Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System Terms of Reference

The Australian Government is committed to working with State and Territory governments to get every school to 100 per cent of its fair funding level. The Australian Government and State and Territory Governments are committed to working together in good faith towards this outcome.

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A decade on from the first Gonski report, it is essential that we conduct a Review to determine where national focus should be directed to deliver world-class schools to close gaps in educational outcomes.

The purpose of this Review is to inform the development and negotiation of the next National School Reform Agreement and Bilateral Agreements with individual states and territories. It will build on the work of the Productivity Commission’s Review of the National School Reform Agreement, which recommended a focus on a smaller number of reforms where a coordinated national approach will help lift student outcomes. It will provide advice on the specific reforms that should be tied to funding in the next National School Reform Agreement.

The Review will focus on driving real improvements in learning and wellbeing outcomes for students. It will consider reforms that are evidence-based, leverage existing systems and high-impact initiatives, and consider the impacts on teacher and school leader workload. It will also consider how funding and reforms can be more transparent and better demonstrate links to student outcomes. It will not revisit how the School Resourcing Standard is calculated.

After this Review is finalised the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments will start negotiations regarding policy and funding.

The current National School Reform Agreement will be extended for 12 months to 31 December 2024, subject to the agreement of First Ministers to enable sufficient time for this to occur.


The Review will advise Education Ministers:

  1. What targets and reforms should be included in the next NSRA to drive real improvements in student outcomes, with a particular focus on students who are most at risk of falling behind and in need of more assistance - for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, regional, rural and remote Australia, students with disability, First Nations students and students from a language background other than English
  2. How the next agreement can contribute to improving student mental health and wellbeing, by addressing in-school factors while acknowledging the impact of non-school factors on wellbeing
  3. How the next agreement can support schools to attract and retain teachers
  4. How data collection can best inform decision-making and boost student outcomes
  5. How to ensure public funding is delivering on national agreements and that all school authorities are transparent and accountable to the community for how funding is invested and measuring the impacts of this investment.

In providing this advice, the Review will take into consideration the recommendations and findings of the Productivity Commission’s Review into the National School Reform Agreement 2023, the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan and existing Government commitments under the other national agreements, including Closing the Gap where appropriate.


The Review will be led by an Expert Panel that will comprise six members and will be chaired by Dr Lisa O’Brien, Chair of the Australian Education Research Organisation, and former CEO of the Smith Family.

Other members of the panel are:

  • Ms Dyonne Anderson, President of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association and Principal at Cabbage Tree Island Public School
  • Dr Jordana Hunter, Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute
  • Professor Stephen Lamb, Emeritus Professor at the Centre for International Research on Education Systems at Victoria University and member of the National School Resourcing Board
  • Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM, former Secretary of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
  • Professor Pasi Sahlberg, Professor of Educational Leadership at University of Melbourne.

The Expert Panel will be supported by a secretariat from the Australian Government Department of Education.


The Expert Panel will consult closely with State and Territory governments given their role as school system managers and majority funders for government schools, and to reflect their unique delivery contexts and local expertise.

The Expert Panel will consult widely with stakeholders, including teachers, school leaders and support staff, education unions, national education agencies, non-government sector school stakeholders, parents, youth and student bodies, and other key stakeholder groups. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations from regional, rural and remote Australia, people with disability, and young Australians experiencing disadvantage.


The Expert Panel will deliver its final report to Education Ministers by 31 October 2023.

Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System – Terms of Reference