Release type: Media Release


Review of national curriculum to put students first


The Hon Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Education
Leader of the House

The Coalition Government today confirmed its commitment to implementing a world-class national curriculum with the appointment of Professor Ken Wiltshire AO and Dr Kevin Donnelly to review the Australian Curriculum.

Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, said the appointment of Professor Wiltshire and Dr Donnelly was an important step on the path to a world class national curriculum.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Wiltshire and Dr Donnelly to undertake this review,” Mr Pyne said.

“The review will evaluate the robustness, independence and balance of the Australian Curriculum by looking at both the development process and content.”

Mr Pyne said the review will help ensure the curriculum improves student outcomes, as part of a focus on putting students first in the Government’s education policies.

“I am confident Professor Wiltshire and Dr Donnelly will undertake a comprehensive review of the Australian Curriculum with broad stakeholder consultation.”

Mr Pyne said the move towards a nationally consistent curriculum is a step in the right direction but there is still more work to be done.

“We are committed to working with state and territory governments on implementing an Australian Curriculum that is on par with the world’s best curricula,” he said.

“We don’t see the Australian Curriculum as a static document, but rather one that is gradually improved over time.

“All Australian students deserve access to a curriculum that encourages and fosters choice and diversity.”

Professor Wiltshire and Dr Donnelly will provide recommendations to the Government in mid-2014. 

Under the ‘students-first’ approach, the Australian Government will work with the states and territories by focussing in 2014 on four key areas that will make a difference:

  • teacher quality
  • principal autonomy
  • engaging parents in education
  • strengthening the curriculum.

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About the Panel:

Professor Kenneth Wiltshire AO is the J.D.Story Professor of Public Administration and Leader of the Not for Profit Unit at The University of Queensland Business School. His research interests are in the fields of public policy and public sector management, governance, comparative federalism, education and leadership, government-business relations, and social enterprises. He has published 14 books and over 70 scholarly articles in these and other fields. He teaches in the MBA and Master of Business programs and in Executive Education programs on Leadership. He has led several AusAID programs for Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Professor Wiltshire has had extensive experience in relation to education and training. He was, for six years, Australia’s Representative on the Executive Board of Unesco including two years as the Chair of the Program and External Relations Commission of the Board. He was Rapporteur - General for the 1999 UNESCO Congress in Seoul on Technical and Vocational Education and Training and the author of the International Declaration on TVET approved at that Congress. He also served for 13 years as the Chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO. Professor Wiltshire conducted: the Review of NBEET- the National Board for Employment Education and Training; was Special Adviser to the Australian National Training Authority; Chair of the Review of the Queensland School Curriculum; Chair of the Tertiary Entrance Procedures of Qld; and served as a member of Advisory Council of the International Institute of Educational Planning in Paris. He was a founding Board member of the Constitutional Centenary Foundation and Chair of its education committee, and served as a member of the national Ministerial Advisory Committee on Environmental Education.

Professor Wiltshire has served as consultant to Prime Ministers, parliamentary committees, Royal Commissions, Government Business Enterprises, government departments, local governments, and private sector organisations. He has held a number of other government appointments including Member of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, Chair of the Australian Heritage Commission, and Chair of the World Heritage Wet Tropics Management Committee.

In 1998, Professor Wiltshire was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to social sciences and public administration, and UNESCO. 

Dr Kevin Donnelly (BA, DipEd, MEd, PhD) is one of Australia’s leading education commentators and authors. Dr Donnelly is currently Executive Director of the Education Standards Institute and Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University. Dr Donnelly’s experience includes benchmarking and evaluating curriculum for state and Commonwealth governments as well as the New Zealand Business Roundtable.  Research interests include identifying the characteristics of stronger performing education systems, evaluating the impact of outcomes based education on Australian schools and analysing various models of curriculum theory and implementation within an international context.

In addition to gaining post-graduate qualifications in education, with a focus on curriculum, Kevin taught English and Humanities for 18 years in Victorian government and non-government secondary schools.  He has also been a member of state and national curriculum bodies, including: the Victorian Education Department’s Post Primary English Committee and Post Primary Taskforce, the Year 12 English Panel of Examiners, the Victorian Board of Studies and the federally funded Discovering Democracy Programme and inquiry into the Australian Certificate of Education.

Dr Donnelly has written extensively on contemporary developments in education for Australia’s print media and is the author of Why our schools are failing, Dumbing Down, Australia’s Education Revolution and Educating your child: it’s not rocket science.