Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and the Commonwealth Bank have partnered on an initiative to improve the learning outcomes of students in Australian schools, particularly those experiencing disadvantage. The Commonwealth Bank have made a significant investment in the development of the Australian Teaching and Learning Toolkit Initiative, designed to enable and support a culture of evidence-informed practice in schools.
Based on an approach that has demonstrated success in the UK, the Toolkit Initiative provides new funding for world-class research into Australian educational practice, and shares this evidence through a free online toolkit that summarises research in plain English. The Toolkit Initiative will also support schools to engage with evidence in ways that will most benefit their students.
SVA’s CEO Rob Koczkar said: ‘There is increasing recognition that we need to build a culture of evidence-informed practice in education and we believe this initiative is an important step to support this shift in Australia. The ultimate beneficiaries of the Toolkit Initiative will be students in Australian schools. Their teachers and school leaders will have access to a high-quality evidence base as they choose their teaching and learning practices. When teachers adopt more effective practices, student outcomes improve.
‘It is our hope that the Toolkit Initiative will help narrow the equity gap in Australian education through its focus on practices that have particular benefit for students experiencing disadvantage.’
The Toolkit Initiative builds on the work of the educational research community in Australia and has been developed with the Victorian Department of Education and Training and the UK’s Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). SVA will work closely with researchers, professional bodies, schools and school systems across Australia to design the wider rollout of the initiative.
Victorian Minister for Education, James Merlino said: ‘The Toolkit Initiative is an opportunity to support school leaders and teachers in making great decisions for their students. Victoria provided the initial investment in this initiative because we understand the critical role it can play in supporting excellence and equity in Australian schools. We are pleased that SVA, an independent organisation with a history of success in taking social enterprises to scale, will lead the expansion of this work nationally.’
The current online toolkit summarises research into 34 interventions to improve students’ academic achievement. It includes an analysis of each intervention’s average impact on student achievement, the strength of the evidence used to determine that average impact, and the average cost of implementing the intervention. It summarises over 10,000 individual studies from around the world.
The online toolkit will be updated to include new research into Australian education practice as it becomes available. Information regarding the research funding available through the Toolkit Initiative will be announced in coming months.