For educators who care about young adolescents


Keynote Speakers:

Peter Hutton

Director of the Future Schools Alliance, Peter Hutton has been a school leader in four state and independent schools for the last 25 years. His strength is transformational insight and HOW to implement change in schools. Additional areas of expertise include change management, student entrepreneurship, alternative tertiary pathways, supporting dyslexic students and futurism.

Peter was appointed Principal of Templestowe College (TC) in 2009. It was a “broken” school with just 286 local students and 23 Year 7s. Today, TC has over 1,150 students and has recently been recognised by Finland’s HundrED organisation as one of the most innovative schools in the world.

Keynote address: "The Future of Education"

Journey over the educational horizon. Learn about the concept of multiple futures, emerging futures and how technology in particular artificial intelligence, will redefine education. Discover the latest developments in cutting edge schooling from around the world. Be exposed to the greatest risk to the traditional schooling model and what you can do to ‘future proof’ your school. Don’t let your school or organisation be caught on the wrong side of history.

 Prof Donna Pendergast

Professor Donna Pendergast is Dean and Head, School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University.  Donna has an international profile in the field of teacher education, particularly in the Junior Secondary years of schooling, which focuses on the unique challenges of teaching and learning in the early adolescent years. She has successfully completed competitive research tenders commissioned by state and federal authorities totalling more than $2.5 million over the last decade. 

In 2014 Donna led the Development and Delivery of Junior Secondary Professional Development Modules which was delivered to 600 primary teachers and 400 secondary teachers. In addition, she led a team that undertook the development and delivery of The Leading Change Development Project – Year 7 to Secondary, which involved developing capabilities in all school leadership teams in all public schools in Queensland responsible for delivering year 7 in 2015.

Keynote address: "A future-ready focus – developing an understanding of the new work mindset"

What do our young people need to thrive as future-ready participants of our community?  What is the role of education and educators to ensure this readiness for the future?  What are the capabilities/enterprises/skills/mindsets that educators realistically have a role to forge in our young learners, especially as they enter the middle years of schooling?  These are questions that should keep us awake at night because this is the legacy potential we offer as educators of the future generation, especially with regard to the workplace.  

Recent research conducted by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has produced a number of key insights into the new work mindset, proposing 7 new job clusters and aligning a series of enterprise skills with the clusters. The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 Future of Jobs report highlights the shift in our economy to what is now known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  The report notes that the "inherent opportunities for economic prosperity, societal progress and individual flourishing in this new world of work are enormous, yet depend crucially on the ability of all concerned stakeholders to instigate reform in education and training systems, labour market policies, business approaches to developing skills, employment arrangements and existing social contracts" (WEF, 2018, p. v).  In this address we will explore, as concerned stakeholders, the strategic drivers, workforce trends and the future of jobs, then we will consider what we, as educators of young adolescents, can contribute in our roles to address the needs of this generation to ensure they are future-ready.


Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) (2017) The new work mindset: 7 new job clusters to help young people navigate the new work order. FYA: Sydney.

Prof J Douglas Willms

J. Douglas Willms is a Professor and Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). He holds the Canada Research Chair in Literacy and Human Development and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the International Academy of Education. He is the editor of Vulnerable Children: Findings from Canada’s National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth,(University of Alberta Press, 2002) and the author of Student engagement at school: A sense of belonging and participation (Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and Monitoring School Performance: A Guide for Educators (Falmer Press, 1992). Willms played a lead role in developing the questionnaires for Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) and the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Recently, Willms and his colleagues designed the Early Years Evaluation (EYE), an instrument for the direct assessment of children’s developmental skills at ages 3 to 6, and Tell Them From Me, an evaluation system for the continuous monitoring of school climate and student engagement and wellness. Willms is known for his training of new investigators in the analysis of complex multilevel data. 

Keynote address: "Educational Prosperity; A Life Course approach".

Educational Prosperity is the culmination of more than 40 years of research in education, detailing a life-course approach to improve student achievement. It is an evaluation framework that can be used to monitor progress towards building a strong foundation for children’s success from conception to adolescence.

Educational Prosperity is an assessment framework that schools, school jurisdictions, and countries can use to enable all children to thrive. Children thrive when they have a strong sense of well-being, are engaged, and are developing at their full academic potential. The approach calls for monitoring progress towards a small, coherent set of well-defined goals; identifying strategies and a course of action that will lead to achieving these goals and aligning efforts towards improving education at all levels of the system. Educational Prosperity has proven to be useful in low-, middle-, and high-income countries (Willms, 2018). The first target for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2017) is to “ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.” Educational Prosperity can be used to help reach this target.

Educational Prosperity considers a core set of metrics relevant to children’s development at six stages of development, covering the period from conception to late adolescence. It identifies a small set of ‘prosperity outcomes’ for each stage and a set of family, institutional, and community factors called the ‘foundations for success’, which drive the prosperity outcomes. 


 Andrew Fuller

Andrew has recently been described as an ”interesting mixture of Billy Connolly, Tim Winton and Frasier Crane” and as someone who “puts the heart back into psychology”. As a clinical psychologist, Andrew Fuller works with many schools and communities in Australia and internationally, specialising in the wellbeing of young people and their families. He is a Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Learning and Educational Development at the University of Melbourne.

Andrew has been a principal consultant to the national drug prevention strategy REDI, the ABC on children’s television shows, is an Ambassador for Mind Matters and is a member of the National Coalition Against Bullying.

The concept of “resilience” offers a coherent framework for the creation of schools that are sensitive to the developmental needs of young people and their teachers. As Andrew describes, resilience is “the happy knack of being able to bungy jump through the pitfalls of life – to rise above adversity and obstacles.”

Keynote address: "Identifying Learning Strengths"

Imagine if all your students were aware of their learning strengths? Imagine if all of the teachers in your school could develop ways to build upon these learning strengths? Imagine if all of the teachers in your school could diagnose blockages to learning and develop strategies and activities to overcome them? 

This research takes teachers into the world of being diagnosticians of learning and the developers of activities that enable all learners to thrive.

Workshop: "The Resilient Mindset"

The research my team has completed on 190,000 students reveals a resilient mindset. This extends the idea of a growth mindset and gives teachers clear strategies for helping anxious and avoidant learners develop more productive learning strategies. It also provides a comprehensive way of handling behavioural issues. 

Master Classes - pre-conference, Thursday 8th August

Where: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre - rooms to be advised

When: 1pm - 4pm

Andrew Lines 
Andrew is first and foremost husband to Becky and father to his four children and 3 step-children. He is also a teacher and educational consultant whose programs and resources (The Rite Journey, The Rite Journey Parenting Plan, Habits of Heart, ManMade and Woman Wise) have been especially developed to build resilience, responsibility, respect, connection and well-being in young people. Over the past decade 100,000 teachers, parents and students have experienced these contemporary methodologies across Australia, NZ, Asia, Mauritius, Europe, US and The Caribbean. 

Master Class title:  "Preparing Future Ready Students"

Dr Katherine Main 
Dr Katherine Main is a Senior Lecturer and Program Leader in the School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University. Her research interests include student wellbeing and student engagement; teacher efficacy including the collective efficacy of teacher teams and the need for targeted professional development. 

Master Class title: "The Future for Young Adolescents" 

Peter Ellerton: 
Peter Ellerton is a lecturer in critical thinking pedagogies at the University of Queensland. His research and practice are concerned with the development of pedagogical expertise in teaching for thinking. Peter works with institutions and educators across all year levels and discipline areas to develop capabilities in curriculum and assessment design and to create networks of teachers that seed and encourage the development of critical thinking pedagogies. Peter is also a syllabus writer in philosophy and science for state and international organisations. He has a strong history of developing pedagogical approaches for teachers working with high performing indigenous students. 

Master Class title: "Critical Thinking Pedagogies"

Dr Paul Browning 
In 2014 Paul’s work saw him sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Sutton Trust to speak at a global summit of educational leaders in Washington DC. There his work was endorsed by all attendants as the most influential on school culture and teacher improvement. Since then he has been listed amongst the top 50 most influential people in education in Australia, awarded Australia’s best non-government school principal, and St Paul’s School has been listed amongst the top 100 most innovative learning organisations in the world. 

Master Class title: "Why trust the leader?" 

Rod Field 
Rod is the founder and current CEO of Higher Ground Australia an Experiential Learning company based in Sth East Queensland currently working with over 18,000 individuals a year. He has been designing and delivering experiential learning programs for schools and corporate organisations throughout Australia, Asia and Europe for the past 25 years. In 2018 Rod teamed up with former NASA STEM educator Russ Billings  to assist in the development of a STEM Astronautics program based on NASAs Neutral Buoyancy Lab. This program sees participants  designing and building underwater robots, learning to SCUBA dive and completing simulated space missions underwater. Director of Higher Ground 

Master Class title: "Innovation in Experiential and Project Based Learning"

Luke McKenna 

Unleashing Personal Potential founder, Luke McKenna is an educator and author who specialises in working with schools to build growth mindsets, grit, wellbeing and leadership for all students. Over the last 10 years, he has worked as a classroom teacher, middle leader and Assistant Principal. Luke has worked with educators and students across Australian Primary and Secondary schools from the Independent, Catholic and Public sectors. He holds degrees in Business and Education, a Masters of Educational Leadership, and a Professional Certificate in Positive Education. Luke has spoken at The Positive Schools Conference; Griffith University's PDN Conference; and ACU's Advisory Conferences in Canberra and Brisbane. He is is also the author of "Thrive: Unlocking the truth about student performance.

Master Class title: "Wellbeing Practices - connecting research and reality"

School Visits - pre-conference Thursday 8th August

Where: Buses leave from Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

When: 8am -12 pm

Mt Alvernia College 

Mount Alvernia College is an Independent Catholic Girls Secondary College in North Brisbane. In 2015, when we became a Year 7 – 12 college, and we moved to as three schools within the one college – the Francis School (Yr 7 and 8), the Clare School (Year 9 and 10) and the Elizabeth Hayes School (Year 11 and 12). We intentionally work to meet the needs of our learners at these different stages of their learning journey, providing relevant programs of learning for our girls during each phase. AS such we have Teaching and Learning Guardians for each of these schools. They work within their own school focusing on programs to meet the needs of their specific learners. EG – Growth Mindset in Francis School; Thinking Science in Francis School.

We continue to have a strong focus on middle years’ practices through interdisciplinary curriculum strategies, pastoral and transition processes and teams within the Francis. Our CORE Studies subject (English, Religious Education, History, Geography) is taught to a Learning Group by one teacher who takes their class through from Year 7 – 8. The CORE Studies Learning Group teacher works collaboratively with the Maths/Science teacher of that group, ensuring that they know their learners well.

Whilst we understand that physical spaces do not necessarily mean automatic engagement and success in learning, the development of our Middle years and other learning environments is underpinned by our Franciscan philosophy. Our award-winning learning spaces, outdoor areas and working gardens are open and flexible. Upon entering our College, you walk through these gardens, which are Learning spaces within themselves, used in Science, Home Economics and for other learning experiences. These gardens provide fresh ingredients for our La Cucina (School Canteen) as we promote healthy eating for all.

Our Student Leadership Program across the College has been implemented this year to build capacity of our students. We have already begun to see the benefits of this program with some students showing improved confidence levels, with greater engagement in extra-curricular activities and a willingness to engage with others.

Springfield State High School 

Since Springfield Central State High opened in 2011, we have progressively combined excellence in student outcomes and strong family values, to build a reputation in the wider community as a school of choice.

  • The Junior Secondary Toolkit is a student engagement and transition program to build positive education factors into the new Year 7 cohort which explicitly provides skills in school connectedness, understanding how the school works and building healthy relationships with students and staff. 
  • SCSHS is very proud of our “Springfield Centrals” which is our well-established pedagogical framework based on ASOT, Explicit Instruction and Active Participation (the work of Dr Anita Archer) to cater for the teaching and learning of our teenage and pre-teenage students. 
  • Social Enterprise is a unique program developed over the last two years. It is now an elective subject for years 8 – 10 where students solve global or local issues embedding entrepreneurship, innovation and global citizenship. Students work towards establishing a profitable business but it must also have a meaningful impact in their local or global community. In 2018, one of our students won the state final of the Future Anything – Shark Tank style pitching competition, wining over $15,000 worth of prices and seed funding. 
Ormiston College 

In a complex and changing world, there is a compelling need to develop transferable learning how-to-learn capabilities in young people that will enable them to thrive in new and challenging contexts.  

To be future ready, middle school students will need to be skilled at collaborating and communicating, constructing deep subject matter knowledge, solving real world problems and using ICT in powerful ways.  Come and visit Ormiston College to see how they have implemented their unique research driven framework to support the explicit development of middle school students 21st Century skil.  

Good Samaritan Catholic College, Bli Bli 

Good Samaritan Catholic College is a P-12 College, opened in 2019 with Prep to year 3 and year 7.

Our teaching program incorporates strategies to engage students in all aspects of the curriculum using innovative, open planned facilities. The project and problem-based curriculum for the middle years students allows young people to explore their learning in an authentic and relevant context.  Short cycle planning ensures all teachers are catering for the needs of all students throughout their learning using data informed and research proven strategies.

Eventually growing to more than 1500 students, the college opens in 2019 with Prep to Year 3 and Year 7 students. The first Year 7 students will graduate from Year 12 in 2024 and the first original Prep students in 2031.

Recognising that our world will be a very different place for 2031 graduates in which collaboration is at the fore, all building stages will feature flexible, inter-connected spaces for either small or large groups, or one-on-one learning, plus large, modern sporting facilities.

Brisbane Grammar School (BGS)

The School is the second oldest secondary school in Queensland, established in 1868 by public subscription to provide for the educational needs of the young colony. Having last year celebrated its sesquicentenary, the School is respectful of its past but seeks to innovate for the future. It is known for its strong academic culture and diverse range of extracurricular activities. The school’s purpose is to “educate boys by nurturing their intellectual, physical, and emotional wellbeing to become thoughtful, confident men of character who contribute to their communities”. After much research into international best practice, it established its Middle School in 2003. In 2019, the Middle School caters for 700 boys across Years 5 to 8. It has sought to respond to the continuously changing educational landscape over the last 15 years while remaining true to middle schooling principles.

It is intended that visitors will have the opportunity to –

  • Meet students and sample some of their activities
  • Spend time in classes in action, choosing from a range of disciplines and activities
  • Mingle with Middle School teachers over lunch
  • Tour facilities including the purpose built Middle School building
  • Hear from curriculum, pastoral and extracurricular leaders about middle schooling philosophy and practices at BGS
  • Participate in a discussion about the current challenges faced by middle years educators and solutions being employed in different schools

Adolescent Success Inc. (formerly MYSA Middle Years of Schooling Association) 

Adolescent Success,  P.O. Box 2175 Toowong 4066, QLD, Australia

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