Casual and part-time
Many teachers in NSW work on a casual or part-time basis, contributing to education and learning outcomes and providing support to schools across the State. As teachers employed in this capacity, you have the same accreditation requirements as fully employed teachers. You need to consistently demonstrate your teaching practice at the Proficient Teacher level and collect documentary evidence that will eventually support your accreditation at this level.
As a casual or part-time teacher, you are responsible for managing your accreditation process. Forming strong professional relationships and committing to periods of continuous employment, are important factors in gaining opportunities for teaching practice that allow you to demonstrate the Standard Descriptors at Proficient Teacher.
How do I become accredited?
Accreditation is the process of recognising a teacher’s achievement of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
The Proficient Teacher accreditation process involves a shared professional relationship with you and the school or service supporting you through it. The school principal/service director, delegated supervisor(s) and Teacher Accreditation Authority (TAA) are key participants.
Accreditation involves you:
- consistently demonstrating the Standard Descriptors at Proficient Teacher in your teaching practice
- receiving support, feedback and guidance (including observations of teaching practice) from a supervisor nominated by your principal/service director
- collecting a range of documentary evidence of your teaching practice at Proficient Teacher across the seven Standards
Your focus on accreditation has to commence from the time you are ready to teach. This means being proactive and:
- accepting periods of continuous employment
- approaching the principal/service director of the school or service where you are employed regularly to make arrangements for the progress of your accreditation
- cultivating professional relationships across all the schools or services in which you work
Collecting evidence to support your accreditation is an ongoing process. During your work as a casual or part-time teacher, you should:
- collect evidence against the Proficient Teacher Standard Descriptors
- use your evidence to illustrate a range of Standard Descriptors
- ensure that evidence collected is signed and dated by your supervisor; this is particularly important if you intend to use evidence gathered from a range of schools or services
- ensure your supervisor observes your teaching practice and writes a report
Evidence Guide for casual teachers
To assist casual and part-time teachers working towards Proficient Teacher accreditation, NESA has created an Evidence Guide designed specifically to help when collecting evidence of teaching practice against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
The Proficient Teacher Evidence Guide – Casual Teachers (PDF, 12.9 MB) describes a range of evidence that you could collect depending on your employment situation. It is recommended that you use Adobe Acrobat to view this PDF. You can download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader from https://get.adobe.com/reader.
Using evidence collected across many schools
Casual and part-time teachers may use evidence collected across a number of schools to finalise their accreditation at one school. During this time, schools have the responsibility to assist you verify evidence of your work.
Across all employment situations, it’s the TAA’s responsibility, in consultation with the casual or part-time teacher and an experienced supervising teacher, to determine when an accreditation decision can be reliably made about your practice as a teacher. The school, where you are being supported through your accreditation, may need to consult with other NSW schools where you have collected evidence of your teaching practice.
How long will it take to demonstrate the Standards?
Teachers develop their skills and refine their teaching practice over time. How long a teacher takes to collect evidence that demonstrates the Standard Descriptors at Proficient Teacher depends on how quickly their teaching practice develops.
As a casual or part-time teacher NESA recommends that you:
- actively seek periods of continuous employment to fully demonstrate the Standards
- complete at least 160-180 days of teaching employment to develop the skills and teaching practice to meet the Standard Descriptors at Proficient Teacher
- complete at least 6-10 weeks of continuous employment
It is also important you check with your current employer in regard to their specific requirements.
For casual and part-time teachers, developing skills and teaching practice may not always occur through full time or continuous employment. Initially, it may be through very short employment at a number of different schools.
Whilst short periods of teaching will help build on your experience, periods of continuous employment are still necessary to demonstrate the full range of Standard Descriptors at Proficient Teacher level.
Maximum timeframe for completion of mandatory accreditation
The amount of time that you have to achieve accreditation will depend on your initial accreditation status.
If you are accredited as:
- provisional you have a maximum of five years to complete your accreditation
- conditional you have a maximum of six years to complete your accreditation
The time it takes you to gain accreditation will depend on your capacity to demonstrate all of the Proficient Teacher Standard Descriptors and to collect evidence of this achievement.
Finalising your Proficient Teacher accreditation
The steps to finalise your accreditation involve:
- working with your supervisor(s) to select representative samples of evidence to annotate against the Standard Descriptors across the seven Standards
- your supervisor preparing an Accreditation Report that describes your demonstration of each of the Standards at the Proficient Teacher level
- the Teacher Accreditation Authority (TAA) reviewing the Accreditation Report and your annotated evidence before making their decision
Teacher Accreditation Authorities are legally authorised to determine if a teacher meets the accreditation requirements at the Proficient Teacher level of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. In general, school principals have delegated authority to be the TAA, but this may vary according to the sector in which you are employed.
- In government schools Proficient Teacher accreditation decisions are made by the principal.
- In Catholic systemic schools, your school principal reviews your Accreditation Report and annotated evidence and sends it on to the TAA at your Catholic Education Office who will make the Proficient Teacher accreditation decision.
- In Independent schools, Proficient Teacher decisions are usually made by the principal of the school.
- In Early Childhood Centres, the TAA is NESA.
What happens after the Accreditation Report is finalised?
The Accreditation Report is written by your supervisor. It’s signed by you, your supervisor and principal/service director before it’s submitted with your annotated evidence to your TAA.
The TAA then:
- considers the report and supporting evidence to make the accreditation decision
- signs the Accreditation Report signifying you are accredited
- uploads the completed Report and supporting evidence to NESA (previously BOSTES)
Following receipt of your signed Accreditation Report and annotated evidence, NESA despatches a signed Certificate of Accreditation to your TAA recognising your accreditation at Proficient Teacher.
You need to keep NESA informed of any change of address.
Success story videos
See how other teachers and schools are approaching achieving teacher accreditation and planning professional development.
How schools can support casuals: Gaining Proficient Teacher accreditation
See how Claremont Meadows Public School are supporting their casual teachers to achieve accreditation (duration: 3:29 minutes).
We have been successful in putting three teachers through accreditation this year already and I have another two about to be accredited and I think that doing that process and looking at all the different ways your school can help them is super important because they are our future teachers and we want them to be capable and able to be in our classrooms.
When they've indicated to us that they’re looking to do their accreditation we start to then have a conversation with them about where they're up to, what sorts of documentation they might have particularly if it's a day-to-day person that don't see all the time so then I will negotiate with them a mentor here at my school.
A couple of the teachers here have just recently been through the process and we sat down together and they gave me heaps of great advice and my supervisor here is also been accredited so she's been a really great help.
You'll often end up in staff meetings that forms part of your professional log that I kept - and that's a good idea to keep - of the professional learning that you're doing and that too made part of my evidence for my accreditation as I was able to annotate that towards the teaching standards.
So it's really important for these teachers to make sure that they have comprehensive evidence from the beginning of their time as a casual teacher.
The evidence that you get is for a lot of the time it's things that you have already got in your program whether it's behaviour management plans or programs within your... like writing programs or maths programs that you've already established that you can use.
If you teach a lesson and you think "geez that went well”, you can take some of that, copy it and there you have a great piece of evidence. I started speaking to my supervisor about what of I got to do and how do I go about it? and we started keeping a log of all the professional development sessions that you end up going to, you’re required to go to - keeping a log of them and things like programs, student evidence.
You start collecting the evidence that was the advice they gave me for a start – start collecting your evidence thinking about how you are going to annotate it, think about how it addresses the standards.
So here at our school we try to have an open conversation around what are their needs? Where they up to? How can we best help them? Is there an area one of the domains for example that they might be struggling a bit in? What can we do to get them to get to the appropriate standards for that one?
First, you might not even talk to the principal the first day you're in a school but they're so important to get to know and I've found that they're always open to even just introducing yourself.
I know that some teachers that think "we've got five years, we've got ages to do it" and they keep putting it off but once my principal spoke to me I started the process straight away of getting my accreditation done because it's such a important thing to have and it's such a great thing to have to go to other schools and say that you're fully accredited, you know more potential for jobs or more work.
Basically just starting it, just starting to get that ball rolling by asking "are they willing to support you in completing your accreditation?" is the most important thing to do because hopefully a lot of schools will be supportive and then you just have to start the process with collecting all your evidence.
Tips for Casuals: Gaining Proficient Teacher accreditation
Watch NSW teachers Damian, Tina, Clare and Tim talk about how they achieved accreditation while working as casual teachers (duration: 3:21 minutes).
The first step is to become familiar with the teaching standards themselves these are a set of standards that you need to use as a guide for your practice once you familiarise yourself with them you understand that if you're an engaged teacher you pretty much do all the things from day to day anyway it's about being able to articulate how exactly that pinpoints that standard.
So the way that I approached my school for the accreditation process was to firstly let them know that I'm a new scheme teacher and I’m going through the accreditation process whether that's talking to the people in the staff room that you're working with that day or whether it's letting head teachers know.
I think one way you can approach a school regarding your accreditation is being honest about what you want to achieve. I find that it's usually, usually people are very happy to help you and as long as you know what you want yourself.
Once my principal spoke to me I started the process straight away of getting my accreditation done because it's such an important thing to have and it’s such a great thing to have to go to other schools and say that you're fully accredited in you know more potential for jobs or more work.
While you're going through the process of accreditation you will meet a variety of different people who will have different advice for you in different and can support you in different ways. It's important to keep the communication open and develop those relationships with those people.
A couple of the teachers here have just recently been through the process and we sat down together and they gave me heaps of great advice and my supervisor here is also been accredited so she's been a really great help. Day to day teaching, you do end up collecting evidence and some of it's not as obvious as others but student work samples are great if you teach a lesson and you think "geez, that went well" you can take some of that and copy it and that gives you a great piece of evidence.
The way I went about using evidence from different schools and different employers was firstly collecting that evidence and what that meant was starting the day with a run-sheet of classes that you'll be taking.
I always found keeping a day-to-day diary was very helpful.
Once you have created something that you think is an authentic task and will suit one of the elements really well it's important to get it stamped off by the principal by a head teacher saying that "yes, you have done this in this school yes this worked well".
I found myself as a casual teacher going to the school and just being a casual teacher and it dawned on me that I could not just be that person there from nine 'til three but be the person who gets involved in the school, so not just being a casual teacher but being a teacher.
More information on Proficient Teacher accreditation for casual and part-time teachers can be found in Module 5 - Advice for Casual or Short Term Temporary Teachers presentation (PPT, 943 KB)
NESA delivers online and face-to-face information sessions for casual and part-time teachers working towards Proficient Teacher Accreditation. Find out more and register now for upcoming sessions.