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Emeritus Professor Bill Louden

Emeritus Professor Bill Louden

University of Western Australia

Evidence-based approaches to school improvement: Kimberley Schools Project

Despite a great deal of good will, effort and funding, student achievement in the Kimberley region of Western Australia has shown little improvement in the last decade. Governments have intervened in a range of ways: tying funding to evidence that schools are closing the gap; improving conditions for teachers and principals working with remote communities; funding a bewildering range of attendance and engagement strategies; and supporting cultural relevance though a range of short-term skill and enrichment programs. This paper describes the Kimberley Schools Project, which is an alternative approach funded by the Western Australian Government through the Royalties for Regions program. It is a ‘low variation’ approach that asks volunteer schools to sign on to four common strands of activity: targeted teaching; early years learning and care; engagement and attendance; and connecting community, school and learning. The Project offers coaching and support to teachers and school principals in implementing these four strands. It’s too soon to tell whether this program will succeed where others have failed, but this paper will document the evidence behind the approach that has been taken and share some early insights about implementation.

About Emeritus Professor Bill Louden

Bill Louden is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Western Australia where he was Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Education. He has served as chair and board member of state and national statutory authorities responsible for curriculum, assessment and professional standards. He has led many government reviews and inquiries. The most recent of these include reviews of sex and gender education for the Australian and NSW governments, a review of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards for the NSW government and an investigation of high-performing primary schools for the Western Australian Government. Bill is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators. He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for services to education.

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