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Labor must act now to get more teachers into classrooms, 2 minute statements

As the Shadow Minister for Education I welcome the release of the Teacher Education Expert Panel Discussion Paper.

It’s an important part of a wider discussion of how we address the alarming decline in student outcomes despite record funding for the education system.

The Teacher Education Expert Panel was established to provide advice on key issues raised at the Teacher Workforce Shortage Roundtable last August and an earlier Report on the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review, released under the Coalition early in 2022.

The Panel will provide advice on four reform areas: 

  1. strengthen initial training education programs to deliver confident, effective, classroom ready graduates 
  2. strengthen the link between performance and funding of ITE programs 
  3. improve the quality of practical experience in teaching and
  4. improve postgraduate programs to attract mid-career entrants

It’s absolutely critical that Australian students are taught by the very best. 

One month ago today, in my first speech as the Shadow Minister, addressing Universities Australia, I highlighted the decline in enrolments for teaching courses, as well as the fact only 50 per cent of students who commence their Initial Teacher Education studies complete their degrees.

For those that do enter the classroom, around 50 per cent of them leave within the first five years of their careers.

This is not good enough.

We need to do everything we can to encourage mid career entrants into the teaching profession.  That’s why a one year dip ed, rather than a two year masters which means two years of lost income, is the best way to get more teachers into classrooms more quickly. 

These people have the life experience and they’re motivated and passionate.

It’s disappointing in this discussion paper that the Panel did not see a case for returning to a one year dip ed which arguably puts the interests of universities ahead of prospective teachers. 

We need to get on with making this change so we can get more teachers into the classrooms.

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