Family, School & Community Partnerships Bureau

2014 National Symposium

Policy, Practice and Evaluation

Improving Learning and Well being

8th & 9th September 


More than 40 years of research shows that when families, schools and the community partner effectively, children and young people’s life and learning outcomes improve.

 In their recent report on Turning Around Schools, the Grattan Institute found engagement of parents and the community to be one of the five steps common to school turnaround.

If systemic and systematic partnerships are to be built between families, schools and communities, then what are the critical policy levers, how do these translate into practice and how is effectiveness measured? These are the critical questions that will be explored by accessing the wisdom and experience of a team of international and national experts in the field.

It is time to move from rhetoric to action, from ad hoc to systemic, from measuring activities to impact, if we are to provide all children and young people with the best start in life….

Click here to preview our agenda

Symposium presentations


JOe_Flessa.jpgKeynote speaker:

Associate Professor Joseph Flessa

Leadership, Adult and Higher Education

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

University of Toronto

Dr. Flessa received his PhD in Educational Policy Research from the University of California, Berkeley. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor, Policy and Politics, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education and has been a faculty member since 2005.

Read more at http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/lhae/Faculty_Staff/1906/Joseph_Flessa.html


Karen_Mapp.jpg   Video Vignette presentation:   

Dr Karen Mapp

 Senior Lecturer on Education

 Director, Education Policy & Management Program

 Harvard Graduate School of Education

Karen L. Mapp, Ed.D., is a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the faculty director of the Education Policy and Management master’s program. Over the past 20 years, Mapp’s research and practice focus has been on the cultivation of partnerships among families, community members, and educators that support student achievement and school improvement.

Read more: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/directory/faculty/faculty-detail/#ixzz34EjAn0A2

Senator_Ryan.jpgUnderstanding current policy

Senator, The Hon

Scott Ryan


Senator the Hon Scott Ryan was born in Brisbane on May 12, 1973 and raised in Essendon, Melbourne.

After attending local primary and secondary schools he was awarded a scholarship to St Kevin’s College to complete Years 11 and 12. He entered the University of Melbourne where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours. Senator Ryan also worked as a tutor in the Department of Political Science and at St Mary’s College at the university.

Senator Ryan has worked in the health and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in politics at both state and federal levels, as a speechwriter and political adviser, in government and opposition.

Immediately before entering the Senate in 2008, Senator Ryan worked as a consultant in the health and insurance sectors, as well as serving as a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne.

Senator Ryan has been an active member of the Liberal Party since 1990, having worked on every state and federal campaign since then. He was president of the Melbourne University Liberal Club and active in the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation and is an honorary life member of both organisations.

He served the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party as metropolitan vice-president (2006-07), chairman of the Constitutional Committee (2003-2007) and on the Administrative Committee (2006-08). He was a leading member of the Party Futures Committee that developed and implemented substantial reforms to the Victorian division in 2008. He is currently patron of the Future Leaders Program.

He was elected to the Senate at the 2007 federal election and took office on 1 July 2008. He was the youngest Liberal senator ever elected from Victoria.

Senator Ryan has served on numerous senate and joint committees. These include the Senate Standing Committee on Finance & Public Administration, where he also served as chair; the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters; the Senate Select Committee on the Reform of the Australian Federation and the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.

Following the 2010 election, Senator Ryan was appointed to the shadow ministry as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Fair Competition.

Senator Ryan was re-elected at the 2013 federal election, which saw the election of the Abbott Coalition Government. He was appointed to the first Abbott ministry as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, with responsibility for youth affairs, school infrastructure, curriculum and online safety in schools, among other policy priorities of the Government.

In his remaining private time, Senator Ryan enjoys reading histories, biographies and books about US politics; travelling and scuba diving. He is a member of the Essendon FC, and the Institute of Public Affairs, the Centre for Independent Studies and the Samuel Griffith Society and co-convenor of the Parliamentary Brain Tumour Awareness Group.

Scott is married to Helen. They have a son and live in Melbourne.


Dr Ben Jensen


Learning First
Formerly Program Director School Education
Grattan Institute

Ben has considerable experience in education reform, advising governments in numerous countries. He spent 5 years at the OECD conducting international research on school and teacher effectiveness, and led an international expert group on how to develop and use measurements of school performance. Ben recently left the Grattan Institute where he was Director of the School education program for 5 years. His reports had a significant impact in Australia and internationally. Ben has also held positions in government and academia.

Panelist: EvaluationDr_Sara_Glover.JPG

Dr Sara Glover,

Director of Education Policy,

Mitchell Institute

Victoria University

Dr Sara Glover is a highly-regarded policy and research expert in the field of education and early childhood. Most recently Sara was an Executive Director at the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development where she was responsible for the strategic development of an integrated research and evaluation program to deliver a powerful evidence base for policy. Prior to her role in State government, Sara was the Director of Education and Training and a principal researcher at the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital/University of Melbourne for 8 years.

MAnderson.JPGPhilanthropic/Community Partnerships

Dr Michelle Anderson

Australian Council for Educational Research


Michelle has a passion for improving learning and community cohesion through effective relationships between schools and businesses, not-for-profits and philanthropy. She is called upon to lead, speak, facilitate, research and collaborate across these spaces.

Michelle is the Director of Interface2Consulting and on the board of Schools Connect Australia, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation’s Youth Grants Advisory Panel and the interim founding board of Australian Schools Plus. She is an immediate past Principal Research Fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) where she initiated Tender Bridge™, a national service to help schools or schools in partnership with others source additional education-related funding. Alongside this, she initiated and led a multi-year national research and development project, LLEAP (Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy) in partnership with The Ian Potter Foundation, Origin Foundation, Scanlon Foundation, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and the Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund.

Michelle has worked as a teacher, senior researcher at the National College for School Leadership in England and executive across health and education. She has published widely and been a recipient of awards, including a Churchill Fellowship and Australian Council of Educational Leadership (ACEL) Fellowship (Victoria). Her PhD at the University of London investigated social and cultural factors for inclusive leadership.

AnneHenderson.jpg Video Vignette presentation:

Anne Henderson

Senior Consultant with the Institute for Education and Social Policy at New York University &

Senior Fellow Community Involvement Program

Annenberg Institute for School reform

Anne’s specialty is the relationship between families and schools, and its impact on students’ success in school and through life. Since 1981, she has steadily tracked research and effective practice on how engaging families can improve student achievement, especially in diverse and low­‐income communities. 


adam_smith.jpgMaster of Ceremonies

Adam Smith

 Chair: Family School & Community Partnerships Bureau

 Education Analyst & Director

ACER & Public Education Foundation

Adam is an expert commentator and consultant specializing in partnership development and network building in and around schools. Adam is a Board Member of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), and regular Education Analyst for Channel 10's The Project. As former CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians and Education Foundation Australia, Adam has a background in non-profit leadership and has personally generated significant philanthropic and corporate investment in public schools. Adam is passionate about promoting equity and excellence in all schools and encouraging additional philanthropic support of school education. 


Systems response

Philomena Billington

Director of Catholic Education

Sandhurst Victoria 

Phil is in her final year as Director of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Sandhurst in Central Victoria. She is committed to working with Diocesan church and education at diocesan, state and national level. She has contributed to the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) on the Religious Education Committee, and is a Director of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV), the Catholic Capital Grants Company and chairs associated Committees. Phil is an educator and leader with 40+ years experience in Catholic and Government education across 5 dioceses and 4 states of Australia, teaching in remote, rural and city locations and has led curriculum design and development in two dioceses. She is passionate about education and especially in rural Australia, the Arts in education, parents as leaders and key partners and lay ministry within the Catholic church.

Phil will be joined by



Parent Representative - Ms Annette Jacob

Annette is an Occupational Therapist with her own practice, lectures at tertiary level but is passionate about being known as a parent at St Mel’s education community in Shepparton and her youngest son in year 6. She is on the St Mel’s Parish Education Board (PEB) and has been a member since 2008. She is currently Chair of St Mel’s PEB since 2011 and is a member of the Catholic Education-Shepparton Mooroopna Committee. Annette has been a Parent Leader on the Sandhurst Schools Education Board since 2012 and has been instrumental in the Parent Leadership & Family Engagement Strategy. Annette is a committed and passionate advocate for Parent Leadership and Family Engagement and is generous in her contribution at diocesan events.



Parent Representative - Mr Michael Devlin

Michael was involved in the development and implementation of the Catholic Education Sandhurst’s Parent Leadership and Engagement Strategy which was launched in 2013. Michael is currently an SSEB Parent Leader since 2011 . He was St Marys Echuca School Board Chairperson 2010 – 2012 and a Board member from 2006 – 2013. Along with the other Parent Leaders, Michael presented at the 2013 ACU International Leadership Conference Sydney. He brings to his leadership a Bachelor Applied Science Human Movement and Graduate Diploma Business Management. Michael is actively Involved in numerous community and sporting groups as a committee person / coach in the Echuca Moama Community. He operates a Family Business and has 3 school aged children.




Panelist: Evaluation

Patrick Lyons



Patrick has provided evaluation and strategic advice to a range of Commonwealth and State Government departments and agencies, as well as several Community Based Organisations.

Patrick has a particular interest in evaluating programs designed to build capacity, including programs that aim to influence behaviour and culture through education and information. 

Patrick also has a passion and deep experience working with programs that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Recent projects include the evaluation of the impact of the Play by the Rules program (Australian Sports Commission); evaluation of the suite of professional development programs offered by the Bastow Institute for Educational Leadership; the Impact of Professional Learning Initiatives for Education Support (ES) staff; the Evaluation of the Victorian International Teaching Fellowship; the evaluation of the Supporting New Teachers Program; Evaluation of the suite of services provided to members of the Stolen Generations; Evaluation of Victorian Koorie Youth Justice Programs and the development of an Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Framework. Patrick also provided strategic guidance of the impact evaluation of Wannik: The Victorian Government’s Aboriginal Education Strategy, the evaluation of Koorie Transition Officers and the evaluation of the suite of programs aimed at Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes for the South Australian Department of Health.


Pre service

Michael Bourne


St Marks Primary School


Michael Bourne is the principal of St. Mark's Catholic Primary School in Fawkner, Melbourne. He is married to Sandra and has five children, three of whom are still at school. For the past 28 years he has worked in the A.C.T., N.S.W. and Victoria in a variety of schools. He serves on the National Executive Council for the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA), has co lectured on a part time basis in 2013- 2014 at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. He is passionate about the KidsMatter framework for primary schools and about the importance of family school partnerships.

Highlights from our 2012 Symposium