Members Update – Issue 2. 2024

News / Members Update – Issue 2. 2024

Members Update – Issue 2. 2024
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Members Update - Issue 2. 2024

March 5, 2024

1. Executive Director Update

Dear ACS Members,

In this update, we have included a reflection by Jenny Huntington in relation to the recent Women’s Symposium, an excellent day hosted by Jenny and Brisbane Christian College. I would like to express our sincere thanks to her for making this event an outstanding one on the ACS calendar. You will also find details about our next Symposium for School Administration and School Media/Marketing Staff.

Apart from the normal updates, you fill find a little introduction from Paul Matthews, the CEO of MyTeacherAide, a new AI tool that his company developed to support teachers in their administration and preparation.

ACS Director Ron Woolley contributes to our update with an overview of enrolment trends, and you will also find a summary of Chris Lowney’s, recent webinar on Making Great Decisions.

As I continue my travels around our schools, I can’t help but to be struck by impressions and observations of rigour, resilience, and result. In many ways I wished that I was a documentary maker and had a team with me to film the stories of our schools so that everyone could see. We are undoubtedly influencing huge communities and it becomes increasingly clear that, Christian education through our schools is not just there for the common good, the gospel opportunities are essential to it.

I am grateful for the sincere insights shared by all our school leaders during these visits. One of the emerging themes was the desire amongst our leaders for mentoring and good pastoral care. Following closely in priority were curriculum-related matters, reflecting a collective commitment to academic excellence presented from an authentic biblically informed perspective. Principals articulated their keen interest in developing innovative pedagogical approaches for the integration of faith and learning.

Governance-related support also featured prominently in our discussions, with principals seeking guidance on governance structures, strategic planning, and effective stewardship of resources. It is heartening to witness our school leaders’ dedication to upholding the highest standards of governance, ensuring transparency, accountability, and ethical leadership in their institutions.

Lastly, but certainly not least, was the matter of compliance reviews—a topic of considerable importance for our member schools. Principals expressed a desire for streamlined processes and comprehensive support to navigate the complexities of compliance requirements, affirming their commitment to upholding the regulatory standards while staying true to their educational mission.

It is so great to hear of many people expressing their appreciation for my colleague Alistair and his work for our members in the legal and advocacy space.

Amidst my travels, I couldn’t help but appreciate Queensland’s exemplary warmth—both in terms of its climate and the hospitality of its residents. The brutal heat and humidity served as a constant reminder of the unique charm of this beautiful state. Having said that, since my job involves a lot of ‘eat-sleep-travel-meet-repeat’. Many of you made it a mission to help me stay fit (aka lose weight) and ‘run’ me around your campuses in the stifling heat. I would like to express my gratitude for your noble attempts, but I am even more grateful to Gary Cully at Parklands who provided me with an electric scooter for the tour around the school and Karen Bredenham at Heights taking me in her golf buggy around the school.

More seriously, I am developing the highest admiration for all that our Boards, principals and staff are doing in Christian education. Your resilience and dedication are admired and your unwavering commitment to leading our schools and colleges with integrity, compassion, and faith is truly commendable.

In closing, I wish to express my gratitude for the trust and confidence you place in me and our Associated Christian Schools team. Your partnership fuels our collective mission to empower, inspire, and uplift.

As we journey forward together, please remember that my door at ISQ, phone and email are always open, whether you seek support, prayer, advice or simply a listening ear. Your success is our success, and if done in humble submission to the Lordship of Christ, he receives the ultimate glory.

Erik Hofsink
ACS Executive Director


2. Calendar & Events

ACS School Administration Symposium

To Register & View Full Event Details CLICK HEREFriday 22nd March at Citipointe Christian College.

The School Administration Symposium is designed Executive Assistants and college administration staff. New for 2024 the School Administration Symposium provides insights for School Media/Marketing and other staff involved with community engagement/development and building school culture. The featured speakers at this event are:

Tim Caughey, Director at Endeavour Community Relations and Development.
Tim has experience in schools’ enrolment processes, promotion and advertising, as well as developing programs that enhance a school community’s commitment to Christian education. Tim will be speaking on the following topics:

  • Community building strategies and Church liaison, plus new family induction programs.
  • Partnership with new and existing families.
  • Major community events Working with volunteers and Alumni.

Natalie Watson, People and Culture Manager at Northside Christian College.
Natalie has extensive experience in business and human resources, working for Nespresso as Human Resources & Training Manager, as well as numerious years as a HR consultant. Natalie will present a session titled “Navigating Conflict with Finesse”.

ACS Heads of School Meeting – Thursday 7th March

Click to View Event

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – Student Event

On Friday April 19, Citipointe Christian College, Carindale will be hosting representatives from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) to conduct some evangelism training with Year 10-12 students, and they would like to invite students from likeminded Christian Colleges to join them in this training event.

The training is provided completely free by BGEA and includes morning tea and lunch for the students, as well as training materials. It will run from 10AM to 1:30PM.

If this is something that interests you, please contact Citipointe’s Head of Christian Formation Mr David England at Numbers need to be confirmed before the Easter holiday break to assist with planning.


3. ACS Public Policy and Advocacy Update

Building Belonging Report and the draft Anti-Discrimination Bill 2024

The Queensland government has released the draft Anti-Discrimination Bill, in response to the Building Belonging Report (   Consultation on the draft closes 22 March 2024.

You will recall that the Building Belonging Report recommended sweeping changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act, and from my initial review of the draft Bill, these recommendations have been largely adopted.


  • For a “genuine occupational requirement” exemption to apply in the work area, it must be both reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances;
  • The example of a “teacher in a religious school” has been deleted;
  • For religious bodies (including religious schools), a genuine occupational requirement might apply, where the work is the “participation in the teaching, observance or practice of the religion concerned, and the person’s religious belief or activity des not satisfy this genuine occupational requirement (but any discrimination must still be reasonable and proportionate, and not be on the basis of another attribute);
  • Reasonable and proportionate” has not been defined, to allow the Tribunal scope in determining what is “reasonable and proportionate”;
  • The time for bringing a complaint has been extended to 2 years (for a child, this is 2 years from the child turning 18).
  • There is also a new attribute of “irrelevant criminal record”, which will apply to employers carrying out criminal history checks, and making decisions based upon convictions that are not directly relevant;
  • For schools that operate for single sex or single religion, the existing exemptions continue to apply, with the proviso that the exemptions only apply at point of enrolment;
  • The Act does not apply to “religious roles” within a religious body, where those roles are “the same as, or similar to, the role of a priest, minister of religion or member of a religious order, or otherwise involves the propagation of doctrines, tenets or beliefs (perhaps this might apply to School Chaplains, depending on how the role was characterised and maybe also where there were expectations that the individual be credentialed, commissioned or ordained);
  • A religious body may otherwise discriminate against a person on the basis of religious belief or activity, where the act constituting the discrimination is reasonable and proportionate, and conforms to the doctrines, tenets or beliefs of the religious body (but this exception does not apply in the work and education area, so will have limited application for schools);
  • Representative complaints can be made, which will encourage interest groups to bring complaints without a specific complainant.

The Act will also have national and international application, thanks to section 5, provided the employer has a place of work in Queensland.  So for multi-jurisdictional schools, or schools with international campuses, the Act might apply to employment in those other jurisdictions.

Consultation on the draft closes 22 March 2024.  Whilst ACS will make submissions, schools may also consider it appropriate to also make submissions.

ALRC Report and the Government Response

It is interesting that the Queensland Government, in their consultation paper to the draft Bill, have indicated that they are seeking to align with the recommendations of the ALRC Report (by reference to the ALRC Consultation Paper).  Of course, the final Report has been provided to the Commonwealth Government, but not yet published, so we do not yet know what the final recommendations are (and how they might compare with the consultation paper).  We continue to await this final Report, and the Commonwealth Government’s response to the recommendations.  We expect that this will come at some stage this month.

The Commonwealth Government has also indicated that it will progress the Religious Discrimination Bill, so we await this draft for consultation.

My Christian School

I continue to work with CSA and AACS on the development and promotion of the My Christian School website (  Whilst this website was initially produced to focus on the ALRC Review, we have progressively broadened it’s application to include other campaigns (including DGR funds for schools, and soon the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Bill).

Later in the year (on World Teacher’s Day), we are intending to develop an event, “Thank God for My Teacher”.  The initial thought is to prepare material for a morning coffee at schools, where parents and students can come together to express thanks for their teachers.  This is in early stages of development, so stay tuned.

Productivity Commission Inquiry into Philanthropy

Last week, I was able to give evidence to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Philanthropy, where I emphasised the importance of DGR funds for schools.  We were also able to talk about how our school graduates are more likely to contribute to society through volunteering, which was of particular interest to the Inquiry.

It was pleasing to see the Commonwealth Government, later in the week, indicate that there was no intention to remove the DGR category for School Building Funds.

Ad-hoc Advice and Professional Development

I continue to be contacted from time to time to give ad-hoc advice (usually on legal/quasi legal matters) to member schools.  I have also provided Professional Development to schools on request, and continue to be available to do this.

It is great to also be working with Erik, and together we are dreaming about the various contributions and value adding that we can provide to our member schools.

Alistair Macpherson
ACS Executive Director, Public Policy and Advocacy Update


4. Enrolment Drift: Public to Private

“Bogged down by admin, it’s no wonder public school teachers are going private.”

Such was the catchy title of an article by Caroline Milburn, CEO of Ourschool (a non-profit that helps public high schools build supportive alumni communities) published in the Sydney Morning Herald 25.02.2024.

Following release of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics of student enrolments 2023 by sectoral share, there has been a flurry of media articles about the ongoing drift of enrolments from government to non-government sector.  This article goes a step further and looks at the apparent drift of teachers from the government to the non-government sector.

Seeking to identify the cause of this flow-on effect, the author quotes a Grattan Institute report Making Time for Great Teaching which found “92% of Australian teachers don’t have enough time to prepare well for their lessons. This is because often they are chasing student permission slips, and organising excursions, incursions, sports carnivals, student musicals and theatrical performances, camps, open days, parent information events, careers events, guest visits, valedictory events, and awards ceremonies”.

Continuing, Milburn notes, “Most public and private sector workplaces have evolved enough to recognise the importance of creating specialist roles to deliver their communications and events. So too has the private school system. But in the public school system it’s rare for a school to employ a full-time specialist to manage these aspects of its functioning”.

The real issue at stake here is government funding of public schooling, an issue which has become as vexatious as government funding of non-government schools used to be.  We can expect this to be the subject of ongoing and vigorous discussion between federal and state ministers (and department heads).

The media has relentlessly pursued the non-government sector over their private fee increases.  What is interesting and positive about Milburn’s article is that it concedes some of this increase is due to the cost of non-teaching positions doing some of the administrative tasks that public sector teachers are expected to do.

Ps Ron Woolley
ACS Director


5. Making Great Decisions

Chris Lowney is the author of Heroic Leadership; a book ACS highly recommends to the membership.  Chris is an International Friend of ACS.

Recently he conducted a webinar on Making Great Decisions, noting how some “spiritual technologies” of the Catholic tradition (specifically, the Spiritual Examen of Ignatius Loyola can help us with our everyday decision-making.

Click HERE to watch the webinar on YouTube.

Chris begins his slide presentation with Welcome to the 21st century, which Chris says is characterised by an acronym VUCA, where:

On decision-making, he suggests the following as typical of the way organisations plan:

Then he suggests we follow good practice by weaving into this what he says, “might constitute a good discernment”.   This is a highly valuable thought for those looking for a more Biblical, Christian methodology for decision-making.  Here are some of those ideas:

If this introduction whets your appetite, click on the YouTube link above to appreciate the wisdom he shares.


6. My TeacherAide

Founded by two Christian teachers from Tasmania, MyTeacherAide helps educators create lessons, rubrics, and learning materials with simple input and the click of a button.

MyTeacherAide leverages AI to help teachers create better resources in less time and cater to the diverse needs of the modern classroom.

Our vision for MyTeacherAide came out of our own desire to create tailored resources for our students without sacrificing our evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Our tools are simple, bringing the benefits of AI to every teacher, not just the digital natives. We’ve designed our tools so that world-class material can be designed with simple input and the click of a button.

We also specialise in partnering with schools to create AI tools that produce recourses that align with their vision, mission, values, and Christian worldview.

To organise a free trial in your school, contact CEO Paul Matthews at or visit 


7. 2024 ACS Women’s Symposium

The 2024 ACS Women’s Symposium, hosted at Brisbane Christian College, was a wonderful opportunity to connect and network with other women in educational settings and to hear some exceptional presenters share inspirational thoughts. The theme of ‘Mission and Momentum’ alongside the importance of being courageous, was woven throughout what was shared. Keynote speakers included Wendy Francis – National Director, Politics Australian Christian Lobby; The Honourable Amanda Stoker – former Australian senator and lawyer who represented QLD for the Liberal National Party, Melissa Lipsett – CEO of Baptist World Aid Australia and Fiona Simpson – State Member for Maroochydore.

The symposium offered an opportunity not just to hear quality speakers or interesting information but called us to action in how we can be part of courageously serving our families, the organisations we work in and the wider community.

What did we learn?

  • We learnt that so many children are struggling with identity, living in a world where there is so much brokenness. We see that the enemy tries to bring confusion in this space, however we need to be courageous in having a voice and sharing the truth in love.
  • We also discussed how our politicians are representative and how they are represented by culture and cultural values. This is why it is critical that our values shape culture – we need to guard and protect the culture in our families, schools and communities.
  • We walked away better understanding that we need to embrace who we are, be direct, think strategically, and think wholistically. We often think we are never enough or that we are too much but we need to embrace who God has created us to be. We can then use our unique gifts and look for opportunities to make an impact including mentoring others around us.
  • Finally, we were challenged to understand that leadership is not a title, but an action. We need to allow ourselves to go where God calls us, understanding that He will equip us.

In summary, we are reminded of Joshua1:9 – Have I not commended you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. As a group of female leaders, we were encouraged to prayerfully consider what God was calling us to be courageous in so that we could outwork the mission placed on our lives, knowing that we are never alone.

Jenny Huntington
Head of Middle School, Brisbane Christian College


8. Notices

Please be advised that the webinar to be hosted by Simon Mason on Employer Sponsored Visas for Teachers has been rescheduled.

The webinar originally scheduled for Monday, 4 March 2024; will now take place on Monday, 18 March 2024 from 12.30pm – 1.30pm (Brisbane local time).

The webinar details have been updated on our website and on the registration page.  Please note in particular, we have had to change the time for webinar delivery to lunch hour.

The reason for change was the low number of registrants (2 people registered) by today. We are hoping with the reschedule, we can capture larger number of registrants.

The registration page can be found here and the other webinar topics being found here.

Download the calendar and save key dates so you don’t miss out!

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