Teachers used to be given thick, heavy syllabuses for each subject, and would sort through hundreds of pages to find what they needed. In the internet age, the books are online but not much else has changed.
While the pages scroll, rather than turn, teachers still have to wade through reams of material per subject to find the relevant points. “Maths [kindergarten to year 10] is 320 pages long,” said one. “As a kindy teacher you only need about 20 or 30 pages, and they are buried very deep.”
The NSW government will commit $196 million in next week’s state budget to develop a new school syllabus, and that will include money for an online system that will allow teachers – as well as parents and students – to find what they need in seconds.
The aim is a syllabus that serves teachers, rather than the other way around. It will let them call up exactly what they need across multiple subjects, as well as provide resources such as sample assessments, advice on lesson planning, and examples of different standards of student work.
“The platform will save teachers countless hours of time opening multiple web pages and documents within web pages to access the information they need to teach our children the curriculum,” said NESA chief executive Paul Martin.
“Currently for a kindergarten teacher to plan lessons for the week they have to open at least seven different syllabus PDFs and also potentially another four or five more documents to get relevant teaching advice and examples.
“The update is overdue as teachers are currently having to access syllabus information in unsophisticated and time-intensive ways.”
The money also means the NSW Education Standards Authority will not have to fund this work from its own budget, and will instead be able to hire subject experts to develop the syllabuses and resources.