Australia’s current policy priorities in education involve aligning ongoing teacher education efforts with the hiring needs and staffing pressures of schools, in addition to designing and building induction approaches that support novice teachers’ professional growth as they move from teacher education to full-time employment (Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), 2016).
Across the eight states and territories in Australia, recent graduates of initial teacher education (ITE) programmes commonly experience challenges securing permanent employment as full-time teachers. Currently, a relatively low number of recent graduates obtain full-time employment upon graduation. In 2014, less than half of graduates of undergraduate programmes had obtained full-time employment (45% primary teaching graduates, 46% of secondary graduates, 34% of early childhood graduates) (Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), 2016) citing the Australian Graduate Destination Survey).
Preparation and induction
For teachers who do secure full-time employment upon graduation from an ITE programme, it is common for them to experience a disconnection between their teacher education and their new professional demands. This disconnection can be the result of a sharp increase in job expectations, including the expectation that new teachers will be fully independent, and the challenge of applying theory to practice. As such, there is a need to develop and build upon existing approaches for induction support that would aid early teachers’ transition into the profession (Teacher Educational Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG), 2014). One possibility is for ITP providers to play a more systematic role in supporting early career teachers (Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), 2016).
The Teacher Intern Placement Program is an innovative approach to integrating teacher preparation, selection and hiring. It offers prospective teachers a full-time (35 hours/week) internship in a local classroom during the final year of their ITE programme, with the promise of hire in that same school upon graduation the following year. The programme was developed by the Tasmanian Department of Education in partnership with the University of Tasmania (Australian Education Union, 2017; University of Tasmania, 2016).
The programme’s stated aim is to identify, attract and retain student teachers with suitable academic, personal and professional aptitude into priority teaching areas and locations as identified by the department. Tasmanian government schools with ongoing staffing needs participate in the programme.
The programme began in 2016 with a cohort of 40 interns. Along with the guarantee of a permanent teaching position, interns receive school-based mentoring and professional development, the opportunity to participate in the department’s induction programme designed for graduate teachers, use of a teacher laptop and access to the department’s network, accommodation and/or travel support where applicable, consideration for a Limited Authority to Teach in their final year of study, and a stipend of AUD 15 000 (Rockliff, 2015).
The programme offers:
The programme also introduces an element of selectivity; candidates must apply and compete for the internship, and selection is assisted by use of the Teacher Capability Assessment Tool (University of Melbourne, 2017). Over time, the programme may also support efforts to attract and retain highly capable teachers.
The programme responds to multiple challenges identified by the OECD Review Team in its visit to Australia from 22-26 May 2017:
The programme illustrates the following hindering conditions identified by the OECD Review Team in its visit to Australia from 22-26 May 2017:
Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) (2016), OECD Initial Teacher Preparation Study: Australian country background report, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. 
Australian Education Union (2017), Teacher Internship Placement Programme, (accessed on 12 February 2018). 
Rockliff, J. (2015), New on-the-job learning for student teachers, 2015, (accessed on 12 February 2018). 
University of Melbourne (2017), Teacher Capability Assessment Tool (TCAT), (accessed on 12 February 2018). 
University of Tasmania (2016), New teacher internship placement programme, (accessed on 12 February 2018). 
This case study describes a “promising practice” drawn from an OECD review of initial teacher preparation in Australia from 22-26 May 2017.
The OECD Review Team – Hannah von Ahlefeld (OECD), Michael Day (University of Roehampton), Kjetil Helgeland (OECD), Ee Ling Low (Nanyang Technological University), Rob McIntosh (consultant) and Emily Rainey (University of Pittsburgh) – identified a number of “promising practices” in each country. These practices may not be widespread or representative, but seen in the context of other challenges, they represent a strength or opportunity to improve the country’s initial teacher preparation system – and for other countries to learn from them.
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