At Australian Teacher Aide we are proud to be developing the Australian Standards for Paraprofessional Educators in Schools. We believe that having a set of standards will enable educators to work together collaboratively, to develop expert teaching teams, and improve outcomes for students.
Who are Paraprofessional Educators?
Paraprofessional educators are known by a range of job titles such as teacher aide, education aide, teaching assistant, assistant teacher, education support worker, school learning support officer, school mentor, learning assistant, classroom assistant, integration aide, and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Education Officer. These titles differ among the education sectors, States and Territories.
In the Standards, we have used the title of paraprofessional educator as an umbrella term that encompasses, but does not necessarily replace, the job titles preferred within a school setting. We believe that having one title to identify paraprofessional educators, will promote a national identity, help raise the status of the profession, and provide both educators and the wider community with a shared language to talk explicitly about what paraprofessional educators know, understand, and do.
Why do we need Standards?
Paraprofessional educators contribute significantly to the learning and wellbeing of students in Australian schools. They collaborate with teaching teams to enable all students, including students with disability, specific learning difficulties and mental health conditions, to access the curriculum, and participate in learning.
The scope of work performed by paraprofessional educators is diverse, and the purpose of the standards is to clearly describe the Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice, and Professional Engagement, at different career stages.
If you are a paraprofessional educator, the Standards will enable you to:
· understand your job role, and what you are expected to know, and do
· reflect on your current knowledge and skills
· identify gaps in your professional knowledge, practice, and engagement
· set goals to improve your practice through professional learning and skills development
· use a shared language to engage effectively with colleagues
· develop your career progression through different stages.
Why is Consultation with the Education Sector important?
We have initiated a consultation process to inform the development of the standards, and to ensure that the standards will represent the work of paraprofessional educators in Public, Catholic and Independent schools in Australia.
As part of the consultation process, we have formed an Industry Reference Group (IRG), to provide feedback on the Standards. Thank you to the following people who represented their education sector, and helped review Stage 1.
ASPES Industry Reference Group Members
Leanne Hillman, Bolster Education NSW | Sharon Stone, Deputy Principal, Tallowwood School, NSW | Sharon Crowther, Teacher, TAFE – Miller, NSW | Pragati Bhat, Teacher/ Assistant Principal, Ponds School, NSW | Benjamin Gaske, Principal & Haley Will, Teacher Aide, Landsborough State School, QLD | Sarah Trussell, Executive Assistant, Lucindale Area School, SA |Angela Toniolo, Education Support, Mt Beauty Primary School, VIC |Jane Keating, Administrator, Padua College, VIC | Michelle Nunn, Principal, Newbury Primary School, VIC | Jane Wenlock, Coordinator Learning Support, Kolbe Catholic College, VIC |
When will the Standards be Published?
There are many stages to developing a set of Standards, and the proposed timeframes sets out what we plan to achieve at each stage, and by when.
Stage 1: Establish a framework by October 2021 - Completed
The aim of Stage 1 was to establish a framework to include a Preamble, the Purpose of the Standards, and the Organisation of the Standards. This was completed on time.
Stage 2: Organise the Standards by April 2022
The aim of Stage 2 is to organise the Standards. This includes describing the Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice, and Professional Engagement of paraprofessional educators, determining the career stages, and defining the standards within each domain. This will be done in three stages.
Stage 3: Write the descriptors by September 2022
The aim of Stage 3 is to write the descriptors for each of the Standards, and show the progression across the career stages. This will be the most challenging stage, requiring in depth consultation.
Stage 4: Distribute the Standards for Review by October 2022
The aim of Stage 4 is to distribute the Standards for a final review.
Stage 5: Make final edits to the Standards, and prepare for publication by December 2022
The aim of Stage 4 is to make the final edits based on the feedback, and prepare the Standards for publication.
Stage 6: Publish the Standards by January 2023
As we progress through the stages, the feedback from our ATA community will continue to play an essential role in ensuring that the standards represents the diverse and complex work of our wonderful paraprofessional educators.
If your school , education department or education organisation would like to participate in the consultation process, please register your interest by completing this webform.