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Media release - High expectations for tomorrow's teachers

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli today announced the trial of a literacy and numeracy test for teacher education students as part of the Government’s commitment to Great Teaching, Inspired Learning.

“We have great teachers in NSW and today we are taking further steps to improve the quality of teaching for the next generation of teachers,” Mr Piccoli said.“Last year I directed the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) to work with universities and the school sectors to introduce a number of initiatives for teacher education students.

“Today I am announcing a new online literacy and numeracy trial test for teacher education students at NSW universities.

BOSTES has received support from the NSW Vice Chancellors’ Committee to work with universities to identify test sites.“The test is expected to be fully available next year and from 2016 all teacher education students will need to have passed it before undertaking their final practicum.

“This measure will help ensure that we can have confidence that every student graduating from a teaching course has the necessary literacy and numeracy skills for their chosen career.”

The tests are being developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

“Today I am also releasing a new Framework to better co-ordinate and manage the professional experience -- the practicum -- that teacher education students undertake in NSW schools,” he said.

“‘Prac’ teaching should be an opportunity for intensive learning for teacher education students, as they put their theoretical skills into practice in the real world under the supervision of a teacher who can provide support and mentoring.

“Until now, the practicum arrangements have been largely ad hoc with little co-ordination about which schools are best placed to accept prac teachers and what they should learn in this important element of their training. Some students have even had to arrange their own placements."

The Framework sets standards for high quality placements including:

  • best practice guidelines for teachers, teacher educators and teacher education students;
  • an evidence guide for supervising teachers;
  • a common report template;
  • a statement of common roles and responsibilities; and
  • data exchange guidelines.

“By introducing this Framework the Government, in partnership with school sectors and universities, is establishing clear and consistent standards for providing a high quality professional experience,” Mr Piccoli said.

Universities and school sectors will also exchange data to help ensure that practicum places are available in the areas that need teachers.

Mr Piccoli said these measures would deliver on commitments made under the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning (GTIL) reform package. They combine with other GTIL initiatives to continue to strengthen the quality of teaching, including:

Raising the academic standards required to enter teaching degrees -- people entering from the HSC will need to have three Band 5 HSC results, one of which must be English;

All teachers will be required to undertake 100 hours of professional development over five years to maintain their accreditation; and

Creating better systems for managing underperforming teachers, and for recognising and rewarding high performing teachers, including a salary of more than $100,000 for highly accomplished classroom teachers in public schools from 2016.

“These are all important steps to lift the status of teaching. Teaching should be recognised as an incredibly valuable profession – and one that requires great commitment from talented individuals and ongoing development and support,” Mr Piccoli said.

MEDIA: Andrew Stevenson – 0428 438 970

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