This is a book by educators, for educators. It grapples with the complexities, the humanity and the possibilities in education. In a climate of competing accountabilities and measurement mechanisms; corporate solutions to education ‘problems’; and narratives of ‘failing’ schools, ‘underperforming’ teachers and ‘disengaged’ students; this book asks ‘What matters?’ or ‘What should matter?’ in education.

Based in the unique Australian context, this book situates Australian education policy, research and practice within the international education narrative. It argues that professionals within schools should be supported, empowered and welcomed into policy discourse, not dictated to by top-down bureaucracy. It advocates for a flipping, flattening and democratising of the education system, in Australia and around the world.

Flip the System Australia: What matters in education brings together the voices of teachers, school leaders and scholars in order to offer diverse perspectives, important challenges and hopeful alternatives to the current education system.

chapter |6 pages


What matters in education?

part I|2 pages

Teacher identity, voice and autonomy

chapter 2|11 pages

Teachers’ perceptions of commercialisation in Australian public schools

Implications for teacher professionalism

chapter 3|9 pages

Flipping the system, but in which direction?

Reclaiming education as a public concern

chapter 4|4 pages


Vehicles for professional growth and system flipping

chapter 5|10 pages

Education beyond risk

Vulnerability as a challenge to neoliberalism’s colour-blind order

part II|3 pages

Collaborative expertise

chapter 6|9 pages

Flipping large-scale assessments

Bringing teacher expertise to the table

chapter 7|10 pages

Schools for the future

Networks and innovation

chapter 9|4 pages

Changing education in action

Lighting the collective efficacy flame

chapter 10|4 pages

From weakness to strength

Turning the challenge of ‘out of field teaching’ into a team that thrives

chapter 11|12 pages

Flipping their lids

Teachers’ wellbeing in crisis

part III|2 pages

Social justice

chapter 12|8 pages

“In 2017 we seek to be heard”

De-tangling the contradictory discourses that silence Indigenous voices in education

chapter 13|9 pages

Locked out, left out

Three generations schooled and classed

chapter 14|9 pages

Learning with connection

Shifting teachers’ practice through authentic engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

chapter 16|8 pages

Reach them then teach them

Engagement in alternative education settings

chapter 18|12 pages

Equitable education in Australia

Empowering schools to lead the way

part IV|2 pages

Professional learning for a flipped system

chapter 19|9 pages

Coaching for agency

163The power of professionally respectful dialogue

chapter 21|5 pages

From silo to Study Group

Subverting teacher learning

part V|2 pages

Leadership for a flipped system

chapter 23|6 pages

Riding two wild horses

Leading Australian schools in an era of accountability

chapter 24|10 pages

A culture of trust

Key practices of compelling leadership

chapter 25|8 pages

Context matters

Women leading in rural schools

chapter 27|10 pages

Finding our roots in the leaves

An ecology of change in leading learning that matters

chapter |5 pages


Speaking hope into education discourse