Preparing our brightest student teachers for schools in need
21 May 2014
More than 30 promising student teachers at the University of Newcastle Central Coast campus will be the first in NSW to participate in a national program designed to prepare them for successful careers in low socio-economic status (SES) schools.
The National Exceptional Teachers in Disadvantaged Schools (NETDS) program, to be launched on Thursday, selects high-achieving education students to follow a specialised curriculum and undertake a practicum experience with partnering low SES schools.
The Origin Foundation has provided $2 million to fund the program nationally, with the University of Newcastle being one of the first partners in NSW.
Education Professor Jenny Gore said the program would offer student teachers targeted and supported exposure to low SES schools, preparing them for the demands of working in a disadvantaged community.
"The NETDS program will create a pathway for the highest quality teachers to be thoroughly prepared for roles within the schools in NSW that need them the most," Professor Gore said.
"In Australia our least experienced teachers often find work in low SES schools and communities. These teachers deserve additional support for the transition into these schools given the well-known impact of the quality of teaching on student outcomes.
"I work from the premise that all teachers can deliver quality teaching, regardless of their environment, if they have the conceptual tools to do it. The mentoring, support structures and networks of the NETDS program will help our student teachers develop the knowledge, resilience and adaptability, which are necessary for them to prosper in disadvantaged settings."
The expansion of the program to NSW follows its successful delivery in Queensland by pioneers of the program, the Queensland University of Technology. Eighty-three per cent of the first QUT cohort of graduates and 91 per cent of the second cohort progressed to employment at schools with Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage scores of less than 1,000 (the national average).
Head of the Origin Foundation Sean Barrett said he hoped the NETDS program would lead to a brighter future for students in low SES schools.
"We are proud to support the University of Newcastle to foster the education and careers of student teachers, which in turn will help the youth of NSW in disadvantaged areas."
The NETDS program will be launched at the student union building at the University of Newcastle Central Coast Campus on Thursday 22 May from 4pm-6pm.
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