CQUniversity Australia

CQUni welcomes national approach to teacher education entry requirements 

Media Contact: Helen Huntly 0427 117 751 or or Ken Purnell 0434 554 668 or

CQUniversity has echoed the Australian Council of Deans of Education in welcoming the national approach to broad-based entry requirements, improved school partnership arrangements for professional placements, and a focus on academic graduate standards for teacher education announced by Ministers Garrett and Bowen this week.

Dean of Education Professor Helen Huntly says a national approach to professional experience is long overdue and agrees that these initiatives will drive innovative practice, a range of delivery options, and stronger reciprocal partnerships between schools and providers.

"We agree these initiatives will further focus efforts to build a teaching workforce informed by research and responsive to diverse student populations, parent and community expectations, and the digital economy," Professor Huntly says.

"I am assuming however that this Federal Government initiative will supersede the several State-based requirements that are currently placed on initial teacher education programs, and that the government will cover the implementation and associated costs of the proposed entry regimes.

"As a regional university, at CQUni, more than half of our teacher education students enter their programs from pathways other than directly from secondary school. It therefore makes sense to adhere to the spirit of the National Program Standard that requires universities to offer capacity -building literacy and numeracy experiences (and assessments) throughout all initial teacher education programs. "

CQUniversity Associate Professor Ken Purnell has applauded aims to ensure pre-service teachers have a genuine focus on teaching and particularly on learning gains of all students in their care while on practicums in their degree and once in the profession.

"I would welcome a more professional disposition at the outset of a teaching degree that we then nurture and expand - especially using professional learning in education sites such as schools.  Interest, as the research shows, is just as important as capability in learning," Assoc Prof Purnell says.

"Checking that pre-service teachers start with appropriate dispositions - albeit at a novice stage - and then graduate with expert professional dispositions should be a great step forward.

"One would reasonably anticipate that graduates are in the top 30% of the population in literacy and numeracy (most were in that top 30% to get into university in the first place). Ensuring that they are just prior to  graduation would be useful."

Assoc Prof Purnell says that, given the great diversity of schools throughout Australia and within the teaching profession, if an appropriate assessment framework for practicums that is both effective and efficient was developed, that would be very useful.

"However, this particular issue is rather complex as the standards between people likely to be making judgments using any such framework are likely to vary significantly. This discrepancy about implementing assessment standards is well documented in the research literature. So it is a complex issue to firstly develop such a framework and secondly to have the necessary support to ensure comparability of judgments between teachers (moderation).

"Such a review would be useful to improve the quality of pre-service teaching programs nationally. A former Minister for Education, the Hon Brendan Nelson noted that there were two standout pre-service teacher degrees in Australia at the time (2005): CQUni's and VUT's. So there is likely a difference amongst pre-service teacher qualifications on a national scale."