Education leaders from across Australia met last week to discuss their continued commitment to strengthening initial teacher education (ITE), which will lead to higher quality, classroom-ready graduates.
Coinciding with the event was the release of the TEMAG Report Card. The report card shows strong progress in implementation and clear opportunities to progress the ITE reforms.
The TEMAG Forum held at Parliament House in Canberra – convened by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) – brought together some of the most influential decision makers and stakeholders who shape ITE in Australia, including universities, teacher regulators, teacher employers, principals, parent groups and government representatives.
“Universities are opening the door to work with regulators and schools to provide the very best in teacher education and to lead contemporary practice. The more universities connect with schools, the more their graduates will be classroom-ready,” AITSL CEO Lisa Rodgers said.
“Teachers deserve the very best preparation so that they can be successful from their first day in the classroom,” Ms Rodgers said.
Speaking from Parliament House, Ms Rodgers added, “We saw a stunning example today of what can be achieved when education leaders work constructively and collaboratively, with a shared commitment to lifting the bar on quality teaching.”
The Government response to the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) report of 2015 committed all states and territories to a reform agenda to better prepare graduate teachers and ensure their ‘classroom-readiness’.
Ms Rodgers said: “We can only achieve ambitious reform in education policy through sustained effort, commitment and collaboration – teachers and principals must be a part of this – and this forum showed dedication to achieving that.”
In his opening remarks, federal education minister, Simon Birmingham, said, “the challenges Australia faces in an increasingly competitive world are very real and the quality of our education and training system is essential to equip us to meet those challenges”.
The minister urged that “teacher quality is a critical consideration, a primary consideration”.
“The most important in-school factor in driving student performance, as you all appreciate. And that of course is why in 2014 we established TEMAG to seek practical advice about how beginning teachers can be prepared with the right mix of academic and practical skills needed for classroom success.”
He went on to say that in order to achieve teacher quality, teachers must have “the skills and confidence to succeed in the classroom”.
“They deserve that as much as the students who they are going to teach, because that would give them the confidence to succeed.”
“I’m pleased that all states and territories are endeavouring to have all Initial Teacher Educations (ITE) programs submitted for accreditation against the strengthened accreditation standards by the end of 2017.
“This should mean – it must mean – that from next year ideally every student commencing initial teacher education training will benefit from a program that has been accredited under the new standards.”
Acknowledging that with more than 100 previous reviews of teacher education, “none of us want[s] another review,” confirmed Minister Birmingham.
The minister thanked the attending professionals for their assistance. “I’m incredibly reliant upon the people in this room for your expertise, your skills, knowledge and commitment, as are my state and territory colleagues, but more importantly, as are next generations of teachers and students,” he said.
“It’s a big task, a daunting task in some ways, but I thank you all for your commitment, your effort, your work, and I really look forward to hearing the outcomes from today that will help us to build on what is already a really strong framework legacy of implementation. Thanks so very much.”