The NSW education department is failing to effectively monitor the quality of teaching quality across the state, a report by the Auditor General has found.
NSW auditor general Margaret Crawford says there’s a lack of oversight to ensure the state’s 2,200 principals, who are responsible for accrediting teachers in line with national professional standards, are doing the job properly.
She says the NSW Education and Standards Authority (NESA), the body responsible for ensuring school standards and teaching quality, is failing to check decisions made by principals.
“This exposes a risk that teachers may be accredited without meeting minimum standards,” the report says.
Meanwhile, the government’s Performance and Development Framework doesn’t give principals enough support and to manage and improve teacher performance and teaching quality, the report found.
Only 53 of the state’s 66,000 participated in improvement programs designed for under-performing teachers, the audit found.
This compared to a UK report which assessed the quality of teaching as ‘inadequate’ in three per cent of schools.
The report, Ensuring teaching quality in NSW public schools, released by the NSW audit office on Thursday, says the department isn’t collecting enough data to monitor teaching quality.
“The Department of Education does not effectively monitor teaching quality at a system level. This makes it difficult to ensure strategies to improve teaching quality are appropriately targeted,” the report says.
The audit also found a limited opportunity for supervisors to set goals, scrutinise teachers or provide constructive written feedback on a teacher’s progress towards achieving their goals under the performance and development framework.
It says while strategies to improve teaching are trialed and reviewed before implementation, their overall impact isn’t evaluated – including the $224 million Quality Teaching, Successful Students program which hasn’t been evaluated since it started in 2015.
The department is also failing to monitor how government funding is being used to improve teacher quality, nor does it have a “single consistently communicated definition of teaching quality”, the report found.
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said the department welcomed the report in line with its commitment to providing the best education for students and continually improving the quality of teaching in public schools.
He said the department had accepted all recommendations made by the auditor and would report back to the Audit Office next July on progress implementing them.
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