AIS Governance Symposium 2020

The AISNSW 2020 Symposium draws attention to the complex wellbeing needs of students, staff and parents within our schools. Increasingly, independent schools are the locus of community and this shift is placing new demands on Heads, and presenting new challenges for Boards in terms of how they best support their school’s leadership to manage the new dimensions and dynamics of school wellbeing. Professor Donna Cross from the University of Western Australia will share her current research on Australian principal wellbeing and the wellbeing of the wider school.  Robert Fitzgerald AM, a commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse, discusses what we have learnt from the Royal Commission three years on, and the implications for student wellbeing.

The 2020 Symposium introduces a new feature: five workshops will be conducted on the Not-for-Profit Guidelines, Fraud and Cyber Security, Privacy, Crises Management and Social Media. Each workshop will be repeated enabling delegates to select two sessions. A panel discussion follows looking towards how AISNSW might develop a program to support Heads in this key dimension of their work.

Chairman's Welcome

Excellent schools are founded on robust standards of governance. The AISNSW Governance Symposium is the leading Australian forum for the discussion and promotion of high-quality governance in independent schools. The 2020 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 2020 Symposium will be held in the ICC’s Pyrmont Theatre, a larger venue also providing break-out rooms for expert-led workshops on a range of current governance subjects. The 2020 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 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.

Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM 

Robert Fitzgerald AM was formerly a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for 5 years. He has served as a Commissioner with the Productivity Commission since 2004 and was appointed as the inaugural NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner in 2019.

He has served on numerous NGO boards including previously as President, Australian Council of Social Service and currently Social Ventures Australia. Robert was the inaugural Chair of the Advisory Board, Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.

Robert holds degrees in commerce and law from the University of NSW and an honorary doctorate from the Australian Catholic University and is currently an Adjunct Professor with the University of Western Australia. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994.

2020 Workshop Sessions

Not-For-Profit Guidelines

Elizabeth Crouch,
Chair, Non-Government Schools Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee

Fraud & Cyber Security  

David Buley,
Chief Financial Officer,


Charles Alexander, Legal Consultant, AISNSW

Helen Lauder, Senior Consultant, Minter Ellison

Crisis Management

Tracey Cain, 
Chief Executive Officer, 
Australian Public Affairs

Social Media

Dominique Wolfe,
Australian Public Affairs

2020 Panel Session

Dr David Mulford
Chief Executive Officer, ISCA
Prof Donna Cross
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Western Australia
Dr Kate Hadwen
Principal, Pymble Ladies’ College
Geoff Bowser
Clinical Psychologist, Mental Health & Wellbeing Consultant and Trainer
David Braga

Chair, Tara Anglican School for Girls

2020 Major Sponsors