The taskforce suggests the current processes around teacher recruitment, professional development and appraisal need a good shake-up and some direction.
The major recommendation here is to work towards a more coherent future-focused workforce strategy. This means ensuring the diversity of teachers matches the diversity of students.
They’re also calling for a review of Initial Teacher Education and development of alternative flexible and good quality ITE pathways to registered teacher status, such as school-based models.
They also would like to see more flexibility built into the teacher appraisal process.
They want to see more viable pathways for the development of teaching support staff.
As for professional development, they are recommending that Education Hubs co-ordinate PLD and advisory services in order to provide local support and grow and sustain local expertise. They want to support professional learning groups across schools.
However, they also want to see some flexibility injected into the Kāhui Ako (Communities of Learning) pathway model, particularly around clustering arrangements, achievement challenges and the use of staffing and resources.
They would like to see options for secondment between schools, Education Hubs, Ministry of Education and Teaching Council.
How do we ensure effective professional development is relevant and sustainable?
The taskforce found that the current PLD system was “over-regulated, bureaucratic, and time-consuming for both schools and the PLD providers” and suggests a move towards permanent advisory services at both the Education Hub and national levels.
Claire Amos supports the idea of nurturing professional learning within and across schools.
“I’d love to see PLD provision tapping into the resources within schools and connecting them across schools more formally at that system level.”
“We know there’s awesome practice out there but it’s in pockets. Actually get this more coherent across the system,” agrees Steve Mouldey.
Amos is also supportive of the idea of people being able to be seconded to Hubs, Ministry or Council positions.
“I think we’re losing great people to professional development far too often and I would love people to be a bit more fluid in and out of the system.”
She also hopes the changes signal an end to “those bloody PLD journals”!
What would a more flexible teacher appraisal system look like?
The taskforce wants to see the appraisal process move away from the ‘tick the box’ exercise it has become for many teachers. In order to introduce some flexibility, the they have posed some questions for consideration:
Do all teachers need to be appraised against all the standards every year? Does every teacher need an appraisal summary report every year? Is it possible that some appraisal could be based on teams of teachers? To what extent could peer-based appraisal be more useful?
How will Kāhui Ako work under the proposed model?
Teachers and schools remain divided on Communities of Learning. Some report great collaboration and the start of exciting progress. Others report difficulty moving past challenges surrounding CoL leadership and achievement challenges. Others remain resolutely opposed.
So the inclusion of a recommendation to inject more flexibility into Kāhui Ako is possibly a good compromise.
“We believe this model of community responsibility and professional learning needs more time to bed in. There is much to be learned from Kāhui Ako,” reads the report.
The taskforce also suggests we should be open to considering alternative clustering arrangements other than a pathway between schools, for example a cluster of secondary schools in an area.
Does the report address the teacher shortage?
Yes, it touches on it. The taskforce talks about the quality and supply of teacher graduates being too variable and how not enough teachers are being prepared to teach in shortage areas.
“Although there is a shortage of teachers/kaiako, our newly trained teachers/kaiako are not guaranteed employment, with only a third given permanent appointments.”
The taskforce also found induction and mentoring to be of variable quality.
“We think that teacher workforce supply policy lacks coherence and connectedness. The recruitment, training, and retention of our teachers/kaiako should be a shared responsibility between government agencies, teacher education providers and schools. We do not believe it currently is.”
Addressing the teacher shortage is wrapped up in the major recommendation of working towards a “coherent future-focused workforce strategy”.