A key step to addressing Australia’s teacher shortage is elevating the profession’s status in society, according to a new evidence review by the Association of Independent Schools of NSW (AISNSW).
AISNSW Chief Executive Dr Geoff Newcombe AM said Reviewing the Evidence Base: Attraction, Pathways and Retention found that teacher shortages have been a global issue for 20 years.
“The evidence review found that across the world, higher pay alone rarely delivered improved retention or performance,” Dr Newcombe said.
“Some pay-based solutions were less effective on teacher retention than previously thought, especially one-off bonus payments and performance pay linked to student achievement.
Dr Newcombe said the research highlighted the need to regard teachers more highly and raise the status of teaching in society.
“This is a matter for coordinated attention across state and national governments, industry, higher education institutions and the community.”
The review by AISNSW’s The Evidence Institute and Australian Catholic University’s Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education found that in countries where education was regarded as a high-status profession, high achieving students expressed greater interest in teaching.
“Overseas, the status and intellectual challenge of teaching generated more interest from high achieving students, boosting competition for places that in turn raised entry standards,” Dr Newcombe said.
The review also concluded that teachers needed more support and mentoring in their early years as they transitioned from higher education into the school workforce.
“It is important to match new teachers with the right mentors and to support those mentors with appropriate resources, incentives and professional learning,” Dr Newcombe said.
The review also found that new teachers were disheartened by the amount of paperwork – or ‘administrivia’ – that came with the job.
“They suddenly realise their job is less about teaching children - which is what they wanted to do and have been taught to do - and that administration is a bigger task than expected. This creates a misalignment of their expectations,” Dr Newcombe said.
“Teachers also want to have a voice in the school’s direction and practice; this was very important in building a school culture that valued teachers and made them want to stay.”
The review’s findings will inform Growing and Nurturing Educators (GANE), a three-year AISNSW strategy to attract quality, diverse people into the teaching profession.
“Key findings regarding barriers to entry will inform the development of GANE projects that are innovative, future-focused and respect the nuance of the Independent school sector,” Dr Newcombe said.
This story originally appeared as a media release from the Association of Independent Schools of NSW (AISNSW).