The Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative (SMSI) has been developed to help address current workforce challenges in the teaching of mathematics and science in years 7–10. Intake 2 has been designed in consultation with teachers and principals to meet the needs of secondary schools, teachers, and students.

Participants gain a fully funded graduate certificate in either mathematics or science through Deakin University, a leading Australian tertiary institution with recognised expertise in out-of-field teaching. Credit points from the graduate certificate can be put towards a Master of Education.

The SMSI is designed for teachers who have been teaching out-of-field mathematics or science for 1-5 years and will be teaching out-of-field in 2022. Participants will engage with contemporary, research informed approaches to mathematics or science teaching and learning aligned to the Victorian Curriculum Levels 7–10.

Places are limited to 75 in mathematics and 25 in science, with 50 of these places reserved for regional and rural participants.

Delivery

Over 9 months, participants are required to engage in blended adult learning with 16 face-to-face course days held in central Melbourne and three virtual workshops held per term after school hours.

Scheduled face-to-face course days in 2022 are:

                  Term 1                  Term 2                  Term 3                  Term 4
                  14 — 15 February                  2 — 3 May                  18 —19 July                  3 — 4 October
                  24 — 25 February                  12 — 13 May                  28 — 29 July                  13 — 14 October


Cost and financial support

The SMSI provides a fully funded postgraduate qualification at no cost to participants or their schools.

Schools will receive credit through their Student Resource Package equivalent to 20 per cent of a 2.6 classroom teacher salary (approximately $25,000) for each participant. This funding is for schools to use to support participating teachers, including to attend face-to-face course days and to engage with course requirements and assessments.

Below are some examples of ways schools can utilise the funding to ensure their teacher can fully engage with the course requirements and become a confident and classroom ready in-field teacher:

  • include time in the teacher's allotment to:
  •      – enable their full engagement with the course content
         – implement key learnings into their teaching practice
  • hire a Casual Relief Teacher during face-to-face synchronous learning days and other course commitments
  • hire a permanent a staff member at 0.2 FTE to cover face-to-face synchronous learning days and study leave
  • provide a mentor to build teacher confidence in the classroom.
  •  

    To support remote and regional schools’ participation on face-to-face course days, teachers whose schools are located more than 100 kilometres from the venue will be reimbursed for travel, meals and accommodation costs.

    Eligibility

    To be eligible for the SMSI, participants:

  • must be teaching out-of-field in 2022 in the subject they are expressing interest in (mathematics or science)
  • must have support from their principal to undertake the course
  • must be employed in a position in a Victorian Government school
  • should have taught out-of-field in the subject they are applying for (mathematics or science) for 1-5 years.
  •  

    Having undertaken mathematics or science in VCE or other studies is not a requirement but may benefit your engagement in the course.

    Eligibility reflects the course requirements and how the course content has been targeted. For example, some assessments require participants to apply course learning in a classroom context, which is why participating teachers need to be teaching out-of-field in 2022. Research also suggests that most of the challenges associated with out-of-field teaching are experienced in the first five years of teaching out-of-field, after which they tend to be better managed.

    Note: teachers who have been teaching out-of-field for more than 1-5 years but are still interested in expressing interest in participating in the SMSI, should contact the SMSI team (details below) to discuss their circumstances.

    Structure

    Each graduate certificate consists of four units (two per semester) that participants must successfully complete to receive their qualification. Each unit has a focus on a different content area with participants gaining conceptual understanding, and pedagogical content and assessment knowledge and skills appropriate for teaching in years 7-10 mathematics or science.

    For each unit, participants are expected to participate and engage in:

  • face-to-face intensives
  • after school hours online workshops
  • preparatory and review activities (related to intensives and workshops)
  • trialling of course learnings in a classroom context
  • preparation of assessments (two assessments per unit – total of 5000 words per unit)
  • a community of adult learners.
  •  

    Post graduate university students typically dedicate 150 hours per unit (including pre-work, course days and assessments). This can vary depending on individual circumstances and background. 

    Information sessions

    Information sessions were held on Wednesday 11 August and Thursday 12 August. View the recordings below.

    Viewing the recordings will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of course expectations, as well as what participants and their schools will gain through their involvement in the SMSI.


    Expression of Interest process

    Before completing the Expression of Interest (EOI) form, teachers must confirm they are eligible (see eligibility requirements, above).

    Applicants will be asked to provide their principal’s contact details on the EOI form. After an EOI has been submitted, the Department will contact each principal for their written endorsement and to identify the support the school will provide. Principal endorsement is required before places in either graduate certificate will be confirmed.

    Applications will be assessed as received to give schools as much time as possible to adjust timetabling and resource allocation for 2022.

    The EOI process is expected to close 31 December 2021.

    SMSI contact

    Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative smsi@education.vic.gov.au

    FAQs

    Please download the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document for more information.