Framing the framework: discourses in Australia’s National Values Education Policy

Research output: ThesisBachelor (Honours) Thesis


There is much dispute over what, exactly, schools should be teaching students about morality, and whether it is indeed their place to do so (Curriculum Corporation, 2003; Hill, 1991; Purpel, 1997; Snook, 2000). In the past, many Australian state schools avoided teaching about values explicitly. However, the Australian Government released Australia’s first official values education policy in 2005: the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools (NFVEAS). This framework represents a local manifestation of the international values education movement, which has seen an increase in such policy this decade. It introduces the first official construction of ‘Australian Values’ for inculcation in students. Australian schools must implement this framework, and are receiving materials, instructions and over $29.7 million in funding to do so. This study contributes to an exploration of what, and whom, the Government’s construction of ‘Australian values education’ privileges. It uncovered the dominant discourses inherent in the Australian values education framework through a Critical Discourse Analysis of the NFVEAS document and its implementation. The study ‘frames’ this framework; positioning it in relation to the 16 key values education approaches identified in the literature. The data revealed the document’s strong privileging of conservative values education discourses which aim to maintain the status quo; particularly Civics and Citizenship Education, Values Inculcation and Character Education. In practice, some Australian schools have been disrupting this move to conservatism by taking more critical and post-modern approaches. I argue for such alternative practices (which are more inclusive and sophisticated), and for policy changes to encourage them.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Griffith University
Award date1 Oct 2006
Publication statusUnpublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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