The National Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools (NETDS) Australian teacher training program has delivered positive results since it was rolled out over a decade ago.
Designed to address teacher capacity in low socio economic status schools and create better outcomes for students in disadvantaged communities, the program is now run in four Australian states and offered at seven universities, with funding from the Origin Foundation, Origin’s philanthropic foundation.
So far it has produced over 500 teachers, who have been employed in more than 250 schools.
Head of the Origin Foundation, Sean Barrett said that effective teachers and quality teaching made the greatest difference to student learning outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged students. “High achieving teacher graduates are almost twice as likely to be employed in affluent state or independent schools rather than disadvantaged schools that need them most,” he said.
“We have been proud to support the NETDS program which has been incredibly successful at placing these exceptional teachers into the schools that need them most.”
The program, an invite-only initiative offered to top students, was founded by Professor Bruce Burnett and Professor Jo Lampert.
“We are now finding that the teachers who have graduated as part of the NETDS program are not only in high demand but they are getting recognised at the academic level from other scholars. These exceptional teachers are going to be our future leaders,” Professor Burnett said.
Last month, in April 2019, Professor Lampert presented at a prestigious Presidential Session of the AERA (American Educational Research Association) conference in Toronto, Canada with more than 15,000 delegates from around the world.
During her presentation, she offered insights into teacher education innovation, citing the program’s ability to recruit the best pre-service teachers to prepare them to work in the schools that need them most; schools servicing low socio-economic communities.
“Teacher redistribution is the result: 90 per cent of the highest performing graduate teachers in participating universities now accept their first teaching positions in high poverty schools. Importantly, they stay in those schools,” explained Professor Lampert.
Elise Milner, who is now in her final year of NETDS program, was invited to take part based on her academic performance.
When she received the invitation, she said many of her colleagues had misconceptions about families whose children weren’t turning up for school.
“Many people have assumptions about who might be at fault or why it is happening, but those assumptions and stereotypes aren’t based on actual knowledge or education,” Ms Milner said.
“As a teacher, you can’t work from a deficit perspective. Teachers need to focus on the student and understand that every child has skills and strengths to bring to the classroom, regardless of where they live or what their life situation may be.”