Who is ACSSO?

As the Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO), we represent the interests of the families and communities of more than 2.4 million children attending government schools in Australia. We are one of the oldest continuously operating parent organisations in Australia and possibly the world. We were formed in 1947 to bring together various state and territory parent groups to develop national policies reflecting the way families wanted public education to be offered for their children.

Over time there have been some changes in the way our members in states and territory peak parent groups have approached national issues, so membership has occasionally varied. Currently we have six members. Each member nominates a Director to the Board. Scroll down to meet our team.

Policy

We believe that the primary obligation of governments, both Federal and State, is to establish and maintain government systems of education which:

  • will be of the highest standard and open to all, irrespective of race, gender, religion, social-economic status, geographic location, disability (physical or intellectual);

  • can respond to changing circumstances and can develop the flexible and diverse programs necessary to meet individual needs;

  • discriminate in favour of those schools and individual students facing disadvantage and/or disability;

  • provide for participation by parents and community at all levels of education decision making.

In accordance with these principles, we have developed and continue to develop and update, detailed policies on a wide range of issues affecting children in schools.

Download our 2016 Annual Report 

Download ACSSO's Policy 

Download ACSSO's Constitution

Meet our team

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Contact your state or territory parent body

President

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Phillip Spratt

M.Bus ILPM

“I enjoy working with people to develop new ideas, explore fresh perspectives and balance those with past experience to produce creative outcomes and new partnerships. I also enjoy working with community groups, industry bodies and other organisations, in new environments and cultures, to facilitate change and innovation.”

Phillip is a facilitator, teacher and experienced representative and advocate.

He represented the UK’s National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, Dairy Farmers of Britain and the National Farmers Union before migrating to Tasmania in 2006.

Phillip now works as a facilitator and sessional teacher with dairy apprentices and high-risk licence trainees who need language, literacy and numeracy support.

Phillip is keenly interested in ensuring genuine community engagement and fairness in the education sector—especially through authentic and properly resourced parent engagement initiatives, widely recognised as essential to improve educational outcomes for all students, particularly in the vital early years of schooling.

A father of three, Phillip’s involvement with parent bodies started with his own children’s primary school. His experience includes leading the difficult process that resulted in his children’s school closing and merging with another, while he was School Association Chairperson. Phillip joined the Tasmanian Association of State School Organisations (TASSO) management committee in 2013.

He also sits on the Asia Education Foundation Advisory Board, Safe Schools Coalition National Steering Committee and the University of Tasmania’s Initial Teacher Education Course Advisory Committee.

Phillip was elected President of ACSSO in September 2015.

Director

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Ivan Webb 

BSc, Grad Dip (Info Sys), PhD  

Ivan is now an education consultant following a 40 year career as a Tasmanian teacher, principal and superintendent (K-12).   

He was a leader in the application of quality management and continuous improvement in Australian schools. 

Ivan continues to have a keen interest in how an understanding the nature, structures and rules of school systems can better inform their improvement. 

With a long history of involvement in public education Ivan works towards equality of opportunity for all of Australia's children. To this end, he is particularly interested in helping to reduce the two-speed nature of Australia's school system by drawing attention to the structural inequalities that currently prevail.

Administration Officer

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Rebecca Ashford Wykes

Bec works in our office 13 hours per week and assists with the day to day operations of ACCSO Ltd. Bec joins the team with a wealth of experience in a number of different roles. In particular, she has put her highly regarded organisational skills into practice which has made a significant impact on the day to day running of the ACSSO office.

Bec is passionate about health and wellbeing. She was previously a group fitness coordinator in a health and fitness centre where she wrote and delivered group exercise classes to a range of participants including many school groups. She was also team leader of customer service where she managed a database of several thousand fitness, gymnastics and child care memberships.

To take time out, Bec loves to camp at the beach with her family in their mobile caravan, creating experiences and making memories with her husband and 2 young children.

 Director 

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Kevan Goodworth

BA M.Phil. MACE MACEL

Kevan Goodworth is P&Cs Qld CEO, and is the link between the Board, staff and approximately 1240 affiliated P&C associations. He brings to the role more than 30 years of direct and continuous experience with education in Queensland as a secondary school principal and Assistant Director-General. He is a recipient of the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Public Sector. He has conducted major reviews for government around curriculum and service delivery and has represented Queensland’s interests on a number of national forums. He is a passionate advocate for quality public education and has led a number of community associations which link schools, tertiary institutions and employers in formal partnerships.  He has his own independent consultancy and has worked internationally in the United Kingdom, Asia and the Americas.

Director 

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Natasha Coster

Natasha grew up in rural NSW and it was here that she learned the value of community and the power of volunteers. When she moved to the Blue Mountains, she immersed herself in local organisations. 

After her daughter was born, Natasha became more interested in education and the opportunities available for children. Serving on her preschool and primary school parent organisations gave Natasha the drive to become more involved on a wider scale and so she put her hand up for election during the restructure of the NSW P&C Federation.

She now represents Western Sydney and has learned a great deal about a myriad of topics. She is a very vocal supporter of student's rights and the engagement of parents. 

Although she doesn't have the widespread experience of her counterparts, Natasha brings passion and a willingness to learn and participate. 

Natasha hopes to expand on her skills and help ACSSO cement its role as the peak federal parent voice. 

Chief Executive Officer

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Dianne Giblin AM

B.Ed (Adult) Dip Mgmt

Family Engagement Consultant

Di has worked in education in both paid and unpaid capacity for the past 32 years

Di has a passion for education, in particular public education, and the opportunities it affords young people. She has led the ACSSO secretariat since 2011 but has been a significant player in parent activism since 1984 when her eldest child commenced school. She is proud of her four children’s achievements – all successes of public education.

She has held various volunteer roles in the parent movement finishing her P&C career as President of the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW.

Di was a founding Director of Public Education Foundation whose board position she held for six years; a founding Director of Primary Ethics Board and also a founding Director of The Parenthood board.

She worked in a paid capacity for the NSW education department in a number of roles across a large area of Sydney. Her roles were all in the area of parent engagement and home-school partnerships including school based community officer, across district Community Development Officer and regional Partnership Officer – all through the Priority Schools Program.

Recognition of her work saw her commended for Meritorious Service to Public Education and Training in 2010. In 2012 Dianne was admitted as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for her service to public education and the community

Di’s greatest love is her family but coming a close second is her love of music. Whilst an amateur guitar player she likes to spend downtime with it, her grandchildren and her playing her vinyl albums on the new turntable.

Director

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Sharron Healy

Sharron has been an active member of her three children’s school Parent Clubs for 20 years, serving as an ordinary member and president at both primary and secondary levels. 

She is also currently the president of her child’s secondary School Council, and president of Parents Victoria Inc., the Victorian affiliate of ACSSO. Founded in 1925 as the peak body representing the collective views of parents in public education in Victoria, Parents Victoria was also a founding member of ACSSO. 

Sharron’s interest in promoting and advocating for public education comes from a desire to see every child in our country having access to a first-class educational experience.

Director

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John Haydon

Bachelor of Economics, Master of Business Management, Bachelor of Arts

John is a committed supporter of quality public schooling. He engages with his daughter’s primary school and has held positions on the Council of ACT P&C Associations for the last several years and is currently President of the Council.  John has lived and worked in countries in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas as an Australian diplomat and has represented Australian interests at international conferences.  He recently taught English at a Spanish public high school.

Company Secretary

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John O’Shannassy

M. Laws 

M. Ed (Adult Ed)             

B Business

B Science (Elect Eng)

Practitioner’s Certificate in Mediation

Graduate Diploma of Company Secretarial Practice CSA

Advanced Certificate in Arbitration

John is a Principal Lawyer at Australian Corporate Lawyers & Advisors and is directly related to corporate governance where he ensures corporations have corporate governance policy and procedures in place. He has 16 years experience in company secretarial services and designed governance and compliance for organisations and managed the ASIC, Austrac and NSW government compliance issues. John has led small and large teams and departments at various times, including roles as: General Counsel/Company Secretary at the University of Technology Sydney; Company Secretary/General Counsel at Apex; and governance and commercial advisory with Australian Corporate Lawyers & Advisers. In his spare time John enjoys participating in Surf Lifesaving, refereeing Rugby Union and Computer Programming.

Communications Officer

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Donna Sirmais

M. TEACH - (Primary)

B. Arts (Primary Education and Psychology)

Family Engagement Practitioner and Consultant

 

“When parents, families, schools and communities work in partnership, everyone benefits.”

Donna is an experienced family engagement practitioner and consultant with some 17 years’ experience which commenced when her eldest of three children began Kindergarten. The positive family engagement practices she experienced at the school motivated Donna to be a passionate advocate for Family Engagement practices in schools and reshape her career path. She believes that the relationships which are built between schools and families not only impact the life course for students but can also change the path for for families.

Donna has held various roles within school P&C associations  including President, Vice President and committee member and built on family engagement practices and effective communication strategies to assist learning outcomes for students and their families through working for the NSW Department of Education in schools as a Community Liaison Officer and Community Partnerships Officer and in a regional position as a Partnership Officer.

Donna has been a member of the ACSSO team since 2013, initially as a Project Officer for the Family School and Community Partnerships Bureau and now as the teams Communication Officer.

Donna has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Education and Psychology) and a Masters of Teaching Primary Education.

Donna was recognised for her work in family and community engagement in schools, with a NSW Department of Education Certificate of Achievement award.