Paul Sutton

Paul Sutton

 In a nutshell

Paul has over 30 years of educational experience with schools and in strategic appointments to manage curriculum design and assessment monitoring. With a strong background in Science and Mathematic,  Paul has led major curriculum reform in schools and been proud of the creativity he nurtures in teachers and school staff to develop important programs in Science and Mathematics.

Paul had a leadership role in the adoption of the New Basics and Rich Task curriculum in north Queensland, mentoring 13 schools across Cape York and Torres Straits, providing curriculum design advice, supporting assessment practices and providing individual and group professional development.

Paul has a very strong background in assessment practices and was a State Panel Chair for Mathematics and a State Review officer. His knowledge of assessment and curriculum enabled him to support a 4 year project in Nauru to redesign the curriculum framework and mentor teachers to design and implement curriculum. The Nauru Rich Task curriculum, called the Nauru Curriculum Footpath is unique in the world in its scope and quality.

Paul has been a regular, respected and in-demand presenter at local, state and national education conferences since 1975. In 2003 he was keynote speaker at a Senior Education Administrators Conference in New Zealand. He was keynote at an international computer conference in Cairns in 2006, called the Australian Computers in Education Conference. He is an accomplished curriculum developer, syllabus writer and change facilitator.

He has particular expertise in assessment, especially authentic assessment strategies and is an advocate of clearly distinguishing the difference between criteria and standards, and using outcomes as well as other measures of student performance.

 Paul is a member of the Australian Civialian Corops, a 500 strong group of experts who provide humanitarian, election and emergency support on behalf of the Australian Government.


Since 2001, Paul and Michelle have worked extensively with Indigenous communities initially facilitating change in schools and later engaging older Indigenous people in very successful computer training. One contract with DBCDE requires them to work closely with Traditional Owners in remote and very remote communities to decide if the community wishes to install a phone. They suggest where it can be appropriately installed and negotiate management and use with the community and Traditional Owners.


Personal stuff

Paul is a father to three children and grandfather to eight. An avid camper, bushwalker, bird watcher and photographer, he has adopted a lifestyle which enables a great mix of work and leisure.  Paul is also a keen environmentalist with a history of supporting groups to manage their campaigns effectively. Paul has been a member of the State Council of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland since 1985 when work permits.


Professional history


2016   Everyday Digital Skills workshops 

Workshops were conducted in 12 very remote Indigenous communities in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands (Southern Gibson Desert) of Western Australia providing a wide range of on demand digital training for local people. Our only workshop rule "No shame, just respect" and our totally open curriculum based on "What do you want to learn today?" makes these workshops very flexible and highly successful. Our clients choose the task they would like to work on and all take away a personal product as well as their empowering learning. 

2015   Election  Support Autonomous Bougainville Government

A member of ACC Team appointed to Bougainville to support the ABG Electoral Commission. Bougainville 2015. (Short term - 9 weeks). Assisting in a multi-nation team to assist Vanuatu Electoral Commission to host elections; training polling teams and counting teams; planning events and activities, developing electronic tools to support logistics. Testing counting tools, general mentoring and support to local staff and international team members.

2008 - ongoing  Election Support for Australian National, State and Local Government Elections as an experienced booth supervisor.

2009 - 2015  Community Liaison Officer

Initially contracted to Department Of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) and later to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PMC) to identify Remote and Very Remote Indigenous Communities of fewer than 50 people eligible for the installation of a public satellite phone, assist nomination processes, negotiate installation and provide training in management and use. Subsequently we supported Internet installation and provided training for communities in its value and use including Cybersafety training and connection troubleshooting.


Sheldon College. Provide consultancy support for teachers and administrators involved in an Australian Government Quality Teacher Project to deeply integrate use of technology in teaching in a very successful pilot program involving 11 teachers.   

University of Southern Queensland. Teaching Teachers for the Future Project where universities are analysing coursework and pedagogy to determine if preservice teachers have opportunity to meet the national dimensions for using ICT within the National Standards for teachers Framework. Project involves  reviewing  courses, developing course and assessment, consultancy and mentoring to staff and teaching students. In particular, we are assisting staff to teach online.



Co project manager of the Sea Country Guardians Project, a contract with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to assist Indigenous communities to design learning experiences for young people so they understand and know their sea country, express how they value sea country and undertake activities to take responsibility for care for their sea country.


With Michelle, designed and implemented an eight week computer training project for CDEP participants at Lockhart River.

2008-09 Backing Indigenous Ability (DBCDE) Project design and implementation of very successful computer training in 20 remote Indigenous communities in Cape York, Torres Strait, Arnhem Land, Tiwi Islands, Minyerri, Ngukurr and Borroloola.


Authored innovative Mathematics activities published in 2009 Innovative Teachers Companion – an internationally popular teacher’s diary.


Extended consultancies with Ravenshoe SS and Aquinas College. Success for Boys Commonwealth Govt funded project.

2005 - 2009

Nauru Curriculum Footpath project working with Nauru teachers and Education Department to rebuild Nauru preschool to Year 10 education as a Rich Task based curriculum meeting national priorities and creatively using available community resources.


With Michelle Williams, sourced and managed approximately $400 000 in Quality Teacher Program funding for a range of projects most involving the efficient development of high quality deep units of work using a planning model developed by Paul while working on the New Basics project. The model has now been widely adopted and is the basis of much of the developmental work done in Nauru.

2001 - 2005

Education Qld New Basics and Cape Curriculum Project Officer responsible for supporting implementation in 22 mainstream schools and 14 Cape schools.

2000 - 2001

Acting Deputy Principal Ingham SHS

1987 – 2000

Head of Department Mathematics Ingham SHS



Research Reports

Paul is the author or co-author of several research reports with the one most relevant to this project being Hearts and Minds – a study of why Nauruan adolescents avoid school. The methodology is particularly relevant as it used pairs of young bilingual Nauruans to interview Nauruan youth in their first language using a mix of set questions and training in follow up questions. The researcher debriefed the pairs of interviewers to create English transcriptions and ensure the validity of the translations before analysing the data.
Paul and Michelle co designed the methodology and co-authored Relationships that Educate a report of research into preferred methods of passing on Indigenous Sea Country knowledge. The methodology encouraged people to discuss key questions in their own language then choose what to translate for the researchers allowing discussion of secret business and choice in sharing with the researchers who reminded participants they were representatives of a wider non Indigenous community who wanted to learn.

Paul can use statistical analysis to support development of reports, find intriguing results and communicate them effectively.