This blog post is a response to Charlotte’s Pezaro’s post Specialist science and maths teachers in primary schools are not the solution
To support the teaching and learning of STEM, and specifically mathematics and science, NSW has taken a number of deliberate actions and decisions.
- Minimum entry standards have been set for teaching degrees and teaching graduates need to pass literacy and numeracy tests to ensure quality teaching.
- New K-6 syllabuses in English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, History and Geography have been developed and are currently being taught in schools.
- Primary teachers working in our schools can specialise in mathematics and science.
This NSW initiative for primary teachers to specialise in mathematics and science does not replicate the high school teaching model.
Primary teaching students completing a specialisation will undertake additional courses in mathematics or science, and in how to teach these subjects.
This gives initial teacher education students the opportunity to undertake a more extensive focus in these areas.
Primary teacher graduates with a STEM specialisation will have broader employment options and be available to lead efforts in primary schools to strengthen student’s knowledge, skills and confidence in mathematics and science from Kindergarten.
These specialists will help give young students more confidence in mathematics and science, so they’re well prepared for high school and future careers.
The NESA specialisations policy does not compromise preparation of all primary teaching graduates to effectively teach across the key learning areas from K-6.
NESA continues to ensure that all NSW primary teaching degrees require discipline knowledge and pedagogical skill development in each of the key learning areas in primary.
This formal recognition of primary teaching specialisations is one of a suite of measures to enhance the teaching of STEM in NSW schools.
Peter Lee is Inspector, Primary Education, at the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). The NSW Education Standards Authority replaced the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) on 1 January 2017.