Professional engagement update – priority areas too restrictive

The IEU strongly asserts that any NESA requirement insisting PD courses be a minimum duration of 90 minutes is unreasonably limiting and demonstrates a lack of trust in the profession.

The union has been in ongoing discussions with NESA regarding the recent policy changes which came into effect late last year.

The union asserts that the four priority focus areas are too restrictive to allow all teachers access to no or low cost PD, especially as the majority of providers have been excluded from endorsed provider status. We are hearing that employers are reluctant to accredit the PD they are delivering in staff meetings.

From the middle of the year the union, along with other professional teacher organisations, will be able to develop new accredited PD courses. We are cautiously optimistic we will have our endorsed provider status reinstated at some stage later in the year.

In the meantime, the IEU will concentrate on ensuring the processes around PD requirements do not become too onerous for teachers. Some of the concerns we have voiced to NESA are outlined below.

Sustained duration

There are currently no courses with interim NESA accreditation shorter than 90 minutes duration, with NESA indicating all accredited courses would need to be at least 90 minutes long to meet the ‘sustained duration’ principle of effective professional learning criteria.

This would effectively exclude employers from accrediting staff meetings dedicated to critical professional learning activities, such as NAPLAN or RAP analysis. The union is monitoring to see if there any moves to adjust current industrial arrangements to accommodate this unwarranted PD restriction, for example, by shifting to 90 minute staff meetings.

The IEU strongly asserts that any NESA requirement insisting PD courses be a minimum duration of 90 minutes is unreasonably limiting and demonstrates a lack of trust in the profession. Teachers or school learning communities should be able to select PD activities of an appropriate duration to suit their particular circumstances.

Teachers don’t do homework

The union maintains there should be no out-of-course component (homework) required for PD.

If a teacher chooses to enrol in a course with additional out of course hours, those hours should count towards the total accredited or elective hours. A range of out-of-session activities should be available and any additional tasks should comply with current school/system policies/workload protocols.

Elective PD requirements

The union has advocated strongly to NESA that the capacity for teachers to upload elective PD should be simple, streamlined, and should not contribute to additional teacher workload.

Maintaining your accreditation

Any members completing their 100 hours of PD this year (either accredited or elective) will have completed all the requirements for their maintenance of accreditation, regardless of the maintenance of accreditation due date.

If you do not complete your hours by the end of 2021 you will be required to complete at least one course from one of the priority areas in order to satisfy the PD maintenance requirements.

To that end, members are encouraged to complete their hours as elective PD using the on-demand suite of PD available from the IEUZone.

NESA Teacher Time Survey

As part of its NSW curriculum review, NESA invited the IEU to provide a submission to the consultations around teacher time commitments with respect to compliance and contemporary issues content.

The IEU stressed in its submission that unnecessary documentation, often carried out in the name of compliance, is largely responsible for the ever increasing workload demands on teachers. We suggested that, as all documentation is written by and for education professionals, the increasing level of micro-detail being requested by employers, for example program annotations or teacher reflections, should be solely at the discretion of the teacher.

We further made the observation that, in general, the increase in compliance creep has been a result of a commensurate diminishing of respect for the professional judgement of teachers.

Any assurances NESA can provide that reduces principal anxiety about inspections and compliance requirements in general, would allow schools to re-focus on their core role of providing high quality education to the students in their care.

While we had no specific suggestions with what they are referring to as ‘contemporary Issues’, we did suggest that a name which acknowledges and includes the relevance of the contemporary issue unit of work to the school or the school community would be helpful in order to broaden the potential scope of what might be covered.

When considering whether or not to include a suggested contemporary issues topic in the curriculum, NESA should consult with the profession and key professional and community organisations, including the IEU.

Educational Issues Committee – call for members

Are you interested in staying up to date with current developments in the education space? The IEU’s Educational Issues Committee meets online once per term and addresses a range of issues, from NESA policy changes to emerging trends in education which are likely to impact members in their work environment. We would welcome your active engagement and input

Contact the committee co-convenors, Veronica Yewdall or Pat Devery to register your interest.

Educational Issues Committee email