The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 141–160 | Cite as

Teachers’ and school leaders’ perceptions of commercialisation in Australian public schools

  • Anna HoganEmail author
  • Greg Thompson
  • Sam Sellar
  • Bob Lingard


This paper explores teachers’ and school leaders’ perceptions of commercialisation in Australian public schools, reporting on findings from an open-ended survey question from an exploratory study that sought to investigate teacher and school leader perceptions and experiences of commercialisation. Commercialisation, for the purposes of this paper, is understood as the creation, marketing and sale of education goods and services to schools by for-profit providers and often includes (but is not limited to) the provision of curriculum content, assessment services, data infrastructures, digital learning, remedial instruction, professional development and school administration support. Our account highlights that commercialisation is prevalent in the day-to-day practice of Australian public schools. The perceptions of teachers and leaders suggest that commercialisation is complex, with both affordances and challenges. Respondents acknowledged that aspects of commercialisation are necessary for successfully running schools and classrooms in the 21st century, but also noted that there is a fine line beyond which these seemingly innocuous services become perilous. Concerns focused on how particular services are leading to the deprofessionalisation of teachers as they have less autonomy over what to teach and how to teach it. Moreover, teachers and school leaders reported being perturbed by the idea that commercial providers and services might work to replace teachers in the future. Drawing on these data we argue that growing commercialisation in Australian public schools clearly requires an ethical debate that schools, education professionals, policy makers and interested publics are yet to have.


Commercialisation Public schooling Australia Policy Teachers Principals 



The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the New South Wales Teachers Federation who funded the project and the Australian Education Union who assisted with participant recruitment.


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human Movement and Nutrition SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationQueensland University of TechnologyKelvin GroveAustralia
  3. 3.Education StudiesManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  4. 4.School of EducationThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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