Stories from 2018



What school is best for your child?


Edited version of Pursuit article by Dr Nicky Dulfer


Choosing the right school for your family can be daunting, but keeping a few simple tips in mind can help.

Sending children to a new school is always a little nerve wracking – whether your child is moving from kinder to primary school or from primary to high school.

This can lead to us doubting our own ability to choose the right school. But if we trust ourselves and do a little research it needn’t be that scary.

There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ school, but there is a good ‘fit’ with schools. So think about what might help your child feel they ‘belong’.

Keeping a few simple points in mind can help make the process less daunting:

  • figure out what is important to your family,

  • try to remain objective when listening to everyone’s school stories, and

  • go local if possible.

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Skills education needs action, not more talk

Edited version of Pursuit article by Dr Ruth Schubert and Professor Leo Goedegebuure

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About a quarter of Australians are in vocational education but the current system is flawed and selling us short at a critical time. Here’s how to fix it.

Some 20 years ago, the Australian vocational education system was regarded as world class. Sadly, this is no longer the case when compared to systems in places such as Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and even China.

Australia’s vocational education system has been bedevilled by competing jurisdiction control, political ideology, chronic under-funding, piecemeal reforms, rampant rorting by a small number of corporate private providers, and a disappointing and surprisingly high level of policy confusion.

In February this year, Labor announced it would commit to a generational review of the VET sector in Australia if elected at the next election.

There is already a substantial list of research reports, reviews and inquiries into issues within the sector. A well-crafted plan can be distilled from this, which, combined with proactive leadership and action, is what the sector needs.

Not yet another all-encompassing, long-winded review that will inevitably run aground due to the short-term federal political cycle.


Federal Budget 2018: Incompatible state, federal governments hold education back

Originally published in the Financial Review and written by Dr Jim Watterston


The budget sets up an educational equivalent of "Groundhog Day". Once more, a focus on short-term politics comes to the fore. While educators suffer from ongoing reform fatigue, the battle will begin between the states, who control the purse strings, versus Big Brother who has provided the plan.

This politicisation of education is the single most destabilising influence limiting improvement across this country.

Education did not feature prominently in the budget, which is a disappointment considering the need for innovation and preparing Australians to be more globally capable and competitive. 

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School Shootings are preventable. It begins with understanding reputation

Originally published on the Education Week blog co-authored by Professor Annemarie Carrol, Laureate Professor John Hattie and Professor Stephen Houghton

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Since 2000, there have been more than 150 school shootings in the US, leading to 200 deaths.  The presence of guns, the publicity from each shooting, and the malaise and motives of the killers are all linked.

Our research over the last 20 years, however, shows that there are further major underlying causes, and if we know and react to these, we can prevent many mass shootings.