New South Wales Council of Deans of Education

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Submitter information


New South Wales Council of Deans of Education

Where are you located?

New South Wales

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?

Initial Teacher Education

What is your occupation?

Deans of Education in Initial Teacher Education programs

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?

NSWCDE agrees with the need to raise the status of the profession. However, we offer the following points of feedback for consideration to nuance the approach taken, given professional reputations are influenced by a variety of factors:

1. We need to change the language to recognise teachers’ expertise. Teaching is an intellectual pursuit driven by experts in subject areas and pedagogy (both areas of expertise are required). We need to sharpen the terminology surrounding teaching to elevate the profile of the profession as a field of experts. Teachers are professionals who adhere to ethical standards and are highly skilled and knowledgeable as a result of education, research, and practical training. We need to use the discourse of ‘professional’ to support the public recognition of teachers’ expertise.

2. We cannot make individualistic rewards the norm. Recognition and status are different things, and we need to elevate the status of the profession, not just recognise the merit of individual teachers. Valuing a profession means that attention needs to be paid to factors including the qualifications and skills needed to be successful and build a career, cultural expectations of the profession, wage and non-wage benefits and satisfaction. Individual awards do not support these needs.

3. We must consider the fact that the pay and working conditions of teachers are directly related to the status of the profession. This plan does not directly address these issues. To be effective we need to acknowledge the necessity of these properties for elevating the status of the profession.

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.

Strongly agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

NSWCDE agrees that we need to improve the supply of teachers. However, we suggest revisions to the organisation of this part of the plan for the following reasons:

1. The action items listed in #5 need to be distinguished separately as they require different approaches. We require clarity about the different workforces and their individual requirements: early childhood, primary and secondary.

2. The description of ‘the right subjects and specialisations’ needs revision as there is a shortage across the sector in all discipline areas. This language also limits future procurement models as the sector changes and demand in specialisations shift.

3. We raise some concerns in relation to this objective potentially narrowing the market of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers. We need to maintain a robust pool of ITE providers to achieve many of the other objectives outlined in this report (raising the status of the profession, improving ITE, etc). The introduction of new models may dilute this and drive competition in the sector, promoting quantity over quality. Maintaining quality in ITE is a priority and we need a diversity of providers and program offerings to do so.

4. The council requests clarification around the language of ‘sub-bachelor’ courses (#5). We are unsure of whether or not this refers to CSPs for pathways into teaching, given primary and secondary teaching qualifications require a Bachelor degree. There is a difference between a primary/secondary degree and early childhood that needs to be distinguished here.

5. We need high-quality data that is accurate to inform prioritisation (#5). There have been instances in the past where inaccurate data has fueled myths about ITE. Transparency about data is a high priority.

6. The council supports the introduction of bursaries (#6) however, we need to make sure we attract diverse students and consider the purpose of the bursary. Language around ‘best and brightest’ needs nuancing. Language to be considered could be ‘quality candidates’, etc.

Strengthening Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

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

Somewhat agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

NSWCDE welcomes the suggestions of the Teacher Education Expert Panel, but wants to highlight the following points in response to the proposed actions:

1. ITE should be trusted. The sector has made landmark changes to ITE programs in response to the TEMAG review and these changes have not yet seen full cohorts graduating under all new requirements. Australian education researchers are world-leading experts in their fields and make exceptional contributions to the ITE programs in which they work.

2. The continual criticism of ITE parallels that of teachers in the field and is equally damaging to the status of teaching.

3. We need a nuanced approach to the description of ‘quality’ that is guided by good-quality data that is accurate, transparent and valid.

4. The Council would welcome a strengthening of the professional experience placement system. Placements are allocated in ad hoc ways, many schools do not take teacher education students and teachers are not necessarily equipped or resourced to supervise novice teachers. This is an essential part of teacher preparation and unless we get it right, all other changes or initiatives will falter.

5. The council supports the recognition of prior work and skills.

6. The council strongly supports the need for more First Nations peoples to join the profession and the requirement to consult with the community.

7. The council recognises that teacher expertise continues to develop across a career. Strong preparation in ITE must be matched by equally high-quality professional learning opportunities later to enable continual growth.

Maximising the time to teach

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

Strongly agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

NSWCDE strongly agrees with the need for teachers’ workloads to be reduced in areas unrelated to teaching. The council strongly supports action #18 in particular, where ITE students in the early stages of their degree can offer support as para-professionals. This point would work to achieve some of the actions outlined in Priority Area 3 (strengthening ITE) as early exposure to classroom and school culture is integral to student-teacher learning (Priority Area 2, improving teacher supply). NSWCDE is of the opinion that supplying teachers with ITE student support at the school and classroom level is a robust and innovative solution to many of the objectives in this action plan.

The Council recommends that regional and rural communities be consulted about employing teacher education students as paraprofessionals as we also need to consider the complexities around employment for locals in those communities.

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?

Moderately effective

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

NSWCDE agrees that we need better data to understand workforce needs. However, we suggest this point be clarified further, especially in relation to action #20. The council is uncertain of what ‘publish nationally consistent ITE graduate supply data’ includes. Further, the council suggests the establishment of an independent/objective committee to handle data collection and reporting, and for a series of data protocols to be confirmed.

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?

NSWCDE supports the need for professional learning across the professional life of the teacher. We suggest more time for high-quality professional learning for teachers and more opportunities for mentoring. However, we do not support the introduction of performance pay and warn against this approach as it does not have enough evidence to support its effectiveness. To stem attrition, conditions must be improved for all teachers in the workforce. We suggest retention be considered a separate priority to supply, as retention is equally complex. We also need to ensure that career pathways are underpinned by attention to a number of things such as career maps/exploration; career education/professional learning. We suggest this priority is revised to unpack each area: retention, supply, and pathways.