Australia’s education system is being encouraged to take a new approach to the design of teaching roles and school organisational structure to achieve improved educational outcomes.
Outlined in a sector-first research report, the findings come after the country’s curriculum and testing methods came under fire throughout 2020, posing a new solution to address Australia’s declining student outcomes.
The report, compiled by PeopleBench, found that schools that featured a higher proportion of part-time employment arrangements saw greater improvements in academic outcomes for their students.
PeopleBench chief research and insights officer Mike Hennessy said the school workforce tracking insights, data and evidence (TIDE) report challenges assumptions about traditional school workforce models and what is generally deemed to be best practice staffing in Australian schools.
“As we publish this report, the education sector is grappling with massive disruption and looking for the next lever to pull to build stronger workforces and better student outcomes,” Hennessy said.
“The time is right for schools to make radical change and it starts with getting the right teaching workforce in place. This new evidence suggests that using non-traditional role design to make teaching positions available to a wider range of people should be part of that mix.”
The TIDE research initiative was conducted using a sample of 98 Australian Catholic and independent schools employing a total of 5684 staff and education 40,000 students.
Hennessy added that the company’s research found distinct patterns of results for primary schools versus secondary and combined schools, demonstrated that context is critical in designing a highly effective teaching workforce.
Further key findings in the report indicated that primary schools that achieved the greatest overall relative NAPLAN gains were more likely to have more student enrolments, lower net recurrent income per student, a lower proportion of indigenous students and students from a language other than english (LOTE) background.
In addition, primary schools with older workforces – especially older leadership cohorts – tended to achieve the strongest overall relative NAPLAN results.
However, these patterns were not observed within secondary and combined schools.