National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

National policy context

1.1 Educational goals

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians ¹ sets the directions for Australian schooling for the ten-year period 2009–2018 as agreed to by all Australian education ministers.

The Melbourne Declaration has two overarching educational goals ² for young Australians:

Goal 1: Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence

Goal 2: All young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.

Commitment to Action

The Melbourne Declaration includes a Commitment to Action in eight interrelated areas in order to support the achievement of the educational goals:

• developing stronger partnerships
• supporting quality teaching and school leadership
• strengthening early childhood education
• enhancing middle years development
• supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions
• promoting world-class curriculum and assessment
• improving educational outcomes for Indigenous youth and disadvantaged young Australians, especially those from low socio-economic backgrounds
• strengthening accountability and transparency.

Progress in implementing strategies and initiatives addressing the areas for action in 2013 is outlined in Part 2: National initiatives and achievements.

National Education Agreement

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Education Agreement (NEA) articulates the shared objective of Australian governments that all Australian school students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in society and employment in a globalised economy.

The agreement sets out conditions for the provision of Commonwealth school education funding to the Australian states and territories for the period of 2009–2013. It details roles and responsibilities of the Australian Government, and states and territories, and defines a framework for performance reporting. These, along with agreed policy and reform directions, are designed to contribute to the following outcomes:

• All children are engaged in, and benefiting from, schooling.
• Young people are meeting basic literacy and numeracy standards, and overall levels of literacy and numeracy achievement are improving.
• Australian students excel by international standards.
• Schooling promotes social inclusion and reduces the education disadvantage of children, especially Indigenous children.
• Young people make a successful transition from school to work and further study.

The performance reporting framework agreed by all governments includes the following elements:

• streamlined and consistent reports on national progress, including an annual national report on the outcomes of schooling in Australia (the National Report on Schooling in Australia – this report) and the biennial COAG report Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators
• national reporting on performance of individual schools to inform parents and carers, and for evaluation by governments of school performance with details, as agreed by SCSEEC in March 2009
• provision by schools of plain language student reports to parents and carers, and an annual report made publicly available to their school community on the school’s achievements and other contextual information.

Under the provisions of the Schools Assistance Act 2008 and regulations, the accountability framework for non-government schools and school systems is consistent with that of the NEA for the government school sector.

¹ The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008) replaced the National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century (the Adelaide Declaration, agreed in 1999), which itself superseded the original National Goals for Schooling in Australia (Hobart Declaration, agreed in 1989).

² For a full explanation of the goals, see the Melbourne Declaration, pp. 6–9.

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