Communique – Education Ministers Meeting




Communiqué

The final Education Ministers Meeting (EMM) for 2022 was held on 15 December. It was chaired by the Hon Jason Clare MP, Australian Government Minister for Education. Education Ministers paid tribute to the work of educators across the country for their dedication to their students and school communities throughout 2022.  With unprecedented levels of absence for both staff and students through the year and severe weather impacting a number of communities, our schools have continued to deliver. As systems around the world grapple with learning loss following the global pandemic, in Australia our trend remains steady.  Due to the extraordinary commitment and resilience of our teachers and schools across all sectors and jurisdictions, Australian students have continued to achieve a high standard of learning. Ministers thank the teachers, support staff, leaders, students, parents and the wider education community for their continued efforts and success. These results show that the important work that is happening in schools and within the classroom every day is ensuring Australia is on the best footing for continued success.

National Policy Initiatives

Education Ministers made significant progress on key initiatives that are commitments under the current National School Reform Agreement (NSRA).

Ministers endorsed a path forward on the Online Formative Assessment Initiative (OFAI). Resources will be delivered to teachers quickly and cost-effectively by jurisdictions working together to leverage and align existing resources from NSW, Victoria, and Queensland to establish a national bank of assessments that will meet the needs of all jurisdictions on an opt-in basis. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority will lead this work.

Education Ministers also agreed on a model to roll-out the Unique Student Identifier (USI) nationally to all school students. Minsters agreed that a baseline use of the schools USI will be to contribute to an existing information exchange scheme operating across Australian jurisdictions related to the safety and wellbeing of children. This constitutes a key pillar in the response from Australian Governments to recommendations made by the 2017 Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Priorities for 2023

Education Ministers are committed to working together to improve educational outcomes for all children. To advance this objective, Education Ministers agreed three clear priorities for 2023 at the meeting, including work tasked by National Cabinet to strengthen Early Childhood Education and Care, implementation of the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, and work towards the next National School Reform Agreement

Education Ministers remain committed to delivering these priorities with a focus on students from equity cohorts, particularly students with a disability, regional students, students from low socio-economic backgrounds, and Indigenous students.

National School Reform Agreement

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. 

Ministers discussed an extension of the current NSRA and Bilateral Agreements for 12 months to allow for a review to inform them, subject to agreement from First Ministers.

It will focus on driving real improvements in learning and wellbeing outcomes for students, with a focus on students from disadvantaged backgrounds including regional, rural and remote Australia, First Nations students, students with disability, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. It will also consider how we can improve the transparency of funding.

The transition pathway for non-government schools down to 100 per cent of the SRS will be unchanged.

National Teacher Workforce Action Plan

Teacher shortages are a key issue affecting all jurisdictions, sectors, and school communities across the country. Education Ministers agreed the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, which sets out a clear pathway to addressing the national issue of teacher workforce shortages. This is the culmination of extensive consultation with teachers and experts that was launched by Ministers at the Teacher Workforce Roundtable at Australian Parliament House in August.

The Action Plan includes five priority areas: improving teacher supply, strengthening initial teacher education, keeping the teachers we have, elevating the profession, and better understanding future teacher workforce needs.

New voice mechanisms for First Nations Australians and students to EMM

The EMM is a forum for national collaboration on education initiatives of national strategic importance. EMM progressed measures to enhance its collaborative links with the Australian community, and noted updates on mechanisms that are currently being developed to ensure the perspectives of students and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are considered in education decision-making.

Early Childhood Education

The Australian Government Minister for Early Childhood Education, the Hon Dr Anne Aly MP, provided an update to Education Ministers on the progress of the long term vision for ECEC being developed for National Cabinet. Ministers noted work underway to address workforce shortages in the sector and that the Australian Government has tasked the Productivity Commission with undertaking a comprehensive review.