Innovation High is an original series about 21st century education.

The Australian education system has become segregated through socio-economic or academically selective schools, especially in the capital cities.  However, growing evidence suggests that this is counterproductive to the overall performance of Australia’s education standards and restricts social-mobility. 

A new approach is urgently needed that brings Australian children together again under a public education system driven to innovate and excel.  And the greatest opportunity for innovation in education is when a new school is being established.  Innovation High will tell this story.

Some of the key ingredients for an improved education system include building learning spaces for a diverse student body.  Spaces conducive to best-practices in teaching, particularly those that facilitate participation in science, maths and languages for both girls and boys.  Good leadership, strong culture, teachers with access to ongoing learning opportunities, and community engagement are also critical.

“When Germany was shocked by its first performance on the 2000 PISA assessment, it started a national conversation that saw education on the front page of newspapers for the next two years. Germany’s education has been improving ever since.  If Australia wants to build a strong and competitive economy, we need fewer front page articles about budget cuts and more on reform and investment in education.”

Rachel Wilson

Research Methodology / Educational Assessment & Evaluation, University of Sydney

Recent polls suggest that education is likely to remain a priority issue ahead of the next federal election, and all state elections in between.  It is an issue that touches a majority of Australians in some way.

Given Victoria’s above-average population growth, Melbourne is predicted to overtake Sydney as Australia’s biggest city by 2056.  By 2020, Victorian schools will need to accommodate a record 1 million students.  In the next 5 years, Victorian schools will need to absorb an extra 90,000 students.

Building new schools is not just a Victorian phenomenon.  With Australia’s population projected to double by 2075, twice as many schools will be required nationwide in the next 5 decades.  The series seeks to inform an important social conversation about what defines a good education today and to understand the key detriments of what makes a new school great.

“The residents of Richmond have forgotten what it’s like to have a co-educational high school in the heart of their city.”

Colin Simpson

Foundation Principle, Richmond High School

Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, observed that “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.  Regrettably, in the US and elsewhere, this value in developing strong educational systems has been eroded by short-term decision-making. 

Locally, this was seen in the closure of over 200 Victorian schools during the 1990s, including the original Richmond High School. 

The realisation of Richmond High, from innovative concept through to its practical delivery, is a unique opportunity to tell an important story about the future of education in Australia in a creative way at a pivotal time.  Australia needs more investment in strengthening and innovating its education systems to safeguard the prosperity of future generations. 

Following this story, a “perfect storm” of activity around Richmond High School, provides the opportunity to bring this issue into the public consciousness.  We hope that you will accompany us on this important journey.

What do you think?

New School Education, or the Future of Education, affects every one of us. Our future prosperity and standing in the world depends on it. If you’re a student, teacher, parent or an armchair expert, join the conversation today on our Facebook page… That includes you Mr Prime Minister.