CEO Research Roundup

CEO Research Roundup: 13 May 2019

I am delighted to be sharing this fortnightly news and insight blog, offering short summaries of the latest news and studies, reports, and opinions across the education arena. If there is a topic, report or event you would like QELi to explore, please email your thoughts to

Neil McDonald
Chief Executive Officer, QELi

Research in Education

Distributed leadership across teaching and education 

The impact of effective school leadership can be far-reaching. School leadership is fundamental in the continuous improvement of educational policies, processes, and practices. In this article, Jason Spedding and Dr Amy Hawkes, School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, share their research findings on leadership within school settings.

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Engaging previously disengaged parents 

“We want every family to be engaged in their child’s education, not just the predictable ones.” In this article from Edutopia, a middle school principal shares her experiences of family engagement, engaging the disengaged and thinking outside of the box. Today, 95% of parents and caregivers show up to back-to-school night, open house, and so on. But perhaps more important and more interesting are the additional activities and events that they show up for: classroom walkthroughs, interviews for new staff members, key policy decision-making meetings, and teacher professional development.

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Join Howard Nielsen and Ellena Stone for Engaging Previously Disengaged Parents, a one-day workshop on Thursday 6 June 2019, which will explore strategies educators can implement in their school environments to involve disengaged parents so that they can become positive co-educators of their children. 

Book to Attend

Are we teaching children to be afraid of exams? 

Some Australian students are reportedly shunning Year 12 exams in favour of more favourable, and less stressful, pathways to finishing school. These reports come amid warnings of rising rates of anxiety and depression among young people, with psychologists calling for better mental health support services in schools. Experts say exam stress could be making depression and anxiety worse for vulnerable young people. In this article in The Conversation, Mandie Shean, Lecturer, School of Education, Edith Cowan University, poses the question – in our efforts to support young people, are we teaching them to be afraid rather than encouraging the, to see exams as a positive challenge?

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Women: start working out loud

Women don’t always feel encouraged to share contributions at work. Confident women are sometimes seen as less likable, and some women are uncomfortable taking credit for projects and sharing their past successes because they fear backlash (though self-promoting can be a key to opening career opportunities). In this article published in Forbes, Heather Backstrom believe this shows the importance of women developing a strong voice so they can “work out loud.”

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QELi and NESLI will launch the first joint cohort of the online Women’s Advanced Leadership Program (ALP) on Tuesday 30 July 2019. The Women’s ALP is a six-month online program for women who are aspiring to or already hold senior leadership roles within schools. The program focuses on the interpersonal and behavioural dynamics associated with senior leadership and combines rich, multi-media learning resources with peer level discussion and collaboration.

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How the iPhone rewrote the teenage brain 

Lawyer and social researcher David Gillespie has been delving into the complex business of the teenage brain. In this podcast published by ABC Conversations, he says the usual teenage compulsions like smoking, drinking and drug taking are in steep decline, as teenagers are now more likely to seek a pleasure hit from their screens. But the games and social media apps they use are deliberately engineered to be addictive. Unlike drugs and cigarettes, their devices are supported by schools and parents, with few restrictions on their use.’

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Individualised learning improving outcomes 

In this article, Teacher speaks with Lorraine Evans, Principal at Malak Primary School in the northern suburbs of Darwin. Lorraine believes every child can learn – maybe not at the same pace or in the same way, but everyone can learn. She likens her schools to Sleeping Beauty. ‘Like the princess in the fairy tale, we kind of had to wake up,’ Evans tells Teacher. ‘But it wasn’t a handsome prince, unfortunately, it was our data that woke us up. Lorraine explains how multiple data sets illustrated that if the school was going to meet the needs and aspirations of its kids and families, it had to change and had to change quickly and drastically.

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QELi’s Instructional Leadership: Powerful Conversations to Lead School Improvement program is a nine-month program designed to enhance the personal leadership and conversational skills of middle leaders who are required to work with staff across their school networks to maximise engagement and performance. 

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