Union report calls for change
A review by the Western Australian (WA) teachers' union has called for the scrapping of NAPLAN testing.
The review, led by former WA Premier Carmen Lawrence, aimed to assess the state of public education in WA following a decade of major changes.
The panel's report found that the independent public school model had not improved student outcomes and had exacerbated inequality in the WA education system.
It also expressed concerns about staffing challenges in regional and remote schools due to independent school autonomy.
The report recommended a thorough review and annual audit of independent schools' spending to ensure accountability.
Additionally, it called for the replacement of NAPLAN with the internationally recognised Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), testing less frequently, and not publicly identifying school results.
The review highlighted the need for increased funding for students with developmental, behavioural, or mental health issues in the mainstream system, with a focus on supporting smaller class sizes.
It suggested the development of a dedicated cross-portfolio service for these students and guidelines for their optimal placement.
The report also emphasised the importance of adequately resourcing teachers to create individually tailored plans for students with special education and behavioural needs. It proposed considering such students as multiple students when determining class size to reduce the number of students per class.
The review noted that the switch of year 7 to high school had resulted in increased costs and workloads but without clear benefits.
It recommended reducing class sizes, hiring experienced teachers for small-group tutoring of disadvantaged students, and reducing administrative paperwork for teachers.
Additionally, the review found that the needs of Indigenous students were not being met, despite expensive programs introduced without rigorous evaluation or consultation. ATAR completion rates in Western Australia were significantly lower than the national average and declining.