No seat on the AITSL board for IEU

The IEU federal body (IEUA) has been advised that it’s request for an Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) board position has been declined. The IEUA sought the vacant position based on the premise its representation of the independent education sector (Australia wide) is a vital and necessary function of the Union.

Members interests cannot be best served when classroom practitioners do not have a voice.

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s rejection of the IEUA’s application will only fuel a perception that AITSL is a body not of and for teachers.

AITSL is a public body which is funded by the Australian Government and Minister Pyne seems to be the sole member of the company.

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers would be better served by a genuinely representative body that provides for a classroom voice.

The AITSL Board, as of 2 June 2015, is:

Professor John HattieChair
Mr John Fleming Deputy Chair
Dr Michele BrunigesLeadership and management of government school systems
Mr Rob NairnSchool leadership
Dr Geoff NewcombeLeadership and management of non- government school systems
Mr Stephen ElderGovernance, including audit, risk and finance
Ms Melanie SabaRegulation and accreditation of initial teacher education courses
Professor Tania AsplandInitial teacher education
Mr Trevor FletcherTeacher practitioner
Dr Jennifer BuckinghamPublic policy
Mr Tony CookGovernment liaison

During debate in the Senate on June 4, Senator and former teacher Deborah O’Neill said, “I refer to the Minister’s announcement on the new AITSL board just this week, Why does the board no longer have a teacher representative”?

No answer was supplied during the debate.

The recent Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group review of teacher education, which will be administered by AITSL, recommends tighter checks and balances on student teachers.

The IEU largely accepts this review and welcomes it as a useful document to work from.

The review recommends improvements on the practicum for student teachers and high levels of mentoring and support for beginning teachers. The Union welcomes the focus on these issues.

However, industrial representation on the board of AITSL is required to make sure teachers’ needs are being met in a realistic manner, and AITSL requirements are relevant to the day to day work of the profession.

Mark Northam
Assistant Secretary