Productivity Commission – Review of the National School Reform Agreement

This report makes it clear that serious reform is required. 

It is very critical of the current National School Reform Agreement developed by the former Coalition Government. 

In particular, it points out that the current agreement: 

  • has only one single weak target for academic achievement;
  • lacks targeted reforms to improve outcomes for students from poor backgrounds, from the regions, indigenous students and students who do not meet the minimum standards for literacy and numeracy;
  • doesn’t include sufficient clear, measurable targets to drive reform; and
  • lacks transparent, independent and meaningful reporting on the reform activity of governments. 

It also makes it clear that the implementation of this agreement over the last four years has been slow and has had little impact. 

This is damning. 

The report also makes a number of recommendations to fix this. They include: 

  • clear and measurable targets for academic achievement of all students, in particular students from priority equity cohorts;
  • targets to reduce the proportion of students who do not meet minimum standards of literacy and numeracy;
  • public reporting on progress on implementing reforms and achieving targets; and
  • a focus on student wellbeing. 

This is an important report and it will play a key role in the development of a new National School Reform Agreement. 

Work on that has now begun. 

The Albanese Government is committed to working with State and Territory Governments to get all schools to 100 per cent of their fair funding level. 

In future, funding needs to be tied to reforms that will make a real, practical difference. 

In December, Education Ministers agreed to establish an Expert Panel to advise us on what these detailed reforms should be. 

Shortly I will announce the team that will conduct that work and their Terms of Reference. 

The Productivity Commission’s report sets out in broad terms the key areas where reform is most needed. 

The Expert Panel will build substantially on this and will work with State and Territory Governments, teachers, principals and other education experts on what these detailed reforms should be.