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The Teachers' Guild of New South Wales


It is my pleasure to present my report as President of the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales.  2015 was another successful year, due largely to the continued support from our strong and capable Council, including an outstanding Secretary/Treasurer, Mr Alan Harper and Vice President, Dr Frederick Osman, without whom I could not have performed my role.

I am willing to be elected again to be an office bearer in the new Council and I hope that I can continue to count on the support of the members of the Council during the coming year to support the newly elected Council.  It is imperative that as a Council we are encouraged to strategically plan for succession in the roles of leadership of the Guild for 2016.


In 2015, the Teachers’ Guild proudly celebrated its 123rd year and continued to make a significant contribution to the professional development of teachers within the Independent sector.


The Guild is led by its Council.  In 2015, the Council comprised

1.         Mrs Leanne Claringbold         Kambala                            (resigned in May)
2.         Mrs Noelene Callaghan          Rooty Hill High School
3.         Mr Mark Connellan                Boston University
4.         Mrs Frances Fleeton             Educational Consultant        (President)
5.         Mr Peter Green                    Trinity Grammar School
6.         Mr Alan Harper OAM            Retired                              (Secretary/Treasurer)             
7.         Ms Erin Mackenzie               Macquarie University
8.         Mr Tom Mae                       Trinity Grammar School
9.         Dr Frederick Osman             Trinity Grammar School        (Vice-President)
10.       Mrs Sophie Poisel                 Queenwood School

At the AGM, the Guild accepted the resignation from Council of Mrs Irene Holt, who had served on Council, mainly in the role of Treasurer, but unfortunately had found family commitments took her time away from duty to the Guild Council. In May, we accepted the resignation of Mrs Leanne Claringbold, due to both work and family commitments.


Our Treasurer, Mr Alan Harper OAM has undertaken the management of the Guild’s accounts with dedication and a distinctive eye for detail.  The accounts have continued to show assets that we can draw upon to enable the Guild to deliver our various programs.  Our new Accountant has managed the accounts well this past year.


Our membership has continued to remain fairly static and despite the Council resolving to explore ways to expand our membership base by offering both Corporate and Student membership levels in addition to regular membership, it would appear that these changes have had very little impact on the overall membership numbers. Following on from previous years, our Secretary wrote to each of last year’s Award winners inviting them to join Council, with a positive response from Mrs Sophie Poisel. We value the continued support of our members and their ability to inform others about the Guild’s offerings each year, yet this has not translated into any significant increases in our membership.

The membership fee for all levels of membership remains the same for 2016, but with additional venue hiring costs, this may need to be reviewed for 2017. 

For our functions, early bird registrations and group registration have continued to be offered as incentives, as well as Discount Vouchers for future events, being given as door prizes, in an effort to improve participation rates.  The Guild continued to communicate more by email to our members to reduce costs and facilitate more effective communication, especially with our younger members.  This proved effective and beneficial in bringing the Guild’s offerings to more individuals in the educational community.

It was with much sadness that we learnt of the passing of two of our esteemed members in February this year. On Friday 5 February, Roderick West AM was farewelled at Trinity Grammar School at a funeral service that was attended by many educators and academics. Later in the month, on Tuesday 16 February, Phyllis Evans MBE was honoured with a Requiem Eucharist at St James’ Church in the city.  Both these amazing educators will be sorely missed by Guild members and remembered for their contributions to and support of the Guild. More will be detailed of their contributions in the next issue of Proceedings.


The challenge each year for the Council is to plan a varied programme that provides professionals in Independent schools with a choice of events that reflect current educational issues. Each year the Guild evaluates what changes should be made to our current programmes to further meet the needs of our audience.

The Survival Guide to Teachers New to Independent Schools continues to fulfil a niche for teachers new to independent schools.  It was held on Monday 23 February at Trinity Grammar School, Lewisham Campus.  While many schools and other professional organisations offer related programs, the Guild’s sessions have a specific focus on teachers who have recently accepted positions in independent schools and have little experience of the demands this may entail.  With 15 participants in attendance, the event was still successful, bringing in four new independent schools who had not previously attended the event. We are grateful that we have been able to call upon presenters within our membership as well as those known to our Council for particular expertise, who can offer their experience to those new to independent schools.

In 2015, we planned to offer two professional development seminars during the year.  The first of our Evening Seminars was held at Trinity Grammar School, Lewisham Campus on Tuesday 24 March and focussed on The Middle Years – Change and Challenge. We were able to secure Angie Wilcock, who is a highly regarded Australian specialist on transitions in education, with a special focus on the transition from primary to secondary school.  We were pleased with an attendance of 23 participants and their positive feedback affirmed the very practical classroom strategies that were explored in the workshop.  Our second Seminar was a joint venture supported by the Gifted Families Support Group.  This was held on Thursday 29 October, which is close to International Teachers’ Day, at the same venue.  The seminar took the form of a workshop with 2 sessions – the presenters – Denise Wood and Helen Dudeney have worked with gifted children and families for many years, presenting workshops for children, families and teachers. The focus was to raise awareness on what are the characteristics of the gifted students in our schools. This event was very well supported with 65 attendees from a mixture of both Primary and Secondary schools.   I would like to offer my thanks to the Events Convenors, Dr Frederick Osman and Ms Erin McKenzie, who worked tirelessly, to ensure the seminars were a success.
After 5 consecutive years of success, the Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (APPLE) which was scheduled for Monday 3 August was cancelled due to the lack of nominations that would make this a worthwhile event.  We hope that this will be a well-supported event in 2016 and a full review of the process will be undertaken before the event is listed in 2016.

The Annual Guild Awards Dinner was held on Saturday 5 September, hosted by Trinity Grammar School and was attended by 60 guests.  In 2015, the Awards evening honoured Mr Alan Harper, OAM FTGN FACE.

Mr Alan Harper has had a lifelong commitment to education in NSW in Government, Catholic and Independent schools, and through involvement in a number of professional and community organisations, including the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales.

Mr Harper began his career in 1978 at Meadowbank Boys’ High School as a teacher of English and History, a position he held until the school’s closure in 1983. Several years later, he moved to St Patrick’s Marist College at Dundas as History Co-ordinator, then in 1994 took up an appointment as Director of Studies at Macarthur Anglican School. In 1999 he moved to Trinity Grammar School in the same role, from which he retired in 2014.

For over ten years until his retirement, Mr Harper was Convenor of the AHISA Directors of Studies network, serving many of the Independent schools in NSW and the ACT. He held office at state and national level in the Australian College of Educators, serving as NSW President 1998-2000, and on National Council 1996-2000. He was created a Fellow of the College in 1995.

Mr Harper joined the Teachers’ Guild in 1993, serving continuously on the Guild Council from 1994 until the present time, as President 1996-2003, and as Secretary since 2004. He was inducted to Life Membership of the Guild in 2012.

Mr Harper has had a commitment to the Uniting Church for over thirty years, serving on the NSW/ACT Board of Education for two years, and on the Schools Education Reference Group, which he now chairs, for over fifteen years. He has also served on the Council of Arden Anglican School since 2001.

In the Australia Day Honours in 2013, Mr Harper was a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of his lifelong contribution to Education and the community. In retirement, Mr Harper continues work with the Guild, with the Uniting Church, and on the Arden Council, while finding a little more time to pursue some of his own interests. The Guild was pleased to honour Mr Alan Harper in its 2015 Awards.

Prior to the Awards evening, a number of applications for each of the awards presented, had been thoroughly screened and interviews had been undertaken to determine the awardees.  I wish to express my sincere thanks on behalf of the Teachers’ Guild to all the people who generously gave of their time to ensure these processes were undertaken. In an unprecedented decision the Junior Division award was shared between Holly Caddy from Trinity Grammar School and Cassandra McKie from Mamre Anglican School. The Senior Division winner was Emma Morrow from Marian Catholic College.  The Guild takes pride in its ability to acknowledge the skills these early teachers have developed and wish them every success in the future.  We also acknowledge the support that is offered to these teachers by their family, friends and colleagues, many of whom attended the Annual Dinner.

The Guild must also acknowledge Mr Milton Cujes, Headmaster of Trinity Grammar School, for his ongoing generosity and willingness to provide Trinity Grammar School for many of the Guild’s programmes during the year.  This is greatly appreciated.

The Teachers’ Guild was supported once again, by the University of Sydney’s Master of Teaching programme in selecting a suitable candidate to award a scholarship in recognition of the high level of teacher training the University of Sydney provides.  Although, initially the one candidate withdrew, after setting an extension date, interviews were rescheduled and the successful candidate was Jennifer Stanley.

The Guild resolved to continue to explore visits to educational venues that could be of interest to educationalists.  I am indebted to Dr Fred Osman for his tireless efforts in negotiating an afterhours visit to Sydney Learning Adventures which took place on Thursday 19 November.  This event was highly successful for the select group of participants who attended. Our guides, Kalkani and Erin, were knowledgeable and exceptionally well prepared for our visit. The Guild will plan to continue these after-hours visits to educational facilities in 2016.

As the year drew to a close, the final function was our annual Christmas Celebration, held on Sunday 6 December at the generously donated, Boston University Building. All Councillors were invited to celebrate another successful year with good food and excellent company.


I would like to thank Mrs Leanne Claringbold for her tireless efforts, in consultation with Dr Osman, in bringing The Proceedings together for publication.  This highly regarded publication of the Guild was distributed prior to the first seminar held on Tuesday 24 March and was also available for purchase on the evening.


I wish acknowledge and thank Mr Rick Stevens and Mr Tom Mae who have continued to collate and update information to bring the Guild Archive up to date.


Mrs Noelene Callaghan has continued to work tirelessly to steadily review and update our website throughout the year, seeking advice from other Councillors. The new look and easier access to sections is now available for our members and other interested educationalists. I wish to personally thank Mrs Callaghan for this work and the expertise that she has shown in redeveloping our website and for her continued support of this vital level of communication for the Guild. 

The Guild’s presence on social media sites – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook has had a steady increase throughout the year, with a strong following on LinkedIn, in particular. These forums remain vital for our members to keep in touch with our events, as well as providing a network by which educational comment can be made on current issues.

The Council determined in May that the newsletter would be issued twice per year and its content would form a basis for the forthcoming issue of The Proceedings.


The Guild undertook to host a TeachMeet on Thursday 28 May in an effort to spark discussion and provide a networking opportunity.  The question addressed was “Are we adequately preparing today’s learners for life tomorrow?”  This was highly successful with 7 presentations that initiated much discussion amongst those who attended.

To enable printing and mail out costs to be budgeted and to guarantee good quality publications, the Guild engaged the services of Snap Printing at Burwood.  This has enabled our printing and mail out of various materials to have a professional look at a reasonable cost.  While our mailing lists have been considerable, they have not always been able to be updated efficiently. Mrs Sophie Poisel offered to attempt to update our lists for 2016 and has made steady progress throughout the year.

Through close discussion and consultation, the Teachers’ Guild resolved to create a further membership opportunity of Honorary Fellowship of the Guild.  The first of these awards was made at the Annual Dinner and a further number at Seminar 2.  This Award was designed to increase our Membership profile amongst key educationalists.  We congratulate the following members in being awarded inaugural Honorary Fellowship to the Guild: Noelene Callaghan, Mark Connellan, Peter Green, Arch Humphries, Christine Mae, Thomas Mae, Dr David Knockles, Dr Nola Norris, Dr Frederick Osman and Therese Turner-Jones.

With property changes at Trinity Grammar School, the Guild has had to make some adjustments to where we store Guild material for events, once again. We are very grateful to Dr Fred Osman and Mr Peter Green who have secured storage for the Guild at Peter’s home provide by Trinity Grammar School.

Every new year presents educators with challenges and subsequent change, and it is how we manage these, that really determine our success.  The Teachers’ Guild must keep in touch with current issues if we are to remain in the forefront of professional associations and bring to our colleagues the latest developments in professional development opportunities.

That is our charter and what we endeavour to deliver to our membership.


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.


                                                                                                                                    Nelson Mandela






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