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Media release
Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015

Audit finds university teaching courses ‘can do better’

An audit of NSW teaching degrees has revealed opportunities to improve the preparation of the next generation of school teachers, Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said today.

“Students deserve the best possible teacher in front of their class as they make their way through the education system and it is my responsibility as Minister for Education to do everything I can to lift the quality of teaching across NSW schools,” Mr Piccoli said.

“This is why I asked the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) to audit NSW teaching degrees and provide recommendations about areas in which they can be improved.”

Mr Piccoli said teaching institutions will need to demonstrate their graduates are ready for the important job they are about to undertake when they enter a classroom.

“Of course, schools will support new teachers through mentoring and supervision but school authorities, including the Department of Education and Communities, need to know key aspects of their preparation have been properly addressed,” he said.

Recommendations made by BOSTES to improve teaching degrees include:

  • beginning teachers must have effective classroom management skills and be trained to support children with special needs;
  • primary teachers must be skilled in the explicit and systematic teaching of phonics and phonemic awareness;
  • new quality standards be prepared for online degrees;
  • online teacher education providers must take responsibility for finding professional experience placements for their students; and
  • an annual survey of beginning teachers and their principals about the quality of teaching degrees be undertaken.

“BOSTES already assesses the content and delivery of teacher education programs against national standards as part of program accreditation, necessary for their graduates to be accredited as NSW teachers,” Mr Piccoli said.

“I have now commissioned BOSTES to work with universities and other teacher training institutions on the new more rigorous approval process and on ways to improve their teaching programs.”

BOSTES President, Tom Alegounarias said the reports, which are key actions from the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning reforms, provide a better understanding of the teacher education landscape in NSW.

“Overall NSW higher education providers are producing quality teaching graduates. However, there are some areas of teacher education that need further research and others where we can take action to improve outcomes now,” Mr Alegounarias said.

BOSTES will establish a working party this year to implement the recommendations in the reports, with representation from the three school sectors and universities.

The three ‘Quality of initial teacher education in NSW’ reports can be downloaded from

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