Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders with Charles Sturt University senior education lecturer Dr Libbey Murray and director of external engagement James McKechnie.

Big boost for teacher training

An innovative approach to teacher training developed right here in Dubbo is now being doubled to accommodate demand from aspiring teachers.

Based on the Collaborative Teacher’s Aide Pathway (CTAP) pioneered by Charles Sturt University (CSU)’s Dubbo campus, the Grow Your Own Teacher Training pilot initially aimed to support up to 100 School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs) to upskill and study teaching degrees while working in regional schools.

Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said the trial has been wildly successful and will now expand to 200 participants in 2023 alone, including staff from Dubbo College Delroy Campus, Gulgong Public School and Narromine High School.

“The success of this program is really no surprise, as it’s been developed in partnership with principals, teachers and SLSOs on the ground,” Mr Saunders said.

“Our support staff have strong ties to their local community and are already doing fantastic work supporting students in our country schools. 

“This program is removing barriers for them to pursue their dream of becoming a teacher without having to travel away from home, so it’s no wonder it’s proving so popular.”

Another 300 participants are set to commence in 2024 and 2025.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the program is part of a range of programs to diversify teacher supply, with SLSOs remaining employed in their school while they complete their study.

“Regional areas like Dubbo, Gulgong and Narromine are incredible places to live and work, and now thanks to this program more people can train to become teachers without leaving their local communities,” Ms Mitchell said.

Ms Mitchell said there are about 45,000 support staff across NSW schools, representing a large proportion of the workforce and a rich talent pool. 

“This program is about modernising teaching pathways in NSW and encouraging people already working in our schools to take the next step by becoming a teacher,” Ms Mitchell said. 

The NSW Department of Education has partnered with Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University to deliver the Grow Your Own Teacher Training program. 

Participants receive a $10,000 training allowance per year (up to $30,000 for the degree) and can work part-time as an educational paraprofessional in their final four semesters of study.

The Grow Your Own Teacher Training program is complemented by the Grow Your Own Community Entry Pathway, which encourages year 12 students and community members living in rural and regional areas to explore a career in teaching.

The Grow Your Own program is part of the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government’s Teacher Supply Strategy. Building on our existing successful pipeline of teachers, the strategy will deliver 3,700 teachers with the right subject qualifications placed in locations of need over the next 10 years. In just over a year, the Strategy has delivered 460 current and trainee teachers.

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