Professor Scott Eacott

My Expertise

Professor Eacott leads an interdisciplinary research program concerned with the central question of How do we organise education to get the outcomes we desire? Work within this program seeks to develop tools for educators, systems, providers, and individual organisations to better understand the provision of education. You can read more about this School of Education Flagship research program here.


Fields of Research (FoR)

Specialist studies in education, Educational administration, management and leadership, Education systems

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Scott Eacott, PhD is Deputy Director of the Gonski Institute for Education and Professor in the School of Education at UNSW Sydney and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Saskatchewan. He has previously worked at the University of Newcastle and Australian Catholic University and prior to academia, the New South Wales Department of Education as a teacher and school leader in primary...view more

Scott Eacott, PhD is Deputy Director of the Gonski Institute for Education and Professor in the School of Education at UNSW Sydney and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Saskatchewan. He has previously worked at the University of Newcastle and Australian Catholic University and prior to academia, the New South Wales Department of Education as a teacher and school leader in primary schools.

Building on his experience working in schools and studies across the social sciences, Professor Eacott's work is primarily concerned with the organisation of education. To this end, his research has been dedicated to developing the necessary explanatory tools and resources to respond effectively to the empirical question of how best to organise education

Professor Eacott's distinctive approach has led to invitations to run workshops and give talks in Norway, Canada, the USA, Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica and throughout Australia. He has authored more than 100 publications, led major research projects and contributed to teams winning over $4.45M in external funding and successfully translated his research into policy and practice. Typical projects involve working collaboratively with systems, school leadership teams, and school communities to co-design plans to best meet the needs of all involved.

My Grants

A representative sample of externally funded grants since 2015 includes:

  • Eacott, S. & Soundararaj, B. (2023-2024). Building a Unique Integrated Linked Dataset of Education and social Reporting [BUILDER]. Research Infrastructure Scheme.
  • Eacott, S. & Baldry, E. (2022). Building education systems for equity, excellence, and inclusion. Academy of Social Sciences Australia Workshop Program.
  • Eacott, S. (2021). Steiner Education Australia Leadership (SEAL) project. Steiner Education Australia.
  • Beswick, K., Piccoli, A., Roberts, P., Holden, R., Eacott, S., Loughland, T., & Alonzo, D. (2020-2021). Rural and Remote Education (RaRE) project. New South Wales Department of Education.
  • Keddie, A., Blackmore, J., Wilkinson, J., Gobby, B., Niesche, R., & Eacott, S. (2019-2021). School autonomy reform and social justice in Australian public education. Australian Research Council Discovery Project [DP190100190],
  • Eacott, S., Niesche, R., Loughland, T., Durksen, T., Heffernan, A., & Gobby, B. (2019-2020). School leadership and teaching incentives and impact. Australian Department of Education and Training.
  • Wainer, C. & Eacott, S. (2019). Regional secondary school consolidation: experiments in leadership. New South Wales Institute for Educational Research Grant.
  • Eacott, S., & Davison, C. (2018-2021). Griffith secondary school reform. New South Wales Department of Education.
  • Eacott, S., Davison, C., & Morsy, L. (2017-2018). Secondary school reform: a scoping study. New South Wales Department of Education.
  • Eacott, S. (2016-2017). School-university partnerships. External Industry Partners.
  • Gallagher, R. & Eacott, S. (2015). Relations, organizing and leadership in education. New South Wales Institute of Educational Research.

My Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy (Education). Supervisor: A/Prof James G. Ladwig

Master of Leadership and Management in Education

GradCert in the Practice of Tertiary Teaching

Bachelor of Teaching / Bachelor of Social Science

My Awards

  • Neil Cranston Lecture, Australian Association for Education Research - Educational Leadership Special Interest Group, 2021
  • Education Research Award, Australian Council for Educational Leaders (NSW), 2021
  • Most outstanding reviewer, International Journal of Educational Management, 2020
  • The Educator's Hotlist, 2019
  • Australia's leading researcher in the field of Educational Administration (The Australian Research Magazine), 2018
  • Visiting Scholar, University of Saskatchewan (Canada), 2018
  • Visiting Scholar, Western University (Canada), 2018
  • Hedley Beare Award - Most Outstanding Educational Leadership Writing (Australian Council for Educational Leaders), 2015
  • Emerald Literati Outstanding Paper of the Year (2013, International Journal of Educational Management), 2014
  • Book Editor of the Year, Untested Ideas Center (Niagara Falls, NY), 2013
  • Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (NSW), 2012
  • Emerald / ALCS African Management Research Award, 2012
  • Highly Commended, Emerald Literati Outstanding papers of the Year (2011, International Journal of Educational Management), 2012
  • Emerging Research Leaders Program, 2011-2012
  • Australian Leadership Award (AusAID), 2010
  • Highly Commended, Emerald / EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award, Educational Leadership and Strategy (Sponsor Journal of Educational Administration), 2009
  • Runner-up, 7th Annual Emerging Scholar in Educational Leadership Award, 2009
  • The University of Newcastle Teaching and Learning Fellowship, 2007-2008

My Research Activities

An enduring issue for governments and systems has been how best to organise education to ensure equitable and inclusive education for all. Professor Eacott's research program has been dedicated to developing the necessary explanatory tools and resources to respond effectively to the empirical question of how best to organise education. This research program has the following aims:

  • Establish novel frameworks for the design of school systems to deliver equitable excellence while withstanding internal tensions for differentiation and external pressures to standardize.

Our researchers seek to develop tools for government, systems, schools, and educators to better understand the provision of education in context and increase the likelihood of equitable excellence within- and across-schools.

  • Develop state-of-the-art models of the provision of schooling integrating interdisciplinary data points to support the functionality and effectiveness of systems to deliver educational and social outcomes.

We bring broad interdisciplinary and methodological expertise to enrich the methodological toolkit for research and generate unparalleled data to enhance the validity of sensitive and controversial policy decisions regarding systemic design, and the support and resourcing of schools.

  • Generate a body of robust empirical evidence to inform policy at a national and international level, locating the team as an international authority on systemic design and its impact.

We aim to increase the quality of systemic decision-making through the provision of high-quality research accessible to multiple audiences. Through attention to fundamental concerns for policy makers at a national and international level our research will facilitate targeted and tailored intervention design.

Working at the intersection of education, geospatial analysis, economics of education, urban planning, sociology, demography, among others, and therefore leveraging cutting-edge analytical methods from multiple disciplines, Professor Eacott's ambitious research program aims to move beyond individual disciplinary based ways of understanding education and its impact to not just inform policy decisions but explicitly contribute to re-designing the provision of education to deliver equitable and inclusive education at scale.


Doctoral, masters by research, and honours candidates

Please see the 'My Research Supervision' section below.

Visiting scholars, post-doctoral fellows, research interns, and collaborators

Professor Eacott welcomes proposals from highly motivated and talented researchers who believe they have the potential to contribute and make a significant contribution to advancing his research through post-docs, research internships, visiting scholars, and collaborations. If you are interested in working as part of the program, please send an email to discuss possibilities to Professor Eacott.

School systems

If you work in government or a school system and wish to partner with the team to undertake research, please contact Professor Eacott to discuss options. These can range from including your system as a site for the projects through to a targeted and tailored project.

Individual or groups of schools

If you work in a school and want to undertake a sub-set of the projects in your school or across a group of schools, please contact Professor Eacott to discuss options. These can range from including your school(s) as site within the larger project or a targeted and tailored project.

My Research Supervision

Supervision keywords

Areas of supervision

Professor Eacott is constantly seeking outstanding researchers to undertake post-doctoral, doctoral (PhD, EdD), research masters and/or honours projects that advance his research program on the provision of education through rigorous and robust social science. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for fellowships / scholarships in their country of origin, or from Australia, that would allow them to travel to Sydney. UNSW offers several highly competitive scholarships for researchers. These range from annual stipends, living allowances, and coverage of tuition fee costs, as well as funding for travel. Further details can be found at the UNSW Graduate Research Scholarship Page.

In addition, Professor Eacott welcomes unfunded applicants wanting to work in the research program. Most importantly, we are looking for highly motivated and talented researchers who believe they have the potential to make a significant contribution to the team.

Professor Eacott's research program is concerned with the central question of How do we organise education to get the outcomes we desire? Within this agenda, he is currently looking for higher degree researchers (PhD, Honours) to work on multiple projects:

Project 1: Empirical models of school system design
Schools are charged with serving as catalyst for more equitable and inclusive societies. As such, many reforms target improving schools (or even educators) in order to improve outcomes. However, no school is an island. The full social and economic potential of schooling cannot be harnessed through a focus on the school or educators. This project concerns the development of systemic design principles as a genesis for assessing the relevant costs and benefits of initiatives for government and system designers. This work is crucial for the provision of a more principled, and data-driven, way of prioritising the competing demands on public investment in education. An initial presentation from this project can be found here. You can read the latest paper from this project, Schooling for Equitable Excellence: Principles of Systemic Design in the Journal of Educational Administration

Project 2: Snapshots of provision
Where you live or what your parents do should not be determinants of educational outcomes. This work focuses on linking education data (e.g., school profiles) and social / community data (e.g., ABS census data) to study the provision of education over time. Of particular interest is the differentiation of provision and variance of outcomes within and across communities. This work is fundamental for informing policy making and reforms targeting factors outside the school gates and influential for schools and system looking to establish new schools or campuses. Sample publications from this project include papers on small schools, special schools, and reports on Steiner and Montessori schools.

Project 3: Housing affordability and teacher salaries
On a global scale, education systems are struggling to staff schools. There are many factors within and beyond schools impacting on the attractiveness of teaching as a profession. One under-explored issue is how the affordability of housing near (or at least within commuting distance) to schools impacts on staffing. The objective of this research is to develop an improved and expanded data-driven approach to the relations between housing affordability and teaching salaries. With new teacher particularly vulnerable to housing cost pressures, this work is crucial to developing important failsafe mechanisms to ensure the equitable provision of schooling irrespective of postcode. You can read the latest (open access) paper from this project, The Systemic Implications of Housing Affordability on the Teacher Shortage: The Case of NSW, Australia in The Australian Educational Researcher

If interested in any of the above projects, and eligible, consider applying for a Scholarship. The next round closes on 22 Sept 2023 for a T1 2024 start. Details for scholarships can be found: Key Dates | UNSW Research. The ideal candidate will have: i) A 1st class Honours degree, or equivalent, in education, sociology, history, community development, public administration, politics, public policy, cultural studies or related fields; ii) Previous experience with either empirical research (e.g., GIS analysis, data mining of ABS and/or education statistics, qualitative skills in interviews or focus groups) and/or the application of social science frameworks to social problems; iii) Excellent time, data management, and interpersonal skills; and iv) Evidence of well-developed verbal and written communication skills. If you have any queries about the positions, please contact Professor Scott Eacott.

Currently supervising

Current supervised topics include:

- Designing systems to address identify and support vulnerable students

- Re-organising schools to improve equity and excellence

- Improving school conditions for teacher well-being

- Systemic incentives for middle leader recruitment.

My Engagement

Based on his research expertise, Professor Eacott has been engaged by a number of government and industry organizations including:

  • UNESCO 2024/25 GEM Report
  • Commonwealth Department of Education
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Australian Academy of Social Sciences
  • National School Resourcing Board
  • Data Insights Across Departments (DESE)
  • New South Wales Department of Education
  • Steiner Education Australia
  • Montessori Australia
  • Montessori Schools and Centres Australia
  • Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools Office
  • RMIT Fact Check
  • Major print, radio, and online media (e.g., ABC, Fairfax, NewsCorp) 



  • Educational Management, Administration & Leadership (2017-)
  • Educational Leadership Theory book series (Springer, Founding Co-Editor, 2017-)
  • Relational Sociology book series (Palgrave, 2015-)
  • Journal of Applied Social Theory (2015-)
  • Research in Educational Administration and Leadership (Section, Australia/Pacific Editor, 2015-)
  • International Journal of Educational Management (2013-)
  • Leading & Managing (2013-)
  • Journal of Educational Administration and History (2013-, including Book Review Editor 2013-2017)
  • International Journal of Leadership in Education (2013-)
  • Leadership and Policy Quarterly (2012-)
  • Perspectives in Educational Leadership (2011-2014)
  • Journal of Educational Administration and Policy Studies (2009-2015) 


  • American Educational Research Association 2010-
  • British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society 2010-2015
  • Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management 2010-2015
  • Australian Association for Educational Research 2008-
  • Australian Council for Educational Leaders 2003-2016

My Teaching

Using a variety of approaches in his teaching, Professor Eacott's classes are distinctive for their privileging of rigorous and robust discussion and debate of key issues. Unlike traditional lecture or tutorial models, Professor Eacott explicitly engages with participants by challenging their ways of thinking and seeking to develop a commitment to public intellectualism. Current courses taught include:

EDST5142 Education in Context [post-graduate, Term 3 2023]

The claim that context matters is ubiquitous in education. What that means and how it plays out in the provision of education across the lifespan and within and beyond traditional education sites is far less known. This course is designed to deepen your understanding of the intimate relations between education and context. Whether you work in early childhood, schools, tertiary environments or non-traditional spaces (e.g., health, military, non-for-profit, corporates), understanding contexts is imperative to achieving the best possible outcomes. This requires you to think beyond the boundaries of any individual educational site and consider the interplay of demography, geolocation, socio-economic status, access to services, among others, and the provision of education. To do this, you will systematically engage with large-scale education and social data to bring to life the theoretical and conceptual tools necessary to analyse, evaluate, problematise and reconstruct the provision of education.

EDST5433 Organizational Theory in Education [post-graduate, Term 3 2023]

In this course, you will engage in the application of organisation theory to education, and consider scientific management theory, bureaucracy and professional educators, human relations, open systems theory and contemporary critiques of conventional theories of educational organisations. In addition, you will consider important aspects of organisation, including educational goals, organisational culture, educational technology, the educational environment, inter-organisational linkages, organisational effectiveness, and alternative theories of educational organisation.

EDST5608 Instructional Leadership [post-graduate, Term 2 2023]

Judgements regarding effective schools, leaders and teachers have long been grounded in ideas of instructional leadership. In this course, you will examine the research literature relevant to instructional leadership as well as providing practical strategies for building school capacity. Criteria used to evaluate instruction will be considered as well as the relationship between leadership, culture and student outcomes. Contributions made by the principal, team leaders, teachers, community, systems, peers and individual students will be examined. Leadership processes which contribute to improved student outcomes will be analysed. Case studies, both nationally and internationally, of effective and ineffective schools and systems will provide the basis of a strategic framework for future planning. You should be able to relate the knowledge you gain from this course to your own personal and professional contexts.

SHORT COURSE: Instructional leadership [June 2023]

One of the greatest challenges for educators is articulating the purpose(s) of their school and providing a clear framework to meet that purpose and achieve desired outcomes. When it comes to education, how do we make sure everything we do is with purpose? How do we improve the quality of teaching and the quality of outcomes to translate our purpose into action? What does it look like in the classroom - in teaching, in learning, and in assessment? What's our point of distinction as a school? This course will assist school leaders / teams in developing clarity on the purpose of their school; building coherence in their activities to optimise teaching and learning; and crafting a narrative around the impact of the school for staff, students, families and the community.

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