The Federal Government has named the panel of experts that will lead a landmark inquiry into its Gonski 2.0 reforms.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools would be led by David Gonski and a panel of seven eminent educators and policy experts.
Minister Birmingham said the review would build on the reforms that had to date focused on strengthening the accreditation standards of teacher training courses, ensuring graduate teachers have literacy and numeracy skills among the top 30 per cent of the adult population and a ‘back to basics’ focus on phonics and numeracy teaching.
“With needs-based funding in place, schools and teachers will have the support they need as well as resources they can use to focus on the programs that are best suited to their students,” he said.
“The Review panellists are ideal advisers on the best evidence-based practices for our students that will help guide how our schools and educators focus resources in classrooms.
“This Review will set a pathway to turnaround our stagnating and declining student performance and help to boost the preparedness of students for life after school.”
“I encourage states, territories, non-government school systems and all stakeholders to constructively engage with the Review, to think outside the square and seize the opportunity to shape the best possible educational opportunities for future generations.”
The panel conducting the Review includes:
- Chair – Mr David Gonski AC
- Dr Ken Boston AO
- Mr Terrey Arcus AM
- Dr Lisa O’Brien
- Ms Valerie Gould
- Dr Lee-Anne Perry AM
- Ms Wendy Johnson
- Mr Michael Roberts
“The review panel has a unique opportunity to assist in putting Australian schooling on a better path for success. I believe that the panel has an excellent balance of skills and backgrounds to work on quality reforms,” Mr Gonski said.
The Review will report to the prime minister and Minister Birmingham by March 2018. It will examine evidence and make recommendations on the most effective teaching and learning strategies and initiatives to be deployed.
The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) welcomed the announcement.
Ms Beth Blackwood, AHISA CEO, said AHISA hoped the panel’s deliberations would be informed by four key understandings:
1. Recognition of teachers’ and school leaders’ professional expertise
2. Recognition that most schools are already operating strategically within a continuous cycle of development or improvement
3. Recognition of the value of school leaders’ autonomy in determining the best strategies at any particular point in time in a school’s cycle of development
4. Recognition that NAPLAN and PISA tests are very narrow measures of the capacities of students and of what schools actually do.
“The mix of expertise and perspectives which the panelists will bring to the review suggests we can hope for an inclusive and strategic approach to determining what is best for Australian students and schools,” she said.
Ms Blackwood said the review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools is an opportunity to open an important national discussion on the purposes of education.
“Schools are undergoing rapid evolution due to escalating social and technological change,” Ms Blackwood said.
‘This is not the time for schools and classroom practices to be viewed through the rear-view mirror, and a useful start for the panel could be to determine whether The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians still represents the full compass of our aspirations for educational excellence in schools.”