Charles Darwin University

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Submission received

Submitter information


Charles Darwin University

Where are you located?

Northern Territory

What type of area do you live in?

Regional or rural

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


Which sector do you work in?

Tertiary education

What is your occupation?

Dean, College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts

Elevating the profession

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

Strongly agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

CDU supports the provision of bursaries that would target the people who have a long-term commitment to working in classrooms as a teacher, working in areas of high demand - regional, remote schools and those with low SES and highly diverse profiles. The bursaries assessment process needs to acknowledge that the best teachers may not come from the best schools or have the best academic track records, they may be mature age, Indigenous or living in the communities they would serve. They may have relevant experience, VET qualifications and knowledge through community or work engagement and be effective communicators. Bursaries can be constructed to support flexibility as many of the teachers who will be effective in complex and highly disadvantaged areas may need to manage some complexity in their lives while studying, for example to competing pressures of being first in family to study, family caring duties, work and financial commitments. At CDU and in the NT, investment in these students has resulted in long term benefits for students, schools and the education system. The bursaries can be used to fast-track people with commensurate or highly sought-after qualifications and experience into teacher education - this should include working with complex needs, diversity as well as areas of discipline need. The program could be improved by integration with relevant graduate and teacher entry programs at state level to improve retention. The attraction of students from diverse backgrounds could be improved through partnership with local education, TAFE and university level institutions who can promote the pathways, additional support and engagement to reach and encourage communities that have been disengaged from federal programs for example regional and remote people. Placements are often the most difficult challenge for mature age students due to the loss of income. There could be value in exploring ways to manage bursaries to provide additional or concentrated support over these periods. It would be valuable to consider the interaction between bursaries and paid internships for final year students to reduce any disincentive to participation.

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?

CDU supports the NT’s ambition to train and recruit First Nations teachers and Assistant Teachers to more closely reflect the student population. This ambition is as important as prioritising teachers to teach in specialist areas, such as Mathematics. Research shows that First Nations students perform better under the guidance of First Nations teachers. First Nations teachers have an ongoing commitment to their communities and are highly valued leaders because of their deep knowledge of local languages and context.

CDU would like to see a stronger emphasis on pathways into teaching, including through lifelong, connected learning and recognition of long-term experience in schools. The NT’s Remote Aboriginal Teacher Education (RATE) Program is an example of an integrated approach to training Teacher Assistants and Teachers. RATE is a NT Government commitment to support capacity building of First Nations educators in remote NT education settings at every step of their careers, while creating opportunities for those who aspire to become qualified teachers. RATE delivers a targeted suite of professional development opportunities, including initial teacher education (ITE) courses, Vocational Education and Training (VET) and non‐accredited training.

CDU supports use of TPAs to recognise and accredit the leadership and proficiency of Indigenous teaching staff linked to professional accreditation and appropriate payment. This would better reflect the roles and competencies that make a difference to Indigenous and Australian learners than LANTITE and provide a mechanism to demonstr competence over time.

The outcome of this initiative aims to provide schools with more options to recruit locally. In NT First Nations communities, teachers and assistant teachers learn, plan, teach and assess together as a teaching team. This approach must be culturally responsive and pedagogically strong to ensure that relevant local knowledge is linked with the curriculum and informs pedagogy. Classroom teachers in these contexts are required to gain an understanding of First Nations ways of being, knowing and doing and to incorporate these into their teaching practices.

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?

LANTITE can be a barrier for some First Nations pre-service teachers, particularly those for whom English is not their first language. There have been examples of First Nations teachers who have completed an ITE degree, but have been unable to graduate because they did not pass the test. In the NT, there is great value in teachers who speak First Nations languages as they support the teaching of English to our first language speaking students. As an alternative, Teacher Performance Assessments (TPA’s) could be adjusted to include a component of literacy and numeracy testing, which would be better suited for a culturally diverse cohort. First Nations educators with cultural and linguistic skills in local languages are invaluable to supporting Aboriginal students to access the curriculum.

ITE course content needs to be evidence based and develop the skills for highly adaptive critical thinkers who can identify the most appropriate teaching strategies for the students and schools they work with. Teachers need to be able to build learning communities that critically examine evidence, lead through innovation and adaptation in different school situations and develop approaches that work across the year levels in their schools. Teachers need access to expertise to mentor their engagement with effective teaching and assessment strategies, lead critique and innovation and be recognised for their work through qualification and programs such as the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teach (HALT) Network. Universities can support teachers through a partners approach to post graduate education that examines, documents and shares evidence based approaches that work for schools in their jurisdiction. For example, a specialisation in teaching reading effectively in regions with high linguistic diversity or engaging students in reading programs who have multiple and significant challenges to contend with. A modest investment in communities of practice lead by teachers and specialists addressing a common challenge or opportunity could provide insight and improved use of effective programs or tools in schools nationally. Teachers' voices can change others for the long term.

Maximising the time to teach

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

Somewhat agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

Teachers' effectiveness and retention will be positively by affected by the proposals to improve workload models, use of technology and increased flexibility. The increasing administrative burden on teachers requires urgent attention. By building the critical and leadership capacity of teachers, improving the trust in Australian teachers and schools to achieve the best for students, the focus of administration can shift to educational outcomes. this can be achieved by
streamlining reporting, a shift to reporting by exception where appropriate and a commitment to matching any administrative addition with a similar reduction in workload.

The development of banks of well designed and easily (or intuitively) adaptable teaching resources will assist teachers to focus on the needs of their students.

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?

Extremely effective

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

CDU supports place-based workforce planning that can inform teacher supply. This planning needs to consider not only why teachers leave the profession but the impact of leaving a teaching in a regional or rural area. CDU has undertaken ongoing research to understand why people stay or leave regional areas like the Northern Territory that identify the complex interactions of the reasons people move. There may be opportunities to provide pathways that reduce the pressures that result in moving and could improve retention in a region or improve transition within the profession.

There is an opportunity to examine the profiles of teachers of the future. As future generations of teachers may have different expectations, career trajectories or approaches to work, the workforce planning and assumptions will need to change. Similarly those in the retirement bracket may be interested in different types of roles in schools that can improve teachers' workloads and students' outcomes. Developing an understanding of the ways the workforce changes that have been experienced will impact on the teaching profession will be important for ITE planning and accreditation systems as well.

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.

Strongly agree

Would you like to provide feedback about these actions?

CDU supports models of provisional authority to teach with appropriate levels of support to ITE student in their final year. They need to be supported as learners who need dedicated mentoring and support to ensure they are successful and are retained in the teaching profession. There is also a need to improve ways to provide long term authority to teach to teachers who are essential in high needs classrooms but have a different set of key skills and experience. In the Northern Territory, First Nations teachers are essential to the success of First Nations schools. Recognition of their long term role in school success needs to be reflected in appropriate, accessible and multiyear authority to teach and professional develop systems. In these schools, everyone has something to learn and everything has something to teach. It is through a partnership that recognises this diversity that students can participate in a stable learning environment that provides highly impactful experiences.

HALT is a valuable program that has the capacity to improve retention and build leadership from within. Recognition of HALT within tertiary degree programs as part of a professional development journey can be a way to improve cross sectoral connections and recognition of expertise.