Inquiry assesses Victoria’s state education system
13 July 2023 Make a submission
A parliamentary inquiry is marking Victoria’s state education system.
The Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee has a wide-ranging terms of reference for its probe into learning at government schools from prep to year 12.
‘We’re particularly interested in how we can better support students and teachers following the COVID-19 pandemic,’ Committee Chair Trung Luu said.
The successful motion to establish the inquiry was made in the parliament by Eastern Victoria MP Melina Bath.
‘I think as legislators, as elected members of parliament, it has been a long time – in fact almost 20 years – since there was a deep dive into the education system in this Victorian Parliament,’ she said.
‘The breadth of this inquiry really focuses on student learning outcomes – let us put Victorian students at the centre of this inquiry – and student wellbeing, mental health and engagement.
‘Also, very importantly, let us look at the state of teaching in Victoria – the teacher workforce, the professional development and teacher retention.’
As a former state schoolteacher in Gippsland, Ms Bath is also a participating member of the committee undertaking the inquiry.
‘It is important to unpack the issues in terms of listening to people in the field – to teachers and educators, to principals and school leaders, to school councils and, importantly, to parents and past and present students,’ she said.
‘We need to in a collaborative way investigate how we can fast-track and support not only classroom teachers but also principals in their leadership.’
The inquiry is looking at how new technologies could help to ease some of the administrative burden on teachers.
‘There is an urgent need to make sure we have got more people entering the teaching profession and people staying in the teaching profession,’ Southern Metropolitan MP Ryan Batchelor told the Council chamber.
As a father of two school aged children and deputy chair of the committee leading the inquiry, Mr Batchelor will be paying close attention to the evidence received.
‘I am an absolute believer in the importance of education and ensuring that we have a high-quality world-class education system,’ he said.
Committee member and North-Eastern Metropolitan MP Aiv Puglielli said the community expects a lot of schools and teachers.
‘I look forward to taking part in this inquiry as a member of the Legal and Social Issues Committee and working to ensure that Victorian teachers and students are provided with everything they require to allow them to thrive in our public schools,’ he said.
Fellow committee member and Western Victoria MP Joe McCracken recalled his decade of teaching experience as he also backed the inquiry.
‘This is not an opportunity for us to demonise teachers. This is a fact-finding mission,’ he said.
‘It is an opportunity to listen to the experiences of teachers, of learning support officers, of families and of professionals – because this is one of the most noble professions that I have had the honour of working in.
‘It is an opportunity for the education sector to be heard. It is also an opportunity to think about how we as members of this chamber can make a difference to the young people and their future, because really that is what education is all about. It is about helping our younger people so they can thrive and have the best possible future they can.’
Public submissions to the inquiry close on Friday 13 October 2023. A report to parliament with findings and recommendations for government is due by 25 June 2024.
You can read the full debate of the motion to establish the probe in Hansard.