Speaker profiles: Darryl Buchanan and Jennifer Davies

How do independent schools maintain the leading edge in an environment where state schools are improving and where there is enormous growth, globally, in the variety of school types being established?

This keynote will outline the current landscape of independent education within Australia and internationally and propose that the key driver and leverage point for independent schools in this competitive environment is exceptional contemporary and future-focused school leadership.

Ways in which the AISNSW, through the AIS Leadership Centre, prepares school leaders for the transition from the classroom to formal positions of school leadership, especially to principalship, and the support provided once in the role, will be addressed.

It is well documented that school leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning (Robinson, 2009; Leithwood and Sun, 2009; Day et al. 2010; 2016). The leadership of the school principal has a direct effect on teachers’ expectations and standards. This includes the way they think about, plan and conduct their teaching and learning practices, their self-efficacy, commitment and sense of wellbeing, and their organisational loyalty and trust, all of which indirectly influence pupil outcomes.

Successful school leaders, therefore, seek to build cultures that promote both staff and student engagement in learning, as well as fostering parent-school partnerships to raise students’ achievement levels in terms of value-added measures of pupil progress, both cognitive and non-cognitive.

Darryl Buchanan

Darryl Buchanan is the Head of Service: Teaching Learning and Program Implementation at AISNSW, where he has been employed for 15 years. In this role Darryl is responsible for oversight of three Divisions, including Professional Learning, Student Services and Program Implementation. This includes leading a large team which provides consultancy services, supports projects and facilitates a range of courses, conferences and online learning opportunities for teachers and school leaders. The core focus of the team’s work is on supporting independent schools in the areas of curriculum, pedagogy, leading learning, wellbeing and school improvement.

Darryl has administered many funded programs within the scope of his work at AISNSW, including VET, Trade Training Centres, STEM, Languages, Road Safety Education and Drug Education. He has also led the development and implementation of the AISNSW school improvement project.

Darryl began his career in education as a teacher and has held student wellbeing and curriculum leadership roles in Catholic and independent schools. He is a published author and through his work with AISNSW, Darryl has presented keynotes and facilitated workshops and consultancies across New South Wales, nationally and internationally.


Co-presenter: Jennifer Davies

Jennifer is the Dean of the AIS Leadership Centre at the Association of Independent Schools of NSW (AISNSW). She brings to the role extensive school leadership experiences in the independent school sector. In 2007, Jennifer was awarded the ACEL Certificate of Excellence in recognition for excellence in Educational Leadership. Jennifer is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Leadership focusing on the longer term outcomes and impacts of principal preparation.

Jennifer holds a Master of Business Leadership and Management (with distinction) from the Graduate School of Business at Curtin University WA.