The strategy includes a range of initiatives focused on growing and diversifying the pipeline of teachers entering the workforce.
These initiatives will help NSW to not only continue to meet demand now and into the future, but also grow a more flexible supply of teachers that can adapt to a range of challenges.
Recruitment beyond NSW
Recruitment of already qualified teachers from beyond the NSW system is one of the few rapidly available sources of teacher supply, given the long lead time to ‘grow’ a teacher locally (4 year undergraduate).
Building on similar effective models from other jurisdictions, the strategy includes a plan to recruit more than 500 experienced and qualified STEM teachers over the next 5 years from outside the NSW system to fill critical STEM roles, including in rural and remote schools.
This initiative aligns with a recommendation in the NSW Productivity Commission White Paper 2021 – Rebooting the Economy to recruit overseas qualified teachers.
It will involve cooperating with Commonwealth Government agencies to create opportunities for Australian teachers overseas to return to NSW,
as well as initiatives to attract interstate teachers and overseas trained teachers once international travel resumes.
Making teaching more attractive
As outlined in the NSW Productivity Commission White Paper 2021 – Rebooting the Economy the attractiveness of teaching as a career has declined relative to other professions, particularly for high achievers (Goss and Sonnemann, 2019).
The Teacher Supply Strategy is funding research to understand how we can make teaching more attractive and underpin campaigns to promote the teaching profession and attract the teachers we need to high-demand areas.
As research has shown, the value society places on teaching is linked to the attractiveness of teaching as a career; teachers’ sense of worth and purpose in the profession; and their ability to impact student academic achievement.
This initiative builds on experience in other jurisdictions (such as the UK and Victoria), as well as from other sectors, of a targeted awareness- raising and marketing campaign to attract people to teach in NSW. This will focus on in- demand subjects and locations, and will include a promotional campaign in 2022.
Differentiated career pathways have been proven to boost the status and attractiveness of teaching.
In Singapore, for example, all teachers adopt either a teaching, leadership or specialist (focus is on research and teaching policy) track. Singapore’s education system attracts high- performers, and teaching is desirable and competitive.
The FASTstream program was recently launched to offer a fast-tracked pathway into school leadership, with the right supports. This program will give high-performing teachers, high- potential teaching graduates and mid-career professionals an opportunity to accelerate their teaching careers into a principal role within 10 years.
FASTstream will attract and retain our future leaders and place them where they are needed most. The program will also help to strengthen the rural leadership career pathway, which was a recommendation of the Rural and Remote Incentives Review.
Program applications to the inaugural program were highly oversubscribed, indicating a high demand from the profession for such programs. Each year, 30 high-performing teachers (from NSW public schools and other systems in Australia) and 20 high-potential teaching graduates and initial teacher education students will be selected through a rigorous selection process. The first cohort will start the program in Term 1, 2022.
Casual Work Support
Casual teachers are an essential part of our flexible workforce. There is an increasing rate of casual teachers transitioning into temporary roles, which can reduce the supply of casual teachers available to support schools’ needs. Our temporary teaching workforce is also essential to provide coverage for long-term absences, such as parental and long-service leave.
The Casual Work Support initiative will help more rural and remote schools access casual teachers where they are needed most.
The department will expand the 2021 Casual Supplementation Pilot, which is testing different resource-sharing models – including employing teachers in ‘hub’ schools who can also address the needs of surrounding ‘spoke’ schools. These teachers are able to be deployed between the hub and spoke schools to cover classes.
The expanded pilot will attract and support more teachers to stay working in regional NSW, and support more schools in sourcing quality casual teachers.
The department will also continue to work to ensure that staffing processes are fair and transparent, with active monitoring of issues which could impact supply through joint monitoring with the NSW Teachers Federation on our Staffing Agreement.