Initial teacher education reforms

Excellence in teacher education reforms

The Excellence in Teacher Education reforms are a set of eight actions to:

  • improve the quality of initial teacher education (ITE)
  • improve support and development for teachers early in their careers
  • increase the status of the teaching profession.

Together, these actions aim to:

  • identify the most suitable candidates for teaching
  • provide them with excellent preparation
  • continue to support and develop them for the critical role they play in helping children and young people succeed in learning and in life.

The actions build on the national agenda for initial teacher education reform implemented by the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). They leverage best practices already used in Victoria.

To build the reforms, we consulted with teachers, principals, universities, TAFEs, parents and student representatives, as well as other educational experts.

Reform actions

The eight reform actions are across four key areas of reform:

Area 1: Raise the quality of teaching and the status of the profession through a robust approach to selection into initial teacher education

  1. Introduce a minimum ATAR for year 12 ITE entry, starting at 65 in 2018 and progressing to 70 in 2019.
  2. Implement the Victorian Selection Framework that considers both academic capability and personal attributes.

Area 2: Ensure high-quality pathways into the teaching profession for capable and committed candidates from diverse backgrounds

  1. Work with providers to:
    • develop and promote high-quality alternate pathways that articulate into teacher education programs
    • design an equivalence framework for entry into ITE through alternate pathways.

  2. Support rural candidates, especially those from designated equity groups, through scholarships and alternate pathways.
  3. Expand employment-based ITE pathways to attract a more diverse range of high-quality candidates.

Area 3: Improve course quality through partnerships, and feedback loops between graduates, schools and ITE providers

  1. Support and sustain necessary partnerships between ITE providers and schools with a focus on improving teaching practice, and increasing Victoria’s knowledge on best practice ITE.  
  2. Develop a feedback mechanism to improve quality of programs; a more consistent approach to assessing practicums; and greater consistency in capstone assessments.

Area 4: Develop early career teachers to become excellent teachers and leaders

  1. Improve induction and mentoring through a state-wide approach that establishes new teachers as lifelong learners.

Framework for being selected into an ITE course

The Victorian Selection Framework introduced a minimum Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for year 12 students entering undergraduate teaching programs.

The minimum rank was 65 in 2018 and increased to 70 in 2019.

The framework also raises the quality of teaching by introducing a more sophisticated way to select entrants for ITE. Education providers now include specific personal attributes for entry, which are listed below.

The attributes are consistent with the attributes demonstrated by effective teachers identified by the AITSL. Read more about selection of entrants into initial teacher education at the AITSL website.

The selection framework was designed collaboratively with the Victorian Institute of Teaching and is supported by Victorian initial teacher education providers.

Quality teaching and improved student outcomes can be achieved by the validation, reporting and verification of the following the three key attributes outlined below.

A triangular diagram reading: Quality teaching and improved student outcomes can be achieved by the validation, reporting and verification of: Personal attributes, Academic capability and pathways, and Evidence, effectiveness and impact 

Quality pathways to teaching degrees

There are many pathways for gaining entry into undergraduate teaching degrees, including:

  • advanced diplomas
  • associate degrees
  • vocational education and training (VET) courses.

Diploma of Teacher Education Preparation

The Diploma of Teacher Education Preparation is an AQF 5 VET pathway to initial teacher education. The course is designed to provide opportunities for a diverse range of people to pursue a teaching career, such as those who did not complete Year 12, who either:

  • do not initially meet entry requirements for a teaching degree
  • may wish to change their career at a mature age.

The diploma course supports students to develop language, literacy and numeracy skills and to meet entry requirements for a higher education ITE qualification. Any credit for prior study is determined by the ITE provider and applied in accordance with AQF policy.

Students undergo a structured practical experience in a school. They also develop knowledge of:

  • the education environment
  • the teaching profession and approaches to learning in the context of early childhood, primary and secondary schooling
  • legislative and policy contexts for education systems and sectors in Victoria
  • strategies to address diversity in educational settings.

The diploma is currently delivered by RMIT University, Victoria University Polytechnic and Swinburne University. It was developed by the Victorian Institute of Teaching, principals, teachers, higher education and TAFE providers. The Department sponsored its development. 

Entry standards from alternate pathways

We are working with the Victorian Institute of Teaching and education providers to ensure that all candidates, whatever their pathway into a teaching course, meet the required entry standards.

Scholarships and support

These include:

Employment-based pathways

Employment-based pathways allow students to both work and study as they complete their teaching qualification. They support secondary schools – particularly those experiencing staffing difficulties and those in disadvantaged or rural/regional communities – to employ high quality candidates. Participating programs offer considerable support to intern-teachers and their host schools.

The Department supports the following employment-based pathways:

  • The Teach For Australia program involves intern teachers completing a Master of Teaching (Professional Practice) at the Australian Catholic University. The program places high-achieving graduates, professionals and career-changers with subject area expertise in government secondary schools serving low socio-economic communities. Associates commence teaching at the beginning of term one and complete a Master of Teaching (secondary) (Professional Practice) during their two-year teaching placement.
  • The Melbourne Graduate School of Education’s Master of Teaching (secondary) internship aims to place interns in difficult-to-fill vacancies and focuses on recruitment of graduates from backgrounds that reflect teacher employment demands, particularly mathematics, science and languages. Interns are placed in government secondary schools experiencing staffing difficulties or located in rural/regional communities while completing their Master of Teaching over two years. The interns receive a high level of support from the university’s teaching specialists both on campus and while on placement.
  • The Nexus program at La Trobe University involves completion of a Master of Teaching (secondary). The program is designed to recruit, prepare, support and graduate high achieving teachers through an alternative pathway into secondary teaching in socio-culturally diverse, low socio-economic schools located in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and regional centres in which the university has campuses: Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury Wodonga and Mildura. Students complete the Master of Teaching (secondary) qualification while working in schools as an education support worker for the first nine months, and then move to full teaching responsibilities for the following 12 months.

Schools interested in any of these programs can contact the provider for more information. 

Improving course quality

School-university partnerships

Teaching Academies of Professional Practice

Teaching Academies of Professional Practice involve clusters of schools partnering with higher education institutions to deliver an immersive preparation experience for pre-service teachers.

Each partnership aims to strengthen the links between theory, research and practice to enhance course effectiveness and test innovative approaches to initial teacher education.

National Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools (NETDS) program

The National Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools (NETDS) program identifies high performing pre-service teachers and provides them with specific preparation to work in disadvantaged and diverse settings. The program addresses a wider need to attract high-performing teachers to these school communities. Refer to Through Growth to Achievement (page 71) for a case study on the NETDS program. 

The program is currently offered by Deakin University and Victoria University. For more information about the program, contact

The Graduate Teacher Survey

The Graduate Teacher Survey seeks feedback from new provisionally registered teachers (PRTs), mentors of teacher graduates and principals to inform the delivery of high quality initial teacher education programs. The survey has to date been conducted twice (2017 and 2019) and findings have been shared with ITE providers and school leaders in government, Catholic and independent schools.

Findings from the 2019 survey include:

  • 90 per cent of PRTs rated the professional experience component of their course as ‘completely’ or ‘mostly’ important to their decision to become a teacher
  • 82 per cent of PRTs said they were ‘completely’, ‘mostly’ or ‘moderately’ likely to recommend their teacher education course to others
  • 86 per cent of PRTs rated ‘regular formal mentoring sessions to debrief on improving practice’ as ‘completely’ or ‘mostly’ helpful to them.

For more information about the Graduate Teacher Survey, contact:

Developing early career teachers to become excellent teachers and leaders

To support teachers in government schools at the beginning of their careers, we have strengthened teacher induction and mentoring.

Successfully inducting graduate teachers into the profession will lift the quality of their teaching and their commitment to improving student outcomes.

The Department supports graduate teachers joining the profession through a number of initiatives, including:

  • The Graduate Teacher Learning Series is an online professional learning series designed to address specific graduate needs, reflect graduate voice and encourage development of professional networks.
  • Area-based graduate teacher conferences. Across every Area in Term 3, new graduate teachers will be invited to attend a Graduate Teacher Conference. The conferences are for all graduate teachers in their first and second years of teaching.
  • The Effective Mentoring Program. Mentoring and classroom observations are consistent practices during a graduate teacher’s two year induction journey. Mentor teachers may have completed formal training through the program. Through the program, every graduate teacher in a Victorian government school will be matched with a mentor teacher.
  • Induction support materials have been updated and located in a central portal that is a one-stop-shop for graduate teachers, mentors and principals.

Get advice

For more information on the Excellence in Teacher Education reforms contact