Teacher performance and development is an industrial issue
With more and more schools introducing formal teacher performance and development frameworks, our union is taking up the challenge of identifying the industrial supports required to prevent them from becoming yet another workload burden for teachers.
Following the introduction of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, and their adoption by Teacher Registration Boards in all states and territories in 2012, more and more schools are starting to implement supporting performance and development frameworks, yet the industrial implications remain uncertain.
The majority of these frameworks are intended to comply with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s (AITSL) Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework (ATPDF) – originally conceived to provide teachers’ with access to high-quality professional development and support in order to meet requirements for registration, performance appraisal and promotion.
Framework requires industrial provisions
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said that while the Framework was introduced in 2012, its implementation in schools has, unfortunately commenced without the support of meaningful industrial provisions such as release time, access to professional development as well as relevant hardware and software resources.
“Without proper industrial provisions in place to support its implementation, the Framework simply becomes another set of tasks that teachers have on top of an already substantial workload,” Mr Burke said.
A core part of meeting the requirements of the framework are the eight mechanisms for collecting evidence that can be used in appraisal of teaching practice: Student outcomes data; classroom observations; collaborative interactions with colleagues; student feedback; peer/supervisor feedback; parent feedback; self-assessment and; engagement with professional development.
Of these, student outcomes data, classroom observations and collaborative interactions with colleagues are described as fundamental.
“Collecting and preparing this information takes significant time and resource from teachers, yet there is currently no formal recognition of this from AITSL or employers,” Mr Burke said.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the inconsistent manner in which various non-government schools appeared to be modifying the Framework for application in their school was particularly concerning.
“With the Framework becoming a major point of reference for professional development and performance appraisal, the extra burden of work for teachers is often being compounded by the expectations of their employer.
“We know of examples where employers simply present the Framework to employees, expecting the work to be done but without providing any additional time, assistance or training in understanding and responding to the numerous requirements of the Framework,” he said.
“If the purpose of the Framework is to provide teachers with access to high-quality professional support and development required to meet requirements for registration, performance appraisal and promotion, then the focus should be on the employers to provide teachers with sufficient resources to engage with the process in a meaningful way and meet mutually agreed expectations, including those associated with collecting and analysing evidence for appraisals.
In order to assist members in navigating the Framework’s implementation in their school, our union has developed a series of specific member advice documents. To obtain copies of these advice documents, please send us an email.
AITSL distances itself from the profession
Mr Burke said members ongoing concerns regarding the implementation of the Framework had not been assisted by AITSL’s decision last year to exclude the voice of teachers from its board.
“The decision by then Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne to exclude the teachers’ union voice from the body has only distanced AITSL from the profession.
“As a result we have now withdrawn all support for new AITSL initiatives.
“In terms of the Framework, the question for AITSL is how members are expected to respect its direction and requirements when they are excluded from having a voice in decisions about the future direction of the teaching profession,” Mr Burke said.
To help determine the true extent of the Framework’s impact for members, our union is conducting an ongoing audit of its implementation in our sector.
Members who have encountered issues with the implementation of the Framework in their school, are encouraged to contact our union to share their experience and should email IEUA-QNT Research Officer Adele Schmidt via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (07) 3839 7020.