The Student Agency Lab – Three Year Project

26th March, 2019 @ 9:00 am


26/03/2019 - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

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The Student Agency Lab will be led by Charles Leadbetter and the AISSA and aims to develop a robust theory and practice for student agency, creating practical, useful tools, methods and frameworks for schools, students, teachers and parents to develop learning that promotes agency, approaches that can also be shared widely through education systems in Australia and beyond.


Agency: Students should emerge from their schooling as purposeful, reflective, responsible agents, investing themselves actively to achieve goals they devise and endorse to shape the future for the better.


Charles Leadbeater is an international leading authority on innovation and creativity, an expert on student agency, advisor to the UK Department for Education’s Innovation Unit on future strategies for more networked and personalised approaches to learning and education and, lead adviser for the OECD 2030 Framework. Michael Bunce (University of East London) will co-deliver some of the face-to-face sessions.


Schools as joint-investigators and co-experimenters will work in a structured lab designed to explore, as a collective, how to organise learning to promote agency. The lab will involve real time experimentation and learning in schools, face-to-face lab time with Charles Leadbetter, meetings with co-researchers and a virtual lab of webinars.


The core research community will involve fifteen AISSA school research and innovation teams, of up to six members each, who will identify aspects of student agency and test a clear hypothesis. The core research community will be assisted by a larger community of experts and partners who would both draw from and contribute to the work.


The lab will work through four main stages over three years: set up, testing, synthesis and dissemination.


The Lab will involve a deep inquiry into various aspects, levels and enablers of agency with hypotheses being framed within the context of the overarching theoretical framework for student agency derived from Leadbeater’s work including:

  • levels of agency: individual, collaborative, collective
  • domains of agency: economic, creative, moral, governance
  • ingredients of agency: purpose, reflection, responsibility, commitment
  • enablers of agency: knowledge, meta cognition, assessment for progress, social and emotional capacity.


Schools will benefit from:

  • making a significant contribution to and direct involvement in a project of international significance and interest
  • formal partnership through the AISSA with international thought leader, Charles Leadbetter
  • practice-based research where action teams work within the “real world” contexts of their schools to rigorously investigate aspects of student agency and to make robust recommendations to the wider educational community
  • ongoing access to international thought leaders via regular face-to-face Lab time as well as videoconference meetings facilitated by Charles Leadbetter
  • ongoing access to Lab Learning Partners, expert partners with established expertise in student agency who will be critical friends to the work
  • ongoing 1:1 clinics with AISSA’s Directors to assist with the leadership of the project and provide support throughout the work.

This workshop series is available only for those school teams who are committed to the three-year program and are interested in investigating and establishing approaches to student agency appropriate to their school setting.


Lab Launch:         Tuesday 26 March


Other session dates and times to be advised.


Registration for this Project will incur a fee of $1000.00 (GST inclusive) per school per year.  This fee is invoiced after the event and is payable even if you do not attend on the day as the AISSA will still incur costs.  If notice of cancellation is received before 19/03/2019 the fee will be waived.



Expression of Interest:

Interested schools are invited to submit an expression of interest via email to Carolyn Grantskalns, Chief Executive, by COB Friday 14 December.


For further information please contact:

Mary Hudson, Director Leadership Institute, AISSA 8179 1420

Katherine Zollo, Director Centre for Innovation, AISSA 8179 1445