National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011

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

  • iteracy 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). In addition to the Australian Government funding shown below, States and Territories contribute to the implementation of National Partnerships in money terms and in kind. 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. In 2011, activity was 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 endorsement 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 2011 is included in Part 2.2: National initiatives and achievements – supporting quality teaching and school leadership. 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, approximately 1,700 schools serving low socio-economic status communities will be targeted for support. 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.

Further information on this partnership and its implementation is included in Part 2.7: National initiatives and achievements – improving educational outcomes for Indigenous youth and disadvantaged young Australians. 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, approximately 1,070 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.

The Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership provides for the development of an internet-based national database of effective literacy and numeracy strategies and approaches through a framework of effective practice, referred to as the National Evidence Base.

In November 2011, the Teach Learn Share: The National Literacy and Numeracy Evidence Base website was launched. Education practitioners – including principals, jurisdictions, professional associations and academic institutions – were invited to submit literacy or numeracy strategies for consideration for inclusion on Teach Learn Share.

Teach Learn Share is aimed at supporting greater information sharing and transparency around which literacy and numeracy interventions demonstrate success and how that success can be built on and replicated. The website offers teachers the opportunity to learn about strategies that work and assists them to make informed and evidence-based decisions about how to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for their students.

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 $708 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 funding under the partnership are delivering positive outcomes. 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, young people had an entitlement to a government-subsidised education or training place for 15 to 19-year-olds (from 1 July 2009) or to a government-subsidised place which would result in an individual attaining a higher qualification for 20 to 24-year-olds (from 1 January 2010).

For 2011, all States and Territories 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, or a combination of these, until age 17.

Two programs implemented from 2010 to support the achievement of the National Partnership were School Business Community Partnership Brokers (Partnership Brokers) and Youth Connections.

National Partnership on Digital Education Revolution

This National Partnership Agreement has been established to facilitate the implementation of the Digital Education Revolution (DER). The DER is a $2.1 billion investment by the Commonwealth Government over six years, which aims to contribute sustainable and meaningful change to teaching and learning in Australian schools to prepare students for further education, training, jobs of the future and to live and work in a digital world.

The Digital Education Revolution National Partnership aims to deliver system-wide reforms in education to ensure that students are equipped for learning in a digital environment and to enable schools to better access the benefits of technology for their students.

Further 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 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 full-time schooling. The Commonwealth has committed $970 million over five years towards the implementation of universal access to early childhood education, by 2013. Of this funding $955 million is being provided directly to State and Territory governments to support their implementation of universal access and $15 million is being spent over five years on the development of better data and performance information on early childhood education in Australia.

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 education 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.

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 that support achievement and develop learning potential. BER funding was 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 is included in Part 2.9: National initiatives and achievements – other national initiatives and on the DEEWR website.


¹ Data are at 31 December 2011