Schools supporting flexible professional experience placements in 2023

Employment of conditionally accredited teachers in their final year of study

With the significant increase in Conditionally Accredited teachers working during their final year of study, schools and teachers are seeking advice on what options there are to complete their final professional experience placement as a paid placement within the school they are working regularly. There is increased scope for this arrangement to be accommodated in 2023 but it needs to be assessed on a case by case basis directly with the student’s university. Further details are outlined below.

Employment of conditionally accredited teachers in their final year of university study.

NESA, as the registration authority for initial teacher education providers (ITEPs), has developed a flexible response to the requirements for professional experience to allow schools to employ conditionally accredited teachers who are still completing their final year of studies. This is in response to the challenging times for schools and ITEPs during Covid-19 and currently applies until the end of 2023.

ITEPs may apply to seek a waiver of Appendix B of the NESA Professional Experience Policy where final year teacher education students, who have been granted conditional accreditation, are currently employed to teach in a particular school and in accordance with Appendix B would be expected to undertake the placement at another school. This waiver may be applied if a Principal supports their retention in the interests of curriculum continuity given the current disruptive circumstances experienced by many schools.

This is an arrangement between placement schools and the ITEPs. If a pre-service teacher has a temporary engagement at a school and the pre-service teachers ITEP has determined that this meets the conditions required by NESA, the ITEPs will contact the principal to sign the “Application of a Waiver of Appendix B of the NESA PEX Policy”.

Some principles for the employment of Conditionally Accredited teachers

ITEPs have raised concerns that the full time employment of conditionally accredited pre-service teachers may impact the completion of their studies as well as their well-being.

The final professional experience placement includes a national mandatory requirement for pre-service teachers to complete a Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA). This TPA must be passed as a condition of graduation. To address these concerns, the “Principles for the employment of Conditionally Accredited Teachers” have been collaboratively developed through a working group with representatives from all Sectors, the NSW Council of Deans of Education, the Primary and Secondary Principal Associations and NESA.

Seeking further advice

If principals have any questions about a particular conditionally accredited pre-service teacher and their arrangements, they should contact their ITEP directly to discuss. The Department’s Teacher Education Partnerships team can provide general advice but the decision to grant flexibility with regards to a PEX placement is governed by a conditionally accredited teacher meeting the requirements for a waiver of Appendix B of the NESA Professional Experience Policy; and is managed and administered directly by ITEPs.

Vaccination guidelines

The department’s policy regarding COVID-19 vaccinations has been updated and removes the vaccination requirement for employees from 1 August 2022, with some exceptions. These exceptions include department staff working at or visiting schools for specific purposes (SSPs), who must be double vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine, or hold a valid medical contraindication – this includes corporate and department staff.

Further information can be found at:

COVID-19 advice: Flexible Professional Experience placements

NESA has approved initial teacher providers to vary the normal conduct of professional experience and establish in consultation with schools appropriate alternative arrangements for professional experience. These alternative arrangements should be based on what each school can support and should be guided by the following principles:

  • initial teacher providers should negotiate with schools and professional experience coordinators to develop localised arrangements for the placement of teacher education students to assist in the delivery of teaching and learning through online/remote teaching modes as well as alternative learning opportunities that provide additional personalised support to school students.
  • alternative learning opportunities may include supervised online tutoring of individuals or a small group of students using a co-teaching model with the classroom teacher, the creation of teaching materials/resources for schools and school students, or assistance with school-based assessment of students (this is not an exhaustive list).
  • the mix and balance of online/remote teaching and face-to-face teaching and alternative learning opportunities will vary across 2022, and across schools this year. Such localised arrangements are always subject to schools being able to accommodate teacher education students and any form of professional experience.

NESA distributed a detailed statement in early August 2021 to assist schools and initial teacher education providers with planning flexible and adjusted professional experience placements. This statement was issued after consultation with the NSW Council of Deans of Education, NSW Department of Education, Association of Independent Schools and Catholic Schools NSW. NESA will continue to monitor the challenges faced by schools, initial teacher providers and teacher education students and review these guidelines as required.

During a lockdown period:

  • Schools should provide face to face learning delivery opportunities for pre-service teachers where possible and mixed delivery learning opportunities where face to face is not possible.
  • Supervised placements should proceed within the operating advice and other COVID-19 guidelines available to schools including Guidelines to support schools with using live video with students
    • If pre-service teachers require step by step guides on teaching with technology they can visit Technology 4 Learning
  • Schools work with their initial teacher education provider and pre-service teacher to ensure they have appropriate access to technology to conduct online learning for the duration of their placement.
  • Schools arrange for supervision of all online interactions between a pre-service teacher and students.

Resources to support flexible professional experience placements

Standard Role of Pre-service Teachers Examples of the range of activities

1. Know students and how they learn

PSTs demonstrate that they know their learners and can differentiate remote learning activities for individual students, including students with disabilities.

PST plans and implements inquiry-based units of work that includes a well-scaffolded extended investigation made up of a variety of activities to cater for the diverse range of learners.

The extended investigation will include a variety of activities, utilise a variety of technologies and pedagogies – delivered both asynchronously and synchronously.

PSTs adapt and differentiate independent and synchronous learning activities. The learning activities are differentiated to cater for the diverse range of learners, including students with disabilities.

PSTs develop strategies for engaging with individual learners to understand how they learn in the remote context.

2. Know the content and how to teach it

PSTs work with mentors to develop engaging activities. They demonstrate their understanding of the literacy and numeracy levels of their learners and adapt their online activities.

PSTs work with mentors to develop both asynchronous and synchronous learning using their knowledge of the student cohort and the curriculum.

PST plans and implements inquiry-based units of work that includes a well-scaffolded extended investigation that includes content organised into an effective and logical learning and teaching sequence to guide students in self-facilitating their own learning.

PSTs practice with multiple online and SMART technologies for teaching, learning and assessment

The PST appropriately integrating a range of ICTs, not only to deliver, but to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3. Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning

PSTs engage in planning for remote learning supported by lesson plans and the curriculum. They demonstrate the ability to choose effective pedagogies and resources to support student learning.

PST plans and implements appropriate lesson sequences made up of diverse activities and resources for remote learners in their cohort.

They work alongside mentors to set student learning goals and they reflect on student learning outcomes. They use lesson plans to scaffold this process. They work together to communicate with parents and carers.

PSTs transform units of work into inquiry-based units of work, that include an appropriate lesson sequence made up of diverse activities and resources.

4. Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

PSTs work with mentors to engage students in the online learning environment.

PST develop a diverse range of strategies and activities to engage and empower students to self-facilitate their own learning

PSTs develop an extended investigation that includes a diverse range of strategies and activities to engage and empower students to

self-facilitate their own learning, work in large group settings and in small group settings.

PSTs establish supportive classrooms that identify and attend to the social and emotional needs of learners in online learning environments.

5. Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning

PSTs engage in the cycle of teaching, including using assessment of, for and as learning as needed to plan for further learning.

PSTs work with mentor teachers to design and adapt assessment tasks for the remote learning context. They provide group and individual feedback to students.

PSTs work with mentor teachers to adapt assessment tasks into inquiry-based projects to be assessed.

The extended investigation will allow the PST to provide ongoing feedback to the student groups and each individual.

6. Engage in professional learning

PSTs reflect on their own skills and needs and seek professional learning with their mentor, placement school and wider forums.

Engaging in professional learning sessions to develop and enhance skills (eg. in remote learning, technology integration)

PSTs engage in staff PL sessions.

PSTs engage with wider forums to share and learn from other teachers developing online and remote learning strategies.

7. Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community

PSTs work with supervising teachers to reflect on all aspects of the remote learning experience.

They engage with parents to support student learning.

PSTs meet online with supervising teachers to plan and reflect on student learning.

PSTs work with their supervising teachers to support parents who are facilitating home learning

AITSL's Spotlight identifies best practice evidence to guide teachers on setting up online learning and advice teachers can give to parents during this process.. It includes new resources and guides and ‘top 10’ best practice lists on how to deliver online education, with a focus on what students and parents should do to make the most of learning virtually

This resource includes four suggestions on how the professional experience coordinator (PEXC) can support quality online professional experience placements in 2021. 

An example of a local school induction presentation to support pre-service teachers entering a flexible placement 

1. This is a generic response that a supervising teacher can adjust, then copy and paste into an email to send to their pre-service teacher (PST) before online placement starts.

Use the strategies and resources suggested in here to set up quality online professional experience placements

2. This is an example of the organisation the supervisor and pre-service teacher (Matthew) used to manage an online professional experience placement in a primary school..

Final year pre-service teachers need to complete a Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) as part of their university requirements.

The TPA is a tool used to assess the practical skills and knowledge of pre-service teachers across the cycle of teaching and learning. Pre-service teachers collect evidence of practice to complete a TPA. The TPA is assessed by the university and is a requirement for graduation.

The responsibility of the supervising teacher is provide support about evidence collection and general guidance to the pre-service teacher. Final year pre-service teachers can be supported by their supervising teachers to implement planning, teaching and assessing across a learning sequence

If pre-service teachers are worried about their TPA their first place for help and advice is their university.

·       Universities have advised that Department that they are continuing to implement the TPA. In most circumstances it can continue with little, or no modification.

·       Minor modifications to methods can be made if required.

·       University staff will work with pre-service teachers to provide guidance where individual remote learning or online contexts do not seem to represent the opportunity to complete the assessment.

·       Universities can support pre-service teachers with suggestions for how they might consider data collection, planning, teaching and assessment in an online teaching environment, as well as what evidence might look like in this context. Although pre-service teachers are not experiencing the teaching mode they anticipated, there are opportunities for rich discussion and evaluation of practice in their TPA submissions.

·       Some TPA models have flexibility to use existing online scenarios. 

This ‘Evidence guide for supervising teachers to support flexible professional experience placements’ (Evidence Guide) has been adapted from and should be used with NESA’s ‘The Professional Experience Framework Document 4 Professional Experience – evidence guide for supervising teachers.

This Evidence Guide acknowledges the mix and balance of online/remote teaching and face-to-face teaching and alternative learning opportunities will vary across terms 3-4 and across schools this year.


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • NSW public school
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