National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010

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).

States and Territories are committed to fostering:

  • 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.

Jurisdictions are developing these partnerships on an individual basis, sharing and learning from best practice across jurisdictions and school sectors.

Smarter Schools National Partnerships

Through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Australian Government and State and Territory governments have entered into national partnerships for:

  • Improving Teacher Quality

  • Education in Low Socio-economic Status School Communities

  • Literacy and Numeracy.

Known collectively as Smarter Schools National Partnerships, these contribute to achieving objectives, outcomes and targets for schooling under COAG and the policy and reform directions outlined in the National Education Agreement (NEA). Participation by non-government schools in these partnerships is determined through collaboration between the non-government sectors and State and Territory governments.
 

  • Improving Teacher Quality

    Under the Teacher Quality National Partnership (2008–09 to 2012–13), governments and school sectors are implementing a range of reforms that aim to attract, train, place, develop and retain quality teachers and leaders in Australia’s schools. Commonwealth funding of $550 million has been committed to this partnership over the five-year period. All teachers and school leaders are targeted under this partnership. Until June 2011, activity will be focused on establishing structures, institutions and nationally agreed standards to carry forward major reforms in teaching. There has been activity at system, regional and school levels across the reforms. Some examples include the establishment of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership in January 2010 and the approval by Education Ministers of the National Professional Standards for Teachers in December 2010. Under the National Partnership various activities are undertaken at a jurisdictional level including improving performance management systems and pay structures.

    Further information on this partnership and its implementation in 2010 is included in National initiatives and achievements – supporting quality teaching and school leadership in this report. More detailed information is available on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Smarter Schools National Partnerships website.

  • Low Socio-economic Status School Communities

    Through the Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership (2008–09 to 2014–15), participating schools are working with their local communities and education authorities to identify reform activities that will generate the best educational outcomes for their disadvantaged students, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students from non-English speaking backgrounds and students with disabilities. Commonwealth funding of $1.5 billion is being provided to States and Territories over the seven-year period, to be matched by State and Territory co-investment. Over the life of this National Partnership, 1,734 schools serving low socio-economic status communities will be targeted for support. To date, this National Partnership is supporting student engagement and attendance through whole-of-school strategies as well as targeted intervention for particular cohorts, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. There has been a strong focus on the establishment of external partnerships with parents and organisations to support student learning and wellbeing, especially in the early years.

    Further information on this partnership and its implementation in 2010 is included in National initiatives and achievements – improving educational outcomes for Indigenous youth and disadvantaged young Australians in this report. More detailed information is available on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Smarter Schools National Partnerships website.

  • Literacy and Numeracy

    The $540 million Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership (2008–09 to 2011–12) aims to deliver sustained improvement in literacy and numeracy outcomes for students, especially those needing support. Over the life of this National Partnership, 1,069 schools will be targeted for support. Progress has been made on improved literacy and numeracy outcomes through explicit and individualised support for students and targeted professional learning for school leaders and classroom teachers. Intensive, school-based coaching by literacy/numeracy experts on the use of data to identify individual student learning needs has made a significant contribution to improved learning outcomes.

    Under the Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership, approximately $138.5 million of reward funding was paid to States and Territories in 2010 for their performance against agreed targets. Targets for the first year of reward payments (2010) were negotiated between jurisdictions and the Commonwealth in 2009. They were designed to reflect the focus of the partnership, consisting of mandated National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy measures and optional local measures. The COAG Reform Council found that all States and Territories had made progress in improving students’ literacy and numeracy.

    Further information on this partnership is available on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Smarter Schools National Partnerships website.

National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions

The National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions covering the period July 2009 to December 2013 aims to: increase participation of young people in education and training; increase attainment levels nationally; and improve successful transitions from school. Commonwealth funding of $723 million has been committed to this partnership over the life of the agreement, including up to $100 million in reward funding to be made available to jurisdictions on the achievement of agreed participation and attainment targets. This partnership includes the Compact with Young Australians and the implementation of a National Youth Participation Requirement which commenced on 1 January 2010. The partnership also clarifies the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth, States and Territories and promotes immediate, concerted action supported by broader long-term reform.

Many of the initiatives implemented by jurisdictions with the funding under the partnership are in the early phase of implementation, however positive outcomes are emerging. The funding has enabled tailoring of initiatives to jurisdictional needs and enhancement of existing reforms designed to improve attainment and transition outcomes for young people.

Under the Compact with Young Australians, an entitlement to an education or training place took effect on 1 January 2010. This entitlement is for those aged 20 to 24 who wish to undertake education or training to improve upon their existing qualifications. A similar entitlement for those aged 15 to 19 has been in place since July 2009.
All States and Territories confirmed that they met their obligation through the Compact with Young Australians to require young people to complete at least Year 10 and then remain in full-time study or work until age 17.
Two programs were implemented in January 2010 to support the achievement of the partnership goals: School Business Community Partnership Brokers (Partnership Brokers) and Youth Connections.
As at December 2010, there were approximately 1,300 partnerships associated with Partnership Brokers nationally, involving over 7,600 partner organisations. These partnerships are undertaking a range of activity to support the learning and development of young people in their community. About one in six of these partnerships had an Indigenous focus.
During 2010, 21,800 young people participating in Youth Connections received individualised support, with 10,000 re-engaging with education, training or employment and a further 3,800 making significant progress in addressing barriers to engagement in education.

Further information on this partnership is included in National initiatives and achievements – supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions in this report and on the DEEWR website.

National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education

Through the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education, Commonwealth and State and Territory governments have committed to ensuring that, by 2013, all children will have access to a quality early childhood education program in the year before formal schooling. The Commonwealth has committed $970 million over five years towards the implementation of universal access to early childhood education, by 2013. The National Partnership includes a specific focus on ensuring preschool education is available to Indigenous and disadvantaged children. The National Partnership is closely linked to other elements of the Australian Government’s early childhood reform agenda, including the early childhood Closing the Gap target, the development of the national Early Years Learning Framework, workforce reforms and the development of a national quality framework for early childhood education and care. Further information on the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Universal Access Strategy, is available on the DEEWR website.

National Partnership on Indigenous Early Childhood Development

Through the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development the Australian Government is providing $292.62 million for the establishment of at least 35 Children and Family Centres across Australia by June 2014. The Children and Family Centres will deliver integrated services, including early learning, child care and family programs in areas where there is a demonstrated need for these services, high disadvantage and a high proportion of Indigenous children under five years of age. By 31 December 2010, 38 Children and Family Centres had been agreed by responsible Ministers.

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 provides Commonwealth funding for the BER program over four years and will expire on 31 December 2012. The $16.2 billion BER aims to provide economic stimulus through rapid construction and refurbishment of school infrastructure and build learning environments to help children, families and communities participate in activities to support achievement and develop learning potential. BER funding has been allocated to nearly 24,000 projects in approximately 9,500 schools under the three elements of the BER¹.

Further information on this partnership and its implementation in 2010 is included in National initiatives and achievements – other national initiatives in this report and on the DEEWR website.



¹ Data are at 31 August 2010