BCA Welcomes New South Wales Teacher Quality Plan but National Approach Needed
29 May 2008
The Business Council of Australia today welcomed the announcement by the New South Wales Government of new arrangements to recognise and reward excellent teachers.
BCA Chief Executive Katie Lahey said business supported the key principles on which the New South Wales plan is based.
The plan has significant common ground with the approach to lifting the quality of teaching proposed by the BCA this week in its paper Teaching Talent: The Best Teachers For Australia’s Classrooms.
“While the adoption of this system by New South Wales is welcome, the BCA would urge for a national approach to recognising excellent teaching to be agreed by the Council of Australian Governments,” Ms Lahey said.
“If we are to meet the future challenges facing Australia such as an ageing population and skills shortages, we will need to take a national approach to lifting the quality of teaching so all of our students have access to better teaching and learning opportunities.
“We agree that the quality of teaching is the single most important influence on student learning and the overall quality of our school education system.
“The best way to lift the quality of teaching is to introduce a new independent certification system that will allow the best classroom teachers to be recognised according to standards that reflect effective teaching.
“The introduction of higher remuneration levels linked to the certification system will then provide the basis for a new career path for the profession.
“Based on the introduction of voluntary certification arrangements, the BCA also advocates a comprehensive strategy to support teachers in continuing to learn and improve their teaching throughout their careers.
“Importantly, these reforms will help the education sector to recruit the most talented and committed people into the teaching profession, and encourage them to continue to develop their teaching skills.
“We note that the New South Wales Institute of Teaching has indicated there are some differences in the methods by which excellent teachers would be assessed against the relevant standards when the New South Wales and BCA proposals are compared. The BCA views these differences as matters of detail and not fundamental barriers to the implementation of new arrangements to recognise and reward excellent teachers.
“Importantly, when it comes to the key principles, there is the basis of a common approach to recognising, rewarding and attracting high quality teachers.
“It is vital that every young Australian should have the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge that they will need to enter into a rewarding career and to participate in a meaningful way in the life of their community.
“For this reason, we would like to see a national approach to recognising excellent teaching agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments. We recommend such an approach be based on the principles identified both by the New South Wales Government and by the BCA, together with the Australian Council for Educational Research,” Ms Lahey said.