New pilot program encouraging the switch to primary teaching

Jarrod Brown
Jarrod Brown

Teachers are being encouraged to pursue a career in short-staffed primary schools across New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria in a first-of-its-kind pilot program.

The Nexus program, run by La Trobe University, promises to create a further 105 primary school teacher places, thanks to a $7.89m funding boost from the Federal Government.

Nexus is a first-of-its-kind pathway into secondary teaching, enabling people to transition from other careers while gaining practical experience in a school setting. It launched in 2020 as part of the Government’s High Achieving Teachers (HAT) Program.

The program, targeted towards mid-career professionals, will pay teachers to re-qualify as primary school educators by covering the costs of their practical experience and offering extra mentoring and support during their career transition.

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The new jobs are the first of 1,500 expected to be created under the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, which Education Ministers agreed to last year.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said the HAT Program would help ensure more of the best and brightest people were funnelled into the primary school educator workforce.

“We don’t remember much about when we are little, but most of us remember our teachers’ names,” he said.

“That shows just how important our teachers are and the impact they have on us. And we don’t have enough of them”.

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La Trobe University’s dean of education, Professor Joanna Barbousas, said the foundation program had already been an “extraordinary” success in preparing teachers for placement in schools across Victoria. 

“Graduates of our Nexus program are exceptionally passionate and committed to working in schools – a huge win for students and their communities,” she said.

“With teacher shortages now reaching into primary schools, preparing teachers through evidence-informed approaches and gaining hands-on classroom experiences will set them up to make a difference in regional, rural and hard-to-staff schools.

The Victorian cohort of Nexus Primary participants will commence their studies in February 2024, with the New South Wales cohort beginning in July 2024.

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. Jarrod established his journalism career working on the education news and information site The Bursar. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.