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Great to Eight


Children thrive when their needs are met by supported families, carers and communities.

We know that the early years (0-8) are a time of tremendous growth and development for children. We also know there are both risk factors and protective factors that affect how a child develops, and that these can be influenced to give a child the best chances in life.

One in five of Australia’s children starts school developmentally vulnerable in one or more areas1. And without intervention, these children may continue to fall behind.

Over nearly ten years, the percentage of children starting behind has improved by less than 2%. We want the next ten years to be different.

We want every child to start school ready to learn and engage. Where they face challenges, we want to make sure they get the support they need to catch up.

The Great to Eight research agenda will help funders make wise investments, and help researchers ensure their programs of work are relevant and make a unique contribution. If you haven't already done so, please register now.


[1] Australian Early Development Census, 2018


The Great to Eight research agenda represents a genuinely nation building project with the potential to positively influence Australia’s investment in early childhood research on a grand scale.

The first stage of this visionary program is funded by The Ian Potter Foundation, as part of their commitment to improving learning outcomes for children aged 0-8.

Phase 1 of the project is to design a Priority Setting Mechanism (PSM) which will enable consistent and transparent prioritisation of research topics. A description of Phase 1 can be found in the Governance documents.

This is our opportunity to work together across sectors to create the priorities and opportunities for research of all kinds into improving outcomes for children. More than that, we have the opportunity to reconsider how we work together, moving from a climate of competition, duplication and silos to one of joined-up research, partnerships and sharing knowledge – knowledge of who is doing what, what we are discovering, and how we can combine our efforts for better results.

We know there is plenty of work to be done. Join us and help to shape how that work takes place over the next decade.


[2] Australian Early Development Census, 2018

[3] Pfost, Maximilian & Hattie, John & Dörfler, Tobias & Artelt, Cordula. (2014). Individual Differences in Reading Development A Review of 25 Years of Empirical Research on Matthew Effects in Reading. Review of Educational Research. 10.3102/0034654313509492. 203-244. 10.3102/0034654313509492.

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