What is the National School Reform Agreement?

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The National School Reform Agreement is an agreement between the Australian Government and all states and territories that sets out the long-term national goals for school education in Australia.

To achieve these goals, the National Agreement sets out eight important reforms to be implemented nationally over the next five years.

By signing up to the National Agreement, governments commit to a sustained reform effort that will drive improved student outcomes and excellence in our classrooms.

Bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and each state and territory sit alongside the National Agreement and set out state-specific reform actions to improve student outcomes. They also include state and territory funding contributions to support schooling in their government and non-government schools.

The National School Reform Agreement commenced on 1 January 2019.

The eight national reforms

These reforms are based on the evidence of what works, and have been informed by several key reviews including Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools.

Reform 1: Enhancing the Australian Curriculum to support teacher assessment of student attainment and growth

The development of learning progressions that describe the common development pathway along which students typically progress in their learning, regardless of age or year level. Teachers will be able to tailor their teaching by easily identifying where a student is at in their learning and the next steps needed for them to progress. More information on this initiative is available from the National Learning Progressions & Online Formative Assessment Initiative website.

Reform 2: Opt-in online learning assessment tools to assist teachers

The second reform builds on the first, through the development of accessible, quality resources and professional learning that assists teachers to monitor and understand student progress. This enables teachers to tailor their teaching to individual student needs so the learning growth and attainment of every student is maximised. More information on this initiative is available from the National Learning Progressions & Online Formative Assessment Initiative website.

Reform 3: Review senior secondary pathways into work, further education and training

A review of senior secondary pathways to ensure students leave school with the best education and skills to enable them to navigate life beyond school. More information on the review is available from the Education Council Pathways Review website.

Reform 4: Review teacher workforce needs of the future

Develop a national strategy to support better workforce planning by analysing future workforce needs in areas that would benefit from a nationally coordinated response. This will help build our understanding of how to attract, support and retain a high quality teaching profession, with the aim to staff all schools and subjects adequately. This work is being led by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and more information can be found at www.aitsl.edu.au/research/national-teacher-workforce-strategy.

Reform 5: Strengthening the initial teacher education accreditation system

Further strengthen the accreditation of initial teacher education programs across Australia, in recognition of the need for ongoing effort to ensure quality, consistency and transparency.

This will ensure graduate teachers have undertaken the highest quality training and are classroom ready. This work is being led by AITSL.

Reform 6: A national unique student identifier

A unique single number for every student, which will help share information on student learning between schools, sectors and states without using a student’s name. This will provide students, parents and teachers with a comprehensive record of progress and attainment.

Reform 7: An independent national evidence institute to inform teacher practice, system improvement and policy development

Establishment of an independent national evidence institute to undertake research on what works in improving school outcomes and the translation of this research into practical resources for use by schools and teachers.

Reform 8: Improving national data quality, consistency and collection to improve the national evidence base and inform policy development

Data improvement activities that will help measure the impact of these reforms and understand what works best for improving student outcomes. The data and research gathered will be used to help inform future ideas and ensure our education system is continuously improving.