In each of the Australian colonies, usually in the 1870s, there were education acts passed that established public school systems. Their defining characteristics have usually been described as ‘free, compulsory and secular’. The Act that came closest to establishing all three of these conditions at the same time was the Victorian Education Act of 1872.… Continue Reading »
This book was co-written by R. W. Connell (Bob/Robert/Raewyn), D. J. Ashenden (Dean), S. Kessler (Sandra) and G. W. Dowsett (Gary). It was almost certainly the most influential social study of schooling that was written in Australia in the second half of the twentieth century. It had an impact on educational policy, the sociology of education, teacher education, teacher union policy and teachers.… Continue Reading »
The idea that a secondary school could include all youth in a community or neighbourhood, regardless of their social circumstances, belongs to the twentieth century. By the 1970s such comprehensive schools educated a majority of Australian 12-17 year-old youth, but the size of the majority has been in a steady, though slow decline, from the 1980s.… Continue Reading »
After the federal Labor government, led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, won office in 1972 it moved quickly to implement its election promises for school reform.
The Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission was appointed in December 1972, to be chaired by Professor Peter Karmel. The Committee was to examine the position of government and non-government primary and secondary schools throughout Australia and make recommendations on their needs and on ways of meeting the needs.… Continue Reading »
The words public and private have been used in attempts to describe the ownership, governance and purposes of Australian schools and education from close to the beginnings of British colonisation in 1788. They are concepts that had little meaning for Indigenous society before, and for some time after initial colonisation.
The meanings of these words shift over time.… Continue Reading »
Australian films have depicted schools, teachers and school students at least from the 1920s. The films listed here are not documentaries, nor are they the films usually produced by state education departments for school use.
The representations of schools, teachers and students in these feature films derive from a range of sources that include the creative imaginations of the writers, directors and actors, among many others, who made them.… Continue Reading »
From the mid-1970s through the 1990s, a group of historians came together in Adelaide, South Australia, to research and write new social histories of education, childhood and youth. The central figure was Ian Davey, a historian at the University of Adelaide based in its Education Department from 1976 to 1994. Many of these Adelaide scholars, though not all, had their doctorates supervised by him.… Continue Reading »
A prescription for radical change
In April 1988 Administering for Excellence, the report of a taskforce headed by Brian Picot, identified ‘serious weaknesses’ in New Zealand’s three-tiered 110 year-old education system that in its view justified replacement by an entirely new two-tiered structure. The Taskforce envisaged the replacement of the Department of Education by a Ministry of Education and the abolition of regional education boards.… Continue Reading »
The belief that an academic education in home science would lead to the proper treatment of infants and children, better management of homes and improvements in the nation’s health motivated three philanthropists, John Studholme, Dr F.C. Batchelor and Dr Frederick Truby King in their efforts to establish a home science programme at the University of Otago.… Continue Reading »
The provision of state aid (government financial assistance) to nongovernment (independent and Roman Catholic) schools has been a major source of debate in Australian education from colonial times. For nearly a century a policy of providing no direct state aid to nongovernment schools was supported by Australian governments at all levels.… Continue Reading »