Improve Teacher Quality

Through the Smarter Schools National Partnership for Improving Teacher Quality the Australian Government is providing $550 million over five years (2008-09 to 2012-13) to support states and territories to improve the quality of the Australian teaching workforce.

Funding contributions made by the Australian Government to states and territories under the Smarter Schools National Partnership for Teacher Quality are as follows:

Smarter Schools National Partnership for Teacher Quality funding contributions
$154.1 million $122.4 million $95.2 million $35.2 million $48.9 million $11.4 million $5.9 million $8.6 million

NB: the above represents $481.6 million of the $550 million being provided under this National Partnership. $68.4 million has been retained by the Australian Government as a Commonwealth Own Purpose Expense (COPE) to support joint national activity.

Why focus on teachers?

Evidence shows that quality teaching can overcome location and other disadvantages and is the single greatest in-school influence on student engagement and achievement. Improving teacher quality requires both strong school leadership and new approaches to teacher recruitment, retention and reward.

What’s happening under this National Partnership?

Under this National Partnership, Australian governments are implementing a range of nationally significant and sustainable reforms targeting critical points in the teacher ‘lifecycle’ to attract, train, place, develop and retain quality teachers and leaders in our schools and classrooms.

Attract > Train > Place > Develop > Retain >

The broad areas for reform include:

  • attracting the best graduates to teaching through additional pathways into teaching
  • improving the quality and consistency of teacher training in partnership with universities
  • developing the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to promote excellence in the profession, including requirements for teachers to have knowledge and understanding of the learning needs of Indigenous students
  • national consistency in the registration of teachers to support improved mobility in the teaching workforce
  • developing and enhancing the skills and knowledge of teachers and school leaders through improved performance management and professional learning
  • increasing retention through improved in-school support and rewarding quality teachers and school leaders in rural/remote and hard-to-staff schools, and 
  • improving the quality and availability of teacher workforce data.

National Professional Standards for Teachers

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) was established to develop and implement several reforms for teaching and school leadership, including the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Through the implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, each state and territory is joining with the Australian Government to make sure whatever school a child attends, they will receive a world class education delivered by quality teachers and school leaders.

The creation of the Standards will influence the content of initial teacher education courses so that teaching graduates, no matter which institution they study at, are equipped with all they need to teach. The Standards will also influence the type of professional learning teachers need to continue to meet the Standards. The Standards also play a role in the registration of teachers across the country.

Further information about the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the other reforms AITSL are driving is available at the AITSL website.

Teach for Australia

Another key reform under this National Partnership is the Teach for Australia initiative. The Teach for Australia initiative enables top graduates from fields including maths, commerce, law and science to teach in schools where they can make the most difference.

The Australian Government has commissioned the Australian Council of Educational Research to conduct an independent evaluation of the Teach for Australia program. The Evaluation Report Phase 1 of a three phase evaluation is now available. The first two evaluation reports, of a three phase evaluation, are now available:

More information on the initiative is available from Teach for Australia.

Further information

You can find out more about this National Partnership by downloading the Improving Teacher Quality Agreement and fact sheet below.

Otherwise, the Smarter Schools Frequently Asked Questions can provide you with general information on all three National Partnerships.