New South Wales

Welcome to IPSHA New South Wales

Welcome to the New South Wales Branch of IPSHA. We are a wonderfully warm, collegial association with a rich history and an exciting future, comprised of a diverse range of independent schools from across the state, encompassing single sex, co-educational, denominational, non-denominational, metropolitan, regional and rural schools. Our membership encompasses over 125 Heads of Junior Schools, Primary Principals, or Heads of Middle Schools which have a significant proportion of primary age students.  Many of our members’ schools are part of a Prep-12 or K – 12 structure, whilst others are stand-alone Primary Schools.

The very nature of our leadership role can create a sense of isolation in our busy and often complex, multi-faceted and demanding roles. My grandfather was a Primary Principal on the North Coast for many years in small primary schools and would have longed for the range of opportunities that membership with IPSHA provides us with as school leaders – to share the dreams, joys and challenges of our responsibilities.

We are passionate about providing our members with professional support, collegiality and quality professional development.

Our termly meetings are held at a variety of schools throughout Sydney in addition to an annual Country Weekend of professional learning hosted at a regional school which embraces the diverse geographical mix of our membership and provides an incredibly powerful opportunity for focussed professional growth and collegiality. Indeed, the very strength of our association lies in the willingness and commitment of members to foster collegial support, professional learning and networks for staff and students. In addition to our professional learning, which has featured outstanding speakers in recent years including Dr Yong Zhao, Jim Knight, Guy Claxton, Simon Breakspear, Dr Paul Browning, Michael Carr-Gregg, Dan Haesler and Richard Gerver, The Association of Independent Schools (AIS NSW) also provides regular updates on political, policy and curricular matters at each term meeting.

The Association also offers a Biennial Conference, held in a different state every two years, which consistently boasts a line up of outstanding speakers.

For members new to a Head of School role and indeed for all new members to our Branch, IPSHA provides support through arranging a mentor as a point of contact and means of introduction to the Association. Our Federal Branch also offers a formal coaching program for new Heads interested in availing themselves of the opportunity during their first three years of Headship, or for experienced Heads keen to ‘give back’ to the profession and to mentor a ‘new Head’.

We are in the privileged position of enjoying an equal ‘seat at the table’ at APPA (The Australian Primary Principals’ Association) with our government and Catholic sector colleagues. APPA is the national professional association for primary school principals in Australia, representing over 7,000 Government, Catholic and Independent primary schools across the nation with a national voice on national issues, speaking directly to the Federal Government on matters that concern primary school principals and their school communities.

Support networks for staff in member schools to link executive and teaching staff with specialist interests and responsibilities are organised through Umbrella Groups, which encompass a range of primary school leadership and curriculum areas, facilitating a rich exchange of ideas and resources through regular meetings and informal networks.

Students in member schools have access to a range of excellent events that provide them with experiences and memories in their formative years of schooling that will last for a lifetime.  Performing Arts Festivals, Debating and Public Speaking, Social Issues Expos and Teacher Forums, Travelling Art Exhibitions, and a wide range of Saturday Sport activities, sporting carnivals and pathways to higher levels of sporting representation afford many opportunities for students to share and develop their talents and interests alongside others.

You will notice that our Association logo depicts Australia in the shape of a flame. As school leaders our role is to light this flame of inquiry and passion for life in our students, our staff, in each other, in our school families and to create a thirst for learning and living. The Association is a wonderful support in striving for this transcendent goal in each of our schools and in our own leadership journeys.

Over the next biennium we have collectively framed our NSW Branch goals using a balanced scorecard approach, focusing on the four key perspective areas of:

  • learning and growth – continuing to build our warm collegial culture and to benefit  from high quality professional learning and collegiality at our meetings.
  • members – we are a living body and our members are our most important part – we will continue to develop ways that we can continue to provide the best services and value, achieving high satisfaction, retention and growth levels.
  • process – reflecting on the efficiency and quality of our organisational structures and processes as a Branch to ensure that we can achieve our goals efficiently and effectively, and
  • stewardship – prudent stewardship of our resources and finances, maximising our professional support, learning opportunities and collegiality as well as the educational, cultural, spiritual and sporting events that we provide for the children in our NSW Branch schools.


Meaningful school leadership, teaching and learning is a journey we are on together as colleagues with our school communities to provide the type of environment that will sustain flame of learning, inquiry and passion that is such a key part of IPSHA.

We are all encouraged in:

  • Collegiality, building each other up and continuing to share our stories
  • Serving children, our prime focus and giving them even greater opportunities through the strength of our Branch
  • Welcoming new colleagues from independent schools to grow our Branch
  • Continuing to connect with each other as a group, building the richness and warmth of our friendship and knowledge
  • Boldly advocating for primary education
  • Maintaining our commitment to IPSHA and serving each other in the Branch and the Association in whichever way we can do that we can all thrive.


On a personal note, IPSHA has provided a breadth and depth of collegiality, some amazing friendships and memories and an incredible level of professional support and encouragement that has been invaluable to me over so many years.

Should you be interested in membership I encourage you to browse the website and to peruse all that IPSHA offers. Any of the NSW Executive would welcome you contacting them. I commend our Association to you and look forward to sharing this biennium with you.

Will Wallace

IPSHA (NSW) President 2018 – 2020