Politics and Policy in Education


The Politics and Policy in Education SIG provides a space within which AARE members can present, discuss and debate research on the production, enactment and impacts of politics and policy in relation to educational issues. The SIG includes members engaged in quantitative, qualitative, interpretive, critical, ethnographic and comparative methodological approaches. It brings together researchers from a broad variety of disciplines and professional areas to foster and support the conduct, collaboration, dissemination, discussion and application of research on education policy and politics. Given the importance placed on education by governments and non-government organisations in achieving economic, social, cultural and political ends, this SIG provides a space within which the processes, practices and effects of politics and policy in education are foregrounded. 

Research interests:

  • Work focusing on a variety of phenomena, including (but not limited to) the work of:
    • policy actors,
    • changing policy networks and institutional formations,
    • the role and impacts of different forms of data, and
    • the impacts of policies on education settings.
  • Supports policy research across a variety of scales, from local policies and impacts, through to national and transnational policy trends. 
  • Forum supportive of micro- and macro-political research including that with a focus on gender, race and ethnicity, class, disadvantage, sexuality, materiality and identity. 
  • Advocates broad engagement with questions of politics and policy about methodologies associated with policy studies, theoretical developments, and debates about current and historical initiatives in Australia and internationally.
  • Encourages engagement with government and non-government organisations, including collaborative and other forms of cross-sectoral research.

AARE Politics and Policy SIG report. November 2023

This is a crucial time for school education. Under the ALP Minister for Education, Jason Clare, the National School Reform Agreement (NSRA) is being renegotiated. Other reforms are also in train. Research-informed debates about the future of school education in Australia must occur. With a view to contributing to such debates, some SIG members have been involved in a developing a focused program of activities during 2023. These will extend into 2024.

This program began with a Policy Symposium on school funding, equity and achievement held at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in April. The Symposium brought together key stake holders and leading educational researchers and policy analysts from around Australia. They reviewed the directions of school education policy since the Gonski Report (2011), discussed the current architecture of school funding and its discontents, and considered future funding options for Australian schools. It was followed by a hybrid Public Forum that involved three leading educators and policy makers: Dr Carmen Lawrence; Professor Barry McGaw and Professor Verity Firth. A report from the day’s proceedings is Preston, B. (2023) Funding, Equity and Achievement in Australian Schools: A report on a national symposium. It can be found here.