Education ministers agree to major reforms in training teachers

Education Ministers have agreed in principle to major reforms to how we train teachers, following the release of the report of the Teacher Education Expert Panel.

The report notes that: “too many beginning teachers have reported that they felt they needed to be better equipped for the challenges they faced in the classroom on starting their teaching careers.”

The report makes clear that by ensuring all ITE students learn and can apply the teaching practices that work best, teachers will be better prepared for the classroom and more likely to stay in teaching.

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Minister for Education Jason Clare said in a statement:

“Our teachers are awesome and teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world. Teaching is a tough and complex job and this is all about making sure they are better prepared from day one.”

According to the report, “a 10 percentage point uplift in ITE retention rates would result in nearly three thousand additional graduates” each year.

The report contains 14 recommendations across four key areas of reform.

The proposed reforms are designed to:

  • Strengthen initial teacher education programs, including establishing and embedding core content and mandating it in national accreditation. (Recommendations 1-3)
  • Draw a stronger link between performance and funding of initial teacher education, including establishing an ITE Quality Assurance Board to monitor the quality and consistency of ITE programs and their outcomes. (Recommendations 4-7)
  • Improve practical teaching experience, including better coordination of practical experience delivery and national guidelines, and professional recognition of mentor teachers to support teachers in mentoring ITE students. (Recommendations 8-11)
  • Enhance postgraduate teacher education for mid-career entrants, including developing and scaling high-quality mid-career programs, such as paid, employment-based pathways (Recommendation 12-14).

The Panel, led by Professor Mark Scott, was established by Minister for Education, Jason Clare to provide advice on how to improve initial teacher education (ITE) to better prepare teachers for the classroom.

The Panel members included:

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  • Professor Mark Scott AO
  • Emeritus Professor Bill Louden AM
  • Professor Michele Simons
  • Dr Jenny Donovan
  • Mr Andrew Peach
  • Ms Rebecca West

Teacher Education Expert Panel Chair Professor Mark Scott AO added:

“The panel’s recommendations will support beginning teachers to successfully transition into the profession and will make them more likely to stay in teaching. The recommendations will make a crucial contribution to addressing workforce shortages.”

Education Ministers have agreed in principle to all the report’s recommendations and will work on the following immediate steps:

  • Develop national practical teaching guidelines by the end of 2023.
  • Amend accreditation standards and procedures by the end of 2023.
  • Ensure core content is embedded in all ITE programs before the end of 2025.