Pillar 3: What can be done to maximise educational outcomes for children and young people experiencing disadvantage?​

Pillar 3 incorporated an integrative synthesis across complementary information sources to produce a framework to locate Promising Programs, higher-level system design features to promote educational equity, and knowledge gaps requiring further investigation. The COVID-19 drivers of disadvantage, Priority Action Areas and Promising Programs were grounded in the evidence of Pillars 1 and 2, and have been validated with stakeholders and external experts. The solutions identified target those elements of the system of educational disadvantage directly impacted by COVID-19, and are most likely to be successful in countering the disruptive effects of the pandemic.

Pillar 3 Report: Key Findings

  • Sixty-five Promising Programs were identified and assessed across the four priority Action Areas.
  • The four priority Action Areas are: Student mental health, wellbeing and hope; The future role of teachers, schools and communities; Digital equity; Protections for the most vulnerable students.
  • Within the four Action Areas, the greatest number of Promising Programs existed for the future role of teachers, schools and communities, followed by student mental health, wellbeing and hope.
  • Very few Promising Programs were available for protections for the most vulnerable students, and no Promising Programs were currently available for digital equity.
  • The most robust evidence comes from programs that have only been implemented overseas, and there is not a robust evidence base indicating the effectiveness of programs in Australia.
  • It is still too early to have a complete understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on educational disadvantage in Australia.
  • The effects COVID-19 are playing out against an existing system of educational disadvantage in Australia, and efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic may not address all the underlying drivers of educational disadvantage.