National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

National initiatives and achievements

2.1 Developing stronger partnerships

Australian governments have committed to working with all school sectors to ensure that schools engage young Australians, parents, carers, families, other education and training providers, business and the broader community to support students’ progress through schooling and to provide them with rich learning, personal development and citizenship opportunities (Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians 2008).

In line with the commitment reflected in the Melbourne Declaration, states and territories have worked on an individual basis to establish:

• school-based partnerships with parents, carers and families; with local community groups; with Indigenous communities and between schools
• system-based partnerships with business, higher education, government agencies and others.

Through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Australian Government and state and territory governments also entered into a set of formal national partnership agreements. These are outlined below.

National partnership agreements for:

• improving teacher quality
• education in low socio-economic status school communities
• literacy and numeracy

have contributed to achieving objectives, outcomes and targets for schooling, outlined in the National Education Agreement (NEA). In addition to the Australian Government funding shown below, states and territories contributed to the implementation of national partnerships in money terms and in kind. Participation by non-government schools in these partnerships was determined through collaboration between the non-government sectors and state and territory governments.

Improving teacher quality

The Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership (from 2008–09 to 2012–13) sought to implement a range of initiatives targeting critical points in teachers’ careers. Australian government funding of $550 million was provided to state and territory education authorities to attract, train, place, develop and retain quality teachers and leaders in schools. Other measures were designed to develop effective workforce planning and support, improve teacher pay structures, increase school-based decision-making and improve teacher education and professional development. The Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership ceased in June 2013.

The Rewards for Great Teachers National Partnership was introduced to implement the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework and a nationally consistent assessment and certification process for highly accomplished and lead teachers. These processes have since been implemented nationally. The Rewards for Great Teachers National Partnership ceased in December 2013.

Low socio-economic status school communities

The Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership aimed to facilitate progress within targeted schools and communities to improve student learning, engagement and wellbeing, and to foster active participation of the community.

The Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership was scheduled to run from 2008–09 to 2014–15 and included $1.5 billion in Australian government funding to be matched by states and territories. Approximately 1,790 schools participated in the program, which ceased in December 2013. Unallocated funds were redirected to needs-based funding arrangements specified in the Australian Education Act 2013, which will apply from January 2014 (see under ‘Funding arrangements from 2014’ later in this section).

More information on this initiative is included in Part 2.7: National initiatives and achievements – improving educational outcomes for Indigenous youth and disadvantaged young Australians.

Literacy and numeracy

The $540 million Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership (from 2008–09 to 2011–12) aimed to deliver sustained improvement in literacy and numeracy outcomes for students, especially those needing support. Over the life of this national partnership, approximately 1,070 schools were targeted for support. Programs included individualised support for students, and targeted professional learning for school leaders and classroom teachers.

The Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership sponsored the development of ‘Teach, Learn, Share’, an online database of strategies and approaches for improving literacy and numeracy, submitted by teachers, professional associations, academics and education authorities. Launched in June 2012, ‘Teach, Learn, Share’ provided access to evidence-based research and to strategies and interventions shown to be successful in improving student outcomes in Australian schools and school systems. ‘Teach, Learn, Share’ was incorporated on the Scootle website in 2014.

The $243.9 million National Partnership on Improving Literacy and Numeracy aimed to support states and territories to expand the implementation of effective literacy and numeracy strategies in schools during the 2013 school year. Funding was provided over the 2012–13 and 2013–14 financial years. Almost 1,900 schools participated in the initiative, providing coverage for 36 per cent of lower-achieving students across Australia.

The partnership focused on effective school leadership and whole school engagement with literacy and numeracy; monitoring student performance in literacy and numeracy to identify areas needing support; and implementing evidence-based literacy and numeracy teaching approaches.

National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment and Transitions

The National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment and Transitions, which covered the period from July 2009 to December 2013, aimed to increase participation of young people in education and training, increase attainment levels nationally and improve successful transitions from school.

The national partnership included the Compact with Young Australians and the implementation of the National Youth Participation Requirement, which took effect nationally in 2010. Programs implemented to support the achievement of this national partnership included School Business Community Partnership Brokers and Youth Connections.

More information on this partnership is included in Part 2.5: National initiatives and achievements – supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions.

National Partnership Agreement on Digital Education Revolution

The National Partnership Agreement on Digital Education Revolution, provided $2.1 billion by the Australian Government over six years, for new information and communication technology (ICT) equipment in secondary schools, for enhancing teaching resources in ICT and for providing technical advice and support to schools. The Digital Education Revolution concluded in June 2013.

More information on the Digital Education Revolution is provided in Part 2.5: National initiatives and achievements – supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions.

National Partnership Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan – Building the Education Revolution

In 2009, COAG agreed to the National Partnership Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan: Building Prosperity for the Future and Supporting Jobs Now, incorporating Building the Education Revolution (BER). This agreement provided Commonwealth funding for the BER program over four years and expired on 31 December 2012. The $16.2 billion BER sought to provide economic stimulus through rapid construction and refurbishment of school infrastructure and built learning environments. BER funding was allocated to nearly 24,000 projects in approximately 9,500 schools under the three elements of the BER. The BER program closed on 30 August 2013.

Empowering Local Schools National Partnership Agreement

The Empowering Local Schools National Partnership sought to help principals, parents and school communities make decisions that suited the local context of their schools, focusing on governance, funding and infrastructure, and workforce management. Schools from all states and territories participated ¹.

Funding arrangements from 2014

A new needs-based funding model for the provision of Australian Government funding for school education, contained in the Australian Education Act 2013, will take effect from January 2014. These funding arrangements provide that schools with students needing extra support will attract additional payment loadings.

The Australian Government’s Students First policy will focus on four areas intended to improve student outcomes: teacher quality; school autonomy; engaging parents in education; and strengthening the Australian Curriculum. This includes the objective that mainstream schools policy, programs and service delivery contribute to improvements in outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Information on national partnerships for early childhood education is included in Part 2.3: National initiatives and achievements – strengthening early childhood.

¹ The Empowering Local Schools National Partnership ceased in June 2014.

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