Professional engagement update

Curriculum review

The response to the final report of Portfolio Committee No 3 – Education Review of the NSW School Curriculum – Chaired by Mark Latham, was delivered to NSW Parliament in late October.

While the NSW Government noted the inquiry recommendations, it indicated strongly that it did not intend to adopt any of them. This is a positive outcome as many of the terms of reference for the inquiry were clearly politically motivated.

Professional development

NESA recently released the process for non-employer organisations to run accredited professional development courses.

We have commenced the process of re-instating courses that the IEU previously ran as registered PD. The application procedure is far more time-consuming, and is confined to PD in the four priority learning areas of:

  • delivery and assessment of NSW Curriculum/Early Years Learning Framework
  • student/child mental health
  • students/children with disability, and
  • Aboriginal education and supporting Aboriginal students/children.

Since approval must be gained for each individual course, the IEU will not be running accredited (previously known as registered) PD until 2022.

The union is aware that casual teachers are experiencing issues accessing sufficient low-cost professional learning. The union will keep monitoring the impact these policy changes have on the availability of suitable accredited professional development.

We have provided feedback to NESA about the unnecessarily cumbersome nature of the application process.

Members can find the union's elective professional development online and on-demand courses on

All courses have been reclassified as elective PD in line with NESA’s interim policy announcements. The popularity of these courses suggests the IEU is still catering to the professional development needs of teachers.

We remind pre-2004 teachers who are close to completion to finalise their 100 hours during this calendar year. Pre-2004 teachers who complete their 100 hours of PD this year will not be required to undertake any learning in the four priority areas in 2022. To be counted, accredited PD must be evaluated, and elective PD uploaded to eTams.

NESA Accreditation: Due date extension

NESA has advised that, to help manage the volume of accreditation decisions and assist pre-2004 teachers to finalise their first maintenance period, they will be given a one-off extended timeframe to submit their maintenance from:

  • the start of Term 2 2022 to 31 December 2023 (for teachers due in 2022-23).
  • the start of Term 2 2024 to 31 December 2025 (for teachers due in 2024).

NESA has written to all teachers to whom these arrangements apply.

Teachers who have completed their PD hours will have the option to submit at any point during these periods. Teachers may wish to consider the impact of re-setting their due date from the point of submission, perhaps considering their career stage or courses of study they may wish to undertake.

As an example, since professional development hours in excess of the 100-hour minimum cannot be rolled into the next maintenance cycle, teachers planning to undertake a significant course of studyin 2022 that would satisfy the criteria inone of the four priority areas may wish to submit in Term 2 2022, in order to be able to count the course hours in their next maintenance cycle.

IEU meets with AIS

The IEU sought a meeting with the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) regarding Experienced Teacher and Proficient Teacher status to make recommendations regarding the current Experienced Teacher Evidence Guide, with a view to securing improvements in the next edition. The IEU recommended that:

  • Any requirement for explanatory notes be removed. Line of sight between documents should be sufficient.
  • Supervisors should be strongly encouraged to attend AIS training, so as not to exceed evidence requirements.
  • A streamlining of the testimonial requirements, similar to the modifications made to the Head of School Report, would reduce the workload significantly, particularly for those acting as supervisors for more than one teacher.
  • Alternative forms of verification should be acceptable if references are inadequate.
  • Better clarity around program and professional development requirements.

The IEU also raised ongoing concerns about the Proficient Teacher process overseen by ISTAA, with regards to:

1. Requiring excessive documentation

Teachers are being asked to supply documentary evidence for every descriptor. NESA’s Proficient Teacher Accreditation Policy states (section 4.2.2)

"While a teacher’s practice must meet all the Standard Descriptors before they can be accredited at Proficient Teacher, teachers are not required to submit evidence that addresses every Standard Descriptor to finalise their accreditation. Nor are teachers required to generate documentary evidence for every Standard Descriptor in preparation for finalising accreditation, or to annotate documentary evidence prior to finalising accreditation."

The IEU is concerned that this practice creates an inequitable situation for teachers engaging with ISTAA to become Proficient, since it differs markedly from the expectations in schools with TAAs complying with the NESA guidelines.

2. Delays in classroom observations

There appear to be ongoing delays with carrying out the mandatory classroom observations for teachers ready to finalise their accreditation at Proficient. Delays cause significant anxiety among teachers and may result in financial loss.

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data

Work has continued with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) to produce an agreed fact sheet that clarifies evidence collection guidelines for the NCCD. We expect finalisation of the fact sheet before the end of term, ready for distribution from the beginning of 2022.

In addition, the IEU has sought meetings with the School Assurance Branch within the DESE, to ensure the audit (post-enumeration) process operates within the guidelines in the fact sheet. The first of those meetings will take place this term.

Veronica Yewdall, Pat Devery
Professional Officers