11 September 2003
Teachers to play key role in futures project
The Secondary Futures Project offers teachers, schools and their communities a great chance to consider the challenges facing secondary schools over the next 20 years as well as highlight the great things they already do, says PPTA president Phil Smith.
“We are pleased the project is starting from a premise which views secondary education, and teachers, as innovative and positive, as it is more likely to capture the imagination of the entire education community.
“We also believe the project has more chance to succeed because those who are driving it are intimately involved in education, rather than in politics,” Mr Smith said.
However, he cautioned that important issues must be resolved for the project to succeed: the stresses caused by NCEA and the current round of school reviews, how to recognise the experience and qualifications of degree-equivalent teachers, and how to recruit and retain quality teachers, especially in rural and low-decile schools.
He added that in developing a clear vision of the role secondary education in the future, there were questions the review must answer:
“How can we ensure that the level of Government funding to schools enables them to deliver a quality education that boosts student success rates?
“Should specialist education start earlier in a student’s life rather than later?
“How do we measure student success? Is the purpose of secondary education solely to help students participate in our economy or is it much wider and about equipping young people with the skills and knowledge to participate successfully as citizens of their communities, of this country, and of the world?”
Mr Smith said whether the project failed or succeeded depended to a large extent on teacher buy in.
“Our experience from the 1990s is that ideological change driven by bureaucrats, politicians, businessmen and financial managers ignores the reality of the classroom and therefore doesn’t work.
“It is important for this project that those with the day-to-day experience and knowledge of what works for secondary students – teachers - play a key role.