2016 VPA Annual State Conference Summary

Growing our Culture and People


The VPA Annual State Conference - Growing our Culture and People was held earlier this month at Pullman on the Park in Melbourne and it was a great success.


Conference Closing Message

We would like to thank our Business Partners and Exhibitors whose generosity goes a long way towards making it possible for us to hold the conference. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Thanks to all who visited and spent the time connecting with our business partners and exhibitors throughout the conference. We ask that you continue to show your support of our business partners and the exhibitors by invite their companies to quote when purchasing new goods and services. 

We extend our sincere appreciation to the guest speakers who have challenged our thinking with their engaging presentations and thoughts.

  1. Steve Simpson introduced us to UGRs (Unwritten Ground Rules) that can either be good or bad... and how the ‘way we do things' can be perceived as our school culture.
  2. Lisa McInnes-Smith asked us to reflect on "Are you fun to live with?" "What are your high value behaviours?" And reminded us to remember the power of the smile and nod.
  3. Nikki Casey challenged us to think about how visual identity influences the way a school is perceived – and left us with the thought provoking statement "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"
  4. Dr William DeJean reminded us that we need to unleash learning for all – our students need to be lifting ("the what?") the weights!
  5. Rachel Robertson was inspirational as she shared her Antarctica experience. Her key message was "Respect trumps harmony, every time." If your team is striving for harmony, you are in trouble. Most importantly sort out the 'bacon wars' and 'say no to triangles!'
  6. Chris Helder told us that positive thinking has had its time – the new way of overcoming challenges is with Useful Beliefs. What do you need to stop doing, start doing and keep doing?
  7. Dr Zachary Fitz-Walter introduced us to Gamification and the concept of how this is used to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.
  8. Dr Louise Mahler entertained us through her use of voice as she demonstrated how our habits manifest in voice. Her presentation certainly challenged us to think about whether we were seals, windscreen pipers, or a tyrannosaurs rex when speaking in front of others.

I hope that everyone who attended had some valuable take-aways too!

Again this year, we extend our thanks to Elida for her engaging and humorous role as MC... Always the entertainer.

Jacqui Bates and her team from 'The Conference Manager' for their outstanding organisation. Jacqui in particular has made organising the event seamless and easy.

Thanks to Camberwell and Albion North Primary Schools for sharing the amazing talents of their students.

The entire VPA team and in particular Rebecca, Elissah, Kristen and Tamara who work tirelessly behind the scenes in an unassuming manner to get the job done. The conference would not be as successful without their attention to detail

All of you, the delegates for taking time out of your busy schedules to spend time on your own learning. Our Conference theme ‘Growing Our Culture and People’ has explored useful concepts and effective techniques to understand and improve our workplace culture. The aim of the conference was to empower you to engage positively and lead your team, contributing to the social, emotional and professional wellbeing of your staff.

And of course last but not least we extend our thanks to Gabrielle Leigh. Gabrielle ensures that vision of the VPA constantly underpins everything the organisation does. As the president she promotes the organisations vision through her professional interactions and advocacy for government education.
Once again I hope that each of you have gained some insightful over the past two days. I wish you a safe journey home and a fruitful and productive final school term.

- Conference Chair Anne-Maree Kliman


Conference Feedback

To those who attended the 2016 VPA Annual State Conference last week, thank you for your participation. We were delighted to host you at the Pullman, Melbourne and trust that you enjoyed the great line up of speakers, professional learning and collegiate networking. We are keen to get your feedback and so if you haven’t already completed the online survey, we invite you to do so by the end of this week. You have been sent a reminder email from The Conference Manager this morning, which includes a link to the Conference App and your log in details. From here you can access the surveys for each speaker, the dinner and overall experience. Click on "Session Surveys" to provide your feedback. It can be done on your desktop computer or mobile device, if you need to move down the page use your mouse to "click and flick" as if you were using your finger on touch screen. Thank you again for your involvement and keep an eye out for 2017 dates which will be confirmed shortly!

Small School Scholarship

Congratulations to the following people awarded a Small School Scholarship and thank you for attending this year's VPA Annual State Conference:

Arthur Lane, Bullarto Primary School; Anthony Tait, Newlyn Primary School; Claire Johnstone, Nangiloc/Colignan and District Primary School; Narissa Leung, Guildford Primary School; Joanne Dacy-Broome, Orbost North Primary; Benton Zimmerle, Hoddles Creek Primary School; Marcus Murrell, Buangor Primary School; Carmen Huszar, Timor Primary School; Glen Lauder, Oberon South PS; Linda Mooseek, Nullawarre and District Primary School; Robert Walsh,
Hepburn Primary School; Jill Gillies, Anakie Primary School; Mr Lee Gibbons, Bolwarra Primary School; Katie Lovel, Dunolly Ps; Simon Perry, Woolsthorpe Primary School; Haley Cook, Everton Ps; Wendy Walker, Springhurst Primary School and Carol Taylor, Bealiba Primary

The VPA is proud to support our members who are leaders of small schools and provide access to high-level professional development and networking opportunities through the Annual State Conference. We would also like to acknowledge these teaching Principals who dedicated time out of their school to travel and attend the conference, we understand it takes a lot of organisation and appreciate your commitment. We hope you enjoyed the conference as much as we did hosting you.


Study Awards

Conference Dinner  Study Award

The VPA has a long standing tradition of supporting members in practical ways and facilitating their continuing development. We would like to congratulate this years winners in the following categories:

  1. Building a Progressive School Culture - Award by Woods Furniture
    Jennifer Hassett, Assistant Principal Rollins Primary School
    Title: The Most Innovative Schools in the World
  2. Principal Health and Wellbeing - Award by Teachers Health Fund
    Joan O'Connor-Cox, Principal Jackson School
    Title: What Might Bring Happiness in Principalship

We look forward to seeing what comes of both of these fantastic projects and will keep you updated.

We would also like to acknowledge the generous financial support provided by our two Business Partners, Woods Furniture and Teachers Health Fund, in sponsorship of the 2016 Study Awards Program.


Building Leadership in Schools (BLiS)



Building Leadership in Schools (BLiS) is a collaborative project comprising five Principal Class teachers: Fiona Vale Sub School Principal (Mount Ridley P-12), Kate Morphy Principal (Craigieburn SC), Deborah Crane Assistant Principal (Willmott Park PS) Jane Hancock Principal (Coburg PS) and Sue Hughes Acting Principal (Streeton PS).

The team deliver 5 leadership modules afterschool over two terms to middle school leaders to build the capacity of leaders in schools. The program also aims to build networks across schools among participants, encouraging relationships and the sharing of pedagogy, challenges and successes of teaching. The program has reached more than 150 young leaders and across the Hume Network. The BLiS team was awarded with the most Outstanding Team Scholarship and the Honourable John Cain award last year through the Hume City Council. They attended the VPA conference for the first time using their award money with the intention of using their new knowledge to update their leadership modules to the highest calibre in readiness for a new look roll out in 2017 to schools in the Hume and Moreland network.