what is going on for students, powerful cycles of improvement are possible (McIntyre, session one).

As school teams build and share knowledge through inquiry- confidence grows in their capacity to solve challenges of practice, both complex and less complex, and to adjust their pedagogical practices as a result of new knowledge. In other words, self- belief or efficacy grows in solving a challenge within the school team (Donohoo, session three). And “when teachers believe, students achieve” (Donohoo, 2017). We could add, “when teachers collectively believe, students achieve even more”. Collective efficacy, notes Donohoo, can be enhanced by quality professional learning. Effective professional learning taps into the sources of collective efficacy. These include mastery experiences- when teams experience success, and vicarious experiences- when teachers see colleagues with similar opportunities and challenges perform well, they begin to believe in their own ability to do well. When professional learning creates the conditions for teachers to make links between their collective actions and student achievement, those efforts foster collective efficacy.

A well-known example of collective teacher inquiry is the Quality Teaching Rounds (Gore, session four) where the processes involved in inquiry are explicit: inquire, locate, observe and collect evidence, evaluate/assess collectively and apply to context. The inquiry question is how to improve the quality of teaching, drawing on three big ideas of Quality Teaching- intellectual quality; quality learning environment; significance- and the elements within each of these dimensions that can be coded, applied to the observation of teaching practice, collected by each participant within a small professional learning team, then collectively discussed and assessed. Participants draw insights from the discussion and coding that can be applied to their own teaching. The high motivation of participants engaging in the Rounds and the evidence base of the knowledge provides a high quality balanced professional learning experience- and enhances the professional efficacy of teachers and the outcomes of students.

Each of the sessions in the series Inquiry-the heart of leading learning provided different perspectives on the importance and potential of inquiry to be impactful for leaders. Inquiry can interrupt taken for granted routines, challenge thinking and assumptions and lead to greater efficacy individually and collectively. Setting the conditions for inquiry to take root and cycles of collaborative inquiry to occur that grow efficacy calls for sustained strategic leadership. It is at the heart of leading learning.

ACEL NSW Awards Showcase

 26 July - 25 October 2022
Online Webinar

 18 October 2022
Online Event

18 + 31 October 2022
Online Webinar

20 October - 6 December 2022
Online Webinar

25 October 2022
Online Webinar

 10 - 24 November 2022
Online Webinar

National Events