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Aussies who take up classroom teaching jobs to get 40 per cent pay rise and $50K bonuses

Professionals who want to change careers to become teachers can get pay raises and huge bonuses in a plan to solve the critical teacher shortages.

The framework established by the Commonwealth-backed Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) includes paid 12-month apprenticeships to entice university graduates from various fields to learn on-the-job.

By the end of the internship, graduates would have a two-year master’s degree in education and, once in the profession, would be on track to earn much more competitive salaries with a 40 percent pay increase — or about $50,000 — proposed for excelling teachers.

In Australia, lead teachers are paid about 10 percent more than peers, but abroad they get about 40 percent more to keep them in the industry.

The AITSL aims to bring Australian teachers’ earnings in line with their overseas counterparts under the plan, which could allow the salaries of the most talented educators to rise above $175,000 a year.

Federal and state education ministers will meet next week to discuss massive reforms to entice teachers to join the profession and stay (Photo: Annandale Public School in Sydney)

Federal and state education ministers will meet next week to discuss massive reforms to entice teachers to join the profession and stay (Photo: Annandale Public School in Sydney)

“The biggest influence on student learning is the quality of teaching,” AITSL chief executive Mark Grant said the Australian.

The AITSL believes that higher pay for top teaching positions would entice more teachers to stay in work compared to moderate, but generally more expensive ‘general pay rises’.

Lead teachers in Australia are highly skilled, take responsibility for coaching other teachers and are often the head of classes or departments within a school.

Only about 1,025 teachers are certified as lead teachers, and the AITSL wants to increase their numbers so that they become more common, in a similar way to Singapore’s successful system in which the number of lead teachers was recently tripled.

In Singapore’s system, after three years on the job, teachers are assessed annually to see if they should be put on the leadership path.

The AITSL reforms will set the stage for a workforce emergency summit next week, attended by the new Federal Education Minister, Jason Clare, along with state and territory education ministers.

Mr Clare said the federal government was already providing bonuses to entice school leavers to become teachers — including $40,000 college scholarships for top achievers.

‘More children are going to school now than ever before… but fewer people are going to university to teach,’ said Mr Clare.

He noted that the number of people pursuing teacher training has fallen by 16 percent since 2012.

The other problem, he said, is teachers who feel “burned out” and leave their jobs.

The government hopes to attract more graduates to teach with paid internships under the already existing High Achievers Teachers program.

But the AITSL proposal goes one step further, suggesting that IT workers, lawyers, accountants and other skilled professionals can also access the paid internship to transition into teaching mid-career.

A national assessment committee to ensure ‘quality and consistency’ of education degrees is also proposed by the AITSL.

New Education Secretary Jason Clare (pictured with his wife Louise Tran and their children) said the number of trainee teachers has fallen 16 percent since 2012.

New Education Secretary Jason Clare (pictured with his wife Louise Tran and their children) said the number of trainee teachers has fallen 16 percent since 2012.

The NSW cabinet is already taking measures to tackle the teacher shortage.

Hundreds of school administration, executive and support staff will be hired in the state by the fourth semester to help teachers under pressure.

Beginning in the fourth semester, more than 200 new administrative functions will be piloted to assist public school teachers with tasks such as data entry, paperwork, and coordinating events and field trips.

Thousands of teachers resigned in late June over pay and conditions, with the NSW Teachers Federation describing the state government’s offer of a three percent pay increase as an insult.

Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell said the new roles would reduce the administrative burden for teachers and open doors for people looking to re-enter or retrain.

‘Our teachers are skilled professionals and their time is valuable. However, they extend to too many non-educational and low-value activities,” Ms Mitchell said on Sunday.

‘Running a modern school is complex. We need to look at the work that employees do in schools and think differently about how it is done.’

Ms Mitchell said it was a ‘great opportunity’ for parents and carers to fill the roles and work during school hours.

NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet (pictured) is already working to cut red tape to ease the pressure on teachers in his state

NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet (pictured) is already working to cut red tape to ease the pressure on teachers in his state

But Labor shadow treasurer Daniel Mookhey said the government’s announcement was a ‘patch solution’ to an immense problem.

“It is sad that the government has had to issue an SOS to parents to come to the aid of solving their failure to generate enough teachers for our children,” he told reporters.

Ms Mitchell said recruitment had also begun for 780 deputy principal positions.

“This is just the beginning, and we will scale up what we see working once this trial is completed next year,” she said.

The teachers’ strike on June 30, shortly before the start of the NSW school holidays, was the third in six months.

According to the latest offer from the state government, teachers in Queensland will be among the highest paid in the country.

Consecutive wage increases of four percent over the next two years, and then three percent the year after, are on the table, as is a cost of living premium.

The added incentive is designed to address rising inflation and is linked to the previous year’s consumer price index.

Under the offer, all employees are paid a lump sum equal to the difference between the increase in the CPI and the increase in the base wage.

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