CIRCLE News & Events

Building Leadership: A Course in Leadership Development for Current and Aspiring Boys’ School Administrators
17 July – 11 August 2017

To register, tap or click REGISTER HERE.

This global online course will give an overview to the theory and practice of leadership in the school environment, and is applicable for current and aspiring leaders across the school spectrum (from educators to those in school operations). Participants will explore and apply models and frameworks for personal and team leadership. They will be required to review and evaluate their own personal leadership skills and styles, and those of a leadership team within their school. As a result of this process and equipped with the skills attained during this course, participants will be able to identify their leadership strengths and build a professional learning plan for development. Throughout this course, special attention will be paid to the unique mission, expertise, and culture of boys’ schools in relation to the challenges and opportunities for effective leadership.

The course is designed primarily for newly appointed school administrators or those who have recently taken on leadership roles such as department head, pastoral leader, director, or assistant head. The course will also appeal to those who aspire to leadership positions, and who wish to develop their readiness to lead. Those who have been in leadership positions for a number of years will find that this course will deepen their reflective practice and growth as impactful school leaders.

Course Format
Classes are conducted asynchronously, so there is no single time each week when participants are required to be online. However, participants should commit to spending at least 3-5 hours each week the class is in session. Coursework and assignments for each unit open on Monday morning, and should be completed by the following Sunday evening. Grace periods are given, but interaction is more effective when the entire class is working on the same topic. Participants will connect and collaborate with each other through several forms of interactive media, including short videos and discussion boards.

About Facilitator:
Brad Adams is Director of CIRCLE Education, and brings to this role 25 years of experience in university administration, teaching and school leadership in Toronto, Canada, most recently at Upper Canada College. He was, until 2014, the Executive Director of the International Boys’ Schools Coalition (IBSC), an association comprised of leading independent and state boys’ schools in all regions of the world, including Australia, and dedicated to best of class practice and collaborative research. He shares CIRCLE’s passion for and commitment to unleashing the leadership potential of teachers and schools to improve student learning.

• $445 (USD) for participants from IBSC Member Schools
• $525 (USD) for all other participants.

ConnectED Principal’s Conference
18th and 19th May 2017

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

– 2.5 minutes of speaking time to address the conference participants
– Advertisement in the conference e- program
– Company details and logo on conference app
– Provision of promotional material in ConnectED tote bags
– Full list of participant contacts
– Display space allocated by the committee
– Complimentary registration for 2 people
– 1 room accommodation
– Morning tea and lunch provided for 2 people (both days)
– Complimentary meal at the conference function for 2 people
– Opportunity to provide a promotional gift


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 and confidence and enabling career progression. Designed specifically for educators Empowering Leaders 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 delivers 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.



The 24th IBSC Annual Conference, Beyond Innovation: Creativity, Discovery, and Engagement, will take place at The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland in Baltimore, MD, USA from Sunday, June 25th to Wednesday, June 28th 2017.

Founded in 1995, the IBSC emerged from the meeting of a small group of school heads and professionals who shared a passion for boys’ education. The group soon grew into a larger community of educators who recognized the potential to champion the wellbeing and development of boys by enhancing learning environments. From the very beginning, the IBSC has held a global view and currently includes several hundred school members from over 15 countries across five continents. A series of events held nationally and internationally are hosted each year at member schools, including the Annual Conference, which many consider to be the premier professional development experience for teachers.

IBSC Annual Conference
The flagship of the IBSC is the IBSC Annual Conference, hosted by a member school. Conferences have taken place in every major global region of the IBSC. Many schools consider this the premier event in their professional calendar. Our conferences feature leading experts on boys’ education. Since 1993, more than 1,500 teachers and school leaders have presented workshops on every dimension of teaching boys and school programs. The global networks and friendships kindled at annual conferences prove especially


2017 ABSNZ Conference for Headmasters and Head Boys, Wellington, NZ, 4-5 May 2017:

The annual conference for Headmasters and Head Boys will be held at the James Cook Hotel in Wellington on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th May 2017.

Dr Phil Cummins presents:

  • Reviewing fit for purpose 21C school culture
  • A draft framework for great schools for boys
  • Building excellent schools for boys

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

Workshop at the June IBSC conference in Baltimore.

A Competency Framework for 21st century Boys’ Schools

Presenters: Phil Cummins, Brad Adams, Circle-The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education, Australia

The workshop explores how “21st century competencies” can propel future-learning boys’ schools. We synthesize the research on the capabilities required in a world globalization and automation. We then propose a powerful framework based on critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and character. Participants will discuss their school’ readiness for change.

2017 Biennial Conference

The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) and the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of New Zealand (AHISNZ) are professional associations for Principals of Independent Schools across Australia and New Zealand. We seek to amplify the leadership journey of our 480+ members, while enabling them to influence education policy, leadership and practice.
The building of collegial and beneficial relationships with peers is a major purpose of the Associations, and why our quality conferencing program is so valuable.
All members pride themselves with maintaining high standards of professional practice. They encourage holistic development of young people, focusing on the development of the body, mind and spirit. The schools that are led by our members are innovative, particularly in the adoption of contemporary education learnings and in the area of technology in education.

ASHIA and ISNZ are proud to present the 16th Biennial Conference in 2017: Engage, Envision, Explore, from Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October in Queenstown, NZ. The Biennial is seen as a premier conference event for AHISA and AHISNZ, and a highly valued experience by members as an opportunity for independent school leaders to gather together for professional and personal exchange.
The Biennial Conference is an exclusive members-only event, and the Queenstown conference is estimated to attract between 250-300 delegates.

It provides a platform for professional exchange between peers who aspire to and are recognised for excellence in autonomous school leadership. These are the leaders and decision makers in over 480+ Independent Schools.
AHISA’s members are responsible for the education of some 428,000 students, representing over 11% of Australia’s total school enrolments. The collective educational influence of AHISA’s members is even greater at senior secondary level with one in every five Year 12 student educated in an AHISA school.

Commensurate with the depth and breadth of their educational responsibilities, the financial responsibilities of members are substantial. AHISA members have oversight of over $8 billion in total annual recurrent expenditure; in 2014 total capital expenditure in AHISA members’ schools was $1.18 billion (likely to increase in 2016 due to increased membership). AHISA members were also responsible for over 40,000 teaching staff and 25,000 non-teaching staff in 2015. 82% of AHISA schools has a primary component. At least one-third of members’ schools have a boarding facility. Members’ schools are also renowned for their co-curricular offerings and pastoral care programs to complement their academic provision.

EEPC Conferences

Excellence in Professional Practice Conference 2017 25-26 May 2017
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
2684 -2690 Gold Coast Highway
Broadbeach, Queensland 4218

The Excellence in Professional Practice Conference (EPPC) is a conference exploring best practice for teaching and learning, through presentations and discussions facilitated by leaders and peers within the educational community.

EPPC provides an opportunity for educators from across Australia and around the world to benefit from a unique environment of peer-based learning.

More than 120 educators from across Australia and around the world will gather to share, learn, network and benefit from a unique environment of peer-based learning.

Conference agenda:

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:

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.”