A digital world for all? Findings from a programme of digital inclusion for vulnerable young people across the UK

Education

Carnegie Trust UK has published a report exploring digital exclusion among young people. It is often assumed that young people are ‘digital natives’, however, a large number of young people do not possess even basic digital skills. Findings from across the UK show that young people who are at points of transition in their life (unemployed, homeless, in care) are most at risk of being digitally excluded. Digital literacy must be actively and passively developed through ongoing access, support and training. This report provides four in depth case studies of projects engaging with groups of vulnerable young people to help develop their digital skills.

All tapped out: Touchscreen interactivity and young children’s word learning

Education

A report in Frontiers in Psychology has examined the effectiveness of touchscreens for children’s learning and the impact on family life. The study explores how children of preschool age interact with touchscreens, and how different types of screen interactions affect their ability to learn language.

Building the future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in rich countries

Education

A report card released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) offers an assessment of child wellbeing across 41 countries of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). On the League Table showing the performance of countries against nine child-relevant goals, Australia ranks 39 out of 41 countries for ‘quality education’, ahead of Romania (40) and Turkey (41).

Changes to the National Quality Framework

Education, Early years

The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) has published an information sheet outlining agreed changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF) as part of the 2014 Review of the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care. It includes a summary table of the proposals and final decisions by Ministers. Most changes commenced on 1 October 2017 in all states and territories.

Children and young people’s mental health —the role of education

Education

Schools have a significant role in promoting and protecting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The UK Health and Education Select Committees have published findings from their joint inquiry into the role of education in promoting emotional wellbeing in children and young people in the UK. The report recommends a whole of school approach to embed the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in school culture. It is also important that teachers receive training in mental health issues and how to respond to them.

Children’s reading literacy achievement: PIRLS 2016

Education, Early years

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has released the Australian report for the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). The findings show that the literacy achievement of Australian Year 4 students has improved on average since the previous study in 2011. However, this is not true for students with the lowest literacy skills. Furthermore, there are still significant achievement gaps by gender, Indigenous status, socioeconomic background and school location.

Community schools: An evidence-based strategy for equitable school improvement

Education

A recent review of research studies and evaluations has shown that community schools can be successful in improving school outcomes and childhood learning. This is found to be particularly true in schools with a high level of poverty. This brief, prepared by the Learning Policy Institute and the National Education Policy Center, highlights the benefits of community schools partnering with local agencies and government to provide an integrated and holistic approach to academics, health and community development.

Contexts of disadvantage: Implications for child outcomes

Education, Disability, Families and parenting

This report uses data from the first five waves of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) to examine the links between family, neighbourhood and school level disadvantage and children’s cognitive and social outcomes. It found that to experience any one of family, neighbourhood or school level disadvantage is detrimental to a child’s cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes. The LSAC data suggests that much of the association between disadvantage and child cognitive outcomes can be explained by the incidental influence of disadvantage on the home environment, especially on the amount of time and effort spent by parents on activities that stimulate children’s cognitive abilities.

Counting the costs of lost opportunity in Australian education

Education

This Mitchell Institute report estimates the economic and social costs linked to early school leaving and not being actively engaged in work and study in the year after completing Year 12. The costs related to disconnection from education affect not only career aspirations, prospects and income, but also influences decision-making in relation to parenting, health and citizenship. The cost to taxpayers of having 38,000 19-year-olds – about one in four – not achieving their Year 12 certificate is estimated to be $315 million each year and more than $12.6 billion across a lifetime.

Creating Engaging Schools for all Children and Young People: What Works

Education

This VCOSS report aims to improve school and student engagement in Victoria. It presents a number of successful examples of engaging schools, and offers seven ‘principles of school engagement’ that can help create an engaging and supportive school culture. Along with school specific examples of good practice in Victoria, the report also acknowledges the system-wide changes needed to support an engaging and inclusive school environment.

Do academic preschools yield stronger benefits? Cognitive emphasis, dosage, and early learning

Education

The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology has published a US study documenting the benefits of ‘academic’ preschool programs that emphasise language, pre-literacy and math concepts. The benefits were sustained throughout kindergarten, and were especially strong for African-American children attending at least 20 hours per week. This study offers important insights into the ideal amount of time spent in preschool, and the types of classroom activities that may support cognitive development.

Early Years Transitions: Supporting children and families at risk of experiencing vulnerability: Rapid literature review

Education

This literature review conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) seeks to understand how Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services, professionals and teachers can support children in key transitions stages, particularly their entry into primary school. The review focuses on the transition support needs of children affected by trauma, children living in out of home care (OOHC) and children with a refugee background. It presents the most recent research to shed light on best practice. It highlights the importance of forging meaningful partnerships and providing ongoing support for the professional development of ECEC professionals and teachers.

Early Years transitions: Supporting children and families at risk of experiencing vulnerability: Rapid literature review

Education

The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) engaged the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and Brotherhood of St Laurence to conduct a literature review on supporting children and families at risk of experiencing vulnerability during their transitions from home, out-of-home care or other programs into early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and school. The review focuses on the needs of children who have experienced trauma, children living in out-of-home care, refugee children and children experiencing intergenerational poverty. The report recommends stronger collaboration between a range of services, such as health and welfare services, ECEC institutions and schools.

Educate Australia fair? Education inequality in Australia

Education

New research from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre assesses the extent to which Australians are afforded equal opportunity through education, according to key demographics. The report identifies stark contrasts between the most and least disadvantaged in families in Australia. For example, Aboriginal children are 40% less likely to finish high school than non-Aboriginal children, and children born in remote Australia are one third as likely to go to university, compared to children born in a major city.

Education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Education

In 2007, the Commonwealth, states and territories agreed to work towards ‘closing the gap’ in various domains of Indigenous disadvantage. This audit assesses whether Queensland is reducing the gap in education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The audit findings show that the Department of Education and Training (DET) has improved Year 12 attainment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. However, this has not been translated into improvement in employment rates for young people. The audit describes DETs ongoing challenges to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and highlights the centrality of community involvement and cultural recognition in schools.

Education at a Glance 2017

Education

Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators provides comprehensive data on the state of education around the world. The publication examines quality of learning outcomes; provides information about the financial and human resources invested in education; access and participation in education; and the learning environment and organisation of schools. The report includes all 35 OECD countries and a number of partner countries These indicators can be compared internationally and used to assist governments to develop more effective and equitable education systems.

Design, Implement

Education Endowment Foundation – Teaching and Learning Toolkit

Education, Practice Tool

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. This resource features evidence summaries, tools, projects and case studies.

Educational engagement of children and young people in out of home care in NSW

Education

This report from the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA) gives a snapshot of the level of engagement in education of children and young people in out-of-home care in New South Wales. Children living in OOHC experience higher levels of educational disengagement. One in five school-aged children and young people in care are absent from school at any given time and one in three school-aged children and young people in care did not have an Individual Education Plan.

Educational opportunity for all: Overcoming inequality throughout the life course

Education, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)

According to a new OECD report, too many children from disadvantaged backgrounds are falling behind in education and being disadvantaged in the future job market. Only a few OECD countries offer people from disadvantaged backgrounds equal opportunity to succeed as their more well-off peers, including Japan, Korea and the Netherlands. To address this level of inequality, investment in good quality early childhood education and care is needed, especially for children from disadvantaged families.

Educators’ understanding of young children’s typical and problematic sexual behaviour and their training in this area

Education

A new research report investigating primary school teachers’ experiences with children's problematic sexual behaviours has been released. The report reveals that many teachers feel that they need more support and training to identify and respond to problematic sexual behaviour in children. Eighty-nine per cent of teachers surveyed felt there should be a specific course to better prepare them for these incidences.

Effective teacher professional development

Education

This Learning Policy Institute report details key elements of effective professional development programs. It offers robust descriptions of high-quality programs to inform education leaders and policymakers who want to use professional development to improve student learning outcomes.

Engaging Students: Creating Classrooms that Improve Learning

Education

The Grattan Institute's Engaging students: Creating classrooms that improve learning examines the hidden problem of student disengagement in Australian schools, reporting that as many as 40% of Australia’s school students are unproductive in a given year. The report draws on a number of major Australian studies from the past 10 years, finding that though classrooms are not out of control, many students are not engaged in learning. The paper offers a number of classroom level and system wide recommendations to improve student engagement. Teacher support is identified as a significant factor in improving student engagement, with a number of recommendations relating to teacher training and mentoring. Also important is the targeting of disadvantaged schools, where student engagement is lowest.

Exploring the impact of community hubs on school readiness

Education

The Royal Children’s Hospital has published a report summarising the impact of community hubs on school readiness. It focuses on migrant and refugee children who are more likely to be developmentally vulnerable than other groups. The strengths of the model include relationship-building practices, family engagement, an early start to transition, and tailored services to better meet the needs of children and families.

Family and community predictors of comorbid language, socioemotional and behavior problems at school entry

Education

The University of Warwick has produced a longitudinal study on language and problem/prosocial behaviour in the early years. The report examines the association between language, gender and behavioural, social and emotional difficulties and prosocial behaviour during the toddler years and at school entry. It shows that children growing up in families experiencing multiple, complex needs are at risk of experiencing developmental difficulties that are likely to affect their experiences at school. The early identification of these children provides an opportunity for professionals to arrange timely interventions that improve health and learning outcomes.

Follow up of selected 2014–15 performance audits: Additional school costs for families

Education

Victorian Auditor-General's Office (VAGO) has released a follow up audit report on ‘Additional school costs for families’, focusing on whether DET and government schools are managing parent education costs economically, efficiently and effectively. The report identifies some improvements since the initial findings from 2014-15, however, it also found inconsistent compliance with the new Parent Payment Policy and suggests that more needs to be done to address the underlying economic and efficiency issues identified in the 2015 audit.

Girls future – Our future: The Invergowrie Foundation STEM report

Education

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is important in developing young people’s skills for the future of work. This report examines the reasons that girls have not pursued study and careers in STEM to the same extent as their male peers and recommends initiatives to encourage girls’ participation in these subjects at school. The report is based on a comprehensive review of the international literature, and consultations with representatives from education, government, and industry.

These publications from the Department of Health and Human Services share the complexities of work with children, youth and families and some of the innovative practice approaches being used to address them. This is an annual publication shining a spotlight on examples of good practice and the variety of practice approaches available.

Held back: The experiences of students with disabilities in Victorian schools

Education

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has released a report detailing the experience of students with disabilities in Victorian schools. The report assesses the progress made by the Department of Education and Training (DET) on the Commission’s recommendations in its 2012 research report. Though there is evidence of improvements since the 2012 report, disability discrimination is still occurring in schools and students with disabilities continue to face significant barriers to achieving equal educational outcomes. Barriers include lack of funding, lack of specialist support and lack of training for teachers about disability.

Helping young children who have experienced trauma: Policies and strategies for early care and education

Education, Youth Justice, Early years, Mental Health, Safety and wellbeing, Practice Tool

This National Centre for Children in Poverty (NCCP) paper presents an overview of early childhood trauma, the impact it has on young children and brain development and promising strategies for trauma-informed care in early care and education. Along with high quality programming, strong policy is crucial to meeting the emotional and early learning needs of children who have experienced trauma. The NCCP makes a series of recommendations to better support access to quality, trauma-informed early care and education.

How do schools compensate for socio-economic disadvantage?

Education

This summary report explores the ways in which we can improve the academic achievement of low performing schools with relatively disadvantaged students. It considers the particular challenges faced by disadvantaged schools and proposes recommendations such as effective learning practices in the classroom, training and professional development for teachers and provision of quality educational resources. Allocating resources more equitably across schools is a key first step to achieving this goal.

How to improve student educational outcomes: New insights from data analytics

Education

McKinsey & Company has published the first of a series of reports tackling some of the big questions in education, including the role of mindsets, teaching practices and technology. The report indicates that student mindsets have a greater impact on student performance than any other factor—and double the effect of socioeconomic background. It also finds that students who receive a mix of teacher-directed and inquiry-based instruction have the best outcomes.

HundrED’s 100 Inspiring innovations in Education

Education

HundrED, a Finnish-born project, has selected 100 inspiring innovations that are changing the face of K-12 education across the globe. Over 1000 innovations were researched and interviewed, coming from more than 40 different countries. You can find out more about each innovation on their website, along with step-by-step instructions on how to implement them at your school.

Impossible? Beyond access: Getting to university and succeeding there

Education

Education charity Teach First has found that children and young people in the poorest geographical areas in the UK have only a one-in-five chance of progressing to university. In contrast, half the young people born in the wealthiest areas go on to higher education. Disadvantaged young people are also almost twice as likely to drop out of university as their wealthier peers. Teach First proposes a series of recommendations to encourage more young people to access university. The recommendations focus on better targeting of support towards young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enable them to access and remain in higher education if they choose.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has developed Knowing Growing Showing; a resource that supports teachers to engage students in financial literacy by connecting with and building upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and community values, world views and lived experiences. The resource is applied in three learning stages: Knowing - what is money?; Growing - money, you and community; Showing - money and enterprise. The resource is aligned to the Australian teaching curriculum, and offers a flexible approach to teaching. It can be adapted for use with cultural groups other than First Australians.

Making the grade: A progress report and next steps for Integrated Student Supports

Education, Mental Health

Integrated Student Supports (ISS) models in schools recognise that students’ unmet non-academic needs can undermine their academic success. ISS offers specific services and supports to students and their families, such as housing assistance mental health services, to build a foundation for academic success. This review synthesises the existing evidence relating to the ISS approach to schooling. Several strong evaluations show support for the ISS model, highlighting flow-on effects for long-term family outcomes.

New data from the latest National Assessment Plan — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests have been uploaded onto the Federal Government's My School website. My School enables parents, educators and members of the community to track school performance over time. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority identifies almost 400 primary and secondary schools that have made substantially above-average gains in their NAPLAN test scores.

Ombudsman’s Investigation into Victorian Government School Expulsions

Education

The Ombudsman’s report into Victorian government school expulsions has found that significant reform is needed to adequately measure exactly how many children are excluded from government schools each year, and to ensure that the Victorian education system is not entirely excluding some of the most vulnerable children. The report shows that 278 children were expelled in Victoria in 2016, including children as young as five. The report also revealed that a disproportionate number of children being expelled were in out-of-home care, had a disability or identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Preschool Education Australia, 2016 – Australian Bureau of Statistics

Education

This publication presents data on children enrolled in and attending a preschool program across Australia in 2016. The results are compiled from data collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection. In 2016, there were 344,676 children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in a preschool program in Australia.

Preschool Education, Australia, 2016

Education

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) presents statistics on children enrolled in and attending a preschool program across Australia in 2016. Close to nine out of 10 four year olds, and two in 10 five year olds were enrolled in a preschool program in 2016. The national attendance rate for enrolled children aged four or five years was 96 percent, with the highest rates of attendance in South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (at 98 per cent).

Preventing Bullying and Cyberbullying: Research-Based Policy Recommendations for Executive and Legislative Officials in 2017

Education

Child Trends has compiled the evidence relating to bullying and cyberbullying to guide policy development. It is argued that bullying prevention strategies need to move away from more punitive measures and school exclusion to address the root causes of the problem. To address bullying effectively, the whole school community should be involved in the planning and implementation of anti-bullying strategies that are context specific.

Problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools

Education, Early years

The Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse has released the Report of Case Study 45 -Problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools. The institutions publicly examined in this case were Trinity Grammar School, The King’s School and Shalom Christian College. The report inquired into the systems, policies, procedures and practices for responding to allegations of problematic or harmful sexual behaviours of children within those schools.

Promoting social and emotional learning in preschool: programs and practices that work

Education

In this brief, Pennsylvania State University summarises what is known about effective preschool social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices based on recent research studies. The studies presented in the brief support the use of SEL programs in preschool, with evidence of positive impacts on children’s development of SEL skills, their engagement with learning, interpersonal relationships and educational achievement. The paper identifies critical factors for success, such as supportive teacher-child interactions and effective engagement with parents.

Quality in Early Years Settings and Children’s School Achievement

Education

A study conducted by researchers at the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics, the University of Surrey, and University College London, investigates the link between children’s outcomes and early learning staff qualifications. The report reveals that a child's educational achievement at the end of their reception year is only marginally higher if they have been taught by a qualified teacher or early learning professional than if they were not taught by a qualified teacher. This is significant because government has often chosen to focus on teacher qualification to improve childcare quality.

Quality is key in early childhood education in Australia

Education

This report from the Mitchell Institute highlights the importance of providing quality early childhood education to Australian children. It shows that children who have the most to gain from high quality services— such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds—are less likely to access services than children from higher socio-economic families. A review of the evidence shows that quality in early learning is driven by educators who can provide effective learning opportunities (through explicit teaching of skills and concepts) and sustained and reciprocal interactions.

Identify, Design, Evaluate

Quality of School Life – Adventure (Motivation) subscale (QSL)

Education, Journal article

The QSL measures primary-school-aged students’ perceptions towards school against three dimensions, 1) general satisfaction with school 2) commitment to school work 3) attitudes towards teachers. Learn more about the QSL

Identify, Design, Evaluate

School Attitudes Assessment Survey-Revised

Education, Journal article

This article describes the School Attitudes Assessment Survey - Revised (SAAS-R). This survey is a validated instrument used to measure the attitudes of adolescents toward school and teachers as well as their goal-valuation, motivation and academic self-perceptions. It is also used to explore below average academic achievement in high school students.

School-based Depression and Anxiety Prevention Programs for Young People: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Education

This paper investigates the effectiveness of school-based programs in preventing depression and anxiety in young people. It is particularly interested in the validity of embedding mental health prevention programs into the school curriculum. This paper highlights the need for improvements in access to mental health prevention services for young people, opposed to treatment after the fact.

Single-sex schooling and achievement outcomes

Education

Analysis of NAPLAN numeracy and reading data shows that that separating the genders does not provide a greater value-add over time in comparison to coeducational schools. Author Dr Katherine Dix explains that there is an ongoing debate about the benefits of single-sex schools in terms of student achievement. This analysis shows the gap in educational achievement between single-sex and coeducational schools narrowing over time.