AISWA Leaders Conference 2024

‘Embrace the Change’ was the theme for the inaugural AISWA Leaders Conference held at Optus Stadium on Monday 20th May.

The conference commenced with a powerful Welcome to Country by Emeritus Prof. Simon Forrest that called us to “action.” He implored the audience to find ways to engage with and learn about Aboriginal culture and not to sit back passively but actively model support.

Hon Dr. Tony Buti then officially opened the conference. He provided school leaders with insight into the Pathways to Success report which proposes integrating VET courses into ATAR scores for university entrance. He also suggested enhancing the Western Australian Statement of Achievement for a more comprehensive view of student success. Inclusive practices, better adjustments for students with disabilities, and maintaining literacy and numeracy skills were also key points.

Prof. Donna Cross OAM, our first keynote speaker highlighted the critical role of wellbeing education. She revealed that social and emotional learning can positively impact academic performance, sometimes by up to four months per year. She provided useful and practical tools and markers for wellbeing success that schools can adopt and deploy immediately.

Futurist and AI entrepreneur Steve Sammartino, challenged leaders around the COURAGE needed to embrace the ‘revolution’ in technology, particularly AI. His dynamic presentation helped to position schools as a conduit to providing students with the skills to be agile in encountering and adopting new technologies in a rapidly accelerating and sophisticated landscape.

From the anxiety created by the impact of climate change, came the positive stories emerging from the climate tech industry. Mick Liubinskas shared his journey in founding Climate Salad. He highlighted many success stories of entrepreneurs developing products, systems, and services that are fighting the war on climate change while addressing a market need.

The evening session commenced with a discussion about the Independent sector between event MC Tina Altieri, Chris Massey ED of AISWA, and Graham Catt CEO of Independent Schools Australia. It crescendoed before reaching the highlight of the evening, the Hon. Julie Bishop addressing the room. Her authentic message urging us to know ourselves, follow our passions, and stay true to our values. Her advice resonated deeply, especially for those committed to creating a positive impact in education and beyond.

This conference would not have been possible without our amazing sponsors: Grange Insurance, Data#3, FACTS, Intrepid Cleaning, NGS Super, Office Line, OSHClub, and elastik. We sincerely thank you for your generous support.

We extend our thanks to all the school delegates for joining us at the conference. We hope the event energised you to re-enter your communities with the clear message that to lead in education, we must ‘embrace the change’.

We look forward to seeing you back in 2025!

School Leaders