Professional learning plays a critical role in supporting teachers to continually improve their teaching practice, knowledge and skills to ensure the highest quality of education for NSW public school students. The department is committed to the ongoing development of its workforce to ensure it is of the highest calibre and every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improves every year.

Quality professional learning

Striving for Excellence: A plan to better support NSW public schools (PDF 2276.52KB), identified a number of attributes of professional learning that will support quality teaching to improve every student. In 2018 the department released its Quality Assurance Rubric for Professional Learning to ensure professional learning is:

  • consistent across the state, in both quality and availability
  • incorporates evidence-based practice
  • embeds adult learning principles such as "learning by doing"
  • provides authentic and relevant learning journeys that build knowledge and skills and which can be applied in real-world contexts
  • encourages collaboration and sharing of expertise through professional learning networks and communities of practice
  • embeds robust support for facilitators to ensure quality and expertise in delivery
  • aligns with the department's strategic priorities.

New NESA policy for course accreditation

In December 2020 NESA released a new Accreditation of professional development courses policy. This policy included new ‘rules’ for course accreditation and all course registration and quality assurance by the department was temporarily suspended.

Key changes from NESA are:

  • the introduction of ‘NESA Accredited PD’ (formerly ‘NESA Registered PD’) and ‘Elective PD’ (formerly Teacher Identified PD (TIPD))
  • the introduction of Content Criteria for NESA Accredited PD. This means that accredited hours can only be gained for professional learning that aligns with the 4 priority areas identified by NESA. These areas are:
    • Delivery and Assessment of NSW Curriculum/EYLF
    • Student/child Mental health
    • Students/children with Disability
    • Aboriginal education and supporting Aboriginal students/children
  • the introduction of NESA's 8 Principles of effective professional learning. These principles privilege and promote professional learning practices which have shown through research to lead to changed teaching practice and improved student learning. These principles align with the department’s revised Quality Assurance Rubric for Professional Learning (coming soon).

What does this mean for the professional learning we provide?

A Professional Learning Taskforce has been established to consolidate the department’s strategic approach to professional learning for schools. A key priority is to establish a new streamlined process for the quality assurance and accreditation of professional learning.

The new process will integrate all aspects of course approval, quality assurance and NESA accreditation. It will ensure the professional learning we provide to schools is of the highest quality, supports the department’s Professional Learning Policy for Teachers and School Staff and aligns with NESA requirements.

A new version of the Quality Assurance Rubric for Professional Learning and categories for professional learning will be released to support the new process and align it to professional learning policy from both the department and NESA.

What happens to professional learning that was previously registered and quality assured?

Under NESA’s current transitional arrangements, professional learning that was previously registered was recently converted to either ‘Elective PD’ or ‘Interim Accredited PD’.

With the release of the new NESA Policy the taskforce is currently working with course developers to seek accreditation for courses that are currently available to teachers and have previously been registered and quality assured.

If you are a course developer from the department and you have professional learning course that was previously registered and quality assured, and which aligns with one of the four Prioirty Areas from NESA listed above, you are able to apply to seek accreditation of previously quality assured professional learning.

For more information please email

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