Principles for building capability

Building the capability of all staff

The Professional Learning Policy for Teachers and School Staff supports functions and roles in a school environment both in and out of the classroom. The policy embeds four principles for building capability which, when applied to professional learning that is not directly related to teaching practice, ensures teaching and non-teaching staff remain focused on building their capability in areas that are relevant to their roles. This helps ensure that the professional learning of all school staff aligns to school and departmental objectives and that staff develop skills that contribute to the delivery of outstanding service to the community.

The four principles for building capability are informed by the research supporting the High Impact Professional Learning model and adult learning principles. They support school leaders to build high performing, interdisciplinary teams that thrive in a culture of continuous learning focused on school improvement. Leaders play a crucial role in mentoring all staff, sharing expertise and supporting critical thinking to evaluate the effectiveness of professional learning in addressing the needs of all roles. The principles support leaders and staff to plan and set professional learning outcomes as part of a robust performance and development process.

The Professional Learning Policy for Teachers and School Staff states that:

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 the four principles for building an individual’s capability.

The four principles for building an individual's capability are:

Policy statement: 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.

A review of professional learning practice in NSW schools showed that school staff, both teaching and non-teaching, have professional learning needs that are specific to their role. The research identified how non-teaching staff are more motivated and learn more effectively when learning undertaken is directly relevant to their work, which made a difference to their performance in their role.

By continuously building the individual capability of all staff, schools are more able to provide the critical support required for the effective operation of a school, therefore creating an environment of high performance across all school functions undertaken by both teaching and non-teaching staff.

Policy statement: 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.

School principals and leaders play a pivotal role in enabling the conditions required for all staff to learn from and support each other when engaging in professional learning. Their shared vision supports all staff to build capability in all aspects relevant to their role in a school. It ensures the professional learning of all staff is valued, and through collective efficacy, staff actively contribute to an inclusive and effective learning culture, creating a positive impact on the operation of a school.

Policy statement: 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.

One key way that adults learn is by seeking new information and skills which they need to do their job well. This learning process – applying new skills and knowledge relevant to a job - encourages an environment where it is safe to make and correct mistakes while enhancing capabilities through working individually and with peers.

School leadership teams can support this high quality, relevant professional learning by establishing processes to identify knowledge and skills required to undertake tasks. This enables opportunities for staff to apply these new skills in their daily work to support whole school functions.

Policy statement: 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.

In a culture of continuous improvement, the impact of on-the-job learning is measured through operational improvements resulting from the application of new skills gained through professional learning. This may be evidenced through, for example, clearer and more efficient administration processes, improved communication practices and customer service, faster processing times, staff satisfaction surveys, feedback from parents, students and community members or a reduction of administrative burden for school leaders. This collective improvement aims to have a positive impact on whole school function and service.

Planning for professional learning outside of the classroom

Principles for building the capability of all staff

By aligning professional development planning with individual Performance and development requirements, all staff will be able to target professional learning specific to the needs of their role.

When considering professional learning that is not focused on teaching and learning, school staff should:

  • identify the skills required to perform their role as outlined in their role description
  • determine areas for growth and capability building
  • identify and plan for appropriate professional learning, and capture this in their PDP
  • engage in and apply new learning on-the-job
  • evaluate the impact/outcomes of the professional learning.

Refer to the Teachers page to plan for professional learning that is focused on teaching practice.

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