In March 2013, the Minister’s Great Teaching, Inspired Learning: A Blueprint for Action (GTIL) was released.
Great Teaching, Inspired Learning comprises 16 key changes listed as outcomes and actions over the career cycle of a teacher and are listed under four career stages:
- Initial teacher education
- Entry into the profession
- Develop and maintain professional practice
- Recognise and share outstanding practice.
Outcome 10 within the career stage of “Develop and maintain professional practice” states that “The Australian Professional Standards of Teachers will apply to all NSW teachers”. Action 10.1 states:
“Legislation and policy will be amended to bring all NSW teachers within the scope of the Institute of Teachers Act 2004.
“This process will be phased in over five years and will incorporate:
- “ recognition of the professional standing of the pre-2004 teaching workforce
- “alignment of Institute processes and school-based performance and development processes
- “alignment with employment and new legislative requirements for criminal checks.
“The Institute will consult with teacher and principal organisations, unions and school authorities on potential strategies for recognising existing teachers within the scope of the Institute of Teachers Act 2004, including identifying legislative and policy implications.
“The Institute will provide implementation and transitional proposals to the Minister by December 2013.”
Since then the functions of the NSW Institute of Teachers and the NSW Board of Studies have merged to form the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES). BOSTES incorporates many areas of work in NSW schools, including curriculum, teaching, assessment, registration and policy. Great Teaching, Inspired Learning now comes under the auspice of BOSTES and the NSW Institute of Teachers Act 2004 has been renamed as the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004.
Legislation is currently being drafted to require the accreditation of all teachers in NSW. However, the phasing in of this requirement is not being rushed and the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning factsheets state that “all school teachers in NSW [will be] accredited under the professional teaching standards” by 2018.
The processes and implementation of these requirements have not been finalised and will form part of the next award negotiations round. Federation will negotiate with BOSTES and the Department in regards to the finer details of the implementation. It is clear, though, that teachers who currently do not fall under the scope of the Teacher Accreditation Act will not be required to undertake the same processes as that of a beginning teacher working towards being accredited at proficient. They will be required to maintain their accreditation status against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
Outcome 11 within the Develop and maintain professional practice career stage states that “all teachers will be supported by high quality performance and development processes”. Action 11.1 states: “Annual teacher performance management and development will be explicitly linked to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework.”
Action 11.2 states: “Reporting requirements for maintaining accreditation will be streamlined.”
These actions align with section 5.2 of the award (2014–2016) which explicitly states: “Documentation of the annual performance and development cycle will align with the requirements for achieving and maintaining accreditation, streamlining existing processes and reducing duplication of effort.” The agreed framework is currently being jointly developed by Federation and the Department and is due to be implemented by term 1, 2015.
By the time all school teachers come under the scope of the Teacher Accreditation Act, the processes to streamline the performance and development annual cycle and the maintenance of accreditation requirements will have been underway for a number of years.
Federation will monitor the implementation of the new performance and development annual cycle to inform the union of potential strategies regarding the implementation of policy that will bring all teachers under the scope of the Teacher Accreditation Act by 2018.
Teachers who come under the scope of the Act are required, by legislation, to pay an annual fee to BOSTES.
Federation opposes in principle the requirement for individual teachers to pay such a fee.
Despite the fee being tax deductible the union will continue to advocate that the employer should pay the mandatory fee.
Federation has campaigned strongly for many decades to achieve and maintain the appointment of appropriately trained and qualified teachers to NSW government schools. BOSTES ensures qualification standards are maintained. The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers potentially provide a consistent framework in which to maintain standards. In this context Federation supports accreditation and a performance and development framework based on the standards.
On occasions the procedures required to achieve and maintain accreditation and procedures to manage the performance and development of teachers are not followed within schools. Federation believes that the streamlining of these processes in 2015 and the subsequent accreditation of all teachers in later years should support schools to assist teachers to develop and maintain professional practice. This will also be enhanced by the 50 per cent increase in school professional learning funds from 2016 negotiated by the Federation in the award negotiations.
Where problems cannot be overcome members should contact Federation for advice and assistance.
Kate Ambrose is the Membership and Training Officer and Jen Dive is an Industrial Officer.