Encouraging our best and brightest to become teachers

Funding to proactively recruit, train and place high-achieving graduates into teaching positions in understaffed schools has been announced.

The Federal Government is investing $7.89 million to encourage our best and brightest to pursue a career as a primary school teacher.

As part of the Government’s High Achieving Teachers (HAT) Program, the funding will be provided to La Trobe University to get more people, particularly mid-career workers, into primary teaching. This initiative is one part of the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan that Education Ministers agreed to last year.

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In delivering the program, La Trobe will place the program graduates into primary schools that need them most across Victoria and New South Wales. The pilot will deliver 105 primary school teacher places. These are the first of 1500 teacher places delivered through the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan. Participants will receive mentoring and support and will be paid for their practical teaching experience.

In announcing the program, Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said: “We don’t remember much about when we are little, but most of us remember our teachers’ names. That shows just how important our teachers are, and the impact they have on us. And we don’t have enough of them.

“This is the first program like this targeted at recruiting and training more primary school teachers.”

Dean of School of Education at La Trobe University, Professor Joanna Barbousas is optimistic about the new program. “Our current Nexus program has been an extraordinary success in preparing teachers for employment in schools across Victoria.

“Preparing teachers through evidence-informed approaches and gaining hands-on classroom experiences, will set them up to make a difference in regional, rural and hard to staff schools”.

Commencing in 2020, the High Achieving Teachers Program offers two alternative, employment-based pathways into teaching for high achieving individuals, committed to pursuing a career as a teacher. Teach For Australia and La Trobe University have been contracted by the Government to deliver the two pathways. Both providers, the Government said, were selected following an open and competitive tender process conducted in 2018.

Each pathway proactively recruits and selects high achieving university graduates with the skills, abilities, knowledge and experience needed in schools. Program participants are placed in teaching positions in Australian schools experiencing teacher shortages. Working in schools, program participants receive a high degree of training and support while they complete an Australian accredited teaching qualification, positioning them to develop into high quality teachers.

Recruitment will commence later this year with the first lot of primary school teachers placed into schools in April 2024.

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