The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Applause for student-teacher plan



western Victorian education figure has applauded a program to expand student-teacher placements in the Wimmera.

Education and Training Department South West Victoria spokesman Chris Walter of Horsham said a partnershi­p between the State Government and three Victorian universiti­es to provide work-experience opportunit­ies in the Wimmera was ‘great news’.

“To have a large number of pre-service teachers working in rural and remote schools to complete their teacher training is exciting,” he said.

Mr Walter was commenting after Education Minister James Merlino announced an agreement involving the provision of an extra 60 student-placement opportunit­ies in Wimmera schools.

The program involves Federation, Deakin and Australian Catholic universiti­es providing placements of up to 25 days with an increasing focus of ‘specialist schools and inclusive education’.

The agreement also involves establishi­ng a new Teaching Academy of Profession­al Practice to support schools hosting pre-service teachers.

Federation University’s Horsham campus will become a hub for school and university partners.

The agreement runs from July 2021 to the end of 2022, a period designed to give partner universiti­es an opportunit­y to explore long-term support networks for rural and regional teacher education.

Mr Walter said the hope was student teachers forged lasting connection­s during their experience­s in the region. “Hopefully they become immersed in the country lifestyle and stick around to forge brilliant careers educating the young people of the Wimmera,” he said.

Federation University School of Education Dean Professor Claire Mclachlan said the partnershi­p was a ‘fantastic’ opportunit­y ‘to provide profession­al learning opportunit­ies to students about teaching in the regions and working as a community to provide a skilled workforce’.

“The teaching academies have previously mainly operated in metropolit­an Melbourne,” she said.

“This is the first time a teaching academy will be fully focused on teaching practice in the region.

“It is a great opportunit­y for the universiti­es to work with a large number of primary and secondary schools in the Wimmera to co-develop a shared understand­ing of effective teaching practice, which is genuinely informed by place-based understand­ings of effective practice.”

Deakin University vice-chancellor Professor Iain Martin added the partnershi­p offered an opportunit­y to develop the next generation of regional teachers.

“We are proud to be joining with other universiti­es and the Victorian government on this ground-breaking initiative,” he said.

Mr Merlino said the government was thrilled to help an extra 60 emerging teachers into schools across Horsham district.

“They will not only help our kids thrive but also receive the support they need to become great school teachers and leaders,” he said.

Higher Education Minister Gayle Tierney: “This is a great example of government, universiti­es and industry coming together on a solution that will contribute to Victoria’s pipeline of skilled workers and benefit our communitie­s.”

The government’s 2021-22 State Budget included $4.8-million for programs to support Victorian teacher developmen­t. This included two new Teaching Academies of Profession­al Practice partnershi­ps between schools and universiti­es and support to develop 10 existing partnershi­ps.

The budget also included $383.8-million investment in skills and training sector. a the

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