AIS Governance Symposium 2022

School Wellbeing: Complexities, Issues and Directions


The AIS Governance Symposium 2022 attends to the complex wellbeing needs of schools and their communities. Independent schools are increasingly the locus of community: this shift is placing new demands on boards and heads as they support and manage these complexities. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, these demands have become more acute and less predictable.

Professor Ian Hickie AM, from the Brain and Mind Centre at The University of Sydney, offers a key post-pandemic message for schools, emphasing the critical impact of the school and its effect on brain development and student wellbeing.

Professor Jennie Hudson, Research Director at the Black Dog Institute, will describe scientific insights and identify validated interventions into the treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.

Julie Inman Grant, Australian eSafety Commissioner, leads the world’s first government regulatory agency committed to online safety. Chair of the Child Digital Alliance and member of the Global Coalition for Digital Safety, Julie’s keynote will amplify the e-safety issues in play in schools, and the strategies needed to keep students safe.

Professor Donna Cross, from the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia, an international expert on wellbeing, will discuss a range of successful initiatives schools have adopted to promote the wellbeing of the principal.

A panel session will then draw together the key wellbeing issues facing our schools, and crucially, the wellbeing of the principal, whose deft leadership of the school and the senior executive, is critical in times when old certainties can no longer be relied upon.

Please see the detailed COVID-19 safety principles and protocols put in place by the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour.

Chairman's Welcome


Excellent schools are founded on robust standards of governance. The AIS Governance Symposium is the leading Australian forum for the promotion of high-quality governance in independent schools. The 2022 Symposium turns its attention to the important and increasingly complex issues surrounding student wellbeing, and the wellbeing of those charged with leading our schools. Following the move to the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour in 2019, the 2022 Symposium will be held in the ICC’s Pyrmont Theatre. The 2022 Symposium promises to be an outstanding event, and I commend it to you.

John Ralston OAM
Chairman, AISNSW

Symposium Commencement


Dr Geoff Newcombe AM, Chief Executive, will introduce delegates to the key themes of the Symposium and set them in the context of current and emerging issues for the independent school sector.

Dr Geoff Newcombe AM
Chief Executive, AISNSW

Keynote Presenters


Professor Jennie Hudson

As a fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences (2018), Professor Hudson has made distinguished contributions to the scientific understanding and clinical treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. 

She has delivered sustained and influential insights into the complex aetiology of anxiety, as well as developed and validated innovative, accessible interventions. She is recognised as a world leader for her work on parent-child interactions and the development and treatment of anxiety. Before her current position as Director of Research at the Black Dog Institute, Professor Hudson was the Director of the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University. 

She was also previously awarded an ARC Future Fellowship (2013-2016), and a Visiting Fellowship, University of Oxford (2015-20).

Professor Donna Cross

Donna Cross is a Professor with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Western Australia and the Head of the Health Promotion and Education Research team and Director of the Early Childhood Development and Learning Collaboration at the Telethon Kids Institute.

Since 1999 Donna has been awarded over $60m in research funding to conduct research to improve child and adolescent, and their parents’ and school executives’ health and wellbeing. Over the past 25 years she has led 70+ applied school and community-based research projects investigating ways to enhance wellbeing and social and emotional development and reduce anti-social behaviour in schools and families.

In 2012, Donna was awarded the WA ‘Australian of the Year’ for her services to children’s health and wellbeing. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and in 2017 a finalist for WA Scientist of the Year. Donna’s 2017 Churchill Fellowship investigated ways children’s wellbeing, development and learning is influenced by their use of technology.

Julie Inman Grant

Julie Inman Grant leads the world’s first government regulatory agency committed to keeping its citizens safer online.  

As Commissioner, Julie plays an important global role as Chair of the Child Dignity Alliance’s Technical Working Group and as a Board Member of the WePROTECT Global Alliance. The Commissioner also serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Coalition for Digital Safety and on their XR Ecosystem Governance Steering Committee on Building and Defining the Metaverse.

In 2021, Julie oversaw significant increases in the eSafety office’s budget, increased staffing levels and launched the global Safety by Design initiative. As Commissioner, she has led work to stand up novel and world-first regulatory regimes under the new Online Safety Act 2021, with implementation of a sweeping new set of reforms beginning on 23 January 2022. The Commissioner was recently named one of Australia’s most influential women by the Australian Financial Review and a leading Australian in Foreign Affairs by the Sydney Morning Herald.  

Professor Ian Hickie AM

A message for school boards

Professor Ian Hickie is Co-Director, Health and Policy at The University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre. He is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow (2013-2017 and 2018-22), having previously been one of the inaugural NHMRC Australian Fellows (2008-12). He was an inaugural Commissioner on Australia’s National Mental Health Commission (2012-18) overseeing enhanced accountability for mental health reform and suicide prevention.

He is an internationally renowned researcher in clinical psychiatry, with particular reference to medical aspects of common mood disorders, depression and bipolar disorder. He is now focused on the development of real-time personalized and measurement-based care systems for use in partnership with young people and their families. These systems promote early intervention, use of new and emerging technologies and suicide prevention.

2022 Panel Session - Principal Wellbeing



Professor Donna Cross
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Western Australia
Sheila McGregor
Chair, Loreto Kirribilli
Steven Bowers
Former Principal, Burgmann Anglican School
Heather Norton
Chair, St Columba Anglican School
Susan Middlebrook
Principal, Tara
Dr Gareth Leechman
Principal, Arndell Anglican College

Register Now

Registrations are now open to the AIS Governance Symposium 2022.
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