CIRCLE News & Events

CIRCLE is the proud partner and sponsor of a range of organisations within and outside of education. We value our strategic alliances and enjoy working with and alongside these bodies to achieve our mission of better outcomes for more learners. See what CIRCLE and our partners have been up to:

Postgraduate Study in School Leadership

CIRCLE Education in partnership with the University of Tasmania is delighted to announce a new unit of our Postgraduate Study in School Leadership. It is a unique online program of study that empowers the next generation of school leaders to build great schools.

It is designed to provide aspiring and emerging school leaders at every level with rigorous, relevant and practical preparation for new leadership roles. The program is also compelling for existing school leaders who wish to sharpen their leadership skills and deepen their understanding of school operations.

The next unit, ESM751 Building Performance will run for 11 weeks, from Monday 16 July 2018 to Sunday 21 October 2018.

Please, click here for more information about this unit.

Building Leadership

CIRCLE Education in partnership with IBSC-One Schoolhouse is pleased to offer Building Leadership: A Course in Leadership Development for Current and Aspiring Boys’ School Administrators.

This online course will show you an overview of the theory and practice of leadership in the school environment. The online classes will run from Monday 5th, February to Friday 2nd, March 2018, flexible timetable.

For further information and registration, please click here.

AHISA – 2017 Biennial Conference.

CIRCLE is proud to sponsor and participate in the 2017 Biennial Conference of AHISA to be held at Millennium hotel,  Queenstown, from the 29th September to 1st of October, 2017.

The Associations of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) and the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of New Zealand (AHISNZ) are proud to partner and present the 16th Biennial Conference in 2017 with the theme, ‘Engage, Explore, Envision’.

The conference runs from Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October in Queenstown, NZ with optional school visits taking place across New Zealand on Wednesday 27th September.

Held only every two years, the AHISA Biennial is a premier conference event. This combined AHISA/AHISNZ Conference provides an opportunity for extended professional exchange amongst  peers who aspire to and are recognised for excellence in autonomous school leaderships.

Developing Leaders Professional Learning Course.

Developing Leaders introduces current, new and aspiring middle leaders to the latest way of thinking about school leadership and leadership styles, and builds up their leadership skills to carry out the vision and strategy of the school, lead high-performing teams and support the professional growth and performance of staff.

Using Touchstones:

As a unique design feature of Developing Leaders, participants will undertake a process of data-gathering, personal reflection, goal-setting and action to improve as leaders, using CIRCLE’s Touchstones online Performance Development system. Through this experience, they will be launching an ongoing annual process of reflection, goal-setting and action taking. They will also gain the confidence and competency to implement staff-wide performance development, and develop the skills to lead others in this professional journey.

To register your interest, click here

Touchstones Breakfast Events.

CIRCLE is delighted to host an over-breakfast conversation about your school’s performance growth program and how it might be strengthened through our Touchstones Performance Development process.

Register on the link below and we will let you know when we are in your area next.

IBSC – Annual Conference.

CIRCLE Managing Director, Dr. Phil Cummins, and Director of Education, Brad Adams, were delighted to attend the IBSC Annual Conference that was held in Baltimore, last 25-28 June, 2017.

CIRCLE representatives hosted a pre-conference session on Character Education, an update on the project just before the start of the IBSC conference in Baltimore.  We presented a set of preliminary findings emerging in the research data and engaging with project schools in a discussion about the next steps in this research journey.

Furthermore, CIRCLE hosted a conference workshop on A Competency Framework for 21st-Century Boys Schools on Monday 26, June 2017. During the workshop, our presenters explored how “21st-Century competencies” can propel future-learning in boys’ schools. We synthesised the research on the capabilities required in a global and automated world. We then propose a powerful framework based on critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and character. Participants discussed their school’ readiness for change.

Click here to find the presentation from the pre-conference session on Character Education.
Click here to see the conference workshop on A Competency Framework for 21st-Century Boys’ School.

NCGS – 2017 Conference.

CIRCLE Managing Director, Dr. Phil Cummins, along with Director of Education, Brad Adams, attended the International Boys’ School Coalition 2017 NCGS Conference in Washington DC.  CIRCLE representatives presented the key findings from our research on leadership and purpose on 21-century schools.

See the Competency Framework for 21st Century Girls’ Schools presentation here.

ABSNZ – 2017 Conference.

CIRCLE was delighted to recently attend The Annual Conference for Headmasters and Head Boys. The event was held at the James Cook Hotel in Wellington on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th May 2017.

CIRCLE Managing Director, Dr. Phil Cummins presented a reviewing fit for purpose 21st century-school culture, a draft framework of great schools for boys and building excellent schools for boys.

To view the presentation from this event, please click here.

The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australiasia & CIRCLE presents:

Masterclass: Empowering Leaders

May 26, 8:00 am – May 27, 2:00 pm
Bond University, 14 University Drive, Robina, Queensland 4226 Australia – Location
See Empowering Leaders Masterclass 2017 presentation here.

Through a range of leadership development sessions, this unique two-day program is focused on developing leadership capability, confidence and enabling career progression. Designed specifically for educators, the program covers essential aspects of effective leadership as well as governance, legal issues and career challenges.

This was the best professional development I have done in many years and was completely focused on leadership in a range of school settings. The workshops challenged my thinking about my own role and journey and helped me feel confident in taking the next step in school leadership — Jo Frost, Mentone Girls Grammar School.


  • customised leadership development for educators
  • exposure to current leadership thinking and research
  • a strong speaker line-up sharing their skills and experience
  • practical workshops and real scenarios
  • opportunities to form enduring connections


Empowering Leaders combines dynamic sessions and development workshops with keynotes, expert panel discussions and networking to address the unique challenges that educators face on their leadership journey. Masterclass sessions will be facilitated by CIRCLE – Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education. This will be a bespoke masterclass with limited places available.

About the Facilitator:

CIRCLE founder Dr. Phil Cummins is an educator by trade and conviction, who knows and understands schools and leadership. With over 20 years in education as a leader, teacher, author, speaker and, most recently, an Adjunct Associate Professor in Education at the University of Tasmania, Phil now consults widely to government, schools and other organisations about building culture and improving performance. Phil believes that leadership that inspires learning and promotes outstanding educational outcomes is the key to unlocking improved performance in our schools. CIRCLE – The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education Pty Ltd – equips, empowers and enables schools, organisations and leaders to act wisely, think strategically and use resources well. CIRCLE understands education and leadership. Currently, they support the work of over 1,750 schools, educational bodies and other organisations across Australia, New Zealand, Asia-Pacific and internationally. Drawing on their extensive experience, CIRCLE tailors sustainable solutions for schools and organisations to improve their performance by building cultures of excellence in leadership and learning.

Further Development – Empowering Leaders Online Course:

To build on what you will learn at the masterclass, The Alliance and CIRCLE are offering the Empowering Leaders Online Course. The course consists of four modules that deliver the skills and understanding that school leaders for the future truly need. The program is designed for ambitious educators, willing to think differently, embrace  challenge and empower change in their schools. The program is especially relevant for aspiring and emerging leaders, and for current leaders who wish to take their competencies to the next level of impact. The online program is designed to fit the schedule of busy and committed teachers.

Conference Speakers

Dr. Phil Cummins

CIRCLE founder Dr. Phil Cummins is an educator by trade and conviction, who knows and understands schools and leadership. With over 20 years in education as a leader, teacher, author, speaker and, most recently, an Adjunct Associate Professor in Education at the University of Tasmania.

Catholic Education Business Administration (CEBA) Conference 2016, Melbourne, 5-7 October 2016.

CEBA’s Bi-ennial Conference was be held over 3 days from 5th-7th October at Crown Promenade, Melbourne, with theme: ‘Spring into Action’, issuing a call for members to meet the challenges facing Catholic education within the 21st century.

CIRCLE Managing Director Dr Phil Cummins was participating as Conference MC and keynote speaker on topic: ‘Forecast for Schools – Stormy Seas or Sunny Skies – Spring into Action’. See presentation material here.

We are thanking Catholic Education Business Administration and all attending delegates for an interesting and inspiring conference.

Follow us on Twitter for real-time updates from coming conferences.


Touchstones Appoints New Senior Professional Learning Consultant

CIRCLE is excited to welcome Brett Foster to the Touchstones team to further develop a growing portfolio of regional and national member schools.  Brett brings to this role a wealth of experience within Education Management and Consulting. Between 2007 – 2012, Brett was appointed as Assisting Principal at St Paul’s Catholic College, Manly. He then moved into Education Consulting for the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER), and spent the last 2 years as Director of Professional Learning and Pedagogy at Stella Maris College.

Brett joins Touchstones as a Senior Professional Learning Consultant to work with schools on their strategic and school improvement plans. He also helps to develop their professional learning priorities and/or directions for staff which will ultimately lead to improved student outcomes.

Brett comments “This is an exciting role as Touchstones provides the academic rigour and accountability around goal setting that may have been missing from some schools or systems in the past. To help foster learning communities and create staff improvement and success is a real passion of mine.”

About Touchstones

Designed to provide direction for professional learning, Touchstones embeds a proven process of evaluation and goal setting into a unique and easy-to-use online environment. Using a simple five-step process, the software guides staff as they gather and review feedback, set goals and reflect on their progress and achievement. The supportive coaching methodology encourages collaboration and interaction with peers.

Visit Touchstones website


Brett Foster, Senior Professional Learning Consultant, Touchstones


IBSC conference

International Boys’ Schools Coalition Annual Conference 2016, Vancouver, Canada, 26-29 June 2016

CIRCLE was proud to be a sponsor of this year’s IBSC 2016 Conference: Boys As Global Citizens in Vancouver.

CIRCLE representatives Dr Phil Cummins and Bradley Adams hosted a pre-conference workshop on ‘Designing Character Education‘. CIRCLE was joined by representatives from two schools, Crescent School in Toronto and Auckland Grammar School in New Zealand, for a panel discussion.

In addition, CIRCLE hosted the conference workshop ‘Becoming a Great Boys’ School for 21st Century Learning.

We would like to thank IBSC and all attending delegates for an interesting and inspiring conference.

Follow us on Twitter for real-time updates from coming conferences.

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Alliance of Girls’ Schools’ Australasia Conference, Brisbane, 22-24 May 2016

CIRCLE was an event partner at this year’s AGSA 2016 Conference: Real Girls Real Women: ‘Leading, Empowering, Celebrating’ in Brisbane, from 22 – 24 May.

Dr Phil Cummins was delighted to host a pre-conference workshop on ‘ Establishing good professional learning programs’ and also present ‘Becoming a great girls’ school: Discovering School Culture, diagnosing critical issues and setting direction for your preferred future’ during the main conference.

We thoroughly enjoyed this years conference program and the wide array of important topics which were covered. 

To view Dr Phil Cummins’ presentations, please click here.

ACER Excellence in Professional Practice Conference, Melbourne, 19-20 May 2016

CIRCLE was delighted to be a supporting sponsor of the ACER 2016 Excellence in Professional Practice Conference (EPPC) in Melbourne on 19 – 20 May. CIRCLE actively promotes collaboration for school improvement, and was excited to contribute to the conversation about how we utilise collaboration when striving for excellence in professional practice. We enjoyed hearing from the wide range of speakers discussing the challenges facing Australian Education today.

As part of our sponsorship, we had the opportunity to offer a CIRCLE Indigenous Educator Access Grant to one educator, working in or around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The grant provided this educator the opportunity to attend the conference. Read more about the grant here.


Global Forum on Girls’ Education, New York City, 7 – 9 February  2016 

CIRCLE Managing Director, Dr Phil Cummins, and Director of Education, Brad Adams, were delighted to recently attend the Global Forum on Girls’ Education which was held in New York City. This groundbreaking conference was hosted by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and CIRCLE partner, The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia.

The conference was a fantastic opportunity to bring together educators, researchers and advocates from across the globe to engage in exciting discussions around best practices and innovative approaches to academic excellence and the healthy development of girls. We were particularly pleased to work with a range of educators during our interactive workshop, Becoming a Great Girls School. You can view the presentation here.

View CIRCLE publication, Empowering Young Women, here.

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Managing Risk in Schools: A seminar for school leaders , Sydney, 28 October 2015

It was CIRCLE’s great pleasure to host ‘Managing Risk in Schools: a seminar for school leaders’ in partnership with Emil Ford Lawyers on 28 October. It was an incredibly informative and interactive afternoon, particularly the Q&A sessions during which the delegates were able to ask very specific questions and receive valuable answers from Emil Ford Lawyers. The speakers advised on current legal issues and decisions effecting school policies and operation, in particular Managing Risks in Workplace Health and Safety, Child Protection, Deeds of Indemnity, Insurance and Access, and Managing the Risks Associated with Enrolments.

The feedback we have received from the delegates has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are already thinking about the seminar offering for next year.

To purchase the seminar recording, please click here.

Find out more about Emil Ford Lawyers.


IBSC 2015 Annual Conference, Cape Town, 7-10 July 2015

CIRCLE Managing Director, Dr Phil Cummins, along with Director of Education, Brad Adams, recently attended the International Boys’ School Coalition 22nd Annual Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. The conference explored this years theme, Lessons from Madiba, and connected educational leaders from across the globe.

CIRCLE hosted a pre-conference workshop, ‘The Character of the Leader and the Leader of Character in Schools’, which discussed leadership in schools, along with a professional learning workshop, ‘What We See That Works: Professional Learning in Schools’ . To view the presentations, click here.

We welcomed the opportunity to be a part of this conference, engage in exciting discussions around Boys’ education and listen to the fantastic range of speakers.

To find out more about the IBSC and this years conference, please click here.

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EduTech Conference 2015, Brisbane, 2-3 June 2015 

Our Client Relations Manager, Julie Cowap, recently attended the EduTech Conference in Brisbane, which connects 8,000 delegates and educational leaders from across Australasia and beyond.

We welcomed the opportunity to present Touchstones, our new and innovative software that provides guided direction for professional learning.

To find out more about our latest innovation, please click here.


AGSA Aspiring Leaders Conference 2015, Gold Coast, 29-30 May 

CIRCLE recently facilitated the Alliance of Girls’ Schools’ Australasia Aspiring Leaders Conference, held at Bond University. Dr Phil Cummins, Dr Sophie Winlaw and Julie Cowap were all in attendance.

It was fantastic to see the delegates work in teams and engage in rich discussions to solve the leadership workshop problems.

To view the presentation from this event, please click here.

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World Educational Leadership Summit 2015, Singapore, 7-8 April 

CIRCLE Managing Director, Dr Phil Cummins, recently attended the World Educational Leadership Summit 2015 in Singapore.

We welcomed the opportunity to talk with the world’s leading educators on incorporating outstanding educational practices and creating the finest education system for learner.

For more information on this conference, please click here.

Brad Adams

CIRCLE Welcomes Bradley Adams

We are thrilled to welcome Bradley Adams to the CIRCLE team.

Brad has joined us from the International Boys’ School’s Coalition (IBSC), where he was Executive Director, and brings over 25 years of experience in the education sector, ranging from university administration, teaching and school leadership in Canada to his role as Director of Education at CIRCLE. He has a passion for and commitment to unleashing the leadership potential of teachers, and shares our drive to achieve better outcomes for more learners.

Brad has already had an extremely positive impact on the organisation, and we look forward to working together to achieve more fantastic results.


AGSA NSW Dinner Meeting, Abbotsleigh School, 17 March 

Fiona McVitie and Julie Cowap had a wonderful time at the Alliance of Girls Schools’ Australasia (a CIRCLE corporate partner) NSW dinner meeting recently. 

The evening was hosted by Judith Poole, principal of Abbotsleigh (Sydney) and President of the AGSAFeatured guest speaker, Dr Sarah Loch, gave a very insightful presentation on her research into the factors that influence the future aspirations of students and the need for career advice for girls at the middle school level.

To find out more about up coming AGSA events, please click here.


CIRCLE Partners with SEQTA Software

CIRCLE recently entered into a partnership with WA based software-development company, SEQTA. SEQTA has had nation wide success, and produces an award-winning suite of web-based applications, that give schools a superior way of managing all aspects of teaching and learning.

CIRCLE and SEQTA have a shared vision of adding value, and inspiring change in education, to achieve better outcomes for more learners. We look forward to working together to achieve excellence, through an alignment of complementary products and services.

CIRCLE will be launching an exciting new software product later this year.

For more information about SEQTA, visit their website here.


3rd Annual Building World- Class Private and International Schools Summit, 20-21 January 2015

CIRCLE was delighted to attend the 3rd Annual Building World- Class Private and International Schools Summit 2015on the 20th & 21st of January, in Kuala Lumpur, hosted by Liquid Learning.

Dr Phil Cummins was a featured speaker, facilitating an interactive workshop on ‘Building Performance and Global Excellence in Independent and International Schools’.

We are pleased to be part of such an exciting event, and contribute to the relevant conversations around the challenges of an increasingly competitive education sector.


Indian Ocean Rim Roundtable at St Stephen’s School, Perth, 3-5 November 2014

CIRCLE is delighted to participate in the Indian Ocean Rim Roundtable hosted by St Stephen’s School from Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 November 2014.

Senior educational representatives from Indian Ocean countries such as Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius, Francophone Africa, Australian Christian educational leaders and senior staff from St Stephen’s School are included in the Roundtable.

The intention has been to discuss and articulate a shared vision for Christian education as well as to build working relationships with partners in order to explore educational opportunities throughout the region of the Indian Ocean Rim.

We trust that participating delegates have enjoyed and been enriched by the experience of the Roundtable discussion as much as Dr Philip SA Cummins has.

We extend our thanks to Tony George, Principal of St Stephen’s School, for his invitation, generosity and warmth shown toward us during the event.


The Inaugural Asia Pacific Conference for Adolescent Success, 13 – 14 September 2014

CIRCLE was delighted to continue with our support of Adolescent Success (previously known as MYSA – Middle Years of Schooling Association) by being a Diamond Sponsor of their Inaugural Asia Pacific Conference for Adolescent Success (APCAS) over 13 – 14 September 2014 hosted at the Australian International School in Singapore.

We’re pleased the conference has been a success with feedback being very positive. The invited speakers were fantastic and the networking with delegates was very productive.

We look forward to Adolescent Success’s continued growth in the South East Asian region.


AHISA Senior Staff & Pastoral Care Conference, 22-25 Aug 2014

CIRCLE was pleased to sponsor and participate in the AHISA Senior Staff & Pastoral Care Conference on the Gold Coast from 22-25 August.

Bruce Hodges, CIRCLE Head of Consultancy, was pleased to present a workshop on “Investigating Investigations – What they don’t teach you in a MEd.”