Teaching and School Leadership

An effective classroom teacher is critical to the future of young Australians. Research shows that teachers have the greatest in-school influence on student engagement and achievement. School leadership is second.

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 the teaching profession.

Following the 2015 release of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) report, Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers, significant progress has been made carrying out the Australian Government response to the report. This includes the introduction of 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 have linked the Teacher Standards to registration, with some referencing the Teacher Standards in the professional learning requirements for teachers, and others linking salary to the certification of teachers at the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALT) levels.

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. As part of the Australian Government's commitment to support school leaders throughout their careers, AITSL has been asked to develop a national school leadership development framework. This framework will provide national consistency in getting new principals ready for the job and through a new national pre-appointment principal certification process.

The Government also undertakes policy development and investigation of flexible pathways into teaching as a way to address teacher shortages and areas of need. The Government currently supports the Teach for Australia program which provides an employment-based pathway into teaching.

Research

While some School Teacher Workforce Data Reports are available, the TEMAG report recommends better data collection at the national level. Work is underway on a nationwide collection of data to assist with workforce planning and to improve the collective understanding of the teacher workforce.

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 research—Teacher Effectiveness Systems, Frameworks and Measures: A Review—from the University of Melbourne to look at current Australian and international approaches to teacher evaluation.