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Teachers can be outstanding -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Teachers Union says a program identifying 'outstanding' teachers won't work
unless it's linked to better pay. New South Wales teachers can now be classified as 'outstanding'
if they meet the requirements of a new set, new assessment system designed to identify high level
performance.

The state government says the system is aimed at attracting and retaining talented teachers but it
hasn't indicated how much more money they could receive. The Teacher's Union says the system won't
work unless 'outstanding' teachers are rewarded with outstanding pay checks.

Michael Edwards has our report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Up until today, quality teachers in New South Wales mostly had to settle for the
admiration of their peers and students. Now, they can officially seek the label 'outstanding'.

The acting New South Wales Education Minister is John Hatzistergos says that means they will be
recognised as having superior teaching and communication skills.

JOHN HATZISTERGOS: We certainly want to encourage exceptional teachers to get involved and to have
their talents and abilities rewarded and recognised by their profession and by their community.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: In an Australian first, applications are now open for teachers to be assessed
against a set of criteria judging the quality of their work. Teachers who apply will have a range
of attributes tested including their classroom skills, report writing and their ability to mentor
other teachers.

John Hatzistergos says the assessment will be rigorous.

JOHN HATZISTERGOS: The applicants will be assessed using a combination of external assessors who
will review the teacher in action in the classroom and examine documentary evidence of the
teachers' effectiveness.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The state government says it's part of a plan to attract and retain more quality
teachers. But will it work? The Teachers Union isn't yet convinced.

The New South Wales Teachers Federation says firstly it is insulting that individual teachers will
have to fork out between $550 to $650 to be assessed meaning less may apply and secondly Federation
President Maree O'Halloran is concerned New South Wales standards could conflict with future
national guidelines.

MAREE O'HALLORAN: In the first instance the Federal Government is developing their own set of
standards so there will be two sets of standards out there for the profession.

Secondly, the State Government is saying to teachers, well look, if you are a great teacher, if you
are providing excellence in the classroom, you have to pay for the privilege of having yourself
assessed against these standards.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The Australian Education Union wants those teachers judged as 'outstanding' to be
paid more than $100,000 a year. But the New South Wales Government isn't saying how much more those
assessed as 'outstanding' could be paid.

Maree O'Halloran says the program won't work unless it coincides with better pay for both
outstanding and regular teachers.

MAREE O'HALLORAN: In order to attract and retain teachers in the public education system, that
won't occur because there is a set of standards, accomplished teacher standards that people can pay
to show they match.

It will occur by making sure that you increase the salary level of the whole profession so that
there is guaranteed pay increases for everyone.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: But the program does have its supporters. Jim McAlpine from the New South Wales
Secondary Principals Council says the program will work.

JIM MCALPINE: I think it is a process that will not only attract and retain really good teachers
for our systems, but it is a way of recognising people who are already outstanding and who don't
get that professional recognition. So I think it is going to be very valuable for that as well.

ELEANOR HALL: Jim McAlpine is the President of the New South Wales Principals' Council. He was
speaking to Michael Edwards.