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CaSPA Submission to Gonski 2.0 Panel on Educating for Excellence

Posted on 19 November 2017
CaSPA Submission to Gonski 2.0 Panel on Educating for Excellence
Catholic Secondary Principals Australia (CaSPA)

Dear David and Review Panel
Please find below the submission of the CaSPA Board, which has been structured according to the three key criteria. If any further clarification or data is required I would be very happy to be contacted by the Panel.
1. Current research (Jensen, Hattie, Duignan) clearly shows that the most significant impact upon student learning, even in cases where other factors may impede learning, comes through quality teaching by high impact teachers: practitioners who have professional attributes that lead them to:

  • a. Use evidence-based teaching;
  • b. Monitor the learning progression of individual students through effective formative and summative assessment strategies; and
  • c. Be reflective practitioners who seek feedback and participate in professional learning to improve their practice.

CaSPA supports a strategy to reduce the amount of face-to-face classroom contact time to enable teachers to build upon these professional attributes. Thus, CaSPA proposes:

  • a. An allocation of 0.1 FTE per teacher to be used to:
    • i. Work on Professional Development to achieve individual and whole school goals, identified as part of Teacher Performance and Development processes, directly linked to the AITSL Professional standards.
    • ii. Work in teams (both subject and year level in the secondary sector) to develop:
      • 1. High quality learning experiences that facilitate deep learning;
      • 2. Quality formative assessment tools and strategies that contribute to student learning and contribute to their self-efficacy;
      • 3. Interrogate available data (including feedback from the Teacher Performance and Development Framework as well as data from national and international standardised testing) and use it to:
        • a. Inform personal and team goals, and to contribute to whole school goals; and
        • b. Develop personal learning plans for individual students.
  • b. AITSL certified High Achieving and Lead Teachers will have responsibility to lead teams to ensure good accountability. In addition, a specified time will need to be spent onsite at school to allow teams to work together, authentically. We suggest the span of hours for teachers at work be a minimum of 7 hours per day, with the understanding that collaborative planning onsite will reduce the time teachers will need to spend in out-of-hours planning. In addition, marking and preparation time is already included in a teacher's allocation.
  • c. Schools have access to skilled 'data practitioners', either directly employed by a school or a cluster of schools, either within or across sectors. Such practitioners will analyse the data available to schools and provide it in a format to facilitate the interrogation of it by teams as described above.
  • d. The increased cost of this could be offset against rationalising expenditure on national standardised testing, which would target assessment for learning (as opposed to public reporting) and the provision of school-centred data. In addition, we recommend that the SRS base be increased to account for this.

2. A National Professional Standards Body, separate from, yet closely aligned with AITSL be established.  This Body will:

  • a. Oversee National Registration of teachers, linked to AITSL standards. This would bring consistency throughout Australia and support a higher status for the teaching profession;
  • b. Receive confirmation from schools that teachers' professional learning goals as identified through the Teacher Performance and Development processes have been achieved, or that appropriate progress toward achievement has been made;
  • c. Determine a national process to manage underperformance of teachers and provide advice and support for Principals to address the matter. Should the matter be brought into dispute, this Body would be the ultimate authority of whether or not Registration is revoked.

3. The provision of literacy and numeracy coaches in schools coupled with early intervention strategies, which will require additional expert staffing depending on context and student needs.
4. Initial Teacher Education courses need to ensure that teachers are 'classroom ready'.   CaSPA supports TEMAG directing ITE providers to review programs so that their courses of study:

  • a. Produce Early Career Teachers who clearly satisfy the AITSL professional Standards for graduate teachers;
  • b. Develop familiarity with and understanding of the Australian Curriculum, including the use of the online curriculum in unit and lesson planning;
  • c. Develop skills in writing valid and reliable formative and summative assessments;
  • d. Emphasise the importance of authentic and honest report writing that is evidence based;
  • e. Include early and extended time in schools, whose report is fundamental in deciding if teaching is a correct pathway for the young professional; and
  • f. Place emphasis on the personal attributes (passion and emotional intelligence) that are associated with high impact teachers.
  • g. Employ contemporary teaching practitioners be involved in the ITE programs (50%) and be University lecturers (50%) and to bring currency to the ITE courses.

In addition CaSPA recommends support for "Teach for Australia" and encourages its growth as another model of teacher preparation.
5. Early Career Teachers have a reduced teaching allocation in the first 2 years, on top of that proposed in point 1 above, when they are expected to sit in and observe teaching by AITSL certified High Achieving or Lead Teachers, who would also be released to mentor and coach them as per the Teach for Australia model.
6. Parent and School partnerships must be encouraged and facilitated. Genuine partnerships will be characterised by schools being able to offer support and education for parents on the myriad of pressures that they and their children face, from social media to media promoted yet unproductive modelling that impacts on harmful behaviour and poor self-image. The evolution of resources that schools and parents can jointly engage in will increase parents' confidence in their own parenting and build relationships both with schools and other parents. There is an opportunity for some of the societal expectations of what schools 'should' be offering to be moved to this partnership, further supporting the reduction of a crowded curriculum.
7. That ACARA continues to promote the general capabilities as valuable and transferable skills that are achieved through the Australian Curriculum and provide more support through the online curriculum, for teachers to:
a.  Embed them into the learning experiences that they develop; and
b. Report against the General Capabilities.
Further, that employability skills be articulated and linked to the general capabilities to enable students to be better prepared to enter the world of employment.  To further support this, as well as increase school completion rates, CaSPA believes that secondary schools require resources to:

  • a. Provide career advice and facilitate authentic work experiences;
  • b. Participate more in VET and P-Tech programs, many of which are cost prohibitive for schools and parents, to build the value that parents and students place upon these programs in contributing to the national economy; and
  • c. Develop an enhanced teacher in industry program.
  • d. These changes need to be accompanied by a review of the curricula that schools are often expected to offer. The goal proposed by CaSPA is to narrow the breadth of the curriculum to allow for deeper student learning. CaSPA would strongly suggest a redevelopment of the Melbourne Declaration and the General Capabilities.
  • e. CaSPA advocates that the Australian Curriculum be further enhanced through the development of performance standards (A E) along the lines of the SACE subjects. This would allow student reporting to show growth indicators and enable teachers to be accountable for their assessments. It would also facilitate valuable professional learning through internal moderation processes.
  • f. Research shows that innovation and enterprise are key factors in focussing on the 21st century skills needing to underpin what is studied. With 75% of careers being STEM related, in this era of massive technological change, it is essential that teachers are upskilled to provide pathways for students.
  • g. In addition, start-up funds to encourage entrepreneurial projects would be a good Segway to finding employment. Creativity, innovation and enterprise should be the basis of all studies as this is the future direction of employment and life skills. The two key sets of skills needed for our students are technical skills and enterprise skills. Therefore schools would benefit from restructuring curriculum focus to ensure outcomes are future focussed in addressing these skills. This entails greater usage of industry links, support for curriculum change, greater emphasis on numeracy and technological skills, and a clear priority to creativity, initiative and problem solving. So would suggest funding available to:

1. Upgrade facilities to be STEAM related
2. Each school to have funding for Industry Collaboration
3. Each school to enable all students to have access to develop skills (there are many unemployed and underemployed university graduates)
4. Each school has extra funding/position to support numeracy and mathematical development across the school
5. Incentive to industry to engage in partnerships and continue with school based traineeships
6. Recurrent funding to schools to maintain and grow Trade Training Centres
7. Support for faith based programs and chaplaincy support (there is research which shows faith based programs help build resilience)
8. Incentives to employers in demand areas to engage with schools eg Health, Aged Care, Personal Services
9. Allied Health programs where practitioners are available in schools to have interventions around dietetics, psychotherapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy
10. Performance Targets around indigenous students with incentives to school and students
11. Support of arts/ design programs in schools to foster creativity and problem solving across the country

8. As evidenced by recent AITSL research documents, CaSPA supports the provision of sequential experiences and professional learning programs for aspiring and current school leaders to become quality learning leaders. CaSPA would also support AITSL being charged with the researching and developing of these professional learning frameworks and courses.
9. That AITSL receive bipartisan support to continue its role as a world leading institute for the promotion and development of effective teaching and school leadership. That this bipartisan approach be extended to the continued development of education policy.

CaSPA also endorses the submissions from AITSL, CSPA and ACPPA. On behalf of the CaSPA Board I wish the Panel well in its deliberations to benefit all young Australians.

Kind regards
Phil Lewis

Tags: curriculum Government Funding

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