Five takeaways from the Education State report

The Victorian government has a clear vision to become ‘the Education State’. To better understand what is required in order to make their vision a reality, the government spent two months consulting with school communities. Nearly 500 teachers, students, parents, principals and community were involved in face-to-face discussions, and many more engaged via the Education State website.

The results from those consultations were released in a report, summarising the upcoming budget changes and plans to solidify Victoria as ‘the Education State’. While the report covers numerous initiatives and targets, we’ve highlighted five takeaways that we believe will have a sizeable impact on the teaching environment for education professionals in Victoria:

  1. The 2015-2016 Victorian Budget saw the biggest injection of education funding in the state’s history. Nearly $4 billion is being put towards multiple areas, including building and upgrading schools, and helping families with costs and funding excursions, camps and sports events. For education professionals, this means an improvement in teaching infrastructure, more chances for students to purchase and use improved resources, and opportunities to engage students outside of the classroom.
  2. Focus is shifting away from just academic skills to include ‘the whole of a student’s ability’. Changes in curriculum will reflect recognising student excellence in specific skills (such as critical thinking and creativity), rather than just measuring test results. There will be increased focus on building their resilience and life skills, to help students reach their full potential. For teachers, this means assessment methods, as well as lesson plans, will now need to address more than just academic skill.
  3. Programs will be established to support current leaders and prepare future leaders. A ‘Local Leaders’ program will oversee the training and development of up to 1,300 high potential teachers by principals and assistant principals. A ‘Future Leaders’ program will prepare teachers for their first principal role and the ‘Expert Leaders’ program will connect experienced leaders with mentees from around the country. For teachers, this means an exciting opportunity to develop leadership skills, as well as gain insights into the qualities and practices necessary for administrative roles in schools.
  4. Millions will be spent on professional development (PD) support to assist teachers in implementing the new Victorian Curriculum. This involves a new PD program focusing on assessment and lesson plans to help prioritise the learning areas set out in the new curriculum. This gives teachers the chance to improve their knowledge and develop skills that align their teaching methods with new expectations.
  5. There will be greater emphasis on meeting the individual needs of local communities, through a focus on regional services and support and facilitating collaboration and the sharing of resources and knowledge between schools. For education professionals, this means less time spent on operational and administrative tasks and more time on what matters most: students.

The full report is available here. What other areas of the report did you find insightful? What changes are you most excited about? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.