PPTA welcomes BES findings
PPTA welcomes the release today of three reports which confirm the importance of quality teaching, but which also recognise the importance of family, community and peer influences on student achievement.
PPTA president Phil Smith said the research recognised the importance of the factors contributed by students themselves, such as home attitudes and resources and their own natural abilities and aptitudes. It confirmed that the quality of teaching was the next most important factor in determining how well a student achieved at school.
He said teachers always sought to improve the quality of their work. “As the reports say, effective teaching requires a strong professional knowledge base and expertise that enables teachers to respond to the diversity of students. “The results of the South Auckland Literacy Project show that teachers with more time for professional development and better resources clearly have more opportunities to improve their practice.”
Mr Smith said the reports presented a major challenge to the government to consider how best it could support quality teaching in New Zealand’s schools. “The bulk funding of the Operations Grant in 1989, with the advent of Tomorrow’s Schools, meant that school-based funding for professional development ceased to be tagged for that purpose.
“Over the 1990’s the value of the Operations Grant declined steadily and only under the present government has it been increased annually, but they are working from a low base.
“The amount which some schools spend on professional development is minimal, as Boards balance it against other demands which seem more urgent to keep the school operational.”
Mr Smith said PPTA was pleased that a synthesis of best evidence on family and community influences on student outcomes had also been completed. “It is vital that New Zealand gain a fuller understanding of how family and community resources, processes and characteristics influence student achievement.
“Though international research confirms that many of our students do very well and reaffirms the quality of New Zealand teachers, the effects of poverty prevent some students from being able to make the most of that quality teaching.”
He said PPTA looked forward to further reports on teacher education and professional development and to working with the Government to develop policies to enhance quality teaching.