Pyne’s teacher training review needs to focus on lifting ATAR scores for teaching students

23 June 2014

The AEU has called on the Government to work to lift ATAR scores for teaching students, as new figures show scores dropping for new students.

AEU Deputy Federal President Correna Haythorpe said lifting ATAR scores, and making all teaching courses a two-year postgraduate degree, would help lift teacher quality in the long-term.

“We need to encourage students with higher ATAR scores to enter teaching and we need to look at setting a minimum ATAR score for teaching courses,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“A high ATAR score is not the only thing that makes a good teacher, but it is still vital that we recruit the best students into teaching courses.”

“Figures from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership show that average ATAR scores for entrants to teaching courses have dropped significantly between 2005 and 2012.”

“The percentage of students entering teaching courses with an ATAR of over 80 has dropped from over 30 per cent to under 20 per cent in just seven years.”

“Minister Pyne’s review of teacher training needs to focus on the entry requirements for courses, as well as the content of courses.”

“Teacher training should be a two-year post graduate degree, and there needs to be more classroom experience prior to graduation.”

“The government continually talks about improving teacher quality, but how does making it easier to get a teaching degree improve the quality of teachers?”

“Minister Pyne yesterday announced an expansion of the Teach for Australia program which places teachers in disadvantaged schools with just six weeks training.

“We want to strengthen training standards so that all children are taught by a properly qualified teacher.

Ms Haythorpe said there also needed to be proper workforce planning put in place, including a cap on total enrolments in teaching courses, to deal with the current oversupply of teaching graduates.

“There is no point training teachers who will be unable to find jobs when they graduate, which is what is happening at the moment. This is not fair on the students, and is a waste of resources that could be used to support teachers in the beginning of their careers.”

“We also need to improve the training and support that is available to new teachers, and provide continued professional learning and development throughout teachers’ careers.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291