14 FEBRUARY   2008


NO !


Professor Barry McGaw has recently been appointed by the Federal Rudd Government as Chair of the new National Curriculum Board. This Board is to be established by 1 January 2009.

Background of Barry McGaw - Neither Curriculum Nor Educational History

Barry McGaw's formal qualifications are in educational psychology and psychometrics. He went to school at Indooroopilly High School, Brisbane, Queensland. He graduated in chemistry from the University of Queensland and later studied psychology. He completed his Ph.D. in educational psychology and psychometrics at the University of Illinois, U.S.A.

 He later became the Professor of Education at Murdoch University, Western Australia and Director of the Australian Council of Educational Research ( ACER) from 1985 to 1998. He was later Deputy and then Director of Education at the O.E.C.D. from 1998 to 2005.

 He returned to Australia and was appointed half time Professorial Fellow and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute of the University of Melbourne. He also works half time as a consultant from McGaw Group Pty Ltd. In this latter capacity he works with various groups. In his private capacity, he has been a consultant to Delfin Lend Lease Limited, a well known property developer in Australia.

He may have started off as a student in the public system, but where does he currently stand in the battle for public education?

Historic Definition of Public Education.

Any assessment of Barry McGaw's commitment to public education must start with the historic definition of public education itself. The DOGS support the eight fold definition hammered out in the period from 1860 to the present. Public Education is quite distinct from private education because it is :


  •  purpose

  • benefit or outcome

  • access - geographically and open to all children, teachers, parents etc. regardless of colour, creed, culture or class.

  • ownership

  • control

  • accountability

  • funding and

  • provision

For fuller discussion of this definition see

Is Barry Mc Gaw a Promoter of Public Education?  NO!

For DOGS, the test of a promoter of Public Education is support of the above eightfold historic definition together with evidence that the person does not interfere with or adversely affect the strongest possible public education system or the welfare of its schools.

They believe that an application of this benchmark indicates that the Barry McGaw appointment is not a good one for our public education system in Australia.

The Company Barry McGaw Keeps:

There is an old saying : 'Birds of a Feather Flock Together'.

Barry McGaw keeps interesting company. DOGS note his involvement with: The Education Foundation, Australia; Melbourne University Education Faculty and Delfin Lend Lease Ltd.

     1. Barry McGaw and The Education Foundation, Australia:

In 1973 an Ellen Koshland arrived in Australia from the U.S.A. She established the Education Foundation in 1989. In an article on the website of the Centre for Policy Development on 1 December 2006, she wrote:

Education Foundation Australia has come to believe that significant change will only be achieved by reshaping our landscape around an entirely new framework of public education, one based on public value, rather than on who owns or operates the school.

Under this new definition, public education would be focused on the achievement of public value for the community...The experience of other countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, England, New worth noting here. Public Education in these places includes provision by denominational schooling and various types of government-dependent privately managed schools.

Ellen Koshland appears to have missed the point about public education in Australia. The meaning of public education is much broader than the ownership indicia, although privately owned schools can never be 'public' schools. It is highly misleading and quite wrong to use it as the sole difference between private and public education.

DOGS suspect that she lacks historical understanding or is naive about the true nature of the private as opposed to the public sector. Public education was set up for a basic political purpose - the public good - to prevent a church State within a secular State, and the integration of children in a liberal democracy, not their separation into a class structure and religious tribes.

So - the Education Foundation Australia is really about the redefinition of public education which will lead to its integration into the private sector.

Barry McGaw joins with the following  patrons of the Education Foundation Australia, none of whom are prominent in the defence and promotion of a strong, historic public education system in this country. Consider the following:

  • Professor Barry McGaw

  • Professor Brian J. Caldwell

  • Professor Jack Keating

  • Tony Mackay who has been recently appointed Deputy Chair to Professor Barry McGaw on the Rudd National Curriculum Board. ( For information on Caldwell, Keating and Mackay see Press Release 155 at )

  • Graham Marshall who as early as 1983 was attacking the DOGS and publicising the integration of the private into the public system. See VSTA News, Vol. 4, No. 19, p. 4)

  •  Dr. John Roskam ( Senior Adviser to Liberal Ministers of Education. See Press Release 51 at

The failure of the above members of the Education Foundation Australia to oppose State Aid and the undermining of the public by the private sector of education in Australia has assisted the decline of the public system into the current parlous state of many of its schools.

          ii.      Barry McGaw and The Education Faculty at the University of Melbourne 

In a full page paid Advertisement in The Age on 26 April 2005, DOGS called for the then State Minister for Education, Lynne Kosky, to make the present  faculties of  Education at Melbourne, Monash and LaTrobe as sub branches of the Education Faculty  at the the  Australian Catholic University  and to make a fresh start with   newly structured Education Facultiesat Melbourne Monash and LaTrobe with scholars who have some understanding of the history of Public Education in Australia and a willingness to promote it. It is a long, long time since DOGS have been able to identify any member of the Melbourne Faculty with either an understanding, commitment or scholarly interest in the historic public education system.

Barry McGaw has joined Brian J. Caldwell, Jack Keating,  Graham Marshall and Simon Marginson in this fqaculty. Simon Marginson promoted the concept of integrating public and private schools in a chapter in the book Putting the Public Back into Public Education published in 1998.

              iii.     Barry McGaw and Delfin Lend Lease Limited  

In a report of a discussion in a document produced by the Education Foundation Australia: New Arrangements to Close the Gap, Invitational Symposium, Melbourne, 21 July 2006, DOGS discovered the following information:

The last piece of Barry MCGaw's 'story' revolved around an approach he received to work in the educational facilities domain at the initiation of Delfin Lend Lease. Whilst his involvement (was) relatively new, he did descr5ibe the case of one school in South Australia (Golden Grove) for participants to consider. The Chair of Delfin in South Australia happens also to be the chair of the Catholic Education Commission in that state. Given the nature of sectoral arrangement meant a Catholic school wouldn't have been established in this area for another ten years, he proposed that Delfin put money up front for a government, Catholic and Anglican school on a site where they all abut a shared library and other facilities in the middle....

 The promotion of 'shared facilities' is completely contrary to the concept of free, secular and universal which is the cornerstone of our public education system. The concept of 'shared facilities' cuts across the eightfold, historic definition of public education and is the recipe for the destruction of the public system in favour of domination by the private, denominational system which divides children on the basis of caste, culture and creed.

Barry McGaw's involvement with Delfin Lend Lease has continued in recent Victorian developments. DOGS quote from a lecture he delivered at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at the University of South Australia, organised by the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, Delfin Lend Lease on 3 August 2006.

I have been back in Australia only six months and have only a limited overall picture at this stage. I'm currently engaged by Delfin Lend Lease as a consultant for three to four days per month to help with the further development of the education model for their communities. I have chosen to do that because I think their developments offer an interesting and potentially very valuable on the ground strategy for enhancing social capital and, through attention to the learning needs of people of all ages in the communities, also for enhancing human capital generally. They (Delfin Lend Lease) have established an imminent person's panel to work with me. It includes Allan  Fels, former head of the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission and now Dean of the Australian and New Zealand School of Government, Hugh Mackay, the social analyst and author and Rob Hunt, Group Managing Director of Bendigo Bank.

DOGS note that Allan Fels and Hugh Mackay mentioned by Barry McGaw in the above passage are linked to the private education sector. Allan Fels is a product of the Roman Catholic sector and a strong adherent of that Church , and Hugh Mackay, a product of the Sydney Grammar School was a trustee from 1990 to 2003 and Chairman of the School from 2001 - 2003.

Delfin Lend Lease is involved with the recent development of shared facilities in Victoria. The Caroline Springs development is a case in point. The Brookside Learning Centre actually links three schools: the government school - Caroline Springs College;  the so-called independent school - Mowbray College, and Christ the Priest Catholic Primary School. The secondary college and Mowbray College share the one administration area, staffroom, reception, library and computer science centre.

Clearly, Dr. Barry McGaw's words and actions indicate that he is associated with people and organisations which are in favour of getting rid of the historic concept of public education. He is also assisting a company, Delfin lend Lease Ltd which promotes a developmental education model that yokes the public with the  private sector. 

Barry McGaw a Promoter of Public Education - NO!





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Last modified:Thursday, 14 February 2008