New Grattan Report -Attracting high achievers to teaching

Andrea ChesterLeave a Comment

Australia’s top teachers should be able to earn $80,000 a year more, and top school-leavers should get $10,000-a-year scholarships if they take up teaching, as part of a $1.6 billion blueprint to boost teacher quality and student performance.

This report from the Grattan Institute, released yesterday, proposes a reform package to improve the status of teaching. Key to the reforms is a proposal to increase the ATAR of ITE applicants. They argue that “the
best evidence shows that people who are good learners tend to go on to become better teachers”, with the assumption that the ATAR is a measure of a “good learner”. Of course we know that only slightly more than 20% of ITE applicants are selected on the basis of an ATAR, so this focus is narrow, nevertheless it is a pervasive conversation at present and aligns with Labor proposals.

I suspect this report will generate quite a bit of media interest. Let’s take a few days to read the details and reconvene. In the meantime the headlines are below.

In order to attract students to ITE the report has three broad recommendations:

1. Offer $10,000 cash-in-hand scholarships to high achievers to study teaching. People who get the government-funded scholarships should be required to work in government schools for at least several years.

2. Create two new roles in schools – ‘Instructional Specialist’ and ‘Master Teacher’ – so the best teachers can get extra pay, time, and responsibility to improve teaching at their schools and in their regions. About 5-to-8 per cent of teachers would become Instructional Specialists, paid around $140,000 a year – $40,000 more than the highest standard pay rate for teachers. About 0.5 per cent of teachers would become Master Teachers, paid around $180,000 a year – $80,000 more than the highest standard pay rate for teachers.

3. Launch a $20 million-a-year advertising campaign, similar to the Australian Defence Force recruitment campaigns, to promote the new package and re-position teaching as an attractive, challenging, and well-paid career option for high achievers.

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