WA professors to head Safe Schools review

Cross Louden

Emeritus Professor Bill Louden is to lead the independent review of the Safe Schools Coaltion program. Professor Louden will be supported by Professor Donna Cross.

The University of Western Australia’s professors will report their findings within a few weeks.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a review of the national program that aims to reduce bullying of LGBTIQ+ students earlier this week, caving into conservative back-benchers in own party.

The Australian Christian Lobby has vowed to shut down the program and has been running a relentless media campaign against it for several months.

Senator Cory Bernardi told SKY News that he believed the program bullied heterosexual children into agreeing with a homosexual agenda, while National MP George Chistensen told parliament the safe schools program was similar to a pedophile grooming a child for sexual abuse.

Who is Professor Bill Louden?

Emeritus Professor Bill Louden is professor of Education at UWA.  He was Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University from 2009-2013 and Dean of Education from 2006-2008. 

Professor Louden is Chair of the Governing Board of the Central Institute of Technology, a board member of Brightwater Care Group and a trustee of the Fogarty Foundation. He chaired the Western Australian Government’s Literacy and Numeracy Review Taskforce and was a member of the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy.

He is a former Chair of the Curriculum Council of Western Australia, a foundation board member of the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority and foundation deputy chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

He has a PhD from the University of Toronto and arts and education degrees from the University of Western Australia and Murdoch University, and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators. He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2014 for services to education.

Who is Professor Donna Cross?

Assisting Professor Louden in the review will be former Western Australian of the Year, Professor Donna Cross.

Professor Cross is an expert in the area of cyber-bulling, a member of the National Centre Against Bullying and is the Withrop Professor at UWA, working at the telethon Kids Institute.

Previously Professor Cross was the foundation Professor of Child and Adolescent Health at the Edith Cowan University Child Health Promotion Research Centre (CHPRC) and is an internationally-renowned academic, having contributed to research around the world from the USA to Canada, Finland, Denmark, Japan and Israel.

What will they investigate?

The terms of reference for the investigation into the Safe Schools Coalition program have been published.

The review terms of reference has two sections, firstly Professors Louden and Cross will check to see how the program is consistent with its intents and objectives, they will access if it is a suitable and robust resource for both students and teachers, check that it’s educationally dound and aligned to the Australian curriculum.

Secondly the team will access the extent to which parents and school communities are consulted about the use of these resources and the adequacy of such consultation.

The professors’ report is due to be submitted to Education Minister Simon Birmingham by March 11th, 2016.


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