Victorian Auditor’s report on Professional Learning for School Teachers.
Throughout their careers, teachers undertake various formal and informal learning activities to strengthen their practice, known as professional learning. It is important for education systems to invest in professional learning, as the quality of teachers has a significant influence on student outcomes.
This audit examined whether the Department of Education and Training and the Victorian Institute of Teaching have a clear and accurate understanding of the professional learning that occurs in Victorian government schools, including its planning, cost, and impact, so they can best target and support professional learning to drive better student outcomes.
The audit found:
- Overall, DET’s professional learning agenda conforms to best practice principles, as it recognises the importance of student-centred, classroom-based, and teacher-led activities. DET’s flagship strategy—the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO)—encourages principals and teachers to focus their efforts on the areas known to have the greatest impact on school performance.
- Importantly, FISO’s Improvement Cycle reconceptualises professional learning as a routine, everyday practice that requires thorough planning and review. This Improvement Cycle is critical, as principals and teachers must explicitly prioritise their development to ensure that it occurs amidst their busy schedules.
- There are also opportunities for DET and VIT to enhance their support for professional learning through improved data analysis. Addressing current gaps in their knowledge will assist both agencies to better target their efforts and evaluate how well their professional learning initiatives are working.
Key findings in the report suggest:
- DET’s central and regional offices have significantly improved their oversight of schools’ four‐year planning cycles through the development of the Strategic Planning Online Tool (SPOT).
- DET lacks a thorough understanding of the costs schools incur to develop and implement robust professional learning programs for teachers
- VIT occupies a unique position, as it interacts with all practising teachers on an annual basis through the renewal of registration process. While VIT collects information from 1 per cent of the workforce regarding the focus and impact of their professional learning activities, it rarely scrutinises this information to gain insight into teachers’ professional learning needs and priorities.