Secret Ingredient is in the Pantry, Premier

There is no secret ingredient for good schools according to Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Mark Banasiak, but a not-so-secret wealth of data that has been ignored for five years.

Mr Banasiak’s comments come after the Premier revealed the current education status quo is no longer tenable and is in need of “secret ingredient” to assist in reform.

“If the Premier only looked in the back of her cupboard she would find an extremely helpful, but very dusty, research paper from 2015 titled What works best: Evidence –based practices to help improve NSW student performance, commissioned under a Liberal government,” said Mr Banasiak.

Mr Banasiak, a teacher of 15 years, says this paper draws on research from around the world, including research from renowned educational theorist John Hattie, about what factors have the greatest impact in improving student performance. It includes high expectations, explicit teaching, effective feedback, use of data to inform practice, classroom management, wellbeing and collaboration.

“If the Premier believes teacher training needs to be a focus, then she can start by using this research that has been sitting gathering dust for five years.

“The Premier should start with honest meaningful consultation with teachers. Instead of asking for feedback that is subsequently ignored because the truth is too hard to swallow. Which is now standard practice for New South Wales Department of Education,” said Mr Banasiak.

Mr Banasiak believes the search for the “one size fits all” model will end in failure, as it ignores the fact that schools are not equal.

“Schools don’t exist in a vacuum. They are influenced by external factors, such as their communities and their demographic makeup.

“Unless this government can wave a magic wand and make all communities equal in funding, resourcing and job opportunities, then the Premier is wasting her time.

“One only need ask our teachers and they will highlight that the great reform, by pretend Professor Piccoli of Local Schools, Local Decisions, has been a great failure.

“LSLD was a farce. We have seen no local decision made that haven’t come with micromanagement and bureaucracy- just for the sake of it.

“You can’t have innovative thinking and creative educational leadership when any decision, above the purchasing of class textbooks, requires the principal’s hand being held by DOE directors, acting as helicopter parents.

“Unfortunately, educational leadership where it is needed is severely lacking.

“The pretend professor has been replaced by a minister who cannot answer a single question I ask in the House, and whose 2020 priority is trying to switch Private Members day to a Wednesday, so the Government can go home early and not face full scrutiny,” said Mr Banasiak.