A range of initiatives will be rolled out to boost the number of teachers qualified in high-need and specialist areas, including secondary school Maths, Science, Technological and Applied Studies (TAS), and Inclusive Education.
These initiatives align with the 2021-22 NSW Intergenerational Report, which highlights that improving educational outcomes in our schools, including in STEM, is critical to ensuring the future workforce is equipped with the skills necessary for an advanced and productive economy.
These initiatives are designed to reduce barriers to career-switching by developing new accelerated pathways that will encourage academics, high-performing professionals and subject-matter experts to become a teacher in NSW public schools.
These strategies follow a recommendation in the Rural and Remote Incentives Review, which identified broadening entry pathways as an opportunity to enhance teacher supply, and a recommendation in the NSW Productivity Commission White Paper 2021 – Rebooting the Economy to pilot employment-based teaching pathways.
The program will be modelled on innovations trialled in other jurisdictions, with a focus on high demand subjects and locations, such as Maths/ Science and regional schools.
Retraining teachers will increase opportunities for experienced teachers to retrain in high- demand subjects (particularly in rural and remote schools) and create alternative and diverse professional pathway opportunities for teachers throughout their career.
The existing Teach and Learn Scholarship program will be reviewed and enhanced in 2022 to upskill more teachers, including those currently teaching out-of-field, to increase our supply of in-field STEM teachers.
Retraining in Inclusive Education
As outlined in the NSW Disability Strategy, we need a steady supply of high-quality teachers with expertise in supporting students with additional needs.
The Teacher Supply Strategy will expand the Inclusive Education scholarships to offer up to 200 teachers per year the opportunity to retrain to become formally qualified in Inclusive Education. These scholarships offer a significant professional development opportunity for eligible teachers to study while maintaining their current permanent position in our school system.
Greater expertise in Inclusive Education will lead to higher quality teaching and better educational outcomes – not just for students with additional needs, but across our entire school system.
Retraining School Learning Support Officers
This initiative will create new pathways into teaching by supporting high potential School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs) to retrain, leveraging their valuable knowledge and experience of schools and students.
There are more than 14,500 SLSOs employed in our public schools on a permanent and long- term temporary basis. The pilot program will focus on retraining SLSOs to qualify for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) teaching courses, and supporting them through their teaching qualification. This will include establishing a pilot in 2022.
Technological and Applied Studies (TAS) pilot
Under this initiative, the NSW Government will collaborate with the university sector to create new TAS teaching places that leverage existing NSW Government infrastructure. The pilot will address key challenges associated with running hands-on TAS subjects, including the facilities required.