In his 2007 Philip Hughes oration given at ANU recently Brian J. Caldwell reflects on the nature and scale of change that is needed to ensure that Australia has a world-class school system.
"My presentation is very much a reflection on the nature and scale of change that is needed to ensure that Australia has a world-class school system. I will use as my starting point Kevin Rudd’s call for an ‘education revolution’. What is the evidence that supports such a call? There is usually a real or apprehended crisis that triggers a revolution. Is there such a crisis in our school system? Have we experienced a revolution in the past? Are there seeds of a revolution at present? What experience elsewhere may have relevance to Australia? Building on these reflections I then offer a framework for policy and practice drawing on insights we have gleaned from 38 workshops with school leaders conducted in four countries over the last three years, including 25 in every state and territory of Australia. These workshops have explored how schools have succeeded or what they would need to do to succeed in moving from small-scale or incremental improvement to large-scale transformation. Drawing on our work in International Networking for Educational Transformation (iNet), we define transformation as significant, systematic and sustained change that secures success for all students in all settings, especially under challenging circumstances, thus contributing to the wellbeing of the each and every student and of society. The framework is set out in a forthcoming book, my fourth with Jim Spinks, entitled Raising the Stakes: From Improvement to Transformation in the Reform of Schools (Caldwell and Spinks, 2008, forthcoming)."