A Message from Paul Herschell – Director, Education Standards Australia
Education Standards Australia is based on a commitment to standards and choice in education.
I believe that schools are best placed to make locally relevant choices about how they plan, teach, assess and report. All evidence points to the fact that a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning does not give every young person the chance to achieve their potential. However, I also know that teaching without high expectations doesn’t work either.
I have established Education Standards with a commitment to excellence and equity in education. I believe that all young people, regardless of their personal circumstances, should have the opportunity to achieve high quality educational outcomes, within and inclusive, equitable and caring learning environment. My commitment is also founded on the 2008 Ministerial Council’s Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians to ‘equip all young Australians with the essential skills, knowledge and capacities to thrive and compete in a globalized world and information rich workplaces of the current century’.
Education Standards Australia has a clear policy vision – underpinned by technical expertise in curriculum, assessment, reporting and certification. We aim to provide effective leadership and mentoring for schools to ensure effective staff structures, systems, processes and curriculum are in place to deliver positive educational outcomes for students.
As director, I bring a determination and commitment to work with schools, parents, communities, staff and students to achieve the highest possible outcomes for all.
In this first news item I thought I would provide a little background information about myself.
As a senior education maker over the last fourteen years I have led many of the high level reforms which have shaped policy the Queensland curriculum, assessment and certification landscape, including:
- transition to the Australian Curriculum, in Queensland
- Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Language Syllabuses, P-10 and 11-12
- Blueprint for Syllabuses in the Senior Phase of Learning
- Queensland Certificate of Education
I was also significantly involved, at a senior policy level, in shaping:
- Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting initiative.
- Education and Training Reforms for the Future
- The Senior Certificate – A New Deal
- The New Basics initiative.
At the Queensland Studies Authority I led a team of approximately 100 staff responsible for:
- F-12 curriculum policy development and implementation across Queensland three schooling sectors (including the Queensland Kindergarten Curriculum Guideline)
- the registration, audit and administration of VET in schools, and
- the administration of Queensland’s system of externally moderated school-based assessment.
I have been involved in the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum in Queensland from its earliest days. As the Queensland representative of the F-12 Curriculum reference group and the senior officer, I was responsible for the implementation of the Australian Curriculum at the Queensland Studies Authority.
I am fully committed and determined to see the highest quality curriculum implemented consistently across Australia, in the context of longstanding and continuing local priorities and settlements. While I am fully aware of the contestable nature of curriculum within and across the jurisdictions, I am optimistic about the ongoing role of the Australian Curriculum. I have a strong belief that a nationally consistent approach to curriculum, supported by schools making informed choices about how they implement, will lead to high quality and high equity learning outcomes for all Australian school students.
I continue to be guided by my commitment to the following core principles:
- Inclusivity, and ensuring that young people are provided support and opportunity, regardless of their personal circumstances.
- Standards, and ensuring that the young people have the best possible chance to achieve their potential.
- Teacher professionalism, and ensuring the staff are supported to deliver the highest quality programs.
- Leadership , through building a committed, professional, focused and flexible workforce to deliver the operational and strategic goals of the school
Finally, I believe that for schools, or school systems, to be equity-focussed and allow all learners to meet high expectations and standards the following enabling conditions should be established:
- establishing policy directions which intersect with established local, State and federal accountabilities, at both teacher professional and systemic levels
- supporting systemic alignment of curriculum, standards, assessment and reporting
- establishing enduring systems-wide processes to support implementation
- supporting teachers’ professional judgments, by establishing a policy framework based on informed professionalism and informed prescription.
By living up to these principles, I am convinced that Education Standards Australia can provide a valuable service to the Australian education community.