Christian Schools National Policy Forum and Symposium


  • Christian Schools National Policy Forum Day 1 and Gala Dinner: 22 May 2017 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

  • Christian Schools National Policy Forum Day 2: 23 May 2017 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

  • Christian Education Symposium: 24 May 2017 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Time: 9:00 AM -4:00 PM
Venue: Hyatt Hotel Canberra

The Christian Schools National Policy Forum is pleased to announce the key speaker line-up for this year’s gathering at Hyatt Hotel Canberra on Monday 22 – Wednesday 24 May.

The CSNPF is open to all in Christian Schools and tertiary education, regardless of affiliation. The CSNPF provides a focal point to support the policy and advocacy done throughout the year by sector peak groups such as AACS, ACS, ASA, ASC, CEN, CSA and LEA.

The theme for this year is, Preparing the Next Generation for the Future: What is the Christian School Effect?

Register your school online today.


The Government Agenda – Post-Budget Report

Senator Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training will again address the Celebration Dinner at Parliament House on Monday 22 May.

This event comes 2 weeks after the Budget is delivered, and delegates will get a first-hand account of the Government’s agenda.

Shadow Minister, and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Hon Tanya Plibersek will also address the Dinner. This will be the first time that Christian schools as a group will have the opportunity to hear from the new Shadow Minister, appointed after the Federal election last year.

In her address the Shadow Minister will update delegates on the Opposition’s plans for education and the key focus areas of education plan.

Preparing the Next Generation for the Future: What is the Christian School Effect?

We are delighted that Dr Beth Green, Program Director of Cardus Education at Cardus Research, Canada, has agreed to be the major international speaker in 2017.

The Cardus Education Survey (CES) is world-renowned longitudinal research on the effectiveness of Christian schooling. It aims to inform thinking about the contribution religious schools make to public education.

In her plenary address, Beth will share the latest data from 2016 Cardus Education Survey (CES), which specifically focussed on the issue of what would be lost to our educational landscape if secular pluralism freezes out religious institutions?

Dr Green will also present a workshop session: The limits of big data, thinking well about school sector and graduate outcomes. In addition, Beth will anchor the Christian Education Symposium on Wednesday 24 May. An annexe event to the NPF, the Symposium will go deeper into the issue of Redeeming Education: Finding God's purposes in the pursuit of educational excellence.

What has Christianity Ever Done for Us?

The keynote speaker for the 2017 Celebration Dinner at Parliament House will be Dr John Dickson, Founding Director of the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX).

In his keynote address, ‘What has Christianity ever done for us?’ Dr Dickson brings a message of authentic and radical faith which engages culture at its core. Dr Dickson offers a sneak peak of CPX’s latest documentary, ‘For the love of God - how the church is better and worse than you ever imagined’.

Dinner in the Great Hall is a traditional highlight of the NPF. It is an ideal opportunity for school leaders to invite their local MPs and Senators to hear a challenging but thoroughly affirming address about the role of Christianity and Christian schools in shaping our society.

For assistance on how to correctly address your local MP, please refer to this link.

To assist schools, we have prepared a draft invitation letter, which can be downloaded here

A special rate applies to MP and Senator guests of delegates so make sure you register your MP online today.

Religion in the Public Square

It often looks as though Christianity is in retreat in Australia. Opponents to Christianity are trying to remove its presence in the public arena and in the education system, and to write out its contribution to the past.

While the days of unquestioned authority and influence may have disappeared, and the church is but one of many voices in the public arena, we should not be deterred. We are still an important voice, but we have to speak with intelligence, sensitivity and using arguments that will weigh on non-believers. This will make for a more authentic and grounded approach. The church does face huge obstacles, but many of these don’t apply to Christian schools - making education a crucial arena for offering to the wider culture a vision of the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Christian faith.

How do Christian educators engage in positive dialogue when it comes to religion in the media and the public square? What can we learn from the past in order to move forward?

As a former ‘insider’ within the media, Barney Zwartz shares his insights and reflections into the media’s approach on religion in the public square, specifically in relation to some of the key debates of recent times.

Barney Zwartz was an Age journalist for 34 years, and worked as letters editor, opinion editor, chief sub-editor, and religion editor, the latter for the last 12 years of his time with Fairfax. Winning several awards, he covered two papal conclaves in Rome, the clergy sexual abuse crisis, and issues around Islam, among other subjects. He retired in 2013, but still writes occasionally for The Sydney Morning Herald and Age, and has a regular faith column for the Sunday Age.

Now Barney Zwartz is a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Public Christianity, and a media consultant to the Anglican Primate of Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier.

Contemporary Australian Attitudes to Christianity

Early in 2017, CSA is co-sponsoring research by Mark McCrindle into Faith and Belief in Australia.

This major research will provide insights for schools, churches and other ministries into contemporary attitudes to belief. It will in part replicate research undertaken for Karl Faase’s important Towards Belief series. Karl’s Olive Tree Media is another partner in this research.

Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations.

Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, The Morning Show, ABC News 24 and A Current Affair.

His research firm counts amongst its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and his highly valued reports and infographics have developed his regard as a data scientist, demographer, futurist and social commentator.

Delegates at the Policy Forum will be among the first to hear the results of this research, presented by Mark McCrindle.

Workshop Options

In addition to the keynote presentations there are a range of workshops being conducted during the Forum.

Second Generation Leadership in Christian Schools: Principles, Pitfalls and Paradoxes

In this session, Dr Darren Iselin will explore the immense challenges that confront second generation leaders in Christian schools. This session will draw upon a range of research case studies that reveal how leaders in schools that are in organisational midlife must articulate their core values in ways that both stimulate change and preserve cultural distinctiveness. A range of second-generation leadership principles will be outlined that enhance sustainable and dynamic Christian school cultures during consolidation phases of cultural development.

Starting a Purpose Built International Baccalaureate School

Dr Michelle Cafini presents a workshop on Starting a purpose built international baccalaureate school. In this workshop Michelle will provide information about the PYP programmes and the processes involved in applying for candidacy to become an International Baccalaureate World School. She will provide an overview of the standards and practices that would need to be addressed in this process.

Faith Formation in Christian Schools: Effective practices which invite students on a journey into Christlikeness

Andrew Johnson, Principal of Redlands College presents a workshop on Faith Formation in Christian Schools. This session explores the doctoral research conducted in Christian schools across Australia, to understand how schools fulfil their responsibility of spiritually forming students as a foundational aspect of Christian education, with a parental community that has diverse expectations regarding this faith formation. This session will identify the intentional practices of faith formation which were found to be effective in spiritually engaging students and will present some practices which schools may consider adopting as they engage with students from both Christian and non-Christian backgrounds.

The Reformation and the Book

Former Director of the Translation and Text Division at Bible Society Australia, Rev. Dr John Harris presents a captivating session on The Reformation and the Book. John’s workshop has been inspired by the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and will include several original texts from the time of the Reformation, including Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians (1523), John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (1541), New Testament, William Tyndale’s translation, later version (1551) and many more titles from the Bible Society’s Historic Library.

In this session, John will explore the relationship between the Protestant Reformation and the printed word and through the display, will answer the question, ‘What do these books teach us about the Reformation?’

Some of these books will be exhibited publicly for the first time.

Policy Recommendations to SA Government concerning Strategic Directions for Transforming Health through School Nursing

Following the direct involvement in a SA Health, Change@SA Project in scoping the benefits of nurses in schools, Liz Rankin, Director of Healthcare at Tyndale Christian School, received a South Australian Premier’s Nursing and Midwifery International Study Tour Scholarship where she toured USA and the UK in 2016. The purpose of the tour was to expand Australian thinking in the area of strategic service provision within school communities with regard to holistic wellbeing.

In her capacity as Director of Health Care Services at Tyndale Christian School, Liz has been working with the South Australian Premier’s office over the last 2½ years raising the profile of school nursing in South Australia across both the independent and public school sectors.

In this session, Liz shares her report’s findings, Investigating the Strategic Directions for Transforming Health through School Nursing and outlines the recommendations forwarded to the SA Government.

A new narrative of Australian education: Recent research findings on the religious effect of Australian Protestant schools

Dr David Hastie, Education Strategist for the Anglican Schools Corporation, presents a workshop exploring the surprising new size and role of Australian Christian- affiliated schools.

Australians have the fifth highest non-government school volume in the world - 90% Christian affiliated- and the highest access to school choice in the world. This comes as a shock to many of us used to the idea of the government comprehensive ‘secular’ school as the norm. Some of the primal drivers of this vast social shift amongst parents are explored, finding that a special ‘transaction’ lies at the core of our social license to operate as Christian schools.

David explores how this affects the way we might do Christian education with integrity within a new diverse ‘marketized’ approach to education.


Join us on Wednesday 24 May at Hyatt Hotel as we hear from Dr Beth Green expand on Redeeming Education: Finding God's purposes in the pursuit of educational excellence.

Beth will explore questions such as, where does the pursuit of excellence belong in a Christian institution of education? How do we redeem the excellence conversation to reflect God’s priorities and can empirical research help us to think about educational excellence in different ways?

Accompanying Beth will be a panel discussion, a presentation of papers and opportunities for group discussion.

Register for the Christian Education Symposium here.


To view the latest Policy Forum and Symposium program click here


Christian Schools National Policy Forum
Dates: 22 – 23 May 2017 (Policy Forum)
Day 1 Monday 22 May starts at 9:00am with registration from 8:00am
Day 2 Tuesday 23 May finishes at 3:00pm
Venue: Hyatt Hotel, Canberra ACT

Christian Schools National Celebration Gala Dinner
Date: 22 May 2017
Pre-Dinner Reception commences at 6:00pm followed by Dinner from 6:30pm
Venue: The Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra ACT

Christian Education Symposium
Date: 24 May 2017, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Venue: Hyatt Hotel, Canberra ACT


Registration for the Christian Schools National Policy Forum and Symposium are available online. Please make sure to book your accommodation through our site, as special rates apply for conference delegates. The online form also allow you to compare airfares and provides the option to book these as well. Delegates can also register using a PDF Form, available via the online link

Please note delegates have the option of paying for their conference registration and accommodation through Ozaccom by Direct Bank Transfer and by Credit Card.

National Gatherings Enquiries

For all National Gatherings & Sponsorship enquiries, please contact Bronwyn Jenkins, Communications & National Events Manager or call 1300 321 CSA (272).

Major Sponsors 2017