Shoring up support for our Beginning Teachers

With the start of the new school year, Federation has received a number of inquiries about the use of beginning teacher support funds in schools.

The Department’s document, Beginning Teachers Support Funding Procedures from 2017, states funding is costed as being equivalent to:

  • two hours per week release time for the permanent beginning teacher in their first year
  • one hour per week release time for an expert teacher to provide practice- based mentoring support in their first year
  • one hour per week release time in the permanent beginning teacher’s second year.

Temporary teachers receive funding for the first year only and: “In the event that the temporary contract ceases prior to contract completion, all remaining funds will be recouped by Human Resources and further eligibility to funding may be considered on a case-by-case basis.”

The document states that principals are accountable for their use in accordance with the following conditions:

  • beginning teachers have reduced responsibilities or teaching loads sufficient to support the development of their skills in the first year
  • beginning teachers are provided with ongoing feedback and support that is embedded in the collaborative practices of the school
  • mentoring structures and collaborative practices support beginning teachers within the school or across a cluster of schools, and any teacher mentors have access to specific training and flexibility in their teaching responsibilities to support classroom observation and provide structured feedback
  • beginning teachers have access to professional learning that focuses on classroom and behaviour management, strategies to build student engagement, collaborative professional practices within the school and productive relationships with parents and care givers.

Section 5 of the document provides a more detailed list of appropriate uses of the funding within schools, including: time for observing and planning lessons, engaging in collaborative practices, and enabling other teachers to observe the beginning teachers lessons.

The 9 February, 2018, edition of SchoolBiz advised that schools were being notified by email which teachers in the school were eligible to receive support funding, with eligible teachers to also receive email notification. The Department states this email notification is to be taken as confirmation that funding will be distributed to the school and commence teacher support.

Any beginning teachers who are unsure of their eligibility, or who believe they are not receiving their entitlements should contact their Federation Organiser or Federation’s Professional Support section. Where necessary, Federation will pursue the matters raised by these members with the Department.