School of Education leads stronger commitment to social justice

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Western Sydney University is one of only three NSW universities invited to participate in the National Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools project, aimed at making a difference to the education of students in disadvantaged communities.

The NETDS program is designed to attract the very best teachers for the schools, and students, who need them the most. High achieving students enrolled in the primary and secondary teaching courses at Western Sydney University have been invited to participate based on their academic skills and their strong commitment to social justice.

Professor Michele Simons, Dean of Education, adds that the University's School of Education was also selected because of its focus on equity and social justice in its teacher education courses.

"We are immensely proud of our strong research record in the Fair Go Project, as well as our track record of working with schools in disadvantaged and low socioeconomic areas," says Professor Simons.

Alexis Webb

Masters of Teaching (Primary) student Alexis Webb says she always wanted to be a teacher, and is excited to be part of the program.

"I've been lucky in life simply through circumstance, and I want to help give back and help the next generation of students achieve their potential," she says.

"It's not the schools or the reputation that makes a quality education, it's the teachers role to ensure the students become active learners so they can grow outside of class."

Professor Simons says the School of Education is supporting the new initiative by integrating the NETDS program into initial teacher education courses.

"The NETDS program provides students with a specialised curriculum to prepare them for careers as teachers in disadvantaged schools, delivering high quality professional experience for students in the program," says Professor Simons.

"We are working closely with Department of Education schools in western and south western Sydney to provide quality placements in schools in disadvantaged areas as well as mentoring support for our students."

To help bolster the program, the NETDS program will be collecting longitudinal data on the students' experiences during professional experience placements and tracking their careers after they graduate.

This will be used to provide better support for students in disadvantaged communities, and assist those seeking employment in these schools upon graduation.

The NETDS project is funded by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and supported by Origin Energy and Social Ventures Australia.

For further information about the NETDS initiative contact Dr Katina Zammit, Dr Jacqueline D'warte (Primary Education) or Associate Professor Loshini Naidoo (Secondary Education) or visit the program website.


3 August 2016

Nick Day, Senior Media Consultant