The missing dimension:

Support for teacher performance and development processes

The clause below has been submitted to all Catholic diocesan directors as part of the Catholic systemic schools campaign.

“Where peer to peer classroom observation is part of a teacher’s professional practice in a school, the employer will provide release from face to face teaching for planning, observation and then feedback…”

It ‘s trusted that employers will move beyond the provision of a policy document to a position where tangible support is available for teachers. To simply impose additional work with no clarity surrounding the ‘how will we do this’ is both confronting to teachers and undervaluing what is being sought.

Peer observations require three dimensions:

a professional discussion as to what is to be observed

the actual observation, and

feedback and clarification.

The Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) has advised that this matter should be addressed via diocesan policies or work practice agreements. Clearly the Union will be seeking enforceability of agreed arrangements and the vehicle for this is work practice agreements, which are specific to a diocese.

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers are contained in Annexure N of the NSW and ACT Catholic Systemic Enterprise Agreement 2015. All parties now have an opportunity to translate these documents into clear industrial understanding as to what is being sought. The missing dimension is the explicit support to drive the process.

Models are developing regarding goal setting being part of a staff meeting exercise. Professional Learning opportunities can be positioned over the school year within staff meetings and pupil free days to ensure opportunities to undertake professional learning occur and capture the existing work of teachers explicitly linked to the standards.

The AITSL online resources for TPD processes refer to a “strong and supportive culture…and a shared commitment”. The way forward for IEU members is to insist upon tangible support. In real terms this will entail programed release to support the agreed and already developed processes.


“Dioceses should not require detail in excess of that required by BOSTES (NESA)”

CCER has advised the Union that certain dioceses do make exemplar programs available and share same. The issue of what constitutes an appropriate framework is a vexed question with many variations and interpretations existing. The base requirements should extend from NESA and not be elaborated upon without clear evidence to support additional complexities.

For more information and your opportunity for action, please read the NewsExtra, available at ‘Employers Delay on IEU claim for Catholic Systemic Schools’.

Mark Northam
Assistant Secretary