The key messages in this Spotlight reveal that:
- To ensure strong student outcomes, we need a
sustainable supply of high-quality teachers with the right set of skills working
in classrooms where they’re needed most.
- Teacher supply and demand is a complex equation with many interacting variables and
inputs, and no easy answers. The evidence base for understanding teacher supply
and demand is currently incomplete – some elements are known and quantifiable,
while others are more difficult to isolate given current data limitations.
- Emerging evidence suggests the pace of teacher workforce growth will not be able to keep
up with increasing student demand. This is especially true in some geographical
locations and subject areas.
- It is increasingly
unlikely that the teacher supply pipeline will be sufficient to replace
attrition due to retirement, let alone any additional, pre-retirement attrition.
This is particularly concerning given the high proportion of teachers
indicating they intend to leave the profession due to pressures like excessive
workloads and stagnating salaries.
- Initial teacher education (ITE) commencements decreased by 19% from 2017 to 2018, with a further 1% drop
- In addition to the
supply pipeline through ITE, there are other factors affecting teacher supply
and demand at the national and local levels that are more difficult to quantify
including workforce attrition, demand for subject specialisations and the
casualisation of the workforce. The potential impacts of alternative channels
of teacher supply such as migration, attracting mid-career changers into
teaching and fast-tracking pre-service teachers into classrooms are largely
- In addressing current and future teacher shortages, strategies must aim to both attract and retain high
quality teachers with the right skills, where they’re needed most. To do this,
both supply through ITE and factors negatively impacting the overall workforce
experience need to be addressed.
Australian schools are facing a critical shortage of
teachers that is likely to worsen in the coming years (Department
of Education, 2022b). A growing student population combined with declining
commencements into initial teacher education (ITE), a lack of casual/relief
teachers (CRTs), stressors impacting teachers’ decisions to stay in the
profession, and the looming retirement of ‘baby boomer’ teachers have created a
perfect storm of workforce challenges for Australia’s education sector. This
issue is dominating the national education discourse. Teacher shortages are also a global concern. Europe is facing similar challenges to Australia, with 35 of 43 education systems across the continent reporting teacher shortages (European Commission et al., 2021). Globally, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics projects that 69 million additional teachers are needed to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030 (UNESCO, 2016).
On 12 August 2022, Australia’s Education Ministers met with
teachers, school leaders, and other education experts to discuss issues and
ideas to prioritise actions to address the issue of teacher demand, supply, and
retention. Listening to the voices of teachers and leaders, our Ministers
committed to develop a National Teacher Workforce Action Plan by December 2022
and to take a national approach to increasing the number of people entering and
remaining in the profession.
The Australian Government has begun processes working to
fast-track migrant teachers, and states and territories are rolling out various
policy changes seeking to boost the number of students entering teaching
programs, as well as increase the supply of quality teachers in classrooms
across all states and territories, and in metropolitan, regional and remote
areas. Many of these responses are not new, but projections of teacher
shortages have given them increased urgency. Some strategies include:
- accelerated pathways into teaching
- scholarships for priority cohorts of teaching students
- enhancing supports available for early career teachers
- providing financial incentives and other supports for
teachers to relocate and remain in the geographical locations and subject
specialisations where they are needed most
- providing government owned and/ or subsidised housing in
regional, rural and remote areas
- supporting teachers to retrain in specialist subjects
- seeking to attract more international teachers
- communications and marketing campaigns to promote the
teaching profession (Department
of Education, 2022a).
Jurisdictions are heavily invested in attracting and
retaining teachers. Western Australia (WA) is implementing pay rises to
mitigate cost of living pressures and has committed $30 million to reduce
compliance time and additional duties for teachers, recognise weekend work, and
put in place wellbeing measures. Victoria is focusing on workload issues and has
promised 1.5 fewer face-to-face teaching hours for each teacher next year at a
cost of $700 million for the 1,900 additional teachers that will be required to
achieve the aim (ABC
News, 2022). Strategies for internship type programs are under consideration. For
example, the Victorian and New South Wales (NSW) state governments are aiming
to work with universities to get university students into classrooms as early
as six months into their ITE program to work as assistant teachers (Bita,
However, as the breadth and scale of policy responses
demonstrate, issues of workforce supply are inherently complex. Teacher supply
is influenced by a complicated interplay of factors, some of which are known
and quantifiable through existing, nationally available data and others that
are more difficult to discern and measure. Using existing data, it is possible
to predict national growth in school student enrolments to understand how
teacher demand, at the aggregated national level, might change in the coming
years. However, supply and demand issues can be quite localised – what works in
one location may not work in another. We have limited understanding of
differences in demand across different local markets.
Teacher Workforce Data (ATWD) initiative is a national project supported by
all federal, state and territory governments, that provides detailed longitudinal
data on the number and characteristics of pre-service teachers progressing
through the ITE pipeline, the characteristics of the teacher workforce and
attrition, and will provide complex predictive analysis of supply by
geographical location beginning from late 2022. From the ATWD and other
sources, we have increasing data on the stressors in the workforce that might
lead to deficits in the teacher supply pool. However, we have limited data on the
factors that impact teachers who leave the profession, the availability of
teachers with specific subject specialisations relative to workforce demand,
geographical differences in supply challenges, and the complex interplay of
supply and demand across early childhood, primary and secondary teachers. Moreover,
the ATWD is not funded to include demand data, limiting its capability to
provide a truly effective, cross-jurisdictional, labour market model.
There is evidence to suggest that teachers are leaving the
profession due to some combination of excessive workloads, work environment,
work stress and stagnating salaries. What is clear is that Australia’s current
and impending teacher workforce crisis will require nuanced strategies designed
to address both the acquisition of new teachers and the retention of those
currently in the workforce, based on comprehensive data. This Spotlight seeks
to highlight what we know about teacher supply to understand the challenges in
building a sustainable and effective teaching workforce.
The demand for teachers grows as more students enrol in
schools each year. From calculations using Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
population projections, we know that national student population growth will
continue in the coming decade. However, national trends are of limited value
when trying to understand teacher demand in different geographical regions across
the country. Though demand can be quantified at the national level, we simply
do not have data that provides a more granular level of projection. This is
largely attributable to the highly localised nature of education in Australia
whereby regional differences in schooling contexts are not captured across data
sets. Moreover, the siloed nature of data from different sources makes it
difficult to model student enrolment projections across the different labour
markets in Australia. This makes it challenging to pinpoint where growth in
student enrolments will occur in the coming years, limiting our understanding
of which kinds of teachers are needed, and where. Given that policies targeting
teacher supply and demand may work in some contexts but not others, these data
limitations are crucial to our understanding of effective responses.
In 2021, there were 4,075,337
students enrolled in 9,581 schools across Australia. Between 2011 and 2021 an
additional 567,579 students entered Australia’s education system, in line with
population growth. However, due to the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19
pandemic, student enrolments only increased by less than one percent from
2020-2021 (0.7%). Changes in migration account for the difference in the
standard growth rate, with net migration of children aged 5-17 in 2020-21 being
29,360 lower than 2018-19 (ABS,
2021). While the pandemic has slowed the growth in student enrolments, on
average, the Australian student population has been growing 1.5% per annum
Calculations with ABS population projections suggest it is
likely student enrolments will continue to grow at a slightly lower average of
1.3% per annum between 2021 and 2031. This means that in the next ten years the
total Australian student population will grow by half a million, a 13% increase
in comparison to 2021. This growth will be similar at the primary (1.3% per
year) and secondary (1.2% per year) levels.
What this national trend analysis does not reveal, however,
is the types of teachers that will be required to meet this growing student
demand, nor where they are needed most. There is a continued lack of ‘demand’
data, which systems and sectors need for accurate workforce modelling. Enrolments
in different school types show distinct patterns. Primary enrolments decreased
by 0.6% from 2020 (1,894,535) to 2021 (1,882,803). Secondary enrolments
increased by 0.7% in the same period (from 1,218,854 in 2020 to 1,227,817 in
2021). Combined school enrolments grew 3.6% from 2020 (882,204) to 2021
(913,763), while special school enrolments grew 1.2% in the same period (from
50,365 to 50, 954).
Important jurisdictional and contextual differences across
Australia require a more nuanced examination of teacher demand. Some
information is available to provide this nuance, while much is not. We know
there are differences in trends in population growth between capital cities and
other areas, at a national level. According to the ACARA School Profile, since
2008, the student population has grown faster in major cities and regional
areas compared to outer regional, remote and very remote areas. Total
enrolments in remote and very remote areas have been declining, particularly in
the last five years (on average, by 0.5% per year in remote areas and 0.7% per
year in very remote areas). However, while enrolments in remote and very remote areas may be declining,
anecdotal evidence suggests we currently cannot provide or retain the number of
teachers needed in these areas.
Like student enrolments, at the national level the teaching
workforce has been growing year on year. In 2021 there were 336,408 teachers in
Australian schools, a 2.3% increase from 2020 (328,812). On average, the
total teaching workforce has grown 2.3% per year since 2017. Forty-one percent
of these teachers work in primary school settings, 31% in secondary, 25% in
combined and 3% in special schools – this workforce split between school types
has been relatively stable since at least 2008. Since 2017, the primary
teaching workforce has grown an average of 2% per year while the secondary
workforce has grown an average of 2.2% per year.
Like enrolments, the teaching workforce has been growing faster in major cities
(2.5% per year since 2017) and inner regional areas (2.1%) than outer regional
(1.3%), remote (0.5%) or very remote (0.7%) areas. While these data do not reveal
a teacher shortage, teacher supply is more nuanced than national figures
The data used to derive these historic trends in the teacher
workforce, the ACARA School Profile, captures data for each school in Australia
whereby schools report ‘the number (and full time-equivalent) of full-time and
part-time teaching staff members.’ This head count is unlikely to capture CRTs
or registered early childhood teachers not working in schools and does not
include registered teachers not working in schools. While a headcount of
teaching staff at schools is important, the total workforce must exceed this
number so that there are casual staff available to backfill teachers when
required. We know from the Australian Teacher Workforce Data (ATWD) initiative that
roughly 10 percentof all teachers are CRTs.
At present, we havelimited national data on the casual teaching workforce. The lack of
longitudinal data on this population is problematic for assessing workforce
trends and modelling future supply issues. Unlike the ACARA School Profile, the
ATWD has visibility of what is often termed the latent workforce, or the
teachers currently working outside of teaching and school leadership, with
teaching qualifications. Within the latent workforce there may be registered
teachers who intend to return to teaching or are available to fill workforce
gaps. However, the size of this cohort and their motivations for maintaining
registration while not teaching are unknown and as such, it is unclear to what
extent this group of registered teachers can contribute to alleviating teacher
Sectors and jurisdictions have responded to the urgent need
for workforce related data and conducted their own modelling to estimate the
number of new teachers required in coming years. In their submission to the
Quality Initial Teacher Education (QITE) Review in 2021, Catholic Schools NSW
estimated a 15% workforce shortfall by 2030, driven largely by a reduction in
the number of graduate teachers and attrition resulting from the retirement of
‘baby-boomer’ teachers (Catholic
Schools NSW, 2021). Similarly, the NSW Teachers Federation estimates that based
on growth in the student population, NSW government schools will require
between 11,100 and 13,700 additional teachers by 2031, a 20-25% increase on
2020 staffing levels (Rorris,
Existing modelling for future teacher supplyassumes the current
relative stability of student-teacher ratios will continue (any reduction in
this ratio would require additional teachers).
Additionally, changes in teacher workload may also affect supply modelling. At
present, evidence indicates teachers are working around 1.3-1.5 times as many
hours as they are paid to work (AITSL,
2022). This excessive workload is negatively impacting teacher retention
(discussed further below - What do we know about teacher attrition?). If work conditions need to be altered to reduce teacher
workloads, which may boost teacher retention by preventing burnout, this may
generate a larger shortfall in teacher supply.
The Australian Teacher Workforce Data (ATWD)
The ATWD initiative is
building the evidence base that will inform the future of the teaching
profession. By connecting initial teacher education data, graduate outcomes
data, regulatory authority data, and teacher workforce experiences data from
across Australia, the ATWD is providing nationally consistent data on variables
like how many teachers we have, how many graduates get jobs, the types of
contracts teachers are employed under, teacher career paths and experiences,
and how many teachers are entering and leaving the profession. The ATWD is a
joint initiative between, and is funded by, all state, territory and
Commonwealth governments. It is being implemented by AITSL in partnership with
the Australian Government Department of Education, the states and territories,
teacher regulatory authorities and the Australian Institute of Health and
To find out more about the ATWD and its benefits to
education in Australia visit:
Overall, data relating to the ITE pipeline conveys a
troubling trend. Fewer people are studying ITE, and this is particularly true
in the larger states like NSW and Victoria. Given that all states and
territories have witnessed declines in ITE completions in recent years,
workforce strategies that rely on attracting interstate graduates into teaching
roles are unlikely to work when the overall pool of graduate teachers is
shrinking. While the downward trend is evident for all program types, a sharp
recent decline in the number of ITE students commencing a primary program is
particularly concerning given population projections of increased growth in
primary enrolments in the next ten years. With fewer people entering ITE
programs in recent years, falling completion rates are likely to worsen as
fewer pre-service teachers move through the ITE pipeline. While there are
alternate pathways into teaching, like skilled migration, the actual number of
teachers supplied to the workforce via alternative routes is unknown.
The ITE pipeline
New teachers enter the workforce either through the
completion of an accredited Australian ITE program, an approved skilled
migration pathway or in some cases by gaining alternative authorisation to
teach through a state/territory regulatory authority. ITE data is published
through the ATWD, which is updated annually as new data becomes available.
The most current ITE commencements data reveals a troubling
downward trend in recent years, after a decade of solid growth. As shown in Figure 1, after a peak in 2017 of 35,463, commencements decreased considerably in
2018 by 19% (28,894) and dropped a further 1% in 2019 (28,694). By all
indications from jurisdictions, this decline has likely continued.
While this downward trend is evident for both undergraduate
and postgraduate commencements, there has been a larger decline for
undergraduates. Compared to the peak of 2017 (25,372) undergraduate
commencements dropped 22% by 2019 (19,679), while postgraduate commencements
dropped 11% in the same period (from 10,091 to 9,015).
While most students commence their program of study on
campus (internal study mode), proportionally, internal commencements have been
gradually decreasing while external study (off campus, online study) has been
increasing. Between 2005 and 2019 internal commencements dropped 20 percentage
points and external commencements increased 13 percentage points in the same
period. This national trend has occurred in most jurisdictions (with the
exceptions of ACT and NT). While total commencements decreased between 2017 and
2018, external commencements increased by 6% from 2018-2019. Study mode is an
important factor when examining teacher supply. The data supplied here by the
ATWD reflects the home state residence of the students. Most students intend to
work in their home state (AITSL,
2020). With the rise of online ITE, students are increasingly able to study in
one location and reside in another. This has important ramifications for
modelling teacher supply because the pipeline in any jurisdiction “is not
simply the number of students graduating from education providers in that state
or territory. Instead, it is the number of ITE students who reside in that
state or territory, regardless of where they studied. The difference is, in
some cases, substantial” (AITSL,
2020, p. 17).
While longitudinal trends have differed across states and
territories, these declines in commencements from 2017-2019 occurred in most
jurisdictions. The two largest states, NSW and Victoria, constitute more than
half of all commencements. Both states saw declines from 2017 to 2018 (18% drop
for NSW from 10,527 to 8,611; and 22% drop for Victoria from 8,787 to 6,889).
Victorian commencements declined a further 4% from 2018 to 2019 (6,623), while
NSW commencements increased 1% (to 8,701 in 2019) in the same period. Overall,
despite a peak in 2017, commencements in NSW appear to be trending downwards to
levels not seen since the mid-2000s. Similarly, in Victoria it appears
commencements are declining from a peak in 2015 to levels consistent with
In Queensland, commencements peaked in 2016 at 7,783 then
dipped 7% to 7,214 in 2017. Queensland saw a sharp 25% drop in 2018 (5,442),
followed by a 9% increase in 2019 (5,951). Commencements in WA appear to be
following a similar trend. After a peak in 2017 (4,930), commencements declined
by 15% in 2018 (4, 169) and a further 12% in 2019 (3,685).
Like NSW, commencements in the Australian Capital Territory
(ACT) peaked in 2017 (784), however since then, ACT has experienced the largest
relative decline of any jurisdiction. Commencements dropped 20% in 2018 (626)
and a further 17% in 2019 (518). This represents a total decline in
commencements of 34% from 2017-2019 in the ACT, to levels not seen since the
Further examination of commencements data reveals that the
drop in 2018 and 2019 is largely attributable to fewer domestic undergraduate
students commencing ITE programs. An examination of the basis
of admission for undergraduate commencements reveals that these declines do not
appear to correlate to the policy change requiring a minimum ATAR for entry
into an ITE program. The proportion of ITE commencements entering on the basis
of an ATAR over 80 has not significantly changed over time, rather the number of
undergraduate students commencing on the basis of ATAR has declined. This
suggests school leavers are entering ITE programs via non-ATAR related
mechanisms. As such, it does not appear that strategies targeting high
achieving school leavers, by setting higher ATAR cut-offs, adversely affected
However, there was a key policy change in 2017 that
coincides with this decline. By 2012, a demand-driven system (DDS) for
universities was fully implemented across Australia. This meant that unlike the
previous quota system, there were no caps on the number of students
universities could enrol in Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP). The sharp rise
in ITE commencements between 2005 and 2017 (33% increase) suggests universities
took advantage of this new system and increased the number of CSP places in
their ITE programs in this period. However, in December 2017 there
was a significant change in the tertiary funding model. As part of the Mid-Year
Economic and Fiscal Outlook (“MYEFO”), the Australian Government announced a
funding freeze on CSPs. While this freeze did not place a specific cap on the
number of places a university could offer to prospective students in any
course, it essentially ended the DDS model because the total level of Commonwealth
Grants Scheme (CGS) funding associated with domestic undergraduate students
that each university was eligible to receive for both 2018 and 2019 was capped
at the 2017 funding level.
As shown in Figure
2 the drops in commencements after 2017 were most pronounced
in the larger states and the ACT. Common across these states and territories is
the presence of relatively large universities with campuses across the states
and territories most affected by declining commencements. These universities
would have larger capacity to increase or decrease intake into courses such as
ITE by relatively large numbers in response to changes in funding and
resourcing opportunities. This would seem to be reflected in an increasing
intake from 2005-2017, in particular among the larger states and ACT, followed
by sharp declines in 2018 and 2019. It would seem likely then, that changes
away from demand funding to capped funding may have had a significant impact on
intake into ITE programs in large universities in larger states such as NSW, as
well as the ACT. Available data certainly indicates that there has been a
decline in the number of students commencing ITE in these jurisdictions.
Whether this is directly attributable to the change in funding model is not
visible in currently available data (the number of students who commence an ITE
program in a CSP is not available).
Several policies that Ministers are pursuing to mitigate the
teacher shortage are aimed at increasing the number of students entering the
ITE pipeline. For example, paid internships may attract mid-career changers
into teaching, increasing the number of ITE students, particularly postgraduate
students. We know that postgraduate ITE students tend to complete their ITE
program at a higher rate than undergraduates, and finish their shorter degrees
in, on average, 2-4 years (compared with 4-8 for undergraduates). If
successful, such strategies to attract mid-career professionals who already
hold an undergraduate degree into teaching programs could boost graduate
teacher supply in as little as 2 years.
While ITE commencements have been declining, the number of
students completing ITE programs has also dropped in recent years. After a peak
of 18,890 completions in 2017, completions dropped 11% in 2018 (16,831) and a
further 1% in 2019 (16,644), to levels not seen since the mid-2000s. This drop
in completions was considerably worse for postgraduates than undergraduates.
Compared to the peak in 2017 (undergraduate: 11,445; postgraduate: 7,445),
postgraduate completions dropped 20% by 2019 (to 5,943) while undergraduate
completions dropped 7% (10,701).
This trend is not due to lower commencements; completion
rates have also declined since 2005. Six-year completion rates fell
approximately 1 percentage point a year (from 61% to 52%) between those
starting in 2005 and those starting in 2013. Six-year completion rates for all
undergraduate ITE programs declined for cohorts commencing between 2007 (early
childhood: 54%, primary: 60%, secondary: 51%) and 2014 (early childhood: 48%;
primary: 50%; secondary: 50%). During this period, undergraduate ITE students
in primary education programs largely had higher six-year completion rates,
which ranged between 50% (2012) to 62% (2009), than those in early childhood,
which ranged between 48% (2014) to 60% (2008), and secondary education
programs, which ranged between 48% (2011) to 54% (2008).
While the shift to two-year postgraduate ITE programs coincided
with a drop in postgraduate completion rates around 2015, postgraduate
completion rates are higher than undergraduate completion rates, though they
have also declined over time. Two-year completion rates for postgraduate ITE
programs declined for cohorts commencing between 2005 (82%) and 2014 (67%) and
dropped further for the period from 2015 through 2017 (55-58%). Four-year
completion rates for postgraduate ITE programs also declined for cohorts
commencing between 2005 (81%) and 2014 (77%).
As per commencements, most students who complete an ITE
program reside in either NSW or Victoria – in 2019, these states constituted
64% of all ITE completions, combined. This means almost two-thirds of
Australia’s graduate teachers live in these states. Concerningly, completions
are trending downward in NSW and have flat lined in Victoria in recent years.
Similarly, completions in Queensland, which constitute around 15% of ITE
program completions, are declining. Overall, despite some fluctuations, all
states have seen declining completion rates in recent years. Given declining
commencements, these drops in completions will likely worsen in the coming
years as students move through their ITE programs in smaller numbers.
In NSW, completions peaked in 2014 (6,564) and declined by
8% in 2015 (6,070) and a further 13% in 2016 (5,275). Despite a 16% increase
from 2018 (5,044) to 2019 (5,864), NSW completions are at levels consistent
with 2006-2008. Victorian completions peaked in 2017 (4,994) following several
years of consistent 2% growth, then declined by 2% in 2018 (4,912) and a
further 3% in 2019 (4,755). Completion numbers in Queensland have dropped lower
than the first year of data collection (2005). After a peak in 2017 (3,638), Queensland
completions declined 31% in 2018 (2,501) and a further 2% in 2019 (2,448).
In WA, completions steadily increased each year between 2011
(1,688) and 2017 (2,515). However, this trend reversed sharply in 2018 (2,115)
and again in 2019 (1,686), for an overall decrease of 33% between 2017 and
Unlike the other states and territories, completions in
South Australia (SA) peaked in 2018 (1,583) but dropped 20% in 2019 (1,262).
The smaller jurisdictions, ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory (NT),
experienced drops in completions between 2017 and 2018. Though Tasmania bounced
back slightly in 2019 (253, up 4% from 244 in 2018), ACT (285 in 2019) and the
NT (73 in 2019) completion rates declined even further, to levels lower than
Australia has a long history of teacher immigration. Skilled
migration helps to broaden the pool of appropriately qualified and experienced teachers
in Australia. It is also beneficial to Australia’s diverse student population -
over 20 percent of students in Australian schools speak a language other than
English at home, but the teaching profession in Australia is predominantly
comprised of monolingual English speakers (ACARA,
2021a; Mckenzie, Weldon, Rowley, Murphy, & Mcmillan, 2014). Teachers with
competencies in different languages and cultures are valuable to all Australian
2016). Migration of skilled workers is viewed as key to Australia’s economic
recovery from COVID-19. Expansion of the skilled workforce, including in
regional and remote areas, has been flagged by a number of industries as being
critical to economic recovery (Lim,
Nguyen, Robinson, Tsiaplias, & Wang, 2021). However, currently it is not
known how many of these suitable individuals seeking to migrate to Australia
actually do so, nor how many are successful in securing employment in teaching,
nor how long they stay in teaching.
AITSL provides skills assessment services
to teachers who wish to migrate to Australia. AITSL’s Assessment for
Migration (AfM) function delivers skilled migration assessments on behalf of
the Australian Government. AITSL has delivered this function since 2006
(previously as Teaching Australia). The AfM process for
assessing qualifications ensures that international teachers meet the standards
required of Australian teachers to teach in a classroom.
The AfM process supports individuals who
wish to migrate to Australia as a skilled migrant under one of eight
teacher occupations (AITSL,
2021a). AITSL undertakes a skills assessment at the level of the occupation
nominated by the applicant and uses criteria that align with the national
framework for teacher registration to assess each application. In 2021-2022,
AITSL delivered over 2,200 suitable skilled migration assessment outcomes to
teachers seeking to migrate to Australia. This builds on the 1,188 suitable
skilled migration outcomes assessed in the previous year. The longitudinal data
in the ATWD will enable future analysis of the success of this alternative
pathway into teaching by monitoring how many end up teaching and where.
Assessment for Migration
The AfM skills assessment is a
qualifications-based assessment. Applicants for all occupations are assessed
against two criteria; qualifications and English language proficiency which
must be met to achieve a suitable outcome. AITSL’s skills assessment is
intended for migration purposes and forms part of the broader visa application
process. The criteria are comparable with current standards for accredited ITE
programs delivered in Australia. They are also aligned with the nationally
consistent approach to teacher registration.
Alternative authorisation to teach
State and territory teacher regulatory authorities have
their own policies for allowing people to teach in schools who do not meet
qualification requirements for registration as a teacher. Applicants applying
for alternative authorisation to teach may possess specialist skills for
teaching a certain subject, may be progressing through a Teach for Australia
program, or may be in the final year of their ITE program. While these policies
vary between jurisdictions, the impetus for allowing non-registered people to
teach is often to address workforce shortages and fill hard-to-staff positions
(hence, the prospective employer or school initiates the process).
For example, in Victoria, the permission to teach (PTT)
policy was updated in April 2022 to support the implementation of the Victorian
tutor learning initiative announced in 2021 (Victorian
Institute of Teaching, 2022). An additional category was included in the
updated policy (PTT (Teacher Tutor)) specifically granting individuals
supporting students to catch up on learning lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
permission to teach. In addition to a variety of general content and skill
related eligibility requirements, individuals applying for PTT (Teacher Tutor)
need to have previously held teacher registration in Victoria. This
demonstrates how jurisdictions may be using policies, like PTT, as levers to
address critical shortages of teachers.
State-based data indicates that the number of PTTs are
usually quite low – in Victoria there were 693 PTTs granted in 2019 and 401
granted in 2020 (Victorian
Department of Education and Training, 2021b). It is possible that this number
has increased in 2021 and 2022 following the PTT policy change in response to
the tutoring program. In Queensland, the number of PTTs increased from 2019
(178) to 2020 (211) (Queensland
College of Teachers, 2021). These numbers have increased even further in 2021 (320)
and 2022 (491) indicating schools are increasingly turning to alternative
teaching pathways to source teaching staff (O’Flaherty,
2021; Rafferty, 2022).
The available data indicates that the number of individuals
teaching under a PTT are low, though, as shown in Queensland, it is possible
that there has been an increased demand for this teaching pathway in 2021 and
2022. Longitudinal data that can pinpoint possible trends in geographic locations
and subject areas where PTTs are deployed would be useful inputs to the teacher
supply puzzle because PTTs offer some indication of where teacher shortages may
be most pronounced.
Primary and secondary teachers
We know that teacher demand will increase over the next
decade – student enrolments will grow by 1.3% per year at the primary and 1.2%
at the secondary levels. We also know that ITE commencements and completions
have declined in recent years, across jurisdictions. Concerningly, these
declines have been quite pronounced for primary ITE programs.
In 2019 most ITE students commenced either a primary (36%,
n=10,368) or secondary (38%, n=10,840) program. Since 2005, there has been a
5-percentage point increase in the proportion of early childhood program
commencements, from 11% to 16%.
All program types experienced drops in commencements between 2017 and 2018 –
primary, secondary and mixed programs dropped even further from 2018 to 2019.
In total, from 2017 to 2019, primary commencements decreased 24% (from 13,717
to 10,368) while secondary commencements dropped 13% (from 12,477 to 10,840).
This sharp drop for primary commencements is likely to have negative
consequences for primary teacher supply in the coming years as fewer
pre-service teachers move through a primary ITE pathway.
In 2019 most ITE students completed either a primary (38%,
n=6,327) or secondary (39%, n=6,488) program. Since 2005, there has been a
2-percentage point increase in the proportion of early childhood program
completions, from 11% to 13%. All program types experienced drops in
completions between 2017 and 2018 – primary and early childhood programs
dropped even further from 2018 to 2019, while secondary completions increased
by 2%. In total, in comparison to 2017, by 2019 early childhood completions
declined by 16% (from 2,494 to 2,096) primary completions decreased 7% (from
6,815 to 6,327) while secondary completions dropped 15% (from 7,597 to 6,488).
Early childhood teachers
Early childhood teachers play a vital role in Australia’s
education system, and they are an important cohort in the teacher workforce.
Evidence consistently demonstrates the significant contribution early childhood
teachers make to student learning outcomes (Warren
& Haisken-Denew, 2013).
As shown in Figure 6, the number of people completing an
early childhood ITE program has declined in recent years to just over 2,000 in
2019. In 2021, there were 12,737 early childhood service providers delivering
pre-school programs to 339,015 children aged 4-5 (ABS,
2022a). At present, it is difficult to quantify how many early childhood
teachers are working across the country. According to the ATWD, in 2018
approximately 6% of registered teachers were working in early childhood
services (around 20,000 teachers).
The National Skills Commission (NSC) Labour Market Insights estimates there are
approximately 50,400 degree-qualified early childhood teachers
working either full-time or part-time across Australia in pre-primary settings.
The NSC projects strong growth in the number of early childhood teacher job
opportunities over the next five years – 22% increase to 2026, an additional
10,600 jobs (National
Skills Commission, 2021).
The provision of early childhood education and care services
in Australia is regulated through the National Quality Framework (NQF) and
monitored by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority
(ACECQA). There are situations where early childhood service providers are
unable to meet their requirements under the NQF and can apply for a service
waiver to keep operating. Waivers can relate either to the physical environment
of the service or staffing arrangements. These waivers can indicate where the
early childhood sector may be struggling to operate due to staff shortages. The
number of services requiring staffing waivers to operate has increased in
recent years. In 2013-2014 around 4-5% of all services across Australia required
staffing waivers. This increased to 7% in 2020 and 8.5% in early 2022 (ACECQA,
2022). Staffing waivers are more common in outer regional (14.2% of services)
and remote areas (13.1%) and least common in major cities (7.8%). There are
also differences across the states and territories – staffing waivers are most
commonly required in WA (14.3% of services) and Queensland (14%) and least
common in the NT (5.3%) and Victoria (2.7%).
What is not clear from this data is the cause of the
staffing waiver. That is, whether the staff shortages are due to a lack of
registered early childhood teachers available to teach pre-school programs, or
due to insufficient educators available for the service to adhere to the
educator to child ratios set out in the NQF (which vary by jurisdiction and
service type). Regardless, the rise in waivers signals shortages in one or more
components of the early childhood workforce.
Data about vacancies offer interesting insights into strains
on teacher supply at a granular level. For example, in Victoria, the government
school secondary subjects with the highest ‘no appointment rate’  in 2020 were
‘digital technology’ (36%), ‘design technology’ (34%) and ‘languages’ (30%).
‘Mathematics’ (19%) and ‘science’ (20%) had higher no appointment rates than
‘English’ (17%) and ‘humanities-geography’ (12%). This data supports emerging
evidence from the ATWD relating to ‘out-of-field’ teaching. For example, in
2018, between 34-46% of ‘design and technology’ teachers were teaching
out-of-field (AITSL, 2021).
Overall, around 1 in 5 teachers are teaching out-of-field across all subjects
(AITSL, 2021). This demonstrates the need for greater information about
teachers’ subject specialisations to better assess strains on teacher supply
and ensure the right teachers are where they’re most needed.
Regional and remote teachers
Vacancy rates demonstrate there are geographic-specific
strains on teacher supply. While we know anecdotally and from media reports
that regional and remote areas are having trouble finding suitable teaching
staff, data on teacher supply by geolocation is largely unavailable at a
consistent, national level. There is some state-based data to indicate there is
a staffing problem in regional and remote areas. In Victorian government
schools, application rates
shrink with increasing remoteness – in major cities, the application rate for
primary schools is 31.3 and secondary schools is 12.5; in outer regional and
remote areas the application rates drop considerably to 5.3 for primary and 3.7
for secondary. This means that in major cities, particularly at the primary
level, there are many more teachers applying for vacant positions than in
regional and remote areas. As such, there is a greater likelihood of schools
finding an appropriate candidate to fill vacancies in metropolitan schools
compared to remote schools.
A consistent theme in recent media coverage of teacher
supply has been the challenge principals are facing in finding CRTs. These
teachers play an important role in the teaching workforce by ensuring
continuity in students’ education when regular classroom teachers are absent.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, this need for backfill options has become even
more critical in recent years. In fact, evidence suggests teachers have been
taking more time off due to illness – data from the Queensland Department of
Education show teachers in Queensland government schools took 35,000 more sick
days in the 2020-21 financial year compared to the year prior (Bennett,
2021). This increase is largely attributable to health advice to isolate in the
event of illness to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect others in the
community. It is possible, given the increases in COVID-19 cases during winter
2022 as well as the influenza season, that this trend of increasing teacher
absences has continued and possibly worsened. While such absences increase the
need for CRTs there are additional factors at play that may have diminished the
potential pool of casuals, particularly in some areas. For example, some state
governments implemented programs to deliver small-group, intensive teaching or
tutoring to mitigate potential gaps in learning caused by extended periods of
online education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is possible that such strategies have impacted the latent
workforce and availability of CRTs. It also appears CRTs are increasingly
transitioning into temporary roles in NSW, which reduces the overall pool of
CRTs available to support schools (NSW
Department of Education, 2021). We know that in the 2018 ATWD Teacher Survey a
large proportion of CRTs reported being underemployed (just 7% worked full time
hours) and working in casual roles because they were unable to secure ongoing
or contract roles (35%; AITSL, 2021). For early career teachers, this was an
even greater problem with 57% reporting in 2018 that they were working as a CRT
because they were unable to secure permanent employment (AITSL, 2021). It seems
likely, therefore, that the availability of contractual work (either for
intensive learning support or temporary roles) would be attractive to those
CRTs who would prefer ongoing employment rather than casual roles. Moreover,
while 1 in 10 teachers are CRTs, this varies by age group with teachers aged 60
or over twice as likely to be working in casual roles in 2018 (AITSL, 2021).
Given this cohort of teachers are either at or approaching retirement age, it
is possible older casual teachers are leaving the workforce, thereby reducing
the overall availability of CRTs.
At present, the casual teaching workforce in Australia is
poorly understood and limited data are available. There is some data available
in Victoria, from the Victorian ‘casual relief teacher census’ that was
discontinued in 2019, that indicates casuals are particularly needed in
mathematics and science. In 2019, there were 159 ‘difficult to fill’ CRT
vacancies in mathematics and 64 in science, compared to 5 in humanities-history
and civics (Victorian
Department of Education and Training, 2021a). The rate of difficult to fill CRT
vacancies at the primary level has also been increasing over time in Victoria
from 339 in 2016 to 517 in 2019.
Casual/relief teachers will be a focus of future ATWD
reports as the sample size of the cohort expands (Wave 2 onwards), and the
collection of data on their contractual and teaching arrangements is better
aligned with their experiences (Wave 4 onwards). From Wave 4 onwards we will
have access to greater understanding of the casual workforce including where,
what sector and how many schools CRTs work at, the geographic area they cover
and the hours they work.
A diverse workforce
A diverse workforce is a strong workforce. Evidence
demonstrates that diversity, in terms of knowledge and expertise, age and
abilities, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, gender and sexual identities,
benefits everyone. Diversity makes teams smarter, increases innovation,
improves performance and is ethically important (AITSL,
2019). At present, there is clear scope to increase diversity in the teaching
Most teachers are women – in 2018 just 22% of the teaching
workforce were men, though 31% of leaders were men. This gender disparity is
even more pronounced in early childhood where just 1% of early childhood
teachers were men in 2018 (AITSL,
2021b). While a third of all secondary teachers are men, just 16% of primary
teachers are men. Based on current ITE commencements and completions, this
trend is unlikely to change – in 2019 73% (n=20,959) of commencing ITE students
and 74% (n=12,280) of completing ITE students were women, a trend that has been
relatively stable over time in most jurisdictions.
While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners
constitute 6.2% of all students, just 2% of teachers are Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people (ABS,
2022b; AITSL, 2021b). In 2019 just 1% of commencing ITE students were
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, so this underrepresentation in
the teaching workforce is unlikely to change.
A true understanding of teacher supply challenges must also
consider the rate of attrition from the workforce and monitor the impact of
policy responses targeting teacher retention. Emerging evidence indicates the
current teacher supply pipeline may be insufficient to cover workforce
attrition due to retirement in the coming years. Furthermore, large numbers of
teachers report intentions to leave the profession before retirement due to
various workforce pressures. It is important to note that “intention to leave”
is not necessarily related to actual attrition. Understanding these workforce
pressures is crucial to ensuring retention strategies have the best chance of
success. The profession has repeatedly identified key issues affecting the
workforce experience, such as high workloads, stagnating salaries, red tape,
educator wellbeing, leadership and school culture. These are some of the most
critical levers when it comes to teacher retention. Helping schools, systems
and sectors understand how best to implement positive change in the workforce
experience is a policy challenge that must be considered if we are to boost
teacher retention and avoid increases in pre-retirement attrition.
At present, there is no national data and, therefore,
insufficient evidence to ascertain longitudinal trends in teacher attrition in
Australia. Reported teacher attrition varies by state and appears to be higher
for early career teachers (Table 1). However, attrition data is siloed, figures
vary between jurisdictions and data is neither consistently captured  nor reported. Reported
attrition rates may not capture cross-sectoral or cross-jurisdictional movement
within teaching. As such, the only true measure of exits from the teaching
workforce is retirement data, which is often combined with other sources of
attrition for reporting (see Table 1).
The ATWD will do much to provide high quality attrition data
over time, which will offer insight into teacher mobility and attrition at both
the national and local levels, with visibility of cross-state and cross-sector
movements. Currently, the ATWD sheds some light on potential future trends
relating to attrition from the teaching workforce. For example, in 2020, 18% of
the teaching workforce were aged over 60 years (Figure 7) and, therefore,
likely to retire within 5-10 years. In the 2018 ATWD Teacher Survey, around 18%
of respondents were in their first 5 years of teaching. This would
suggest that currently, the supply of new teachers balances out the exits of teachers
reaching retirement age. However, for this to remain true, these new, early
career teachers need to be retained. Furthermore, the recent sudden drops in
ITE commencements are yet to be seen in teacher workforce data. Given these
drops in the ITE pipeline as well as the pending retirement of baby-boomer
teachers, it is highly possible that the incoming supply of teachers “will not
be sufficient to replace retirement loss over the next five to ten years” (AITSL,
2021c, p. 25). The incompleteness of available data, however, makes it
difficult to determine by how much at this stage.
Any growth in retirement rates or increased attrition will
have an important impact on overall attrition, leading to increased stress on
teacher supply. This could be exacerbated if pre-retirement attrition also
increases. It is, therefore, concerning that several studies suggest an
imminent loss of teachers across the profession.
The ATWD Teacher Survey found that
in 2020, 21% of teachers reported intentions to leave the profession before
retirement. A further 33% were unsure. Of those intending to leave before retirement,
9% intended to leave in one year or less (2% of total workforce), and 51% (10%
of total workforce) intended to leave within ten years (AITSL,
2022). The ATWD Teacher Survey sheds further light on issues relevant to the
workforce experience and how this impacts teachers’ intentions to leave the
profession. Of the full-time teachers who responded to the survey in 2020, the
median working hours reported as a percentage of contracted hours exceeded 1
FTE – in most jurisdictions (ACT, NSW, NT, SA) full time teachers reported
working 145% of their contracted hours in a typical week.
It is unsurprising then, that 86% of those respondents who
indicated they intend to leave teaching cited reasons relating to workload and
coping (work-related stress). The second most cited category of reasons to
leave before retirement related to recognition and reward (65%) – this includes
both salary and the status of the profession in the wider community. Notably,
those intending to leave due to the demands of professional regulation has
declined since 2018 from 49% to 37% in 2020, which may indicate that efforts to
reduce red tape have been somewhat successful in reducing administrative burden
and stress on teachers.
A recent study conducted by Monash University researchers (Heffernan,
Bright, Kim, Longmuir, & Magyar, 2022) found similar results. When asked
how long they intend to remain in the teaching profession, 41% (n=988) said
they do not intend to leave, while 7% (n=167) said 1 year, 19% (n=462) said 5
years, 12% (n=292) said 10 years and 21% (n=525) said ‘other’. The key reasons
listed by those who indicated they do not intend to remain in the profession
(59% of all respondents, n=1,446), included “overwhelming workloads, negative
impact of the job on respondents’ health and wellbeing and a sense of a lack of
appreciation or poor treatment of teachers and the wider profession” (Heffernan
et al., 2022, p. 200).
A sustainable workforce is one that is both
future focused and prioritises wellbeing. Concerningly, a high proportion of
teachers and school leaders report that teaching negatively impacts their
wellbeing. In fact, in 2018 around three quarters of Australian educators said their
job negatively affects their mental health and more than half said they
experience stress at work (Thomson & Hillman, 2020). Evidence also
indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the already high levels of
stress on teachers (Heffernan, Magyar, Bright, & Longmuir, 2021).
It is important to note that reported intention to leave
teaching will not necessarily result in actual attrition. International data
suggests that rates of reported intention to leave the profession (when asked
in a yes/no format) of 30-40% may result in actual turnover closer to 10-15% (Räsänen,
Pietarinen, Pyhältö, Soini, & Väisänen, 2020). Australian teacher attrition
appears to be comparable to attrition in New Zealand. In 2020, 4.8% of teachers
in New Zealand left teaching (4.6% of primary and 5.1% of secondary teachers; New
Zealand Ministry of Education, 2022).
Further investigation is required to understand how
intentions to exit before retirement may translate to actual attrition. However, given that 10% of the total workforce indicated
in 2020 that they intend to leave teaching within the next decade, and with
such high and consistent numbers of teachers indicating they intend to leave
the profession well before retirement, teacher retention is a critical priority
for reducing strain on teacher supply. It is crucial that measures designed
to address current and future shortages prioritise teacher retention.
Table 1: Comparison of available attrition data, by state.
Sector and role
Government early childhood teachers
Early childhood attrition is defined as allowing early childhood registration to expire. In 2020, attrition from government positions was calculated by dividing staff headcount exits by the ongoing headcount staff on the government workforce payroll. In 2018, the attrition rate for the government workforce was calculated by dividing FTE staff attrition by the FTE of ongoing staff on the government workforce payroll. Staff attrition numbers included those employed on an ongoing basis who left the teaching workforce during a calendar year.
Government primary teachers
Government secondary teachers
Catholic primary teachers
Catholic secondary teachers
New South Wales
Government primary teachers
Separations are defined as resignations, retirements (including medical retirements), terminations and deaths.
Government secondary teachers
Government teaching service staff aged less than 55 years
Year to March 2022
Year to March 2021
Year to March 2022
The separation rate for teaching service staff with 5 or less years’ service. This consisted of 54 (18.88%) resignations, 11 (3.85%) retirements, and 1 (0.35%) Other separation (‘Other’ denotes deceased employees, transfers to different agencies, etc.).
Year to March 2021
This consisted of 36 (15.3%) resignations and 4 (1.7%) retirements.
Australian Capital Territory
Teacher retirements were calculated using the total number of retirements (541) and total school-based teaching staff (21,582) to give an approximate retirement rate of 2.5%. Total number of resignations (622) were used to calculate an approximate resignation rate of 2.9%. These calculated rates were used to estimate an approximate attrition rate.
As of October 2021, government schools saw 815 separations from a total count of 14,282 teaching staff.
3.6% per year (14.3% overall)
The proportion of graduate teachers removed from the QCT Register within four years of being granted provisional registration between 2009 and 2013 was 14.27%.
Attracting new teachers and retaining existing teachers
The need to attract more people into the profession is
urgent. However, a recent analysis of Australian print media coverage of
education from 1996 to 2020 found a troubling trend – negative articles about
teachers are the norm (Mockler,
2022). Though positive, ‘good news’ stories are published, negative portrayals
of teachers are vastly more common in the media, such as blaming teachers for
declines in international test results. Recent media coverage of heavy
workloads, long working hours and staffing challenges are further examples of
negative portrayals of the profession. While the challenges currently facing
the workforce are important for the public to understand, it is also important
to recognise that media discourse has an impact on both attracting potential
teachers into the profession and retaining existing teachers.
The data we have about teacher supply conveys a looming
problem. ITE commencements and completions are dropping. This means the
pipeline of new teachers ready to enter Australian classrooms in the coming
years may not be able to keep up with natural attrition in the workforce. It is
even less likely the pipeline can compensate for any accelerated loss the
workforce may have sustained during the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic or
any increased loss that may occur as teachers aged 60+ move into retirement. Boosting
the number of pre-service teachers in the ITE pipeline is vital to any teacher
supply strategy. While shorter term solutions are needed to help schools cope
with current shortages, it is also important to implement longer term
strategies that target retention and will ensure Australia’s supply of teachers
is sustainable in future. This may involve a combination of funding-based
polices that increase the number of CSPs available to universities for ITE
programs, and recruitment drives to increase the attractiveness of ITE courses
for school leavers.
It is also crucial to understand where teachers are needed
most and pursue policies most likely to get the right teachers into the right classrooms
then retain them in the profession. Vacancy data supports what we are already
hearing from the education profession - there is a problem with unmet demand
for teachers in certain subjects and geographic areas. The magnitude of this
problem cannot be quantified with the limited data currently available. It is
likely this issue varies across systems/sectors and worsens with increasing
remoteness and relative socio-economic disadvantage. In future, the ATWD
initiative will fill many of these data gaps. With increasing access to
national, linked data our ability to conduct more sophisticated labour market
modelling will improve our understanding of the national supply and demand
trends in the teaching profession (AITSL,
2021d).This will enable jurisdictions to implement
targeted policies aimed at building a sustainable teaching workforce.
Using a series of ABS datasets, population projections can
be calculated for the Australian school student population in the next ten
years (from 2021-2031; 2021 was chosen as the reference point for projecting a
decade ahead because the ACARA School Profile for 2022 was not yet available at
the time of writing). This calculation involved a series of steps and assumptions.
The following datasets were used:
- ABS population projections, Australia 2017-2066.
- Fertility assumption: medium fertility, mortality assumption: high life expectancy, net
overseas migration (NOM): medium. Note: while the COVID-19 pandemic has
undoubtedly impacted NOM, it is unclear what the longer-term ramifications will
be and, therefore, medium NOM was selected as a mid-range choice to be
moderately conservative in population estimates.
- Ages: 3-19, years: 2017-2031
- This provides the estimated resident population (ERP)
- ABS schools, Australia.
- Table 66a Capped school participation rates for students aged 6-19 years, 2011-2021
- Table 42b Number of full-time and part-time students, 2006-2021
- ACARA School Profile, 2008-2021
School participation rates (SPR) were applied to the
population projections to derive projected student populations to 2031. To do
this, the SPR was manually calculated for students under 6, using table 42b
which provides the number of students in each year of schooling, by age. This
calculation involved dividing the number of students at each age (in this case,
‘4 and under’ (4 year olds and 3 year olds combined) and ‘5’) by the total ERP
given by the population projections (the same methodology used to develop table
66a, which provides the SPR for the remaining school ages, 6-19). An average of
the SPR was then taken for each age, to be applied to population projections
for the years 2022-2031. To derive the school student population, by year and
age, the SPR (actual for 2017-2021, average of 2011-2021 for 6-19 year olds,
average of 2017-2021 for <6) was applied to the population projections. This
provided the size of the student population, by age and year up to 2031.
The actual data from 2017-2021 was compared to these
calculated projections using the longitudinal ACARA School Profile data from
2017-2021. This comparison showed that the calculated projections were within,
on average, 0.6% of the observed student enrolment numbers for the year
2017-2021, which suggests that for the purposes of examining overall trends in
student populations in the next ten years, this method is sound and reliable.
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of Pre-school Participation and Teacher Qualifications on Year 3 National NAPLAN
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Australian student numbers and school numbers are derived from the ACARA School Profile, 2008-2021, an annually published list of all Australian schools.
See appendix: Data sources and projections methodology
data on school participation rates by age, (data published by the ABS which is
required to calculate student population projections) is not published by
geolocation, limiting student projections to the state or national level.
ACARA School Profile, 2008-2021
It is not possible to tell from this data what proportion of teachers in
combined schools are primary teachers versus secondary teachers.
The casual workforce is discussed further in the section titled What do we know about gaps in teacher supply?
ATWD initiative will provide a more accurate and detailed view of CRTs once all
jurisdictions participate, and subsequent years of data are incorporated.
ratio varies slightly by sector, school stage and jurisdiction – nationally in
2021, the FTE student-teacher ratio was 14.5 at the primary level and 11.9 at
the secondary level. (ACARA,2021b)
At present, the 2019 data is the most recent data that has been supplied to the
ATWD by the Department of Education - 2020 and 2021 data will be provided
concurrently and likely be available in 2023.
The examination of the source data suggests that while there has been an
increase in 2019 relative to 2018 for early childhood commencements, there may
be issues with data quality which means that this increase may in fact have
been more evenly spread between 2018 and 2019.
As additional waves of data are added to the ATWD the true size of this
population will become clearer. Note, some jurisdictions do not require early
childhood teachers to hold teacher registration.
Positions with no appointments by all vacancies tagged with a specific subject
in the online system.
Teaching a subject, they have not been directly trained to teach (through higher
Number of applications received per vacancy.
terminology is used. In some cases, exit rates are reported (exit from the workforce)
and in others, separation rates are used (separation from employer). Attrition
rates are also reported in some jurisdictions, which may incorporate various
sources of turnover including, but not limited to, retirement, resignation
(which can be either separation or exit, but is not always specified),
termination and death.
The ATWD initiative will provide a more accurate and detailed view of attrition
once all jurisdictions participate, and subsequent years of data are
As not all new teachers are young, it
is important to compare numbers for those approach retirement to early career
numbers not the number of young teachers. Updated data on early career teachers
will be available in future ATWD KMD releases.
This is not the format used in
the ATWD, and so numbers between these sources are not directly comparable.
Victorian Department of Education and
Training, 2021. Victorian Teacher Supply and Demand Report 2020, https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/school/teachers/profdev/careers/teacher-supply-and-demand-report-2020.pdf
Victorian Government Department of
Education and Training, 2020. Victorian Teacher Supply and Demand Report 2018:
Supplementary data report, https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/school/teachers/profdev/careers/TSDR_2018-_Supplementary_Data_Report.pdf
NSW Department of Education, 2021.
Separation rates for permanent NSW government school teachers (2007-2019), https://data.cese.nsw.gov.au/data/dataset/separation-rates-for-permanent-nsw-public-school-teachers
Tasmanian Government Department of
Education, 2022. Key Data March 2022, https://publicdocumentcentre.education.tas.gov.au/library/Shared%20Documents/Key-Data-2022.pdf
Tasmanian Government Department of
Education, 2022. Key Data March 2022, https://publicdocumentcentre.education.tas.gov.au/library/Shared%20Documents/Key-Data-2022.pdf
ACT Government Education Directorate 2021, Annual Report 2020-2021, https://www.education.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/1908665/EDU-2020-21-Annual-Report-downloadable-version.pdf
Government of Western Australia Department of Education 2021. Annual Report 2020-21, https://www.education.wa.edu.au/dl/rn831kz
South Australia Government Data Directory (Data SA) 2021.
‘Workforce Data by Separations and Unpaid Leave’ [data set], South Australian
Government Data Directory, accessed 30 June 2022 https://data.sa.gov.au/workforce-data-separations-and-unpaid-leave.csv
Queensland College of Teachers 2019.
Attrition of Queensland Graduate Teachers 2019 Report, https://cdn.qct.edu.au/pdf/QCT_Qld_Graduate_Attrition_Report_2019.pdf