World Teachers’ Day | NAPLAN joint statement | IPS review outcomes
26 October 2018 No. 20-18
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REMINDER: all members are encouraged to complete the QTU Member Workload Survey which has been emailed from ACER. This data will be vital in forming the analysis on the effect of workload on your working lives.
Happy World Teachers' Day
Today we celebrate World Teachers’ Day across Australia. Internationally, this is celebrated on 5 October, however, as this is usually during our school holidays, Australia celebrates the day on the last Friday in October.
A teacher is an inspiration, a guide, an instructor, a colleague and a friend. Your influence extends far beyond the school gates. Every day, you and every other teacher build the future of our local community, our state, our country and our world. It is one of the most important roles there is. Very few others even come close. You are a highly qualified professional and you deserve recognition as such.
World Teachers’ Day provides an opportunity for students to thank their hard-working and diligent teachers, and for the teaching profession to come together to acknowledge its achievements and on-going valuable contribution to society in the face of increasing challenges.
On behalf of the Queensland Teachers’ Union, thank you for your professionalism, collegiality and dedication to the children and young people of Queensland. A teacher’s impact can last a lifetime.
NAPLAN joint statement released
The QTU and the Department of Education (DoE) have reached agreement on a new Joint Statement on NAPLAN in Queensland Schools.
This statement, launched at the QTU Education Leaders Conference today, sets out clear expectations of what should and should not be associated with NAPLAN testing and data in all Queensland state schools (the QTU continues to work with the branches and associated bodies of the Australian Education Union to call for a comprehensive review of NAPLAN with the aim of fundamentally changing or replacing the testing regime and data reporting).
The release of the statement follows extensive consultation with QTU members and DoE stakeholders, including regional officers. QTU members are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new joint statement and use it to ensure that concerns about various aspects of NAPLAN are addressed at the school level.
The joint statement seeks to outline the agreement between the department and the QTU about a range of issues including: curriculum planning; preparation and practice tests; the use of NAPLAN data in schools, recruitment and selection, reporting of student outcomes; and the rise of edu-business in response to NAPLAN reporting
The joint statement is clear that the Australian Curriculum is the focus of teaching and learning and there is no need for a specific program of NAPLAN preparation to be delivered in classrooms. NAPLAN is a point-in-time test and consequently, NAPLAN is not considered a fair, accurate or comprehensive assessment of the curriculum taught in classrooms.
Additionally, while the department and the Union recognise student wellbeing is paramount, the QTU has also identified workload implications for teachers arising from NAPLAN preparation and practice tests. To this end, the parties agree that there is a place for limited NAPLAN preparation activities related to the mode and conditions of the testing itself. There is a clear agreement that, as the NAPLAN website states: “excessive test preparation using previous tests is not necessary or useful”. Importantly, the parties do not endorse repeated or regular NAPLAN practice tests or the implementation of pre-tests to capture data to shape teaching and learning specifically related to NAPLAN.
The joint statement acknowledges that every school in every community is unique and that, while teachers and school leaders influence student learning and engagement, many factors contribute to students’ performance in NAPLAN and in school. The parties agree that meaningful evidence of student outcomes includes student learning, engagement in learning, and personal wellbeing and that these can be measured in a variety of ways. This being the case, evidence of student learning and achievement of the curriculum taught in the classroom is a better measure than NAPLAN data. This is also reflected by the joint statement identifying that while candidates may choose to provide NAPLAN data as part of a range of supporting evidence of suitability in recruitment and selection processes, the QTU and DoE agree it is not essential that NAPLAN data be included, and promotion should not be based just on favourable NAPLAN data.
The Union welcomes the completion of the Joint Statement on NAPLAN in Queensland State Schools and also awaits the outcomes of the Queensland Government’s review into NAPLAN. QTU State Council on Saturday 3 November will hear a further report on the progress of the QTU’s NAPLAN campaign.
The joint statement on NAPLAN becomes part of a suite of joint statements developed in accordance with Part 12 – Teacher Professionalism of the Department of Education and Training State School Teachers’ Certified Agreement 2016, and can be found at www.qtu.asn.au/naplanjointstatement. The QTU is also in the process of developing a guide to implementing the joint statement and a suite of support materials that will be available in coming weeks.
Outcomes of IPS review released
Yesterday the Queensland Government released the evaluation of the Independent Public Schools (IPS) program and mapped a process to determine the future shape of state school autonomy. (View QTU President’s comment at www.qtu.asn.au/pres-25oct18)
The recommendations of the evaluation report provide a useful starting point for consideration of the future of autonomy for schools in Queensland. The QTU has long held the view that real autonomy is created when schools have the financial resources to deliver for the needs of their students and are freed from unnecessary interference (especially random policy interjections from government). This needs to be supported by a strong system.
Professional autonomy allows members to exercise their professional judgement to deliver education that responds to the needs of their students in their local context and also helps ensure that education professionals’ workloads are not impacted by unnecessary administrative expectations.
The QTU welcomes the recommendation of the review that there needs to be a focus on the need for marked improvements in human resources practices within the department – an unfulfilled recommendation of the 2015 evaluation of IPS. The QTU considers that such changes should enhance the strength of the state school system, ensure allocation of personnel with required skills to schools and treat individual teachers and principals with respect and dignity.
The commitment to deep engagement with stakeholders over short timelines to recommend a formal government response to the evaluation is important. This includes ensuring that the voice of almost 46,000 members of the QTU is front and centre. (Visit QTU IPS page at www.qtu.asn.au/ips)
Further information will be provided to members when it is available.