Federation and the Department have developed a new, agreed Performance and Development Framework for all teachers, executives and principals in NSW public schools.
Replacing the existing teacher assessment and review processes with a new framework was one of the terms of settlement for the salaries award endorsed by many thousands of members at statewide meetings late last year.
Getting the principles right
Comments from colleagues who have read the framework include “the new processes put the teacher in the driver’s seat”, and “it reads like it’s written by teachers for teachers, with a clear focus on the professional learning necessary for good teaching practice”.
Founded on the principles of dignity and respect in the workplace, the right to be supported in professional learning, and the responsibility to be involved in performance and development processes to ensure quality teaching and learning for students, the framework document is replete with the language of teachers working together: “Teachers, executives and principals should receive support and guidance from their supervisor in setting meaningful and appropriate professional goals. This process should occur in a collaborative and supportive environment.”
“Observation processes are to be negotiated in a collegial, mutually respectful manner, undertaken by an agreed colleague and documented.”
More funding and release time
Federation sought to ensure that the new processes did not impose additional workload on teachers. The phases of Plan, Implement and Review are to “encompass the various activities teachers, executives and principals are already undertaking in the normal course of their work, rather than create separate and additional processes”.
In the salaries settlement, Federation achieved an additional $17 million per year from 2016 for teacher professional learning. This 50 per cent increase can be used to provide additional release time for teachers and supervisors to implement the new processes. Federation also achieved extra release time for beginning teachers and mentors.
Federation has repeatedly sought executive release time for primary schools since the 2000 Annual Conference. While the union’s claim was again rejected in salaries negotiations last year as in previous years, it remains a priority that Federation is pursuing in the context of the state election. If the new framework is to be implemented equitably and effectively across all workplaces, Federation believes primary school executives, like their secondary colleagues, should have the release time to support it.
Support for casual, temporary, specialist and non-school based teachers
Federation is pursuing with the Department and the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards, improved support for casual and temporary teachers, as well as specialists such as school counsellors and teachers in consultant positions. All members should have equitable access to teacher professional learning funds and accreditation processes. The results of negotiations in this area will be communicated to all members as they become available.
Training and support materials
Federation and the Department are finalising the training arrangements and support materials for implementation of the new framework in semester 1, 2015. It is agreed that principals and Federation Representatives from all workplaces will be trained as soon as practicable in 2015, and that implementation for all teachers should not proceed until this training has been delivered in their workplace.
Federation and Department officers will jointly present the training to principals and Federation Representatives on an annual basis. This aims to assist staff to regularly renew and refresh their knowledge and practice.
Support materials will be produced to guide implementation in areas like goal setting, identifying evidence, lesson observations, and receiving and giving feedback.
Federation and the Department agree that implementation in 2015 will be on a compressed timeline, to account for the time taken to train participants across all workplaces.