Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008

Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008
on Educational
Goals for
December 2008
Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008
This Declaration is made by all   Mr Andrew Barr MLA                         The Hon. Dr Jane Lomax-Smith MP
Australian Education Ministers:   Minister for Education and Training,       Minister for Education (South Australia)
                                  Minister for Children and Young People
                                                                             The Hon. David Bartlett MP
                                  (Australian Capital Territory)
                                                                             Premier and Minister for Education
                                  The Hon. Julia Gillard MP                  and Skills (Tasmania)
                                  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for     Chair, Ministerial Council on Education,
                                  Education, Minister for Employment and     Employment, Training and Youth Affairs
                                  Workplace Relations, Minister for Social
                                                                             The Hon. Bronwyn Pike
                                  Inclusion (Australian Government)
                                                                             Minister for Education (Victoria)
                                  The Hon. Verity Firth MP
                                                                             The Hon. Dr Elizabeth Constable MLA
                                  Minister for Education and Training
                                                                             Minister for Education (Western Australia)
                                  (New South Wales)
                                                                             Ministers would like to acknowledge
                                  The Hon. Marion Scrymgour MLA
                                                                             the members of the Working Group
                                  Minister for Education and Training
                                                                             responsible for developing this
                                  (Northern Territory)
                                                                             Declaration, and thank them for
                                  The Hon. Rod Welford MP                    their valuable contribution.
                                  Minister for Education, Training
                                  and the Arts (Queensland)
Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008

Preamble                                                            4

The Educational Goals for Young Australians                         6

Goal 1: Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence         7

Goal 2: All young Australians become:                               8
– Successful learners
– Confident and creative individuals
– Active and informed citizens

A Commitment to Action                                             10

Developing stronger partnerships                                   10

Supporting quality teaching and school leadership                  11

Strengthening early childhood education                            11

Enhancing middle years development                                 12

Supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions         12

Promoting world-class curriculum and assessment                    13

Improving educational outcomes for Indigenous youth                15
and disadvantaged young Australians, especially those
from low socioeconomic backgrounds

Strengthening accountability and transparency                      16

Achieving the Educational Goals for Young Australians              18

Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008

As a nation Australia     In the 21st century Australia’s              In the 1989 Hobart Declaration and
                          capacity to provide a high quality           the 1999 Adelaide Declaration, the
values the central        of life for all will depend on the           State, Territory and Commonwealth
role of education         ability to compete in the global             Education Ministers committed
                          economy on knowledge and                     to working together to ensure
in building a             innovation. Education equips                 high-quality schooling for all
democratic, equitable     young people with the knowledge,             young Australians. The Melbourne
                          understanding, skills and values             Declaration acknowledges major
and just society—         to take advantage of opportunity             changes in the world that are
a society that is         and to face the challenges of this           placing new demands on
                          era with confidence.                          Australian education:
prosperous, cohesive      Schools play a vital role in promoting     – Global integration and international
and culturally diverse,   the intellectual, physical, social,          mobility have increased rapidly in
                          emotional, moral, spiritual and              the past decade. As a consequence,
and that values           aesthetic development and                    new and exciting opportunities
Australia’s Indigenous    wellbeing of young Australians,              for Australians are emerging. This
                          and in ensuring the nation’s                 heightens the need to nurture an
cultures as a key         ongoing economic prosperity                  appreciation of and respect for social,
part of the nation’s      and social cohesion. Schools share           cultural and religious diversity,
                          this responsibility with students,           and a sense of global citizenship.
history, present          parents, carers, families, the
                                                                     – India, China and other Asian nations
and future.               community, business and other
                                                                       are growing and their influence on
                          education and training providers.
                                                                       the world is increasing. Australians
                          In recognition of this collective
                                                                       need to become ‘Asia literate’,
                          responsibility, this declaration,
                                                                       engaging and building strong
                          in contrast to earlier declarations
                                                                       relationships with Asia.
                          on schooling, has a broader frame
                          and sets out educational goals             – Globalisation and technological
                          for young Australians.                       change are placing greater demands
                                                                       on education and skill development
                                                                       in Australia and the nature of jobs
                                                                       available to young Australians is
                                                                       changing faster than ever. Skilled
                                                                       jobs now dominate jobs growth
                                                                       and people with university or
                                                                       vocational education and training
                                                                       qualifications fare much better in
                                                                       the employment market than early
                                                                       school leavers. To maximise their
                                                                       opportunities for healthy, productive
                                                                       and rewarding futures, Australia’s
                                                                       young people must be encouraged
                                                                       not only to complete secondary
                                                                       education, but also to proceed into
                                                                       further training or education.

Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008
– Complex environmental, social and         outcomes for many Indigenous
  economic pressures such as climate        Australians and addressing this
  change that extend beyond national        issue must be a key priority over the
  borders pose unprecedented                next decade. Second, by comparison
  challenges, requiring countries to        with the world’s highest performing
  work together in new ways. To meet        school systems, Australian
  these challenges, Australians must        students from low socioeconomic
  be able to engage with scientific          backgrounds are under-represented
  concepts and principles, and              among high achievers and over-
  approach problem-solving in new           represented among low achievers.
  and creative ways.                        Third, there is room for improvement
                                            in Australia’s rate of Year 12
– Rapid and continuing advances in
                                            completion or equivalent.
  information and communication
  technologies (ICT) are changing the       Literacy and numeracy and
  ways people share, use, develop and       knowledge of key disciplines
  process information and technology.       remain the cornerstone of
  In this digital age, young people need    schooling for young Australians.
  to be highly skilled in the use of ICT.   Schooling should also support the
  While schools already employ these        development of skills in areas
  technologies in learning, there is a      such as social interaction, cross-
  need to increase their effectiveness      disciplinary thinking and the use
  significantly over the next decade.        of digital media, which are essential
                                            in all 21st century occupations.
 Australia has developed a high-
                                            As well as knowledge and skills,
 quality, world-class schooling system,
                                            a school’s legacy to young people
 which performs strongly against
                                            should include national values
 other countries of the Organisation
                                            of democracy, equity and justice,
 for Economic Cooperation and
                                            and personal values and attributes
 Development (OECD). In international
                                            such as honesty, resilience and
 benchmarking of educational
                                            respect for others.
 outcomes for 15-year-olds in the 2006
 OECD Programme for International           As signatories to the Melbourne
 Student Assessment, Australia ranked       Declaration, Australian Education
 among the top 10 countries across all      Ministers seek to achieve the highest
 three education domains assessed.          possible level of collaboration with
 Over the next decade Australia should      the government, Catholic and
 aspire to improve outcomes for all         independent school sectors and
 young Australians to become second         across and between all levels of
 to none amongst the world’s best           government. Australian Education
 school systems.                            Ministers also seek to achieve new
                                            levels of engagement with all
 In striving for both equity and
                                            stakeholders in the education of
 excellence, there are several
                                            young Australians.
 areas in which Australian school
 education needs to make significant
 improvement. First, Australia has
 failed to improve educational
Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008
The Educational Goals
for Young Australians

06– 7
Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008
Improving educational outcomes           These goals are:
for all young Australians is central
                                         Goal 1:
to the nation’s social and economic
                                         Australian schooling promotes
prosperity and will position young
                                         equity and excellence
people to live fulfilling, productive
and responsible lives.                   Goal 2:
                                         All young Australians become:
Young Australians are therefore
placed at the centre of the Melbourne    – successful learners
Declaration on Educational Goals.        – confident and creative individuals
                                         – active and informed citizens
                                         Achieving these educational goals
                                         is the collective responsibility of
                                         governments, school sectors and
                                         individual schools as well as parents
                                         and carers, young Australians,
                                         families, other education and
                                         training providers, business and
                                         the broader community.

Goal 1:                                  Australian governments, in                  – ensure that socioeconomic
                                         collaboration with all school sectors,        disadvantage ceases to be a
Australian schooling                     commit to promoting equity and                significant determinant of
promotes equity                          excellence in Australian schooling.           educational outcomes

and excellence                           This means that all Australian              – reduce the effect of other sources
                                         governments and all school                    of disadvantage, such as disability,
                                         sectors must:                                 homelessness, refugee status
                                                                                       and remoteness
                                        – provide all students with access
                                          to high-quality schooling that is          – ensure that schooling contributes
                                          free from discrimination based on            to a socially cohesive society that
                                          gender, language, sexual orientation,        respects and appreciates cultural,
                                          pregnancy, culture, ethnicity, religion,     social and religious diversity
                                          health or disability, socioeconomic
                                                                                     – encourage parents, carers,
                                          background or geographic location
                                                                                       families, the broader community
                                        – ensure that schools build on local           and young people themselves to
                                          cultural knowledge and experience            hold high expectations for their
                                          of Indigenous students as a                  educational outcomes
                                          foundation for learning, and work in
                                                                                     – promote a culture of excellence
                                          partnership with local communities
                                                                                       in all schools, by supporting
                                          on all aspects of the schooling
                                                                                       them to provide challenging, and
                                          process, including to promote
                                                                                       stimulating learning experiences
                                          high expectations for the learning
                                                                                       and opportunities that enable all
                                          outcomes of Indigenous students
                                                                                       students to explore and build on
                                        – ensure that the learning outcomes            their gifts and talents
                                          of Indigenous students improve to
                                                                                     – promote personalised learning that
                                          match those of other students
                                                                                       aims to fulfil the diverse capabilities
                                                                                       of each young Australian.
Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008
The Educational Goals
for Young Australians
Goal 2:                  Australian governments commit to
                         working in collaboration with all
All young Australians    school sectors to support all young
become successful        Australians to become:

learners, confident      – successful learners

and creative            – confident and creative individuals
                        – active and informed citizens.
individuals, and
active and
informed citizens

Successful learners…    – develop their capacity to learn             – are able to plan activities
                          and play an active role in their              independently, collaborate,
                          own learning                                  work in teams and
                                                                        communicate ideas
                        – have the essential skills
                          in literacy and numeracy and                – are able to make sense of their
                          are creative and productive                   world and think about how
                          users of technology, especially               things have become the way
                          ICT, as a foundation for success              they are
                          in all learning areas
                                                                      – are on a pathway towards
                        – are able to think deeply                      continued success in further
                          and logically, and obtain                     education, training or
                          and evaluate evidence in a                    employment, and acquire the
                          disciplined way as the result                 skills to make informed learning
                          of studying fundamental                       and employment decisions
                          disciplines                                   throughout their lives
                        – are creative, innovative and                – are motivated to reach their
                          resourceful, and are able to                  full potential.
                          solve problems in ways that
                          draw upon a range of learning
                          areas and disciplines

Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians - December 2008
Confident and            – have a sense of self-worth,          – have the confidence and
creative individuals…     self-awareness and personal            capability to pursue university
                          identity that enables them to          or post-secondary vocational
                          manage their emotional, mental,        qualifications leading to
                          spiritual and physical wellbeing       rewarding and productive
                        – have a sense of optimism about
                          their lives and the future           – relate well to others and
                                                                 form and maintain healthy
                        – are enterprising, show initiative
                          and use their creative abilities
                                                               – are well prepared for their
                        – develop personal values and
                                                                 potential life roles as family,
                          attributes such as honesty,
                                                                 community and workforce
                          resilience, empathy and respect
                          for others
                                                               – embrace opportunities, make
                        – have the knowledge, skills,
                                                                 rational and informed decisions
                          understanding and values to
                                                                 about their own lives and
                          establish and maintain healthy,
                                                                 accept responsibility for their
                          satisfying lives
                                                                 own actions.

Active and              – act with moral and                   – are committed to national
informed citizens…        ethical integrity                      values of democracy, equity
                                                                 and justice, and participate in
                        – appreciate Australia’s social,
                                                                 Australia’s civic life
                          cultural, linguistic and religious
                          diversity, and have an               – are able to relate to and
                          understanding of Australia’s           communicate across cultures,
                          system of government, history          especially the cultures and
                          and culture                            countries of Asia
                        – understand and acknowledge           – work for the common good,
                          the value of Indigenous cultures       in particular sustaining and
                          and possess the knowledge,             improving natural and social
                          skills and understanding to            environments
                          contribute to, and benefit from,
                                                               – are responsible global and
                          reconciliation between
                                                                 local citizens.
                          Indigenous and non-Indigenous
A Commitment to Action

                      Together, all Australian governments         – developing stronger partnerships
                      commit to working with all school
                                                                   – supporting quality teaching and
                      sectors and the broader community
                                                                     school leadership
                      to achieve the educational goals for
                      young Australians.                           – strengthening early childhood
                      This commitment will be supported
                      by action in eight inter-related areas:      – enhancing middle years development
                                                                   – supporting senior years of schooling
                                                                     and youth transitions
                                                                   – promoting world-class curriculum
                                                                     and assessment
                                                                   – improving educational outcomes
                                                                     for Indigenous youth and
                                                                     disadvantaged young Australians,
                                                                     especially those from low
                                                                     socioeconomic backgrounds
                                                                   – strengthening accountability
                                                                     and transparency.

Developing stronger   Parents, carers and families are the          support for the development and
                      first and most important influence in           wellbeing of young people and
partnerships          a child’s life, instilling the attitudes      their families and can provide
                      and values that will support young            opportunities for young Australians
                      people to participate in schooling            to connect with their communities,
                      and contribute to broader local and           participate in civic life and develop
                      global communities.                           a sense of responsible citizenship.
                      Partnerships between students,                In particular, the development of
                      parents, carers and families, the             partnerships between schools and
                      broader community, business, schools          Indigenous communities, based on
                      and other education and training              cross-cultural respect, is the main
                      providers bring mutual benefits and            way of achieving highly effective
                      maximise student engagement and               schooling for Indigenous students.
                      achievement. Partnerships engender

                      Australian governments commit to working with all school sectors to ensure
                      th  at ssch
                               choo      engage young Australians, parents, carers, families, other
                      ed  ucat
                          uc  atio
                      education ionn an
                                     and d ttraining providers, business and the broader community
                      to support
                           uppoportrt sstu
                                       students’  progress through schooling, and to provide them with
                      ri ch
                          h learning,
                                       g, p e
                                          personal  development and citizenship opportunities.

10–11                 MELBOURNE
                      MEL B RNE D
Supporting quality    The teachers and leaders who work         mentoring teachers to find the
                      in Australia’s schools and educate        best ways to facilitate learning,
teaching and          young people are of fundamental           and by promoting a culture of
school leadership     importance to achieving these             high expectations in schools.
                      educational goals for young               School leaders are responsible
                      Australians. Excellent teachers           for creating and sustaining the
                      have the capacity to transform the        learning environment and the
                      lives of students and to inspire and      conditions under which quality
                      nurture their development as              teaching and learning take place.
                      learners, individuals and citizens.
                                                                All Australian governments,
                      They provide an additional source
                                                                universities, school sectors
                      of encouragement, advice and
                                                                and individual schools have a
                      support for students outside the
                                                                responsibility to work together
                      home, shaping teaching around
                                                                to support high-quality teaching
                      the ways different students learn
                                                                and school leadership, including
                      and nurturing the unique talents
                                                                by enhancing pre-service
                      of every student.
                                                                teacher education.
                      School principals and other school
                      leaders play a critical role in
                      supporting and fostering quality
                      teaching through coaching and

                      Australian governments commit to working with all school sectors to
                      attract, develop, support and retain a high-quality teaching and school
                      leadership workforce in Australian schools.

Strengthening early   Governments have important roles          Children who participate in quality
                      to play in ensuring that children         early childhood education are more
childhood education   receive quality early childhood           likely to make a successful transition
                      education and care. The period from       to school, stay longer in school,
                      birth through to eight years,             continue on to further education
                      especially the first three years,          and fully participate in employment
                      sets the foundation for every             and community life as adults.
                      child’s social, physical, emotional       Support for Indigenous children
                      and cognitive development. Early          in the early years before school is
                      childhood education and care              particularly important to ensure a
                      provides a basis for life and learning,   successful transition to schooling,
                      both within and beyond the home,          which may involve a culturally
                      and is supported by healthy, safe         different learning environment.
                      and stimulating environments.

                      Australian governments commit to supporting the development and
                      strengthening of early childhood education, to provide every child with
                      the opportunity for the best start in life.
A Commitment to Action

Enhancing middle        The middle years are an important             environments that specifically
                        period of learning, in which                  consider the needs of middle years
years development       knowledge of fundamental                      students. Focusing on student
                        disciplines is developed, yet this            engagement and converting this
                        is also a time when students are at           into learning can have a significant
                        the greatest risk of disengagement            impact on student outcomes.
                        from learning. Student motivation             Effective transitions between
                        and engagement in these years is              primary and secondary schools are
                        critical, and can be influenced by             an important aspect of ensuring
                        tailoring approaches to teaching,             student engagement.
                        with learning activities and learning

                        Australian governments commit to working with all school sectors to
                        ensure that schools provide programs that are responsive to students’
                        developmental and learning needs in the middle years, and which are
                        challenging, engaging and rewarding.

Supporting senior       The senior years of schooling should          Schools need to provide information,
                        provide all students with the high-           advice and options to students so
years of schooling      quality education necessary to                that they can make informed choices
and youth transitions   complete their secondary school               about their future. All governments
                        education and make the transition             and school sectors need to support
                        to further education, training or             young people’s transition from
                        employment. Schooling should offer            schooling into further study, training
                        a range of pathways to meet the               or employment and enable them to
                        diverse needs and aspirations of              acquire the skills that support this,
                        all young Australians, encouraging            including an appetite for lifelong
                        them to pursue university or post-            learning. Support may also be needed
                        secondary vocational qualifications            for young people returning to
                        that increase their opportunities             education and training after a period
                        for rewarding and productive                  of employment.
                        employment. This requires effective
                        partnerships with other education
                        and training providers, employers
                        and communities.

                        Australian      governments commit to working with all school sectors to
                        supportortt th
                                    thee senior years of schooling and the provision of high-quality
                        pa thwa
                        pathways   ys tto
                                        o fa
                                          facilitate effective transitions between further study,
                               ng a
                        training    and
                                     nd e emp

12–13                   MELBOURNE
                        MEL B RNE D
Promoting world-class   Curriculum                               Deep knowledge, understanding,
                                                                 skills and values that will enable
curriculum and          Curriculum will be designed to
                                                                 advanced learning and an ability to
                        develop successful learners,
assessment              confident and creative individuals
                                                                 create new ideas and translate them
                                                                 into practical applications
                        and active and informed citizens.
                                                                 The curriculum will enable students
                        State, Territory and Commonwealth
                                                                 to develop knowledge in the
                        governments will work together
                                                                 disciplines of English, mathematics,
                        with all school sectors to ensure
                                                                 science, languages, humanities and
                        world-class curriculum in Australia.
                                                                 the arts; to understand the spiritual,
                        Together the national curriculum
                                                                 moral and aesthetic dimensions
                        and curriculum specified at the State,
                                                                 of life; and open up new ways of
                        Territory and local levels will enable
                                                                 thinking. It will also support the
                        every student to develop:
                                                                 development of deep knowledge
                                                                 within a discipline, which provides
                        A solid foundation in knowledge,
                                                                 the foundation for inter-disciplinary
                        understanding, skills and values on
                                                                 approaches to innovation and
                        which further learning and adult
                        life can be built                        complex problem-solving.

                        The curriculum will include a strong     General capabilities that underpin
                        focus on literacy and numeracy           flexible and analytical thinking,
                        skills. It will also enable students     a capacity to work with others and
                        to build social and emotional            an ability to move across subject
                        intelligence, and nurture student        disciplines to develop new expertise
                        wellbeing through health and             The curriculum will support young
                        physical education in particular.        people to develop a range of generic
                        The curriculum will support students     and employability skills that have
                        to relate well to others and foster an   particular application to the world
                        understanding of Australian society,     of work and further education
                        citizenship and national values,         and training, such as planning and
                        including through the study of civics    organising, the ability to think
                        and citizenship. As a foundation for     flexibly, to communicate well and
                        further learning and adult life the      to work in teams. Young people also
                        curriculum will include practical        need to develop the capacity to think
                        knowledge and skills development         creatively, innovate, solve problems
                        in areas such as ICT and design          and engage with new disciplines.
                        and technology, which are central
                        to Australia’s skilled economy
                        and provide crucial pathways to
                        post-school success.
A Commitment to Action

Promoting world-class    Learning areas                                years of schooling and are the
                                                                       primary focus of learning in the
curriculum and           The learning areas below will be
                                                                       early years. However, humanities
                         incorporated into the curriculum
assessment               with breadth, balance and depth of
                                                                       and social sciences, for example,
                                                                       take on greater scope and
                         learning appropriate to students’
                                                                       increasing specialisation as
                         phases of development. Schools and
                                                                       students move through the years
                         school systems are responsible for
                                                                       of schooling. Each learning area
                         delivering curriculum programs that
                                                                       has a specific discipline base and
                         reflect these learning areas, with
                                                                       each has application across the
                         appropriate flexibility to determine
                                                                       curriculum. In addition, a focus on
                         how this can best be achieved in a
                                                                       environmental sustainability will
                         local context.
                                                                       be integrated across the curriculum
                         The learning areas are not of equal           and all students will have the
                         importance at all year levels.                opportunity to access Indigenous
                         English and mathematics are of                content where relevant.
                         fundamental importance in all

                        – English                                     – The arts (performing and visual)
                        – Mathematics                                 – Languages (especially Asian
                        – Sciences (including physics,
                          chemistry, biology)                         – Health and physical education
                        – Humanities and social sciences              – Information and Communication
                          (including history, geography,                Technology and design and
                          economics, business, civics                   technology
                          and citizenship)

                         Assessment                                    about student progress to inform
                                                                       their teaching
                         Assessment of student progress
                         will be rigorous and comprehensive.          – assessment as learning—enabling
                         It needs to reflect the curriculum,             students to reflect on and monitor
                         and draw on a combination of                   their own progress to inform their
                         the professional judgement of                  future learning goals
                         teachers and testing, including
                                                                      – assessment of learning—assisting
                         national testing.
                                                                        teachers to use evidence of
                         To ensure that student achievement             student learning to assess student
                         is measured in meaningful ways,                achievement against goals
                         State, Territory and Commonwealth              and standards.
                         governments will work with all
                         school sectors to develop and
                         enhance national and school-level
                         assessment that focuses on:
                        – assessment for learning—
                          enabling teachers to use information

                         Australian governments commit to working together with all school
                         sectors to ensure world-class curriculum and assessment for Australia
                         at national and local levels.

Improving educational    For Australian schooling to               Indigenous participation in the
                         promote equity and excellence,            education workforce at all levels;
outcomes for             governments and all school                and support coordinated community
Indigenous youth         sectors must improve educational          services for students and their
                         outcomes for Indigenous youth and         families that can increase productive
and disadvantaged        disadvantaged young Australians           participation in schooling.
young Australians,       and encourage them, their families
                                                                   Students from low socioeconomic
                         and their communities to hold high
especially those from    expectations for their education.
                                                                   backgrounds, those from remote
                                                                   areas, refugees, homeless young
low socioeconomic        Educational outcomes for Indigenous       people, and students with disabilities
backgrounds              children and young people are
                         substantially behind those of
                                                                   often experience educational
                                                                   disadvantage. Targeted support
                         other students in key areas of            can help disadvantaged young
                         enrolment, attendance, participation,     Australians to achieve better
                         literacy, numeracy, retention and         educational outcomes.
                         completion. Meeting the needs of
                                                                   Australian governments must support
                         young Indigenous Australians and
                                                                   all young Australians to achieve not
                         promoting high expectations for
                                                                   only equality of opportunity but also
                         their educational performance
                                                                   more equitable outcomes.
                         requires strategic investment.
                         Australian schooling needs to
                         engage Indigenous students, their
                         families and communities in all
                         aspects of schooling; increase

                         Australian governments commit to working with all school sectors to:
                        –‘close the gap’ for young Indigenous Australians
                        – provide targeted support to disadvantaged students
                        – focus on school improvement in low socioeconomic communities.
A Commitment to Action

Strengthening      Good-quality information on                   For parents and families
                   schooling is important for schools
accountability     and their students, for parents and
                                                                 Information about the performance
                                                                 of individuals, schools and systems
and transparency   families, for the community and
                                                                 helps parents and families make
                   for governments.
                                                                 informed choices and engage with
                                                                 their children’s education and the
                   For schools and their students
                                                                 school community.
                   Schools need reliable, rich data on
                                                                 Parents and families should have
                   the performance of their students
                                                                 access to:
                   because they have the primary
                   accountability for improving                 – data on student outcomes
                   student outcomes.
                                                                – data that allows them to assess a
                   Good quality data supports each                school’s performance overall and
                   school to improve outcomes for all of          in improving student outcomes
                   their students. It supports effective
                                                                – contextual information about
                   diagnosis of student progress and
                                                                  the philosophy and educational
                   the design of high-quality learning
                                                                  approach of schools, and their
                   programs. It also informs schools’
                                                                  facilities, programs and extra-
                   approaches to provision of programs,
                                                                  curricular activities
                   school policies, pursuit and
                   allocation of resources, relationships       – information about a school’s
                   with parents and partnerships with             enrolment profile.
                   community and business.

For the community                         For governments
The community should have access          Governments need sound
to information that enables an            information on school performance
understanding of the decisions taken      to support ongoing improvement for
by governments and the status and         students, schools and school sectors.
performance of schooling in Australia,
                                          Good quality data enables
to ensure schools are accountable
                                          governments to:
for the results they achieve with
the public funding they receive, and     – analyse how well schools are
governments are accountable for the        performing
decisions they take. The provision of    – identify schools with particular needs
school information to the community
should enhance community                 – determine where resources are
engagement and understanding of the        most needed to lift attainment
educational enterprise. This includes    – identify best practice and innovation
access to national reporting on the
performance of all schools, contextual   – conduct national and international
information and information about          comparisons of approaches
individual schools’ enrolment profile.      and performance

Parents, families and the community      – develop a substantive evidence base
should have access to information          on what works.
about the performance of their
school compared to schools with           Australian governments commit to working with all school
similar characteristics. Australian       sectors to ensure that public reporting:
governments will work together           – focuses on improving performance and student outcomes
to achieve nationally comparable
reporting about schools.                 – is both locally and nationally relevant

In providing information on              – is timely, consistent and comparable.
schooling, governments will ensure
that school-based information is
published responsibly, so that any
public comparisons of schools will
be fair, contain accurate and verified
data, contextual information and a
range of indicators. Governments
will not themselves devise simplistic
league tables or rankings and
privacy will be protected.
Achieving the Educational
Goals for Young Australians
                 The Melbourne Declaration will be             The action plans will be supported by
Action Plan      supported by a series of action plans,        and based on a renewed commitment
                 commencing with an action plan                to federalism that encourages best
                 for 2009–12. The action plans will            practice in education and enables
                 outline the strategies and initiatives        governments to share and apply their
                 that Australian governments will              knowledge. With such an approach
                 undertake, in collaboration with              all governments will share the costs
                 all school sectors, to support the            and benefits of reforms to give every
                 achievement of the Educational                young Australian a real chance of
                 Goals for Young Australians.                  becoming a successful learner, a
                                                               confident and creative individual
                                                               and an active and informed citizen.

                 There are many innovative
Biennial Forum   educational reforms developed
                 in individual schools and sectors,
                 and there is potential for the best
                 of these to be adapted and shared
                 across the nation. All Australian
                 governments will jointly convene a
                 biennial national forum to support
                 the achievement of the educational
                 goals and to showcase best practice
                 across Australian States and
                 Territories, the Commonwealth
                 and government, Catholic and
                 independent school sectors.

                 With commitment and hard work—from
                 children and young people and their parents,
                 carers and families, from schools, teachers,
                 communities, business and all Australian
                 governments—all young Australians will be
                 provided with the opportunity to reach their
                 full potential.

Acknowledgements                                             The Working Group also received significant                    Published by the Ministerial Council on Education,
                                                             contributions from:                                           Employment, Training and Youth Affairs
Ministers would like to acknowledge the members of the                                                                     Melbourne
Working Group responsible for developing this Declaration,   Mr Bill Burmester (Australian Government), Ms Norma Jeffrey   December 2008
and thank them for their valuable contribution:              (Western Australia) and Ms Leslie Loble (New South Wales).
                                                                                                                           ISBN 978-0-7594-0524-0
Chair                                                        The development of the Melbourne Declaration was
Professor Peter Dawkins                                      supported by a Secretariat and Project Team based in          © 2008 Curriculum Corporation as the legal entity for the
Department of Education and Early Childhood                  the Victorian Department of Education and Early               Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and
Development (Victoria)                                       Childhood Development.                                        Youth Affairs (MCEETYA).

Members                                                      The goals were informed by extensive national and             Curriculum Corporation as the legal entity for the Ministerial
Ms Margaret Banks, Dr Kevin Gillan, Department of            jurisdictional consultation over two stages. Initial          Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth
Education and Training (Northern Territory)                  input and feedback based on the Future of Schooling           Affairs (MCEETYA) owns the copyright to this publication.
                                                             in Australia report helped shape the first draft of the        This publication or any part of it may be used freely only for
Dr Michele Bruniges, Ms Janet Davy, Department of            new Declaration, which was then the basis for a second        non-profit education purposes provided the source is clearly
Education and Training (Australian Capital Territory)        round of targeted consultations and public submissions. All   acknowledged. The publication may not be sold or used for
                                                             feedback was considered in developing the final document.      any other commercial purpose.
Mr Michael Coutts-Trotter, Department of Education
and Training (New South Wales)                               The Working Group also drew on a range of international       Other than as permitted above or by the Copyright Act
                                                             literature and particularly benefited from the United          1968 (Commonwealth) no part of this publication may be
Dr Brian Croke, Mr Ron Dullard, National Catholic
                                                             Kingdom Qualifications and Curriculum Authority’s              reproduced, stored, published, performed, communicated
Education Commission
                                                             Futures in action: Building a 21st century curriculum,        or adapted, regardless of the form or means (electronic,
Mr Bill Daniels, Independent Schools Council of Australia    which informed the drafting of Goal No. 2.                    photocopying or otherwise), without the prior written
                                                                                                                           permission of the copyright owner. Address inquiries
Ms Lesley Foster, MCEETYA Secretariat                                                                                      regarding copyright to:

Ms Rachel Hunter, Department of Education, Training                                                                        MCEETYA Secretariat, PO Box 202
and the Arts (Queensland)                                                                                                  Carlton South, VIC 3053, Australia

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National Curriculum Board
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Mr Christopher Robinson, Department of Education                                                                           the internet at
and Children’s Services (South Australia)

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