Post-Gonski 2.0: Supporting evidence-based teaching practice in the classroom – Melbourne

Now is the time for public discussion about how government policies can better support schools and teachers in the classroom. David Gonski has handed down his new report (‘Gonski 2.0’) outlining a broad vision for schooling in Australia. It’s a high-level national statement, and arguably state governments have tried to achieve much of it for some time. So why is evidence-based teaching so hard to achieve at scale?

At this Policy Pitch event, School Education Fellow, Julie Sonnemann and a panel of experts discussed the difficulties of achieving evidence-based teaching at scale and how to implement critical reforms, such as tailored teaching and new specialist teacher career pathways.


Katherine Henderson is the Director of the University of Melbourne Network of Schools (UMNOS). UMNOS is a collaborative partnership for Australian schools to learn from each other and to work together with world class researchers on strategies to improve student learning. The 109 UMNOS schools come from all sectors, all stages of schooling and all demographics. Previously, as the Regional Director of the (then) Western Metropolitan Region in Victoria, Katherine led the Region’s schools in making significant and unprecedented gains in student learning growth and achievement. Katherine has worked in leadership roles in health and education in Victoria and the Northern Territory since 1981. She has deep and extended experience in leading implementation with demonstrated impact.

Michaela Epstein is the President of the Mathematical Association of Victoria. Her work revolves around the belief that students need to be involved in meaningful and thought-provoking mathematics. She has taught and coached math teachers in schools in rural Victoria and in Melbourne, and her expertise in mathematics education extends to curriculum policy and development. In 2014, Epstein was recognised at the ACER Excellence in Professional Practice Conference with an award for her work with a numeracy intervention program. She is currently the head of learning at Australian-founded social enterprise Maths Pathway.

Julie Sonnemann is the School Education Fellow at Grattan Institute. She has significant experience in education policy and system design, and has co-authored several high profile reports on effective teaching, professional learning, equity and funding. She has over ten years of experience in school education policy, working within government, consulting and research organisations. She has studied high performing school systems in East Asia and North America, and consulted to the Australian government, the OECD Education Directorate and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Julie began her career at the Prime Minister’s Department and is an economist by training. She has a B.Com (honours economics) and Master of Public Policy from The University of Melbourne.


Megan French is the Marketing Manager for Grattan and the producer and host of the Grattan Institute podcast. Her previous roles in Melbourne have focused on event management, particularly in corporate environments as well as brand management, marketing and relationship building. Megan moved to Melbourne in 2012 following a brief stint living in Italy and prior to this, spent 5 years with the Department of Education Queensland, primarily as a policy officer.