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Albanese Government must act urgently on growing teacher crisis

The Albanese Government and Education Minister Jason Clare must act urgently to combat the growing teacher shortage crisis across the country, particularly in regional Australia.

A new report from the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) has highlighted a raft of teacher training and retention failures which have contributed to a severe shortage of teachers in the classroom.

As reported in the Herald Sun this morning, the Australian Education Union says there has been a 90 per cent increase in teacher vacancies this year – with schools desperately trying to recruit 1,244 teachers, 394 support staff and 237 leadership positions.

As the CIS report has confirmed, the lack of quality initial teacher education is contributing to the high drop-out rates at university as well as teacher workforce shortages and burnout.

“As the CIS has found, it is a national embarrassment that Australian teacher education is a decade behind other countries,” Senator Henderson said.

“Teacher shortages have dramatically escalated on Education Minister Jason Clare’s watch.  Australian parents deserve a tough operator who can fix the big problems in our schools, not a smooth talker who doesn’t have the ticker to get things done,” Senator Henderson said.

“Why is Mr Clare failing to take the urgent action required to get teachers into the classroom right now? Where are the incentives and support required?”

The Albanese Government was handed a ready-made report by the Coalition with the 2022 Quality Initial Teacher Education Review (QITE Review), yet wasted another 12 months producing an almost exact replica with their Strong Beginnings report.

When in government, the Coalition implemented a number of important teacher reforms including:

  • • reforming accreditation standards to ensure every teaching degree included phonics content and evidence-based practices;
  • • implementing the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education to ensure every graduate has minimum literacy and numeracy skills;
  • • investing in more than 400 places for Teach for Australia to deliver more mid-career professionals with high levels of expertise into Australian classrooms; and
  • • providing HECS debt relief for teachers who teach in regional and remote Australia.

“Teachers must be celebrated every day for the work they do, and given every chance to succeed. Universities which fall short of producing the best-qualified teachers are contributing to half of all teachers leaving the profession after five years, and an unacceptable decline in student outcomes,” Senator Henderson said.

“It is no wonder that one in five Year 7 students have the reading ability of a Grade 4 student.  Many teachers are not getting the evidence-based training and support they need to excel in the classroom. Students are being set up to fail and I am just so angry that young Australians are being let down by what can only be described as a failing education system,” Senator Henderson said.

“It is beyond a joke that so many students are falling through the cracks.”

“There must be immediate consequences for arrogant universities which fail student teachers. If universities aren’t prepared to meet the grade on the teaching degrees they offer, they should not continue to be funded or permitted to offer teaching courses,” Senator Henderson said.

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