Accreditation at Proficient is an important milestone in a teacher’s career. It affirms that they have met the mandatory standards for teaching in ACT and NSW. It might also be linked to a pay rise.
Whether you’re continuing your accreditation journey towards Proficient or starting out as a teacher for the first time in 2017, there are few things you need to check before you get started:
•What is my due date for Proficient accreditation?
•Which jurisdiction’s accreditation am I working towards? That is, are you with NESA (NSW’s new version of BOSTES) or ACT TQI?
•What is my employer’s policy for accreditation? This should be supplied to you within three months of commencing with the employer, regardless of whether you are permanently, temporarily or casually employed.
•Who is my supervisor for accreditation? •All employers are required to supervise the accreditation of their teachers, regardless of permanent, temporary or casual employment.
•Who is my mentor for accreditation? Some employers will allocate you a mentor, who should be different and distinct to a supervisor. A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be from the same teaching area as you.
•Are there any additional allocations for teachers undergoing accreditation towards Proficient? Many employers provide time release and support for accreditation purposes. Some of these are protected by agreements. Find out what the allocation is for you, and how the school intends to use it. Some of the time may be used sending you to courses, and some for you to work with your supervisor or mentor. Negotiate with your school as to how you need to use your allocation. Don’t let unused hours go to waste; these hours are meant for you to use to develop your teaching practice.
•Will my pay be affected by accreditation at Proficient, and when? Talk to your school rep about what your agreement states. Some agreements simply give a pay rise after accreditation at Proficient, others ask for a certain amount of service plus accreditation. Find out what your agreement says and use that as a basis for your timeline for accreditation.
•What is my timeline? Find out any milestones the employer wants you to meet, and check that they match the agreement’s pay rise conditions. Work as strictly to the timeline as possible, keeping supervisors/mentors up to date with your progress.
•How many observations are required? NESA and TQI require minimal observations to occur, and these can be 10-15 minutes long and meeting a descriptor or two. Some employers require a few more by specific people in your school. Others ask for far too many useless observations that are designed to slow your accreditation process down. If you are in the latter situation, contact the Union.
Don’t delay. If you leave things to the last minute, you may be disappointed at the end of the year when no one has time to either process your accreditation or to offer you feedback as to how to pass. Be respectful of your colleagues’ time by communicating with them often (don’t submit out of the blue) and submitting early.
Keep copies of meetings and communications. If you have a meeting, email the participants after the meeting your understanding of the outcome of the meeting. Email records are important pieces of evidence that show you have been proactive with your accreditation.
IEU runs Accreditation at Proficient workshops in the school holidays to assist members attempting Proficient accreditation using the NSW system. The Union has developed a handbook for beginning teachers in the NSW system which can be found in the resources section of our website. In addition, accreditation advice for both teachers and mentors can be sought from firstname.lastname@example.org