NSW Primary Principals Association backs first school curriculum review in 29 years

An entire NSW school curriculum review is well and good but it must be led by teachers.

And NSW Primary Principals Association president Phil Seymour was adamant primary teachers needed to be part of the solution for the review to be successful.

The NSW government will implement findings from businessman David Gonski’s latest school education report in the first review of the state’s school curriculum in 29 years.

The review, which spans kindergarten to year 12, will attempt to declutter the current system and place a greater focus on the basics, including numeracy, literacy and science.

Mr Seymour, who is also the Hayes Park Public School principal, said the Gonski 2 recommendations of focusing on literacy and numeracy and the general capabilities was a move in the right direction.

But he said in this review NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority), closely collaborating with the profession, needed to find solutions to declutter the curriculum and support teachers in the classroom with better ways to integrate the curriculum.

“The NSWPPA welcomes the review of the primary curriculum as for many years we have struggled to complete the syllabus elements in the allocated times and in the depth needed,” Mr Seymour said.

“The two major reasons we have struggled are the amount of content in the syllabuses and the additional extra-curricular programs we have to squeeze into our days.

NSW Primary Principals Association president Phil Seymour. Adam McLean

NSW Primary Principals Association president Phil Seymour. Adam McLean

“Teachers also have to ensure we are covering digital literacies, best use of IT and ensuring we cover the three cross curricular priorities (Aboriginal & Torres Strait histories & culture; Asia & Australia’s engagement with Asia and Sustainability) – all of these are absolutely worthwhile, but detract from the time we can focus on our main game.”

This is a once in a generation chance to examine, declutter, and improve the NSW curriculum to make it simpler to understand and to teach.

Rob Stokes

Education Minister Rob Stokes said the review would implement findings of David Gonski’s latest report into Australian school education.

“Our review puts David Gonski’s report into practice and will tailor the national education reform agenda to the NSW context,” Mr Stokes said.

“Several recent national reports on improving educational outcomes call for curriculum review, and we are keen to ensure that these reports are answered by real action.

“This is a once in a generation chance to examine, declutter, and improve the NSW curriculum to make it simpler to understand and to teach.”

Professor Geoff Masters, CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Research will lead the review.

He hopes to have a “community conversation about what we now want in the school curriculum” and emphasised that it is too early to speculate on what subjects or issues could possibly be cut.

But NSW Teachers Federation president Maurie Mulheron said that teachers were sick of "so-called experts" being brought in to chair reviews while they remain in the dark and that the curriculum is not the main issue facing teachers in classrooms.

This story Wollongong principal says teachers must lead curriculum solution first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.