Pushing back against established norms and conventional notions of best practice is an exhausting exercise, but a handful of educators and outsiders are up for the fight.

We’ve put together a small selection of the individuals trying to forge a new path in education.

5. John Marsden – author, teacher, school principal

Key quote:

“[I had] an awareness that if something’s as broken and dysfunctional as they were, then you need to do a major overhaul. You can’t just fiddle with the fine details.”


4. Chris Sarra – Director-General of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP), former principal

Key quote:

“So it’s about flushing out those teachers who are just kind of content with teaching to the middle and leaving too many kids at the margins; the Stronger Smarter approach doesn’t leave anybody at the margins, it’s about taking everybody with us on the journey.”


3. Anna Kessel – journalist, author

Key quote:

“Being told that there’s a section of the world that you cannot access because of your physical body, something that you can never really change, I think is just fundamentally damaging to women’s and girls’ aspirations and ambitions.”


2. Greg Cudmore – columnist, former teacher

Key quote:

“No-one is denying the importance of challenging students to excel academically. However, if that is all a school can offer, they are severely short-changing their students.  Schools are then no more than academic factories classifying and ranking students for university places.”


1. Peter Hutton – former principal, director of Future Schools Alliance

Key quote:

“We are in times of exponential change and in spite of the fear mongering, we can feel the need for a new solution that genuinely prepares students for the future.”