New study on-the-job program for trainee teachers

16 December 2021
Boosting teacher supply, addressing attrition
Thanks to the New South Wales Department of Education, the University will trial a program that allows certain students to start teaching in a classroom within six months of starting their degree.

Are you considering a midlife career change to high school teaching? Next year, the University of Sydney will pilot a program that allows people with significant career experience to begin working in high schools as teachers within six months of beginning their teaching studies.

Alongside partners CSU and the University of Newcastle, as well as Macquarie University, the program will be offered to 50 applicants on a case-by-case basis. Academics, high-performing professionals, and subject matter experts are among the applicant categories to be considered. Applicants must be approved by both the government and a university to participate in the program, which will initially apply to the high-demand subjects of mathematics, science and Technological and Applied Studies (TAS).

Conceived of and funded by the NSW Department of Education, the program has twin aims: to boost the supply of teachers, particularly in rural and regional areas, and to improve teacher retention rates.

Participants will be provided with a $30,000 one-off training allowance on entry into the program, as well as a further $30,000 study completion bonus. On graduation, participants will be offered a permanent teaching position in a NSW public school, in an agreed location.

“In New South Wales, Australia, and in a number of other Western countries, there is currently a huge teacher shortage,” said Associate Professor Wayne Cotton, Director - Academic Partnerships and Engagement at the University of Sydney School of Education and Social Work. “This is partially due to attrition. Fully supporting graduating teacher education students into the workforce – which this program strives to do – is a means of addressing this.”

Using a combination of dedicated classroom supervisors and tertiary mentors, the program supports students while they are at university, on placement, and, importantly, once they begin their careers. “The program is unique in that the support doesn’t end upon graduation,” Associate Professor Cotton said.

Like regular teaching students, all students in the program will be required to pass a nationally accredited teaching performance assessment, pre-graduation.

“I am proud that the University of Sydney is part of this innovative, much-needed campaign to attract the best and brightest to retrain for a career in education,” said University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Mark Scott. “It’s critical that we think outside the square to address the current teacher shortage, and this program is a clever and wonderful step forward.”

The University of Sydney School of Education and Social work is internationally recognised for its teaching excellence.

Learn more about the Mid-career Transition to Teaching Program, including application details.

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