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Employment, Education and Training—House of Representatives Standing Committee—Status of the teaching profession—Report, October 2019

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October 2019 CANBERRA


Status of the teaching profession

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN 978-1-76092-054-8 (Printed Version)

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Members ............................................................................................................................................. v

Terms of Reference .......................................................................................................................... vii

List of Recommendations ................................................................................................................ ix

The Report

1 Discussion ................................................................................................................. 1

Conduct of the previous inquiry ......................................................................................... 1

Summary of issues arising ................................................................................................... 2

Appendix A. Submissions ................................................................................................ 5

Appendix B. Public Hearings ........................................................................................... 9

Appendix C. Summary of Issues Arising from Public Hearings ............................ 11



46th Parliament


Mr Andrew Laming MP

Deputy Chair

Ms Lisa Chesters MP


Ms Angie Bell MP

Mr Andrew Hastie MP

Ms Celia Hammond MP

Ms Ged Kearney MP

Hon Barnaby Joyce MP

Ms Joanne Ryan MP

Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP (from 1.08.2019)

Mr Terry Young MP


45th Parliament


Mr Andrew Laming MP

Deputy Chair

Ms Susan Lamb MP


Ms Terri Butler MP

Mr Trevor Evans MP

Mr Jason Falinski MP

Hon Brendan O'Connor MP

Mr Ken O'Dowd MP

Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP

Mrs Ann Sudmalis MP

Mr Andrew Wallace MP


Terms of Reference

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training will inquire into and report on the status of the teaching profession, considering opportunities to improve outcomes in a range of areas including:

1. Increasing the attractiveness of the profession for teachers and principals, including workplace conditions, and career and leadership structures.

2. Provision of appropriate support platforms for teachers, including human and IT resources.

3. Identifying ways in which the burden of out-of-hours, at-home work can be reduced.

4. Investigating ways to increase retention rates for the teaching profession, and avoid ‘burn out’ among early-career teachers.


List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

1.9 The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider the summary document published by the Committee in April 2019 (Appendix C of this report), so that the Committee can advise inquiry stakeholders as to how their views are being incorporated into policy approaches and solutions.


1. Discussion

1.1 While this report is published in the 46th Parliament, the views represented are those which were endorsed by members of the Committee in the previous Parliament. Members of the Committee in the current Parliament do not necessarily share the views, however feel very strongly that the work of the previous committee, and the commitment demonstrated by the stakeholders and participants in the inquiry of the last Parliament, deserve to be acknowledged.

1.2 The Committee in the current Parliament therefore makes a single recommendation, following a brief review of the work of the Committee during the inquiry. All the records of the inquiry, including submissions received and transcripts of public hearings, remain on the webpage from the Committee during the 45th Parliament.1

Conduct of the previous inquiry

1.3 The inquiry commenced towards the end of the 45th Parliament. It was the fourth substantial inquiry conducted by the Committee during that Parliament, and a final report was not presented before the prorogation of the Parliament prior to the May 2019 general election.

1.4 The Committee received 90 submissions and public hearings were held in six locations, in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Lists of submissions received, and locations for hearings, are included in Appendices A and B to this report. The Committee was

1 As noted on the inquiry home page, the inquiry ‘lapsed’ at the end of the 45th Parliament, but

links remain active and records therefore remain accessible: , viewed on 16 October 2019.


particularly interested in hearing from witnesses with teaching experience, and thanks those who took the time to contribute to the inquiry. Key matters arising from the public hearings were canvassed and subsequently published in April 2019 as a summary of issues, which is included as Appendix C to this report.

Summary of issues arising

1.5 In the April 2019 document, the Committee identified key themes on which evidence had been collected through the inquiry process. Many of these were initially raised in written submissions, and further investigated during public hearings. The Committee had a strong preference to gather information in ‘round table’ discussions, where input could be thematic and inclusive. Witnesses were able to join a dynamic group discussion, and themes and issues could be explored by several individuals or representatives of organisations concurrently rather than consecutively. To that end, the views and observations of the Committee in its final document are reflective of broad stakeholder interests and their commonly-expressed opinions and experiences.

1.6 Because the Committee did not conclude its report, specific recommendations were not made to Government. In acknowledgement of the work of all who participated in the inquiry, the Committee is keen to receive a response from Government to the views raised during its inquiry.

1.7 One of the key themes that arose was the workload of teachers and support staff, and the Committee then and now appreciates the significant additional time and effort involved in participating in an inquiry. Rather than re-visit all the information generated through its previous inquiry, the Committee agreed that a government response be sought to the discussion paper as a whole document. In this way, stakeholders will be able to know more about how their views and concerns might be dealt with at a policy level.

1.8 Key points outlined in the discussion paper include broad acknowledgement of evidence of a deficit model, and that while the status of teaching remains high in communities, the social status of teaching has suffered greatly. There was a widespread acceptance of the need to afford higher levels of recognition and respect to the profession. Observations were grouped under the following headings:

 Teacher Selection  Induction and Mentoring  Specialist Support


 Teaching, Education and Student Data  Professional Development and Leadership  Early Childhood Teaching  Rural and Regional Teachers  Collaboration and Professional Learning Communities  Teacher Welfare

Recommendation 1

1.9 The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider the summary document published by the Committee in April 2019 (Appendix C of this report), so that the Committee can advise inquiry stakeholders as to how their views are being incorporated into policy approaches and solutions.

Mr Andrew Laming MP


23 October 2019


A. Submissions

1 Name Withheld

2 Mr David Allen

2.1 Supplementary to submission 2

3 Name Withheld

4 Name Withheld

5 Confidential

6 Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)

7 Mr Peter Govan

8 Dr David Gurr


10 School of Education - University of Sunshine Coast

11 The Professional Teachers' Council NSW

12 Gowrie SA

13 University of Queensland School of Education

14 Mr Francis Ventura

15 Australasian Teacher Regulatory Authorities (ATRA)

16 Dr Colin Harrison

17 Early Childhood Teacher Education Council

18 Chief Scientist

19 Independent Schools Queensland


20 Australian Parents Council

21 University of Adelaide

22 Deakin University

23 The Mathematical Association of New South Wales

24 Faculty of Education, QUT

25 AHISA Ltd

26 Science & Technology Australia

27 Dr Lawrence Ingvarson

28 Charles Darwin University

29 Queensland Council of Deans of Education

30 Associate Professor Susan McGrath-Champ

31 Dr Rachel Wilson

32 Australian Education Union

33 The Front Project

34 College of Education Psychology and Social Work, Flinders University

35 Department of Educational Studies Macquarie University

36 Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute

36.1 Supplementary to submission 36

37 Ms Lucie McCrory

38 Mr David Towson

39 Catholic Education Melbourne

40 Department of Education and Training

41 Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales

42 Australian Primary Principals Association


44 Griffith University

45 Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

46 Mrs Nina Kelly

47 Australian Catholic University


48 Country Education Partnership

48.1 Supplementary to submission 48

49 Consult Australia

50 Alphacrucis

51 Smart Education Australia PTY LTD

52 Catholic School Parents Australia

53 Professor Sue Bennett

54 Independent Schools Council of Australia

55 Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)

56 The Mathematical Association of Western Australia Inc. (MAWA)

57 Australian Special Education Principals Association

58 RMIT University

59 Teach For Australia

60 Australian Science teachers Association

61 Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University (ACU)

62 Australian Professional Teachers Association

63 Queensland Teachers' Union of Employees

64 Queensland College of Teachers

65 Confidential

66 National Association of Australian Teachers of the Deaf

67 Dr Adam Kerezsy

68 The Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA)

69 Social Ventures Australia

70 NT Department of Education

71 Name Withheld

72 Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT)

72.1 Supplementary to submission 72

73 Australian Literacy Educators’ Association


74 Mr Andrew Oliver

75 Angela Gibbs

76 Australian Council of Deans of Education

77 University of Melbourne

78 Grattan Institute

79 NSW Department of Education

79.1 Supplementary to submission 79

80 Mr Michael Bateman

81 Ms Clare King

82 Mr Paul Johnson

83 Independent Education Union of Australia

84 Dyslexia Victoria Support

84.1 Supplementary to submission 84

85 Ms Sasha Sullivan

86 Mr John Buchanan

87 Ms Angela Parfitt

88 Ms Elizabeth Diacos

89 Name Withheld

90 Ms Barbara Preston


B. Public Hearings

Monday, 4 March 2019

Brisbane and Bokarina, QLD

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Sydney, NSW

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Melbourne, VIC

Thursday, 7 March 209

Adelaide, SA

Friday, 8 March 2019

Rockhampton, QLD1

1 The program and transcripts for each hearing can be found on the inquiry webpage at,

viewed on 16 October 2019.


C. Summary of Issues Arising from Public Hearings

The following pages contain a paper published by the Committee in the 45th Parliament, Summary of issues arising from public hearings.


Inquiry into Status of the Teaching Profession

Summary of issues arising from public hearings


The inquiry to date has received 90 submissions and public hearings were held in six locations. The Committee was particularly interested in hearing from witnesses with teaching experience, and thanks those who took the time to contribute to the inquiry. Key issues arising from the public hearings are briefly canvassed below, and may assist in any future or further investigation.

1. Promotion of teaching and education, particularly in the media, by community leaders and politicians. Evidence of a deficit model.

2. Status of occupation remains high within communities however the social status of teaching has suffered greatly.

3. Need for higher levels of recognition of and respect for the profession.

Teacher Selection

4. Concern with the model for tertiary entry scores to teaching degrees:

 international research which suggests entry benchmarks  individualised selection.

5. ATAR/OP reliability as an indication of who will be a good teacher.

6. Measures of graduate quality and need for confidence in measures.

7. The necessity for prerequisites such as Mathematics and English for initial teacher training. Some considered this to be essential while others argued that it makes little difference to teacher quality.

8. In the main, education courses in a university teaching degree are all mandatory. There are no electives. Many felt that this was risk averse and compliance driven.

9. The duration of the graduate degree programs of two years with a suggestion of a reduction to one year. It was suggested that the second year should integrate placement, study and a salary.

Induction and Mentoring

10. Teacher preparedness at the end of their degree for the nature of their work. What does it mean to be ready to be a teacher? Suggestion that first year teachers may benefit from a reduced load and more time with an experienced mentor.


11. The concept of providing a notional salary to all internships.

12. In accepting barriers exist there is an opportunity to develop incentives for schools to increase willingness and capacity to accept preservice teachers on placements, to increase options and diversity in training experiences available.

13. Proper induction and mentoring programs within schools are vital to better support teachers in their environments. Mentoring programs need to be fostered, funded and given time to happen. This may include stronger partnerships between universities and systems where students are starting to be inducted into the profession in their final year, through to their first three years of teaching.

Specialist Support

14. An increase of funding to schools to help manage the social, behavioural and health related issues of students would allow teachers to be freed up to teach. Teachers increasingly picking up roles that used to be parental roles, and are expected to solve problems that are beyond their training.

15. The value of specialist qualifications to provide a better service to students where mainstream teachers are asked to be everything to everyone. It was reported up to 40 per cent of students in some classes will have some kind of special need or learning difficulty. Rapidly there is generalising of special education, and a lack of qualified specialists. Similarly, it was suggested that teacher training include evidence-based reading instruction to screen and help children with learning difficulties.

16. Increased funding would provide for more administration staff within schools. A cut to red tape requirements would result in teachers being released from time spent in compliance, risk assessment and satisfying bureaucracies. There was a further desire to find ways to automate some of the clerical tasks which consume the time of teachers.

17. ‘Extreme’ issues around Language Other Than English teachers—in particular retention and quality of training. Language education needs to be taken seriously, and teachers need to be integrated in those schools. Also need to recontextualise new pedagogies that don’t treat languages as an add-on to the curriculum but bring them into what schools are already doing, using content and language integrated into learning.

Teaching, Education and Student Data

18. There is a lack of data on the types of unpaid work being undertaken at home. As a result there is a need to quantify, report and address the ‘invisible’ workload


that teachers are absorbing outside of school time. It is acknowledged that many teachers spend many hours per week outside of working hours marking, planning, contributing to individual learning plans, responding to parents, or meeting administrative requirements. If principals and school administrations are not aware of what is being done out of hours, then it isn’t possible to introduce solutions.

19. Datafication of teaching was identified as a major issue. Professional judgement of teachers is being marginalised by data. Compliance reporting is a major impost on teachers’ time.

20. Lack of visibility on how the data is being used, and how it informs teaching and education. Teachers would more readily accept the burden of the paperwork if they could see what happens afterwards. There is also a lack of data on the profession generally.

21. School and student data reporting systems have the same data being entered across multiple systems. There was a desire to be more efficient in data reporting, generally.

22. Similarly, ITC programs that assist teachers to automate the administrative workload could be implemented throughout Australia. For example, some teachers need to email parents to alert them that their child has not submitted an assessment item. Some of this is automated across Australia.

Professional Development and Leadership

23. Supporting continuous professional learning and development will ensure teachers are engaged as lifelong professional learners. Research methods to be included in undergraduate teaching degrees.

24. Permanency allows teachers to pursue a career trajectory, and lifts their self-esteem. Social, cultural and economic professional issues (including pay and conditions) around career trajectory were identified. Highly Accomplished Teachers and Lead Teachers Initiatives were cited.

25. Preparation of preservice principals to improve the quality of leadership by training principals prior to their appointment. The gap in Australian education is the identification, preparation and leadership training for people who can then aspire to the job.

26. There was a strong sense that successful schools require teachers’ professional autonomy, and building relationships among teachers, the community and students. It is also about the quality of leadership and the culture of a school.


Early Childhood Teaching

27. Greater salary parity between early childhood teachers and school teachers is required.

28. Recognition of the vital importance of early childhood education (0-5 years) and the need to address the impact of lower pay rates for early childhood educators (long day care), likely to deter people from entering (or remaining in) this type of teaching.

Rural and Regional Teachers

29. Shortages of skilled specialist teachers may exist in regional areas.

30. Rural and regional universities are pivotal to attracting and retaining teachers in rural and regional areas. Suggestions include:

 Increasing opportunities for collaborating and a framework for clustering so that people within rural schools do not feel isolated;  Strong relationships and connections with universities around preservice teachers going to rural schools;  Recruitment, retention and developing some incentives so that people

are encouraged to teach in rural areas;  Raising the profile of educators in rural settings; and  National recognition and mutual registration so that teachers can work

across states.

Collaboration and Professional Learning Communities

31. Funding, structure and fostering of collaborative and professional learning communities (which include subject matter and leadership experts) during work time.

32. Team building around classrooms (involving support teachers, the classroom teacher and administrative support) is beneficial to both teaching and learning outcomes.

33. Models of co-teaching to enable teachers to share the teaching load and provide support to each other. Administrative staff could alleviate some of the current non-teaching burden faced by teachers.

34. The availability of part-time work is an emerging issue in the workforce, but is not currently accommodated in many school systems. Facilitation and support may help improve the culture of the profession.


35. Models of flexibility within schools, in areas such as school hours, school weeks and school terms, and the delivery of curriculum and customising content according to diversity in the classroom.

36. A good practice repository that both supports teaching research and helps schools share best practice.

Teacher Welfare

37. Teacher welfare is vital to ensuring teachers are retained and professionally supported.

Andrew Laming MP


4 April 2019