Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) William Ross State High School

The Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) offers real-world job pathways to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary students through a flexible vocational education program that promotes two-way learning and community engagement.

Video

Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) – William Ross State High School

Program profile

  • Queensland
  • Metropolitan, regional and remote locations
  • Government
  • Years 11 and 12 and mature-aged entry

About

The Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) is a successful and innovative distance education program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people run by the Queensland Department of Education and Training in partnership with TAFE Queensland North and James Cook University.

This online education program is offered throughout Queensland, regardless of the location of the student. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students participating in the program are supported by a teacher coordinator.

The purpose of RATEP is to increase the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and paraprofessionals in Queensland schools. The program also provides pathways to higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The program:

  • emphasises flexibility
  • considers the local context
  • develops students’ aspirations and self-esteem
  • promotes two-way learning and community engagement
  • offers real-world job pathways.

RATEP offers senior secondary students and mature-aged students a variety of options towards a qualification that enables graduates to work in a primary school setting. These include:

  • Certificate III in Education (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
  • Certificate IV in Education (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
  • Diploma of Education (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)
  • Bachelor of Education (Primary) pathways.

Importantly, each of the 14 RATEP centres has a teacher coordinator who provides support to participating students.

 

Approach

William Ross State High School has successfully run RATEP on site since 1990. The RATEP students studying at the school undertake the Certificate III in Education (ATSI) as a subject in the timetable.

The students study online for the Certificate III for three hours per week. Students from external schools attend William Ross State High School one day a week for the block release vocational education and training (VET). As well as studying online, students participate in vocational education experiences such as teacher observation, small group teaching and classroom teaching. The flexibility of the program allows a broad range of students to access the course despite challenges such as remote location.

“We look at the students and we look at their personal needs, their preferences of what they want to study, we look at their economic background and how we can support in that area”
Letitia Choppy – Certificate III Coordinator, TAFE Queensland North (Cairns)

As part of RATEP, Year 11 and 12 students have the opportunity to undertake a Certificate III in Education (ATSI). This can be completed over two years, with students commencing in Year 11, or completed in one year by Year 12 students who have the capacity to manage the intensity of the workload. Successful completion of the Certificate III in Education (ATSI) provides eight points towards the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE), and enables students to graduate with a skill set for work as a teachers’ aide or as an educator within a day-care or early childcare environment.

The program also provides opportunities for graduates to work in care programs outside school hours. The number of Certificate III students enrolled across the state has increased each year since the program began.

The program is periodically reviewed by an external evaluation panel. The 2015 More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI) Project Evaluation Panel report recognised that the program has efficiently used appropriate technologies and delivered effective support for students studying off site, as shown by the low attrition rate.

 

Industry partnerships

The program has strong links with the Queensland Department of Education and Training, TAFE Queensland North and James Cook University through its governance structure and project dissemination. These links are strengthened by the program’s steering group, and by local advisory committees at each RATEP centre. These consist of a range of stakeholders including:

  • students
  • VET coordinators
  • school leaders
  • community members.

 

Outcomes

  • Graduates of RATEP have gone on to secure employment as principals, heads of departments and in other school leadership roles.
  • There have been over 100 graduates from the program who now possess a Bachelor of Education.
  • Based on recent figures, approximately 70 per cent of these qualified teachers have remained teaching in Queensland.

In addition to the development of teachers and teachers’ aides, RATEP supports the upgrading of skills for early childhood teachers.

Success factors

Recognises students’ cultural context

The program’s success can be attributed to recognising each student’s cultural context. This is particularly important as some of the students have only recently discovered their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage. All courses include units which consider culture, identity and history both pre-contact and post-contact.

Provides individual support to students

The personalised nature of the program delivers the same quality of education to students in remote areas and to students who have access to local institutions such as universities and TAFEs.

The size of RATEP makes it possible to offer individual support to students and help them to change their study pathways if they are experiencing difficulty. Students are able to learn in their community without moving away from home.