Provisionally accredited early childhood teachers (ECT) are experiencing significant frustration. NESA (and some large employers) are not enabling them to achieve proficient teacher accreditation because they have not been allocated an accreditation supervisor.
Some provisional teachers have been teaching for more than four years, yet still have no supervisor to provide feedback on their documentation or observe their teaching.
For those employed on the Educational Services (Teachers) Award this involves a significant financial penalty. To move to the Level 2 rate of pay in the award, teachers must achieve proficient teacher accreditation, which can only be achieved with the assistance of an accreditation supervisor.
By contrast, teachers working in schools are allocated an accreditation supervisor by their school and the vast majority achieve proficient teacher status within two years.
The IEU has raised our concerns with the NESA Early Childhood Reference Group and at NESA board meetings. NESA adopted a Communities of Practice model and trained an additional 40 accreditation supervisors this year to address the delays.
All ECTs whose due date falls before the end of 2024 should have been allocated an accreditation supervisor. NESA said some teachers listed their work status as ‘part time’ on e-TAMS upon graduating and they were allocated five years to achieve proficient teacher status.
This date is not automatically reduced to three years if your employment changes to full time, so teachers need to contact NESA to bring their due date forward.
If you are a provisionally accredited teacher with prior experience as a Diploma-level educator and you would like to be included in a Communities of Practice with other ECTs that have experience at Diploma level, please email email@example.com, as NESA has indicated a willingness to facilitate this.
ACCC Childcare Inquiry Educator Roundtable
Lisa James (IEU ECEC Organiser) and Veronica Yewdall (IEUA Assistant Secretary,) attended the ACCC Educator Roundtable on 11 August. The IEU contributed to discussions on qualification requirements, including the positive impact of teacher qualifications on children’s outcomes.
We reiterated the extensive documentation required of teachers (for example the 73-page self-assessment tool), and the lack of adequate non-contact time due to staffing shortages.
We stressed that it is vital to improve pay and conditions to attract and retain teachers in ECEC. Teachers who are unable to take lunch breaks, access non-contact time to do documentation or leave at the end of their shift to maintain ratios will experience burnout and leave the sector.
We also drew attention to the inadequate support for children with additional needs, as funding does not cover the cost of employing a Certificate III for five hours when the child may attend up to 10 hours in a day.
The discussion then moved to the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce. The union said many teachers experienced decreases in their hours of work when parents removed their children from centres. ECEC employees felt unsafe working while most other employees were at home.
Early childhood teachers were working directly with children without adequate PPE and unable to implement ‘social distancing’ in services. The IEU also explained that we have negotiated enterprise agreements containing above-award salaries and conditions with many not-for-profit employers, while most teachers working in for-profit centres are paid award rates.