The solution to closing the gap in education fundamentally comes down to teaching and learning

Jacqueline Magee | Cohort 2011 Associate | Hometown: Townsville QLD
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Associate | Learning First

Jacqueline Magee moved around Australia a lot when she was growing up. Living in a number of remote towns and regional communities, she saw that there were choices available to her that weren’t available to everyone with whom she went to school. While she was lucky enough to have a family that highly valued education, she realised that for a range of reasons many other kids didn’t have strong educational support.

Jacqueline was placed at Mill Park Secondary College in Epping, Victoria, as part of the Teach For Australia program. Her experience strengthened her commitment to improving educational inequity.

She stayed at Mill Park Secondary College for further year following her completion of the Teach For Australia program, working as the Program and Learning Outcomes Manager for Year 7 and studying for her Master’s degree in education policy on weekends.

After interning with the Grattan Institute, an opportunity arose for Jacqueline to take on a manager position with the Centre for New Public Education at the Foundation for Young Australians, the country’s largest not-for-profit for young people. “I had an enduring interest in social policy and it’s potential to change the learning outcomes of students on a large scale,” Jacqueline says.

Now, Jacqueline is an Associate at Learning First, a social enterprise working to reform school education.

“I have the opportunity to consult to Australian governments on their workforce and school improvement strategies and conduct research and write reports for international clients. Through this work, I help to solve problems and create strategies to drive improvement in the outcomes of students in a large number of classrooms internationally.

“I’m currently writing a report on teacher education that involved conducting primary research in Shanghai and Finland at the end of 2015. The opportunity to study international school systems is very exciting and certainly memorable!”

For Jacqueline, the first step to changing the game is recognising that there is a problem with access to education in Australia.

“I was presented with an opportunity to have an impact on education from a systemic level. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still working for the same kids and for the same reason but in a slightly different way. I’m trying to change the game as much as one person can.”

Jacqueline stresses, educational inequity can be significantly mitigated by social policy reform.

“Any structural reforms that occur in pursuit of closing the gap in education have to focus on teaching and learning while supporting the people that are in classrooms all over the country, trying to make an impact on this problem every day.”

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