Two staff members from Toowoomba Catholic Schools featured amongst the list of presenters at The Festival of Learning. The festival  is an exciting opportunity for Papua New Guinea educators to engage with recognised international and national educational leaders to deepen their capacity and knowledge in effective classroom practice.

This year’s Festival themes covered a range of topics including educational leadership, effective differentiation, inquiry learning, student agency and voice, authentic assessment, the use of technology for meaningful learning and the importance of student well-being for learning. Jim Midgley, Director Teaching and Learning, delivered a keynote address entitled The Role of Leadership in School Improvement and workshop presentations on The role of the teacher in advancing student academic achievement-a few of the things that really matter.

Jim’s 30 years of educational experience includes a principalship at an international school in Port Moresby. In his current position at Toowoomba Catholic Schools, he has led an improvement agenda across 31 schools that is attracting national attention due to the rate of improvement in focus areas. He believes that schools cannot improve beyond the capacity of their teachers. “It is great to be back here for this event. Despite the country’s reputation, there is an energy and a sense of happiness here that is hard to explain or to justify,” Jim said.

The second staff member to present at the Conference is Michael Thomason, Education Officer Guidance Counsellor Coordinator and School Support. In his current role, Michael coordinates a team of School Guidance Counsellors to provide counselling and well-being services to staff and students across 31 schools. Michael initially trained as a secondary teacher before moving into the areas of counselling, well-being and behaviour management. It was in this role working with suspended and excluded students that he developed a keen interest in mental health, staff and student wellbeing.

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