The West

Six-week course to fast-track teachers
Six-week course to fast-track teachers

A program that puts top university graduates in front of classrooms after six weeks of intensive training will be rolled out in WA next year to help schools deal with a shortfall of secondary teachers.

The Teach for Australia scheme, which started in Victoria in 2010, recruits outstanding graduates from any field except teaching who commit to working in poor schools for two years on a reduced teaching load while completing a postgraduate qualification.

The Education Department confirmed 36 public high schools in disadvantaged parts of Perth would be able to hire Teach for Australia "associates" if they had relevant vacancies next year.

Workforce executive director Cliff Gillam said WA schools had not been allowed to employ associates until the Teacher Registration Board was established in late 2012 and the rules around teacher registration changed.

It was technically possible for schools to employ them this year, but few vacancies met constraints imposed by Teach for Australia course provider Melbourne University.

"We haven't experienced a critical secondary teacher supply shortage in our schools at this stage," Mr Gillam said.

"In 2015, when Year 7 students join public secondary schools, there may be more opportunities for teaching associates.

"In public schools about an extra 1000 more secondary teachers will be needed in 2015 - particularly in specialist subject areas such as maths and science."

State School Teachers Union vice-president Lincoln Rose said it opposed the scheme because it put "unqualified" teachers in disadvantaged schools that had students with complex problems.

"Six weeks isn't enough," he said. "At a time, when we want the profession improved, this is a backward step."

Teach for Australia chief executive Melodie Potts-Rosevear said all associates taught in schools servicing poor communities, which were often hard to staff.

The West Australian

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