Advisory Panel to Examine Rural Education Gap in Vic.

by | Jul 17, 2019 | Bush Voices

Advisory Panel to Examine Rural Gap

Have your say by making a direct written submission to Engage Victoria.


The Country Education Partnership (CEP) has welcomed the establishment of an expert advisory panel to examine the disparity in student outcomes between metropolitan and country schools in Victoria.

The Andrews Government announced the panel’s creation last month, saying it was determined to take a lead role in finding solutions to an issue with national significance.

The Expert Advisory Panel for Rural and Regional Students has begun consultation meetings with key stakeholders this week in Ballarat, Bendigo, Horsham, Mildura, Morwell, Wangaratta and Warrnambool.

CEP Chief Executive Phil Brown has been invited to sit on the panel, along with two members of the CEP Rural Youth Ambassador Alumni.

Mr Brown says he is eager to represent the interests of rural and remote education communities and invites interested parties to:

  •  Make a submission to the Expert Panel, or
  • Contact him directly to discuss ideas, suggestions and concerns

CEP Chairperson Helen Clarke has welcomed the panel’s establishment, saying  it is a positive step toward improving education opportunities and outcomes in country Victoria.

“At CEP, we have been underlining the significance of this issue for many years and, though we are acutely aware this announcement is the first step down a lengthy path, we are excited for the road ahead and gratified that we (CEP) are directly involved,” Ms Clarke said.

“As an organisation, we champion the many wonderful things that occur every day in rural and remote schools — and there truly are many — but we can not ignore the statistics that clearly demonstrate kids ‘from the bush’ are falling behind their urban counterparts, due to limited access to learning opportunities,” she said.

Last year, CEP released its research paper ‘Education in Rural Victoria — A Case for Action’, which encouraged government and all relevant authorities to ‘work together to create and implement specific initiatives’ to address the ‘broad list of critical challenges facing country schools’.

These challenges include the recruitment and retention of quality teachers and education leaders, lower levels of student aspirations, flagging education outcomes, lower levels of youth participation within higher education, and limited curriculum opportunities.

“As our paper stated last year, and as we continue to affirm today, now is the time for action, now is the time for change, and we are encouraged by the Andrews Government’s response,” Ms Clarke said.


The expert advisory panel will continue its consultation forums into August. 

The Panel is being Chaired by Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) Chief Executive, Dr David Howes, who has said the panel would make findings and recommendations for possible initiatives and supports needed to help regional and rural schools and students.

“This is about listening to local communities to understand what challenges are preventing regional and rural students from meeting their aspirations,” Dr Howes said.


To contact Phil Brown with your thoughts and/or concerns please phone 0428 171 745 or email

Make DIRECT written submissions to the Engage Victoria Website.
Submissions close Thursday, July 25, 2019.