Leadership Development Program

Rigorously recruiting and developing new teachers

Teach For Australia’s Leadership Development Program is an employment-based pathway into teaching, where Associates study towards their Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Professional Practice) in partnership with ACU, while teaching in schools serving low socioeconomic communities.

We work with our Partner Schools to recruit and develop highly effective teachers and leaders that strive for the aspirations of students and families. Our Associates bring subject area expertise, innovation and enthusiasm to classrooms, helping to drive improvements in student outcomes.


Through a highly rigorous selection process, we ensure that each incoming Associate has the qualities to succeed as a teacher.

We look for well-rounded and passionate individuals who have the qualities to create change, inside the classroom and beyond. Through the selection process, candidates are assessed against eight competencies based on evidence of effectiveness in the classroom:

  • Leadership and achievement
  • Commitment to mission
  • Communication and influencing ability
  • Problem solving
  • Organisational and planning ability
  • Resilience
  • Humility, respect and empathy
  • Learning and self-evaluation

Applicants first complete a comprehensive online application form. After extensive review of the application, successful candidates are then invited to a phone interview which allows us to better understand their experiences and motivations. The next stage of the process is a Selection Day. Partner School principals are welcome to participate in and support the Selection Day process. Each Selection Day comprises of one competency-based interview, a group based activity and debrief, and a sample teaching lesson and debrief.

Successful Selection Day candidates are extended a conditional offer to participate in the program. Following acceptance of an offer, a position as an Associate is contingent upon:

  • Confirmation of placement at one of our Partner schools;
  • Completion of the relevant school and jurisdiction employment processes; and
  • Successfully gaining registration with the relevant teacher registration body.

While Associates come from a range of academic disciplines, each has:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree and proven subject area expertise in the area in which they teach;
  • The potential to be an exceptional and inspirational leader; and
  • The passion and capacity to help address educational inequity.


Associates fill real school vacancies and commit to teaching in one of our Partner Schools for a minimum of two years.

We are committed to working with Partner Schools to ensure placements satisfy schools and Associates. Associates are matched to Partner Schools based on their subject expertise, the curriculum needs of individual schools and the capacity of individual schools to support one or more Associates. They are qualified to teach Year 7 to Year 12, in subject areas which directly relate to their tertiary studies.

Associates come from all academic disciplines and a variety of backgrounds. Each holds at least a Bachelor’s degree:

In partnership with the Federal Government and program partners in each participating state and territory, we have established criteria for school eligibility. We encourage prospective Partner Schools to discuss eligibility with their respective Teach For Australia State or Territory Manager. Teach For Australia, together with our Partner Schools, aims to ensure that the support provided to each Associate is consistent and impactful, regardless of geographic location.

As a key support mechanism, we endeavour where possible to place Associates in clusters within the same school and/or schools that are nearby one another. In the event that a match is not possible, Partner Schools are informed as soon as possible, ensuring that they have time to pursue other avenues to fill vacancies.

Generally, Associates are employed to teach a 0.8 FTE teaching load, with one day per week (or the equivalent) allocated for ongoing training and development.

Training and development

The Leadership Development Program offers a combined postgraduate education and employment opportunity, allowing Associates to put their education into practice immediately.

Beginning in 2018, Teach For Australia partners with ACU to deliver a Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Professional Practice) to Associates. This new partnership marks a bold innovation in teacher preparation in Australia, where for the first time, Associates are able to fully integrate three components – their classroom teaching, Teach For Australia leadership development activities, and Master of Teaching studies – such that their efforts across all three domains are recognised, and contribute towards their qualification.

The Initial Intensive

The first component of the Leadership Development Program is the Initial Intensive, which commences in the November before Associates’ first year of teaching. Associates complete a portion of their Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Professional Practice) during Initial Intensive, undertaking learning modules and school practicums that introduce them to all aspects of teaching and learning to prepare them for entry into the classroom.

Mid-Year Intensives

Associates continue to develop their teaching and leadership skills throughout the two year program, as part of the Teach For Australia community.

Over the two years, Associates undertake three additional intensive programs during the summer and winter school holidays, with regional professional development sessions throughout the year. These regional sessions contribute to assessment requirements and further build Associates’ understanding of the needs of students, schools and communities – as well as the broader issues affecting educational equity in Australia.

Support for Associates

Associates are guided by a comprehensive support network of experienced teachers, professionals and leadership coaches with whom they develop close working relationships.

  • Teaching and Leadership Adviser: Teach For Australia provides each Associate with a dedicated, experienced teacher who provides rigorous one-on-one coaching, regular classroom observations and pastoral care to guide Associates’ development as a teacher and leader throughout the program.
  • ACU Academic Mentor: ACU provides Associates with direct support through a university academic who supports, supervises and assesses Associates’ academic progress throughout their degree and guides them towards the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
  • School Mentor: We ask each Partner School to identify and match our Associates with an experienced teacher within the school. Teach For Australia provides comprehensive mentor development, enabling mentors to further develop skills and share learnings across the school. Learn more about our Mentor Development Program.
  • Teach For Australia Network: Associates are part of a national network of inspired, connected and empowered leaders who work as a collective to help break the cycle of disadvantage. Throughout the program, these peer relationships create a collegial network, sharing best practice, offering emotional support and reinforcing their passion and commitment.
  • Global Network: Associates can connect with leaders around the world as part of the Teach For All network, with staff and Alumni available to discuss topics such as international education and classroom best practice, school leadership, school innovation and policy.

Beyond the two year program

On completion of the two year program, Associates meet the Proficient Standards under the Australian Professional Standards. Eligibility for full registration allows Associates to continue teaching beyond the program.

The two year minimum teaching commitment is foundational and forms the bedrock of a transformational experience that helps to further develop Associates into great teachers with the leadership mindsets and skills that ultimately push for a more just society.

We know that teachers matter to their students, and acknowledge the importance of great teachers continuing their work in schools. To that end, Teach For Australia works with schools to support and encourage Associates when considering options to stay in the classroom.

We also believe that additional efforts are required to achieve the equity we seek. As such, we wholly support Alumni should they choose to pursue other endeavors such as influencing education policy or innovating and solving problems in schools and the education system.

What do Partner Schools commit to?

Partner Schools sign a Partnership Agreement with Teach For Australia. This agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of each party that contribute to the development of Associates and allow for maximum Associate impact. To support Associate development, our Partner Schools commit to:

  • Providing each Associate with a supportive environment.
  • Providing each Associate with a School Mentor, and providing each School Mentor with sufficient time release to observe and meet with their Associate and to engage in professional learning.
  • Providing each Associate with a salary equivalent to 0.8 FTE.
  • Providing each Associate with time release of 0.2 FTE to study and meet with their Teaching and Leadership Adviser, School Mentor and ACU Academic Mentor.
  • Allowing Associates to each in method areas in which they are enrolled as part of their Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Professional Practice).
  • Providing for Associates to teach in approved subject areas only.

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