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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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New measures for quality teaching in New South Wales schools

Carmel Tebbutt

The New South Wales Government is committed to having the highest quality teachers in our schools and to ensuring that every student is taught by engaged, up-to-date and professional teachers. Last year we established Australia's first teacher accreditation body, the New South Wales Institute of Teachers, to help achieve this objective and to give teachers a professional voice. New South Wales is fortunate to have quality teachers. They do a wonderful job every day in teaching our students in both government and non-government schools, but we want to ensure that we continue to lift the standards and improve the quality of teachers.

From the beginning of this year all new teachers, or teachers returning to work after absences of five years or more, must be accredited by the Institute. The accreditation takes place against a framework of professional teaching standards developed by the Institute. These changes lay the foundations for a plan to raise the status of the teaching profession. But there is more work to do.

Following an extensive consultation process, a number of key changes will come into effect from next year. These changes recognise that ongoing learning is critical for professions such as teaching. The key part of being a professional in any field is maintaining professional development. You simply cannot switch off when you leave university, and it is critical for teachers who are engaged in teaching and learning every day of their lives. That is why it will be mandatory from next year for all new teachers to undertake professional development courses. Teachers entering the work force for the first time will be required to spend a minimum of 100 hours over five years doing courses agreed with their principal.

We have a world-class education system. Our students are producing outstanding results, whether they are measured by national or international standards, but we have to maintain them. Our education system is about quality education and giving our students the highest standards they deserve. It is about making sure that students and teachers get the most out of every single day in the classroom. The Institute of Teachers will approve professional development courses which may include a range from managing teenage behaviour to improving literacy and numeracy and teaching science and Shakespeare.

Examples of the types of courses that will be registered include:

  • Managing adolescent behaviour in the classroom for better learning
  • Using information technologies in the classroom
  • Best practice in the classroom: updating your teaching skills
  • What’s happening in the world of science?
  • Playing the numbers game
  • Firing up literacy in the classroom
  • Teaching Shakespeare for the 21st century
  • Improving literacy in the classroom
  • Listening to your students: how to use class discussion to promote learning.

The Institute will develop a public register of approved professional development courses. All teachers will maintain an online log of their participation to track their professional learning needs and to use as evidence of their professional commitment. All registered courses will be evaluated online by teachers, which will provide valuable feedback for others. These changes will apply to approximately 10,000 new teachers over the next three years, which will grow to 75,000 teachers over the next decade or so.

All new teachers will have to meet the 100-hour minimum over five years to remain accredited, a process that will be overseen by the Institute. The policy is not simply a change, but a revolution in how teachers approach their careers.

The Government is serious about quality teaching in our schools. We have made a substantial financial commitment to the tune of $144 million over four years to support these measures, which respond to the call from committed teachers to be supported in their efforts to stay up to date in meeting the needs of all students.

The courses must meet the professional teaching standards developed by the Institute of Teachers. The Institute will approve providers of these professional development courses to ensure that the courses are high quality, focused directly on improving teachers' skills and knowledge and, importantly, are free of fads and content that is not supported by real evidence and research.

This is a first in Australia. The beneficiaries will be teachers, their students and the broader community.

This text has been prepared from a statement by The Hon Carmel Tebbutt MP, Minister for Education and Training, New South Wales to the New South Wales’ Legislative Assembly, 19 October 2005, and from a press release by the Minister’s Office 19 October 2005. For further information contact Megan Saunders at the Minister’s office, (mob) 0421 612 578


Subject Headings

Teaching and learning
Teaching profession
Professional development
Educational planning
Education policy
New South Wales (NSW)