Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes – areas for future focus


Boosting literacy, numeracy and STEM performance

Our education system should deliver a basic learning entitlement for all children to leave school with skills needed for future employment and throughout their life. Good literacy and numeracy skills are the foundation for successful progress in school and into the broader world of work and/or study. This means placing a greater emphasis on early diagnosis and intervention to prevent reading or literacy and numeracy problems. 

In late 2015, the Education Council endorsed the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) School Education Strategy 2016–2026. In the context of rapidly changing technology, and with three quarters of the fastest growing occupations in Australia requiring STEM skills, the Strategy supports a long-term change agenda aimed at ensuring that students have a stronger foundation in STEM. 

Improving the quality of teaching and school leadership

Research tells us that quality teaching and school leadership are the most influential in-school factors on student outcomes.

This means Australia’s most capable and able teachers need to be in classrooms, with our most capable school leaders guiding them. This can be enabled with the right incentives for teachers and school leaders to stay engaged in the profession. We need to recognise teachers for their competency and achievement, not just their length of service.

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the Teacher Standards) are a public statement of what constitutes teacher quality, and define what teachers should know and be able to do at different stages across their careers.

Certification is a voluntary evaluation process that recognises skilled teachers at the Highly Accomplished or Lead career stage of the Teacher Standards to promote expertise and high impact teaching. 

Preparing our students for a globalised world

More needs to be done to prepare Australian students for the globalised world. This includes increasing the number of students learning languages and providing better career advice for students in their final years of school.

Focusing on what matters most and those who need it most

International research has shown that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be low-performing, drop out of school and less likely to attain a better-paying job.

Now, more than ever, we need to be ensuring our interventions in education are focused on what matters most and those who need it most.

Increasing public accountability through improved transparency

Transparency is an important element in maintaining public confidence in the education system. It is important to ensure there is public accountability for the way in which funding is distributed, how that funding is used behind the school gate and achievement of outcomes. This is critical in understanding what works and what interventions deliver value-for-money.

There is substantial evidence that shows that clear accountability for school results helps create a learning environment that encourages innovation and excellence from school leaders, teachers and students. Publishing school information also means that students, parents and teachers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about student learning.