Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli today announced plans worth $155 million to give greater support to beginning teachers in NSW government schools and empower government school principals to manage teacher underperformance.
“Teaching is the single-most important in-school influence on student performance. By attracting the best people into teaching degrees and better supporting them once they enter the classroom we will continue to lead educational performance in Australia and improve our standing internationally,” Mr Piccoli said.
“The leading education jurisdictions internationally have similar high standards in place and the evidence tells us this is how we can improve classroom practice to better support students in NSW.
“We are tripling the support we give to our teachers in their early years in the classroom.
“From next year all permanent beginning teachers in NSW government schools will have two hours per week release time, to support the development of their skills in their first year. They will also have access to an experienced teacher who will be given one hour per week release to provide mentoring and support. Teachers will also be provided with one hour per week in their second year.
“It is vital that our new teachers are helped to develop their classroom practice and deal with a wide range of real-life school situations,” Mr Piccoli said.
In addition the Minister announced the new Teach.Rural scholarship program which will start taking applications next month from talented students with a commitment to teach at rural and remote schools in 2014. Starting with 20 scholarships, a further 50 will be offered in following years.
“Each scholarship provides $6,000 for every year of full-time study, plus $5,000 after graduation and the new teachers are guaranteed permanent full-time employment with the Department in an identified rural or remote location,” Mr Piccoli said.
The Minister also announced a new cadetship program to employ high-achieving school leavers as part-time paraprofessionals in classrooms from the start of their teacher training. The 10 cadets identified to start at schools in 2014 will expand each year to a total of 30 places in 2017.
A new internship program employing high-achieving final-year teacher education students as paraprofessionals in schools will also be introduced. Areas of workforce need will be targeted by the program, which will start with 10 internees in 2014, growing each year to a total of 30 places in 2017.
Mr Piccoli said government school principals will also get stronger powers to manage the classroom performance of teachers and a quicker process to remove those not meeting required standards. Where a teacher’s performance is not up to standard they will be provided with support. If their performance remains unsatisfactory they may be dismissed.
New procedures for performance management and development will be negotiated as part of the 2014 Teachers’ Award. Negotiations will seek to halve the time for this process.
Where teachers refuse to follow lawful directions consistent with their role and the Department’s Code of Conduct, they may be dismissed.
“NSW has a great public education system, and the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to making it even better by giving principals more authority to manage the very small number of teachers who are underperforming,” Mr Piccoli said.
“The programs launched today are the first of many initiatives to be developed from the NSW Government’s Great Teaching, Inspired Learning blueprint, which contains the most comprehensive set of reforms to improve teaching quality ever proposed in Australia,” Mr Piccoli said.
For more information, please visit www.dec.nsw.gov.au