Following the Alphacrucis Centre for the Future of Schooling review of Blue Mountains Grammar School’s religious focus, the host of the review and Acting Deputy, Andrew Beitsch, was singing the praises of CFS consultants: “Could not be happier with the manner in which the review was conducted and the utter professionalism in which Stephen Codrington and his team presented. This has been an important step forward for the school and I am very thankful for all that has been done.” CFS is conducting 6 school and school governance reviews this year, across several different school types, in the Anglican, Catholic and non-denominational Christian school sectors. To learn more about the CFS school review service, contact Dr Codrington or Dr David Hastie at CFS.
Dr Jennie Bickmore-Brand has been sending shockwaves through Australian Initial Teacher Education faculties by presenting some uncomfortable findings in her recent study of indigenous content in teacher education degrees, launched at the August Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) conference. Commissioned by the charity Australian’s Together, she found that at least 17% of universities do not even comply with the minimum AITSL standards relating to indigenous perspectives, and few are achieving what could be described as a proficient standard. Her study, that examined every single unit, of every single Australian teaching degree, has revealed systemic disengagement with indigenous perspectives in teacher training. There is a long way to go in meeting satisfactory standards relating to education about, and for, indigenous Australians.
Associate Professor Bickmore-Brand at the Uganda summit
In July Assoc. Prof. Jennie Bickmore Brand and Dr Stephen Codrington travelled to Uganda and South Africa to further ACs ‘Global Education’ program. Dr Codrington spoke at the Africa Renewal University campus in Buloba, on the Alphacrucis Educational Model and the future of Christian learning in higher institutions. The academic audience expressed their appreciation of the AC Hub model and its potential, and for the work the Centre is doing on the Critical Thinking for Humanity approach. The next day, he presented a full-day (8 hour) workshop on “The role of a board in growing a national association” to the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Uganda board. ACSI is keen to support better training for the boards of Christian schools and parachurch ministries in Uganda. Both Drs Codrington and Bickmore Brand spoke at the ACSI Leadership Summit, before many leaders from all over East Africa, and some key tertiary developers based in Ghana and Nigeria. One leader concluded by saying their discussions had been “a breakthrough for me, an answer to prayer”, and projecting a number of other activities into 2019. There were numerous expressions of appreciation for AC’s long term and clear expression of the priorities of Christian Education, the explicit statement of Christian Worldview, and the central importance of mission and vision. AC now has a significant profile among Christian Schools in East Africa and beyond.
The next week, Drs Codrington and Bickmore-Brand travelled to South Africa to speak with a number of impressive Christian schools around Polokwane and Brits, who are seeking AC assistance in teacher development. This work has been developed in connection with Samson Makhado, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of AC activity in Africa. Dr Codrington spoke on “The Alphacrucis Approach Towards Christian Education”, and Dr Bickmore Brand on "May we be the fragrance of Jesus to those who are being saved". The next day, at another school, our staff did a 'double act' presentation over 3 hours to staff, with the school cancelling classes at midday so staff could spend the afternoon with them.
Such international cooperation in teacher training is consistent with the global vision of Alphacrucis, which seeks to be a ‘Global Christian University, changing neighbourhoods and nations’.
“Working on ways to deliver quality, sustainable and locally authentic approaches to Christian education is part of the missio Dei”, noted the Dean, Professor Mark Hutchinson. “There is enormous opportunity for assisting others in Australia’s region and beyond, and it is particularly apposite that it should be Australia’s leading Christian liberal arts college which is seeking to do so. In a global age, our schools, teachers and students should all have the opportunity to engage more deeply with those of common faith elsewhere in the world.”
If you are interested in walking an extra mile or two with the AC Global Education Program, please contact:
Assoc. Professor Jennie Bickmore Brand (email@example.com)
Co-Director, Centre for the Future of Schooling
Alphacrucis, as a VETiS RTO, is revolutionizing approaches to alternative pathways to ATAR, and VET in schools. St Phillip’s Christian College is set to offer ten employed positions to Year 11 Students in Certificate III in Education Support as School Based Traineeship. The Alphacrucis delivery is designed within a flexible teaching and learning model, tailored to an individual’s curriculum while allowing students to work with business one day a week, and still having the pliability if desired of gaining an ATAR grade.
This is in addition to launching the first Diploma VETiS student Year 11 with Diploma Community Service alongside her HSC, and Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation addition to their the RoSa for Year 9 students. “It’s vital that students who need an alternative pathway to ATAR can train, whilst still being able to continue to thrive in their known Christian community of belonging,” Alphacrucis Dean of Education Mark Hutchinson said, “there’s much more to learning than an academic pathway, for all of us.” As a multi-offer RTO, and with the Alphacrucis Coordinator for VET in schools, Donna McLean, vigorously pursuing new and clever ways to get VET happening, Alphacrucis is set to redefine what it means to do vocation in Christian Schools.
Dr Hastie moderates the often controversial panel discussion at the last UNSW Literacy Conference
Alphacrucis Associate Dean of Education, David Hastie, has been part of a multi-sector steering committee, putting The ‘Literacy, what works and why’ conference, to be held 26 June 2018. The premium lit education event at UNSW attracted over 500 delegates in 2016, and includes top international literacy specialists, including Ian Wilkinson, Professor, Teaching and Learning, OHIO State University (Quality Talk about Text: Research-Based Practices for High-Level Comprehension); Jann Farmer-Hailey, Consultant, Literacy Leadership (Professional Learning Conversations To Lift Student Outcomes); Janet Gaffney, Professor, Educational Psychology – Literacy. Director, Marie Clay Research Centre, Auckland University (A Systems Approach To Literacy Intervention: An Insider’s Research Story).
The event is widely attended across DET, Catholic Education, and Independent schools, and x2 workshops are being run by Christian School specialists, including Jeff Davis (Principal, Hillcrest Christian School), and Sharon Williams (Support Educaiton, Danebank School). Dr Hastie is once again taking on the delicate role of chairing the QA panel, in this most controversial educational topic...book now, spaces are filling up fast!
Registration: By Friday June 8, 2018 Cost: $ 280 (Full time students $160)
See full details and Register NOW at
Two academics from Southern Cross University recently wrote an article called “Seven Reasons People no longer want to be teachers”. They were careful to place research links to most of their claims as they outlined their suggestion that if people were leaving the teaching profession, or were not wanting to train as a teacher, there were at least seven good reasons why.
Soon after this article was posted, Mr Gonski and colleagues released a report, commissioned by the Government, called Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the review to achieve educational excellence in Australian Schools. It outlined three priorities, accompanied by recommendations across five areas to address the priorities.
Does the ‘Gonski 2.0’ plan give us cause to be optimistic in the face of critiques like those by Drs Bahr and Ferreira? Or are in we for more of what Seymour Sarason described in his now somewhat classic text, The Culture of Schools and the Problem of Change, (1982), that the “more things change the more they stay the same”? (p. 116)
Some commentators (e.g. Bill Louden 2018) have already noted some shortcomings, such as not recognising that part of what is being recommended is already occurring. Others (e.g. Glenn C Savage) have noted that the report ignores other previous significant reports (like the 2014 Donnelly and Wiltshire review of the National Curriculum), and that it is repetitive of certain (ideological) educational thrusts of recent times.
Whilst it is encouraging to see our political leaders committed to education for our young, and for them to be concerned to improve outcomes for all students, an almost tragic aspect of the report is that it manifests a profound incapacity, perhaps from unwillingness, to discuss education philosophically. There are many unstated assumptions within this report, and perhaps one of the most dangerous is that education is simply about knowledge and skills.
For example, if one reads through the twenty-three recommendations and seventeen findings, one can see that there is no reflection on character, beyond achievement of competencies that tend to be process oriented. This is represented through the language of ‘general capabilities’. Such rhetoric, in turn, reflects a withdrawal from the consideration of the relationship between core sequential knowledge, capacities, and commitment.
The report is utterly silent about this last aspect – commitment. It carries within it the assumption that simply giving people more of what they believe they need – students and teachers – must improve results. If that were true, then the millions of dollars spent over the last decades would not have resulted in such a decline of results. A deeper reflection would see a report that also recognises that the character of people and the character of the social structures in which they undertake educational tasks is critical to understanding the cultures of schools and resultant possible change processes.
In contrast to the reductionist approach of this latest Government report, James Davison Hunter noted that in earlier times character was linked to an explicitly moral standard of conduct, but that currently in the West, a vision of personhood is dominated by “emancipation for the purposes of expression, fulfilment, and gratification.” (p. 7)
He mapped how:
The content of moral instruction changed – from the “objective” moral truths of divine Scriptures and the laws of Nature, to the conventions of a democratic society, to the subjective values of the individual person…. Finally, there has been a transformation in the purpose of moral education itself – from mastery over the soul in service of God and neighbour, to the training of character to serve the needs of civic life, to the cultivation of personality toward the end of well-being. (pp. 146-7)
This report does not make explicit the moral purpose of the educational reforms, beyond a vague form of egalitarianism that assumes that equality means the same outcomes for everyone. Even if that were desirable and achievable (and both of those assumptions need deeper discussion and testing), what is to be done with these possible achievements?
The lack of reflection of these deeper purposes, that are inherent in educational practice, has direct implications for what happens in our schools:
The problem in democratic theory is that it leads to indefensible propositions about the neutrality of the
state. The distinction most regularly made is between ‘neutral’ secularity and ‘partisan’ sectarianism.
Though some continue to press this distinction, ever since Polanyi, it has been less and less tenable… The
public school will represent and attempt to inculcate values that a particular family may find abhorrent to
its own basic beliefs and way of life. The family is then faced with the choice of (1) abandoning its beliefs in
order to gain the benefit of a state subsidized education, or (2) forfeiting the proffered government
benefit in order to preserve the family belief structure from government interference. (Last section by
Stephen Arons 1976) [Footnote 12 on 295,296]
Dr. Stephen Fyson
Centre for the Future of Schooling/ AC
 Seven reasons people no longer want to be teachers, from The Conversation.
By Nan Bahr and Jo-Anne Ferreira Posted 16 Apr 2018, 8:47am
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-16/seven-reasons-people-no-longer-want-to-be-teachers/9661878 [Downloaded 2/05/2018]
 Gonski, E. et al. (2018). Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools. Commonwealth of Australia
 Hunter, JD (2000). The Death of Character: moral education in an age without good or evil. Basic Books
 Rappaport, J. (2000). Community narratives: Tales of terror and joy. American Journal of Community Psychology, 28, 1-24.
One would have thought that founding a major schooling sector, and helping thousands of Christian educators around the globe, would have been enough for one lifetime. Not for Bob Frisken. Hundreds of the family members and friends of Alphacrucis College were captured by Bob's fatherly, Christ-honouring speech in acceptance of the honorary doctorate bestowed upon him by the Council of the College at its 2018 Graduation in the Riverside Theatre, Parramatta on 28 April. Referring to his age, Bob contrasted his own career with the over 650 graduates emerging with AC degrees on that day. 'For your interest, I am 84', he chuckled, and then went on to declare that he was determined that neither age nor circumstance would stop him from embracing the opportunities he still had before him in the years to come. As AC faculty member Dr Stephen Fyson (who was 17 when he first heard Bob speak at the beginning of the foundation of Christian schools in Regent's Park in 1975-76) declared, 'The depth of Bob's humility and spirituality has never failed, and indeed has been one of the secrets of his long-lasting impact, both in Australia and around the world.'
The Chair of AC Council, in the presence of the CEO (Dr. Daniel Pampuch) and Executive Officer of Christian Schools Australia (Mark Spencer), read the citation, and bestowed upon the now Rev. Dr. R. J. Frisken AM, the title of Doctor of Education (honoris causa). The challenge to hundreds of young graduates before whom this took place--to serve Christ faithfully under the creative hand of the Spirit--reinforced the address by Rev. Alun Davies, Vice President of the Australian Christian Churches, in which they were likewise stirred to 'bring home the gold' (the gifts, the callings) which had been given to them by God.
Photographs: Dr. Daniel Pampuch, CEO, Christian Schools of Australia with Bob Frisken at the graduation; Dr Stephen Fyson, Mark Spencer and Bob just prior to processing into the event.
Dr David Hastie with Tim Martin, Australian Trade Commissioner at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, along with education trade directors Siska Wiliyhana and Aswinny Sudhiani
Alphacrucis has been exploring new markets for Hubs in Indonesia, including working with Austrade to assist in opening up markets and liaising with the Indonesian education credentialing authorities. Dr David Hastie met with Tim Martin, Australian Trade Commissioner, at the Australian Embassy when he was in Jakarta, along with education trade directors Siska Wiliyhana and Aswinny Sudhiani. AC is exploring new tertiary training partnership opportunities with a range of Indonesian Christian higher education providers, in theology, teacher training and business. With around 25 million officially recognized Christians in Indonesia, the largest sector being Protestant at 16 million, the potential scale of this work is exciting.
Bob Frisken AM, is to receive an Honorary Doctorate at the Alphacrucis Graduation Ceremony on 28 April. Along with Peter Hester, Bob founded the Christian Community Schools movement in 1976, an organization out of which Christian Schools Australia was to emerge. According to AC Dean of Education, Professor Mark Hutchinson. “Hundreds of thousands of young Australians have benefited from Bob’s pioneering of the third largest educational system in Australia after the public and Catholic systems.” The movement sparked a national wave of school planting in Churches and halls: “Bob’s work created a significant symbolic part in the great shift in the Australian social contract over the last 40 years,” said Dr David Hastie, AC Associate Dean of Education. “Parent choice in Australian schooling now ranks highest in the OECD, with the 5th highest per capita access to non-government schools in the world.” CSA’s current CEO, Dr Daniel Pampuch, also congratulated Bob Frisken on the honour: “CSA honours Bob’s rich and enduring contribution to Christian schooling in Australia, and congratulates him on this honorary award that celebrates his legacy and achievements as a leader of Christian schooling in this nation”.
After 12 years of successfully pioneering CCHS, in 1988 Bob Frisken took up the role of Education Director with Christian Community Schools Limited (CCSL), and in 1991 he was appointed President. In 2001 he oversaw the closure of CCSL so as to start Christian Schools Australia (CSA), of which he was founding Executive Secretary and CEO. In 2002, with his wife Maryanne, he established New Hope International, to distribute affordable Christian schooling around the world through ‘Effective Education’, ‘Sustainable Community Development’, and Transformational Leadership Training’ that will helps raise new grassroots leadership and equip leaders to bring change to their country. He remains founding President of NHI, a work which has brought help and succour to thousands of teachers and schools in the majority world. His international reputation and significant impact on education in Australia was recognised in 2002, when he was named to the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Bob Frisken has made a significant contribution alike to Australian society, to the spread of the Gospel, and to the health and strength of Christian communities both in Australia and abroad. In a period of declining church membership among some traditions, his contribution may well turn out to be one of great historic importance in the history of the Christian faith in Australia.
CFS researchers and staff contribute regularly to the FSB. The aim is to keep you in the loop as to the range of our activities, perhaps suggesting points of common interest.