Friday, June 10, 2011

The process of accreditation in NSW

Now, I've been wanting to post this for a while (ever since I found out how many steps are involved). At first, I put it off by saying I needed to make pretty banners... I needed to focus on this or that... But, the information is really important, so here I go with the vanilla version.

The first thing you need to make sure you're aware of, is that:
- Each Australian state has a different process of accreditation. This process applies only to NSW, so, if you are planning to travel inter-state, you will have to find out what other states require (see for state-specific information).

The second thing to know, is that the process outlined below, is only for for the first of the three sectors that make up the NSW Education system: 
- DET/DEC public or government schools
- Catholic Schools

Process for accreditation in NSW public school system
  1. Online application forms (can take up to 1 hr) thru Institute of Teachers (NSWIT) and DET. - This application was approved for me within 24 hours of receipt of my documentation (your mileage may vary), but important to do this one first, as you need an institute number before DET continue processing your application. - This is the tough one, especially if you are new to Australia, as you require printer access and two people you have known for 12 months or longer, who can attest to your good character / disposition for teaching. Get onto it as soon as you can.

  2. JP signed documentation for both applications, plus the signed declarations of good character for DET and the printed application form. I sent mine off using Express envelopes, about $5 a pop, but worth the investment, if you want to ensure speedy delivery.

    A note here: Australia works on a 100 point identification system, so it is a good idea if you are looking at settling in Australia (and have a postal address organised) to start investigating other requirements, such as Medicare and applying for a Tax File Number (TFN).

  3. On getting accepted for the first and getting your institute number, you are then eligible to continue the DET process.

    Note: Institute fees are $100AUD yearly.

  4. As an overseas trained teacher (OTT), I had to sign up for the OTT course, receiving an email that gave me a number to ring. This is irrespective of experience, whether this is at leadership or management level, or of how many years experience you have in teaching - the course is a requirement for any 'new scheme' teachers. At first (in early March), they said that the first vacancy was in May, but I signed up for any cancellations, so ended up being placed in the course starting 24th March. This involved a 1 1/2 hr train ride to get to Blacktown by 9am for a two day orientation, finishing around 4pm each day.

  5. I made it through the orientation part of the programme, with a certificate proving my participation.

  6. I went to a nominated school for a week practicum in which I had to conduct observations and teach at least 3 formally observed sessions of my own. Any trained teacher will be familiar with this process, which culminates in a meeting with the principal and your tutor teacher at the end of the week. There, you are either approved as suitable to teach, or you will need to extend your practicum to meet any requirements you didn't quite reach, or you will be signed off as unsuitable to teach. If the latter, you will need to investigate other options as a career in NSW. I was assured, along with my OTT cohort, that the latter is a VERY irregular occurrence.

  7. I then travelled to Blacktown for my Suitability to Teach interview (This is supposed to go for up to 45mins – I found this step incredibly helpful, as the interviewer was able to either answer all of my questions, or point me in the right direction for answers).

  8. After getting my emailed acceptance letter with my DET ID which stated exactly what I was accredited to teach, subjects and levels, I needed to head down to the library to make a 1 page CV and double-side it with the letter to then hand-deliver to schools I wanted to relieve at. The way it works here, you start as a casual teacher to build experience in NSW schools. I have been automatically signed up with but apparently you can’t just hold out for the phone calls if you want to work sooner.

    I cannot stress how important hand delivery is. Majority of my work to date, is through schools that I hand-delivered my CV to.
    I also found it helpful to register with agencies (Randstad, Hayes, Key Stage Casuals). You have to hand deliver and register after you get your approval, so I would suggest making sure you complete as much of the registration forms as you can, so that as soon as you get your approval, you're ready to go.

  9. Once you have experience, you can then start looking at applying for a position. Keep in mind, your acceptance letter has a priority date that DET use when they’re matching you to the school you will be working at – this limits the number of interviews that you need to do, but I have no ideas about this part of the process yet.
Once again, whew! Lots of work... but it helps knowing the steps! I hope this information helps =)