New mathematics standard for aspiring primary teachers

Today’s announcement from the NSW Education Minister requiring students sitting the HSC to achieve at least a Band 4 in mathematics in order to become a primary school teacher should be commended, Federation President Maurie Mulheron has declared.

In comments made to the Sydney Morning Herald today, Mr Mulheron said the announcement fits with the union’s long-held belief that we should protect rigorous and high academic entry standards into initial teacher education”.

“This is something we’ve been campaigning to achieve for some years now. The restoration of HSC mathematics as a requirement for entry into primary teaching courses is long overdue,” Mr Mulheron said in response to the announcement.

“One of the impacts of this policy announcement should be to boost ATAR entry scores into initial teacher education courses which, in too many universities, are dangerously low.”

Responding to reported comments from Deans of Education that the policy could “exacerbate the severe shortage of maths teachers by creating extra demand among HSC students”, Mr Mulheron countered, “On the contrary, this requirement provides an opportunity to boost the number of secondary teachers of mathematics as primary teaching candidates could choose to also seek to be qualified in a secondary teaching method such as mathematics thereby increasing their opportunities for permanent employment.”

“This is a step in the right direction and will no doubt play a key role in lifting the status of the profession. We’re proud that the requirements to become a teacher in NSW public schools are high. Today’s announcement will strengthen that employment requirement,” he concluded.

The new requirements will come into place from 2021.