Journal article

The ABC’s recent documentary Revolution School has given an insight into the fantastic work of teachers and school leaders at Melbourne’s Kambrya College. The show has chronicled the remarkable turnaround at Kambrya, which from 2008-15 rose from being in the bottom 10% of schools in Victoria to the top 20%.

Adding to the passion and commitment of the teachers, Kambrya had a great advantage. Global education experts from Melbourne University’s Graduate School of Education helped teachers to engage with educational research to figure out what would work best for their students. They helped them to focus on the impact of their teaching, providing data about their lessons and students and giving direct feedback about how to improve their teaching. 

There’s a lesson in Kambrya’s experience for all Australian education systems. Teachers, school leaders and system leaders should all be learning, too. Educators need to learn about the impact of their teaching, their leadership and their policies on kids’ learning. Unfortunately, right now they can’t do that as well as they might; they can’t draw on the best educational research or assess their local impact well enough. That’s one reason Australia’s national education results have slipped over the past 15 years.

To get back on track, Australia needs a robust evidence ecosystem in education. This ecosystem would create a set of feedback loops so that everyone involved in education could learn about what works and why – to help all Australian children. Fortunately, emerging conditions mean there’s every opportunity for us to create that ecosystem now.

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