Government must lead with action, not words

Catholic education has welcomed the notion from Australia’s Prime Minister and State Premiers that ‘now is the time for leadership’ and called for immediate action on education reform. ‘Leadership can take many forms: rhetoric is one, getting things done is another,’ Executive Director of Catholic Education, Mr Stephen Elder, said in response to the Leaders’ Retreat communique.

‘A unanimous focus on education among the top priorities of our political elite is warmly welcomed because all governments and all sectors have to work as one to achieve genuine reform.

‘We have heard talk of arresting the decline in Australia’s place on an international student achievement scale before, so now is the time, the time to implement more of the national curriculum and teacher quality reviews.

‘First class educators Professor Greg Craven, Kevin Donnelly and Ken Wiltshire have recently made numerous recommendations designed to improve all schools and the performance of all students.

‘We have had ample time to respond and nothing can occur while ideas remain as words on a page.

‘Too much of the recent education reform debate has been around funding and where it goes. We need leadership to help ensure we get full benefit for that money,’ Mr Elder said.

On the concept of improving the transition from early childhood learning to school, some Catholic schools in Melbourne have already begun investigations around incorporating early learning centres.

‘Long term, our vision includes extending beyond traditional schooling models, and shared-use developments have enormous potential to improve later education outcomes for students,’ Mr Elder said.

Catholic education remains ready to work with government in the pursuit of academic, social and emotional excellence for every Australian school student.

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Further information: Mark Doran CEM Media, 0412 311 159,