Teacher induction and probation
During your first year of a career in teaching, induction plays a critical role in supporting your development as a capable and confident professional. For those not already accredited as Proficient teachers, your first year will be your probationary year.
Induction includes orientation to the department and to the school, as well as a school-based induction program involving structured supervision, collegial support, mentoring and professional networking.
Orientation to the department, as the employing authority, has been provided to you with your appointment notice and provides you with an overview of information with which you need to be familiar from the commencement of your teaching career with the NSW Department of Education.
Orientation to the school starts with a personal welcome and introduction to the school community. It is a structured process through which you can learn how the school operates and develop knowledge and understandings about the:
- nature and overall learning needs of the students
- expectations and aspirations of the school community
- roles and responsibilities of the principal and other school staff
- roles and responsibilities of the new teacher
- Code of Conduct for department employees
- availability of local professional support
- nature of the induction program proposed by the school
- roles and responsibilities associated with the induction program
- roles and responsibilities associated with the accreditation process.
School-based induction includes structured, collegial programs of professional learning and support centred on your needs as a new teacher and the standards for professional competence. It should be responsive, flexible and balance teaching experience with the demands and complexities of teaching practice and responsibilities within the school. The principal, staff and you as the new teacher share responsibility for your school-based induction program. Depending on the size of your school support for you as a new teacher may be shared between the principal and other staff members.
Teachers must have the support of a supervising teacher to assess their development against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers as they work towards accreditation at Proficient Teacher Level with the NSW Education Standard Authority (NESA).
Detailed information about accreditation can be found on the NESA website. The department's policy and procedures on mandatory accreditation at Proficient Teacher Level and maintenance of that accreditation describe the department's requirements.
It is your responsibility as the new teacher to:
- engage in school-based induction programs developed in consultation with designated supervisors, mentors or coordinators
- reflect on your own professional competence
- manage the accreditation process.
It is the responsibility of all other school staff to support the induction and professional growth of you as the new teacher.
Depending on the size and resources of the school the following responsibilities may be shared amongst coordinators, supervisors and mentors to:
- implement a relevant, structured and supportive supervised program to support you in your teaching role and contribute to your professional growth
- ensure you are provided an individual, comprehensive induction program for each teacher as part of the professional learning component of the school plan
- ensure induction is designed to meet your needs as a new teacher or as a new scheme teacher
- actively participate in the induction program whilst encouraging others to be involved
- evaluate the impact of induction on new teachers
- support you to gain accreditation at Professional Competence by assisting in the collection and annotation of evidence to demonstrate your professional competence against the Professional Teaching Standards
- share professional knowledge, understanding and skills with you as the new teacher
- encourage you to develop positive mentoring relationships
- keep the principal informed on your progress and assist in the preparation of your probationary and accreditation reports, as applicable.
Probation applies to:
- teachers on their first permanent appointment who are not yet accredited at Proficient Teacher (or above) with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)
- teachers who have been re-employed following a period of separation from the department, and are not required to be accredited as they commenced teaching prior to October 2004.
A person who is appointed to a position in the Teaching Service who is a Proficient Teacher, that is a person who at the time of his or her appointment to the Teaching Service is already accredited by NESA at the level of Proficient (or above) is:
- confirmed in that appointment
- not required to meet the provisions of section 48, Appointments on Probation of the Teaching Service Act.
This means these teachers will not have to complete a probationary program, their appointment will be permanent, and they will be supported under the Performance and Development Framework.
For existing teachers and for those persons employed in the Teaching Service who when appointed to a position in that service are not accredited by NESA at the level of Proficient (or above), current probationary requirements will continue to apply.
The probationary period is for the initial 12 months of the teacher's employment.
During the probationary year teachers take part in performance and development processes and gain a clear idea of their key work related goals and the professional development of their capabilities as a teacher. This will involve classroom observations by the supervisor and principal.
The probationary year can also be used to identify any shortfalls in a teacher's competency, and to support each teacher in working towards their accreditation if applicable.
Towards the end of the probationary year the principal makes an assessment of the teacher's capacity to meet the requirements of their position. The principal will confirm a teacher's permanent appointment if they are satisfied the teacher meets these requirements.
The department will no longer issue a Teacher's Certificate at the completion of 12 months' service on probation.
With the introduction of the Performance and Development Framework for Principals, Executives and Teachers in NSW Public Schools (PDF 365.03KB) in 2015, principals can now use the Performance and Development Plan (PDP) to confirm that a teacher has met their probationary requirements. As a teacher's PDP is aligned with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, principals may use the Optional Comments section on the PDP to indicate that a teacher has met the probationary requirements. The school must keep a copy of the PDP as confirmation that probationary requirements have been met.
What happens if a probationary teacher doesn't meet the requirements of the position?
If a teacher appointed ‘permanent on probation' does not meet the probationary requirements through the PDP process, the case may be referred to the department's Employee Performance and Conduct directorate (EPAC). Following this identification the principal should seek to put in place better support for the teacher, or if deemed appropriate they may annul the teacher's appointment.