Disadvantaged schools deserve properly trained teachers

22 June 2014

Plans to expand the Teach for Australia program are a waste of money and will do nothing to help disadvantaged schools, the AEU said today.

AEU Deputy Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the AEU was concerned that Education Minister Christopher Pyne was planning to send Teach for Australia graduates with just six weeks training to disadvantaged schools.

“Minister Pyne seems to think that six weeks training is enough to deal with all the difficulties and challenges of teaching in disadvantaged schools. This shows how out of touch he is with the reality of the teaching profession.”

“These schools deserve experienced, well-trained teachers who have a proper understanding of how to deal with the complex issues faced by disadvantaged schools.

“Parachuting teachers with six weeks of training into disadvantaged schools is an expensive distraction which will do nothing to help students.

Ms Haythorpe said the Teach for Australia program had been an expensive failure, because graduates did not stay in teaching.

“An Australian Council of Educational Research report from 2012 found the average cost of training a teacher through Teach for Australia was $216,000, far more than training a teacher through the standard training programs.

“Official figures from the Federal Department of Education show that more than half of the first two cohorts of Teach for Australia have left teaching within two years. This is an incredibly low retention rate for such a high-profile program.

“The NSW Education Department has estimated that 10 per cent of its teachers recruited through standard pathways leave in the first five years.

“Minister Pyne’s plans to expand the program without doing anything about its high drop out rate will simply waste money that could be better spent supporting teachers in the early years of their career, and providing extra resources to disadvantaged schools.

“This Government has abandoned the last two years of the Gonski funding agreements for schools, and will deliver real cuts to schools funding from 2018.

“Needs-based Gonksi funding is the best way to deliver real improvement to disadvantaged schools, not programs like Teach for Australia.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291