Skip to main content

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to CPPA AGM and Farewell to Principal’s gathering.

The Executive sincerely appreciates your presence here today in this incredibly busy time of the year. With many of us dominated by difficult budgetary and staffing issues, you may well have welcomed this distraction.

Today we varied a little from our normal running sheet due to the large number of Principals retiring. As an Executive, we felt that it was extremely important that these outstanding educators were given the recognition that they deserved and that the process was not rushed or lacked decorum. All have been wonderful leaders and have contributed so much to Catholic Education over their years as teachers, Assistant Principals and Principals. Many of them served on the Executive of CPPA and their wisdom was appreciated. On behalf of all our members, I wish you all well in your future adventures and trust that you will find them rewarding.

Gathering as this group today, we acknowledge the work of all who have contributed towards our association this year. Our Executive work very hard to serve you all in the best way we can. The most important aspect of his association is togetherness. Our strength as a collective group should be celebrated. I would like to thank all of you for assisting to shape our work throughout the year.

The Executive began the year with two days of planning. We spent the first day listening to reports from various members of the CEWA Executive. The reports that we heard really shaped the work that we were to undertake throughout this year. We then referred to our strategic plan to ensure that, moving forward, we stayed true to our planning and our vision. The year began with two major issues, the implementation of the AoS and the ongoing challenges of funding in schools amid shrinking commitments from our state government and the realisation that our enrolments were slowing diminishing. As we reach the end of 2019, both of those issues remain high on our agenda and form much of the discussion when we meet with the Executive of CEWA. As an Executive, we continue to remain focused on realising the best outcomes for schools and we remain tireless in our commitment to alert CEWA Executive of the ongoing challenges.

This year, the Executive realised that one of the most pressing issues facing Principals is Wellbeing. The release of the Phil Riley report explained clearly that the issues facing Principals around wellbeing were rising. It was also noted that if something was going to be done, it needed to be done by Principals. After some early discussions with various Directorates at CEWA and with little success with regard to tangible outcomes being realised, the Executive decided to take the initiative and begin initial planning to develop a Wellbeing programme. It was identified that a very important aspect of this was to develop a programme around beginning Principals. I would like to acknowledge the work of Mark Marando who took on the responsibility of working with members of CEWA to develop a thorough process to assist Principals in their first Principalship. This process is now well underway and we look forward to its success.

At the Principals’ Conference this year, Shane Baker, after being asked by the Executive to carry out some preliminary work on Principal Wellbeing, presented to our members on this topic. Following the presentation, members were surveyed to see whether this was something that they would like explored further. The response was almost a unanimous ‘YES’. Shane was seconded onto the Executive as the project officer and has begun work on an initiative that could have a profound influence on all of us now and into the future. Early next year all members will have an opportunity to be involved in an initial briefing on the scope of the project and a timeline of how it will be rolled out. It is very much a ‘watch this space’. Ultimately, our vision is for this project is that it is co-constructed with CEWA and that we work together for the good of all leaders throughout the state. As an Executive, we are very excited to realise the benefits this could have on all our members. So, as I said, ‘Watch this space!’

Our Conference this year was an outstanding success. Laurie Bechelli took on the responsibility of coordinating our speakers and all feedback acknowledged the high quality of them. I would like to thank Laurie who enthusiastically took on this role and also acknowledge Art Lomabardi, Sandro Coniglio and Tracey Arnold for looking after the sponsors and coordinating the event. We look forward to our 2020 conference.

This year we tried something a little different for our Members’ Day and invited Pasi Sohlberg to lead discussions on his experiences in Finland with comparison to what is taking place in Australia. It led to some interesting conversations. It was decided that we would invite Directors, Team Leaders and SIAs to help facilitate further discussion beyond the day. Again, thank you to Laurie for liaising with Pasi and facilitating a very productive day. It gives us a blueprint for future Members’ Days. I would also like to thank the Principals who made themselves available on the day and giving us very encouraging feedback.

We continue to have representation on the CECWA Committees. Steve Gibbs on Risk and Audit, Greg Martin on Finance, Pina Hutcheson on Curriculum and myself on Catholic Community. It is extremely important that we have a Primary voice on these committees so that the needs of our schools are placed firmly at the front of decision making. I would like to thank each of these Principals for giving up their time.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Principals who have represented us on various working parties and reference groups. I understand that the busyness in our schools puts pressure on us contributing elsewhere however, those of you who have contributed are greatly appreciated by all of us and I appreciate your ongoing generosity.

This year we achieved a minor miracle when we encouraged the Leading Lights team to continue our association with SEQTA. Initially, this team was fully committed to implementing the AoS student and parent portal and sever ties with SEQTA after many years of association. Although SEQTA is not perfect, it does satisfy many of our requirements and many hours have been spent by schools to ensure that it works for them. Towards the end of the year, after many meetings, we were informed that SEQTA was to remain with us for at least the next three years. I believe that this is a solid outcome for all of us. We will continue our conversations with the Leading Lights team to ensure that schools’ needs are met in this area.

The rollout of the AoS finance package has not come without its complications. With the rollout well and truly underway, the Executive has continued to advocate on your behalf to ensure support is both timely and effective. The recent invitation to participate in a brainstorming event to discuss the rollout is a direct result of the work the Executive has carried out. We will continue to advocate on your behalf in order for the issues to be fully understood by the Leading Lights and Finance teams of CEWA.

We continue to be in a state of limbo regarding the Teacher Workloads Policy. In recent discussions with the Employment Relations Team, it seems that this may be resolved with CEWA moving to an Incorporated body and that all industrial issues will now be heard in the Fair Trades Commission. Currently the IEU have failed to negotiate with CEWA on both the Teacher Workloads issue as well as the new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. I would like to thank the Principals who have turned up to each meeting in order to begin work on the new EBA only to be disappointed that the IEU have failed to log any claims. We look forward to a resolution to this in 2020.

In her report last year, Pina Hutcheson presented information around a re-envisioning of the SIA role. We have continued to be in discussion with Tony Curry around this point and in a recent meeting with the Executive and Deputy Executive Director, there was an acknowledgement that change in the function of this role was necessary. We look forward to further action in this in 2020.
We have continued to develop relationships with CSPA, CAPA and Catholic Schools Parents of WA. We extended an invitation to CSPA and CAPA to attend day one of our conference. We have also met with the Executives of both associations throughout the year and commit to working collaboratively with both groups on issues that effect our system. We look forward to continuing this sharing in 2020.

Tracy Arnold has been an outstanding contributor to our association as the Executive Officer throughout this year. I don’t know how she manages to juggle the roles of Finance Officer in one of our largest schools with the duties of Executive Officer but she does with a minimum of fuss and high levels of efficiency. No task is too much trouble and she keeps all of us on track, which is no easy feat. It is with some sadness that I announce to you that Tracy has decided to step down from her role as Executive Officer. Due to the increasingly high demands of the work that the Executive Officer needs to carry out, the Executive decided to split this role into two separate roles – Executive Officer and Events Coordinator. Tracy has agreed to continue on as the Events Coordinator and Tania Kays, Administration Officer at Matthew Gibney Catholic Primary School, has agreed to be our new Executive Officer in 2020. Both ladies will continue to work closely together to ensure that our association will continue to run efficiently and effectively.

Having been Vice-President for 3 years, I thought I understood the busyness of the President’s role but I don’t think anything can prepare you for the diversity of experiences and requests that come my way almost daily. I would like to thank you all for your patience and understanding as we do our best to represent your views and needs. I appreciate that all of you may not fully agree with the work that we do or get frustrated at the lack of progress that can sometimes take place but I can assure you that we do the best we can and, at the same time, lead our school communities. I would like to acknowledge the commitment of both Debra Sayce and Peter Yensch in their willingness to meet with the Secretariat each term and for the frank discussions that have taken place. Like previous presidents before me, I wish to reassure all our members that your Executive are committed to ensure the voice of primary principals is the priority in all our discussions. Our association is respected and our views are sought out regularly.

I would like to acknowledge the work of our Executive in 2019. All are generous with their time and talents and are committed to achieving the aims of our association. I thank you all for your commitment, your passion and your good humour throughout the year and I look forward to working with you again in 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the
Executive who are leaving at the end of this year. Maureen Barrett has been a part of the Executive for 3 years. Originally, she represented the Geraldton region before returning to Perth. Since then, she has been responsible for the pastoral care of Principals, particularly those experiencing hardship in one form or another. We thank her for her contributions and wish her well.

Art Lombardi has been on the Executive for 5 years. He has played an integral role in developing positive relationships with sponsors. Each year he has managed to attract an increase in sponsorship – no mean feat in these difficult commercial times. I thank him sincerely for the work he has carried out and wish him well.

Lyla Forte has been on the Executive for the last three years. She has been invaluable in representing the needs of our Principals in the Kimberly. We thank her for her contributions and wish her well in her retirement.

Toni Kalat completes her term of 6 years on the Executive. Toni has been on numerous work parties and reference groups. She has been our representative on ACPPA and Vice President for 4 years. Her calm nature and careful thinking have been a positive asset to the Executive and she will be sorely missed. We wish her well in her future endeavours.

I would like to thank you all for your attendance today. At this time of the year it is a big commitment to be absent from your school for the entire day and I thank you for this. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you well for the remainder of the year. For those Principals transferring to new schools I hope that the transition is as smooth as possible. For those beginning the journey, don’t forget there is lots of wisdom out there and that you don’t have to do it alone. Finally, when the time arrives, I wish you a very Happy Christmas and special time with those that you love along with a well-deserved rest.