Closing the Class Divide

On April the 18th Ed posted a link to the Insight program on class struggle in relation to education. The program discussed the divide that exists between schools creating an uneven playing field when it comes to everyone being able to access a high level education. This was a really interesting program and if you haven’t watched it but would like to click here to go to Ed’s post.

Just today in the Advertiser Keith Bartley (DECD chief executive) has come out and said that after 1 year in the job how surprised he is with the inequalities that exists within Australia’s education system.

“My surprise was that in a land of opportunities that actually some of the differences were more deeply entrenched than I’d expected them to be and that Australia hadn’t really been able to come to grips with those differences.” Keith Bartley.

The following (in bold) are how Keith Bartley thinks South Australia can close the gap between the most advantaged and the least advantaged children in our school system.

1. More schools will act as community hubs with family and health services associated with them.

2. Expanding children’s centres to increase numbers and reach. Intervention at the earliest possible age to support parents and parents to be.

3. Changing teaching practices to be more learner centred as opposed to being content driven. This sounds similar to the Finish model but counter to having a content driven curriculum like the Australian Curriculum.

4. Based on the Gonski review look at how much program based funding can be put into mainstream funding that follows student based need. Where program funding remains, take away the restraints and allow schools to develop their own methods to improve outcomes. “What Gonski is Saying is that resources need to be mainstreamed, they need to be there all the time rather than being dropped in.”  Keith Bartley. Again this sounds similar to the Finish model in that teachers and schools are trusted to provide the best outcomes for their students not the state.

5. Schools will use local initiatives to work with each other to fill educational and service gaps that may exists. Again the concept of collaboration and not competition is a strong component of the Finish educational system.

Hope I haven’t bored you too much but thought it important to know some of the thoughts of our chief executive on education in South Australia.


The information in this post has been taken from ‘Close our Class Divide’ by Sheradyn Holderhead, The Advertiser 22.5.12.