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Quality teaching key to achieving long-term target on student attainment

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Despite numerous reforms across the last twenty years and the efforts of a passionate and dedicated teaching workforce, Australia continues to see declining student outcomes in key areas of reading, writing and maths.

This is why Teach For Australia welcomes the aspirational long term student attainment target and commitment to a focus on teacher quality, curriculum and assessment announced this morning by Federal Minister for Education Alan Tudge.

The announcement provides an opportunity for the nation to have a bipartisan, concerted and coordinated approach to building a future-focused education system centred around children’s needs, and with quality teaching at its core.

“Australia is at a critical juncture for action to reverse the decline in student performance and the Minister’s plan, grounded in the Alice Springs Mparntwe Declaration, is an important step forward,” Teach For Australia CEO Melodie Potts Rosevear said.

“As well as the overall decline in PISA results, we must also address the sustained educational inequity gap that has persisted for too long, especially for First Nations children.

“The focus on quality and rigour in initial teacher education is central. The evidence is indisputable that great teachers make all the difference to students.

“We look forward to sharing the experiences and learnings Teach For Australia has gained in 12 years of designing and delivering programs aimed at recruiting top talent into the classrooms where they are most needed.

“We know from our experiences that the length of time sitting in university lecture halls before getting hands on in the classroom can discourage skilled people from following traditional teacher pathways later in life.

“In the 2021 Cohort for our Leadership Development Program, for example, 73% are career changers. They all have university degrees – 40% with advanced degrees – and work experience, demonstrating skilled professionals can be attracted to teaching through alternate pathways.

“In addition to attracting high quality people to the profession, Teach For Australia also knows it is vital that teachers are supported by quality leadership in schools once they start work.

“Teachers must be supported with ongoing professional development throughout their careers, and this is especially important for teachers who take on leadership roles at their schools.

“Teach For Austrlia’s work is grounded in our vision for an Australia where education gives every child, regardless of their background or the postcode where they live, greater choice for their future and we look forward to working with the Federal Government to help achieve these goals.

“While Teach For Australia had record applications last year and saw our largest ever cohort begin teaching this year, there is still significant unmet demand for high quality teachers, subject specialists and school leaders in the communities we serve.

“Quality teaching is fundamental to ensuring we equip children and young people for their future.

“Lifting the status of teaching as a profession of choice is essential whilst also making sure we recognise the thousands of teachers already in schools across the country working hard to arrest our declining results.

“In welcoming the reforms announced this morning Teach For Australia acknowledges the support we have received from successive governments at both a state and federal level as well as our many partner schools across the country.”

Teach For Australia media contact:

Deborah Cole   0409 252 217   deborah.cole@teachforaustralia.org 

 

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