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Professional experience framework statement

Introduction

Professional experience is a critical aspect of initial teacher education and provides a crucial opportunity for initial teacher education providers and schools to work together to share knowledge, expertise and passion for teaching in order to prepare the next generation of teachers.

Professional experience should expose teacher education students to a range of schools and make them aware of the challenges and realities of classrooms and diversity that exists in our school student population.

This Framework for High-Quality Professional Experience in NSW Schools is in response to Great Teaching, Inspired Learning action 4.1, which states that:

A new framework will be developed that sets out the expectations for high-quality professional experience placements in NSW schools.

Throughout consultation on the government’s Great Teaching, Inspired Learning reforms both initial teacher education (ITE) providers and schools/school systems expressed a desire for more formalised partnerships to support professional experience placements and allow for greater coordination regarding the number of placements available.

Purpose

The framework aims to ensure graduate teachers have the knowledge, skills and commitment, as described in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, to meet the learning needs of all students in NSW schools.

The purpose of this framework is to:

  • ensure the provision of professional experience supports quality teacher education and teaching as described in Great Teaching, Inspired Learning
  • foster consistent and coordinated structures, processes and protocols to guide the quality of professional experience from all perspectives 
  • provide an elaboration of Australian Program Standard 5: School Partnerships for the purpose of initial teacher education program accreditation in NSW
  • support a consistent approach to professional experience arrangements between NSW schools, school systems and NSW initial teacher education providers 
  • support alignment of the demand for professional experience places with the supply of professional experience places.

Principles and practices

Research has shown that high-quality professional experience is underpinned by the following principles and practices:

  • a well-structured and well-resourced professional experience program is a vital component of initial teacher education
  • fair and ethical practice is predicated on effective information and communication, clear expectations and sound professional judgement
  • a high-quality professional experience program is dependent on the professional commitment and
  • collaborative efforts of a range of staff in initial teacher education providers and in schools
  • all parties have a focus on the development of future teachers and are committed to sustaining and building the quality of teachers’ professional experience 
  • schools and school systems have a right to determine the basis upon which they provide and support professional experience placements in the interests of their schools and of the quality of the profession
  • initial teacher education providers have a right to determine their enrolments and the structure of their initial teacher education programs.

Document 1 describes how these principles and practices manifest into specific actions by those directly responsible for ensuring quality professional experience – the ITE providers, schools/school systems and teacher education students. 

Professional experience participation guidelines 

Providers and schools who choose to work within this framework will enter into agreements or arrangements that clearly articulate how schools, school systems and providers are going to meet the principles, practices and core commitments underpinning this framework.

A core function of a professional experience agreement or arrangement is to directly link provision of professional experience places to foreseeable demand for teachers in different learning areas and stages of schooling. Professional experience agreements or arrangements will provide schools, employers and providers with greater confidence in and commitment to professional experience. 

Professional experience agreements or arrangements should ensure that providers have reliable, timely and predictable access to professional experience places in schools and that schools get reliable, timely and accurate information relating to expected professional experience placement needs.

Core commitments 

Professional experience agreements or arrangements will be actioned voluntarily between schools/school systems and providers. While the form of the agreement or arrangement will be determined by the school/school system and the ITE provider, it is expected that they clearly articulate the following five elements:

1. APPROPRIATE RESOURCING 

School and provider staff should be supported to coordinate, mentor and supervise professional experience placements. This should include: teachers at, or working towards, the higher level accreditation where possible; the provision of professional learning to better equip staff; and payments to supervising teachers or schools in accordance with any relevant funding agreements or industrial awards.

2. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

This should occur through: clear roles and responsibilities; regular contact and supervision; clear description of the student’s knowledge and capabilities and the specific focus of the placement; and clear decision-making processes.

Document 2 outlines the core roles and responsibilities of key staff involved in professional experience.

3. RIGOROUS ASSESSMENT 

This should occur through a focus on the Graduate Teacher Standards and a reliance on common documentation.

 Document 3 provides a template for the professional experience report to be used for the final professional experience placement and Document 4 provides an evidence guide to support consistency of professional judgements against the Graduate Teacher Standards.

 4. THE TIMING AND NUMBER OF PLACEMENTS

Professional experience placements should be linked to school/employer priorities and teacher demand in particular subjects/teaching areas, geographic areas and specialist categories. Both schools/employers and providers should have confidence that placements will occur in accordance with agreed protocols. Schools should give priority placement to students in BOSTES-approved programs governed by professional experience agreements or arrangements.

5. DATA SHARING 

Providers, schools and schooling systems will agree on protocols for the collection and exchange of data to allow for evidence-based analysis of current placement needs and to inform projections of future placement requirements. Agreements or arrangements should include professional experience placement projections (including any priority subjects and areas for placement) based on an annual rolling five-year cycle. 

Document 5 outlines the types of information required to give greater certainty around the organisation of placements, and the protocols governing the collection of this information.

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