Bruce Burnett: Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools

CEU Community + Invited Guests
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Friday, January 20, 2017 - 2:00pm
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Friday, January 20, 2017 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm



cordially invites you to a lecture and seminar by

Bruce Burnett
Associate Professor, School of Cultural and Professional Learning, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools:
An Attempt to Overcome Inequality through Education in Australia


This lecture begins by providing an overview of low socio-economic status (SES) schooling within the Australian context. Here Burnett will touch upon the local/regional and national factors that make the realities of living in poverty very different depending on the urban, rural or remote setting in which the school is located. While there have been several attempts since the 1970s in Australia to address the low SES schooling sector at the ‘systems level’ through direct funding to schools or additional staffing allocations, the National Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools (NETDS) program was the first attempt within teacher education in Australia to prepare, support and facilitate the employment of high quality teachers specifically for low SES schools.

NETDS began at QUT in 2009 and has developed close partnerships with over 60 low SES Queensland schools and the Queensland Department of Education and Training. NETDS participants engage in an 18-months program that brings together a unique theoretical lens on disadvantage and practical exposure on practicum within low SES communities. Prior to NETDS (2007-2010) only 35.3% of the top performing QUT graduates began their careers in low SES schools. However, since the embedding of NETDS within the Faculty of Education at QUT, an average of 87.9% of these graduates (2011-2015) now select a low SES career path as their first choice of employment. With major philanthropic support, the program is currently delivered at 7 universities across Australia and has been widely acknowledged in a recent Federal Government Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory report (2015) as having systemic ‘real world’ impact on Initial Teacher Education. It is projected that the NETDS national footprint in 2017 will be 543 graduates making a positive difference within low SES communities across 4 Australian States.

The aim of the lecture and seminar is to provide a contextual backdrop for why NETDS was developed, explain the key/major components of the program and why these have been successful, and finally to hopefully open up some new conversations that explore links between teacher education both within the Eastern European and Australian contexts. If time permits, Burnett hopes to also touch upon some of the complexities of the program that include i) negotiating support from the corporate and philanthropic sector, ii) resisting being drawn into unrelated debates such as quality teachers/quality teaching, and iii) broad international trends that are opening alternative pathways into teaching.


Bruce Burnett is the co-founder and current Program Director of the National Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools program (NETDS), which was established at QUT in 2009. Together with Associate Professor Jo Lampert, Burnett jointly developed what remains the only Australian mainstream Bachelor of Education program that specifically addresses Initial Teacher Education for high poverty schools. NETDS has attracted local, national and international recognition through its capacity to generate high impact systemic changes within Initial Teacher Education programs and ensure NETDS graduates are employed in high poverty schools which need them most. NETDS continues to achieve tangible impact within an area deemed of critical national significance as evidenced by an average of 87.9% of NETDS graduates (2011-2015) selecting a low SES teaching career path. The NETDS program is currently being scaled across 7 Australian universities.


Invitation (Download)