Union urges govt action on teaching standards

by James Reid20 Jan 2016

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has called on Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, to lift entry standards for teaching degrees.

The call comes as the AEU welcomed reports that the Victorian Government is considering a proposal to introduce minimum academic standards for new teachers in a push to boost teacher quality.

NSW has already introduced a requirement for all new teachers in public schools to have Band-5 ATAR scores (80% or higher) in three subjects, including English.

However, the AEU now wants the Federal Government to “take the lead” and introduce “proper workforce planning” and minimum entry standards for teaching courses.

“We have NSW and potentially Victoria taking action. The Federal Government’s hand-picked education adviser, AITSL chair Professor John Hattie, has also called for minimum entry scores to teaching degrees to lift standards,” AEU federal president, Correna Haythorpe, said in a statement.

“Yet Minister Birmingham is happy to preside over a flawed system that lets universities enrol as many students in teaching courses as they want regardless of their ATAR scores.”

“Top performing school systems such as Singapore recruit their teachers from the top 30 per cent of school graduates, and we should be looking to do the same,” she said.

“We have seen a decade of decline in ATAR scores for teaching courses, with no action to address this from the Federal Government.”

Latest figures from Victoria show that the average ATAR of a student entering a teaching course in 2016 is 57.35 this year, down from 63.4 in 2013.
 

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