Question on the accreditation process for experienced teachers

Question: Where, in this proposal, is there any recognition of the many very experienced, very well trained, very accomplished, very dedicated teachers who have kept their own qualifications up to date with their own studies and professional development over 2,3,4 decades of long hours of commitment to the teaching vocation? According to this information, we will be paid exactly the same amount as before but will have to spend hours,yet again, proving our skills and qualifications doing exactly as the ‘first year outs’ do so as to be ” accredited ” to a body who will then charge us $100 a year for nothing beyond the fact that we will then be listed as ‘accredited’. Where is the incentive in that? From speaking with many teachers of more than 30 years experience, the result may well be a ‘ brain drain’ on the profession as many of these teachers are seriously considering leaving teaching altogether. Is this part of the hidden agenda? A cost cutting strategy perhaps?

Totally demoralise the older experienced more expensive teachers so they leave then employ the younger inexperienced cheaper models? Perhaps that’s it in a nutshell? It has definitely been noted that schools everywhere are tending to employ the new teachers over more experienced better qualified teachers so it does appear a choice is being made in favour of a false economy??

Am I angry? Too right I’m angry. I have given heart and soul to my teaching work for almost thirty years and it feels that this now counts for absolutely zip! Yes talent and ability are important but they need to be coupled with experience which is invaluable!

Where is the recognition and respect we have earned as talented, highly skilled, well educated, experienced professionals who have worked years to maintain our currency and hone our highly developed skills to levels of excellence?

Response from CCER: As you may be aware, from 2018, it has been proposed that all NSW teachers (both new scheme and existing) will be required to be accredited with the NSW Institute of Teachers. This is part of a broader national reform to improve consistency in teacher quality and the professional standing of the teaching profession.

The precise requirements for existing teachers from 2018 are yet to be determined by NSW Parliament. It is most likely that all existing teachers will be ‘deemed’ to have reached proficient standard without having to go through the in depth accreditation process currently required of graduates. It is also probable that existing teachers will need to maintain their accreditation status, by complying with minimum professional development requirements, and maintaining financial membership with the NSW Institute of Teachers. Your Employer will continue to inform you about these new legislated requirements as they become known.

You are correct in pointing out that these new requirements are a change to current practice. We understand that in some senses, the need to maintain accreditation with an external authority may seem burdensome and even unfair to very experienced teachers like yourself, who have dedicated themselves to the teaching profession over many decades.  However, these are not requirements that Employers or Employees can opt out of. As they will eventually be mandatory for the profession, we to start to talk to our teachers to ensure that accreditation processes are meaningful and that teachers are appropriately supported in this new standards framework. There will be opportunities for this 2 way conversation to occur in coming months, both at a school level and online. We are open to receiving your ideas about the kinds of support that would be helpful in this environment, and whether there are different ways of working that could ensure we recognise, reward and respect all teachers, including highly experienced teachers like yourself.

To respond to your comments about the new standards model being a cost cutting measure, I can assure you this is not the case. The proposed new classification framework, based on that which will also apply in DEC, will pay teachers equivalent to a step 9 once they have attained proficient standard. They can then progress to top of salary scale (Proficient teacher level 5- equivalent to step 13), within 5 years. This means that new teachers will reach the top of salary scale rates after 7 years, rather than 9 years in the existing 13 step model. In addition, the model provides for teachers to receive equivalent to either a Coordinator 1 or Coordinator 2 allowance if they attain certification at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher standard. There are no caps on the number of teachers who can attain certification at these levels, which we believe will provide more opportunities for more teachers to progress.

Please be assured that the Employers’ proposal is by no means a final document – but just an opportunity to open up a genuine conversation on a range of issues central to the future of the teaching profession – including work in a standards environment and how our teachers can be supported within this. There will be more opportunities for you to contribute your ideas and suggestions, during which time your current arrangements will continue. Remember that nothing will change unless you vote to change it.