Federal activity around teachers and the teaching profession

Andrea ChesterLeave a Comment

Listed below is some of the current work being undertaken on teaching. Much of this activity is being led by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). The Australian Council of Deans is working closely with AITSL and the Department of Education (DE) on these initiatives.

National School Reform Agreement and national policy initiatives

The National School Reform Agreement is a joint agreement between all governments to lift student outcomes across Australia. It has been informed by the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education and the final report of the STEM Partnerships Forum.

Eight national policy initiatives under the agreement involve coordinated national effort to support students, student learning and student achievement; support teaching, school leadership and school improvement; and enhance the national evidence base.

Specific initiatives likely to be of interest to ACDE members include the following:

A commitment to support individualised, growth-centred learning and teaching for students across all school sectors, in collaboration with teachers and schools. This initiative is currently in its ‘discovery’ phase, with work being progressed by national agencies, including AITSL, and Education Council will consider next steps at the end of the year.

Development of a strategy to support workforce planning at a national level, which is being led by AITSL on behalf of all governments. The strategy will articulate the shared challenges and opportunities involved in developing a skilled and sustainable teacher workforce.

  • Strengthening the ITE accreditation system

Further strengthening of the accreditation of initial teacher education across Australia in recognition of the need for ongoing effort to ensure consistency, rigour and transparency. This includes full implementation of the TEMAG reforms, including national implementation and benchmarking of teaching performance assessments.

Federal Election Commitments

The Australian Government has committed to working with higher education providers to ensure phonics and related teaching of reading skills are included in initial teacher education programs. AITSL will undertake scoping and establish an advisory group to consult and provide expert advice on possible changes to the national accreditation standards to increase the focus on teaching literacy in ITE. ACDE will inform this work, including following a recent conversation which I convened with key experts on 22 August. I’m expecting to meet with Minister Tehan in the very near future (together with Associate Professor Robyn Cox) to discuss next steps regarding this matter.

AITSL will be working with the education sector to undertake a national review of the burden of red tape in schools. There will be a focus on the experience of practising teachers and school leaders. AITSL will engage closely with the profession, before delivering findings to Education Council.

Further to this, AITSL will lead the development of a national strategy to address the abuse of teachers and school leaders. This work will be undertaken collaboratively with education authorities and the profession. It will focus on clearly defining the issues, assessing existing policies and strategies to address abuse in schools, identifying possible solutions and highlighting best practice. The findings and recommendations will be presented to Education Council.

Implementation review of the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students

As you will be aware, the Government has contracted dandolopartners to undertake an implementation review of the Literacy and Numeracy Test. This review was a key part of the ACDE Forum held on 23 August 2019, and there are several other ways dandolo will be looking to engage with ITE providers to inform the review, including through interviews and surveys.

An outcome of the forum was a commitment to provide key messages on reporting on the review:

  • The Australian Government appreciates the assistance of those who have provided views and input to help shape the findings of the implementation review. (RMIT was not selected as part of this first phase.) As communicated previously, the first stage of this review is to build a national picture of how the test has been rolled out in different states and territories. The second stage will analyse any impacts of the rollout and may be used to inform future policy decisions around the test.
  • During the first phase of the review, dandolo will share with providers who are participating in individual interviews a summary of these discussions. Providers will have the opportunity to verify this information is accurate.
  • Draft findings and any recommendations will be discussed with the test Governance Committee prior to finalisation. As members of the Governance Committee and critical friends to dandolo on the review, Emeritus Professor John Williamson and Professor Chris Davison are providing feedback at critical points in the project.
  • If any quotes are used by dandolo in the findings these will not be attributed to individual providers or other stakeholders. If a positive case study is included this will be given to providers for review and approval, and only attributed with the consent of the provider.
  • Reporting of the review will not identify results of individual providers or students.

ACDE expects to receive a report on the outcomes of the review following consideration by the LANTITE Governance Committee which includes Deans of Education representation.

New practice material for the Literacy and Numeracy Test

Complete (65 questions) literacy and numeracy practice tests and worked solutions in PDF format are now available on the Australian Council for Educational Research test website. DE is working with ACER to deliver online interactive versions of the practice tests that will introduce candidates to the features and functionality of the actual testing environment. The online version of the tests are expected to be available to registered candidates ahead of Test Window 4.

Australian Teacher Workforce Data collection

Since 2017, AITSL has been leading work to develop the Australian Teacher Workforce Data (ATWD) collection. This stemmed from the TEMAG findings about the lack of consistent collection and sharing of data to inform workforce planning. Once complete, the ATWD will include higher education data, data held by teacher regulatory authorities and teacher survey data. This will provide the first comprehensive picture of Australia’s teaching workforce. The initial reporting from the ATWD will include an ‘ITE pipeline’ report, coming soon, to be followed by a ‘workforce characteristics’ report that will draw on linked data from participating states and territories.

As a member of the ATWD Oversight Board, John Williamson is closely involved in this initiative and will also advise AITSL during the development of a national teacher workforce strategy. In conjunction, these projects will inform and support national and jurisdictional workforce planning.

Parliamentary inquiry into the status of the teaching profession

The inquiry lapsed with the dissolution of Parliament in April. However, Minister Tehan has since asked the committee to resume its inquiry and to provide a report to Government as soon as possible. Stay tuned for further developments.

Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA)

Minister Tehan wrote to VCs about the TPA and sought assurance on implementation by the end of 2019. ACDE is hoping that the planned Deans Forum on 31st Oct will address the TPA more broadly and we are awaiting confirmation of Minister Tehan’s attendance at this Forum

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