Teaching job shortage leaves hundreds of graduates unable to complete qualifications

February 4, 201611:08 am320 views

Australia is losing hundreds of teaching graduates each year because a shortage of jobs and resources means they cannot finish their qualifications.

Key points:

  • Many trainee teachers are failing to meet new national accreditation standards
  • Some are struggling to meet to minimum work requirements because they can’t find sufficient work
  • The teachers become ineligible to teach without restarting a new degree
  • Since 2010, NSW has lost almost 3,000 teachers from its books

Figures obtained from the New South Wales Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards show 521 trainee teachers in 2015 failed requirements of a new national accreditation system mainly because they could not find sufficient work within a three- to five-year period.

Those teachers then become ineligible to teach without restarting a new degree.

It means since 2010 at least $130 million in taxpayers’ money could have been spent at universities to train graduates whose degrees had gone to waste.

Since 2010, NSW lost almost 3,000 teachers from its books, and the numbers have been rising.

Casual and part-time teachers have said a major problem is the glut of teachers on the market, especially in particular teaching fields.

Latest figures suggest up to 40 per cent of teacher graduates are not able to find work within four months of graduation.

It means many trainee teachers are unable to satisfy the requirements to work 160 to 180 days within a three- to five-year period.

Many also work as casual teachers meaning they never get the opportunity to prepare documentation like lesson plans or take part in professional development, which form a major part of the accreditation requirements.

Under the scheme, teachers are granted provisional accreditation to teach after they leave university.

If they work part-time or casual they then have five years to gain full accreditation.

Teachers working full-time have three years to meet the requirements.

If they do not, they essentially fall off the Government’s books and can no longer apply for registration to teach in public or private schools without re-starting a degree.

Schools have ‘very little incentive’ to help

Steve Elliot, of North Curl Curl, lost his accreditation last year and said a major problem was a lack of support from schools, which did not have sufficient resources.

Mr Elliott retrained to become a high school social sciences teacher after careers as an accountant and computer programmer.

Now aged 64, he had enough skills to gain lots of casual work but said he never got the chance to prepare a lesson plan and therefore could not fulfil accreditation requirements.

“If you did get work, schools had very little incentive to provide the help that you needed to get a certificate of accreditation, let alone suffer the expense of sending you on professional development courses,” he said.

I’m really angry especially with universities because the universities are the ones pushing the line ‘come and do a teaching degree and you’ll get a job’. They must know that’s false.

Steve Elliot, teaching graduate

Mr Elliot plans to retire now but will do so with HECS debt.

His son Jake is also about to time out of the profession.

“He thought he’d become an art teacher. It’s only when he got out of university that he realised that the spiel they gave him is total trash and there’s no jobs for art teachers. None,” Mr Elliot said.

“The casual work was so intermittent he couldn’t live on it so it he went out and got other work.

“He’s got a very large HECS debt but that degree and post-grad degree are totally wasted.”

The Board of Studies said people like Mr Elliott were eligible to apply for extensions or could apply for a two-year reaccreditation, something Mr Elliott said was only available in very particular circumstances.

Mr Elliot said universities should shoulder some of the blame.

“I’m really angry especially with universities because the universities are the ones pushing the line ‘come and do a teaching degree and you’ll get a job’. They must know that’s false,” he said.

New South Wales Secondary Principals Council president Lila Mularczyk said most schools were supportive of teachers trying to get accreditation.

“It’s more difficult but not insurmountable for casual teachers,” she said.

“Both schools and the system are working to absolutely progress that.

“I do think the size of the school does change the capacity to do that.”

Government says it won’t compromise on quality

A spokesman for the NSW Board of Studies said the requirements were about teacher quality.

“It is essential for students that all teachers — casual, temporary or full time — meet the Proficient Teacher standards within a reasonable period,” he said.

He said the requirements had been in force since 2004 and said the supervision requirements should not be onerous for schools.

“Even casual teachers should have a supervisor to support them,” the spokesman said.

“This is a reasonable expectation of schools and school systems.”

news source & image credits: abc.net.au

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