Teacher accreditation enhances and protects the quality and reputation of the profession, and provides NSW teachers with a framework for ongoing professional development, writes Merise Bickley (pictured), Head, Early Childhood, Teaching Standards, NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).
Improving educational outcomes for all children and students, through quality teaching, is at the centre of teacher accreditation.
The NSW teacher accreditation system, overseen by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) provides a rigorous assessment of a teacher’s achievement of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the Standards).
The Standards define the knowledge, practice and professional engagement needed for high quality effective teaching. The Standards use nationally agreed indicators of teacher quality to guide the preparation, support and development of teachers throughout their careers.
Myth All early childhood teachers who submitted documents in 2016 are accredited at Proficient Teacher.
Fact It actually depends on where you are up to in your career. If you were accredited between 18 July 2016 and 30 September 2016 you are now maintaining your accreditation at Proficient Teacher level.
If you were accredited after 1 October 2016 you are provisionally accredited and working towards Proficient Teacher.
Myth I have to complete 100 hours of professional development every year.
Fact All teachers maintaining their accreditation at Proficient Teacher have to complete at least 100 hours of professional development over their maintenance period.
For all early childhood teachers accredited at Proficient Teacher (under interim arrangements until 2018), the 100 hours must include a minimum of 20 hours of NESA Registered Professional Development. The balance of hours can be Teacher Identified Professional Development.
Maintaining accreditation by participating in high quality professional development is essential for teachers to improve their teaching practice.
Teacher accreditation and its maintenance is your responsibility and a condition of your employment in any NSW school or approved centre based early childhood education service.
NESA Registered Professional Development is aligned to the Standards and is delivered by providers who have been endorsed by NESA.
Teacher Identified Professional Development can include activities undertaken in or outside of an early childhood service that contribute to teachers’ professional growth against the Standards.
Myth I am an early childhood teacher – the Standards aren’t relevant to me.
Fact The Standards outline what teachers should know and be able to do:
• know students and how they learn
• know the content and how to teach it
• plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
• create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments
• assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
• engage in professional learning, and
• engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community.
Accreditation is a teacher’s personal pursuit of professional growth with the use of the Standards intending to inform and drive early childhood teaching practice. Language and terminology used in the Standards may sound school centric to an early childhood teacher. However replacing; ‘students’ with ‘children’, ‘classroom’ with ‘learning environment’ ‘lessons’ with ‘plans for play and learning’, may help a teacher’s reading and understanding of the document.
Early childhood teachers’ engagement with the Standards can offer insight and reflection to a service’s engagement with National Quality Standard.
Myth NESA only focuses on primary and secondary school teachers.
Fact NESA is committed to supporting you on your accreditation journey. A dedicated Early Childhood Team has been established at NESA to guide and support your accreditation. The team brings experience from preschool, long day care, profit and not for profit providers, national and state departments of education and organisations and recent teaching experience.