Introduction: This review of literature is intended to make a contribution to the Growing Great Teachers project in several ways, each of which is a normal expectation for a review of literature in research and evaluation. A review of literature is a review of existing documents and reports derived from research, policy and practice in the field or on the issue that is the focus on the project. As such, it must first establish that the project is worth undertaking, that is, the field or issue is of significance and worth undertaking, demonstrating that there is a gap in knowledge that the project is intended to help fill. Second, the review of literature should suggest matters to be investigated and, often, aspects of the methodology, including who should provide information and how that information is to be collected. Third, the review may suggest particular questions that should be posed to those who will provide information.
Each of these purposes is addressed in the pages that follow. A synthesis is provided in the concluding section, highlighting the matters to be investigated and illustrations of questions to be posed.
The purpose of the Growing Great Teachers project is to consider how schools, communities and education systems attract and support Early Career Teachers (ECTs), that is, those teachers in schools who have less than three years’ teaching experience. The focus of interest for this project is particularly on these teachers in disadvantaged schools across Australia. The review that follows shows evidence that ECTs are more likely to start their careers in disadvantaged schools and that there are higher concentrations of teachers with less than three years’ experience in disadvantaged schools.
There are two parallel justifications for carefully considering the support that is given to ECTs. The first is retention. That is, keeping teachers in schools, and particularly in disadvantaged schools. The second is effectiveness. That is, supporting ECTs to develop as quickly as possible into highly effective teachers that can have maximum impact on student learning.