Teach For Australia (TFA) will partner with the New South Wales Government for the first time to help bring additional teachers to classrooms across the state where workforce needs are highest.
CEO Melodie Potts Rosevear has welcomed today’s announcement from Premier Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell that the State Government will partner with TFA for a teaching pathway pilot in NSW public schools from 2024.
Commissioned by the NSW Government and guided by NSW education stakeholders, TFA has developed a bespoke model that will help support workforce needs of NSW public secondary schools. It leverages TFA’s proven expertise in recruiting and supporting people to be high-quality teachers and school leaders.
“Students and schools across Australia need more great teachers and we’re really pleased to expand Teach For Australia’s quality programs to schools here in New South Wales,” CEO Melodie Potts Rosevear said.
“We’ve listened closely to the NSW education community and we look forward to working with schools, principals, the Department of Education and others to deliver a program that is evidence-based, stakeholder-informed and deeply connected to NSW.”
Under the NSW pilot, TFA will selectively recruit eligible high-calibre career changers and graduates from other disciplines to teach in NSW. TFA will provide participants with upfront specialised training and ongoing professional development while they work in NSW public schools and complete a two-year Master of Teaching with TFA’s tertiary partner, Australian Catholic University.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said Teach for Australia, which has a successful track record in other states, has created a unique model for NSW public schools.
“The modern workforce has changed but pathways into the teaching profession have become more siloed, with students spending most of their time at university and unable to earn an income until they complete their placements,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We want to attract the best candidates to our classrooms and this model actively seeks out the best graduates and helps them make the jump into teaching.”
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said a particular focus of the program is mid-career professionals, who, once they have completed intensive Masters units, will be supported to work in a school while they complete their study.
“Not only do tailored mid-career programs ease the burden of months of unpaid leave, they also provide future teachers with instrumental experience in the classroom – which teachers constantly tell us is where their most valuable learning takes place,” Ms Mitchell said.
“This is not about cutting corners; it’s about rethinking the way we do teacher training to ensure future teachers have the hands-on experience they need to build their confidence and improve their practice.”
ACU Faculty of Education and Arts Executive Dean Professor Mary Ryan said the New South Wales Government announcement of a bespoke local TFA program was a win for the profession.
“We know that we need to attract more teachers to the profession and doing so in diverse ways including the TFA program, which targets high-achieving graduates and successful career-changers, is a positive for schools, students, and the workforce.
“Teaching students are telling us they need more flexibility when it comes to acquiring their teaching qualifications as well as more time in the classroom, and this program delivers on both fronts.”
Applications open early next year, and successful applicants will begin the Master’s qualification and intensive, supervised teacher training via a new TFA NSW Professional Experience (PEx) Academy from October 2023–February 2024. To further ensure participants are ‘classroom-ready’, school principals will be able to choose if participants receive additional supervision before leading classrooms. TFA will provide its best-practice teacher coaching and mentoring for the duration of the program.
Teach For Australia’s vision is for education to give all students greater choice for their future, and Ms Potts Rosevear said the not-for-profit organisation’s programs focused on teacher quality and school leadership as these are two key levers proven to positively impact student outcomes.
“From small beginnings in Victoria in 2009, Teach For Australia has delivered more than 1200 new teachers and we’re now proudly working with more than 300 partner schools in communities across Australia. In our 2022 national cohort, nearly 50% are qualified to teach in-demand STEM subjects, and 68% are career changers who bring additional professional perspectives to their teaching.
“Independent evaluations and program surveys confirm TFA’s approach is cost-effective and highly regarded as a well-established ‘tried and tested’ pathway that brings high-performing, enthusiastic and dedicated teachers to their classrooms, filling real vacancies.
“We also track our Alumni closely and know, since the first cohort in 2009 through to today, 72% are teaching and leading classrooms and another 12% are also in education-related roles. We also know they are highly sought after – 91% of partner school principals tell us they would hire another TFA teacher.
“Our programs complement other Initial Teacher Education and professional development pathways. We help to bring more subject specialists into the classroom who would not otherwise have considered the career, and we support regional, rural and remote schools with workforce supply and development needs.”
Teach For Australia receives funding from the Commonwealth’s High Achieving Teachers Program, and recently received an additional commitment to support another 700 teachers from the Federal Labor Government.