I will remember this year in education for... the changes to the federal funding model (Gonski 2.0). The very significant upside of this version is the recognition of needs-based funding and the universal application of formulae towards an equitable Schools Resourcing Standard. The downside is the amount of money and its gradual arrival in schools over six years. The money was needed yesterday but we have to wait until tomorrow – and the outcome of federal and state elections.
Our proudest achievement at TPA this year has been… our persistence with issues in principal health and wellbeing (HWB). We gained funding through the state government budget for a HWB project officer who will make recommendations to the Department of Education. The joint Department, TPA, AEU working party on HWB will continue work on the recommendations from the Riley Report. Our relationships with the Department and Minister’s office remain positive and productive. Our sponsorship base continues to grow. Membership remains steady in the face of a wave of retirements.
I think the biggest issues for our members in 2018 will be... health and wellbeing and contributing to a shift in emphasis away from school performance measured by NAPLAN results. There is strong support for sample testing to provide indicators of overall system performance. There is very little support for A to E report cards and publication of “results” on the Myschool website. As principals we must continue to explain issues in education to our communities. Our associations must be active in the media to do the same and to influence political momentum in favour of equity.
What I’m really looking forward to in 2018 is ... a shift from “data driven” to “data informed” policy and practice. Every child has their own story – which is much more than a set of numbers. Life is a narrative. A greater emphasis on capabilities will help us build social and economic futures in which all Australians can thrive. Curricula will come and go. It is the quality of our humanity which will determine our future.