Curriculum reform release time

Additional teacher release time during the NSW Curriculum Reform

Allocation of release

From 2023 to 2025, teachers are being given release time to focus on curriculum reform to help them effectively implement new syllabuses.

As NESA has extended timelines for curriculum reform, teachers now have a longer period to plan and prepare to teach new syllabuses. For this reason, the provision for curriculum release time in primary and secondary schools in 2024 and 2025 will remain at 5 hours per term.

  • Primary school teachers will receive 5 hours per term.
  • High school teachers will receive 5 hours per term.
  • Additional centrally funded release time will be provided for primary school executive staff – which will be equivalent to an additional 43 hours for assistant principals per term and 108 hours for deputy principals per term – for the period of the curriculum reform.

This executive release funding enables (in addition to existing RFF):

  • 0.2 release for each assistant principal
  • 1.0 release for the first deputy principal in the school
  • 0.5 release for additional deputy principals (for those schools with 2 or more DPs)

Where schools incur additional costs in providing the teacher release time, these costs will be met from within existing School Budget Allocation Reports (SBAR) funding or schools may use existing carry-forward state funds in 6101 to meet the additional cost.

Eligibility

Permanent and temporary teachers should be provided with curriculum reform release time. Schools have flexibility to determine how this time can be used to plan and prepare to teach new syllabuses.

Part-time teachers should be provided with release time equivalent to their teaching load, for example, a teacher with a 0.6 FTE would be provided with 60% of the allocated teacher release.

Casual teachers are generally not allocated teacher release.

Beginning teachers are eligible for release time.

Teacher librarians are eligible for curriculum reform teacher release.

Careers advisors who maintain a teaching load will be eligible for curriculum reform release time.

Assistant principals, curriculum and instruction (APC&I) who are full-time in this position will not require curriculum reform release time. Part-time APC&I should be provided curriculum release time proportional to their teaching load. For example, a 0.6 APC&I who is teaching a class 2 days per week should be provided with 40% of the curriculum reform release time.

Assistant principals in schools for specific purposes (SSP) or attached to support units will receive centrally funded executive release time.

Teaching principals hold a particularly unique dual role in their school as they lead and manage the school while also teaching students. Teaching principals will receive the additional teacher release but not primary executive release. We recognise that teaching principals require not only time but also additional support to implement new syllabuses.

We have developed additional targeted resources to support teaching principals to lead curriculum reform in their local context. This has included the provision of release funding in 2023 to support collaborative partnerships between small schools to implement new syllabuses. Subject matter experts and literacy and numeracy lead specialists have also developed workshops to support TP1 and TP2 small schools. Workshop information can be found on the small schools channel under the primary curriculum statewide staffroom.

Above centrally identified positions – Primary executive release will not be provided to positions above centrally identified positions or above establishment positions.

Funding available to support curriculum reform release time for teachers

Given NESA’s extended timelines for curriculum reform, teachers now have a longer period to plan and prepare to teach new syllabuses. For this reason, the provision for curriculum release time in primary and secondary schools in 2024 and 2025 will remain at 5 hours per term.

Many schools already provide release time above current entitlements and make use of existing opportunities to bring teachers together to collaborate and engage in professional learning. Schools will need to budget for the 5 hours per term and should consider existing SBAR allocations, as appropriate such as per capita, professional learning funding and/or Quality Teaching, Successful Students (QTSS) entitlement. Schools are encouraged to use Fund 6101 balances to support this important work.

The SBAR report with examples of QTSS staff entitlement, per capita and professional learning as possible funding to use to fund the curriculum reform teacher release. The SBAR report with examples of QTSS staff entitlement, per capita and professional learning as possible funding to use to fund the curriculum reform teacher release.
Image: The SBAR report with examples of QTSS (staff entitlement), per capita and professional learning as possible funding to use to fund the curriculum reform teacher release

Models of allocation

During this release time, teachers can engage in activities that will deepen their understanding of the new syllabuses and strengthen teaching and learning practices. This may include:

  • engaging in professional learning
  • collaborating in developing new scope and sequences
  • designing units of work
  • preparing assessment tasks.

Allocation of the release time can be used flexibly to support teacher planning and preparation. Schools are encouraged to release teachers to collaborate over extended periods of time.

Primary models for flexible use of release time

Scenario A – School leaders may allocate 90 minutes every 3 weeks for teachers in their stage to come together to collaboratively plan.

Scenario B – A stage may implement a five-weekly inquiry-based teaching and learning sprint. Release may be allocated for half a day every 5 weeks for teachers to plan and evaluate the sprint.

Scenario C – A stage planning day can be provided each term so that teachers can plan for teaching and learning activities for the term.

Scenario D – Schools may schedule RFF timetables of several teachers together, or with crossover time so that they can complete and consider collaboratively relevant professional learning.

Secondary models for flexible use of release time

Scenario A – A head teacher may allocate one day per term for teams of teachers to collaboratively plan for new syllabus implementation.

Scenario B – Teachers are released for a half-day twice a term to complete relevant professional learning and discuss the learning at a faculty meeting.

Scenario C – A school may implement quality teaching rounds to provide opportunities for observation, feedback, and reflection when implementing the new syllabuses. One teacher may be released to conduct the rounds with a colleague.

Scenario D – Faculties or teams may be rotated off sport duty to facilitate planning and preparation.

Support for planning and preparation to teach new syllabuses

Evidence indicates that the most effective curriculum implementation occurs when teachers have time to plan and teach a new syllabus. Additional release time provides teachers with dedicated time to plan and prepare over the period of the reform.

Schools have and will continue to receive guidance, tools, and support to implement new syllabuses including school planning tools and preparation pathways with resources for teachers and school leaders. During a time of change, this additional release reduces the time teachers spend planning and preparing to teach outside of the school day.

Teachers will be provided with quality-assured teaching resources for every new syllabus with professional learning for teachers and school leaders delivered flexibly both online and face-to-face.

A range of curriculum resources and implementation support will be available to assist teachers to plan and prepare for the implementation of new syllabuses as they are confirmed and released from 2022 to 2024 including:

  • scope and sequences
  • units of work providing full syllabus coverage and assessment opportunities
  • annotated work samples
  • advice to schools on implementing specific syllabuses, including advice that supports the needs of diverse learners
  • advice to schools on reporting to parents
  • microlearning.

Engaging casual and temporary teachers to release teachers

Each school will make decisions about the most suitable model for providing teacher release and whether to engage a casual or temporary teacher. If schools are experiencing difficulties in accessing casuals to provide curriculum reform release for teachers, they should in the first instance discuss this with their DEL.

Curriculum reform teacher release in secondary schools

Secondary teachers will receive 5 hours per term of release in 2023, 5 hours per term in 2024 and 5 hours per term in 2025 to align to the release of secondary syllabus. The allocation of curriculum reform release time in secondary schools is to be provided in addition to Meadowbanks.

Curriculum reform release and school strategic improvement plans

Evidence indicates that the most effective curriculum implementation occurs when teachers have time to plan and teach a new syllabus. For this reason, schools are being asked to prioritise curriculum reform teacher release so teachers can plan for the implementation of new syllabuses.

As part of the evaluation cycle, schools should consider where planning and preparation for curriculum reform can be included in implementation and progress monitoring (IPM). This may include the allocation of curriculum reform release for teachers.

Syllabus implementation timeline

The syllabus release timeline is now available on the NESA website.

Frequently asked questions

Do principals have flexibility in when they implement the release time?

Schools will need to provide the following release time

  • Primary school teachers: 5 hours per term in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

  • High school teachers: 5 hours per term in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

  • Additional centrally funded release time for primary school executive staff is equivalent to an additional 43 hours for assistant principals per term and 108 hours for deputy principals per term for the period of the curriculum reform.

This funding enables (in addition to existing RFF):

  • 0.2 release for each assistant principal

  • 1.0 release for the first deputy principal (DP) in the school

  • 0.5 release for additional deputy principals (for those schools with 2 or more DPs)

Models for flexible use of release time are provided on this page.

Can we hold off providing release until the relevant syllabuses are released?

Release should be provided to all staff as outlined above.

During times when a syllabus is not available, teachers will be able to engage in syllabus-agnostic professional learning in readiness for the release of syllabuses. An example is the microlearning modules for Curriculum planning K–12 professional learning which covers 'Curriculum planning for every student in every classroom', supporting K–12 teachers to effectively plan to optimise learning for all students including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, EALD, HPGE and students with disability.

In addition, new syllabuses have a stronger focus on writing with specific, mandatory content. Professional learning like Focus on creating texts is online professional learning which provides teachers with an opportunity to develop knowledge of current theoretical perspectives on writing processes and the explicit teaching of writing. Maintaining a focus on literacy and numeracy: Secondary writing is also available online and will support secondary teachers to maintain a focus on students’ literacy development in the delivery of curriculum in a variety of circumstances.

These courses can be found on MyPL and the curriculum website.

Why doesn’t secondary release align to the delivery of the new syllabuses?

The provision of release is to be provided to all secondary teachers. When this doesn’t align to the release of a new syllabus, teachers can engage in professional learning and planning activities that are not specific to a syllabus.

Can we implement an additional school development day for our staff or a ‘remote learning day’ for students to allow time for this release?

Learning from home for students has been utilised during emergencies or in response to health orders. Students learning from home to facilitate staff professional learning is contrary to the intent of the additional release time and should not be considered an option.

What is EXR Funding?

EXR allocations (Primary Teacher Executive Release) are provided to primary schools with enrolments greater than 504 and are also provided for some teaching executive positions in primary support units (Primary Student Support Executive Release). These allocations are part of your school's staffing entitlement and are visible on your School Budget Allocation Report (SBAR).

For more information about staffing formulas and school entitlement, principals and identified SAS staff may access Staffing formula (staff only) on OMSEE.

For information about the staffing allocation through the SBAR, see Base school allocation (staff only) on the Schools funding internet page or Staffing (staff only) on the SBAR resource hub.

Why are teaching principals not receiving executive release?

Teaching principals hold a particularly unique dual role in their school as they lead and manage the school while also teaching students.

Teaching principals will receive the additional teacher release but not primary executive release. We recognise that teaching principals require not only time but also additional support to implement new syllabuses. This has included the provision of release funding in 2023 to support collaborative partnerships between small schools to implement new syllabuses. Subject matter experts and literacy and numeracy lead specialists have also developed workshops to support TP1 and TP2 small schools. Workshop information can be found on the small schools channel under the Primary curriculum statewide staffroom

Why is my funding so different from the school down the road when we appear to have similar entitlements?

It is difficult to compare allocations between schools as there are variations in the amount and type of entitlement that is allocated to each school. Relatively small differences in enrolment can change the number of teaching executive positions allocated to a school and enrolment also determines whether the school receives Primary Teacher Executive Release. Primary Teacher Executive Release is used as an offset when calculating each school’s funding allocation.

Schools that have a support unit that has been allocated a teaching Assistant Principal will also receive a different level of funding to schools that do not have a support unit. Any Primary Student Support Executive Release that has been allocated to teaching executive positions in primary support units has also been used as an offset when determining the school’s funding allocation.

It is difficult to compare allocations between schools as there will be variations in relation to EXR funding. Potentially the schools you are making comparisons with may not receive the same EXR allocation as your school and therefore the offset will be different. EXR allocations (Primary Teacher Executive Release) are provided to primary schools with enrolments greater than 504 and are also provided for some teaching executive positions in primary support units (Primary Student Support Executive Release). These allocations are part of your school's staffing entitlement and are visible on your SBAR.

For more information about staffing formulas and school entitlement, principals and identified SAS staff may access Staffing formula (staff only) on OMSEE.

For information about the staffing allocation through the SBAR, see Base school allocation (staff only) on the Schools funding internet page or Staffing (staff only) on the SBAR resource hub.

Why is the funding received different to what I anticipated?

Below are sample calculations used to determine funding – as this will vary from school to school this information should be considered in alignment with your specific school context

Primary school funding examples

Sample PS 1 has 4 teaching APs, 1 teaching DP and 1 teaching primary AP Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. The school also has 1.0 FTE EXR for the mainstream teaching executive and 0.042 FTE EXR for the support unit.

  • 4 APs * 0.2 FTE = 0.8 FTE

  • 1 AP (Support Unit) * 0.2 FTE = 0.2 FTE

  • 1 DP * 1.0 FTE = 1.0 FTE

  • Total release required = 2.0 FTE

  • Current EXR FTE (offset) = 1.042 FTE (Includes mainstream EXR and support unit EXR)

  • Difference to allocate = 0.958 FTE

  • Allocation $ = 0.958 * 118,368.14 (2023 Teacher standard rate) = $113,396.68

  • Distribution 1: $35,510.44

  • Distribution 2: $77,886.24

Sample PS 2 has 2 APs and 1 teaching AP Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. They also have 0.042 FTE Primary Student Support Executive Release (EXR).

  • 2 AP * 0.2 FTE = 0.4 FTE

  • 1 AP (Support Unit) * 0.2 FTE = 0.2 FTE

  • 0 DP * 0.5 FTE = 0.0 FTE

  • Total release required = 0.6 FTE

  • Current EXR FTE (offset) = 0.042 FTE

  • Difference to allocate = 0.558 FTE

  • Allocation $ = 0.558 * 118,368.14 (2023 Teacher standard rate) = $66,049

  • Distribution 1: $47,347

  • Distribution 2: $18,702

Sample PS 3 has 4 teaching APs and 1 teaching DP. They have no EXR.

  • 4 APs * 0.2 FTE = 0.8 FTE

  • DP * 1.0 FTE = 1.0 FTE (first DP at 1.0)

  • Total release required = 1.8 FTE

  • Current EXR FTE (offset) = 0.0 FTE

  • Difference to allocate = 1.8 FTE

  • Allocation $ = 1.8 * 118,368.14 (2023 Teacher standard rate) = $213,062.65

  • Distribution 1: $153,878.58

  • Distribution 2: $59,184.07

Do beginning teachers receive beginning teacher funding and curriculum reform teacher release?

Yes, beginning teachers receive both beginning teacher funding and curriculum reform release.

Do casual and temporary teachers receive curriculum reform teacher release?

Temporary teachers should be provided with curriculum reform release time. Schools have flexibility to determine how this time can be used to plan and prepare to teach new syllabuses. Causal teachers are not allocated teacher release.

Is a part-time teacher entitled to the full allocation of curriculum reform release time?

Part-time teachers should be provided with release time equivalent to their teaching load, for example, a teacher with a 0.6 FTE would be provided with 60% of the allocated teacher release.

Should teachers in secondary schools receive curriculum reform release time and Meadowbanks in Term 4?

The allocation of curriculum reform release time in secondary schools is to be provided in addition to Meadowbanks.

If casual teachers are not available to release teachers, can minimum supervision for students be provided to enable teachers to take their curriculum reform release?

Student learning is to be prioritised. If casual teachers are unavailable to provide teacher release, release time for teachers should be rescheduled. If schools are experiencing difficulties in accessing casuals to provide curriculum reform release for teachers, they should in the first instance discuss this with their DEL.

What happens if a school exhausts its professional learning funds early in the year?

SBAR funding sources to resource implementation include Quality teaching successful students (QTSS), Professional learning and Per capita. In addition to SBAR funds, schools can also draw on their accumulated balances in 6101. Schools should consider a range of funding sources and not a single allocation such as PL funding.

Why are schools required to prioritise curriculum reform release over other plans in place for 2024?

Evidence indicates that the most effective curriculum implementation occurs when teachers have time to plan and teach a new syllabus. For this reason, schools are being asked to prioritise curriculum reform teacher release so teachers can plan for the implementation of new syllabuses.

Should curriculum reform release for teachers be included in implementation and progress monitoring?

As part of the evaluation cycle, schools should consider where planning and preparation for curriculum reform can be included in implementation and progress monitoring (IPM) for 2024. This may include the allocation of curriculum reform release for teachers.

Will schools need to adjust commitments for the expenditure of SBAR funds in the current strategic improvement plan?

As part of the evaluation cycle, schools should consider the allocation of SBAR funding, including funding for curriculum reform release for teachers. This may mean prioritising release time for teachers to support curriculum planning and implementation. Many schools already have time for curriculum planning reflected in their strategic improvement plans (SIP).

Funding Instructions for Primary settings, SSPs and mainstream support executive will help you locate and plan for this funding allocation in the eFPT.

When will my school receive the centrally funded curriculum release for primary settings, SSPs and mainstream support executive?

Your school’s 2024 Curriculum Reform Executive Release will be calculated using your school’s published 2024 Actual enrolment and entitlement report. Funding will be provided to schools mid-Term 2 as part of the 2024 SBAR Adjustments.

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