Teaching and School Leadership

Effective classroom teaching is critical to the future of young Australians. Research shows that teachers and school leaders have the greatest  influence on student engagement and achievement in schools. 

The Australian Government appreciates the complex role of the teaching profession and the significant responsibility teachers have in preparing children to lead successful and productive lives. Along with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), the Government is committed to improving the quality and status of teaching.

Significant progress has been made on implementing the Government 's response to the recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group report, Action Now – Classroom Ready Teachers. This includes the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students.

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the teacher standards) and the Australian Professional Standard for Principals (the principal standard) have also been important milestones in defining what quality means in the profession.

All states and territories now require teachers to meet teacher standards to be able to register, with some referencing the teacher standards in the professional learning requirements for teachers, and linking salary to different stages of the standards certification of teachers at the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher.

The Government supports alternative pathways through the High Achieving Teachers Program. Alternative pathways broaden the entry points into teaching and can help spread quality teachers across the system by placing them in schools that need them most. 

Commencing in 2020, Teach For Australia and La Trobe University will deliver the two alternative pathways under the High Achieving Teachers Program, recruiting and selecting high achieving university graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience that schools need. Program participants will be placed in teaching positions in Australian secondary schools experiencing teacher workforce shortages.

School leadership

School leaders are working in increasingly complex and challenging environments. The role of the school principal has changed significantly over the past 20 years. 

The Government recognises that high quality school leadership has a substantial impact on student outcomes and is committed to supporting leaders in our schools. This includes continued work through AITSL to deliver tools and resources including the Australian Professional Standard for Principals, Leadership Profiles and Leading for Impact guidelines for leadership development. 

The Government is also providing up to $15 million to Teach For Australia to help address shortages in specialist teachers and high quality school leaders in rural, regional and disadvantaged schools across Australia.

This funding will enable Teach For Australia to extend their delivery of the High Achieving Teachers Program for an additional year in 2022 as well as develop and deliver a new ‘Future Leaders Program’ aimed at supporting high performing teachers in regional and rural  primary and secondary schools to transition to positions of school leadership.

Together, these programs are developing a pipeline for quality teachers and school leaders and will strengthen teaching and school leadership where it is needed the most.

New Future Leaders Program

The Government is investing in building the school leadership pipeline in regional and rural Australian schools by funding Teach For Australia to pilot the new Future Leaders Program. 

Under the pilot Program, high achieving teachers in regional and rural  schools will be encouraged to aspire to leadership roles and provided with the training, mentoring and support they need to take on these roles. 

Giving  high performing teachers the opportunity and support to develop their leadership skills will help keep quality teachers working in regional and rural  schools and boost the pool of potential school leaders where they are needed the most

The Government is working in collaboration with key stakeholders to develop and implement the new Future Leaders Program. 

The Future Leaders Program pilot will commence in 2021.

Further details about the new program will be available late 2020.


To address teacher shortages and areas of need, the Australian Government also undertakes research and develops policy.

While some teacher workforce data is available, the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group report recommended better data collection at the national level. The Australian Teacher Workforce Data  (ATWD) collection will provide the first ever national, whole-of-life picture of the teacher workforce, from those entering initial teacher education through to retirement.

It is increasingly important to improve our understanding of the impact teachers can have on student outcomes and how they can use this information to improve their teaching. The Government commissioned two pieces of research — Teacher Effectiveness Systems, Frameworks and Measures: A Review, and Investigating the Key Characteristics of Effective Teachers: A Systematic Review — and the Teaching Practice Evaluation Framework to build understanding of approaches to teacher evaluation.