Standards/benchmarks/guidelines were asked for in many submissions, but are totally ignored in the report. In fact, reference to our current professional guidelines is grossly inaccurate! The first gross error I have found in the Report!!
5.11 ESA publishes the current standards document for Australian school libraries, Learning for the Future: Developing Information Services in Australian Schools. The document is predominantly concerned with the implementation and role of ICT in school learning environments (my emphasis) (p. 96).
This is not in ESA’s sub. It’s a statement by whoever wrote the report!!
Principals, teachers, and parents, in addition to teacher librarians and across sectors asked for national guidelines in their submissions.
The Tasmanian teachers’ union (AEU) recommended “That school library benchmarks be established to reflect national standards for services and program delivery and that schools be resourced to these levels” (sub 122).
Brisbane Catholic Education called on the federal government to “develop national standards related to the provision of qualified teacher librarians in schools” (sub 275).
SLAV recommended “that support be given to the development of benchmarks and standards for the staffing of school libraries appropriate to the objectives of the Australian Curriculum and similar innovative curriculum frameworks documents” (sub 114).
The Australian Council of State School Organizations (parents) “endorses the development and regular revision of a statement of minimum standards and objectives for library resource facilities and services in government schools” (sub 326).
Australian Primary Principals Association recommended “The Inquiry should support the development of nationally-agreed guidelines for the adequacy of school libraries. These guidelines should include criteria for the level and kinds of resources needed in libraries, budget and staffing requirements, the roles libraries can play in schools and the levels and kinds of support needed by school libraries from external sources. The Commonwealth Government should seek the support of state and territory agencies and sector authorities for the development and endorsement of these guidelines” (sub 386).
The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) told the committee “that a motherhood statement at the Commonwealth level would be useful because it would flow through to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and help set the direction, providing a framework for the deployment of appropriate resources and funding to schools” (Report, p.35).
National guidelines would also inform groups such as the Teaching for the Digital Age Advisory Group, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AISTL), MYCEECDYA, and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), as well as other education authorities and sectors.
The Report has put the question of national school library standards in the too hard basket.