As national concerns over the quality of Australian schooling continues to hit the press, two new schools joined the Teaching School Alliance Sydney (TSAS) this week. This program solves some of the key problems associated with attracting high performing people into teaching, providing advanced training, continuous mentoring, an income, fees offsets, and the potential to walk straight into a job at the end of the program.
The national press was paying attention to this tectonic shift in aligning quality delivery to classroom readiness. Two new announcements of schools joining the Alliance include St Andrew's Cathedral School and Inaburra School. Dr. John Collier, the principal of St Andrews Cathedral School, Sydney, noted to SMH reporter Jordan Baker that he saw the Alphacrucis relationship as a way of dealing with the "somewhat unpredictable" supply of teachers who were applying for positions at the school. Many of these people, his colleague at The Scots College, Dr. Ian Lambert, noted, are not as "classroom-ready as they could be".
The first interviews for candidates for the program were held at The Scots College, Bellevue Hill, last Friday. The quality of candidates was high from the start, and 'several were offered cadetships on the spot'.
Referring to the standard retail model of training and HR approach of schools, Dr David Hastie, Associate Dean of Education Development at Alphacrucis College, noted: "In schools, it's pretty much a lucky dip, where you put out a job ad and hope the right person turns up. This [approach, however] is really about taking more agency over workforce planning. [The schools] wanted to be able to have much more guarantee of quality of teachers coming into their workforce. They wanted to be able to map out the design of staff coming in. It's like a cadetship in a large accounting firm." (Jordan Baker, Private Schools to train their own teachers, SMH 22 November 2019]
At the same time, as Jill Rowbotham from the Australian noted, the cadetship has particular strengths in solving some of the most difficult problems of quality teacher supply for regional areas. Schools which regain a sense of agency in recruiting staff are able to find staff compatible with and committed to the school. As David Hastie noted, “We wanted to make sure that we can guarantee a particular type of teacher that’s going to be a really good fit for the culture. The idea is that you are training people from the regions…and they stay in the regions. When the model is sustainable, most teachers won’t need to leave to train, and that’s revolutionary for reversing social disadvantage in regional and remote education.
“In particular, we’re very interested in exploring how that might operate in our most disadvantaged communities because teacher churn is high and teacher supply is extremely unreliable. It tends to be one year in, one year out, fly in fly out. If you can actually train people from the bush, in the bush, for the bush, and then you’ve got yourself a solution for not only reversing disadvantage in those communities but also more broadly for regionalisation as a policy.”
Enrolment of candidates continues. If you are a bright, capable, ethos-aligned future teacher, contact: Dr David Hastie, [email protected].
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