Vision for new curriculum hinges on teachers’ input

The NSW Curriculum Review was released on 23 June this year to much political and media fanfare. Despite slogans of “back to basics” and the “end of puppetry” Federation is now focused on the Government’s response to the 24 recommendations and the design, development and implementation of the curriculum for our schools, teachers and students.

The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the K–12 review into the NSW curriculum in May 2018, alongside then-education minister Rob Stokes, touted as the first major review into curriculum since 1989.

A two-year process of statewide consultation, refinement of directions based on community feedback, further consultation and engagement and an analysis of both national and international research and evidence-based findings ensued.

An interim report was released in October 2019, which again sought engagement and consultation from the public before the final NSW Curriculum Review was released in June 2020.

The review heard from thousands of teachers through submissions, surveys, forums, public roadshows, school visits and focus groups.

The Government’s response to the review’s recommendations goes to many of Federation’s core policy positions, as determined by our state Council meetings and Annual Conference. Our policies reflect the views and experiences of members and their genuine commitment to the education and lifelong outcomes of their students and broader employment opportunities for our society.

There are a number of recommendations which have been supported by government that go directly to the calls of our members. These include, but are not limited to:

  • streamlining the curriculum
  • the integral role of teachers as professionals in planning, developing and implementing the curriculum
  • the commitment to funding of professional development in the implementation of the curriculum
  • the reduction in compliance and administrative regimes and paperwork to reduce workload and focus on teaching and learning
  • a focus on Aboriginal education, its cultures and histories in the middle years of schooling
  • the placing of “academic” and “vocational education and training” subjects on equal footings for the senior years and the provision of opportunities for further pathways and aligning of schools and TAFE
  • the blending of theory and application and greater clarity on what must be taught and what might be taught
  • no reduction in the number of units studied and an end to the regressive regime of A–E reporting, a long standing position of this union.

While some of the recommendations do not align with the views and experiences of our members, Federation accepts this process has been extensive, consultative of the profession and evidenced by current research. Successful implementation of any new curriculum will hinge upon teachers’ involvement.