ACARA news, September 2018

ACARA CEO Robert Randall advises of his decision to move on in 2019

27 September 2018

From ACARA's Board Chair, Ms Belinda Robinson: 

Robert Randall, ACARA’s CEO, has advised me in my capacity as ACARA’s Board Chair that he will not seek a further term as CEO when his current three-year term ends in February 2019. 

Following this advice, the ACARA Board has now commenced the process of identifying a new CEO to lead ACARA in continuing to deliver its important work of improving the education outcomes for all young Australians.  

Mr Randall will continue in his role as CEO in the meantime and will work closely with and support the Board in the process of transitioning his responsibilities to a successor.  

A new CEO will have the opportunity to build on the last nine years of work by ACARA, furthering the work of the organisation in delivering national education priorities as directed by Education Council and continuing to set and support high expectations for education in Australia. 

Rob leaves ACARA having overseen the introduction of several major national education reforms including the creation and endorsement by education ministers of the first Australian Curriculum and the evolution of the National Assessment Program. These reforms are fundamental to the objective of supporting the education of all young Australians, so they can lead productive and rewarding lives.  

I speak on behalf of the entire ACARA Board, past and present, when I give my sincere thanks to Rob for his contribution over the years. Rob has led ACARA with vision and dedication, and we have all appreciated his valuable work. He leaves an impressive legacy of achievement and, on behalf of the Board, I wish him well in his future endeavours. 

Mr Randall was first appointed as ACARA CEO in 2012 and was reappointed in 2016. Prior to that he was General Manager, Curriculum at ACARA since its inception in 2009.  

Mr Randall said that: “Across ACARA’s three core areas of work there have been some significant achievements and improvements made in my time at ACARA. The development and introduction of the Australian Curriculum stands out for me, given the importance in my view of setting national expectations and working as a nation to improve learning opportunities for young people, wherever they go to school.

"NAPLAN has evolved over time in response to feedback from educators and the community and the successful move online in 2018 for around a fifth of students Australia-wide means that the foundation is in place for significant improvements to our national literacy and numeracy testing program.

"My School, while subject to concern from some sectors, continues to be a single source of important information about schools in Australia and has contributed to the move to discussion about student gain and school improvement in this country.

"While ACARA has been responsible, under the direction of the Education Council, for these and other programs they have each truly been a national collaborative effort, with a clear focus on improving learning for all young Australians”.

No review of the Australian Curriculum

17 September 2018

Contrary to media speculation over the weekend, there is no review of the Australian Curriculum underway, and there is no ‘shift’ away from what has been agreed for Australia’s students to learn in school.

The Australian Curriculum, which is being implemented in schools across the country, sets the expectations for what all young Australians should be taught, regardless of where they live in Australia or their background. ACARA drew on the best national talent and expertise, and consulted widely to develop the Australian Curriculum, which was endorsed by all education ministers in 2015.

The Australian Curriculum sets out these expectations in terms of eight learning areas and seven general capabilities, with attention also being given to three cross-curriculum priorities.

As agreed by the Education Council – comprising all Australia’s education ministers – ACARA is required to undertake annual monitoring of the effectiveness of the Australian Curriculum and conduct research into developments in curriculum design, including international comparison studies. Copies of annual monitoring reports and international comparisons studies are available.  

This work may inform future advice to ministers about refinements to the Australian Curriculum; however, it cannot in any way be characterised as a review or a whole-scale redesign of the curriculum.   

ACARA is scheduled to provide advice to education ministers on the potential scope for refinements of the Australian Curriculum in 2019–20. Any actions to then refine the Australian Curriculum will require the endorsement of all education ministers before changes are made.

Robert Randall,
ACARA Chief Executive Officer


When preparing advice to education ministers in 2019–20 about the scope of any possible refinements of the Australian Curriculum, ACARA will draw on the following work:

  • The general capabilities are already a key feature of the Australian Curriculum. Given the experience of schools implementing the curriculum, there is interest in how they might be given greater emphasis and how teachers might be better supported in the teaching and assessing of the curriculum.
  • At the end of 2017, ACARA released literacy and numeracy learning progressions as a support resource for teachers. The progressions help teachers locate the literacy and numeracy development of their students and identify what development should follow.
  • ACARA has engaged the Center for Curriculum Redesign for expert advice and assistance as one of the actions under our program of research. Working together with experts from Australia and overseas, the participants of the project intend to produce a blueprint of a world-leading mathematics curriculum that any country could use to inform their own curriculum design.