Print this page printer Icon

Develop and maintain professional practice

Future directions

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers will apply to all NSW teachers.

All teachers will be supported by high quality performance and development processes.

The processes of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) and school authorities will be streamlined to reduce duplication and give greater recognition to school-based, classroom-focused professional learning.

Underperforming teachers and school leaders will be treated in an efficient and fair way.

Current state

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the Professional Teaching Standards) provide a clear framework to guide teachers in the development of evidence for accreditation, and the maintenance of accreditation through professional learning.

NSW is the only jurisdiction which does not currently require accreditation of all teachers. All teachers first employed from 1 October 2004 and those returning to teaching following a break of five years or more are required to be accredited on the basis of the Professional Teaching Standards. Approximately 56 000 teachers who are actively teaching, including those on approved leave from teaching, have been accredited.

Teachers appointed prior to October 2004 are not required to maintain accreditation through professional learning and do not have their own professional practice and professional learning structured around the Professional Teaching Standards. Many teachers, however, are required to interpret and apply the Professional Teaching Standards through supervision of pre-service and early career teachers, including mentoring and assessment of teachers for accreditation at Proficient Teacher (Professional Competence). This creates significant differences in the engagement with, and understanding across, the teaching workforce regarding the specific application of the Professional Teaching Standards.

Teachers accredited since October 2004 must also undertake 100 hours of professional learning over every five year period. Half of this must come from professional learning providers that have been endorsed by BOSTES. The efficacy of current BOSTES processes for the recording and evaluation of this professional learning was a key issue from the consultation, as was the need to give more recognition to school-based professional learning linked to the Professional Teaching Standards. 

There is currently general agreement that teachers are responsible for determining their professional learning within the context of their professional and career development needs and the priorities of their school. While teachers recognise that collaborative teaching, lesson observation and feedback are significant sources of school-based professional learning, they are not always presented with these opportunities in their schools.

The BOSTES accreditation process and school authorities' processes for performance management are different systems, and this has led to duplication of processes and requirements. For many teachers, the current performance management systems are perceived to be administrative, do not provide feedback and, therefore, do not have a strong impact on classroom teaching. Similarly, current systems for supporting underperforming teachers and for removing those that cannot meet the Professional Teaching Standards are perceived by some to be too complex and onerous.

Outcomes and actions

10.The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers will apply to all NSW teachers.

10.1 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 BOSTES processes and school-based performance and development processes
  • alignment with employment and new legislative requirements for criminal checks.

BOSTES 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.

BOSTES will provide implementation and transitional proposals to the Minister by December 2013.

10.2 Early childhood teachers in NSW will be considered for inclusion within the scope of the Institute of Teachers Act 2004.

Consultation will occur with the early childhood sector in 2013 to investigate the incorporation of teachers in the early childhood sector in NSW into BOSTES, including legislative options, transitional arrangements, harmonisation with national and NSW regulatory frameworks applying to the sector and resourcing BOSTES to support the additional function.

Options will be presented to the Minister by the end of 2013.

11. All teachers will be supported by high quality performance and development processes.

11.1 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.

Teacher professional learning plans should be integrated with performance and development processes and linked to the teacher's professional needs, based on an assessment of their performance and school priorities. This should involve:

  • a professional learning plan that is aligned to the Professional Teaching Standards, career aspirations and teacher development and school priorities
  • feedback and advice regarding the next stages of professional learning and career development
  • assistance for teachers to identify and develop strategies that best support student learning within the school context
  • structured feedback and support to assist in identifying and supporting teachers who are experiencing performance difficulties
  • verification of the completion of the required hours of professional learning for maintenance of accreditation.

The BOSTES and school authorities will consider the need to revise their current processes so teachers experience aligned performance management and development processes from 2014.

11.2 Reporting requirements for maintaining accreditation will be streamlined.

The process of maintaining teacher accreditation with the Institute will be aligned to the performance management processes of the employer and involve the final report being completed progressively over a five-year period.

11.3 The decision as to whether teachers should be accredited as Proficient should be made at the school level.

BOSTES and school authorities will consider changing current arrangements to enable principals to become the Teacher Accreditation Authority within the system to determine that teachers have satisfied the requirements for initial accreditation and also maintenance of accreditation at the Proficient Teacher level. The consistency of professional judgment of this process will be supported through local school networks, moderated through the Institute's external assessor processes.

12.The processes of the Institute and school authorities will be streamlined to reduce duplication and give greater recognition to school-based, classroom-focused professional learning.

12.1 Greater recognition will be given to professional learning undertaken in the school.

BOSTES will work with school authorities to recognise workplace learning and performance management and development processes that are based on the Professional Teaching Standards as professional learning. The current professional development policy and processes will be redesigned to enable the registration and validation of performance and development plans aligned to school and teacher priorities as professional learning by 2014.

12.2 Processes for the registration of school-based professional learning and endorsement of schools as providers of professional learning will be simplified.

BOSTES will work with school authorities to revise existing processes to allow easier registration of school-based professional learning that addresses the Professional Teaching Standards. BOSTES will also develop efficient processes for the endorsement of schools as providers of professional learning. Both actions will be completed by 2014.

12.3 Processes for recording and evaluating professional learning for accreditation purposes will be streamlined.

BOSTES will work in partnership with school authorities and professional learning providers to revise current systems for recording and evaluating professional learning for accreditation purposes by 2014.

13. Underperforming teachers and school leaders will be treated in an efficient and fair way.

13.1 Existing professional management policies and processes dealing with underperformance will be simplified.

School authorities, in partnership with principals' organisations and teaching unions, will update their existing professional management policies and practices, including related industrial processes, to ensure that underperformance as assessed against the Professional Teaching Standards is expeditiously, effectively and fairly addressed.

Updated policies and processes should recognise the professional responsibilities of school authorities, principals and teachers in:

  • identifying and acting swiftly on underperformance that undermines the Professional Teaching Standards and the interests of teachers
  • minimising adverse impacts on the learning of students during these processes
  • supporting underperforming teachers
  • supporting school personnel through the necessary legal, industrial and other processes needed for efficient action in addressing underperformance, including suspension and dismissal where appropriate
  • ensuring teachers have genuine opportunities to meet the Professional Teaching Standards within the school context.

School authorities will also strengthen, as necessary, processes for addressing underperformance in principals and school leaders, including appropriate support, measures to minimise impact on school staff and students and rigorous procedures to deal with continuing underperformance.

13.2 Teachers found unable to meet the Professional Teaching Standards will be removed from the profession.

The suspension and revocation of accreditation functions under the Institute of Teachers Act 2004 will be applied to ensure that those found incapable of meeting the Professional Teaching Standards are removed from the profession.

13.3 Professional support will be provided for a strengthened annual performance management and development process.

BOSTES, in association with school authorities, will develop reliable and useful guidelines for the application of the Professional Teaching Standards for experienced teachers in the development of annual teacher performance reviews.

School authorities will ensure that executive teachers overseeing annual teacher performance reviews have access to professional learning to support the development of skills in supervision, mentoring, classroom observation and professional feedback.