Our current areas of focus:

Initial teacher education
School leadership
Workforce development
School improvement
Professional learning
Strategic planning
Whole system reform

Learning First is a social enterprise working to reform school education. We use research, consulting and development to help improve education systems in Australia and around the world. Our current areas of focus are initial teacher education, school leadership, workforce development, school improvement, professional learning, strategic planning and whole system reform.

We believe the best way we can help impact student outcomes at scale is to research the best and xyz [ theory of change power statement]

Founded in 2014 by Dr Ben Jensen, Learning First has grown rapidly to over 15 team members with a diversity of skills and career backgrounds. Our staff have extensive experience in think-tanks, policy research, government, school and system leadership, consulting, and classroom teaching.

To achieve real change in school education, Learning First utilises our school education expertise and strategic thinking across three main arms of work:


Learning First produces informed, extensively researched reports on key education policy issues that provide effective solutions to improve student learning. Many of these reports provide a toolkit for schools and policy makers to help guide reforms. The reports gather the lessons from the world’s best-performing education systems and the research on effective practices to build an evidence base governments, policy makers, school leaders and teachers can use to implement changes to improve student learning.

Extensive Policy Reports focus on specific issues critical to improving school education. The first Policy Report, which will be released in coming months, looks at improving teacher professional learning, and will include tools for policy makers and schools to improve the learning of teachers and students.

Over 2015 and 2016, our Policy Reports will focus on school leadership and leadership training; education and training of primary (elementary) maths, science, and literacy school teachers; and systemic reform to improve teaching and learning across entire school systems.

All reports include extensive national and international comparative analyses as well as practical steps for reformers at both the school and system-level.

In March, Learning First launched its Spotlight Series of smaller reports looking critically at key and topical issues in education, starting with initial teacher education. The Spotlight reports will be produced regularly and cover issues such as teacher appraisal and development, markets in school education, regional inequality, and education strategy.

All of our Policy Reports and accompanying materials are available for free.



Our consultancy arm provides advisory and capacity-building services to governments and education leaders. Our staff has advised governments in Australia, the United States, Europe and the Middle East on various aspects of education reform.

We provide strategic solutions to our clients by utilising our significant education policy, research and reform expertise. Our current areas of focus are initial teacher education, school leadership, workforce development, school improvement, professional learning, strategic planning and whole system reform.

We advise system leaders on education strategy and reform, and often partner on multi-year projects to achieve long-term impact. We provide our clients with detailed situational analysis and concrete strategic plans including policy priorities for school education, practical improvement frameworks, workforce development strategies, leadership development frameworks, and data, measurement and review frameworks. At all times we focus on optimising impact and improving student outcomes.

Through our research expertise and knowledge of international education, we are uniquely placed to leverage international best practice to help system leaders and policymakers. We also convene communities of practice, which help with strategic planning and bring together international jurisdictions, experts, and stakeholders. 



In 2015 Learning First and Teach for Australia jointly piloted Australia’s first policy fellowship for teachers, EdFellows. This innovative program supports passionate early-career educators to bridge the divide between education policy and practice to improve the outcomes of Australian students.

We have worked on international and domestic communities of practice and workshops, bringing together experts, policymakers and stakeholders across jurisdictions to jointly work on improving school education. These communities can help to build an evidence base around a particular issue, facilitate the exchange of ideas and help systems take concrete steps towards improving education.

We run workshops for education policymakers and leaders to help them outline strategic plans to improve education systems and manage stakeholders.

Building on these convening capabilities, LF will be expanding its training arm in 2016 to offer courses and workshops on education policy and reform. This training will be tailored for policymakers at various stages of their careers. They will initially focus on education strategy, accountability and performance management, leadership and teacher development, and an education policy course for those starting out in the field.