Maximising our investment in our schools is of paramount
importance to all Australians: the quality of education each student receives has
important consequences for the student, his or her family and, ultimately, the Australian
Australia has maintained its level of performance against its
international peers, yet the data reveals that the current education policies
and funding models continue to fail our most disadvantaged students. In
particular, students from a low socio-economic background, students with a
disability, Indigenous students and students living in rural, remote and
Many other factors also influence student achievement. Chief
among these are parental engagement, parent and teacher expectations, effective
behaviour management, teacher quality, ongoing professional learning, appropriate
support for students with special needs and school autonomy.
The committee has approached this inquiry with the firm belief
that each child, regardless of his or her background, is entitled to a quality
education and appropriate support to reach his or her full potential. The
outcomes may be different for different students, however, the quality of education
must be excellent in all instances.
A number of submitters and witnesses advised the committee
that there have been more than thirty inquiries into education in the past three
decades. The inference to be drawn from this observation is that this report will
inevitably join the pile of reports heavy with recommendations oft repeated. The
committee acknowledges this concern. However, until we get it right education
will remain a key interest for members of Parliament, governments, academics
and the Australian community.
While this report builds upon the conclusions reached by
previous inquiries, the following pages also provide fresh perspectives on how to
improve teaching and learning in our schools.
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