Published 31 Oct 2023
Annual Report 2022-23
For Victoria, like many other jurisdictions across Australia, teacher workforce shortages have had a major impact on the ability of early childhood settings and schools to recruit qualified, suitable teachers.
This Annual Report recognises VIT’s achievements in a year characterised by a return to face-to-face learning, but with the shadow of the previous two pandemic years ever present.
The experience of COVID-19, and the remote learning it necessitated, allowed us to gain a better understanding of the complexities, changes and challenges of contemporary teaching. For VIT, the year brought those complexities and challenges in new magnitude, and our focus turned from managing the changes to using them to ensure the quality and strength of the profession.
The VIT’s fundamental purpose is to ensure a teaching profession of the highest quality, capability and integrity. This is a goal without a limit, without an end point because, like quality teachers, we too are striving for continuous improvement.
The profession is suffering a serious workforce shortage, and VIT’s Accreditation and Professional Practice Branch has been actively facilitating the development of innovative methods of initial teacher education (ITE). Victoria is leading the way in partnering with ITE providers to hone a range of options which allow pre-service teachers to fast-track their courses and / or ‘learn while they earn’. However, VIT’s most expert work has been to ensure that the quality, relevance and currency of such programs are maintained.
We have also been working with the higher education providers to endorse high quality continuing education programs and micro-credentials to give teachers, principals and early childhood managers the assurance that their professional learning meets emerging needs, and adds value to their knowledge and practice.
The Teacher Engagement and Registration (TER) Branch has also responded to the workforce shortage challenge by facilitating the registration of significant numbers of teachers returning to the workforce or seeking permission to teach (PTT). All of this has been additional to the annual renewal of registration checks to which over 110,000 teachers are subject.
Large volumes of teacher vacancies have led to greater numbers of qualified teachers from interstate and overseas applying to teach in our schools and early childhood services. The TER Branch works with the Professional Conduct Branch to ensure these applicants are suitable to teach. This has its own complexities, especially when dealing with overseas agencies and less rigorous registration schemes than Victoria’s.
There is another challenge here, large numbers of new teachers, teachers outside the system or those with special authority to teach (such as PTT) must be supported in their work in schools. We need them to thrive in the classroom and benefit the system for years to come. The Professional Practice team has been proactive in supporting PTT holders with fully subscribed and highly valued classroom readiness seminars. This is just one area of outreach to the profession.
The Professional Conduct Branch continues to receive disturbing numbers of teacher conduct matters. This has placed the Branch under huge strain, and it is a credit to our staff that they continue to apply the same exacting standards in managing these matters. To make our protective measures more efficient and effective, the team has devised and implemented a new prioritisation model to ensure a proportionate and timely response to the most serious matters.
Council is humbly grateful for all our officers, so capably inspired and led by our CEO, Peter Corcoran. They too have been affected by workforce shortages. They too have been required to pivot and adapt to the complex, dynamic and burgeoning workload of the past year(s!). However, they have continued to give their best to our vital work in raising the quality of teaching, and providing for the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
With our combined efforts, we aim to build public confidence in the teaching profession – a profession we have all benefited by and wish to see grow in quality and esteem into the next challenging years.