Educational Research for Policy and Practice

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 39–58 | Cite as

An investigation into school inspection policies in Western Australian state education performed by the Expert Review Group

  • Christine CunninghamEmail author
Original Article


The aim of this work is to learn more about the Expert Review Group (ERG), a small but powerful team of bureaucrats in Western Australia’s Department of Education whose role is to inspect the quality and standards of pre-K to year 12 government schools. Critical education policy analysis is utilised. Iterative understandings were developed through historical and contemporary document analysis of legislature, policy documents, department reports, academic journal articles, media reports and social media information. This study makes transparent why the ERG was created and how it functions today. ERG school inspections are of proportional, risk-based type, targeting only those schools operating extraordinarily below or above the official measurements of adequate school performance. Very limited public analysis of the ERG had been undertaken prior to this study; thus, the data explored here are original and new to the public record. The ERG’s work and influence have expanded over its first decade of operation. However, there is no publicly available evidence that draws a link between ERG inspections and subsequent improvement in school performance for any ERG-inspected school.


School inspection Western Australia Government education 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edith Cowan UniversityPerthAustralia

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