The University of Newcastle will be helping to add new maths teachers to NSW classrooms through a pilot program targeting the chronic shortfall of such educators across the State.

The new NSW Department of Education pilot project launched in February will see 40 secondary teachers gain mathematics teaching accreditation through the University.

If successful, the million-dollar program will roll-out across the state in an effort to address the dire shortages of qualified mathematics teachers in NSW.

Project lead, Associate Professor Elena Prieto-Rodriguez said the program is an innovative approach to mathematics retraining, underpinned by evidence and supported by state-of-the-art technologies.

“Teacher shortages have been affecting schools across the country recently, however the lack of mathematics teachers has been a long-term problem, particularly in rural and remote areas,” she said.

“This first-of-its-kind program offers a pathway for teachers, who in many cases have been taking mathematics classes for years, to gain accreditation specialising in maths.”

The program is an accelerated approach where participants undertake a Graduate Certificate, a Graduate Diploma, or a Masters of Education depending on their prior knowledge and experience. All three streams start with a two-day residential where participants come to our Sydney campus to build collegiality and begin their new education journey.

The program is centred around the evidence-backed Quality Teaching Model and how it can be applied in mathematics classrooms.

​​​​​Participants are also introduced to the School of Education’s simulation technologies suite which will support their development, before completing between three and six curriculum courses online, and a paid placement in their schools.

According to Elena, this project builds on the University’s long-standing history of working flexibly with teachers in specialised retraining.

“Since 2008, we’ve graduated more than 400 mathematics teachers through our retraining program – in some cases supported by NSW Department of Education scholarships,” she said.

​​“It is a great opportunity to have this program taken up systemically by the Department. This will reduce barriers to entry and ultimately see more qualified mathematics teachers in the classroom making a real difference for their students.”