An innovative approach to teacher training in regional NSW has proven wildly successful and is now being doubled to accommodate demand from aspiring teachers.
While the Grow Your Own Teacher Training program initially planned to support up to 100 School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs) to upskill and study teaching degrees while working in local schools, its popularity now means the program will double to 200 participants in 2023 alone, with another 300 set to commence in 2024 and 2025.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the program’s success was no surprise and was a big win for regional students.
“Our regional support staff have strong ties to their local community and are already doing fantastic work supporting students in our country schools,” Mr Toole said.
“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.”
Nationals 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.
“Our regions 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.
Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon said the University is excited to partner with the NSW Government to expand the Grow You Own Teacher Training program.
“Providing School Learning Support Officers with a supported and streamlined pathway that recognises their prior learning will help them to achieve their career goals while addressing the demand for teachers in the regions,” Professor Leon said.
“With three-quarters of Charles Sturt University graduates starting their careers in regional Australia, this program will put more teachers in rural and remote classrooms.”
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 Nationals’ 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.
For more information visit: https://education.nsw.gov.au/teach-nsw/become-a-teacher/grow-your-own