Barry Archibald

Proposed title

Inspection and Accountability in Colonial/State Government Schools: 1852 - 2011/12


Inspection of National Board of Education schools began in the colony of Victoria in 1852 with the appointment of the first inspector and agent William Knowles Miller. The model adopted was based on the Irish National System and prevailed in Victoria for 134 years. The essence of the thesis is to determine why inspection remained the key regulatory agency by which schools and teacher performance was assessed, to provide an analysis of the effectiveness or otherwise of inspection as a vehicle for bringing about change in education and, finally, to examine the factors that contributed to its demise. In resolving the core issues of the thesis, research will be conducted into the recruitment, functions and purposes of inspection, and changing ideas about accountability in the government school sector.

The establishment of a public system of education required an accountability framework to ensure that taxpayer funds were correctly allocated. The calibre of those entrusted to undertake inspectorial duties was critical to the delivery of a worthwhile, functional curriculum in schools. The contribution and leadership of key personnel in successive administrations will be explored. I am interested in exploring the 'repercussions on education' of the inspectorial system and subsequent change mechanisms that were implemented post 1983 in Victoria.


Barry joined the Victorian Education Department in 1971 as a student enrolled with a studentship in a Diploma of Teaching (Primary) course at Burwood State College in Melbourne. During his classroom teaching period he served as a member of the Primary Education Committee and completed degrees at Monash University in Arts, (major studies in History and Politics -1978), Education (History and Educational Leadership -1982) and a research Masters degree in the field of History of Education. His thesis title, completed in 1986 was "The Work of National Board Inspectors on the Victorian Goldfields: 1852-1862." Barry spent 18 years as a primary school principal and following his retirement was recalled to service to lead schools experiencing difficulty. In 2003 he was awarded a Centenary Medal for Service to Education.. He has specialist expertise in music education currently and is currently a music examiner and Board director/chairman with the Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts Limited. He is a life member of The Australian College of Educators.

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