“LEADing Lights is a digital transformation initiative at CEWA. The program impacts 162 schools, four offices and early learning care centres...”Read more

As such, the number of immediate stakeholders including students and caregivers is well over 100,000. The sheer scale of the undertaking makes this the largest digital transformation in education anywhere in Australia and our travels on this project draw attention from across the globe.

The program is delivered through a series of projects across different portfolios including technology, education, finance, security, risk, governance and compliance. My role as the program director is to ensure that the program as a whole delivers much more than the sum of its parts. This takes careful planning, coordination, synchronisation, proactive management, negotiation, risk assessment, relationship building, stakeholder management, communication, collaboration and a great deal of faith. Program managers are busy people indeed.

To make LEADing Lights a reality, it takes a proverbial army. Multiple system integration partners have been engaged throughout the program to supply their expertise and people who ultimately deliver the outcomes. Between CEWA, Microsoft, Empired, SMS, Ignia, Optika, R1i and a number of other partners, the team size has varied between 70 and 120 people on IT projects alone. A big part of my role revolves around nurturing tight relationships with project partners, coordination of effort between them and ensuring that from CEWA side we are always ready and ahead of the game to avoid costly delays and contract variations. The part I have particularly enjoyed on this project has been negotiating commercial aspects of these engagements because the impact of a reduced daily rate for example is measured in millions across the lifespan of the program.

Another exciting aspect of my role is that it has given me the opportunity to put into practice what most other organisations only talk about but rarely do. For example, we truly are “cloud first” with a clear strategy of minimising our on premise footprint (including schools). All LEADing Lights solutions fit the IaaS, PaaS or SaaS model and for this reason our solution architecture has existed on the leading edge, providing countless learning opportunities. Machine learning, bots, predictive analytics – we are delivering real solutions based on these technologies. My passion for software engineering has been met too through the Conversation Platform project which is delivering a world class user experience through a set of web portals built on a .NET back-end.

If I had to pick one program achievement that I am most  proud of to date, it would have to be the project that we affectionately refer to as the “field of unicorns”. To migrate over a 150 schools to a single domain and port terabytes of email, documents and content to a single Office 365 tenant, is a massive undertaking by anyone’s standards. To do this for 120 schools in a tick over two months – this I equate to Roger Bannister breaking the “four-minute mile” barrier. I believe that we must have set some sort of record and created a new benchmark.

Why unicorns? When we first scoped out the project, we were looking at thousands of labour days at a staggering cost. To source and engage this many highly skilled people and still deliver on budget seemed impossible and hence we felt that we were looking for a field of unicorns. Through technical, entrepreneurial and project management wizardry, we were able to create a “cookie-cutter” solution which we could scale enormously. Through process automation, it became possible to outsource much of the legwork to school IT staff, school support providers and in some instances even end-users (including students!). Crowd sourcing at its best. The field of unicorns was right in front of our noses – and they delivered.

Based on successes to date and learnings along the way (no such thing as failure) I remain confident that LEADing Lights will continue to exceed expectations and that CEWA will look back on this couple of years as a chapter to remember – a lesson in boldness, faith, team work and a string of minor miracles.

Mike Kovacevic – Head of Digital Transformation Projects


Credentials & Identity


Office 365 & Tools


Administration of Schools





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Credentials & Identity

Unlock your one identity

Your credential is the key to unlocking the power of LEADing Lights. Each staff member and student is given a unique identification allowing access to the LEADing Lights platform. With identifiers such as job title and year-level built into each identity, we can now streamline administration, collaboration and communication among schools.

This credential is perpetual for all staff and students throughout CEWA – Staff and students are free to transition between schools without changing their contact information or email address, or losing any of their files.

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Office 365 & Tools

Revolutionise the way you teach and learn

All CEWA staff and students have access to a suite of tools and services that can help amplify learning and teaching. Our Office 365 license includes globally recognised tools for education like OneNote and Learning Tools, and new tools like Sway and Forms. Access to Claned’s award winning intelligent learning platform helps teachers share resources and gain insights into how their content is being used across the system.



Start Teams with your class, staff, professional learning community and work together in real time with our new communication hub.



An online journal. Take notes, collaborate with others, and share content of virtually any kind, whether website, video, audio, picture or document.



A tool for quickly creating professional-looking presentations, newsletters, visual stories and documents.



An internal video service, allowing educators to publish videos within the organisation with full control over privacy and sharing.



A tool for creating surveys, quizzes, and polls. Teachers can create assessments in the classroom capable of marking themselves in real-time, including branching options and a variety of qualitative and quantitative question types.


Minecraft Education Edition

A tailored reimagining of the popular Minecraft video game, developed specifically for use in education. With Minecraft Education Edition, students build, create, discover and learn through play.



A professional learning platform and intelligent content repository. Claned allows educators to upload courses and resources to a central, shared space where anyone across CEWA can pursue their learning and development goals, as well as class resources and learning pathways for students.



A cloud-based storage space. Staff and students each receive 1 terabyte of space in OneDrive, where they can store, access and share their files from any device.

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Administration of Schools

Simplify school management

As the demands of modern schools increase, the services required to support schools increase faster still. Services for project management, data management, marketing, human resources, facility management, finance, reporting, and so much more are required for schools’ essential day-to-day operations.

Admin of Schools is a comprehensive engine designed to integrate all of these services. Where previously, each task required suites of disparate software to maintain, Admin of Schools unites these into one central management system.

Whether pursuing a new social media campaign, monitoring a school improvement strategy or processing enrolment applications, Admin of Schools enables schools to streamline all of their essential operations.

Features and Functionality

School Management

Bringing together the most important administrative and management tasks in a single place – from academic management to communications, marketing and reporting – it’s all in one place.



Centralise data policies, procedures, rollovers and manage core configuration tasks.



Capture, follow-up and keep track of new or existing enquiries. When ready, data can then be automatically transitioned to the application phase.



Dynamic, flexible reporting is available for key operational tasks such as class lists, medical reports and compliance.



Process Students with Disability funding applications and NCCD Reporting.



Manage VET qualifications, units of competency, outcomes and SCSA reporting.

application and enrolment

Applications & Enrolment

Easy management of new and prospective students, including application status, document upload and fee payment. Parents can also self-service their application/s online.

academic management

Academic Management

View and create courses, assessments, results sets and weighting; alongside integrated timetabling capabilities powered by EdVal.

Marketing and Communications

Marketing & Communications

Send bulk email and SMS communications simply and easily. Users can also create templates to streamline routine communications.

Student Management

A holistic view of every student’s profile, academic performance, attendance and wellbeing. This capability is also built on an intelligent platform that integrates with each Portal, so information is consistent for all users

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Each student’s unique identity retains their demographic, medical and academic data wherever they go within the CEWA system.

student plans and wellbeing

Plans & Wellbeing

Comment and review student behaviour patterns, incident reports, pastoral care and general wellness at school.



Record, comment and report on attendance. Review student history and view trends.



A complete view of each student’s academic performance over time, even if they change schools.


Family and Caregiver Profiles

Comprehensive individual caregiver profiles will be available across all CEWA schools, making visibility and correspondence simpler.

student medical


Ensure appropriate school staff knows each student’s medical alerts and the medication they may need.


Powered by Dynamics 365, this platform centralises billing, asset register, cash management and other administrative tasks. Financial reporting will also allow you to produce flexible, reports with the ability to drill down to a transactional level.

cash and bank management

Cash & Bank Management

Upload and automate bank reconciliations, including BAS and end of month reporting.

accounts receivable

Billing & Accounts Receivable

Automation of annual billing, receipting and reconciliation is enabled. Payment plans and statements are easily generated.

asset register

Asset Register

Supporting the accrual accounting process, the asset register is fully integrated with all aspects of the finance system, leveraging centralised depreciation categories and schedules.


Financial Reporting

Cash flow, profit / loss and balance sheet reporting is aligned to special purpose reports. Dynamic reporting allows each user to drill down to a transaction level.

accounts payable

Accounts Payable

Maintain supplier records, purchase orders, invoices, payments and purchase requisitions.

Trading activities

Trading Activities

Manage basic trading activities such as uniform shop, music, canteen and equipment hire.

Visit the Administration of Schools website to learn more about the project.

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Your personal digital hub

Tailored to the requirements of teachers and students, the Portal is your personal window into LEADing Lights. The Portal is the point at which Office 365 and Admin of Schools meet, providing one central space for our educators and students to access all of the services LEADing Lights has to offer.

This is not simply a replacement for existing solutions – it’s a substantial enhancement. The Portal is streamlined for ease of use, so students and teachers can jump in and start using their Portal with minimal training. In fact, the more you use your Portal, the easier it becomes – the Portal will learn from your usage, and begin to recommend resources which are relevant to your current work, tasks and assessments.

The Teacher Portal simplifies student management and admin tasks, providing easy access to the tools and information you need. Marking, attendance and reporting features save time and effort, and the potential to link Notebooks and Teams provides convenient collaboration and communication spaces. The Teacher Portal enables each educator to intuitively harness the power of LEADing Lights.

For students, the Portal is a school diary you can access anywhere. No more leaving your timetable at home – as long as you have an internet connection, you can see school notices, your calendar, timetable, and everything else you need to stay organised at school.

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Inform every decision

From every use of the Portals, Office 365 and the Admin of Schools system come the Insights: powerful predictive data analytics which can identify and track trends throughout each school. Leaders can stay informed, address areas for growth and negate risks before they can occur, through predictions and recommendations about schools and trends. Power BI is the core application for creating and visualising data insights, as well as generating data informed reports.

Take a look at our Research Strategy