NSW Director-General of Education, Dr Michele Bruniges has criticised the quality of teacher training, calling for only the “best and brightest” students to be recruited into education degrees.

Dr Bruniges, speaking at a UNSW public lecture last night, said a quarter of trainee teachers had university entrance scores in the bottom half of the Year 12 HSC scores.

Education is the least popular course for students with the highest university entrance scores, and has the highest proportion of students with ATARs under 50.

Dr Bruniges, Adjunct Professor in the School of Education, argued that building the capacity of all teachers lies in the design and delivery of quality teacher education combined with support for teachers in their first year of service.

“Our efforts to improve the quality of teaching in our schools must begin in collaboration with our education systems’ greatest assets – our teachers,” she said. “At the same time, we must be mindful of the need to make sure we have the right teachers in our schools in the first place.”

Fewer than a third of early career teachers rated their pre-service education course highly for teaching students with learning difficulties or for teaching students from Indigenous and other cultural backgrounds.

“We need to make sure that all teachers – whether they are new, of long experience, or re-entering the workforce after a break – have the support that they need to maintain currency of content knowledge and pedagogic practice,” Dr Bruniges said.

“It is imperative that a productive working relationship between the school education sector and the educational research community is fostered.”

Dr Bruniges delivered the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences So, What? Lecture - Teaching matters: the role of universities and education systems in lifting educational quality.

Watch the full lecture here.

Media contact: Fran Strachan | 9385 8732