The SVA Education Dialogue: ‘Bright Spots’ to a ‘Bright System’?

SVA is committed to a more excellent and equitable education system in Australia and effecting systems change. The SVA Education Dialogues play an important role in the process, by convening education leaders from around Australia and building momentum to support and enable a culture of evidence-informed practice in schools.

Bringing together an ‘uncommon alliance’ of leaders from across sectors who are positioned to make a difference at a practical, policy and political level, the SVA Education Dialogue inspire new practice and energise new partnerships.

SVA Education Dialogues brings together a unique group from across education, philanthropy, business, government and academia. They focus on identifying innovation, catalysing focus and energy and connecting networks of people who are committed to finding and spreading effective solutions to ensure disadvantaged children have a better chance to thrive at school and consequently in life.

The SVA Education Dialogue is chaired by Tony Mackay AM.

SVA Education Dialogue 2015

This September, education system leaders from across Australia will join national and international experts for the fifth Social Ventures Australia (SVA) Education Dialogue.

The Dialogue will convene 150 senior national education leaders – representing all states and territories, all sectors, and national agencies and organisations – to focus our collective efforts on enabling and supporting great teaching in all schools through a culture of evidence-informed practice.  Such a collective focus is necessary to arrest the decline in the educational performance of Australian students and the widening gap in performance between the most and least advantaged young Australians.

SVA Education Dialogue 2015 is an invitation-only event, kindly supported by the Commonwealth Bank and the Australian Federal Department of Education and Training.


Education Dialogue 2014: Knowing is not enough: From bright spots to a bright system

Beginning on Wednesday 15 October 2014, SVA hosted its fourth Education Dialogue. The core challenge for the Education Dialogue this year was how to address inequity by spreading good practice.

Three international guests shared their experiences with SVA Education Dialogue participants:

SVA Education Dialogue events are by invitation-only, but you can follow and join the conversation on Twitter at any time using the #EdDialogue hashtag.

Videos of the day are also available.

SVA Education Dialogue resources

  • Overcoming barriers to spreading effective practice framework

The challenge of spreading good practice is central to SVA’s work in education.  As such, we used this year’s SVA Education Dialogue as an occasion to articulate our thinking about the barriers to spreading good practice and what we can do to overcome them.  The framework below represents our first attempt to capture our thoughts.  We view this as a living document to be updated and revised as we learn more, and we welcome your input.  Our special thanks to Simon Breakspear for his important contribution.

Download the Overcoming barriers to spreading effective practice framework [PDF, 61kb]

  • Storify

Re-live the SVA Education Dialogue day action, tweet-by-tweet, with our Storify.

  • Bright Spot: National Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools Program


Education Dialogue 2013: Bright Spots to a Bright System

The third SVA Education Dialogue was an opportunity to learn from the inspired education leaders who are using evidence-based approaches to make a difference in the education system. We were privileged to welcome Dr Vicki Phillips, Education Director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to share the Gates Foundation’s journey using catalytic philanthropy to drive change.

Dr Vicki Phillips, Director of Education, Gates Foundation talks to Michael Traill, Chief Executive, SVA during an ‘on the couch’ session at the SVA Education Dialogue 2013

Together, our ‘uncommon alliance’ of educators, policymakers, business people, philanthropists, and changemakers affirmed its commitment to growing the impact of education Bright Spots, and to accelerating the change that enhances education outcomes in schools in disadvantaged communities.

Please find below the presentations from our inspiring speakers at the SVA Education Dialogue 2013.

You can also view the SVA Education Dialogue Storify, which follows a selection of tweets from the day.

Suzie Riddell, Executive Director of Education at SVA, opens the SVA Education Dialogue 2013

Tony Mackay, Chair of the SVA Education Dialogue, fields questions from the floor

Adam Smith talks to Kristian Jiminez, Thomas Jackson and Stephanie Armstrong to learn more about the student perspective.

Maxine McKew chairs a panel discussion on the National Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools program

Dr Vicki Phillips is joined on stage by Verity Firth and Ben Jensen.

Eager volunteers are put through their paces during a Beacon ‘Business Blackboard’ exercise.


SVA thanks the AMP Foundation, the Bryan Foundation, the Macquarie Group Foundation, The Trust Company and The Trust Company as trustee for The Fred P. Archer Charitable Trust for their generous support of the Education Dialogue 2013. 

Education Dialogue 2012: Great Teaching in Tough Schools

The Dialogue explored developing the teacher workforce with a focus on understanding the skills required for teaching in a disadvantaged classroom, innovations in teacher training and pathways into teaching, school-led early-stage teacher support and development, school-university partnerships, and teachers accessing skills and support beyond the classroom, including from non-profits and the wider community.

An incredible day of inspiration and passion Dialogue 2012 showed us what is possible: committed, evidence-based, collaborative and passionate action on the ground to change the game for disadvantaged students.

Michael Traill AM (Chief Executive, SVA) opens the SVA Education Dialogue 2012.


What do you see as the biggest issues facing low SES schools today? Participants of the SVA Education Dialogue 2012 discuss the issues affecting education outcomes for young people in low socio-economic areas.

Download the Insights and Actions report from the SVA Education Dialogue 2012 (PDF)



Education Dialogue 2011: Effective School Leadership in Disadvantaged Schools

The inaugural Education Dialogue brought together an exceptional group of education practitioners, policy makers, academics, non-profits, business leaders and philanthropists to showcase what is working to turn around student achievement in disadvantaged schools. The Dialogue focused on effective leadership, and lessons from schools working within the Smarter Schools National Partnership for Low Socio-economic Status School Communities.

Following the Dialogue, SVA has continued discussions with a number of governments and key sector leaders around these issues, with a particular focus on sharing innovation generated through the National Partnership.

A key piece of resulting collaborative work is the partnership between SVA and Queensland’s Department of Education, Training and Employment, with the generous support of the Bryan Foundation, to showcase success in Queensland’s Low SES National Partnership Schools. The project will create an online resource for principals – identifying six schools which have seen significant changes in outcomes through working within the National Partnership, telling their stories and highlighting action-focused insights to inspire and guide principals at other low SES schools in Queensland and throughout Australia.

Download a copy of the Education Dialogue 2011 Communique (PDF, 633KB).