Clearing the decks for post-pandemic success

Teachers and principals will be given time to focus on the educational impacts of COVID under a new plan released today.

A row of desks with the government logo superimposed on the image A row of desks with the government logo superimposed on the image

The NSW Government is creating additional time for students to get back on track after two and a half years of pandemic disruption.

The Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell announced today that the state’s public school principals and teachers will have a raft of requirements taken off their plate so they can focus on students’ attendance, literacy, numeracy and wellbeing.

“Hopefully the immediate impacts of COVID are behind us with isolation requirements for household contacts removed. Now is the time to clear the decks for schools so they can focus on addressing students’ longer-term educational impacts,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Principals and teachers have asked me to make sure our schools have the time and space to assess where their students are at following the pandemic, and that the department is delivering the right supports.

“For example, schools will now have more time to re-engage student attendance, which has been directly impacted by the pandemic, with only 12 per cent of schools currently on track to achieve their ambitious attendance targets.”

A number of measures will be implemented to support this, including:

  • Strategic Improvement Plans and targets (excluding NAPLAN top two bands targets) will be extended to 2023, to ensure schools can fully benefit from support initiatives under the School Success Model and the COVID Intensive Learning Support Program.
  • External validation, which requires schools to provide evidence of improvement to external assessors, will be deferred until 2023.
  • Decreasing the number of surveys circulated to schools by leveraging alternate data sources where possible.

The NSW Education Standards Authority will also credit teachers with five hours of professional development towards their accreditation requirements in recognition of the continued, often informal, learning teachers have undertaken during the pandemic.

“My visits to schools and discussion with principals and teachers have highlighted the need to give schools the time to get back on track,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Through the School Success Model more than 1,000 schools and 500,000 students are already receiving targeted support to improve literacy and numeracy results.

“Working together, we can ensure that 2022 is a year of growth and achievement for our students.”

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