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Our Acting CEO’s End of Year Message

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

The end of the year brings a natural time for reflection, a chance to consider the milestones and moments that inspired us, as well as the challenges we’ve faced.

As we know, teacher workforce shortages continued to affect communities, persisting as one of the most discussed issues across Australia in 2023.

We were encouraged to see a continuing government focus on building and sustaining skilled teacher workforces to meet the education needs of every student – and we were pleased to have a voice in the national discussion, drawing on our 14 years of insight and experience.

This included contributing to consultation on the Commonwealth Teacher Education Expert Panel’s (TEEP) report and Australia’s new National Schools Reform Agreement.

While acknowledging that there is no silver bullet for systemic issues, we know our programs have had significant impact in 2023 – opening doors for aspiring teachers and leaders, and growing opportunities for young people in communities facing disadvantage.

We hold up Reconciliation as integral to TFA’s vision of educational equity for all Australian children, and we recognise that now more than ever we must remain steadfast in our commitment to a journey of learning and unlearning, truth-telling, reciprocity and action following the outcome of the Voice to Parliament Referendum in October.

Our newest teachers

This year we placed 170 new teachers into classrooms where they are most needed, through our flagship Leadership Development Program. These Associates work in low socioeconomic, rural, regional and remote communities.

Cohort 2023 has brought diverse perspectives from at least 46 different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and skills and expertise from 19 different industries. Almost two-thirds joined as career changers – bringing additional professional experience to their teaching role.

This year we also recruited our next cohort of the Leadership Development Program, receiving the highest number of self-identified First Nations applicants in TFA’s history.

Cohort 2024 are finishing their National Initial Intensive this week – where they have begun their Master of Teaching units and built foundational skills and knowledge before entering the teaching profession in Term 1 next year.

At the same time, our 2022 Cohort of the LDP and 2023 Cohort of the Future Leaders Program have graduated this month.

A heartfelt congratulations to all our newest Associates and Alumni – we can’t wait to witness the impact you will make on your students and the wider education system.

Expanding our impact

Teach For Australia’s 2023 Impact Report details the difference our programs have made since 2009: adding more than 1450 teachers to classrooms across the nation, reaching more than 540,000 students and supporting the leadership development of over 160 existing rural and regional educators.

We are proud that 88 per cent of all Alumni from our programs were working, teaching and leading across the education system in 2023.

This year alone, 13 TFA Alumni and Associates received prestigious recognition for their excellence, from industry bodies like the Australian Council for Educational Leaders to State Government teaching awards – a reflection of the high-calibre of candidates who undertake our program.

In a significant achievement, Cohort 2016 Alumnus Ameya Nagarkar was invited to speak from a classroom teacher’s perspective about the future of skills and work at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Meeting in New York City in September. Ameya is passionate about digital technologies, mathematics and physics and hopes to inspire his students “to be the best possible versions of themselves through these subjects”.

Student engagement and wellbeing, pedagogy and school culture are among the areas where our passionate Associates and Alumni contribute to school-level improvements according to a new research project released this year.

Valued network of support

To continue to innovate and grow our impact, we partnered with global ecommerce technology company Rokt this year to support talented STEM graduates who want to join our work for educational equity and teach in schools where the need is greatest.

We’ve been delighted to work with nearly two dozen new and returning philanthropy partners this year – with the Hansen Little Foundation leading the way as our new strategic partner. Their valued support, and that of all our supporters and donors, has helped deliver vital initiatives right across the country, making a real difference for students.

We are constantly overwhelmed by the generosity of our network and this year’s Giving Day was no exception, with Rokt matching every dollar donated.

Thank you to our supportive community and philanthropic partners for your generosity and commitment to educational equity for all young people.

TFA Board changes

In a significant milestone for the TFA Board, Patrick Forth was endorsed as the new Chair in December 2022 after founding member and long-serving Chair Larry Kamener stepped down. We are deeply grateful for Larry’s monumental contribution to TFA since 2009.

Dr Forth, a Senior Advisor at The Boston Consulting Group, has brought a wealth of experience to the Board during this important growth period for our organisation.

We were also delighted to welcome three new board members Edwina Dohle, Adam Ross and Olivia Brown in April. Their skillsets – paired with those of the existing board members – place TFA in strong stead to continue to tackle the issue of educational inequity.

We thank departing board member and Alumni representative Keita Matsumoto for his valuable contribution since coming onboard in 2020.

A final note

I’m pleased to be sharing this end of year message as Acting CEO while TFA’s Founder and CEO Melodie Potts Rosevear is on a well-deserved sabbatical – as part of the Social Impact Leadership Australia program – until February 2024.

To close, I would like to reiterate the high regard in which we hold the wide network of people who support TFA. Tackling educational inequity is complex and requires a collective effort – we can’t do it alone. We deeply value your partnership and belief in our vision: an Australia offering every child greater choice for their future.

From all of us at TFA, we wish you a safe and joyful holiday season and look forward to reconnecting in the new year.

Jane Phipps

Acting CEO

Teach For Australia

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