Growing More Local Teachers in the Regions

Training program expands further.
Oct 25, 2023
Program has been successful in growing regional teacher supply.

Instead of wrenching teachers away from their city lives to work in the regions where the teacher shortage is pretty acute, a program designed to encourage locals to enter teaching has been working well and is set for expansion.

The successful Grow Your Own Teacher Training program will introduce an additional stream called the Grow Your Own Local Teacher Pipeline program which will focus on supporting community members in four high-demand locations to commence a career in teaching.

Program participants will work in local NSW public secondary schools as educational paraprofessionals during their teaching studies and multiple new scholarships for those wanting to pursue a career in secondary teaching are on offer, especially in four high-demand locations in NSW.

The Grow Your Own Local Teacher Pipeline will centre on student teachers attending Charles Sturt University or Western Sydney University. Participants in the programs receive a $10,000 pre-tax training allowance per year (up to $30,000 for the degree) and continue working in their school as they study.

Upon completion, participants will graduate as qualified secondary teachers and will also be offered a teaching position at a NSW public school within their agreed location.

The Local Teacher Pipeline stream of the program will be piloted in four locations, including Dubbo and surrounds, Queanbeyan, Western and South-Western Sydney, and the Murray region.

Senior Lecturer in the Charles Sturt School of Education in Dubbo Dr Libbey Murray said the Grow Your Own Teacher Training Program (GYOTTP) and the Charles Sturt Collaborative Teacher’s Aide Pathway (CTAP) programs have been successful in attracting and upskilling regional support staff in local schools to become fully qualified teachers.

“We currently have more than 550 school support staff studying in our Grow Your Own Teacher Training and Collaborative Teacher’s Aide Pathway programs at Charles Sturt since the beginning of 2022,” Dr Murray said.

“That includes more than 150 in the GYOTTP studying across NSW, and more than 400 in the CTAP program studying with us from every state in Australia. They are doing wonderfully, and we are so proud of their hard work.”

Dr Murray said the Charles Sturt online programs and wraparound support provided made a tremendous difference to student completion rates.

“Our hands-on approach makes it so much easier for our dedicated school support staff to find a balance between work, life and study, and to make their dream of becoming a teacher a reality,” she said.

“We are excited to be making a significant impact on the teacher shortage in coming years, especially in our regions and in traditionally hard to staff locations.”

Dr Murray said another advantage of the students studying in these teacher training programs was their on-the-job experience from already working in classrooms.

“Our school learning and support staff know how children and adolescents learn, they know the schools they’re working in, and most importantly know their communities, so they are not only going to make great teachers, they will also be retainable in the profession, which is what schools and communities need.”

The Program focuses on recognising the prior vocational qualifications and knowledge of school learning and support staff to provide a flexible, supported and online learning pathway to help them become qualified teachers.

Visit the Grow Your Own Local Teacher Pipeline website and FAQs for further information on training with Charles Sturt University. Applications for 2024 scholarships close on the 31st of October, 2023.

Image by Pat Whelan