Students have feared them for long enough, but as of next year principals and teachers will also undergo strict performance reviews.
In a landmark agreement between the state government and the NSW Teachers Federation, the performance reviews will require all teachers to undergo 100 hours of professional development every five years.
Included in the agreement is a new way for principals to discipline underperforming staff. Teachers who do not meet the review’s expectations will now be stood down in 10 weeks, which is half the time it currently takes.
Even though the plan is aimed at improving the quality of NSW schools, it is hoped that the review will address the broader issues at stake and take into consideration instances in which teacher underperformance is less about attitude and more about working conditions.
According to the 2014 Teaching and Learning International Survey recently published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 48% of lower secondary teachers in Australia work in schools whose principals report a shortage of qualified and/or well performing staff.
Earlier this month the NSW Teachers Federation cautiously welcomed the agreement, highlighting the need for resources as the education sector undergoes change.
“It puts the onus on the department to ensure that right across the system there is support and resources available for teachers,” NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron said.
With the Senate debating the education reforms this week, industry observers are hopeful that this support is forthcoming.