Australian Teacher Education Association

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Submitter information


Australian Teacher Education Association

Where are you located?


What type of area do you live in?


Are you an education professional?
(e.g. teacher, school leader, learning support assistant, teacher’s aide)


Which sector do you work in?

Higher Education (ITE)

What is your occupation?

Teacher educator

Elevating the profession

The actions proposed recognise the value teachers bring to students, communities and the economy.

Somewhat agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

1. ATEA believe the intent of a targeted campaign to elevate the profession has good intentions. ATEA recommends that any advertising campaigns should include different career stages and teachers working in various contexts including Early Childhood (missing from all priority areas) and VET. There were concerns that $10M may not be enough to capture the complexities and contexts outlined above. Concerns were raised about if this was the best use of monies, for example, funding could go to supporting initiatives such as transport/accommodations costs.
2. ATEA members provided feedback that the awards programs need to focus on how they elevate the profession and consider the breadth of aspects of the profession that require recognition e.g. teacher mentor award, school induction program. There were many questions around the criteria and how nominations would work. There were also questions around what happens after the award is presented? What impact do they have or how are opportunities generated for award winners?
3. Nominations for Medals of the Order of Australia already occur and could be repetition of current processes. ATEA recommends that equal opportunities are available and accessible to rural and remote communities and quiet achievers. Opportunities need to be developed to support skills and knowledge for nominators.
4. ATEA recommends that recent and peer reviewed literature is consulted in decision making related to HALTs. For example, QUT academics have produced a White Paper on streamlining HALT processes which includes the voices of already certified HALTs - - This paper provides recommendations for a more streamlined process that builds reflexive professionalism and eliminates barriers to HALT certification. ATEA recommends that these more streamlined approaches are adopted going forward and/or higher degree research recognised for the expertise it brings.

Improving teacher supply

The actions proposed will be effective in increasing the number of students entering ITE, number of students completing ITE and the number of teachers staying in and/or returning to the profession.

Somewhat agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

5. ATEA support more funding of CSPs and advocate for accurate demand data to inform allocations for the teaching workforce. These data need to be fine grained and include all providers and graduates. Funding needs to be supplied for ongoing monitoring of the success of targeted places to improve teacher supply.
6. ATEA agree with 5,000 bursaries at $40,000 to help attract our best and brightest to the teaching profession - BUT the assumption is that academic achievement equates to quality teaching which is not always the case. Bursaries should include students who live and study in regional and remote areas, intending to stay after graduation where teacher shortages can be critical.
7. While ATEA agree with 1,500 more places in the High Achieving Teachers program to encourage more professionals to switch careers to teaching, questions were asked if there is an evidence base to support this initiative. Concerns were raised by the members that this was an extension of "Teach for Australia". Concerns were also raised about how "High Achieving Teachers" will be identified? These pathways have been identified as cheap ways of getting a first degree. Is there any accountability for bursary/placement recipients to go into teaching?
8. ATEA agrees with trailing new ways of attracting and keeping teachers in the schools that need them most. ATEA recommends the need to offer incentives for ITE students to live and study in regional and remote universities (and attend professional experience in these communities). Funding for partnerships with hard to staff schools is also recommended.
9. ATEA recognises that improving teacher supply is not just about prioritising visas; it is about supporting teachers to orientate to Australia and its education systems. Culture shock/change needs to be recognised and the lack of support in regional and remote areas.
A general comment for this priority area is that a much stronger evidence base is needed about the effectiveness of these strategies and their long-term impact.

Strengthening Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

The actions proposed will ensure initial teacher education supports teacher supply and quality.

Somewhat disagree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

10. ATEA members raised questions about the evidence to support the claim that ITE needs strengthened. Many focus areas are already in play through enhanced accreditation processes implemented after TEMAG. For example, a recent ARC project about catering for diverse learners in ITE programs showed that teacher educators are performing well in this space. There were also challenges made about the completion rates for ITE courses, for example, some cohorts take longer to complete a course due to family and community commitments. It was also raised that if we need a variety of appropriately funded partnership models for different communities. Concerns were raised about fast tracking and early registration of pre-service teachers into the classroom.
11. ATEA supports recognition of prior learning and acknowledges that ACDE have already started work in this space. ATEA encourages the recognition of RPL for LANTITE.
12. ATEA commends initiatives that attract and retain diverse students, including students with disability, culturally diverse and First Nations people. ATEA recognises the complexity of inclusion. Logistical questions were raised about how this could be implemented into undergraduate/postgraduate courses (and how this might differ) and how this intersects with accreditation demands.
13. In relation to LANTITE, ATEA believes that this could act as a barrier to 12 above. Research from Melissa Barnes has demonstrated the limited need for LANTITE. To support this process, it would be beneficial if ACER provided feedback on student results/performance so that targeted support can be provided by ITE providers. If all pre-service teachers are to sit LANTITE in the first year, testing windows will need to be adjusted.

Maximising the time to teach

The actions proposed will improve retention and free up teachers to focus on teaching and collaboration.

Neither agree nor disagree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

14 - ATEA agrees with maximizing the time to teach but recommends that this should draw on existing work and emerging research to address logistical concerns across jurisdictions? AITSL have already done work on reducing red tape. It should be noted that there is already an ARC investigating teachers’ time use – see Thompson, Mockler, Hogan.

15. ATEA agrees with building on work already underway to reduce burden on teachers. A study by ACER showed that 30/40% of teachers’ workload in Victoria did not allow teachers to spend time on the work they wanted/needed to do. The review pointed out that schools should concentrate on trying to improve 3 to 4 areas per year but 9 was the reality. Workload reductions are supposed to have funding agreements by end of 2023, but all jurisdictions have not been proactive in reducing admin burden. And we know workload is a top reason for exodus from the profession.

16. Getting ACARA and/or AERO to help with implementing national curriculum changes is not something that ATEA supports. Curriculum making and creativity produce effective classroom experiences. Exemplars/resources are welcomed but teachers produce resources in context. It should be noted we should not be following what happens in the UK, as research that emerged from that model, deprofessionalised teachers and minimized their expertise.

17. ATEA agrees that a workload impact statement would be useful.

18. ATEA members raised concerns about getting other personnel to do teaching assistant work, for example pre-service teachers are in schools to learn their craft and should be exploited. It was also thought that under-prepared teachers entering the profession with no mentorship especially in difficult schools, is not the answer to teacher shortages. This is contrary to the classroom ready/profession ready discourse. Ideological questions were raised - What is the process for identifying what is not teacher work and who is best placed to do that work?

Better understanding future teacher workforce needs

How effective are the proposed actions in better understanding future teacher workforce needs, including the number of teachers required?

Slightly effective

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

19. ATEA generally agrees with developing and publishing nationally consistent teacher workforce projections based on consistent standards, disaggregated at a regional level and by subject specialisation, to enable a national understanding of teacher demand as long as this occurs with jurisdictions, sectors and unions. All data collections should not be a burden on schools.

20. ATEA generally agrees with developing and publishing nationally consistent ITE graduate supply data, including disaggregated by subject specialisation and participation in ITE at the regional level, to enable a national understanding of teacher supply as long as this occurs with jurisdictions, sectors, higher education providers and unions.

21. ATEA believes that we already have a National Quality Framework to guide Teacher Regulatory Authorities in teacher accreditation and to ensure nationally consistent standards for initial teacher education.
ATEA also believes that standardisation of ITE is problematic. There is always a need to contextualise. Standardisation sits in opposition to diversity, inclusivity and relational model of ITE.

22. ATEA believes that conditional or provisional registration to increase the supply of teachers using overseas teachers is a short-term solution. All teachers need to achieve the required standards for teaching in Australia and should be vetted for character in line with policy.

23. ATEA believes that information about why teachers leave the profession and what might enable them to stay will be useful. Brandenburg and Larsen have started to research on where teachers are leaving to and why.

Better career pathways to support and retain teachers in the profession

The proposed actions will improve career pathways, including through streamlining the process for Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALT) accreditation, and providing better professional support for teachers to retain them in the profession.

Somewhat agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

24. There was recognition that it’s not always career pathways that hinder retention of teachers. Many teachers engage in further studies which reinvigorates them including engaging with community, curriculum, well-being or leadership. This recognises the place of education in broader communities. ATEA asserts that it is essential that teachers are provided with time and space to conceptualise and research which strengthens their professionalism, teacher identities and connections to the broader agenda of education.

25. ATEA agrees with the development of guidelines but in consultation with the wider profession.

26. ATEA agrees but again must be achieved with the appropriate expertise.

27. ATEA agrees with guidelines for mentoring and induction. Concerns were raised about the following aspects of mentoring and induction.

• There is a high turnover of initiatives in this space. They are short-term and don't provide time to build trust and relationships between schools, universities, community and other support avenues. ATEA supports funding needs to support sustainable models that have longevity.

• Expand the promise of support for early career teachers beyond year 1 as attrition happens at the 3-5 year mark.

• A national approach to induction and mentoring was also a concern for the following reasons: the lack of representation of some states in the action plan, e.g. Tasmania. There needs to be acknowledgement of the tension between national and state, e.g. differences in engagement between universities and departments, state union differences in the financial support of partnerships.

• a national approach needs to be able to accommodate the differentiated needs of early career teachers, and the place and roles they occupy. ATEA members raised concerns that a national approach could result in technicist measurements of formal mentoring..

28. ATEA thinks that all types of professional development are important and a teacher’s choice and should not be confined to one option.