Alternative Pathways

Alternative pathways into teaching broaden the entry points into the teaching profession by allowing individuals to work while they complete their teaching qualification. Alternative Pathways recruit high performing individuals and place them in the schools that need them most.

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High Achieving Teachers Program

The Australian Government supports alternative pathways into teaching by funding the High Achieving Teachers Program.

Commencing in 2020, the High Achieving Teachers Program offers two alternative, employment-based pathways into teaching for high achieving individuals, committed to pursuing a career in the teaching profession.

Each pathway proactively recruits and selects high achieving university graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience that schools need. Program participants are placed in teaching positions in Australian secondary schools experiencing teacher workforce shortages. In schools, program participants receive a high degree of training and support while they complete an Australian accredited teaching qualification and develop into high quality teachers.

The Government has contracted Teach For Australia and La Trobe University to deliver the two pathways under the High Achieving Teachers Program. Both providers were selected following an open and competitive tender process conducted in 2018.

Teach For Australia will recruit three intakes of at least 120 program participants per intake, with a focus on recruiting individuals with a background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Teach For Australia will place program participants in teaching positions in secondary schools in the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. While in schools, program participants will work as teachers, for two years, and receive a high degree of support while they complete a Master of Teaching (Secondary) delivered by the Australian Catholic University. The Government will provide $22.4 million in funding to Teach For Australia to deliver three intakes of the program in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Further information about Teach For Australia’s delivery of the High Achieving Teachers Program is available on the Teach for Australia website.

La Trobe University will recruit and place two intakes of 40 program participants per intake in Victorian secondary schools, with a focus on schools in regional Victoria. La Trobe University’s Nexus Program targets high achieving individuals with a strong commitment to the community in which they will work. Participants commence the program in supported teaching roles, before transitioning to a teaching position, while they complete a Master of Teaching (Secondary) over the two-year pathway. The Government has committed $6.3 million towards La Trobe University’s delivery of the program, in 2020 and 2021.

Further information about La Trobe’s delivery of the High Achieving Teachers Program is available on the La Trobe University website.

Teach For Australia $15 million election commitment

During the 2019 Federal election campaign, the Government announced the commitment of an additional $15 million for Teach For Australia to ‘train high achieving teachers who will become high quality school leaders in rural, remote or disadvantaged schools.’

This election commitment will be implemented by Teach For Australia through two initiatives:

  • an extension of the High Achieving Teachers Program for an additional cohort of 120 participants in 2022; and
  • the development and pilot of a new ‘Future Leaders Program’, aimed at strengthening the school leadership pipeline in regional, rural and remote primary and secondary schools Australia.

Further information about the Future Leaders Program is available on the Teaching and School Leadership page.

Together, these two initiatives will help address shortages in specialist teachers and high quality school leaders in rural, remote and disadvantaged schools across Australia.

Teach For Australia Program

Between 2009 and 2019, the Government provided more than $77 million in funding to Teach For Australia to provide ten cohorts of their employment-based pathway into teaching. From 2020, Teach For Australia will receive Australian Government funding to deliver one pathway of the High Achieving Teachers Program.

The Teach For Australia Program placed around 830 teaching associates in more than 180 schools in Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, filling hard-to-staff teaching positions, including in STEM subjects. Over 40 per cent of the associates were placed in regional, rural and remote communities, while the remainder were placed in disadvantaged metropolitan schools.

Read more about the program and request further information on the Teach For Australia website.


In 2021 dandolopartners were commissioned by the Australian Government to deliver an independent evaluation of the High Achieving Teachers program. Their interim evaluation report is available below.

Please note that this interim report is based on data that was available to dandolo at the time of writing and does not represent the full evaluation. dandolo is yet to undertake analysis on participant outcomes, participant retention and value for money, which will be included in the final evaluation report.

The evaluation is expected to be finalised in 2023.

In 2017 dandolopartners evaluated the Teach for Australia Program. Their report, available below, looked at the program’s impact in meeting the Government’s objectives.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) conducted an early evaluation of the Teach For Australia Program, delivered in three phases between 2010 and 2014. Their evaluation reports are available below.