Master Class (Day 2)

Main Stage (Day 1)

Day 1 Concurrent Sessions & Workshops

Positive Teachers/ Positive Talk



Thursday (WA, Vic, NSW)

11.30 – 12.30

Concurrent Session : Positive Teachers, Positive Talk


A session presented by some of Australia’a most highly acclaimed  ‘positive teachers’. Each will share ideas and strategies for creating a positive school environment


Positive Teacher of The Year 2013: The Winners Journey


QLD – Jayne Acutt, Dean of Students, Ipswich Girls Grammar School


WA - David Sawers, Associate Principal, Gingin District High School


VIC - Phillippa Adgemis, Assistant Principal, Manchester Primary School 


Positive Teachers 2013




Jayne Acutt

Dean of Students, Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School


Qld Positive Teacher of The Year 2013


Wellbeing in Action


Pointers for growing wellbeing in your school through:

•          The overt teaching of Positive Psychology skills in the Life Skills program

•          The creation of a purposeful space to support the elements of a wellbeing program (The Centre for Young Women’s Health and Wellbeing)

•          The building of a Wellbeing Website to cater specifically to the needs of students (and parents).

It is on these three ideas that Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School has been successful in building a wellbeing profile both within the school and in the local and wider community. Delivered by the pastoral care staff, but supported by all school staff, and local medical/mental health practitioners, our students have been treated to ways in which they can manage their own mental health and wellbeing better and build a cache of tools to look after themselves.

In this workshop, Jayne will walk you through the manner in which IGGS went about instituting these three elements so that you too can go back into your school and create a wellbeing platform to service the needs of your students and school community. A wellbeing platform can be constructed with few resources – it is about believing in the underlying principles and championing those within your school.


About Jayne


Jayne has been working in schools since 1984. An English/History teacher, Jayne spent 15 years, including 7 as Head of English, in the state education system before moving to the independent sector where she has spent all the subsequent years at Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School. Moving from a curriculum focus to a more pastoral one began when Jayne took on the role of Yr 7/8 Coordinator followed by Middle School Coordinator, Senior School Coordinator and Dean of Students, which is her current position. Jayne is interested first and foremost in people, and the relationships that can empower the young, particularly girls, to become confident, well-educated and empathetic young women who give back to their communities. Seeing the best in everyone is what Jayne believes we should strive for, and treating people with respect; this generally produces the same response in others. Jayne believes that kindness is at the heart of every act; as is not taking oneself too seriously. Jayne has two adult sons and goes to school for her ‘girl fix’.


Edited from a nomination by Jayne’s colleague Anna Owen


Jayne is energetic, humorous, empathetic and inspirational. She has a multidimensional approach to community service and giving that inspires people beyond just being involved. She enables them, and gives them ownership. Jayne is a very special woman, and it is an honour to work with her. Jayne is unfailing in her dedication to the development and growth of adolescent girls by focusing on intrinsic factors, and not just extrinsic factors, to nurture the wellbeing of today's young women.







Jayne is an inspiration to all that come in contact with her. She freely gives of her time in the service of others, and role models community service involvement for the people in her care, demonstrates giving of time, not just financial aid, and is inspirational in her approach.



About David (WA)

Associate Principal Gingin District High School


WA Positive Teacher of The Year 2013


I came to teaching later than most and began my career in 1991.  I began as a primary teacher before graduating to teaching secondary maths in 1999.


Learning to work with kids was always a challenge and it was the tough classes I had along the way that taught me the most.  I remember one Year 10 class in particular where I eventually won them over by throwing the curriculum out the door for a while and giving them packs of cards. Eventually we got to a place where they came to me and asked if we could do some maths.


Since going to Gingin I have learnt that you don’t have to do it on your own.  A strong team all working on the same page is far more effective in changing the culture across a school.  We have some exceptional support agencies that we can access to help bring strategies together, such as SDERA and MindMatters/KidsMatters.


About David


Since working at Gingin I have learnt the power of a group; our Student Services Team.  .  From the early beginnings of a group of individuals with similar ideas to a coordinated problem solving group actively engaged with our community and students. Follow the journey of one of our students whose story mirrors the journey of our Team


James went from a student disengaged, with a poor attendance record and regular behaviour issues to one of being a strong leader within the school mentoring others, being a positive influence for other students and parents.


The Wilderness Intervention Program is one strategy that has been around for a long time but we at Gingin are committed to it because it works by changing the outlook and behaviour of targeted students in a very positive way.  It can also be very cost effective, an issue becoming increasingly important in our present climate. Taking kids for a walk in the bush together with support and targeted debriefing allows them to experience success in ways many have never experienced before.


Edited from a nomination by Michelle Diver the chaplain at David’s school.


Everyone feels comfortable speaking to David. He does not rush people who need time. He deals with difficult personal staffing issues in a non confrontational, private way. He is strong enough to tackle the problems as they arise and is a deeply caring person. He is wise and thoughtful in his decisions, is compassionate and always seeks understanding for the reasons behind a behaviour.


David is the Chairperson on our Student Services Team. He maintains an active hands-on approach within the school believing that daily contact with students leads to strong relationships.


He participates in activities across the school to the highest level, from P @ C Fund Raisers, to the Wilderness Intervention Program and Sports Carnivals.


David initiated at speed skating "class" in 2011 for disengaged students.


He is currently involved in SDERA (Drug & Alcohol) and Road Awareness and is working on a hands-on project to involve our middle primary students to maintain and repair bicycles and learn road safety.


David continues to initiate and support our "pinkie and greenie” reward structure programs across our primary school.


Our Student Services Team has attended several PD to become a Mind Matters School. David has been a quiet strength behind this initiative.


We have had a great break though which David is supporting at a higher level at School Council of transforming our school from "Student Behaviour Management" to "Student Engagement" this requires a massive culture shift. David has been instrumental in continuing the momentum for this challenging but life changing event in our school.


David always gives consideration and thought to the ideas and I find his wisdom very valuable. I have enjoyed his willingness to take risks with new ideas.



About Phillippa (VIC)

Assistant Principal, Manchester Primary School


Vic Positive Teacher of The Year 2013


About Phillippa


Phillippa is the Assistant Principal of Manchester Primary School but began her teaching career teaching in secondary schools.  Since then she has taught at all levels from preschool through to Year 12 in a variety of subjects and trains adults in Acting and Theatre. She worked in Theatre in Education travelling to schools throughout Victoria to bring them high quality theatrical experiences.  Phillippa worked with co-authors in the development of the Girlfriends! Program in her Innovation and Excellence Educator capacity in order to respond to the needs of ‘at risk’ girls.  The program connects girls with each other and their local communities.  Student wellbeing has always been of special interest to her and she believes strongly that children cannot learn until they achieve a certain sense of wholeness.  The move to primary school was to work with families in early intervention to prevent some of the “damage” she encountered with students in secondary school.  Since then she has implemented a range of programs to create a positive school culture and to support children and their families. She has an avid involvement in theatre and has written, directed and performed in numerous plays and musicals. Recently she has taken great pleasure in presiding over special occasions in her capacity as a Marriage Celebrant.


Edited from a nomination by Peter Jenkins, Phillippa’s principal


Phillippa is warm and caring but is downright militant when it comes to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to succeed despite background and disadvantage. She is always thinking about how to improve the lot of others and works on a variety of levels with families who struggle to provide for their children. She has led school change at a range of schools and is frequently contacted by past students who owe their success to the faith she had in them and her sense of social justice.


Phillippa's leadership programs are numerous



At this school Phillippa was employed as a change agent and has implemented:



In the same way that Phillippa uses programs/ responsibilities with students to build their self esteem, she does the same with staff offering them an initiative and then working alongside them to be able to be successful and recognized for their achievements.  She mentors young staff and takes time to meet with them frequently to support them and is the go-to person in the school when an issue that needs arises.  She supports end-of-week social events as a time to debrief after a hectic week.


How can you measure the value of someone who has "saved" young people who might otherwise not make it?