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Creating an Education Superpower

NEWS 8 Nov 2021

The Minster for Education and Youth is on a mission to re-establish Australia’s position as an education superpower

In 2019, the education ministers of every state and territory in Australia, and the then federal education minister, committed to this vision which became known as the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration. Mparntwe is the Arrernte language name for Alice Springs.

The current Federal Minister for Education and Youth the Hon Alan Tudge MP wants to lift Australia into the top group of nations in terms of school education. In short, within the next decade, he wants to see Australia become an education superpower.

“Our vision is for a world-class education system that encourages and supports every student to be the very best they can be, no matter where they live or what kind of learning challenges they may face.”

But What Does It Take to Create an Education Superpower?

“I have learnt that there is no silver bullet in education. However, I have also learned that there is good evidence of what works and that if we are focused, amazing things can be achieved. This is about our children and our nation’s future so what can be more important,” said Mr Tudge in a speech spelling out his plan to improve the country’s education system.

Mr Tudge has pinpointed three areas: quality teaching—particularly initial teacher education, curriculum and assessment.

The Australian Curriculum is being refined and updated to become more streamlined and cohesive and there is growing recognition that effective assessment and feedback have a positive influence on student achievements.

Becoming An Education Superpower

Assessments and Brilliant Teaching Lay the Foundations at Haileybury

Anna Sever, Deputy Principal (Teaching & Learning) at Haileybury says “We know that, after parents, teachers have the biggest influence on student learning, so we have a rigorous process that we apply to recruit great teachers. This includes teachers having to do a sample lesson—we watch them teach to review if they are going to align with the standards of the School.”

Haileybury is keen to support the quality teaching pipeline by fostering the development of early-career teachers and the continued development of more experienced educators.

The School has created a Brilliant Teaching series where teachers record lessons, share teaching insights and have opportunities to observe their colleagues and give and receive feedback.

The Australian Curriculum review aims to see Australia regain lost ground in literacy, numeracy and science standards and there is a renewed focus on Civics and Citizenship.
Anna says the foundations of education in Literacy and Numeracy begin in ELC and, at Haileybury, Science is also introduced at this time. Each year’s knowledge builds on the next in a whole-of-school approach and Haileybury’s explicit teaching model—I do, we do, you do —also embeds learning.

“The teacher sets the example by doing the ‘I do’, students and teachers then do it together in the ‘we do’, and then the students have the autonomy to do it themselves for ‘you do’. This helps students achieve mastery of core skills and move learning from short to long-term memory,” explains Anna.

“We also structure our timetable specifically to focus on Numeracy and Literacy in the morning when students’ attention is at its best. Phonics is an important part of the curriculum in Junior School and (Principal) Derek Scott is working on the Government’s initial teacher education review to make sure phonics is part of every teacher’s learning at university.”

In terms of assessment and feedback, Anna says looking at the fine-grained details of each student’s progress ensures everyone receives the support they need to do their best.

When it comes to becoming an education superpower, it seems that Haileybury is already well on its way…