Bill Daniels: Executive Director: Independent Schools Council Australia (ISCA)
For 40 years, the non-government schools sector in Australia has had stable funding arrangements, allowing parents to make choices about their own child’s education. But the future funding of the independent schools sector is looking somewhat less certain.
We now work in an environment driven by the Gillard governments’ transparency agenda, and part of this has been the development and implementation of the My School website. With transparency comes the expectation that information being released is accurate and truly comparable.
The My School website is the corner stone of the Australian Government’s transparency agenda and the second incarnation My School 2.0 went live on 4 March 2011. The publication of both student performance and financial information on this site has polarized the schools community. However, for the independent schools sector, transparency about financial resources is generally considered a positive move – in the hope that one day, the bias against a few top end high fee schools will stop being felt by the whole sector.
But transparency does come with associated risks – for everyone.
Towards a Professional Culture in Independent Schools In doing the prep work to write this piece, I discovered that I’ve written on the topic of professional standards often1 — not because it’s a topic that has “legs” so much so as it is a challenge that most of us resist addressing at both the school and industry level. And because it’s so important, it begs to be addressed again and again — until we find our way, school-by-school, sector-by-sector.
Obviously, educators in independent schools care deeply about their work, and consider themselves professionals, but the complexity and needs of our time demand that we all reach for a higher level of professional engagement. There is much we can do to improve our knowledge and skills, as well as our ability to adjust to cultural changes, incorporate new technologies, and adapt our programs to the latest research — in the best interest of our students and our communities.