The Grattan institute has proposed a ‘master teacher’ position be created to improve teaching across schools.

The experts say that a new career path for expert teachers could transform Australian schools and boost student learning by 18 months by the time they turn 15.

A Grattan Institute survey of 700 teachers and principals has found that top teachers are often given ‘add-on’ coaching roles, with inadequate time, training, or support to do the job properly.

Additionally, some teachers believe those promoted to instructional leadership roles are mates of the principal rather than the best people for the job.

“Our report calls for two new roles for Australia’s top teachers, giving them dedicated ‘day jobs’ to improve teaching across all schools,” Grattan said in a statement.

The proposed ‘Master Teachers’ (the top 1 per cent of the profession) would have no formal classroom load but would be the overall pedagogical leaders in their subjects, working across a network of schools in their region.

They would help identify teacher needs and coordinate training. They would guide ‘Instructional Specialists’ (limited to 8 per cent of the workforce), who would split their time between classroom teaching and instructional leadership. Instructional Specialists would work in their own schools to support and guide other teachers.

It is hoped that the new roles would help to spread teaching practices that have been shown to work well, and to generate new research in high-priority areas where Australian teachers or students may be lagging.

Master Teachers would receive salaries of about $180,000 a year ($80,000 more than the highest standard pay rate for teachers) under Grattan’s plan, and Instructional Specialists up to $140,000.

The new expert teacher career path would cost about $560 per government school student per year by 2032.

“Governments can afford it,” the institute says.

“Our blueprint would cost less than the planned increases to government school funding through the Gonski 2.0 model, and it would be one of the best possible ways to use the extra money. Non-government schools have had significant funding increases over the past decade and should fund the new model through their existing resources.”

The full report is accessible in PDF form, here.