Professional development planning
ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone provides insight into National Quality Framework topics of interest.
As part of a service’s commitment to quality improvement and the delivery of quality education and care programs, service providers have the responsibility to build and maintain a skilled and engaged workforce. To meet NQS Element 7.2.2, the performance of educators, coordinators and staff members need to be evaluated, with individual development plans in place to support performance improvement.
What is professional development?
Professional development is the processes used to develop knowledge and skills in identified areas and assists in keeping up to date with emerging research and best practice. Service staff can engage in professional development through informal methods such as networking with other professionals, staff meetings and personal reading or through formal methods such as attending training, workshops, conferences or through mentoring.
Identifying areas for professional development
Services must develop Individual Professional Plans for educators, coordinators and staff. There are many ways services can identify areas for professional development and for whole service improvement:
- through use of the Quality Improvement Plan
- undertaking an open and honest self-assessment
- using the assessment and rating instrument
- and using the service philosophy to decide on focus areas for professional development.
There is flexibility in the structure used to evaluate staff performance, however processes should be in place to ensure that quality feedback on performance is provided and areas of development can be identified. The process might include agreeing on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for achievement within designated time frames. The evaluation may include competencies (skills and knowledge) and behaviours (professional standards). Engaging in self-assessment allows education and care professionals, together with their managers, to identify areas they would like to develop. The performance evaluation is also a chance for service providers to acknowledge the achievements and contributions of staff.
What is an individual development plan?
The most effective individual development plans are:
- developed collaboratively by the employee and the manager
- identified through self and service evaluation processes, which outline career objectives and areas of development
- documented with appropriate resources allocated
- reviewed at least annually.
Further reading and resources
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations – Child care staff: Learning and growing through professional development