Federal Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools includes no Tasmanian experts

The federal government’s national education review panel, chaired by David Gonski AC, includes no Tasmanian experts.

Four New South Wales experts, including Mr Gonski, are joined by two Queensland experts, one from Western Australia and one from South Australia on the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools panel.

Tasmania, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory all do not have any representatives on the panel.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham named the panellists on Wednesday, saying they would lead a “landmark” inquiry into ensuring the funds invested in Australian schools “boost results”.

Mr Birmingham said the panel brought together individuals with practical classroom experience to work with public policy leaders on reforming education.

“Australia has so many fantastic schools and teachers, but across a range of domestic and international indicators our results are stagnating and in some cases, slipping,” he said.

A state government spokesperson said it was not important where the panellists were from, but that “we get the best possible education system”.

Both federal and state Labor have expressed concern that Tasmania has no representatives on the panel, with opposition education spokeswoman Michelle O’Byrne saying Labor has written to the federal government requesting to meet with the panel in Tasmania.

Federal opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek questioned the credibility of the panel without equal representation from all states and territories.

Mr Birmingham said the panel was chosen for their experience rather than location.

“Our panel members have decades of experience working in schools in disadvantaged communities and in regional and remote areas like parts of Tasmania,” he said.

The panelists are:

David Gonski AC, (NSW), leader of the Gillard-commissioned needs-based Gonski education reform paper.

Dr Ken Boston AO, (NSW), fellow member of original Gonski review and former chair of NSW Ministerial Advisory Group on Literacy and Numeracy.

Terrey Arcus, AM (NSW), chairman of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2015.

Dr Lisa O’Brien, (NSW), chief executive officer, The Smith Family, 2011.

Valerie Gould, (WA), Executive Director of the Association of Independent Schools of WA.

Dr Lee-Anne Perry AM, (QLD), Executive Director, Queensland Catholic Education Commission.

Wendy Johnson, (SA), Principal, Glenunga International High School.

Michael Roberts, (QLD), Executive Director of Schools, Good to Great Schools Australia.

Mr Gonski welcomed the panel and said it had a “unique opportunity” to develop reforms needed nationally.

The review panel will present their findings to the Prime Minister and the Education Minister by March 2018.