NSW has new plan to attract top teachers

Phoebe Loomes |

Premier Dominic Perrottet says the NSW government will adopt its own version of Teach for Australia.
Premier Dominic Perrottet says the NSW government will adopt its own version of Teach for Australia.

NSW has launched an ambitious pilot program to encourage high-achieving university graduates to consider a teaching career in the state to plug staffing shortages.

Premier Dominic Perrottet’s government is setting up its own version of Teach for Australia, already in place in other states and territories, in the hope of persuading more graduates to enter the profession.

The pilot program will offer 50 people the opportunity to study for a Master of Teaching at the Australian Catholic University while also teaching in a public school, so they can earn as they learn.

“If we have the best and brightest teachers, that will lead to having the best and brightest kids – and that’s what this is all about,” Mr Perrottet said on Tuesday.

It’s hoped this will pull down barriers for university graduates in unrelated professions who want to become teachers.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the government had been working with Teach for Australia since 2020.

“This is a program that’s worked successfully in other states and indeed has been operating in Australia for about 10 years,” she said.

“We were also really clear that we wanted a specific program for NSW that would meet the needs of our students and of our staff as well.”

People will have to complete one-quarter of a masters degree before going into classrooms.

Ms Mitchell dismissed teachers union concerns the pilot program means more unqualified teachers in schools.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the program failed to address unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive pay, which has driven many teachers from the workforce.

Mr Gavrielatos wants Mr Perrottet to abandon plans to impose a 2.53 per cent award pay cap for three years on teachers, despite inflating running well above that rate.

“Delivering a real wage cut to teachers will only make it harder to recruit and retain the teachers we need,” he said,

Teach for Australia CEO Melodie Potts Rosevear said the national program has had a high success rate and 93 per cent of Teach for Australia’s associate graduates were still teaching three years later.

The program has more than 300 partner schools in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, WA, Queensland, the Northern Territory and NSW.