Victoria to raise the ATAR bar for teachers

All Victorian teachers will be among the top 30 percent in the state, according to announced changes to tertiary admissions, ensuring that teacher education and training in Victoria will be overhauled, and outcomes improved.  

The government intends to ‘make sure we have the best teachers in the country so every Victorian student can reach their potential’. The launch of the Excellence in Teacher Education reforms are tipped to attract and develop the best and brightest teachers to Victoria. 

Minister for education, James Merlino said, “we’re making Victoria ‘the education state’ so that every student has access to a great school and the best opportunities in life – that includes making sure we have the best teachers.“

These landmark reforms will raise the quality of teaching and status of the profession, create high quality pathways into teaching, improve the quality of teaching courses, and develop excellence in early career teachers by:

  • Introducing a minimum Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for year 12 entry into undergraduate teaching courses to 70 from 2019 – starting at 65 in 2018 and being phased up
  • Making it compulsory for universities to base entry into teaching courses on both academic performance and personal attributes suitable for teaching, with a new framework to be introduced in 2018
  • Developing a new vocational education and training accredited course as a stepping stone into an undergraduate teaching course for people changing careers or with a lower ATAR, beginning in 2018
  • Improving existing diploma and certificate courses that provide entry into undergraduate teaching courses
  • Providing 60 scholarships a year for students from regional areas or disadvantaged backgrounds to study teaching at Victorian universities from 2018
  • Establishing a new rural Teaching Academy of Professional Practice in Gippsland to improve teaching quality by giving student teachers in regional areas hands-on professional development
  • Expanding employment-based pathways into teaching to attract a more diverse range of high quality candidates
  • Improving induction and mentoring programs for graduate teachers in government schools

“These reforms are about putting people first by making sure our teaching courses are the best in the country and attract the highest quality students”, the minister clarified. The departmental communications indicated that ‘higher standards for people changing careers or entering a teaching degree from a bridging program, such as a diploma or certificate, will help Victoria attract and develop the best teachers’. 

Suzy Barry

Suzy Barry is a freelance education writer and the former editor of School News, Australia.

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