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The Hon Adrian Piccoli is joining UNSW Sydney as director of a newly created institute for education, based in the University’s Arts & Social Sciences’ School of Education.

The interdisciplinary institute, created to focus on educational access and excellence, will bring together scholars, policy-makers and practitioners to conduct research that will contribute to improving the academic and wellbeing outcomes particularly for disadvantaged students and students who live in rural and remote Australia.

In his six years as NSW Education Minister, Mr Piccoli was committed to the needs of regional NSW, with a strong focus on improving literacy and numeracy in rural and remote communities. An advocate for quality teaching and needs-based funding for schools, he led significant education reform in NSW and nationally, and is regarded as having been one of Australia’s best education ministers.

He has been an ardent supporter of the Gonski school funding reforms, saying they are crucial to ensuring all children receive a fair go at school.

Mr Piccoli said he remained committed to improving the outcomes for students across NSW and Australia.

“UNSW shares my commitment and values of fairness and equity in education as well as the importance of continually supporting and enhancing the teaching profession,” he said.

“I am very pleased to take on this role with UNSW as it allows me the opportunity to continue making a contribution to education through research and policy development in one of Australia’s leading universities.”

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said Mr Piccoli’s appointment, and the new institute, “fits perfectly with the focus of the University’s 2025 Strategy on educational excellence, social engagement and global impact”.

“This is an exciting and important development for UNSW. We are delighted to have secured Adrian Piccoli as director of this venture. His experience and expertise will ensure that the new Institute has a big impact in guiding developments in education across the lifespan,” Professor Jacobs said.

Mr Piccoli was appointed Honorary Professor of Practice by UNSW Arts & Social Sciences in April this year. He has been involved in the UNSW Matraville Education Partnership, where academics and students from UNSW work with Matraville Sports High School students, teachers and the public to contribute to educational advancement and social cohesion, and UNSW's award-winning outreach program ASPIRE, which works with students across NSW to enable greater access to tertiary studies.

In October Mr Piccoli will be among the panellists discussing “Education & equality: Unfinished business?” part of UNSW Arts & Social Sciences’ Says Who? series.

Mr Piccoli’s role will be based in Griffith in south-western NSW.

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