The Australian Government will provide an additional $16.9 million over four years to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to improve initial teacher education and to ensure teacher graduates are ‘classroom ready’.
Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said the funding would equip AITSL to implement the recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) report, starting with the first recommendation of supporting the Government to implement a literacy and numeracy test for initial teacher education students from 2015.
“It’s not possible to provide young Australians with a first-rate education without first-rate teachers,” Mr Pyne said.
“The investment I announce today shows we are serious when it comes to ensuring young Australians get the best education available by making sure our teachers are better trained.”
Through the funding, AITSL will be able to respond to the TEMAG report by:
- for the first time having universities provide transparent statements of student selection systems including detailing their bonuses and real ATAR cut-offs
- overhauling the in-class practical element of teaching degrees with a focus on how to teach reading, writing and phonics
- robust assessment of graduates to ensure they are classroom ready with a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate their skills
- introducing a specialisation for primary school teachers with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and languages
- better national workforce planning and research as to teacher skills versus the changing needs of schools and students.
“AITSL will use the extra funding to strengthen what teaching students learn and to develop instructions that make clear what universities must do to gain course accreditation in this new rigorous regime,” Mr Pyne said.
“This will include how each course should be designed and how this ensures that teachers gain the skills they need.
“To gain full course accreditation universities will need to show that their graduates are classroom ready, demonstrate how their graduates are having a positive impact on student learning, and that employers are satisfied with the graduates they produce.
“AITSL will also work with state accreditation panels to improve their assessment of courses. This will include making sure that the panels have the skills and knowledge required to make these assessments.”
Mr Pyne said the extra funding will enable AITSL to seek better quality information from teacher training institutions so that a more accurate assessment of course quality, and therefore graduate readiness to teach, can be made.
“AITSL will also be instructed to monitor and revise accreditation arrangements on an ongoing basis to make sure the stronger quality assurance actually impacts on the classroom readiness of graduates,” Mr Pyne said.