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Inside Teaching : April 2011
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org RESEARCH 45 development opportunities for teachers. Queensland’s Gateway Schools: The big picture There are six Gateway Schools Projects, each associated with a key industry sector in the Queensland economy. They aim to link partnering schools with businesses, currently focused on aerospace, minerals and energy, wine tourism, building and construction, manufacturing and engineering, and agribusiness. Their objective is to address long-term skills shortages in traditional and emerging industries of the Queensland economy and, by doing this, provide schooling-to-employment pathways for students pursuing a range of post-school options including university entry, VET or direct entry to the labour market. The Gateway concept is a unique model of partnerships in Australia for a number of reasons. These include centralised coordination through Queensland’s Skills Queensland; a specific industry focus featuring global partners; and strong industry emphasis in the curriculum of participating schools. The first point relates to the way they were established. Gateway Schools Projects were established and administered through the Department of Education and Training (DET); however, the program has more recently been transferred to the recently established Skills Queensland. Skills Queensland is an industry-led statutory authority, established to strengthen Queensland’s economic base by providing a skilled workforce to meet current and future needs of industry and the community. The Aerospace Gateway Schools Project was the first project, established in 2004 following discussions between Boeing Australia and the then Department of Education, Training and the Arts, to establish training and employment pathways from school to the aerospace industry. This original model was adapted for the formation of other Gateway projects, originally for minerals and energy – now coordinated by Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy – and wine tourism. A second phase of development saw the addition of projects in building and construction, manufacturing and engineering, and agribusiness. Secondly, membership of Gateway Schools Projects is managed by Skills Queensland and requires prospective schools to demonstrate a substantial partnership with a relevant industry. This distinguishes Gateway partnerships from traditional ad hoc school-industry partnerships that typically include a school and one or several local unrelated businesses. Moreover, Gateway Schools Projects often feature global industry players. Boeing, Brisbane Airport Corporation, BHP Billiton, Mitsubishi Alliance and Rio Tinto are examples. Thus, Gateway Schools Projects seek to explicitly incorporate schooling into a state-wide economic strategy with connections to the global economy. Finally, traditional school- industry partnerships involve the use of industry sites for training, thus rarely affecting the curriculum delivered by schools themselves. Gateway Schools Projects, however, have led to significant transformation of the curriculums of many participating schools. Notable here is the Aerospace Studies Senior Syllabus developed jointly by the Queensland Studies Authority and industry experts, and delivered by partner schools in aerospace. Because of their capacity to connect schools to global employment markets and their potential to transform the traditional curriculum in schools, the Gateway Schools Projects signals one of the more significant transformations in Australian schooling since the move to mass secondary education during the latter half of the 20th century. Nonetheless, despite the growth of partnerships nationally and globally, no research has been conducted to assess their impact on schools, particularly the enacted curriculum in classrooms. Our research