AERO is collaborating with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) to examine readiness for change. This is the first research snapshot in a series of 3 that summarise learnings from readiness for change research undertaken as part of the Getting it Right from the Start (GIRFTS) project.

Education systems and schools routinely implement new initiatives to better support learning and development. However, schools often face significant challenges when they introduce new approaches. As a result, new initiatives often aren’t fully embedded in schools and fall short of achieving intended outcomes. One reason for this is that schools may not be ready to make the changes needed to fully adopt a new initiative or program.  

The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) is collaborating with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) to examine readiness for change, as well as implementation barriers and enablers, among a selection of Victorian schools. 


Readiness for change has been defined as ‘the developmental process in which a person, organisation, or system increases their capacity and willingness to engage in a particular activity’ (Peterson, 2013). 

While a high degree of readiness for change is considered critical for successfully implementing new initiatives in many disciplines, this concept has historically received relatively little attention in educational settings (Halle, Partika & Nagle, 2019). 

Understanding school staff’s motivation and capacity to change is critical to supporting successful implementation of new approaches in schools. 

Getting it Right from the Start project

AERO’s collaboration with MCRI forms part of the Getting it Right from the Start (GIRFTS) project. This project, led by MCRI, is being conducted in Victoria in collaboration with: 

  • Victorian Department of Education 
  • Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools 
  • La Trobe University 
  • The University of Melbourne 
  • Deakin University 
  • The University of Queensland. 

The project is examining whether a targeted response to intervention (RTI) approach for oral language and reading instruction in the early years of school can improve children’s language and reading compared to traditional teaching practice. 

As part of this collaboration, MCRI is testing and refining a promising measure of readiness for change to better understand the relationship between each school’s readiness for change and their implementation of the new RTI approach. 

Project outcomes

The GIRFTS project will contribute to the development of a rigorous measure of readiness for change that can be used to help schools better understand and build strategies to overcome barriers they may face when implementing new initiatives. 

More information

MCRI’s article for school leaders provides more information about factors that affect staff readiness for change, as well as promising approaches for increasing readiness for change. MCRI’s research snapshot Variations in Schools’ Readiness for Change: Learnings from the Getting it Right from the Start Project provides an overview of how to measure readiness for change as well as preliminary data from the first cohort of GIRFTS schools. 


Halle, T., Partika, A., & Nagle, K. (2019). Measuring readiness for change in early care and education (OPRE Report No. 201963). Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Peterson, S. M. (2013). Readiness to change: Effective implementation processes for meeting people where they are. In T. Halle, A. Metz & I. Martinez-Beck (Eds.), Applying implementation science to early childhood programs and systems (pp. 43–64). Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Keywords: organisational change, school change, response to intervention, implementation, barriers for change

Research report
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Kate Scott, Associate Professor Jon Quach, Dr Georgia Dawson, Professor Sharon Goldfeld