Initial teacher education review launched

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge has today launched a review of initial teacher education, a key element of the government’s ambition to lift Australian school standards.

Last month, the Minister outlined a new target to return Australia to the top group of education nations globally by 2030, noting that our school standards have steadily slipped over the last two decades.

The review of initial teacher education courses is the most critical element towards lifting standards, noting that the quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor influencing student achievement.

The review will address two key questions: how to attract and select high-quality candidates into the teaching profession, and how to prepare them to become effective teachers.

Since 2006, the number of top students chosing to study education has declined by a third, and many teachers are still graduating from their courses insufficiently prepared to teach in a classroom.

The review will be conducted by a panel chaired by former Department of Education and Training Secretary Lisa Paul AO PSM, supported by:

  • Malcolm Elliott – President of the Australian Primary Principals Association
  • Derek Scott – 2019 Australian School Principal of the Year
  • Bill Louden AM – Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Western Australia

The first public discussion paper will be released by June, followed by a period of public consultation. The review will be completed in six months.

Minister Tudge said Australia’s teachers are some of the most dedicated and hard-working in the world and the review would help grow and support the workforce.

“Particularly over the last year, we have seen how important our teachers are to Australian kids and we want to provide them with the best platform to produce better student outcomes,” Minister Tudge said.

“We used to consistently be in the top group of education nations and I am confident we can get there again.

“The recommendations of this review will help ensure we attract high-quality, motivated candidates into teaching and develop them into teachers with the skills our students need.

“We want the finest students choosing to be teachers and we also want to make it easier for accomplished mid- and late-career individuals to transition into the profession, bringing their extensive skills and knowledge into our school classrooms.

The review builds on the reforms the government has already made to improve ITE, including assessing and accrediting ITE courses and testing graduates’ literacy and numeracy before they can enter a classroom to teach.


Review panel biographies:

Lisa Paul AO PSM:

Lisa Paul served as the Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Education from 2004 until 2016. In December 2016, Ms Paul was appointed a member of the Australian Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board and has been the Chair of Headspace since 2018. In 2003, Ms Paul was awarded a Public Service Medal for her work as Chair of the Commonwealth Bali Interagency Taskforce following the 2002 Bali bombings and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011 for distinguished service to public sector leadership.

Bill Louden AM:

Bill Louden AM is an Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Western Australia. He has led a number of government reviews and inquiries including an investigation of high performing primary schools for the Western Australian Government and two reviews of the NAPLAN assessment program. He has served as chair and board member of state and national statutory authorities responsible for curriculum, assessment and professional standards, and is also chair of the Kimberley Schools Project, a multi-sector school improvement initiative.

Malcolm Elliott:

Malcolm Elliot is the current President of the Australian Primary Principals Association and has also served as president of the Tasmanian Principals Association since January 2015. He has a distinguished 40-year teaching career from Kindergarten to Year 10 in both rural and urban schools. He has been the principal of two high schools and was Coordinating Principal in the Glenorchy Cluster of Schools in Tasmania (10 primary and 3 high schools).

Derek Scott:

Derek Scott is the current Principal of Haileybury College. Haileybury was 2018 Australian School of the Year and is the largest independent school in Australia with more than 4500 students across four campuses in Melbourne, as well as campuses in Darwin and China. Mr Scott has worked on curriculum development for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. He was named the Australian School Principal of the Year and School Principal of the Year – Non-government at the 2019 Australian Education Awards.


Terms of Reference:

Teachers and school leaders are the largest in-school influence on student outcomes.

With the development of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers; the Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures; and reforms arising from recommendations made by the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group, the last decade has been a time of significant positive reform in initial

teacher education (ITE).

A key goal of the reforms to ITE has been to ensure that graduate teachers start their teaching career with the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions to be successful teachers in any Australian school.

This review will build on the significant progress to date and inform the next evolution of reforms to continue to improve our capacity to attract high-quality candidates into teaching and equip them to become highly effective teachers.

The Review will consider the following questions and other important matters that may arise during the Expert Panel’s deliberations.

PART A – Attracting and selecting high-quality candidates into the teaching profession

1. How can we further encourage high performing and highly motivated school leavers to enter ITE and choose teaching as a career?

2. What changes to admissions and degree requirements, including recognition of prior experience, would better attract and support suitable mid- and late-career professionals from other fields transition into the profession and become quality teachers?

3. How can we increase ITE completion rates so that quality ITE students graduate and pursue careers as quality teachers?

4. What more can be done to address issues with workforce supply in some subject areas (particularly mathematics) and schools?

5. How can we attract a more diverse cohort into ITE so that teachers better mirror the diversity in school students and society?

PART B – Preparing ITE students to be effective teachers

6. What more can we do to ensure that ITE curriculum is evidence based and all future teachers are equipped to implement evidence-based teaching practices?

7. What more can ITE providers and employers do to ensure ITE students are getting the practical experience they need before they start their teaching careers?

8. How can Teaching Performance Assessment arrangements be strengthened to ensure graduate teachers are well-prepared for the classroom?

9. How can leading teachers, principals and schools play a greater role in supporting the development of ITE students?

10. Can ITE providers play a stronger role in ongoing professional development and support of teachers

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