In October 2018, SLANSW's President, Dr Di Laycock, attended a meeting with Professor Geoff Masters to gain insight into the review being conducted by NESA into the NSW curriculum. As a result of this and other public consultations between September and November 2018, NESA then released Nurturing wonder and igniting passion: Designs for a future school curriculum. NSW Curriculum Review Interim Report (October 2019). This interim report was used as a basis for further consultation from 22 October to 13 December 2019.
The SLANSW Committee has considered the Report and, while celebrating the potential opportunities for school libraries and teacher librarians, has noted the failure of the report to explicitly acknowledge the role of qualified teacher librarians and well-resourced school libraries in the proposed areas of curriculum change. The Management Committee, therefore, prepared and submitted this response to the Interim Report on 13 December 2019 on behalf of SLANSW members.
The Committee stated enthusiastic support for curriculum reform, in that:
The report is a blueprint for change that teacher librarians in NSW will be enthusiastic about, as the skills of deep understanding and applying knowledge across the curriculum are the ultimate product of inquiry learning, and the skills identified in the interim report, such as “critical and creative thinking, using technologies, interpreting information/data, collaborating and communicating" (NESA, 2019, p. xii) as well as reading and literacy, are skills that teacher librarians are highly qualified to teach.
However, a thorough reading of the report revealed no specific mention of school libraries or teacher librarians in contributing to the proposed curriculum reform, providing inquiry and project-based learning environments, resourcing a much-changed curriculum, or supporting student learning across the curriculum.
Three key areas of the reform directions were targeted on behalf of NSW teacher librarians, including the role of school libraries and TLs in contributing to:
SLANSW believes teacher librarians can contribute significantly to these reforms and in the submission we invited NESA to consider collaborating with SLANSW to articulate a clearer picture of how school libraries can contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of such curriculum reforms.
- Reform Direction 2 which argues the need to revise curricula to promote deep understanding;
- Reform Direction 3 which calls for designing a new curriculum with greater emphasis on building skills in applying knowledge; and
- Reform Direction 13 which refers to the introduction of a major project component for every student to undertake as part of their senior years of schooling.
Your Committee has been actively engaged in this consultation process as part of SLANSW's commitment to the School Library Coalitions' Students Need School Libraries advocacy campaign. You can follow activities for this campaign on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube via the hashtag #studentsneedschoollibraries
We encourage members to read through the interim report as well as your Association's submission, in preparation for any discussion that may occur within your school community or local network about the way forward.