The Australian Government released a discussion paper from the Teacher Education Expert Panel this week outlying reforms to how teaching is taught at universities.

The Teacher Education Expert Panel, set up by the Minister for Education Jason Clare last year, is one of 27 initiatives arising from the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan designed to respond to the teacher workforce issues and strengthen the teaching profession.

Minister Clare said the discussion paper addresses several areas for reform including: 

  • Strengthening initial teacher education programs
  • Stronger links between performing and funding of initial teacher education
  • Improving practical teaching experience,
  • Enhancing postgraduate teacher education mid-career entrants.

“There aren’t many jobs more important than being a teacher and we don’t have enough of them,” Minister Clare said in a release. “Not enough people who start a teaching degree finish it either.

“The work of the expert panel will be important in helping us to strengthen initial teacher education, increase completion rates and deliver more classroom ready graduates.”

Shadow Minister for Education Senator Sarah Henderson said the release of the discussion paper was “an important part of a wider discussion of how we address the alarming decline in student outcomes despite record funding for the education system”.

Executive director Jacinta Collins said the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) will engage with state and territory Catholic education authorities and school systems, together with the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Australian Catholic University as it formulates a response to the discussion paper.

“Catholic education will consult extensively across the Catholic education sector on the proposed reforms to identify the best ways to better support early career teachers and the quality of initial teacher education and practicum experience,” Jacinta said.

“It is critical that we grow and strengthen the teaching profession to respond to the current teacher workforce challenges, and build teacher capability to student learning outcomes.”

The discussion paper is open for consultation until 21 April 2023. A report including recommendations for consideration will be provided to the Australian Government before 30 June 2023. 

Caption: Student teacher Patrick Sheehan at St Clare’s Catholic High School, Hassall Grove. Source Giovanni Portelli / Catholic Weekly.