Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program - FAQs

Find answers to the questions most frequently asked about the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the first intake of the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program pilot you must:

  1. be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident;
  2. be currently working as an SLSO in a NSW public school (open to both permanent and long term temporary);
  3. have a minimum of 12 months continuous experience in an SLSO role
  4. not currently be enrolled in or undertaking Initial Teacher Education studies;
  5. have endorsement from your current School Principal/s to participate in the Program;
  6. be willing to enrol in an accredited teaching degree with one of our partner universities (Charles Sturt University or Western Sydney University); and
  7. accept an appointment as a permanent full-time teacher on successful completion of your studies and work for a minimum of 3 years in a NSW Public School.

The program supports current SLSOs who have yet to undertake tertiary education to become teachers. If you have already enrolled in any ITE courses, including a Bachelor of Teaching or Education or Master of Teaching, please visit the Get Paid to Study page for further information on other scholarship offerings.

To be eligible for the program you can be either a permanent SLSO or a long-term temporary SLSO employed in an NSW public school. All classifications of SLSO are eligible (including SLSO Health Support, Hearing Support, Bilingual, Vision Support). SLSOs who are employed on a casual basis are not eligible for this program.

At this stage, the pilot is available to all SLSOs who meet eligibility requirements. As an indication, priority may be given to those currently working in, or willing to be employed as a teacher in select Connected Communities schools or one of the following areas: Albury, Armidale, Bankstown, Bathurst, Blacktown, Bourke, Broken Hill, Campbelltown, Central Coast, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Fairfield, Granville, Griffith, Liverpool, Maitland, Moree, Mount Druitt, Muswellbrook, Orange, Tamworth, Taree, Tweed Heads/Ballina, Wagga Wagga, Windsor, Batemans Bay, Lismore, Parramatta, Penrith and Queanbeyan.

To better understand the geographic locations/school education area you are able to select from and which schools are included, further information can be found on the staffing area spreadsheet or through the visual map.

For more information about specific schools that may be considered a priority in the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program please contact GrowYourOwnTeachers@det.nsw.edu.au.

Yes, SLSOs working in Schools for Specific Purposes are encouraged to apply.

At this stage, the pilot in 2023 is only open to SLSOs to undertake Initial Teacher Education to become teachers. In future intakes the program will also expand to be available for other School Administration and Support Staff to apply. You can subscribe to be notified of program updates.

Application process and support

Applications are currently closed.

As part of the application process you will be required to film a short digital story telling us about yourself and your motivations to become a teacher. You will also be asked have your current Principal/s complete a form to endorse your application and agree for the school to participate. Instructions and a template for the Principal to fill in is available within the application form. Your current Principal should also be listed as a referee on your application.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are strongly encouraged to apply for the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training program. The Aboriginal Programs team can provide further information and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and we encourage you to get in touch with them by phone on 1300 32 32 32 (select 3 > 3 > 1) or by emailing aboriginalemployment@det.nsw.edu.au.

Permanent and long-term temporary staff members who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander who are undertaking approved indigenous education studies which articulate into teacher education studies or approved initial teacher education programs at Western Sydney University, are entitled to special leave to cover:

  • compulsory residential attendance requirements;
  • practicum;
  • graduation ceremonies; and
  • time for related essential travel during usual working hours.

More information is available in the SAS staff handbook.

Program details

Applications are currently open and will close at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, 29 November 2022.

Participants in the first intake of the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program pilot will begin their studies in 2023.

For the pilot program commencing in early 2023, the department will support a cohort of up to 100 candidates to participate in the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program. Following this, there will be further intakes in future years.

Should you not receive a place in this program you may be eligible for another program or scholarship to assist in your transition to teaching.

Please visit the Get Paid to Study page of the Education website for further information about other scholarship opportunities with the department.

The 2023 intake of the program is aimed at current SLSOs with a minimum of 12 months continuous experience in an SLSO role who are committed to studying to become qualified teachers in NSW public schools. The opportunity is open for all SLSO types, including those employed on a permanent or long-term temporary basis. As part of the application process you will require endorsement from your current School Principal/s for you and your school to participate in the program. A template for the Principal to fill in is available within the application form.

We strongly encourage applicants with a desire to specialise in high demand subject areas including Inclusive/Special Education, Science, Technological and Applies Studies, Engineering and Mathematics.

The program is open to SLSOs who wish to study to become a teacher in a primary, secondary, central school or school for specific purposes.

The department will work with successful candidates, their schools and the university partner on their subject specialisation.

We strongly encourage applicants with a desire to specialise in high demand subject areas including Inclusive/Special Education, Science, Technological and Applies Studies, Engineering and Mathematics.

The department has partnered with Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University to deliver the Grow Your Own Teacher Training Program.

Based on your location, study preferences and prior qualifications, successful applicants can choose from a range of offerings at the partner universities.

Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt is offering a Bachelor of Educational Studies/Master of Teaching (Primary) or Master of Teaching (Secondary) pathway. You will study online, full-time or part-time, and can adjust your study pattern to help you manage your current employment as an SLSO and other life demands. You choose to become a Primary or Secondary teacher, and you choose to specialise in a Key Learning Area that interests you.

This Charles Sturt pathway can be completed in two or three years (full-time) for SLSOs with relevant previous university study and/or vocational qualifications (e.g., a Diploma or Cert III/IV Education Support). For SLSOs commencing with no prior university or vocational qualifications, the pathway will be four years (full-time). The Admissions team will assess your previous study and experience to ensure that you receive maximum recognition for prior learning and work experience.

Click here to find out more about the Charles Sturt University course offering, or please contact growyourown@csu.edu.au or 1800 275 278.

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University offers you the opportunity to study on-campus at Bankstown for an undergraduate Primary teaching degree and other campuses depending on your area of study for Secondary teaching degrees. For those completing a Master of Teaching (Secondary) degree you can study on-campus at Penrith (Kingswood) campus and at Bankstown for the Master of Teaching (Primary). You can also study some subjects either online or on campus. If you are completing foundational studies in preparation for transitioning into an inital teacher education degree, these programs are available at a range of locations through The College at Western Sydney University.

Click here to find out more about the Western Sydney University course offering, or please contact enquirieseducation@westernsydney.edu.au or 1300 897 669.

As part of your application, you will be able to nominate a preferred university.

Successful applicants will then be supported to apply directly to the university.

Yes, there is an option at both universities to complete your studies online.

Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt University offers you the opportunity to study online, full-time or part-time for both your Bachelor of Educational Studies, and your Master of Teaching (Primary) or (Secondary) degrees. This allows SLSOs flexibility to continue their important work in schools while studying from anywhere in NSW, at any time of day. If you live near one of CSU’s many regional NSW campuses at Albury, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Port-Macquarie, or Wagga Wagga, you can access 24 hour learning commons and libraries, as well as our sporting and recreational facilities.

Charles Sturt has a wide range of short online courses and workshops to help increase your skills in academic writing, referencing, and assignment preparation, and provide online tutors, academic skills advisers, online forums, and librarians, to support participants throughout their studies.

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University offers you the opportunity to study on-campus at Bankstown for an undergraduate Primary teaching degree and other campuses depending on your area of study for Secondary teaching. For those completing a Master of Teaching (Secondary) degree you can study on-campus at Penrith (Kingswood) campus and at Bankstown for the Master of Teaching (Primary). You can also study some subjects either online or on campus. If you are completing foundational studies in preparation for transitioning into university degrees, these programs are available at a range of locations through The College at Western Sydney University.

Course fees will vary depending on your chosen educational pathway and university provider. For more information you can contact the universities directly - Charles Sturt University (1800 275 278 or growyourown@csu.edu.au) or Western Sydney University (1300 897 669 or enquirieseducation@westernsydney.edu.au).

A $30,000 training allowance will be paid directly to program participants (up to $10,000 per year) to assist with the cost of study. Participants can choose how to use this payment.

As part of the program participants will receive a Commonwealth Supported Place at the partner university, however, there will be additional course costs associated with completing studies. Support is also available to participants through HECS-HELP.

Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt University will provide dedicated, ongoing, wrap-around support for Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program participants enrolled in the Bachelor of Educational Studies and Master of Teaching (Primary) or Master of Teaching (Secondary) program, to help overcome the barriers to study and provide multiple opportunities for success. This will include:

  • Enrolment and transition support to help guide SLSOs through the initial application and enrolment process, and ensure a smooth and informed transition to university study.
  • A dedicated Student Support Officer who will act as a university mentor throughout the course.
  • A dedicated School Liaison Officer will work with you, your school and our partner schools to optimise your experiences and learning.
  • Ongoing support will be provided by the university to upskill students in academic writing, referencing, understanding assignments, time management, and using the online library. This includes one-on-one support with Academic Skills Advisers, as well as support through online forums and workshops.
  • Wellbeing support will be provided through a range of student welfare, safety, and wellbeing support programs.
  • First Nations students will be supported with all aspects of their academic journey, including social, cultural, and personal support. Whilst services refer to First Nations students, CSU respectfully acknowledges that students identify in a range of ways, such as with one or more Nations or language groups, as Indigenous, as Aboriginal and/or as Torres Strait Islander.
  • Disability support will be provided to ensure all students have equal access to learning. Students will work one-on-one with a liaison officer to create a Study Access Plan and support is provided for any condition (permanent or temporary) which may impact successful study.
  • Our Grow Your Own Student Support Officer and Charles Sturt Academic Progress team will work with students who may need additional support.
  • Communities of Practice and peer support networks will be set up across the entire Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program cohort, which will include webinars and online study sessions, to provide professional learning and help SLSOs share experiences, goals and successes.

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University will provide dedicated, ongoing, wrap-around support for SLSOs to help overcome the barriers to study and provide multiple opportunities for success. This will include:

  • Enrolment and transition support to help guide SLSOs through the initial application and enrolment process, and ensure a smooth and informed transition to university study.
  • A dedicated Student Support Officer who will act as a university mentor throughout the course.
  • A dedicated School Liaison Officer who will work with you, your school and WSU’s partner schools to optimise your experiences and learning.
  • University advisors, alongside your mentor teacher, who will support you during professional experience placements.
  • An Academic Preparation Module to assist you to identify your current capacities in assessing your readiness university study. 
  • Intensive transition support for the first six months, focusing on study techniques, academic literacy, university requirements, returning to study, and balancing study, work, and personal commitments.
  • As a Western Sydney University student, you will have access to all existing student support mechanisms, such as the Badanami Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, Study Smart Librarians, Peer Assisted Student Support, Disability Services and Student Welfare services.
  • Communities of Practice and peer support networks will be set up across the entire Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program cohort, which will include webinars and online study sessions, to provide professional learning and help SLSOs share experiences, goals and successes. 

Participants will receive the following incentives and benefits:

1. $10,000 per year training allowance (up to $30,000) to contribute to the costs of study;

2. employment whilst studying:

  • remain employed as an SLSO in current school while studying
  • part-time employment (up to three days per week) as an educational paraprofessional in the final two years of study
  • in final year of studies, like all ITE students, may apply for interim approval to teach

3. a permanent teaching position upon successful completion of studies and work for a minimum of three years in a NSW public school; and

4. access to information sessions and peer networks.

If a participant is unable to fulfil the terms of the program agreement, they will be required to repay the department for any monies paid to them as part of the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program. 

The length of study will be similar to a standard accredited teaching degree and could be shorter or longer depending on prior qualifications and experience of SLSOs, and whether they choose to study part-time or full-time.

Please view the prior qualifications and study duration documents for each university below before reaching out to the universities to start a conversation about your unique circumstances.

Program participants will be able to nominate up to three local Principal Networks for permanent employment as a teacher once they complete their studies. The school they will be appointed to will be dependent on vacancies at the time but we will work closely with the participant and school Principals on this. 

As part of the application form, you will be asked to select up to three Principal Networks. As an indication, priority may be given to those currently working in, or willing to be employed as a teacher in select Connected Communities schools or one of the following areas: Albury, Armidale, Bankstown, Bathurst, Blacktown, Bourke, Broken Hill, Campbelltown, Central Coast, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Fairfield, Granville, Griffith, Liverpool, Maitland, Moree, Mount Druitt, Muswellbrook, Orange, Tamworth, Taree, Tweed Heads/Ballina, Wagga Wagga, Windsor, Batemans Bay, Lismore, Parramatta, Penrith and Queanbeyan.

To better understand the geographic locations/school education area you are able to select from and which schools are included, further information can be found on the staffing area spreadsheet or through the visual map.

For more information about specific schools that may be considered a priority in the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program please contact GrowYourOwnTeachers@det.nsw.edu.au.

Educational paraprofessionals assist, support and work closely with teachers in the classroom to improve student learning outcomes. You can read more about the role of an educational paraprofessional on the paraprofessional webpage of the Department of Education intranet.

Information session Q&A

You can choose to study either primary or secondary teaching initially. Following this, you can complete a Master of Inclusive Education.

Inclusive Education is a pathway included in the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training Program. You will first need to undertake your initial studies, and then complete a post-graduate qualification. The options at each of the universities are:

Charles Sturt University

Teachers seeking to extend their knowledge or qualifications in Inclusive Education can complete Inclusive Education subjects as part of the Bachelor of Educational studies, however, to be recognised as a Special/Inclusive Education teacher, you will need to complete a Master of Inclusive Education.

Western Sydney University

To be approved to teach Special/Inclusive Education, you will need to complete your initial teaching degree (Bachelors or Masters) followed by the Master of Inclusive Education. This will require an additional 1.5 - 3 years of study time dependent upon study load.

You are able to study in whichever mode best meets your situation and needs. You can begin your studies full time and transition to part time or undertake study part time and decide how many subjects to study each semester.

As part of the application process, you will be able to nominate up to three local Principal Networks for permanent employment as a teacher once you complete your studies and gain approval to teach. You will be able to nominate the principal network you currently work in and be appointed within this area.

Whether you are appointed to a permanent position in your current school will depend on vacancies at the time and we will work closely with the participant and school principals on this.

As part of the application form, there is a spreadsheet you can download to help you identify your current principal network.

Program participants will need to complete their professional experience placements in line with current NESA policy. You will complete placements at other schools as well as at your current school and we recommend that you do the final placement in your current school. 

You will be required to take LWOP during your professional experience placements. Participants are granted with a training allowance to assist with costs associated with study, including placements.

When a participant transitions to working part-time whilst in the program, the program can provide schools 0.2 FTE to backfill the SLSO position (one day per week).

You will transition from working as an SLSO at your current school into an educational paraprofessional role (up to three days per week), funded by the program.

Participants in the program would be paid as an SLSO according to the number of days they work. We expect that most SLSOs in the program would study part time to enable them to continue to work whilst studying.

You will be required to work as a teacher in a NSW public school for a minimum of 3 years.

It is generally expected that after a participant completes their studies and gains permanent employment as a teacher that this will be at a full-time capacity.

We understand that circumstances will vary and we will work with participants on a case-by-case basis. If a participant was to be employed part time as a teacher during the service commitment period, this would be pro-rata, for example, 5 years at 3 days per week.

Yes, central schools are also eligible (noting you will need to nominate a primary or secondary pathway as part of your application given the different ITE requirements).

Successful participants can apply for up to a 10-day reduction of professional placement days if/when they have been an SLSO for over two years. You can apply for that later in your degree and will be instructed on how to do this by your Subject Coordinator/Course Director.

Any qualifications you may hold as an SLSO, for example, a Cert III or IV in Education Studies may allow credit.

No, there is no age limit for the program. You will just need to meet the eligibility requirements.

Payments made as part of the program must be declared as assessable income on annual income tax returns. This payment is not tax exempt.

You are encouraged to seek financial advice for your own personal circumstances.

More information

For general enquiries you can contact the Grow Your Own - Teacher Training team at growyourownteachers@det.nsw.edu.au.

If you have any further questions about the university courses after reading the information available above, you can contact:

Return to top of page Back to top