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Panel prepares to hear evidence for inquiry
Amid the stress and restrictions of the global pandemic, Federation members have addressed the changing nature of their work across almost two decades to inform an independent inquiry into the value of teachers’ work.
While members were adapting to online learning and challenges brought on by COVID-19, more than 1000 schools and individual members took the time to consider the changing landscape they face in the profession.
From the implementation of NAPLAN and the supposed Digital Education Revolution to the changes in data collection and accreditation, members have put forward significant evidence that will highlight the increase in student complexity, societal expectations and the value of their work in the state’s public schools.
“Valuing the teaching profession — an independent inquiry” was commissioned by Federation in February this year and will be the first time teachers’ work has been examined in more than 15 years.
Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said he was encouraged by the number of submissions made by members despite their current workload. “Teachers have turned themselves inside out all the way through this pandemic, it’s testament to their commitment to the profession that so many found time to have their say,” he said. “Due to regressive changes to the industrial relations system, work-value cases cannot be heard before the Industrial Relations Commission. That’s why we have taken this step, to have an independent light shone on the great work carried out by teachers and principals each and every day.”
The independent inquiry, chaired by former Premier of Western Australia The Hon Dr Geoff Gallop AC, will also hear evidence from a number of expert witnesses such as Deputy Director of the Gonski Institute for Education (UNSW) Pasi Sahlberg, the author of Understanding work in schools: the foundations for teaching and learning, Associate Professor Rachel Wilson and experts on salary movements across comparable professions.
Panel members will also hear from classroom and specialist teachers, school counsellors, and principals. “We have been conducting research and examining the background of these changes for some time now, we are particularly looking forward to hearing first-hand from those who have lived experiences of the changes to the profession,” Mr Gallop said.
He also pointed to the role of teachers during the pandemic. “We have seen society and sections of the media celebrate the dedication of teachers and the the way they have adapted to the changes this year, especially remote learning, in such a professional manner. This is something I am eager to hear about from teachers themselves.”
Public hearings for the inquiry will commence later this term and will be broadcast live via the inquiry’s website. A special statewide broadcast is also planned in the week in which we celebrate World Teachers Day.
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