Labor's Plan to Fix Teacher Shortages

  • An Albanese Labor Government will stop the slide in student results and make sure Australian schools have the world’s best teachers with a national drive to fix teacher shortages and attract our best and brightest to teaching.

  • Australian schools have fallen behind under the Liberals – in the most recent international tests, Australia recorded our worst ever results in reading, maths and science.

  • Our hardworking teachers do a terrific job, but we’re facing shortages of thousands of teachers by 2025. This will mean bigger class sizes, not enough experts teaching maths and science, and less one-on-one attention for kids.

  • Labor will set a goal to double the number of high achievers choosing teaching, create new paths into teaching for experienced maths and science professionals, offer bursaries for talented students and attract more talented teachers to regional schools.

Why do we need this?

The Morrison Government has let our children down as student results fall even further behind countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Korea. Year 10 students today are a full year behind on their reading and maths compared to year 10 students twenty years ago.

This is a disaster for students, who aren’t being properly prepared for high-skilled, well-paid jobs, and it’s a disaster for the economy. If we want a better future in Australia, we need a smart, skilled workforce so we can compete for jobs and growth with our neighbours.

Having a great teacher is one of the most important factors that boosts student results. But right now, one in four experienced teachers are thinking about quitting the profession because of workload, stress and a lack of career opportunities. At the same time, far fewer high achievers are choosing to study teaching today than 30 years ago. If the federal government doesn’t act now, we’re going to have a massive teacher shortage in coming years – we will be about 4,000 teachers short by 2025.

The details

An Albanese Labor Government will:

  • Lead a national drive to raise the status of teaching and fix teacher shortages. We will set a goal to double the number of high achievers choosing teaching within a decade and make sure teaching is a great job that the community values and teachers love.

  • Attract our best and brightest to study teaching with bursaries for talented students.

  • Offer more practical paths into teaching for experienced professionals with skills in high demand areas like maths and science, so they can receive a part-time salary and mentoring while studying intensive degrees.

  • Work with States and Territories so teachers have a better career path with more opportunities to become recognised and rewarded as experts, and to pass on their skills to other teachers without having to leave classroom teaching.

  • Attract more talented and committed teachers to regional schools.
Bursaries for talented students

An Albanese Labor Government will tackle Australia’s serious teacher shortages and recruit the brightest teachers with a $50.8 million investment in bursaries to attract high achieving school students to choose teaching.

Under Labor’s plan, up to 5,000 new students will receive a $10,000 a year bursary throughout their teaching degree. Bursaries will be available to high school leavers who achieve an ATAR of 80 or above, First Nations students, and students from regional areas.

Labor’s bursaries will also help to attract talented teachers to rural, regional and remote areas to close the regional education gap, with a top up payment of $2,000 a year for students who do their placements in regional areas.

Labor will explore options with universities and school systems for bursary recipients to be able to work a day a week as teachers’ aides as part of their bursary, so they can get more practical experience, sooner.

This policy will help reach Labor’s goal to double the number of high achievers choosing teaching within a decade. If we can achieve this goal, it is estimated the average student would gain an extra six to twelve months of learning by Year 9.

Practical pathways into teaching

Labor’s $71.5 million boost to the High Achieving Teachers Program will support up to 1,500 high achieving professionals – including mathematicians and scientists – to retrain as teachers by paying them a part-time salary as teachers’ aides and getting them into fast-tracked masters programs. This will include 700 new Teach for Australia teachers and 60 new teachers through LaTrobe’s Nexus Program.

The fund will also support innovation in initial teacher education and will focus on attracting, selecting and preparing experienced, quality teaching candidates to fill gaps in the teaching workforce; in subjects like science and maths, and in regional and remote areas.

This means more teachers with industry experience will be in our classrooms within two years.

Better career paths for great teachers

If we want to make sure Australian teachers are the best in the world, we also need to think about how best to harness the existing teaching workforce. Teaching is a great job, but too many teachers are leaving the profession early because career progression opportunities are limited – right now, one in four teachers are planning to quit the profession.

We need to provide great career paths so excellent teachers have more opportunities to be recognised and rewarded as expert master teachers and can share their skills and experience with their colleagues without having to leave classroom teaching. This might mean higher pay and more responsibility for elite teachers working as literacy and numeracy specialists or helping coach early career teachers in the classroom.

Labor will work with States, Territories and school systems as part of the next National School Reform Agreement to build better career paths for Master Teachers.

Labor will also invest $24.2 million to respond to the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review, including by expanding Quality Teaching Rounds and developing new micro-credentials of classroom management and phonics.