Aspirations and equity

The Aspirations Longitudinal Study was the first of its kind to seek a comprehensive insight into factors that shape the career and educational aspirations of students during schooling (Years 3-12).

Over a four year period, the project attracted more than $1 million in funding from the Australian Research Council and the NSW Department of Education (DOE). The research team, led by Laureate Professor Jenny Gore, tracked students from 64 government schools to investigate how their aspirations developed or changed over time.

TTRC researchers collected more than 14,000 surveys (student, parent and teacher) and conducted interviews and focus groups with more than 1,000 participants.

The project attracted additional funding for several related studies using and extending the comprehensive data from Aspirations Longitudinal Study.

Current opportunities

Aspirations, equity and higher education course choice: The path travelled

Aspirations, equity and higher education course choice: The path travelled

This project investigates which students realise their childhood aspirations, for what higher education courses, and why. Building on existing datasets, follow-up surveys and interviews with the same students, who are now up to 5-years post-school, are planned to examine course choices over time, focusing on the experience of those from equity groups.

If you were previously interviewed by UON researchers about what you wanted to be when you grew up and would like to participate in this follow-up study, please complete this short online survey (10-15 minutes).

Professional development course for teachers and leaders

Professional development course for teachers and leaders

A free online professional development course designed to build teachers’ capacities to nurture student aspirations is available to teachers (K-12) from all geographic areas and in all schooling sectors. TQI accredited for 10 hours.

For further information go to

Understanding Aspirations for Greater Equity

Understanding Aspirations for Greater Equity

Available to University of Newcastle students enrolled in the Masters of Teaching program. This course provides a comprehensive account of the concept of aspirations, emphasising the role of teachers and school leaders in shaping and nurturing students’ post-school aspirations. It explores current issues relating to access to higher education for traditionally under-represented groups, with a particular focus on Indigenous Australians, people from low socio-economic status backgrounds, women in non-traditional areas of study, people living in regional and remote areas of Australia, and first-in-family students. Participants will: engage with Australian and international research exploring the educational and occupational aspirations of school students; identify the various factors that influence aspirations including intersections among factors; and, develop a sound theoretical and empirical basis for translating the concept of aspirations into classroom and school practice.

Free online teacher PD Supporting Students' Futures

Related Studies

General enquiries

Please contact the research team at the University of Newcastle by emailing

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.