National Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools (NETDS)

Effective teachers and quality teaching make the greatest difference to student learning outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged students.*

NETDS is an academic learning model which uses a modified curriculum, mentorship, and professional experience placements to specifically prepare pre-service teachers for employment and careers in disadvantaged schools.

Effective teachers and quality teaching make the greatest difference to student learning outcomes. However, high achieving teacher graduates are almost twice as likely to be employed in affluent state or independent schools rather than disadvantaged schools that need them most.

Venture mission

SVA’s support to the NETDS system change project aims to tackle this issue by creating pathways for graduate teachers to be fully prepared for their roles within low SES schools.

2017 Partnership objectives

In partnership, the eighth cohort of selected student teachers began in 2017. The results arising from the National NETDS network will also be shared at conferences and in a special issue of the Australian Journal of Teacher Education.

Professional development and short courses around poverty and disadvantage will be designed that can be used across the professional sector, including for early career teachers in low SES schools.

‘Walking Points’, a program for early career teachers in low SES schools will be developed. Research into the impact of NETDS will continue.

This video demonstrates some of the achievements already made by 2014.

SVA support

The ETDS project was founded at QUT in 2008. SVA worked with QUT to create the NETDS project, recognising the evidence of promise for the project creating outstanding outcomes for students in disadvantaged communities.

In 2013, SVA helped secure $2 million in funding from the Origin Foundation, to allow the program to be rolled out across Australia, working with more universities and graduating specifically prepared for teaching in low SES schools.

* Hattie (2003) demonstrated that teachers account for about 30% of variance in student achievement. Leigh (2010) found that a student taught by someone in the top 10% of Australian teachers can achieve in half a year what it would take a student with a teacher in the bottom 10% to achieve in a full year.

Case Study

Meering Anderson graduated from the NETDS program in 2014 and teaches secondary students hands-on hospitality skills. For Meering, accepting a place on the NETDS program in her third year of university was an easy decision:

I’ve always had a strong sense of social justice and truly believe in every student having the right to an exceptional education.’

Meering says her grandfather was instrumental in her developing her social justice ideals.

‘My grandfather is an Aboriginal elder of the Quandamooka people of Moreton Bay. He was an Activist for Indigenous Australians in his younger days so I guess my sense of social justice stems from observing him and listening to his stories … These connections to country and people have given me my foundations for social justice.’

Meering believes low socio-economic schools need great teachers who have a strong sense of social justice, resilience and care, and who are willing to work with students who are living with disadvantage. The program has provided Meering with a framework for understanding student behaviours and the effects of generational poverty.

Many students don’t have supportive role models at home, so positive teacher interactions are hugely important and really help them to thrive.’

Learning a new skill can be a challenging task for Meering’s students and they don’t always succeed in their early attempts. But through her encouragement and support they have learned to stick at the hard things and in return they are rewarded with a strong sense of accomplishment.

Meering’s students recently completed week-long industry placements and achieved their certificates, returning to school glowing with success.