The recently released report, Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, reflects the aspirations of every member of the IEUA to ensure the development of well rounded, academically capable, resilient and society ready students, IEUA Federal Secretary Chris Watt writes.
Yet, the fulfilment of the report’s recommendations can only be founded on the adequate resourcing of the education sector combined with genuine and real collaboration of governments and employers with the teachers, school support staff and their unions.
The voice of the profession must guide every step of any reform to ensure every Australian student is provided the quality education they deserve.
IEUA members are committed to achieving academic excellence in their schools and always have been.
Moreover, their professional capacity has delivered well rounded, academically capable, resilient and society ready students for generations.
The recommendations of the Gonski: Through Growth to Achievement report reflect not only the aspirations of every IEUA member for their students but the very workplace support mechanisms that they have argued and campaigned for over many years.
IEUA members recognise the vital importance of the early years of learning and know that governments have failed to adequately resource early years learning and failed to adequately remunerate teachers in that area.
IEUA members advocate and practise differentiated learning opportunities in their classrooms. They recognise the extraordinarily wide range of abilities of their students, but reject as fanciful suggestions that individualised learning programs are achievable or sustainable, given major workload implications and the likely reality that the resources to support such an approach would not be forthcoming from governments or employers.
IEUA members recognise the critical need to support and value the profession – and in particular the need to support beginning teachers and their mentors to ensure that the profession continues to grow and develop – and yet employers have failed to recognise and provide the adequate resources evident in many exemplar countries.
IEUA members support the continued development of teacher and principal skills and the recognition of these professionals through attractive salaries and quality professional learning opportunities. Meanwhile employers and governments have repeatedly failed to provide the resources to move beyond the ‘industrial model’ that limits resources available to schools.
IEUA members welcome any commitment to provide tools that will assist and enhance professional judgement in the classroom while rejecting the current ‘big data’ agenda of national and international testing which provide little assistance to student learning needs. They also condemn the incorrect media reported statements of ‘failed’ generations of students.
IEUA would welcome a genuinely independent research institute that would assist teachers in how to actually utilise current research learnings, that would respect and acknowledge context and that would provide a buffer to continued interference in the expert professional capacity of its members in the ‘political discourse’.
Making growth recommendations a reality requires commitment from governments.
The IEUA calls on state, territory and federal education ministers to commit to genuine collaboration with the teaching profession, support staff and their unions to deliver real and increased resources and capacity to schools to realise the very growth recommendations that have been part of the IEUA agenda for decades and have now been acknowledged and affirmed by the Gonski review.