Future Talk

News From the State Converors - September 2013

Thursday, December 04, 2014


A message for those in Queensland: Training in the different categories of Future Problem Solving enhances your school’s enrichment programme opportunities. Most coaches start with a group of students in the Global Issues Competitive Booklet Competition. Once the students have mastered the six step problem solving process as well as enjoyed some of the futuristic topics, they are then ready to explore the other options in the programme. Those students who enjoy the writing aspect of the programme tend to gravitate towards the scenario writing competition and enjoy the rewarding experience of having their writing assessed nationally and possibly internationally as well.

Those students who are more action based tend to start investigating the Community Problem Solving programme. This programme has so many categories that success in some form is more likely then the strongly competitive Global Issue’s booklet competition.

Future Problem Solving coaches are strongly encouraged to continue to attend their state coach training days so broaden their awareness of the changes in the different categories and to learn from other coaches how to implement the different programmes in to their schools. There are also more resources being produced that can further assist teams. Please contact Lesley Sutherland for any further queries regarding professional development.

Lesley Sutherland, Queensland Convenor


Qualifying problem done and dusted - starting to think about Ocean Soup. For us this is the first year we have been on roughly the same schedule as the rest of the country as Tassie finally bites the four term bullet. With so few teams and big distances separating them it is very hard to bring them together for any kind of forum - but we are in communication with each other and are preparing as best we can. I remain hopeful of a couple of new schools registering for the program next year following our successful training days, and will be working with one of them this coming term in exploring options for fitting FPS into the school program. Now that Tasmania has signed up for the Gonski reforms there are opportunities for more resourcing for extension and/or gifted programs, particularly in the government sector, which should provide more options for FPS in coming years.

Jenny Tayler, Tasmania Convenor


Western Australia

We are continuing organisation to host the 2013 National Finals, with the Opening Ceremony to be hosted by UWA and the competition day and Closing Ceremony to be hosted by Methodist Ladies' College. Preparations are nearing the final stages, and we are looking forward to hosting schools here in the West.

We have also begun preparations to run another Coach Training course for the GIPS program. We hope to offer that in November this year.

 Jo-Anne Starkie , WA Co-Convenor

New South Wales

NSW students were fortunate to have some very thought-provoking speakers at their informative Study Day on July 26 on the Qualifying Topic, Megacities. Phillip Baldock, a new coach from St Andrew’s Cathedral School, had kindly offered his school as the venue. The central location made the Day accessible for students from all over Sydney.

The first speaker of the day was Professor Stuart White, the Director of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney, who emphasised that developing cities had the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of developed cities. He was optimistic about the ability of humans to innovate to solve many of the problems of modern cities, if we all came together with a vision for the future and worked backwards to achieve the vision. He suggested that we view the city as an organism with humans a part of the system, not unaccountable. He gave many examples of the ways that humans could contribute to the health of the organism.

Our next speaker, Lyrian Fleming, of CARE, gave a completely different perspective on the topic when she spoke of her experiences living in Chittagong in Bangladesh. She spoke powerfully of the push/pull factors that drew the rural poor to cities with hopes of a better life. She helped the students see the advantages to living in a slum, where vaccination, health care, education and employment was a possibility, compared to the reality of a life of rural poverty. However, she also acknowledged the lack of privacy and the risk of disease when living in such cramped and unhygienic quarters.

Central Park is a new sustainable development of 2000 apartments on Broadway and the Marketing Manager for the development, Lisa McCutchion, was able to describe the many sustainable ventures that have been put in place to deal with water, waste and energy requirements. The heliostats on the building excited much interest. They are protrusions on the towers with mirrors on them that redirect light into the parklands behind the towers: a clever way to deal with the problem of overshadowing.

Finally, Nik Midlam, of the City of Sydney, talked to the audience about the 2030 Vision that is directing the strategies of the city council. Targets include increasing use of renewable energy, having services available within a ten-minute walk for all citizens and green space within a three-minute walk. We learned that the City of Sydney car fleet is now solar powered, electric cars.

Well done to all NSW teams that competed in the QP and good luck to those invited to Nationals!

Margaret Witts , NSW Co-Convenor


South Australia

The SA FPSP community was delighted with the accomplishments of the Adult team from Marryatville High School in the GIPS strand, and Nick Bannister and Henry Materne-Smith from St Peters College in the Scenario Writing strand at the International Conference held in Indiana in June.

This was the second IC for Jenni Henzell coach of the Marryatville team and she reported that all concerned had a wonderful time and were extremely proud of their achievement. Jenni is a stalwart of FPSP in SA and thoroughly deserves the accolades that come her way for Marryatville’s achievements.

For Kerry Skuijns, new to the programme as well as being new to St Peters College, it was a pretty lofty start and we are delighted to see her continuing to foster the programme at ‘Saints’. I am sure she would be keen to acknowledge the excellent work of her predecessor Alison-Jane Hunter who did so much to establish Scenario Writing and Performance at such a high level at St Peters.

The State Committee was pleased to be able to source speakers for a Resource Day relating to the PP2 topic ‘Robotics’, but were disappointed when speakers proved to be unavailable for the proposed Resource Day on 27th July around the QP topic ‘Megacities’. Hopefully the research sources provided to teams proved helpful and, magically, a 7.30 Report item about the ‘Ghost Cities’ of China went to air recently. It was most informative and relevant.

 It has been pleasing to note new coaches Alison Short getting the programme underway at Wilderness School, and Elyse Wakefield, Farley Briggs and Leonie Harwood taking on the programme at Emmaus College, Westminster School and Immanuel College respectively. The latter two schools have had a long and successful involvement in the programme, so it was good to see them once again active.

Hopefully we will see SA well represented in the various strands at the National Finals in Perth in October, and the teams will garner a good share of the spoils.

 Tom Greenwell, SA Co-Convenor

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