Supporting our teachers

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1 Recognise. Respect. Value. Policy direction overview Discussion paper two Better schools Better future

2 Supporting our teachers We can all recall a teacher who made a difference a teacher who inspired us, sparked our imagination or comforted us when we stumbled. In a very real sense, teachers help shape our future. Teachers have the privilege and the responsibility of working alongside our children, helping each child to develop, to learn and to be better prepared for life beyond school. Indeed, teachers can make all the difference; not only for those young people who are most vulnerable and at risk of missing out on a well-rounded education, but also by encouraging all young people to aim higher and achieve their best. By doing so, teachers also help us to instil the creativity and vitality that makes South Australia a vibrant and prosperous society. We now know from the research that teachers are the single most important factor within schools that determines the quality of a child s education. Teachers throughout our education system, from preschool through to primary and secondary school and in our special education services, contribute to the opportunities in life we want for every young person. That is why teaching is such a valuable profession. Yet we face new and urgent challenges. Teachers today work in a complex social environment. I ve seen first hand, right across South Australia, the sheer diversity and complexity of our school and preschool communities. The role of the teaching profession is also rapidly changing. Teachers support our children in a world of increased public scrutiny and accountability, rapid global communications, new technologies and dynamic economies. While this demands high quality professionals with a passion for teaching and learning, it s also critical that as a community, we stand up for the integrity of the teaching profession and defend our teachers from unfair criticism. Both nationally and locally, we have an ageing teaching workforce. Over the next five years there will be a significant turnover of South Australian teachers as many reach retirement age. attracting and keeping the best and brightest people who are passionate about educating our young people is a major challenge So attracting and keeping the best and brightest people who are passionate about educating our young people is a major challenge. We now have a rare opportunity to refresh and renew our teaching workforce so that we shape an education system that is even better able to educate young people for the 21st Century. We are investing more in education and in our valued teachers. The State Budget for education in is $2.5 billion. The budget provides an extra $265 million over four years for more than 700 extra teachers and support staff. However, we must also do more to attract teachers who make a difference. I want to hear your ideas about how we can best do this. How can we better value the work of our teachers, to foster inspirational and effective teaching and attract more young people into the teaching profession? How can we make best use of the knowledge, skills and experience of our older teachers? How best do we support and encourage the continued improvement and quality of teaching in our schools and preschools? This discussion paper outlines some ideas about these very questions. It is not comprehensive. Indeed, I invite you to discuss these ideas with friends and colleagues, and to contribute your views and ideas so that we can, together, shape the improvements that will benefit our children and future generations of young South Australians. Jay Weatherill Minister for Education Minister for Early Childhood Development

3 Respecting our teachers Recognising excellence Teachers play a vital role in helping children unlock their talents and creativity. By helping children to read, write, analyse, think critically and create, teachers also enable children to strive and achieve their best. Through inspirational teaching, more young people are equipped with skills for rewarding work and community life and many young people overcome social disadvantage. In turn, South Australia s social and economic prosperity is stronger. However, financial remuneration alone does not reflect the value of teaching in shaping a skilled, equitable and creative society. We must do more to lift the status and community recognition of teachers and their profession. To help do this we will: promote the profession of teaching through a teacher recruitment campaign that seeks out the best and brightest to pursue a teaching career Although most individual parents acknowledge and value their own child s teacher, the teaching profession s work is often taken for granted or overlooked by the broader community. This has an effect on teacher morale and the capacity of the profession to attract and retain high quality teachers. From 2010, teachers have gained salary increases, while a new Step 9 pay increment also recognises teaching quality in return for a commitment to ongoing performance development and mentoring.

4 Respecting our teachers adopt new professional standards for teachers. Like other professions, teachers are entitled to have a set of standards that help to elevate and communicate the complexity of their roles, and which provide teachers with a reliable point of reference for reflecting on professional practice create a new outstanding teacher classification that recognises exceptional teachers based on merit, and is not dependent on length of teaching experience. To achieve this, the Advanced Skills Teacher Accreditation 2 classification will be revamped to reward exceptional teaching establish a new South Australian Public Teaching Awards scheme to recognise and honour the best of our outstanding teachers. South Australian Public Teaching Awards A new annual awards scheme supported by the State Government and The Advertiser newspaper will celebrate the valuable contributions of dedicated and effective teachers, education leaders and support staff in our public schools and preschools. These prestigious awards will recognise outstanding professionals and teams working in schools and preschools who are considered by their peers, leaders and the local community as inspirational role models making a difference for students and school communities. Regional awards will be presented to education leaders, secondary teachers, primary teachers, early childhood teachers and support staff in schools. Regional winners will then be eligible for selection as the South Australian Public Teaching Awards winner in a range of categories. The inaugural winners will be honoured at an awards event on World Teachers Day in October State Award winners will each receive support totalling up to $20,000 to support their professional development in educating young South Australians. Further details of the South Australian Public Teaching Awards will be available in Listening to teachers An important mark of respect is to listen. Our discussion paper, A new relationship with schools and preschools highlights the need for better communication between schools and preschools and the department s central office. Work is underway to strengthen these relationships. Departmental executives have volunteered for a day in schools. The Phone the Minister Principals Hotline is up and running. Experienced teachers and leaders are contributing their practical experience to statewide education policy development through the On Assignment initiative. Classroom Connect forums, for teachers to have conversations with the Minister, will commence from Term 1 this year. However, responses to A new relationship with schools and preschools also identified a need for a new, collegiate opportunity for teachers to share ideas about best practice in education. Teaching for the 21st Century conference An inaugural statewide conference Teaching for the 21st Century will focus on how teachers can support the educational and developmental needs of today s young people. Key themes will focus on teachers as professionals, teachers as learners and teachers as leaders. Innovative and effective practice will be explored, enabling teachers to share with their peers what works, and why. Teachers will help shape the conference and identify other critical issues facing preschool and school teachers at an Education Round Table early in The conference will take place in 2012.

5 Valuing quality teaching The quality of teachers is profoundly affected by the quality of their training and ongoing learning. South Australia is working with universities and teachers to address teacher training. A Teacher Education Taskforce is examining ways to improve the quality of teacher training and practical placements, as well as addressing how best we can meet teaching supply and demand needs. This year we will create five new School Centres of Excellence to help final year pre-service teachers gain practical experience in the classroom. This initiative will also include extra practical teaching placements in schools where the best teachers are needed to support students who are struggling. The student teachers will be assisted by experienced supervising teachers who will also gain support to be better mentors and to assist in local coordination of this initiative. We are also working to support existing teachers and quality teaching through initiatives such as the Primary maths and science strategy, in which all primary school teachers are being trained in new ways to teach maths and science; developing teaching guidelines such as the Teaching for effective learning framework by gathering the best evidence we have about what works; and the provision of literacy and numeracy coaches to schools to help teachers develop improved teaching practices and achieve better results for their students. However, we know there is more to do to keep the quality of teaching at the forefront of what we do. Better professional development Teachers require opportunities to strengthen their teaching practice and stay in touch with advances, innovations and research in their profession. It is also essential that professional development opportunities are effective for teachers and overall workforce development. The delivery of professional development could, however, better support teachers. Over the years, various demands for professional development have been added without necessarily ensuring that the whole professional development system is most effective for teachers and our overall workforce development. We now have a complex mix of mandated and optional pupil-free days, professional development days taken by individual teachers on an ad hoc basis, mandated programs, unstructured programs and recognition for out-ofhours training with limited guidance for teachers about what might be best for their career as professional educators. The new Australian Curriculum will be phased in over the next few years. Implementation in our schools will be yet another priority for future professional development. However, this also provides the opportunity to reform how we do professional development. A review of the way in which professional development is provided to teachers will be undertaken this year. The aim will be to ensure that the professional development system provides effective and efficient quality professional development for teachers, addresses the learning needs of teachers and their schools, and leads to better results for our students.

6 Valuing quality teaching Improving teacher performance Students, parents and our society deserve teachers who are dedicated, energetic and committed to learning. Anything else is unacceptable. Indeed, understanding what comprises good teaching and ensuring that quality teaching takes place right across our school system, is critical to improving the overall performance of teachers and the achievements of students. The new Step 9 teacher increment offers a new opportunity. Accessing Step 9 requires a teacher and their principal to enter into an agreed performance development plan that is reviewed annually. The momentum created by this new recognition of quality teachers enables us to build a strong culture of development and improvement throughout the teaching profession. To this end, a new suite of policy documents that address performance development is being trialled with teachers and leaders. These new policies will be progressively implemented from this year. We also need to more effectively address unsatisfactory teaching. The effect of unsatisfactory teachers on students, on the morale of their fellow teachers, and on the reputation of their school cannot be ignored. New approaches in managing unsatisfactory performance more speedily and effectively are being trialled by principals before being the subject of wider consultation with all schools and preschools during 2011 and then being introduced into our schools. Refresh, renew and respect Our teacher workforce is ageing. Many teachers will retire over the next few years. While this presents challenges, it also offers an opportunity to rejuvenate and support our teachers and the whole workforce. Our aim must be to achieve a workforce that provides a balance of skills, wisdom, knowledge and enthusiasm generated by both new and experienced quality teachers. As such, a major recruitment drive for new teachers and prospective teachers will begin this year to attract the best and brightest into teaching and celebrate the value of inspirational teaching. This will be supported by the introduction of the new recruitment policy as foreshadowed in This policy will include removing the rule that requires a teacher to move or re-apply for their job after 10 years (the limited placement rule) giving schools a greater say in selecting their teachers, and providing greater opportunities for young teachers to gain permanent positions. At the same time we will ensure that teachers returning from the country are given priority.

7 We also want to provide opportunities for our experienced teachers and to learn from their experience as we develop our workforce for the future. While many are approaching retirement, we don t want to lose their knowledge and skills. Indeed, experienced teachers can support and mentor our new teachers. During 2011, we will offer our most skilled and experienced teachers who are retiring the opportunity to work as mentors for younger teachers. Retiring teachers who take up this offer will be supported through accredited training to help them in this role. This will provide opportunities for career growth, and help to ensure the knowledge of the profession is not lost during generational change. Other teachers who have contributed much of their life to our children might choose to reduce their time in teaching. New guides will be available in 2011 to assist these valued teachers in transition to retirement through support such as patterned long service leave or part access to superannuation benefits concurrently with employment income. Teacher renewal program To provide an immediate boost to the employment of new teachers, and to allow some more experienced teachers a transition to retirement or a new career, we will implement a one-off teacher renewal program. Financial incentives to assist in the transition from teaching will be offered to experienced teachers whose enthusiasm or energy after long careers in the classroom is beginning to wane. The positions freed up by these incentives will all be filled by graduates and early-career teachers. This will also add to the measures in the new recruitment policy to provide young teachers with permanent jobs. The teacher renewal program will begin early in 2011 and help support the development of a strong, balanced workforce of new and experienced teachers. Valuing teacher wellbeing Teachers and young people must have a safe, respectful and supportive environment in which to learn and teach. Our school and preschool leaders are responsible for encouraging a healthy and productive learning culture and for ensuring that the wellbeing of all teachers is safeguarded. However, teachers do not teach our young people in isolation from the wider community. Teachers have to deal with the effects of social problems that arise from beyond the school gate. Effort and support is also required from others in our public education system, and in the wider community, including parents, to maintain a safe learning environment. We want your views on how best we can support teachers in creating safe learning environments. A discussion paper will be released in 2011 on ways to make our schools and preschools even safer for staff and young people.

8 Next steps What do you think? This discussion paper sets out a series of ideas and initiatives aimed at better valuing the teachers we have, attracting new people into the profession, and fostering a culture of improvement in our schools and preschools. We seek your views on these ideas and initiatives together with your own ideas, so that we can develop a shared understanding of the directions we need to take. You are encouraged to discuss your views and ideas in your school and preschool communities, including school governing councils and student, parent, teacher and professional networks and associations. Classroom Connect teacher forums with the Minister will also be convened from Term 1 this year. The initial forums will focus on the themes of this discussion paper. Initiatives highlighted in this discussion paper, together with your ideas and comments, will help shape and inform policies to support our teachers and public education workforce, and in turn, young people and their future. This is the second in a series of policy direction discussion papers on future directions for education and children s services in South Australia. Policy direction statements aim to: inform you of initiatives and new directions in public education, which support the best interests of South Australian young people involve school and preschool communities in discussions with the Minister for Education and with public education system leaders, as we work together to improve opportunities for every child. Copies of this statement are available from or call (08) Please send your comments to by 31 March Initiatives together with your ideas will help shape policies to support our teachers Supporting our teachers Recognise. Respect. Value.

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