Minister urges cap on student teachers

by James Reid18 Feb 2016

The NSW Education Minister has warned the Federal Government that an oversupply of underperforming teaching graduates is hurting the quality of education in classrooms.

In a statement, NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, said a cap on the number of student teachers was necessary to address this issue.  

“Where there are a limited number of places or jobs available, they should be capping places,” he said.
“Why are we training all of these people when the majority of them won't get jobs?”

The Minister’s comments follow reports that student teachers in NSW will have to sit army-style personality tests from next year in a move designed to assess teacher quality.

The NSW Board of Studies (BOSTES) unveiled the initiative which will be carried out at all universities across the state.

Under a recent pilot test designed to evaluate basic literacy and numeracy skills, almost one in 10 trainee teachers failed to pass, a result Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham said was concerning.

A prospective cap on university places for teaching graduates would see ATAR minimum entry cut-offs put in place, as students would have to compete for a limited number of taxpayer funded enrolments.

Last month, Piccoli said universities were using students as “cash cows” under the demand-driven system introduced by the Gillard Government in 2012.
“I'm not sure I want someone teaching my children who got an ATAR of 35,” Piccoli said.
“It's the same in nursing, there are only a certain number of places in hospitals”.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Would a cap on student teaching graduates improve the quality of education in our classrooms?


  • by 18/02/2016 2:59:12 PM

    It makes sense to cap of uni places and to select the best quality candidates for these positions. Schools will be forced to address poorly performing teachers once they graduate under the new guidelines so a proactive approach just makes sense.

  • by Jan 18/02/2016 4:19:20 PM

    Judged for life on one exam result - the HSC?? Does the Minister know what other influences might influence a student to flounder in Year 12?
    The ATAR of a student who might become a teacher does not reflect their intelligence, teaching capability, personality or current life skills. Really!

  • by 18/02/2016 4:50:16 PM

    Too right, Jan!

    The thing that worries me, is that the ATAR is a scaled mark and doesn't always reflect how well one does in particular subjects. Ensure that teachers pass minimum standards in literacy and numeracy, certainly, but to judge it on the HSC and ATAR is not appropriate! Those studying the arts and other such subjects, which get scaled down, may miss out on a place at university. We need a diverse mix of teachers with a wide range of interests and expertise. Why? Because we have a diverse mix of students with a wide range of interests and expertise!

    When are the people with the power to change the system going to listen to the people who are the experts - the educators working in schools? The system is failing because they are ignoring the true experts! The focus should be on innovation, creative problem-solving, collaboration, life skills and operating successfully as a contributing member of society - NOT standardised, summative testing! Until that changes we will continue to see our education system decline and fall behind the rest of the world!