Teacher Training Schools at Risk Without Commonwealth Support

Alphacrucis University College and the Australian Association of Teaching Schools

Tertiary institutions, educational peak bodies, teacher training schools and principals across Australia have released a joint statement highlighting the major risk facing teacher training programmes if the inequality in Government funding is not addressed.

The new teacher training programs, also known as Clinical Hub and Embedded models, flip the main university-centred model of teacher training and enables clusters of schools to select and clinically train their own teachers in partnership with a tertiary provider. Teacher trainees are then immersed in a local school, clinically trained, mentored, and supported throughout their initial teacher education degrees.

The President of the Australian Association of Teaching Schools, Associate Professor David Hastie, said that the 'Clinical Hub model' of teacher training provides significant benefits to the schools, students, and trainee teachers.

"Independent and faith-based higher education have, over the last six years, developed innovative clinical models of training that essentially solve the teacher supply crisis through locally-driven school partnerships."

"This highly successful and practical model has been picked up by over 100 schools nationally since its pilot in 2017 in the NSW Hunter region."

"And the results are clear that this approach to teacher training attracts higher ATAR applicants, better equips for classroom disruption, has an 85% retention rate, and provides secure teacher training pathways on country, for country."

"We are therefore declaring that the Government should immediately take the opportunity to increase or transfer CSPs to providers running these models across all sectors as a key lever in addressing teacher shortages."

The clinical teacher training programs include the Clinical Teacher Training Hubs, Embedded Practice Program, Teaching School Hubs Program and the Christian Initial Teacher Education Alliance (CITEA) Victoria. The teaching schools involved also include remote indigenous candidates (such as the CEWF Teaching School Hub and the NT Christian Schools Hub), and there is also a public school pilot run by the NSW Government .

However, there are only a small number of independent higher education providers running this model that receive ongoing allocation of CSPs for teacher training - with many receiving none at all. This is despite there being hundreds of unused CSP places currently allocated to public universities with struggling teacher training programs.

"Around $300 million is wasted each year on ineffective teacher training. This due to only about 40% of CSP supported teacher training students actually still teaching in schools 5 years on."

"In comparison, in some of our clinical teacher training models we have eager and regionally-based Indigenous trainee teachers being asked to pay $60,000 for their degree compared to inner-city university trainees, stuck in air-conditioned lecture theatres away from on-the-ground classroom experience, only paying around $15,000."

"We can't wait for a University Accord process if it is going to take years to actually fix this broken CSP system. By then this incredible and uniquely Australian model of teacher training will have collapsed under the lack of equitable Government support - exacerbating the teacher shortage crisis."

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