Education State in Schools Guiding Coalition


The Education State in Schools Guiding Coalition (Guiding Coalition) was established in 2017, as an outcome of the 2016 Education State in Schools Forum (Forum).    

The Forum was facilitated by the Department of Education and Training and education leaders from across Victoria were invited to attend. The group included school principals, students, academics, professional associations, key community partners and departmental staff.   

A key outcome of the Forum was to establish a Guiding Coalition to pursue the principle of shared responsibility across a wide span of partners, to progress the Education State in Schools agenda and build a high performing public education system.

The Guiding Coalition membership includes partners, stakeholders and institutions across Victoria and aims to facilitate productive and meaningful collaborations to progress the agreed and shared goal of improving student outcomes.

What we do

Each year, members agree on the priorities that will inform the working group topics and activities to be undertaken within the working groups for the year ahead.
Three working groups topics, as established in 2019 and extended into 2020, include:

  • Workforce, Recruitment, Retention and Support - chaired by David Howes, Deputy Secretary, Schools and Regional Services
  • The Future of Secondary Schooling - chaired by Katherine Whetton, Deputy Secretary, Policy, Strategy and Performance
  • Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion - chaired by Ian Burrage, A/Deputy Secretary, School Education Programs and Support.

Members self-nominate to attend the working group/s which reflect their particular interests. Working groups meet once each term.   

All working groups meet on the same day and discussions are reported back to the wider membership in the wrap up plenary session which is chaired by the Department Secretary.
The plenary provides an opportunity for the membership to engage more broadly and seek feedback from the Secretary.

Guiding Coalition Membership 2020

Membership of the Guiding Coalition includes:

  • Nicholas Abbey – School Governance Network
  • Lionel Bamblett – Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated
  • Tom Bentley – RMIT University
  • Phil Brown - Country Education Partnership
  • Cameron Peverett - Victorian Principals Association of Specialist Schools
  • Sue Bell - Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals
  • Tom Daly – Upwey High School
  • Matthew Deeble – Social Ventures Australia
  • Hayley Dureau - Mount Waverley Secondary College
  • Jacqui Gore - Warrnambool Primary School
  • Anne-Maree Kliman – Victorian Principals Association
  • Mary Hutchison – Roslyn Primary School
  • Nina Laitala – Victorian Student Representative Council
  • Gail McHardy – Parents Victoria
  • Meredith Peace – Australian Education Union*
  • Julie Podbury – Australian Principals Federation
  • Deborah Fewster – Victorian Council of Social Service
  • Steven Cook – Albert Park College
  • Kerri Smith – Point Cook Senior Secondary College

* Whilst Meredith Peace officially represents Australian Education Union (AEU) on the Guiding Coalition, other members of the organisation attend each of the working groups to represent AEU.

Member biographies (docx - 2.1mb) are available to read.

Policy experts and Executives from across the Department of Education and Training are also represented on the Guiding Coalition.

Annual agenda setting - 2020 priorities

In early 2020, Guiding Coalition members considered the priorities of each working group for the coming year and matched the agreed priorities with agreed actions which were documented into workplans.

The workplans are live documents intended to respond to priorities as they change and emerge across the Education system.

Refer to the below links for access to the current workplans:

Communications and supporting documents

Contact details

For all correspondence related to the Guiding Coalition please contact the Secretariat on