Mr. Andrew Houghton, Principal of Al Siraat College, Melbourne.

Mr. Andrew Houghton, Principal of Al Siraat College, Melbourne.

The principal of Melbourne based Al Siraat College, Mr Andrew Houghton has received due recognition for his contributions to education by winning the Unsung Heroes National Award for Leadership for the year 2016.

The Unsung Heroes Award is a national competition run by Education HQ, the producers of the highly circulated Australian Teacher Magazine.  It recognises the outstanding achievements of those special people who raise the benchmark in education.

The competition attracted over a thousand nominations from around the country with people looking to recognise their favourite leader, teacher and support staff and over seven thousand votes were received with Mr Houghton, a clear favourite as Leader.

The nomination focused on Mr Houghton’s innovative and proactive approach to his position, his compassion and respect with which he approaches his students and staff and his overall integrity.   His pioneering initiative of upgrading teacher skills with the latest teaching methods offered by Harvard University was also applauded.

His award comes as no surprise as Mr Houghton has a history of positions in leadership and teaching in various parts of the world including India and London, UK.

He is currently on the advisory board for Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL) which has various schools around the world and has been a consultant for Independent Schools Victoria.

His current role as principal of Al Siraat College compliments his drive to build vibrant learning cultures by aligning himself with the vision shared by the founders of Al Siraat College, Ms Rahat and Mr Fazeel Arain.

“I found Fazeel and Rahat incredibly welcoming with a passion for education and wanting to make a true difference for the community.  The degree of commitment to build something was special and I wanted to help them make the vision come true.  I was also looking for something that would stretch me personally and professionally.  This has certainly been a reality here at Al Siraat College, with me receiving far more than I have given.  I want Al Siraat College to be a school known and respected in the Muslim and Australian Education communities.  We are an Australian School in the Islamic Tradition and our mission is to strive to be a transformative school devoted to holistic education,” Mr Houghton said.

Mr. Houghton giving a speech at the annual Al Siraat College Art Exhibition, Melbourne.

Mr. Houghton giving a speech at the annual Al Siraat College Art Exhibition, Melbourne.

He accepted his award and thanked the many hundreds of people from across the nation that voted for him.

When asked what were his plans in moving forward in 2017, Mr Houghten said, “The College is proud to be working with the new Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE) located at the South Australian University.  We’re engaged with scholars worldwide in research to evaluate current education practices, explore new ways of thinking and doing and celebrating what we are doing that is considered to be world class.  We are working to refresh our Islamic Studies Curriculum, teaching practices and community engagement.”

In February 2017 Al Siraat will be strong contributors in the 1st Australian Islamic Education Forum: Continuity and Change: Envisioning the way forward for Islamic Schooling in the West.  It’s a platform that allows for collaboration between educators in Islamic schools to showcase projects and develop best practices in Islamic education, preparing Muslim students for the world.

Mr. Houghten volunteering for a school fundraiser

Mr. Houghton volunteering for a school fundraiser

Mr Houghton said also plans to continue to work with Harvard University and Independent Schools Victoria.  This will include establishing some Action Research teams across a number of Islamic Schools.

“Al Siraat College is committed to not only improving the education for our community but inshallah have a positive influence on Islamic Schooling nationally and internationally”, he said.

Mr Houghton’s leadership award will be celebrated in a feature article in the January edition of Australian Teacher Magazine.