5from5-logoA quality school education is vital for individual well-being and for a healthy society. All children should have access to an education that is responsive to their needs as well as upholding high standards of academic rigour. CIS’s focus is on policies that restore the role of parents in education and devolve greater authority and responsibility to schools to meet these goals.

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Featured Publication


Focus on Phonics: Why Australia should adopt the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
Jennifer Buckingham, Julie Mavlian
24 November 2016 | RR22

A simple, five-minute Phonics Screening Check could identify at an early stage all of Australia’s school children who are at serious risk of struggling with reading skills. Among English speaking countries, Australia has one of the largest proportions of children who do not achieve minimum…

Early Childhood Intervention: Assessing the evidence
Trisha Jha
20 September 2016 | Research Report 19

Early childhood interventions are programs that aim to improve a child’s development trajectory over the longer term. In the context of increasing disadvantage in welfare-dependent communities in Australia, governments spend considerable sums on these programs. The rationale is that investment, in theory, will reduce the…

Productivity Commission Inquiry into the National Education Evidence Base: Submission in response to the draft report
Jennifer Buckingham
01 May 2016 | CIS Submission

The Review of Education Evidence (Draft Report)—the ‘Draft Report’—provides a useful, up-to-date overview of the types of data collected about the educational progress and outcomes of Australian children and students. It makes salient points about the quality and accessibility of research and data.

One School Does Not Fit All
Jennifer Buckingham, Trisha Jha
31 January 2016 | Research Report 9

Australia has a relatively large degree of choice between schools, a product of historical private and non-profit sector involvement in the provision of schooling after British colonisation. Analysis of school funding data in this report shows that there are more similarities in how schools are…

Free to Choose Charter Schools: How charter and for-profit schools can boost public education
Trisha Jha, Jennifer Buckingham
31 August 2015 | Research Report 6

Charter schools and free schools – publicly-funded, privately-managed schools – have been introduced in several countries around the world as a way of extending school choice, particularly for low income families. This report examines the policies and research on charter schools and their equivalents in…

Media & Commentary

Forget the fads and flapdoodle
Julie Mavlian
10 February 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

Teachers need to understand best practice and reading research so they are not influenced by ineffective methods, expensive educational fads, and meaningless jargon like ‘neuroplasticity’. The Australian Education Union appears…

Familiar bleats for more funding
Blaise Joseph
01 February 2017 | The Spectator - Flat White

An education policy that doesn’t include lavishing more money on schools? Outrageous! That’s been the common response to the federal government’s plan to introduce a test in Year 1 to…

10 things to look for in Year 4
Jennifer Buckingham, Greg Ashman
11 December 2016 | Sunday Telegraph

Australia’s poor results in the latest international assessments of reading, maths and science should be of serious concern to parents. The proportion of children who were classed as ‘low performers’…

Our leaning tower of PISA
Jennifer Buckingham
07 December 2016 | Australian Financial Review

Two sets of independent international test results released in the past week show Australia’s education system has serious deficiencies. The results of the Trends in International Maths and Science Study…

MEDIA RELEASE: New PISA reading, maths and science results confirm Australia’s educational decline
Jennifer Buckingham
06 December 2016

“Two sets of independent international test results released in the past week show that Australia’s education system has serious deficiencies,”  CIS senior research fellow, Dr Jennifer Buckingham said today. “Last…