Help needed to shape the future of school education

An opportunity to highlight the importance of school libraries to Australian students has just opened, with parents, students and teachers invited to complete a national survey to help shape the future of school education in Australia. The Expert Panel Review into the next National School Reform Agreement is asking for input into matters including:

  • Improving education outcomes
  • Supporting student health and wellbeing, and
  • Supporting and retaining teachers.

School libraries are critical to support student learning outcomes and wellbeing, however there is currently no national requirement for students to have access to a well-resourced and staffed school library, and no national reporting requirements. For this  reason ALIA along with other members of the Australian Coalition of School Libraries is advocating for school libraries to be included in the National School Reform Agreement.  

The survey is an opportunity for you to raise school libraries to national attention. If your school library is great – you can share the impact on wellbeing and learning. If your child doesn’t have a school library, or has an under-resourced school library, this is a chance to show the panel the negative impacts of under-resourcing of school libraries.

As school libraries are not specifically referenced, you will have to choose the “other” choice in relevant questions to enter free text.  If you are answering as a parent some questions that you may find relevant to include your school library experience include:

  • Which of the following does your child’s school currently provide or do to help students learn?
  • Are any of the following factors currently significant barriers to your child’s learning?
  • What sort of investments in your child’s school would help them learn and reach their potential?
  • Which of the following resources has your child used in the last 12 months to support their wellbeing and development?
  • What should the government invest more in to support the learning and wellbeing of your child at school?
  • Is there anything more you would like to share about student mental health and wellbeing?
  • Thinking about the following types of school information, which three types are most important to you generally for your child at school? (Following questions “how would you use this information”)

ALIA encourages truthful and wide feedback into this review – this is an important mechanism for the Expert Panel to explore many issues, not just school libraries. We also encourage you to share the survey widely to provide a good number of responses.