Charles Sturt University (CSU) is a large multi-campus university based in New South Wales, Australia but with a number of campuses overseas. It has built a strong reputation as a university for the professions and as a centre for high-quality distance and blended learning. The infrastructure and research base for this level of distance education is substantial and of direct relevance to the POET programme.
CSU undertakes research that creates new knowledge and practice of high quality and which builds solutions that will benefit local, national and international communities. The Australian contribution to POET will be managed and supported by the Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE). Visiting researchers will have access to work spaces, and other necessary support, through RIPPLE and the School of Education. A major research group within RIPPLE is Educational Transitions and Change (ETC), led by Bob Perry with Sue Dockett as a member. The proposed POET project will be central to ETC, particularly its aim to investigate educational transitions across the lifespan and their implications for professional practice at individual, family, community, state, national and international levels.
The Australian country project combines two studies: Continuity and change as children start school (funding sought from Australian Research Council for 2013-2015) and An ecological study of school transition and the early years of school for Aboriginal children in an urban community (funded from Australian Research Council for 2012-2014). Each of these projects seeks to map, analyse, theorise and conceptualise transition to school policies and practice through the consideration of transition to school as a combination of opportunities, aspirations, expectations and entitlements for children, families, communities, educators and education systems. While both studies will consider the challenges and opportunities provided by consideration of diversity, this will be especially pronounced in the second study.