16 May 2018    No. 07-18
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NAPLAN’s day is done

QTU members are clear – because NAPLAN has become such a high-stakes test that is used to unfairly and simplistically judge students, teachers and school leaders, the testing regime cannot continue in its current form. The public, political and systemic pressures to “perform” in NAPLAN have massively increased stress for students, teachers and principals and compromised students’ learning in non-tested subjects and skills.

Throughout the NAPLAN testing period, QTU members in 96 schools across Queensland due to transition to NAPLAN Online this year are participating in industrial action to ban NAPLAN Online. This action has been instrumental in drawing attention to the need for an urgent review of NAPLAN.

QTU NAPLAN survey – first results

The QTU has publicly released the first analysis of its survey on the impacts of NAPLAN – thank you to the members who had responded by 30 April. The survey will stay open until 25 May, so members can have their say prompted by their experiences with this year’s testing.

The nearly 4,500 classroom and specialist teachers, principals, deputy principals, associate administrators and guidance officers who have completed the survey so far can’t be wrong – 93 per cent agreed that the NAPLAN testing regime must be comprehensively reviewed. Two-thirds believed that their students’ experience of school and educators’ job satisfaction would be improved if NAPLAN was abandoned.

NAPLAN data is of little benefit for professional practice, with 57.4 per cent of respondents saying that the data was barely useful or useless. Instead, QTU members were clear about the “real” benefactors: the media, the federal government and educational businesses.

This is the tenth year that students and teachers in schools around the nation are going through the annual round of NAPLAN testing – at a cost of one billion dollars over the past decade. And it’s not just this week that real learning will suffer for the sake of this high-stakes testing. Nearly 85 per cent of survey respondents reported that practice tests were conducted in their schools, and 79 per cent said they had felt pressure to change their teaching practices because of NAPLAN.

Reviewing NAPLAN – Queensland leads

Around Australia, support from state and territory governments and education stakeholders is growing for an urgent and thorough review. While it is highly unlikely that any federal government will have the political courage to abandon NAPLAN now or in the near future, it would be foolhardy for the nation to ignore the damage that the testing has already done to our education systems, and will continue to do in its current form.
The QTU welcomes Minister Grace Grace’s initiation of a Queensland review of NAPLAN. Minister Grace announced this review at the March meeting of QTU State Council. Teachers and school leaders look forward to playing a key role in this review and the QTU will ensure our professional voice is heard.
While we continue to advocate that the NAPLAN test be removed or replaced, the next step in our campaign will be to ensure that the practices surrounding NAPLAN in Queensland schools that have caused such concern to members are addressed. QTU State Council will consider this matter on Saturday 19 May.

Fair Funding Now!

The Fair Funding Now! campaign will be officially launched in Queensland on Saturday 19 May at QTU State Council. AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe will address Council about the need for our campaign to reach out to as many teachers, school leaders and parents as possible in the lead up to the next federal election.

The Turnbull government has let state schools in Queensland down, with the most recent budget confirming the $1.9 billion cut to public schools across 2018-2019 and capping the federal contribution to the schooling resource standard at 20 per cent for public schools while guaranteeing 80 per cent for private schools.

Workplace meetings – May – June

The QTU will be calling on members across the state to hold a workplace meeting to discuss the Fair Funding Now! campaign and to encourage as many members as possible to sign up as official supporters. We know that by bringing together the combined strength of the teaching and parent communities we can bring about the changes we need to deliver fair funding for our schools.

National Public Education Day – Thursday 24 May

The QTU and state branches of the Australian Education Union (AEU) are celebrating National Public Education Day on Thursday 24 May.

We reject the deficit views of public education and teachers promoted by Turnbull government Education Minister, Simon Birmingham and by some media outlets, particularly recently.

Public education has a great record of providing quality education to students no matter where they live, no matter what their circumstances. We have seen the benefits flowing to students through increased funding from Investing for Success (I4S). We know what the opportunities are if we had a federal government prepared to invest in the full funding package – the schooling resource standard – recommended by the first Gonski review.

That’s what the Fair Funding Now! campaign is all about

Celebrate the successes and achievements of public education! 

Celebrate National Public Education Day on 24 May!

Sign-up for Fair Funding Now!

Not yet part of the national campaign for Fair Funding Now!

It has four objectives:

  1. Reverse the $1.9 billion cut to state school funding nationally over the next two years.
  2. Ensure every state school is funded to 100 per cent of the schooling resource standard by 2023.
  3. A federal government capital funding program for state education.
  4. More support for students with disabilities.

To sign up, go to www.fairfundingnow.org.au.

Look at the two-minute video, courtesy of our NSW colleagues.

DATE CLAIMER – National TAFE Day – Tuesday 19 June

Simon Birmingham, now federal Education Minister, described a plan to fund upfront TAFE fees in priority areas as akin to funding “energy healing and basket weaving” – a profound insult to TAFE and its teachers.

Celebrate TAFE – Australia’s public quality VET provider on Tuesday 19 June


 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union