“It is important to try and reduce administrative load and lesson planning time. There is also evidence that student needs have become more complex,” Hunter said.
Teachers often draw on their own resources, sharing with colleagues, using Google, Pinterest and online marketplaces to buy educational materials, which can cause huge variation between what is taught in schools.
“Provided the resources are easy for teachers to use and can be adapted in the classroom this is a big step forward,” Hunter said.
“The government shouldn’t underestimate the amount of support needed to roll this out. Even high-quality resources can be challenging for teachers to pick up and run with unless they have professional training and learn how to use it effectively.”
Pressure on teachers has grown in the past decade, she said, as more data was collected to track student progress and there was increased emphasis on student assessment.
While some teachers have argued standard curriculum resources encroach on professional freedom, experts say this view is generally held by a minority.
Mitchell said the resources were “not about taking the creativity out of teaching, that’s what our teachers do best”.
“It’s about providing teachers with a basic recipe for student success, while allowing them to contextualize how they use the ingredients to get the best outcomes for their students.”
A NSW Department of Education review of teacher workload of more than 4000 submissions found overwhelming support curriculum resources.
Hunter said there was “major room for improvement in terms of support for teachers to implement the curriculum in the classroom. In the US, UK and Singapore more support is provided.”
In 2014, a UK government working group found teachers were frequently preparing lessons from scratch and searching the internet to find lesson plans. A pilot program was subsequently set up where schools share high-quality curriculum resources with others in their networks.
“Teachers need to focus on the learning needs of the students. The rise of the internet has allowed for a lot more sharing of resources, many of which are of highly variable quality. Years ago there were more textbooks in classrooms and many commercial resources are of mixed quality,” Hunter said.
Draft new NSW syllabuses for years 3-10 English and mathematics were released earlier this year, with the English syllabus to put more focus on literacy skills amid concerns, while NSW primary schools will intensify their focus on literacy and numeracy, with the introduction of a new syllabus mandating the use of phonics.