Professional Learning for Teachers and School Staff

This policy provides direction for relevant and effective professional learning that supports teachers, leaders and non-teaching staff in their ongoing development which is critical to every student's progress and achievement.

Changes since previous version

Version Date Description of changes Approved by
V03.0.2 12/03/2024 Updated contact details Director, Quality Teaching Practice

Document history

2023 Jun 26 - updated text in implementation document, School development days procedures.

2023 Mar 27 - updated links in implementation documents, School development days procedures and School development days FAQs.

2023 Mar 16 - updated contact details. Professional learning initiatives funding added as related document.

2021 Oct 11 - implementation document: NSW Public School Leadership and Management Credential Guidelines moved to School Leadership policy and now listed as a related document.

2021 Apr 06 - minor update to implementation document: Leadership and Management Credential Guidelines - Amended to reflect minor changes as a result of migrating the credential to MyPL, as well as addition of the Leading Aboriginal Education module. The following implementation documents are now Staff Only - School development days FAQs: School development days procedures: School development days variation form.

2020 Nov 20 - policy name changed from Professional Learning for Schools to Professional Learning for Teachers and School Staff. Enhanced model for planning and implementation of professional learning for all school-based staff and non-school based teaching staff. Alignment of professional learning with staff performance development and the school excellence cycle.

2020 Sept - NSW Public School Leadership Management Credential Guidelines updated. V.1.2.0 now includes a strategic resourcing and management module.

Replaced the Training and Development Policy Statement (1996). This policy requires schools to have a professional learning team, professional learning component of the school management plan and a school-based induction program for new teachers on probation.

Superseded documents

Professional Learning for Schools Policy Statement, 2004

Training and Development Policy Statement, 1996

  1. Policy statement
    1. The vision is for NSW public education to be Australia's best education system and one of the finest in the world. Highly effective professional learning, aligned to system, school and individual priorities, supports the achievement of this vision. It is part of an integrated system of support that is developmentally focused, building the capabilities of all staff to ensure a highly skilled and professional workforce across NSW public schools.
    2. The department recognises the importance of professional learning in continually enhancing the capabilities of a skilled, effective and professional workforce, as well as its impact on student learning and overall school and system improvement. The department works with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure the professional learning that teaching staff develop, deliver and undertake is in accordance with NESA's required professional development parameters.
    3. All staff participate in a cycle of continuous professional learning aligned with the Performance and Development Framework for Principals, Executive and Teachers in NSW Public Schools and the Performance Management and Development Policy. This contributes to whole-school improvement, including ongoing student progress and achievement.
    4. All teachers, leaders and non-school-based teaching staff participate in professional learning to fulfil their requirements when gaining or maintaining accreditation at the relevant career stage.
    5. Schools receive annual funding to facilitate professional learning activities that align to this policy and the strategic priorities of the staff, the school and the department.
    6. All staff are required to complete relevant mandatory training to comply with legislative, department and school requirements, ensuring the safety and optimal functioning of the school.
    7. The cycle of continuous professional learning for principals, executive and teachers, which focuses on deepening teaching practice for ongoing growth in student learning, is underpinned by five elements outlined in the High Impact Professional Learning (HIPL) model. These are:
      1. Professional learning is driven by identified student needs Professional learning is designed to meet student needs, identified through analysis of current system, school and classroom data about progress and achievement.
      2. School leadership teams enable professional learning Leaders create the culture and structures, including supporting resources, that build a cycle of professional learning; an inclusive environment that enables learning and growth in every teacher in which new learning is applied to teaching practice.
      3. Collaborative and applied professional learning strengthens teaching practice Teachers work together, propelled and critically challenged by expert input, to learn, shape and strengthen teaching practice for ongoing progress and achievement.
      4. Professional learning is continuous and coherent Effective professional learning is aligned to system, school and individual performance and development goals. It supports teachers and school leaders to deepen their practice by focusing on sustained evidence-informed approaches.
      5. Teachers and school leaders are responsible for the impact of professional learning on student progress and achievement Teachers and school leaders evaluate how adjustments in their practice following professional learning impact on student progress and achievement, regularly recalibrating and refining to ensure ongoing progress and achievement for students.
    8. Professional learning that is not aimed directly at improving student learning outcomes, including for SASS and other non-teaching staff, and some professional learning for teachers and school leaders (including mandatory training), is underpinned by four principles for building an individual's capability. These are:
      1. Professional learning is driven by the needs of the role Professional learning is directly relevant to the daily work requirements of staff and enables them to develop capabilities and skills to facilitate effective processes and systems in schools.
      2. Leadership teams enable professional learning Principals and leaders provide a shared vision for all staff to develop and/or enhance existing capabilities that can have a significant impact on a team and/or school.
      3. Staff are supported to apply professional learning in practice Principals and leaders provide support to help staff apply professional learning directly to work tasks to address the challenges faced in the everyday functions of the role.
      4. The outcomes of professional learning are evaluated Staff evaluate how professional learning has contributed to their individual growth and the impact on their work, including their overall capability to contribute to their team or school.
    9. As this policy includes non-school-based teaching staff, these teachers can work with their supervisors to flexibly apply the elements outlined at 1.7. Considering how to appropriately adapt these elements forms part of their Performance and Development Plan.
    10. The department may specify additional requirements relating to professional learning and mandatory training in schools. These will be aligned to system and school needs and supported by appropriate resourcing.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. This policy applies to all NSW public school staff and non-school-based teaching staff.
  3. Context
    1. This policy provides advice to support and align with implementing the Performance and Development Framework for Principals, Executive and Teachers in NSW Public Schools, the Performance and Development Procedures for Non-Teaching Staff, School Excellence in Action and departmental priorities.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. All school staff and non-school-based teaching staff:
      • engage in professional learning to continually strengthen their practice and contribute towards the NSW public education system's objective of providing a world-class education to its students
      • complete training the department identifies as mandatory, specific to their role, within the required timeframe and through the provided structures.
    2. Principals:
      • lead the planning of professional learning by establishing a cycle of professional learning for all teaching staff that is aligned to school and department priorities
      • ensure that all staff engage in highly effective professional learning that is applicable to their role
      • effectively use professional learning and other appropriate funds, and provide time for all staff to undertake professional learning and required mandatory training
      • embed professional learning into the school's Strategic Improvement Plan and to support implementation of the Performance and Development Framework for Principals, Executive and Teachers in NSW Public Schools and the Performance Management and Development Policy
      • collaboratively plan and approve relevant professional learning opportunities that support teachers' performance and development goals.
    3. Directors, Educational Leadership:
      • review and ensure that planned professional learning is embedded in the school Strategic Improvement Plan, and that it addresses the needs of staff to achieve the objectives of this policy
      • support the establishment or continuing development of highly effective professional learning practices in schools.
    4. Executive Directors, School Performance:
      • monitor, support and guide the implementation of the professional learning policy across school networks
      • support the implementation of highly effective professional learning in schools through principal networks.
    5. Corporate division directors and executive directors:
      • support a professional learning cycle for all staff that is aligned to department priorities
      • ensure that non-school-based teaching staff engage in highly effective and applicable professional learning
      • collaboratively plan and approve relevant professional learning opportunities that support non-school-based teaching staff performance and development goals.
    6. School Professional Learning Policy unit:
      • deliver, evaluate and improve professional learning policy and supporting resources to ensure optimal outcomes for students and teachers.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Director, Quality Teaching Practice monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
  6. Contact
    Professional Learning policy enquiries:
    Director, Quality Teaching Practice
    02 7814 3789

    School Development Day enquiries:
    Office of the Deputy Secretary Public Schools
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