Pyne wants more practical teacher training

The Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne. (AAP)

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has set up a review of teacher training to look at how student teachers can be better prepared to enter classrooms.

Teacher training is set for an overhaul with Education Minister Christopher Pyne wanting more focus on the practical aspects.

An eight-member ministerial advisory group will report by the middle of the year on how education degrees at universities can better prepare new teachers.

"There is absolutely no reason at all why Australia, as one of the wealthiest countries in the world ... shouldn't have the best teacher training in the world," Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.

"I want it to be more practical, I want them to have better experiences in the classroom rather than in universities and I want it to be less theoretical."

Mr Pyne said the only way the federal government could influence teacher quality was by looking at university courses.

He suggested the standard was too low because very few people failed teaching degrees.

But he said imposing minimum entry scores for teaching degrees was a "blunt instrument" that would not guarantee quality.

Instead he wants the advisory body to have a particular focus on in-classroom training.

"My instinct is that the more a teacher is in the classroom learning on the job about how to teach people how to count and to read, the better," he said.

Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven will chair the advisory group.

He has previously come out strongly against minimum entry requirements for student teachers and said there is too much policy focus on entry scores at the expense of graduate skills.

His university has among the lowest education degree entry scores in the country.

The Australian Education Union criticised Professor Craven's appointment, saying he was part of the problem.

"Minister Pyne says his agenda is teacher quality, but in fact he is undermining standards," president Angelo Gavrielatos said in a statement.

"He wants to make it easier, not harder to get into teaching degrees."

The union wants tougher entry requirements and more rigorous assessment of prospective teachers throughout their studies.

It also criticised the minister for not including any representative of state education departments, which employ the most teachers.

The Australian Greens said teaching wouldn't attract the best people until they were treated like professionals with better pay and resources.

My Pyne says the commonwealth has no influence in this area because it doesn't employ any teachers directly.

The advisory group also includes Grattan Institute education analyst Ben Jensen, Melbourne Graduate School of Education dean Field Rickards, Independent Schools Victoria chief executive Michelle Green, other education academics and award-winning principals.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said he welcomed the federal government's focus on further raising teacher quality.

"I initiated a review of teacher quality in NSW two years ago and made the issue a state priority ... I am very pleased to see it being made a national priority," he said in a statement.

Mr Piccoli said that from 2016, school leavers entering teaching degrees will need to have achieved a score of 80 or higher in three HSC subjects, including English.

And from 2015 teaching students will have to pass a numeracy and literacy assessment in their final year.

Mr Piccoli said the NSW government was working with universities to improve the content and practical components of teacher training.

"I look forward to working with Christopher Pyne and sharing with the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group the progress already made in NSW."

Source AAP

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