Understanding the AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

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Understanding the AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

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Due to new mandated requirements, teachers are increasingly searching for NESA or TQI endorsed PD courses to support them in maintaining their accreditation. Getting your course endorsed provides teachers with confidence that it is high in quality and meets the required Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

While there have always been varying views on what makes a quality teacher, up until 2010 a consistent framework across Australian schools to guide professional learning, practice and engagement had not been in place. Australia’s highly regarded education system, whilst complex in nature, promotes equity, excellence and commitment to the goal that all young Australians will become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.1 Since the endorsement of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for young Australians by Australian education ministers in 2008, key reforms have been put in place to establish national framework for teaching standards and a national approach to curriculum content and assessment.

What are the Standards?

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) was formed in 2010 to finalise and validate the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the Standards) in order to promote excellence in the profession of teaching and school leadership across all Australian schools.2

There are seven standards that cover three teaching domains (professional knowledge, professional practice and professional engagement) across four career stages of teaching:

  • Graduate – the standards reflect the skills and knowledge expected of a graduate who has completed a teacher education qualification and is entering the profession.
  • Proficient – teachers who meet these standards demonstrate the requirements for full registration as a teacher.
  • Highly Accomplished – teachers who demonstrate meeting these standards are highly effective and skilled practitioners.
  • Lead – teachers who demonstrate meeting these standards are recognised as exemplary teachers.

The seven standards across the career stages that teachers must demonstrate they meet are:

  • 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
  • Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community

Within each of these standards there are focus areas that are separated into detailed descriptors that outline explicitly what is required of teachers to meet each standard.

How do teachers maintain registration and accreditation?

Education in Australia is still primarily a state responsibility; therefore, each state and territory have their own policies and procedures in regard to how teacher registration and accreditation is obtained and managed. Teachers must maintain registration with their jurisdiction’s teacher registration authority and as part of this maintenance, a minimum of 100 hours of professional development (PD) activities referenced to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers must be attended over a five-year period (reduced proportionately in States and territories where maintenance of registration is less than five years.) How this PD is referenced to the Standards varies from state to state, however in NSW, teachers must attend a minimum number of hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) endorsed or in the ACT, Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) endorsed PD courses. Up until 2018, teachers in NSW who entered the teaching profession prior to 2004 have not been required to attain accreditation, but from 1 January 2018, some 75000 pre-2004 teachers will be granted Proficient Teacher Accreditation and will be required to maintain this accreditation by participating in high quality professional development. It is also a requirement in all other states and territories for teachers to attend PD that reflects the AITSL Standards for Teachers but there are currently no PD endorsement requirements by registration authorities other than in NSW and the ACT. This may change in the future.

What does this mean for professional development providers?

As teachers move forward in the registration and accreditation process there will be an increased demand for high quality professional development that meets the requirements of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, especially in NSW. If you currently offer PD to teachers in NSW or the ACT or are considering it, it is highly advisable to have your course endorsed with the relevant governing authority. Teachers will be looking for endorsed professional development over courses that have not been endorsed or accredited in order to maintain their accreditation and registration. Offering a course endorsed by NESA and TQI also adds strength in states and territories other than NSW and the ACT as teachers are required to map the professional development they attend to the Standards. Teachers will be more likely to book your course over another who does not offer an approved description of how the course meets the Standards.

Whether you are developing professional development from scratch, enhancing an existing program or needing to evaluate your current approach to providing professional development for teachers, contact us at hello@kimberlineducation.com.au to find out how we can support you in developing high quality professional development or get your current courses endorsed by NESA and/or TQI.

Used references:
1 Ministerial Council for Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians, Melbourne, 2008, viewed 1 December 2017,http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf

2 Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, 2011, viewed 1 December 2017 https://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/general/australian-professional-standands-for-teachers-20171006.pdf?sfvrsn=399ae83c_12

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