Australia, quality education and the 'best interests of the child'

Journal article

Cumming, J. Joy and Mawdsley, Ralph. (2013). Australia, quality education and the 'best interests of the child'. Australian Journal of Education. 57(3), pp. 292 - 309.
AuthorsCumming, J. Joy and Mawdsley, Ralph

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Australia, states that the ‘best interests of the child’ shall be a primary consideration in all decisions about children, yet these are rarely considered in Australian education-related legislation and policy. This article considers the history and current practice of national educational reforms aimed at high quality education, including educational accountability and publication of school performance data. Research on quality education and parent perspectives is examined in two contexts: first, economic research on relationships between reported school performance and housing prices; and, second, research on indicators that parents value as quality education. The final section examines legal decisions in family law, where decisions about quality education and choice of school are explicitly based on the best interests of the child. We conclude that current Australian educational reforms, while intended to promote education quality, do not always give specific attention to the best interests of the child. They should.

Keywordsbest interests of the child; education law; quality education; education reforms; family law; Australia
JournalAustralian Journal of Education
Journal citation57 (3), pp. 292 - 309
PublisherSage Publications Ltd.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Page range292 - 309
Research GroupInstitute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE)
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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