Council Report: 5 May 2018

Key issues discussed at May Council included Federation’s response to “Gonski 2.0”, the preliminary findings arising from the Understanding the work of schools survey, the push for a new NAPLAN, protecting and enhancing staffing entitlements and initial teacher education.

Schools funding

Council acknowledged the release of the Review to Achieve Excellence in Australian Schools report, which highlights some of the key challenges facing Australian education. However, the report falls well short of addressing the resource shortages facing public schools under the Turnbull funding agenda.

Public Education Day on 24 May is an opportunity for all schools to celebrate public education and highlight the successes of needs-based funding. Council urged schools to engage with parents and the community on the day and promote the Fair Funding Now campaign.

Understanding the work of schools survey

Council welcomed the overwhelming response of more than 18,000 members to the “Understanding work in schools — the foundation of teaching and learning survey. The survey was completed by approximately one in three teachers, executives and principals in schools across NSW.

The initial findings will be reported to members in a number of places. It is anticipated that there will be a report on the preliminary findings in relation to part 2 of the project in a few weeks’ time. The final report, including part 3 of the project, will be provided to Annual Conference and then published.

Initial teacher education

Council considered a report outlining the concerns that there is a looming crisis in initial teacher education that poses a serious threat to the long-term status of the teaching profession.

Despite policy settings created by the NSW Government as a result of the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning initiative, which attempted to create an academic benchmark, there is significant evidence, at a state and national level, that academic entry standards into initial teacher education are being systematically undermined.

Council acknowledged that the protection of the status of teaching begins with the entry standards into initial teacher education, as well as the duration and rigour of the courses, and endorsed the pursuit of these matters with NESA and the State Government.

Protecting and enhancing school staffing entitlements

Council reiterated the need to build the campaign to ensure all schools have the necessary permanent teacher staffing entitlement to meet the learning needs of every student.

Council resolved to call upon schools and/or associations to address P&Cs, and seek to host events that could include parent meetings and community forums that engage local, federal and state politicians.

Beyond defending what schools have at present, achieving enhanced school staffing entitlements requires deep and broad school community engagement. Parents and their communities will need to understand the role of increased staffing entitlements in meeting the learning needs of all students.

Council is made up of 295 financial members elected to represent their local Teachers Associations across NSW.

  • Nicole Calnan Deputy Secretary (Communications and Administration)