National Report on Schooling Australia 2012

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).

Following this commitment, 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.

Smarter Schools National Partnerships

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 contribute to the implementation of national partnerships in money terms and in kind. Participation by non-government schools in these partnerships has been 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 have implemented 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 was committed to this partnership over the five-year period. Achievements include the establishment of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, and the development and adoption of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Further information on this partnership is included in Part 2.2: National initiatives and achievements – supporting quality teaching and school leadership.

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 local communities and education authorities to improve educational outcomes for 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 has been allocated 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 have been targeted for support. Activities focus on supporting student engagement and attendance through both whole-of- school strategies and targeted intervention for particular groups. There has also been a focus on the establishment of external partnerships with parents and organisations to support student learning and wellbeing.

Further 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 (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 effective strategies and approaches for improving literacy and numeracy, submitted by teachers, professional associations, academics and education authorities. Launched in June 2012, Teach Learn Share gives teachers access to evidence-based research and to strategies and interventions that have worked in improving student outcomes in other Australian schools and school systems.

The COAG Reform Council’s report to COAG: National Partnership Agreement on Literacy and Numeracy: Performance report for 2011 was released on the Council’s website in May 2012.

National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment and Transitions

The National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions covering the period from 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 $706 million has been committed to this partnership over the life of the agreement, including up to $100 million in reward funding made available to jurisdictions on the achievement of agreed participation and attainment targets.

 In its report to COAG: National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment and Transitions: Assessment of Attainment Target, the COAG Reform Council assessed the performance up to 2012 of state and territory governments against targets for young people attaining a Year 12 or equivalent qualification. This report, published in 2013, is available on the Council’s website.

The national partnership includes the Compact with Young Australians and the implementation of the National Youth Participation Requirement, which took effect nationally in 2010. All states and territories have met their obligation 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.

Programs implemented to support the achievement of this national partnership included School Business Community Partnership Brokers and Youth Connections.

Further 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

This national partnership agreement was established to facilitate the implementation of the Digital Education Revolution (DER). $2.1 billion was provided 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.

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 Rewards for Great Teachers

The Rewards for Great Teachers National Partnership (2011–12 to 2018–19) was established in 2012 to implement the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework and a nationally consistent assessment and certification process for teachers performing at the higher levels of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education

Through the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education, Commonwealth and state and territory governments committed to ensuring that, by 2013, all children would have access to a quality early childhood education program in the year before full-time schooling. The Commonwealth allocated $970 million over five years towards the implementation of this commitment. Of this funding, $955 million has been provided directly to state and territory governments to support their implementation of universal access and $15 million is being used to develop better data on early childhood education in Australia.

The national partnership has a particular emphasis on ensuring preschool education is available to Indigenous and disadvantaged children and is linked to other elements of early childhood education reform, including the Closing the Gap target and the Early Years Learning Framework.

State and territory annual reports for 2012 are available for viewing on the Department of Education website.

National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development

Through the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development, the Australian Government has provided $292.6 million for the establishment of at least 35 Children and Family Centres across Australia by June 2014. The Children and Family Centres deliver integrated services, including early childhood learning, child care and family programs in areas where there is a demonstrated need for these services 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 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.

Empowering Local Schools National Partnership Agreement

Through the Empowering Local Schools National Partnership, the Australian Government provided $57.166 million to help enable principals, parents and school communities to make decisions that suited the local context of their schools. Schools from all states and territories participated.

This initiative focused on empowerment in:
• governance arrangements (including strategic planning, school operations decision-making structures and processes)
• funding and infrastructure (including allocation of resources, infrastructure management, planning and maintenance)
• workforce (including staffing profiles, recruitment, performance management).