The quality, diversity and capacity of the teaching workforce were the central themes of a recent roundtable convened by the Paul Ramsay Foundation to inform the Quality Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Review, established by the Federal Minister for Education, the Hon Alan Tudge, in March 2021.
We were delighted that the Review’s Expert Panel, chaired by Lisa Paul AO, accepted our invitation to join a group of the Foundation’s partners and friends in discussion held under the Chatham House rule.
Focusing on countering disadvantage in our learning systems, roundtable participants discussed opportunities to improve initial teacher education through recruitment, training and retention in the teaching profession.
Five propositions and six actionable ideas emerged from the discussions.
- The Review should shine a spotlight on the needs and opportunities for increasing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teaching and school leadership workforce.
- We need to attract more teachers with disability.
- Attracting the ‘best’ into teaching requires fit-for-purpose selection criteria.
- Preparing new teachers for success is critical to long-term retention.
- The ability to access and use evidence should be a core competency taught in initial teacher education.
Six Actionable Ideas
- Appoint an ancillary body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander expertise to inform and shape the Panel’s deliberations.
- Set a new agenda on diversity and inclusion, connected to curriculum and teaching practice not just recruitment criteria.
- Seize opportunities to upskill the existing education workforce, for example by providing new pathways for Aboriginal education workers and aides, and new opportunities for vocationally trained early education teachers to engage in degree-based ITE courses.
- Integrate competency and attribute-based selection into ITE programs rather than simply relying on transcript-only selection.
- Provide better preparation, induction, mentorship and in-school support for new graduates.
- Embed research literacy and using evidence to improve teaching practice into core ITE curriculum.
A discussion paper, intended to inform debate about the future of initial teacher education, can be found here.