The IEU is urging NESA to put the voice of teachers back into the professional development (PD) debate.
“NESA’s sudden decision to cancel all registered PD at the end of the 2020 school year was largely driven by political imperatives,” IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said.
“It’s now time to put teachers, and trusted PD providers such as the IEU, back at the centre of the discussion.”
The IEU has made a series of recommendations to NESA with a view to ensuring the new Professional Development and Maintenance of Accreditation policies serve the needs of the profession.
Members are concerned that the limited ‘priority area’ conditions will result in registered PD becoming more difficult to obtain, a view shared by the union.
“As an example,” said Northam, “NESA has indicated that a registered PD course will need to be a minimum of 90 minutes duration. This will mean a regular one-hour staff meeting dedicated to professional learning will no longer count towards a teacher’s 50 hours of registered PD.
“This has potentially wide-reaching industrial implications that NESA has not considered.”
IEU Professional Officer Pat Devery said: “Given that one of the stated outcomes of the Maintenance of Accreditation Policy is to ‘improve flexibility and provide greater control for teachers over their professional learning’ the restrictive and inflexible nature of the new policies demonstrates little trust in the professionalism of teachers”.
The union is keen to ensure any new policies and procedures surrounding PD do not result in additional teacher workload.
“For a start, we assert that PD courses should not involve additional out-of-course hours, unless they count towards a teacher’s total maintenance hours. Teachers don’t need homework,” Devery said.
“We are also insisting that the facility to upload elective PD should be simple, streamlined, and should not contribute to work intensification,” he said.
While the union still has concerns that the priority areas are too limited in their scope, it has suggested a possible solution would be to reduce the number of registered hours.
Beyond expanding the priority areas, reinstating ‘approved provider’ status to the IEU and the various professional teaching associations is also high on the union agenda.
“Our behaviour management courses were some of our most popular sessions and it is our view they should still be eligible for registered PD status,” Northam said.
Devery said, “At a recent consultation meeting with NESA representatives we were asked ‘How do you know if a PD course is any good? We told them, we know our courses are good because we ask our members, and they tell us. It’s time to start listening to teachers again.”
The union encourages members to let the minister or their local member know about any concerns they have regarding NESA’s PD and Maintenance of Accreditation policies. It’s time for teachers to be heard.