Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

The Australian Educational Researcher




School of Education




Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2021

Strategic Initiative Funds


Main, S., Byrne, M., Scott, J. J., Sullivan, K., Paolino, A., Slater, E. V., & Boron, J. (2023). Primary specialisations in Australia: Graduates’ perceptions of outcome and impact. The Australian Educational Researcher, 50, 371–390.


In 2014, the Australian Government established the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) to advise on how teacher education programmes could ensure new teachers were adequately prepared for the classroom. Following this, the Australian Government endorsed a key recommendation of the TEMAG Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers report, the inclusion of specialisations in primary Initial Teacher Education (ITE). This research was conducted at an Australian public university that, in 2016, had embedded specialisations in a revised primary teacher programme structure and was one of the first ITE institutions in Australia to graduate primary teachers with a specialisation. Using a mixed-methods case study design with convenience sampling, this study sought to investigate these primary graduates’ perceptions of undertaking a specialisation in relation to the development of content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge in the specialist area, as well as perceived employment advantages. This research took place over 4 years with participants having completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at least three months prior to participating. The participants reported benefits to having completed a primary specialisation but expressed concerns about their preparedness to teach their specialisation and whether it would result in any advantages for employment. Recommendations from the participants included teaching practice in their area of specialisation, consideration of specialist skills and changing the timetabling of the specialisation in the programme. Ultimately, there is a need for ongoing research in this area to determine the extent to which primary specialisations deliver the intended outcomes and impacts at both the policy driver level and the university level.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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