More than 150,000 NSW school students have benefited from their teachers' participation in Quality Teaching Rounds (QTR) professional development. Thanks to a new initiative of the University of Newcastle this high-impact, evidence-informed program will now be available to teachers across Australia.

Launching today, the Quality Teaching Academy has been developed by Laureate Professor Jenny Gore, Associate Professor Jess Harris, Dr Drew Miller, and colleagues from the University of Newcastle’s Teachers and Teaching Research Centre (TTRC).

The Academy offers a range of professional development programs for teachers, including the empirically-tested high-impact Quality Teaching Rounds, Quality Assessment Rounds, and a series of webinars. The Academy also provides teachers and principals with support services, resources and access to networks to assist in implementing and evaluating professional development in their schools.

“We believe that quality teaching is core to addressing disadvantage,” said Professor Gore.

“The Quality Teaching Academy is committed to ensuring powerful professional development is available to all teachers, including those in rural and remote communities who often struggle to access high-quality PD.”

As a non-profit organisation, the Quality Teaching Academy re-invests its funds in rigorous research undertaken by the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre. “This ensures a strong basis in evidence for all of the programs and supports services offered by the Academy,” Professor Gore said.

“Drawing on our rigorous research, we aim to improve teaching practice, enhance teachers’ morale and confidence, and ultimately lift the achievement of students across Australia.”

Improving student outcomes through Quality Teaching Rounds

The Academy’s core program, Quality Teaching Rounds (QTR), is a form of professional development that makes a significant difference for both teachers and their students. It is relevant for teachers in every subject area, working in every grade, and at every career stage.

After a two-day accredited professional development workshop, teachers return to school and form professional learning communities (PLCs) to conduct a ‘set of Rounds’. This involves a professional reading discussion, a lesson observation coded through the lens of the Quality Teaching Model, followed by deep analysis and discussion of the lesson.

A 2019 randomised controlled trial found that the students whose teachers participated in QTR achieved 25 per cent additional growth in mathematics, with greater improvements demonstrated in disadvantaged schools.

“More than 1,100 NSW schools have adopted and are benefiting from Quality Teaching Rounds, and teachers in other states are beginning to embrace the QTR approach,” said Professor Gore.

“The launch of the Academy is our next step in ensuring every teacher has access to high-quality professional development and that teaching and learning in Australia continues to improve.”

The Quality Teaching Academy launches as part of the Building Capacity for Quality Teaching in Australian Schools project, funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation and the NSW Department of Education.