Retrospective: top education stories for 2017

Retrospective: top education stories for 2017
All would agree that the year 2017 was a significant one for educators across Australia.

The year began with an alarming report on principal health and well-being, which found that working conditions for school leaders continues to worsen in most states – in some cases dramatically.

However, in the months ahead, some states, such as Victoria and NSW, took a proactive approach in dealing with these issues by announcing more support for principals.

In June, a landmark moment arrived for schools when the Australian Education Amendment Bill 2017, commonly referred to as ‘Gonski 2.0’, passed Parliament and paved the way for an extra $23.5bn to schools over the next decade.

However, not all school sectors celebrated the milestone, with some claiming they were short-changed under the new funding model.

Another big issue for the Australian education sector in 2017 was the level of support being given to vulnerable students, particularly those with a disability.

According to one report, funding for public school students with disability in five states and territories will be cut by the Federal Government in 2018.

Student outcomes and educational standards were also in the spotlight.

The NSW Board of Studies’ overhaul of HSC standards was welcomed by the state’s principals, who said the reforms will strengthen the highly regarded credential.

Under the new rules set out by the NSW Board of Studies on 19 July, the state’s HSC students will now require a pass mark in numeracy and literacy in order to gain the qualification.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has been working to improve teaching standards across Australia to lift the quality of teaching being done in classrooms – an area that Federal Education Minister Birmingham believes is showing progress. 

“Good progress is being made in terms of the Coalition’s reforms to initial teacher education and training. This is evidenced by the significant take up now of the new literacy and numeracy standards test for university students before they graduate,” Birmingham told The Educator.

“There is active work underway, led by AITSL in reaccrediting initial teacher education programs across different universities to ensure that they are delivering the type of quality we expect.”

Birmingham said that with these reforms underway in initial teacher education, the focus shifts to how the government works to effectively support the existing teacher workforce in their ongoing skills and professional development.

But on a personal note…

Through The Educator’s coverage of the past year’s events, your support has gone a long way to helping us provide the kind of quality and professionalism our readership expects.

As the year draws to an end and 2017 dawns, The Educator would like to wish you all a restful holiday, a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.