DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & TRAINING. TEACHER SUPPLY AND DEMAND for government schools

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1 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & TRAINING TEACHER SUPPLY AND DEMAND for government schools

2 State of Victoria, Department of Education & Training 2004 Published by the Communications Division Department of Education & Training 2 Treasury Place East Melbourne Victoria 3002 The Department of Education & Training welcomes use of this publication within the constraints of the Copyright Act This report is available for download online at

3 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools MINISTER S FOREWORD Victoria has 537,900 students who are taught by a team of dedicated and talented teachers in more than 1600 government schools throughout the State. The Bracks Government is committed to ensuring that our students continue to be taught by the best people no matter where they live or what subjects they choose. Unfortunately, this goal is made harder by the Federal Government cutting the number of university teacher training places and increasing the fees for those people who want to teach and are lucky enough to get a place. Nevertheless, the Bracks Government has invested heavily in education and developed policies to ensure that there has been no overall teacher shortage to date. The challenge is to build on these results. This document outlines six actions to do just that. Starting in 2004, implementation of these actions will progressively occur. They are aimed at attracting more teachers to rural and outer-metropolitan areas, at teaching disciplines that are traditionally difficult to staff and at improving workforce planning. I look forward to working with you so that we can continue to deliver a world class education for all Victorian students now and into the future. Jacinta Allan, MP Minister for Education Services

4 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 2 SUMMARY OF ACTIONS 1. Opportunities will be provided for non-teaching professionals to undertake teacher education courses while being employed as a trainee teacher under the supervision of an experienced teacher. 2. Refresher training courses will be provided to returning teachers seeking to re-enter the teaching workforce. The courses will update their skills in school and classroom practices and curriculum. 3. The promotion of teaching as a rewarding career will be extended to non-traditional areas of recruitment. 4. The Government will provide student teachers with financial incentives to encourage them to undertake their school placements in designated hard-to-staff schools. 5. The Government will assist teachers in rural schools to retrain in areas where schools have problems in attracting teachers in particular curriculum/subject areas. 6. The Government will actively engage with university education faculties on pre-service course quality.

5 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 3 INTRODUCTION The Bracks Government has made education its number one priority. The supply of high quality teachers is critical to this. A key emphasis of the Government s 2003 Blueprint for Government Schools is the importance of maintaining and further developing the quality and stability of our existing teacher workforce. Major strategies include an investment of $5 million annually to enable 460 teachers to undertake teacher professional leave to enhance their classroom practice; and the improvement of induction programs for beginning teachers supplemented by existing mentor programs. This document outlines the actions we will implement to ensure the ongoing supply of a high quality teacher workforce into the future. The 1990s saw a downgrading of the status of the teaching profession in Victoria as a result of massive cuts to education, with the workforce reduced by over 9000 teachers. This contributed to a significant lack of interest by university students in teacher training in that decade. Since gaining office in 1999 the Bracks Government has put in place a number of measures to boost Victoria s supply of teachers and to promote the teaching profession. The centrepiece was a highly successful advertising campaign to recruit teachers in The Help Shape the Future: Teach campaign was supported by a new online recruitment database, and the successful teaching scholarship scheme (see Appendix 1). Other government initiatives, such as the establishment of the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) in 2002 with the promotion of the profession as its aim, have engendered a renewed confidence in teaching as a career option. A record investment in education and training over the past three years and the employment of an extra 4000 teachers and staff have ensured that the Victorian teacher workforce is robust in numbers and quality and that average class sizes have been reduced. The Auditor-General s 2003 report on Public Sector Agencies indicated the Victorian Government s strategies to minimise shortages were working. Despite various predictions, there has been no overall shortage of teachers in Victoria. The stability in teacher numbers has been achieved despite the failure of the Federal Government to adequately fund teacher training in universities. The Victorian Government s own projections indicate that the number of teachers required to meet overall demand in government schools is broadly in balance and is likely to remain so over the next three to five years. This was supported most recently by a 2003 workforce analysis by

6 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 4 INTRODUCTION the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and a 2001 report by the Victorian Auditor-General into teacher workforce planning (see Appendix 2). Nonetheless, some Victorian schools continue to experience difficulties recruiting teachers in traditionally hard-to-staff subject areas (such as mathematics, special education and science) and in particular geographic locations (such as rural and outer metropolitan areas). The next step in addressing teacher supply issues in Victoria is to ensure that all Victorian Government schools have access to appropriately skilled and qualified teachers into the future. IMPACT OF FEDERAL HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY The Victorian Government is constrained in the extent to which it can influence teacher training enrolment levels because universities are federally funded and have some scope to make independent decisions on the allocation of places across faculties. Victoria has been particularly hard hit by the drastic cuts to university funding by the Federal Government. In 1996, the Federal Government cut funding to Victorian universities operating grants by 6 per cent and, as a result, in 2004 there are nearly 6000 fully funded places fewer than in In addition, in 2003 and 2004 over 60 per cent of eligible applicants for teacher training missed out on a place. The Federal Government s response has been to announce a marginal increase in national places from These places will only be available to private providers and cover all national priority areas nursing, indigenous education and pre-service teacher training. There will be no additional places in 2004 and only 272 extra places nationally in As none of the private higher education institutions operating in Victoria delivers teacher training, Victoria will again miss out on much-needed teaching places. The reduction in university places overall has exacerbated the teacher shortfall in particular subject areas, especially mathematics. The Federal Government has further increased disincentives to study hard-to-staff teaching disciplines by increasing HECS rates. In 1997, HECS fees for mathematics rose by 89 per cent and, as of 2005, universities will be allowed to further increase those fees by another 25 per cent. Such increases will take the fee for the average three-year mathematics degree to over $20,000.

7 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 5 FUTURE ACTIONS Despite these Federal Government policies, there is clear evidence that the Bracks Government s efforts have been successful in reducing the overall number of schools experiencing recruitment difficulties. Nevertheless, a continued focus is required on particular problems resulting from the filling of specific subject areas and staffing schools in outer metropolitan and the more remote parts of Victoria. We also need to ensure we continue to manage the pressures emerging from an ageing teacher workforce. The Government has identified three priority areas within which six new actions will be developed and implemented over the next four years. These actions will: increase the supply of teachers encourage teachers to rural and outer metropolitan schools improve workforce planning planning. Increasing Teacher Supply While the Federal Government s higher education policy is the main driver of supply because it controls university student teacher places, the Victorian Government will take action to help shape the supply to better reflect the needs of Victorian schools and students. As already indicated, there is increasing interest in teaching as a career despite the failure of the Federal Government to provide sufficient university places. There was a significant level of interest from professionals seeking a career change to teaching during the 2002 Teacher Recruitment Advertising Campaign. Currently, a significant proportion of teacher graduates in government schools are over 30 years of age, suggesting that these individuals have chosen teaching as a second career. The Government will actively encourage suitably qualified people with relevant industry experience to take on teaching as a career and will work with universities to promote this as a study option. Action 1: Opportunities will be provided for non-teaching professionals to undertake teacher education courses while being employed as a trainee teacher under the supervision of an experienced teacher. For instance, an information technology professional may be likely to have undertaken sufficient tertiary education in mathematics to meet the qualification requirements, other than teacher training, to be a mathematics teacher. There are also a number of tertiary qualified non-teaching staff in schools who have an understanding of the school environment and may wish to pursue a career in teaching. The key features of this initiative are: a summer school for initial training prior to the commencement of the school year a maximum two-year period at a designated school of combined teacher education study and classroom experience employment as a teacher-in-training for three days per week paid study leave to undertake training of two days per week

8 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 6 FUTURE ACTIONS payment of an allowance while undertaking training comparable to that for the Teaching Scholarship Scheme guaranteed ongoing employment as a teacher in the designated school on successful completion of training applicant is bonded to employment in the designated school for two years following the completion of training. This program will only apply where schools can demonstrate that previous recruitment action to attract a suitably qualified teacher has been unsuccessful. The initial program will start in 2005, with 30 places provided at a cost of $1.3 million over two years. Action 2: Refresher training courses will be provided to returning teachers seeking to reenter the teaching workforce. The courses will update their skills in school and classroom practices and curriculum. Prospective returning teachers might currently be on leave without pay, have resigned, have teaching qualifications but be employed in a field outside education, or be from interstate or overseas. Evidence indicates that a majority of those teachers on leave are likely to return to teaching. For the past three years, the Department of Education & Training (the Department) has supported regions to provide professional development programs for returning teachers. Programs have also been run by the Australian Education Union and Deakin University. This work will be used to inform the expansion of this initiative. As well as encouraging non-teaching professionals to take up teaching, the Government is keen to attract back those teachers who may have left the profession during the 1990s. Qualified teachers who have not taught for a number of years may need additional support and retraining. Through its nurse refresher training program, the Victorian Government has had outstanding success in the nursing field in encouraging nurses back to the public hospital system. This approach will be applied to the teaching profession. This initiative has been estimated to cost $2 million over three years. Action 3: The promotion of teaching as a rewarding career will be extended to nontraditional areas of recruitment. To encourage the employment of graduates in the curriculum areas of greatest need, promotion activity will be extended to faculties other than education at universities. Tertiary students undertaking relevant degree courses will be targeted and encouraged to consider teaching as a profession. For example, music students will be encouraged to consider a career as a music teacher.

9 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 7 FUTURE ACTIONS In addition, promotion activity will be extended to professional bodies whose membership might wish to consider a career change. For example, an engineer might consider a career as a mathematics or technology teacher. This initiative will begin early Attracting Teachers to Rural and Outer Metropolitan Schools Rural and outer metropolitan schools generally have more difficulty in recruiting staff than their metropolitan counterparts. This Government is determined to provide additional assistance to these schools through two new initiatives. The Auditor-General s 2001 report on Teacher Workforce Planning highlighted that a high proportion of difficult-to-staff schools, which are predominantly in remote rural areas, have no student teachers on placement. On the other hand, the report showed that where student teachers have been encouraged to undertake their school placements at certain remote schools, a significant number have accepted ongoing positions at these schools after graduating. The report emphasised the importance of integrating the student teacher not only into the school itself, but into the life of the community through participation in local activities, such as sporting and cultural organisations. Since 1999, the Bracks Government has done much to support rural communities and delivered on key election promises to stimulate rural infrastructure projects and expand job opportunities throughout the State. The following two initiatives will build on this work. Action 4: The Government will provide student teachers with financial incentives to encourage them to undertake their school placements in designated hard-tostaff schools. By exposing student teachers to the experiences and opportunities offered by schools in rural and regional growth areas through their teacher placement, they are more likely to consider ongoing employment in these schools after graduation. Participating schools will be provided with additional funding to enable payment to be made directly to the student teacher by the school as follows: a subsidy for remote locations for a three-week school placement where the student teacher is required to live away from their home location (a subsidy of $900 per teacher will be available for an estimated 200 student teachers) a travel-only subsidy for other hard-to-staff locations, including outer-metropolitan Melbourne, to help meet commuting costs.

10 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 8 FUTURE ACTIONS As part of this initiative, participating schools will seek the support of the local community. Members of the local community will be encouraged to provide accommodation, and employers will be asked to support the scheme by releasing student teachers from part-time employment for the duration of the teacher placement. This initiative will start in the second half of 2004 at a cost of $250,000 per annum. Action 5: The Government will assist teachers in rural schools to retrain in areas where schools have problems in attracting teachers in particular curriculum/subject areas. This may involve retraining existing teachers in an additional curriculum area, or upgrading a teacher s qualifications to allow them to teach at more senior levels within their school. Up to $20,000 will be provided per teacher for course costs and relief teaching assistance where necessary. The Department of Education & Training, in collaboration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT), will work with universities to identify flexible and fast-track study options appropriate for teachers to undertake this retraining, including summer school, online delivery and use of semester breaks. This work will be informed by the Languages other than English (LOTE) retraining program, which has been operating for several years as part of the Department s Languages Strategy and the recently completed Science Graduate Certificate Program. Targeted study areas will include mathematics, physical sciences, technology studies, information technology and special education. Approximately 125 teachers are expected to benefit from this program. This initiative has been estimated to cost $2.5 million over three years. In addition, up to 60 teachers will be retrained as language teachers under the Excellence in Languages Initiative, with a cost of $0.75 million over 3 years. Improving Workforce Planning The Blueprint for Government Schools outlined several initiatives aimed at improving the quality of the existing school workforce. Equally, there needs to be attention given by the Department to its future workforce in order to maintain and replenish a quality teaching workforce. There has been a rise in the level of interest in teacher training in the past five years, which has resulted in an increase in the cut-off ENTER score for teacher training of over ten points since This should result in an improvement in the quality of students undertaking teacher training. However, it cannot be assumed that this situation will continue. The Government will actively engage university education faculties on the issue of pre-service course quality in order to guarantee the quality of its new recruits.

11 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 9 FUTURE ACTIONS Action 6: The Government will actively engage with university education faculties on pre-service course quality. In undertaking this work, the Department will use existing course assessment materials, such as those produced by the Graduate Careers Council of Australia, and through collecting schools views on the skills and competencies of recently employed beginning teachers. The assessment will be focused on the Government s needs as a major employer of teachers and will complement VIT s role in developing professional standards and accrediting pre-service education courses. Work on this initiative will start immediately.

12 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 10 Appendix 1: EXISTING VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES The Victorian Government currently has in place a range of teacher recruitment strategies that have helped to address potential staffing shortfalls in specific subject areas and in particular locations around the State. The success of these initiatives can be demonstrated by the number of schools in 2003 reporting difficult to fill vacancies falling 17 per cent since 2002 (343 compared with 412). The initiatives that helped to achieve that reduction are as follows. Promotion of teaching and career opportunities The Government has been successful in stimulating interest in teaching as a rich and rewarding career option through programs such as the Help Shape the Future. Teach teacher recruitment campaign. These programs: attracted teachers committed to work in Victorian government schools raised the profile of teaching as a profession and encouraged students (university and secondary) to consider teaching as a career promoted the value placed on teachers by the community, and showcased the excellence of Victorian government schools as a great place to work. The 2004 Victorian Government Schools: Bringing Learning to Life campaign launched in January builds on this promotional success. Recruitment Online The multimedia teacher recruitment advertising campaign in 2002 also provided the momentum for the development by the Department of Education & Training of an online teacher recruitment database called Recruitment Online on the website (www.teaching.vic.gov.au). This is a tool that enables teachers to advertise their employment interest to principals. This has increased the pool of candidates available for teaching vacancies in Victorian government schools (more than 3300 completed profiles are currently available). Teaching Scholarship Scheme and Teacher Graduate Recruitment Program The Government s Teaching Scholarship Scheme and Teacher Graduate Recruitment Program aim to attract high quality graduates as teachers in Victorian government schools. The Teacher Graduate Recruitment Program targets recent teacher graduates and supports the employment of these teachers by restricting eligibility to recent graduates for designated vacancies of six months or longer. In 2003, the program resulted in 529 graduate appointments, while the 2004 program has resulted in the advertisement of 639 vacancies as at 20 January 2004.

13 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 11 Appendix 1: EXISTING VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES The Teaching Scholarship Scheme is designed to assist schools with difficult-to-fill vacancies by matching the vacancies with a pool of student teacher applicants with the requisite curriculum qualifications and geographic preferences. The Teaching Scholarship Scheme began in 2001 with initial funding for three years. Applicants in their final year of teacher training are provided with a scholarship of $3500 and are required to work in a Victorian government school for two years. Since its inception, 660 scholarships will have been provided and over 80 per cent of scholarships will have been offered in schools with difficult-to-fill vacancies.

14 Teacher Supply and Demand for Government Schools 12 Appendix 2: CURRENT STATE OF THE VICTORIAN TEACHER LABOUR MARKET The Victorian Government s own projections indicate that the number of teachers required to meet overall demand in government schools is broadly in balance and is likely to remain so over the next three to five years. The net loss of teachers in the 1990s, when recruitment did not make up for attrition, has contributed to a disproportionate number of teachers in the over-45-year age bracket. The proportion of the teaching service over 45 years of age has increased greatly, from 30 per cent in 1993 to 54 per cent of the workforce in The BCG report notes the increase in demand for entrance into teacher training in recent years and predicts a peak shortfall of several hundred teachers in government schools in 2007 in a workforce of over 38,800 full-time teachers. This shortfall will need to be met from government school teachers returning to teaching and recruiting experienced teachers from outside the government system, including those from interstate and overseas, in the event that the Federal Government does not fund an increase in teacher student places at universities. The BCG view on aggregate capacity is consistent with the report of the Victorian Auditor-General into Teacher Workforce Planning (November 2001) that Government school vacancies are usually filled. Despite the lack of evidence of a widespread teacher shortage, there are nonetheless localised geographic and subject-specific pressures on teacher supply in secondary education that must be addressed. These pressures are increased by the ageing of the teacher workforce, which is more acute in particular key learning areas. For example, the proportion of mathematics teachers in the age group increased from 10 per cent in 1995 to 24 per cent in Teacher supply pressures also apply in other States (see MCEETYA report Demand and Supply of Primary and Secondary School Teachers in Australia, July 2003) and overseas (see OECD report Education at a Glance 2003). The Bracks Government has committed resources and applied strategies to provide solutions specific to Victoria.

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