Dear Mr Pyne

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

Have you read the letter from a teacher in England to her Minister for Education in Allan Alach’s October 27, 2013 edition of The Treehorn Express called Dear Mr Gove .?

Let’s say the same things to our Australian Minister Pyne.

 “Dear Mr. Pyne,

I feel the need to explain how I feel, Mr. Pyne, as I am exhausted, demoralised, disengaged and surfeited.

Our pupils enter school school at a younger age than many other countries. By the time they reach the age of 7 [Yr.3 in Australia], when children from many other countries enter school, our children have already been presented with the opportunity to become failures. They begin, by age 7 to develop an awareness of where they consider themselves to be academically. You will often hear pupils as young as this professing how terrible they are at reading, or how they are unable to do maths, or how they can’t write. If they are lucky they will have a teacher who can deconstruct this self image before it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We have lost them academically before other children even start school.

Then, by Year 5 [their next NAPLAN year] they have entered the graveyard of educational creativity, vibrancy and expression that Year 5s have become in this country. Children will be blitzed with maths, reading and writing until every ounce of their being becomes disengaged. We force NAPLAN upon our children in such a way that stifles creativity, limits vibrancy and diminishes expression….and that’s among more able pupils. Those who were lost somewhere around Year 2 have long since resigned themselves to failure and ridicule. If they try, they may just be able to come out with a personal best which is in no way celebrated privately as it is below the target set by ‘NAPLAN Queers’ for that child many years previously, failing to account for the individual needs and circumstances of that child. But hey, Mr. Pyne, they’re only a statistic.

As with all exams, it is increasingly easy to fail, and increasingly difficult to do anything about it.

I am tired of being told that I have a vital role to play in addressing educational imbalance when you force us to fail children at the age of 7. I am tired of children being disengaged in reading and writing when we present them with such ridiculous and unsupportive means of assessment. I am tired of being made to feel like I am lazy or incompetent when I spend every ounce of energy I have trying to provide opportunities for every child I encounter on a daily basis to succeed. I am tired of such destructive and invalidating means of judging school capabilities. I am tired of daily attacks on my work ethic, my commitment to raising standards, my commitment to improving the quality of pupils lives and my reputation as a professional.

 I am tired of a pretentious egomaniac, who has no experience of education other than having gone to school as a child, holding the education system in this country to ransom.

I ask you, Mr Pyne, who is the real enemy of promise? Who is causing incomparable destruction to our education system? Who is condemning a generation of young people to mediocrity and demise?

Secret Teacher”


Can you imagine a conversation between this lady and the mother of 9 year-old Liam : ?


Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443 cphilcullen@!


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