Latest National news

Bones not connected to bushland search for William Tyrrell

Police are scouring bushland after a tip-off in the last fortnight over missing toddler William Tyrrell.

Emma Partridge, Dan Proudman 10:45 AM   Police confirmed late on Monday that bones found in the bushland belonged to a small animal.

Signs say no fines for parking bandits

A parking sign in the parliamentary triangle - but does it mean no parking or free parking?

Phillip Thomson 10:43 AM   Punctuation courses for public servants have come at a good time.

John Hemmes: the Merivale patriarch's triumph over adversity

John Hemmes

Helen O’Neill 10:43 AM   Last year the Hemmes’ family invited me to capture the life story of its patriarch, John Hemmes, the head of Merivale Group and one of Australia’s most remarkable businessmen.

Think outside the gender box

Wenona students restore a 1967 Mini as part of their technology and engineering interests.

Briony Scott 10:33 AM   Around the world, there is a growing recognition of the need to educate our young men and women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Future career paths in this area are multiplying, as is a need to foster the creative, innovative thinking required to solve complex problems. And even more exciting in education is watching the traditional boundaries between these disciplines disappear, as young people learn to think outside the box. There is an old maxim: "You cannot be what you cannot see". Unfortunately, according to the 2014 Women in NSW report, girls are very poorly represented in the study of science, and thus, in the STEM workforce. So at Wenona, we are focused on showing our young women what it means to be a part of the action and a part of the solution. Female role models working in a range of STEM disciplines inspire the next generation of girls to think and engage broadly. In researching what inspires young women to follow careers or interests in STEM, Wenona interviewed and met with scientists, mathematicians and engineers. We found that a passionate teacher is essential. Teachers provide the opportunity to engage in real-world problem-solving, and foster a love, a curiosity, and a determination to engage in complexity. So we began a series of STEM initiatives at Wenona, designed to encourage and excite our young women to explore and develop skills in these areas. Young "rocketeers" in Wenona's Space Science Club are enjoying their introduction to orbital mechanics. They meet three times a week to refine their skills and understanding of space travel using a highly realistic rocket simulation program. A visit by vintage car clubs enabled all Wenona students to experience a range of classic and vintage vehicles from the 1920s to the present day. And a small but dedicated group of girls have stripped back a 1967 Mini and returned it to its former glory. Wenona competes in the Sunsprint Model Solar Car Challenge, and as part of our commitment to embracing design thinking at Wenona, young women in year 8 have worked with UNSW and UTS engineering students and lecturers to devise realistic engineering solutions to practical problems. Students in years 5 and 6 are involved in robotics, with workshops hosted by Robogals - undergraduate engineering students - whose enthusiasm for their subject is infectious. And in 2015, we launch engineering studies for girls going into their HSC years, as a precursor to encouraging greater involvement of women in non-traditional careers. This is an exciting time in history for young people, and particularly women, with advanced technologies giving them access to resources, ideas and skills like never before. Given the chance, with high expectations across all disciplines, the humanities and STEM, these girls can and will change the world for the better. I am excited by what they can achieve for themselves and for others. Dr Briony Scott is the principal of Wenona School, North Sydney.

Igniting the passion

Ping Micallef's children Jordan (left) and Sienna attend The McDonald College.

Maxine Kohler 10:28 AM   Gifted and talented children are uniquely special and are often acutely aware of their difference in relation to their peers. Teaching these students requires a deep understanding of the personality traits that feed their creativity. For some children it can be an overwhelming struggle to "fit in", and too often the conventions of standard school environments only worsen the situation. These students' frustrations can be immense and their potential lost to society, along with their confidence and self-esteem. Finding the right educational fit for your child is a critical decision. Exceptional children are best served by schools that truly support and understand their needs, schools where students are free to evolve their unique qualities in a safe and inclusive environment. The McDonald College is a haven for children who are passionate about the performing arts. Inspired by like-minded staff and students and buoyed by a culture that celebrates creativity and diversity, new students quickly start to thrive. So often I hear a student comment: "For the first time in my life I feel I fit in," and their no-less relieved parents say, "Thank you for giving me my child back." Our team of specialist staff encourages students to integrate their creative drive and ambition into their academic studies and personal lives to foster an ethos of fulfilment and excellence. It is a huge responsibility but also a privilege to ignite young people's passion. At The McDonald College we are committed to equipping them with the skills they need to capitalise on their talents.

The bilingual advantage

Andrea Belunek's children 
attend the International Grammar School, Ultimo.

Shauna Colnan 10:25 AM  

With an eye to Asia

Justin Garrick 10:22 AM   With the Snow Centre for Education in the Asian Century nearing completion, Canberra Grammar School is set to enter a new era, propelled by this state-of-the-art centre dedicated to the development of Australian education in the Asian century. The centre houses 12 classrooms for the teaching of Asian languages, geography, history, economics and culture. It will include an amphitheatre for lectures, an exhibition area, open learning spaces, student collaboration pods and video-conferencing facilities to link lessons with schools and universities around the world. We are educating the first truly global generation. The students we teach now will live, study and work all over the world and especially in Asia, more than any generation before them. It's time for Australian school education to move past the rhetoric and get serious about engaging with Asia if our children are to flourish in the century ahead. The strikingly modern $8 million facility, which will transform the frontage of the school's iconic campus, has been funded by Canberra Airport owner, philanthropist and Grammar old boy Terry Snow. In addition, the building hosts a unique centre for research and development in 21st-century teaching and learning, to be run in collaboration with the Australian National University's world-leading College of Asia and the Pacific and the University of Canberra's Faculty of Education. It will also be the launch pad of the school's aspiration for all students to undertake part of their education in Asia in the years ahead. The centre will benefit not only the school but the community of Canberra and Australian education generally. It will be used for public lectures, summer schools and as a specialist facility for professional learning, educational research and teacher training. Canberra Grammar School is an independent Anglican school that welcomes students of all backgrounds, cultures and faiths to learn and flourish. The school offers an outstanding academic education, co-curricular opportunities and pastoral care to day and boarding students.

Character, values and results

St Spyridon students are encouraged to become global citizens.

Efrosini Stefanou-Haag 10:05 AM   One of the reasons parents choose independent schools is their disciplined approach to academic excellence. This is certainly true of St Spyridon, where all students are expected to apply diligent and sustained effort to their studies and do their best to maximise their results. But beyond the academic emphasis, an independent education has much to offer. At St Spyridon College, we see ourselves as critical to the development of a student's personality and we endeavour to nurture the whole person - mind, body and soul. An important part of our job is to give students the opportunity to develop character and conscience; to exercise judgment, take the initiative and contribute to the wellbeing of their family, their school, friends, the community and the world at large. As global citizens, we encourage our students to understand how the world works, and their place within it - to inculcate a strong sense of gratitude and responsibility. Teachers and values are the heart and soul of a college. Our staff genuinely cares about students' learning and happiness and they have the expertise and personality to make a difference in young people's lives. At St Spyridon we are sustained by our faith, companionship and compassion, a sense of identity and a strong sense of belonging. This, I believe, is what we do best. This year, through the AIS Education Research Council, together with Masada College and Rouse Hill Anglican College, we successfully applied for a $150,000 grant to conduct a school-based research project entitled "Educational Excellence - A Question of Values". It is an outstanding honour to be entrusted with the development of new knowledge for schools across Australia. But now the hard work commences - to analyse how and how well we address values and excellence in our three schools.

Learning primary goal

David Musgrove 9:59 AM  

Beyond the sandstone curtain

The Armidale School's adventure learning programs promote leadership and resilience.

Murray Guest 9:57 AM  

Teaching to strengths delivers results

Denice Scala 9:53 AM   MLC School offers a rich, all-round education program that reflects our deeply held belief that all students have special gifts, talents and needs. Helping each one to find them in herself and express them is a key feature of an independent education, and it is one that bears both academic and social results. We do this with a unique powerful learning model, ensuring all our students engage in meaningful learning opportunities that cross subject boundaries and utilise the knowledge and skills of experts to move beyond the expected to create something new. This is especially apparent in our music program, which immerses each student in performance and study of instrumental and vocal music, culminating in a biannual Opera House concert. Almost every student at the school participates to produce a professional-level performance involving a demanding repertoire. Each musician, from the enthusiast to the aspiring professional, benefits from the self-discipline and high-level creativity required to take part in this powerful learning experience. In senior years our young women have the freedom to choose their matriculation pathway: either the NSW HSC or the International Baccalaureate diploma. Our consistently outstanding results each year attest to the all-round education provided by MLC School, which includes a strong emphasis on co-curricular learning. The camaraderie and personal expansion that builds through these activities is invaluable, as is the service ethic that underpins everything we do. Our community is culturally diverse, with more than 51 cultural backgrounds at MLC School, and our students embrace the knowledge that with great opportunity comes great responsibility. We, and the families that entrust their daughters to us, understand that an independent education is a powerful force for change in the world, and as a community we are proud to be able to offer our gifts in this way.

Confidence and compassion key to life lessons

Ray Paxton 9:51 AM   School should contribute to the positive development of thoughtful, independent and confident, compassionate and happy young people. It has always taken a community to raise a child, and as part of that community educators must teach students lessons that are not solely academic. The lessons students learn at school should include those that are important for life after school, such as compassion and challenging negative thinking. We are committed to encouraging students to liberate their potential, contend with the challenges and embrace the opportunities of the 21st century. At all year levels, we place great importance on creating an environment that gives students the confidence to ask sensitive questions and share their concerns. For example, in our Blokes' Business program for students in year 9 and 10, we talk about bullying, social media safety, health literacy, mental health, issues surrounding masculinity, body image, online gambling and stress management - a whole range of issues that affect boys and young men in their formative years. For example, while eating disorders are commonly seen as a female problem, we know that in Australia destructive body image is a growing concern for males. So we are working hard to help students in these areas early on. Part of combatting these new challenges that young men face is to help them think of others. Waverley College students can participate in social justice initiatives such as feeding the homeless, donating blood, visiting with residents at a nursing home and mentoring disadvantaged children.

Steiner method nourishes journey

Maria Lee's children, including her son, 
Oliver (pictured), attended a Steiner school.

Andrew Hill 9:49 AM   Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School is an emotionally fulfilling, academically challenging, culturally enriching school, where caring teachers educate to the highest standard and support students on their journey to a successful future. We are very proud of Glenaeon's history, current practice and unique vision for the future. Glenaeon was founded in 1957 by Sylvia Brose OAM, out of the community around Walter and Marion Burley Griffin. Their belief that design, the arts, community, nature and spirit underlie a rich academic education was ahead of their time. The school journey at Glenaeon starts in what Dr Steiner called the Kingdom of Childhood, in kindergarten. At Glenaeon, we honour childhood, giving students the time to play and build strong foundational skills before formal academic learning begins. In the primary years, Steiner students form a strong social group with their class, secure in a caring relationship with their teacher. Literacy, numeracy, science, geography and history are presented thematically and creatively, using stories, poetry, music, drama, physical movement, nature studies and art. In middle and senior school, students are academically challenged to perform at their best, and their learning is infused with a rich cultural aesthetic. The strength and rigour of the Steiner method is seen in our excellent 2014 HSC results, with more than 50 per cent of students achieving an ATAR above 80. Glenaeon students are educated to a high standard and also given opportunities to find out who they are, in order to add something of value to the human story. Our task as a school is to give them a rich and nourishing environment that will inspire them to be their unique and individual best.

'Total fitness' keeps students' mental health in mind

John Weeks 9:42 AM   If we as a nation are to combat youth depression and bring up thriving, robust young people, we must take a proactive approach and integrate mental health programs in all aspects of school life. Positive psychology has been a key focus at Knox Grammar School over the past six years. While mainstream psychology often focuses on people who already suffer from mental health issues, positive psychology aims to proactively increase mental resilience. It can play a crucial preventive role in reducing depression, anxiety and stress within the school environment. The program aims to equip students with "total fitness" (so they are academically, socially, physically and spiritually "fit") to ensure that they perform at their very best and are more resilient to the stresses they may encounter as teenagers and young adults, such as relationship challenges and academic pressures. At Knox, students receive one-on-one mentoring from a teacher trained in positive psychology and total fitness. That mentor will stay with the student throughout their time at the school, building a close relationship with the student and his parents. All our staff, including our sports coaches, also receive training in positive psychology to encourage a positive culture in every aspect of school life. Of course, positive psychology is no quick fix to solving young people's mental health problems. However, by tackling mental health in a proactive way, we can help our students build defences to weather the turbulent storm of life as an Aussie teen.

Anti-Muslim hate letters trigger police probe

A veiled woman, labelled "a non-issue" by Bilal Rauf of the Muslim Lawyers Network.

Steve Lillebuen 9:23 AM   Police in Queensland have launched an investigation into an anonymous letter writer who sends racist, anti-Muslim propaganda to private, unlisted addresses across the country as fears grow the addresses were pulled from the electoral commission database.

Australia posts second hottest February as warm run continues

Dog days of summer at Lake Burley Griffin

Peter Hannam 8:17 AM   Australia’s run of abnormally warm weather has continued with the country recording its second-hottest February in data going back to 1910, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Qantas bans man from flying after asylum seeker walkout

Qantas banned a passenger who asked to be removed from a flight because an asylum seeker was on board.

Patrick Hatch 8:10 AM   Qantas has banned a Melbourne man from flying with them after he asked to be removed from a flight taking an asylum seeker from Melbourne to Darwin for deportation.

'I'm not a martyr': Chaos in Parliament House detailed

Department of Parliamentary Services Secretary Carol Mills.

Phillip Thomson 7:51 AM   The enormity of dysfunction inside Parliament House has been detailed, but the boss is standing her ground.

Golden Gate Bridge survivor talks to police, building workers about how to confront suicide

Suicide prevention conference speakers and attendees Myles Jackson(MIRVAC Health Safety Environment Officer), suicide survivor Kevin Hines, NSW Police Inspector Joel Murchie and Kevin Briggs, the former cop patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge.  

Photo: Wolter Peeters
The Sydney Morning Herald

Rick Feneley 5:36 AM   It is almost 15 years since a teenage Kevin Hines responded to the hateful voices in his head by leaping from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hip replacement patients fight medical giants in multi-million dollar class action

Joseph Pereira outside Sydney Supreme Court fighting against Johnson and Johnson who manufactured the fault hip replacement that he received.

Paul Bibby 12:28 AM   Hip replacement surgery was supposed to give Sydney bus driver Joseph Pereira greater mobility, less pain and a better quality of life.

Living on your lonesome: solo life linked to social advantage for women

Tania Mayrhofer, part of a growing demographic who lives alone in Australia.

Miki Perkins 12:15 AM   Living alone gets a bad rap. Often seen as an expensive exercise in social isolation, it can conjure up images of loneliness, toast for dinner and too many cats.

Canberra business calls for wider Comcare changes

Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Chris Faulks says private and community sector employers face "spiralling" premium costs.

Tom McIlroy 10:22 PM   Canberra's business leaders have called for a review of workers compensation schemes after the ACT Government said it would withdraw from the troubled federal insurer Comcare. 

Public servants face fast-track to the sack

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Canberra.

Noel Towell 10:17 PM   More than 8000 Immigration Department public servants are to be stripped of some of their rights to unfair dismissal appeals as part of the formation of the Australian Border Force.

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Five greyhound trainers banned for life over live baiting scandal

Five Queensland greyhound trainers have been banned for life in the wake of the live baiting scandal.

Beth Newman 9:05 PM   The move from the board comes off the back of Queensland Racing Minister Bill Byrne's announcement of an independent review into greyhound racing. 

Defence public servants to go on the attack

Senator Eric Abetz.

Noel Towell 8:33 PM   Thousands of public servants at the Department of Defence are preparing to walk off the job as the wage dispute between the federal government and its workforce escalates further.

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Doctor's plain speaking wins chief's backing

Sonia Fullerton, a doctor at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, has been instrumental in starting the "Hello my name is..." campaign.

Julia Medew 7:16 PM   Dr Sonia Fullerton did something radical recently. Instead of writing up a patient's notes in medical jargon to send to other health professionals caring for that person, she decided to write the letter to the patient in layman's terms and then forward copies to their other carers to keep them in the loop.

Gina Rinehart sues Nine Entertainment over Hancock drama 'falsehoods'

Billionaire Gina Rinehart, chairman of Hancock Prospecting Pty, is pushing ahead with defamation action against Nine Entertainment.

Jared Lynch 7:14 PM   Australia's richest person Gina Rinehart is pushing ahead with defamation action against Nine Entertainment, claiming the TV network knowingly aired 20 "glaring errors" in its drama depicting her and her family House of Hancock.

Some women are working for 2004 wages, and the pay gap is getting worse

Businesswomen
photo MIchele MOssop
MOn 5th Sept 2011
Business women woman returning to the workforce due to GFC and economic necessity
generic work superannuation pension employment income

Inga Ting 7:10 PM   The gender pay gap has hit a 20-year high, with women in one industry earning the same amount their male colleagues were earning 10 years ago.

Nationwide unions' day of action against government's workplace relations agenda

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver says the government is going after a whole lot of matters that could see a reduction in people's pay.

Nick Toscano 6:53 PM   Tens of thousands of workers will swamp Australian city centres on Wednesday when the union movement ramps up its attack on the Abbott government's workplace relations agenda.

International drug syndicate ordered execution of horse trainer Les Samba: police

Les Samba: Police say the racing identity had a "dark side".

Tammy Mills and Nino Bucci 6:22 PM   Police believe horse trainer Les Samba owed $200,000 in drug debt to an international organised crime syndicate that ordered his execution in Melbourne.