At Australian Teacher Aide we believe that having a set of standards for paraprofessional educators, has the potential to contribute to the status of the profession, and raise the national perspective. Historically, paraprofessional educators in Australia were perceived as classroom helpers. This is an outdated notion, as their role supporting student learning and wellbeing, under the guidance of teachers, is diverse and complex.
A Shared Language
Paraprofessional educators who work in schools have many different titles such as teacher aide, teaching assistant, education assistant, education aide, education support officer, school learning support officer (SLSO), integration aide, school mentor, and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Education Officer. This may be contributing to a lack of national identity, as well as creating an unclear perception of the role of paraprofessional educators within schools. It is not the intention of Australian Teacher Aide to change the job titles used within schools, but rather to provide a shared language to identify the profession, and talk about what paraprofessional educators know and do.
Australian Standards for Paraprofessional Educators in Schools
For several years, Australian Teacher Aide have been developing the Australian Standards for Paraprofessional Educators in Schools. The purpose of the standards is to provide a framework that outlines the professional knowledge, practice, and engagement that paraprofessional educators require, in order to have a positive impact on student learning and wellbeing.
Australian Teacher Aide believes that the standards must:
• Make explicit, the evidence based support practises that lead to improved outcomes for students across all developmental domains
• Reflect the professional knowledge, professional practice, and professional engagement that paraprofessional educators require to work effectively in schools
Consultation with the education sectors
We have initiated a consultation process to ensure that the standards will represent the work of paraprofessional educators in Public, Catholic and Independent schools in Australia.
The consultation process will:
• inform the development of the standards
• identify the quality teaching and learning support practices required to achieve successful outcomes for students
Industry Reference Group
The first stage of the consultation process is to engage an Industry Reference Group (IRG), representative of the education sectors to develop a framework for the Australian Standards for Paraprofessional Educators in Schools. During this stage, the IRG will provide feedback on the:
• Purpose of the standards
• Organisation of the standards
The feedback provided by the IRG will be incorporated in Draft 1 of the Australian Standards for Paraprofessionals in Schools, and then made available for comment.
If your school or education sector would like to participate in the consultation process, please register your interest by completing this webform.