Jason Clare, Minister of Education in Australia’s Federal Government, appointed an expert panel on 29th March to advise Education Ministers on the key targets and specific reforms that should be tied to funding in the next National School Reform Agreement.
I am honoured to be member in this distinguished team of experts. General aim of this expert panel is to write a review to inform policy-makers how to improve equity and excellence in Australian school education with a particular focus on students from low socio-economic backgrounds, regional and remote Australia, First Nations students, students with disability and students from a language background other than English.
Our Panel will also look at how we ensure public funding is delivering on national agreements and that all school authorities are transparent and accountable to the community for how funding is invested and measured.
The members of the Expert Panel
- Dr O’Brien (Chair) ,Chair of the Australian Education Research Organisation and former CEO of the Smith Family.
- Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM, former Secretary of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and former Chair of the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review.
- Professor Stephen Lamb, Emeritus Professor at the Centre for International Research on Education Systems at Victoria University and member of the National School Resourcing Board.
- Dr Jordana Hunter, School Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute.
- Ms Dyonne Anderson, President of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association and Principal at Cabbage Tree Island Public School.
- Professor Pasi Sahlberg, Professor of Educational Leadership at University of Melbourne.
Terms of Reference for the Review
The Australian Government is committed to working with State and Territory Governments to get every school to 100 per cent of its fair funding level. Over a decade on from the first Gonski Review, this Review is to determine where national focus should be directed to deliver world-class schools to close gaps in educational outcomes.
The purpose of this Review is to inform the development and negotiation of the next National School Reform Agreement and Bilateral Agreements with individual states and territories. It will build on the work of the Productivity Commission’s Review of the National School Reform Agreement, which recommended a focus on a smaller number of reforms where a coordinated national approach will help lift student outcomes. It will provide advice on the specific reforms that should be tied to funding in the next National School Reform Agreement.
The Review will focus on driving real improvements in learning and wellbeing outcomes for students. It will consider reforms that are evidence-based, leverage existing systems and high-impact initiatives and consider the impacts on teacher and school leader workload. It will also consider how funding and reforms can be more transparent and better demonstrate links to student outcomes. It will not revisit how the School Resourcing Standard is calculated.
After this Review is finalised the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments will start negotiations regarding policy and funding.
The current National School Reform Agreement will be extended for 12 months to 31 December 2024, subject to the agreement of First Ministers to enable sufficient time for this to occur.
The scope of the review
The Review will advise Education Ministers:
- What targets and reforms should be included in the next agreement to drive real improvements in student outcomes, with a particular focus on students who are most at risk of falling behind and in need of more assistance – for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, regional, rural and remote Australia, students with disability, First Nations students and students from a language background other than English
- How the next agreement can contribute to improving student mental health and wellbeing, by addressing in-school factors while acknowledging the impact of non-school factors on wellbeing
- How the next agreement can support schools to attract and retain teachers
- How data collection can best inform decision-making and boost student outcomes
- How to ensure public funding is delivering on national agreements and that all school authorities are transparent and accountable to the community for how funding is invested and measuring the impacts of this investment.
In providing this advice, the Review will take into consideration the recommendations and findings of the Productivity Commission’s Review into the National School Reform Agreement 2023, the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan and existing Government commitments under the other national agreements, including Closing the Gap where appropriate.
The expert panel will deliver its report to Education Ministers by 31 October 2023.
More about the Review here.