The past two decades have seen Australian governments commit exorbitant energy and resources to transform our nation’s schools. This has resulted in a broad suite of reforms, including a national curriculum, standardised national literacy and numeracy assessments, national standards for teachers and principals, a new federal funding model, and multiple new national measurement and reporting requirements.
The driving force behind these reforms has been a narrative of panic and failure, often centred on the steady decline of Australian students on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Yet despite hard-fought political battles and reforms, and the daily efforts of system leaders, teachers, parents and students across the nation, Australia continues to replicate a system in which key indicators of impact and equity are stagnating or going backwards. For instance:
- roughly one in five young people in Australia do not complete year 12
- indigenous 15-year-olds are on average two to three years behind their non-indigenous peers in science, reading and maths
- a disproportionate share of students who remain below national minimum standards in reading and numeracy are from low socio-economic backgrounds
- the race for high ATARs and entry to elite universities is dominated by young people from the wealthiest backgrounds.
The school funding impasse exemplifies the issues our nation faces. Despite unprecedented levels of funding for schools, public schools remain under-funded compared with private schools when measured against the national Schooling Resource Standard (aka ‘the Gonski model’).
The new federal government has a golden opportunity to influence the decade to come in education reform. Next year, a new National School Reform Agreement will need to be established, to replace the existing agreement that ends in 2023. The development of the new agreement provides a rich opportunity to assess the impact of recent policies and set a new course for education for the decade to come.
This webinar brings together schooling leaders and practitioners to consider opportunities for schooling reform. Key questions for discussion will include:
- How effective have recent national schooling reforms been?
- What policy changes are needed to turn around the declining performance of Australian students?
- How should governments tackle high stakes areas such as schooling funding, curriculum, and teacher workforce reform?
- How can federal, state and territory governments work together to better collaborate and co-design effective education reforms?
Join the stellar panel below for this webinar collaboration between The University of Western Australia’s Public Policy Institute and Graduate School of Education.
- Laureate Professor Jenny Gore, Director of the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre at the University of Newcastle
- Dr Zid Mancenido, Senior Manager (Research and Evaluation) of the Australian Education Research Organisation; Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Bevan Ripp, President of the Principals Federation of Western Australia
- Associate Professor Glenn Savage, UWA Graduate School of Education (Moderator)
- Dr Marnee Shay, Senior Research Fellow, School of Education, The University of Queensland