They’re the forgotten people of education in a lot of cases and their learning suffers as a result. While Australian school students may be spending a year of their total schooling with a Casual or Relief Teacher (CRT), a new evidence summary says they need a lot more support.
CRTs across Australia may be undertaking less professional learning and be moved down the list when compared to their full-time counterparts when it comes to compliance and funding for PD.
Undertaking professional learning is a requirement for all teachers (20 hours a year in all states and territories except Tasmania). Yet more than half of the CRTs surveyed said they had undertaken less than 16 hours of professional learning in the past 12 months.
While three-quarters of CRTs usually work at the same school regularly, the results show that nearly 60% were never invited to undertake professional learning with their colleagues.
The AITSL report Spotlight: Professional Learning for Relief Teachers, highlights that CRTs need more support to access quality professional growth opportunities so that they can build and develop their teaching expertise.
According to the report, the considerations ranked as important or very important for CRTs undertaking professional learning are cost (86%), the need to meet registration requirements (80%), meeting an identified need in their teaching practice (76%), or an identified need for their students (69%).
AITSL CEO Mark Grant said: “It is disappointing that only 40% of the CRT teachers surveyed by AITSL had taken part in-school professional learning at the schools they work in, despite an overwhelming majority of teachers wanting to be included (75 per cent).”
“The report finds that where CRTs had accessed in-school professional learning, most respondents worked directly with one school. That experience suggests that building stronger relationships with CRTs within schools can make a big difference.”
Recommendations proposed in the report include:
The AITSL Professional Learning for Relief Teachers Spotlight can be found on the AITSL website.