On Country Teacher Education Initiative

The Pilbara

Step up in your school and become a role model for your Indigenous students!

The West Australian Department of Education is committed to increasing the number of Aboriginal teachers in public schools, particularly in regional and remote areas. The Department has partnered with Curtin University to develop and pilot a program to support current Aboriginal employees to become Primary school teachers through completion of a Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) delivered by Curtin University.

On Country Teacher Education Initiative Details


Primary school teachers educate children in years 1–6 across the range of Australian curriculum learning areas.

This initial teacher education degree provides the qualification required to teach primary school students in the Australian Government, Catholic and Independent school sectors. Graduates are eligible for registration as a teacher in all Australian states and territories, and in countries that recognise Australian teaching qualifications.

The course takes a student-centred approach to teaching and learning, encouraging analytical and critical thinking. Core education units comprise the bulk of this degree, but you will also select three units that allow you to specialise in an offered area of the primary school curriculum. The delivery of the course is modelled on the 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning framework which outlines eight interconnected pedagogies. Unit materials in this course are adapted to include culturally appropriate examples.

As part of the course, you will complete four professional work experience placements in schools. These placements are undertaken in full-time blocks, regardless of your study mode.

Teaching placements

  • Professional experience 1: a two-week full-time block
  • Professional experience 2: a three-week full-time block
  • Professional experience 3: a four-week full-time block
  • Professional experience 4: a ten-week full-time block (one school term)

Support for you while you study

  • There is a dedicated Student Support Officer to assist you with all course enquiries, including assessment extensions and any other course related matters. They can also help in referring you to University support services that are available.
  • A residential Orientation at the Perth campus, before the start of the school year, setting you up for success in the program. The Orientation is not compulsory, but it provides you with important opportunity to meet other participants and Curtin staff. Curtin University will facilitate your travel and accommodation so you can attend the Orientation.
  • Additional help to assist you adjust to studying online, from both Curtin Academic staff and your teaching mentor at your school. This will be tailored to suit your individual needs and may include: face-to-face sessions; one-on-one assistance via Skype or phone; videos or guides online or via email; tools or resources on a USB drive etc.
  • Workshops or intensive blocks of teaching may be arranged in your local community or at a nearby regional centre in response to the needs of any participants in your cohort
  • Sequential and developmental program design, with a lower study load in the first two Trimesters and content in the first unit that provides an introduction to academic expectations, the professional requirements for teaching, development of teacher identity and exploration of personal resilience.

How this course will make you industry ready

  • All units are mapped to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, ensuring you graduate with the relevant competencies required to teach successfully.
  • You will build a professional digital portfolio that showcases your teaching abilities to potential employers.
  • You will also complete 19 weeks of teaching practice over the duration of the course, including a 10-week internship where they will have the major responsibility for a class of children under the mentorship of a qualified teacher.

Professional recognition

Curtin’s Bachelor of Education is recognised nationally as an initial pre-service teaching qualification.

What you’ll learn

  • Apply high-level discipline knowledge, principles and concepts associated with effective teaching of primary school students
  • Draw from theory and research to apply knowledge of the needs of students from diverse backgrounds and across the full range of abilities to enhance learning
  • Assess student learning and analyse diverse sources of data to support valid judgements of student learning
  • Plan and deliver effective teaching and learning experiences with demonstrated impact.
  • Use technologies appropriately for learning and teaching
  • Engage in professional learning and demonstrate capacity for leadership; demonstrate personal literacy and numeracy competencies to the required accreditation standard
  • Engage in critical and reflective practice based on local, national and international research
  • Create and manage positive learning environments for all students, including those from diverse cultural backgrounds

Admission Criteria

Eligibility for the On Country Teacher Education Program

To be eligible for this program, applicants must:

  • Identify as of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin;
  • Currently employed with the WA Department of Education on a permanent or fixed term basis. Priority may be given to permanent employees in determining financially supported places; and
  • Have support from the Principal of their school to participate in the program.

Admission criteria for the Bachelor of Education (Primary Education)

  • Admission to the On Country Teacher Education Program will be via Portfolio entry. This process allows you to demonstrate equivalence to Curtin’s ATAR entry requirement through the submission of a portfolio containing evidence of your qualifications, skills, professional experience and vocational interests.

Curtin requires all applicants to demonstrate proficiency in English. Applicants will also be required to engage in reflection of non-academic attributes related to teaching.

Other course requirements

  • You are required to successfully complete four professional experience placements in schools as part of designated units throughout the course. Placements are undertaken on a full-time basis in a continuous block. You will need to plan carefully to ensure you are able to meet this commitment. The total number of days of professional experience in the course will satisfy all states’ requirements for teacher registration.
  • You must have a current and valid Working with Children clearance as required by the WA Department of Education. You will also need to meet any other relevant State requirements before engaging in any work with children or professional experience.
  • You will need to provide evidence of successful completion of the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education students (LANTITE) before completing your course. The test is managed by ACER and details of the test (for example, sample questions, the Test Window dates, and registration) can be found at: https://teacheredtest.acer.edu.au/ .These tests are a national requirement applicable to all teaching graduates. Curtin will provide you with additional support and resources prior to undertaking the test.

Advanced Standing

At Curtin, we understand that everyone’s study journey has been different.

You may have already studied some of the units listed in your Curtin course, or you may have work experience that matches the degree requirements.

If this applies to you, you can apply for credit for recognised learning (CRL), which means your previous study is recognised and matched against a similar unit in your intended Curtin course. A successful CRL application exempts you from having to complete certain units within your course and means you could finish your degree in a shorter amount of time.

CRL is also known as recognition of prior learning, advanced standing and credit transfer.

If you have previously undertaken university level study, please contact OnCountryTeacherEducation@curtin.edu.au for more information regarding applying for CRL.

Course Delivery

Curtin Perth (On Country Teacher Education Program)

Teaching Periods
Trimesters – commencing Trimester 1. For start dates, please see the academic calendar.

Duration & Study Load
Five years, part-time only

Attendance Mode
Mixed Mode – Online, face-to-face and in schools

How To Apply

There are two steps you must complete when applying for the On Country Teacher Education Program:

  1. Apply to Curtin University for entry into the Bachelor of Education (Primary Education)

You need to send a completed Application for Admission form, together with your portfolio via email to portfolioentry@curtin.edu.au. The application form can be downloaded here and the steps for compiling your portfolio are outlined below. You must ensure that you submit your portfolio by the closing date.

Applications for 2020 have now closed. Details regarding a potential future intake, commencing mid 2021, will be published once available.

How to compile your portfolio to apply to Curtin

Your portfolio for application to the Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) must contain the following:

  1. A completed Portfolio Supplement – On Country form

You can download a copy of the form here.

  1. An introductory letter

This should explain why you want to become a teacher, your reasons for choosing this career and the specific skills you bring from your current position in the school.

  1. An updated resume

This should be a brief resume that outlines your educational background and experience working in a school.

  1. Letter of support from your Principal

A letter from your School Principal (or delegate), providing details of your work in the school, your aptitude for teaching, and the likelihood that you will succeed in the course and as a teacher. It should outline your suitability and preparedness for university level study, and include details regarding the support the school will be able to provide to you during your studies.

  1. Additional evidence of academic achievement

This may include secondary schooling, TAFE / Registered Training Organisation (RTO) qualifications, industry training and/or professional development.

You must email your application to portfolioentry@curtin.edu.au. Please include “Application for On Country Bachelor of Education (Primary Education)” in the subject of your email. Your email must be received by Curtin University by the closing date.

You will be advised by Curtin whether you have been accepted into the course, and you must advise your Principal via email of the outcome of your application.

Support available to help you complete your portfolio

Support is available from the staff at Curtin’s School of Education, to help you complete the steps in the application process for the On Country Teacher Education Program. This may include advice on creating your introductory letter and updated resume. Please contact OnCountryTeacherEducation@curtin.edu.au

Our 2020 cohort in Curtin's Centre for Aboriginal Studies
Our 2020 cohort in Curtin's Centre for Aboriginal Studies