Pyne making AITSL conservative - union

AEU federal president, Correna Haythorpe, said the decision by the Federal Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, to remove teachers from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) board made a mockery of the organisation.

“It is ridiculous for an organisation which has the goal of improving the quality of teaching and school leadership to have no involvement from teachers’ organisations, or from public schools,” Haythorpe said in a statement.

“It denies that teachers have any contribution to make to improving teaching standards in Australia.”

Haythorpe said Pyne was intent on turning AITSL into “a conservative-leaning organisation” which does not fully represent education in Australia.

“The AEU has been on the AITSL board since its inception and has worked with other stakeholders to improve standards of teaching and teacher training in Australia,” Haythorpe said.

“But despite increasing the size of the board, Minister Pyne has found no room for the AEU – or any other representation of teachers.”

Announcing the changes, Pyne said it was “critical” that the AITSL board had the right mix of skills.

“In recognition of this, three new directors with expertise in key areas, including teacher education, course accreditation and school leadership have been appointed to the board,” Pyne said.

“While the focus of the new board is on skills and expertise, AITSL will also continue to consult broadly across the sector with peak bodies as it implements changes to initial teacher education.”

Haythorpe slammed Pyne’s appointment of Dr Jennifer Buckingham from the Centre for Independent Studies and Professor Tania Aspland from the Australian Catholic University (ACU) to AITSL’s board.

“There is a clear conflict here because the ACU is one of the universities with the lowest entry scores for teaching courses in Australia. This is particularly the case given AITSL’s new responsibilities for assessing teacher training courses in Australian universities.

“AITSL has a clear and important role to play in improving the quality of Australian schools, it should not be treated as an ideological plaything by Minister Pyne,” Haythorpe said.