New Teacher’s Aide Pathway to Help Critical Teacher Shortages

Flexible course to deliver help in the classroom.
Jun 23, 2022
Getting to work while completing a degree.

A popular new course looks to provide much needed to support to teachers and lets students work on their teaching qualification while gaining valuable classroom experience.

The Collaborative Teacher’s Aide Pathway (CTAP) at Charles Sturt works with schools and focuses on recognising the skills and previous study of teachers aides such as Certificate III or IV of Education Support, or a Diploma of School Age Education and Care, to support them to complete an online primary or secondary teaching degree.

Principal of Tumbarumba High School Mr Michael Blenkins said the CTAP was a great way for staff in Student Learning Support Officer (SLSO) roles to be able to maintain the critical work they do with students in the classrooms already, while also studying and training to be fully qualified teachers in the future.

"The program allows our SLSOs to study over three semesters which also conveniently coincides with the summer school holidays. This is well-aligned with the needs of school communities, particularly those staff enrolled in the program,” Mr Blenkins said.

First Nations student and a recipient of the Charles Sturt Yindyamarra Scholarship Ms Teaghan King said she was excited to be putting the skills and experience she has already gained in the school setting towards her degree.

“As the Aboriginal Education and Engagement Officer at Macquarie Anglican Grammar School in Dubbo I assist the teachers and students with cross-cultural educational and communication techniques with First Nations students.

“I am looking forward to bringing those skills into daily teaching practices with the kids, which I believe will assist with educational outcomes for First Nations students.” 

Teachers’ aides and others in support teacher roles can enrol in the Charles Sturt Bachelor of Educational Studies/ Master of Teaching pathway, which is designed to facilitate completion of an online teaching degree in as little as two or three years full-time (depending on credit), while still being employed at their current school in the same capacity.

The pathway can be studied online, full-time or part-time, from anywhere in Australia, and has three commencement sessions across the year. 

Senior Lecturer with the Charles Sturt School of Education Dr Libbey Murray said the program had received an overwhelming response from teachers’ aides and principals across Australia.  

“The Collaborative Teacher’s Aide Pathway (CTAP) is proving to be a real success,” Dr Murray said. 

“We have more than 43 students enrolled in Session One and another 50 applicants so far for Session Two in 2022 and are on track to reaching 100 students in total.

Students can specialise in primary or secondary teaching and in a key learning area or major teaching area of their choice.

The pathway offers up to two years of credit to prospective students who are working as teachers’ aides/ classroom support personnel. This includes one year of credit for students who come in with a Cert III/IV/Diploma in an Education-related discipline (e.g., Education Support, School Age Care, or Early Childhood Education and Care), plus additional subject credit for students who have completed the previous university-level study.

Dr Murray said the majority of teachers’ aides are receiving one year of credit upon enrolment.

“This turns a four-year degree pathway into a three-year pathway for most, which not only cuts down the time students have to study, and the cost involved in that, but helps our dedicated teachers’ aides to be employed as classroom teachers sooner,” she said.

“The majority of students enrolled so far are from regional, rural, and metropolitan NSW, but we have also received enrolments from students in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.

Placement days can also be reduced based on experience working in schools. While placements usually need to be completed outside of students’ current workplace, there is scope for teachers’ aides to complete their final 30-day placement in the school where they currently work. This helps reduce travel or financial burdens on students during their studies.