Education leaders progress vital reforms for pre-service teachers

Education leaders from all states and territories are moving ahead with vital national reforms to improve the quality of graduate teachers, after a national summit in Canberra today.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) convened the successful summit to progress reforms arising from the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group’s (TEMAG’s) Action Now report, including strengthening school-university arrangements.

It comes just days after Education Council – whose members comprise all education ministers – announced AITSL’s new responsibilities to lead certain aspects of the initial teacher education (ITE) reform agenda with key partners.

AITSL CEO Lisa Rodgers said the organisation is committed to supporting the national reforms so Australian school students have a teacher that is classroom ready from day one.

“After last week’s Education Council decisions and today’s productive forum, I believe we are in a position to further strengthen the teacher education reforms,” Ms Rodgers said.

“As a collective, there is real momentum across universities, schools, teacher regulatory authorities; and all ministers, state and territory systems and sectors to reach the rigorous standards we all want teaching courses to meet.”

Education Council last week agreed to a series of amendments to the national accreditation standards for ITE programs, providing AITSL with greater scope to help key decision makers in each jurisdiction meet the standards.

Among them was for AITSL to lead a standard setting process, to establish what it means to meet the accreditation standards; and to lead benchmarking (in cooperation with all jurisdictional authorities) of the passing standard between different teaching performance assessments (TPAs).

Having strong quality assurance of teaching courses, and strong assessment of graduates, will give the community confidence that all teaching graduates are ready to begin their careers.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews delivered a keynote address at today’s forum. Ms Andrews was joined by leading representatives from the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE), pre-service teachers, mentor teachers, state and territory education departments, a teacher union, the Independent Schools Council of Australia, National Catholic Education Commission, state and territory regulatory authorities, and principals’ associations.

Ms Rodgers said it was encouraging to see so many leaders focussed on the opportunities for stronger school-university partnerships today and commited to strengthening their arrangements.

In 2016, 29,961 teaching students commenced an Australian ITE course. The aim of the TEMAG Forum is to facilitate interaction between key stakeholders and identify national priorities for partnerships.

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