Follow us on:

C8 Learning and development

Learning and development activities are important for generating new ideas and innovative practices. The Directorate maintained a strategic approach to learning and development to build capability of the workforce.

In 2012-13, the Directorate reviewed existing programs and practices in the context of future priorities in order to create an integrated plan to address the professional learning and training needs for all Directorate staff. As a result of this process the Workforce Capability Working Group was established. The focus of this group is to set strategic directions, improve strategic planning, increase alignment and provide governance for the Directorate's professional learning and training activities.

The Workforce Capability Working Group is currently developing priorities and commitments for 2013-15 for all Directorate staff.

Targeted investment in professional learning and training has been prioritised across four focus areas:

  1. Learning and Teaching: improving teacher standards through strengthening quality contemporary teaching and curriculum practices
  2. School Environment: supporting students by creating engaging learning and teaching environments
  3. Student Pathways and Transitions: building staff capability to enhance opportunities for student success at all phases
  4. Leadership and Corporate Development: improving leadership, culture and values through a focus on partnerships, standards and business practices.

The Directorate is committed to empowering all school leadership teams to make local decisions about the professional development and training opportunities that best meet the needs of their staff and achieve each school's performance targets and priorities.

The Directorate provides central courses to complement school based professional development and training. In 2012-13, the Professional Learning and Events Calendar had 261 registered events for professional learning and training with a total of 7,659 attendees.

In 2012-13 there were two funds to achieve professional learning priorities for teachers and principals; the Teacher Professional Learning Fund (TPLF) and the Principal Professional Learning Fund (PPLF). Expenditure within the TPLF (including teacher scholarships committed) in 2012-13 was $1,014,782. Expenditure within the PPLF was $163,836.

Box C8.1 2013 International Forum for Secondary School Principals

Photo of three principals at the 2013 International Forum for Secondary School Principals in China

Quality teaching and leadership is one of the strategic objectives of the Directorate. To broaden awareness of school leadership styles in 2013, the Directorate awarded scholarships to four ACT public sector principals to attend the 2013 International Forum for Secondary School Principals and undertake a brief study tour in China from 2 to 11 April 2013.

Throughout the forum and study tour, the group informed their Chinese and international colleagues of learning and teaching practices in Australian schools especially the use of digital technology in teaching and the emphasis on creative thinking in learning. Their discussions generated a great amount of interest among Chinese teachers and students to embrace Australian learning and teaching practices. A large number of students expressed their interest in studying at Australian schools.

Since their return, the principals have shared their knowledge with their colleagues through the schools network model.

Pictured, left to right; Michael Hall, Michael Battenally and Richard Powell.

Examples of the learning and development programs facilitated or delivered by the Directorate included the New Educator Support Program; the ACT Teacher Scholarship Program; leadership opportunities such as coaching and the school leaders conference; and career development for administrative and support staff.

New Educator Support Program

The New Educator Support Program (NESP) is an intensive professional learning program offered to teachers from early childhood, primary and high schools and colleges and complements school based programs. In 2012–13, the program focused on curriculum, quality teaching, literacy, numeracy, information and communication technology and student management. A summary of the programs provided in 2012–13 is in Table C8.1.

In addition to the NESP, resources are provided directly to schools for new educator support over the first three years of service. This provides newly appointed teachers with 15 days release from classroom teaching (six days in the first year of service, five days in the second and four days in the third). In 2012-13, the total funds committed to schools for the release were approximately $2,250,000. School leadership teams are responsible for the professional learning and development of their staff and the manner in which the days provided contribute to the development of new educators. The purpose of these resources is to support new educators as part of an individual development program that may include observations; coaching and mentoring; co-planning; evaluation and reflection and attendance at additional professional learning.

Table C8.1: Attendance summary for the New Educator Support Program, 2012–13


Number of participants

Term 3, 2012 (information and communication technology)


Term 4, 2012 (reflection and way forward)


Term 1, 2013 (behaviour management)


Term 2, 2013 (literacy and numeracy)


Source: Learning and Teaching Branch

Executive coaching for school leaders

The Directorate's School Leadership Strategy identifies coaching and mentoring as key professional learning strategies. In 2012–13, 125 school leaders participated in an intensive executive coaching program. Participants could select from a one-day or three-day program to improve and develop coaching skills to achieve improved student learning outcomes. All participants rated the program as very good or excellent overall. Staff will have opportunities to continue this professional learning and participate in a program to gain a nationally recognised certification in coaching in the workplace in 2013–14.

ACT School Leadership Conference: Engaging Schools

A leadership conference for 328 executives from schools and central office was held from 23 to 25 May 2013. The conference focused on the theme of engaging schools: engaging students, staff and the community. The themes aligned with the Directorate's School Leadership Strategy.

The ACT Teacher Scholarship Program

The ACT Teacher Scholarship Program provided Directorate teachers with support to undertake further study, training and/or research leading to improved student learning outcomes. Under the guidelines established for professional learning, the Directorate in consultation with the ACT branch of the Australian Education Union allocated resources for teacher scholarships. In 2012–13, the priority areas for teacher scholarships were English as an Additional Language/Dialect, early childhood education and teacher librarianship. A summary of the scholarships awarded in 2012–13 is provided in Table C8.2.

Table C8.2: Teacher scholarships awarded, 2012–13

Focus area

Number of scholarships awarded

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


Early childhood education


Teacher librarianship


Community counselling


Disability education






Source: Learning and Teaching Branch

Career development for administrative and support staff

Training and professional development for administrative and support staff was offered in-house and through external providers such as the Canberra Institute of Technology on a range of topics. Professional learning programs were offered in areas such as information and communication technology, safety training, administration, management and education support.

In January 2013 a conference for school administrative and support staff was held with 550 participants attending a total of 43 workshops on a range of professional learning topics.

In 2012-13, traineeships or diploma opportunities were offered in management, education support and children's services. Table C8.3 provides information on traineeships or diploma opportunities completed by administrative and support staff in 2012-13.

Table C8.3: Administrative and support staff completion of traineeships or diploma qualifications, 2012-13


Number of participants

Certificate III in Children's Services


Certificate IV in Education Support


Diploma of Management


Source: Learning and Teaching Branch

Training programs were made available to Directorate staff through the ACT Public Service (ACTPS) Training Calendar. Directorate staff were able to access study assistance through grants and time allowance. The number of participants and the associated cost is shown in Table C8.4.

Table C8.4: Participants and cost for ACTPS training and study assistance program, 2012-13


Number of participants


ACTPS Training Calendar



Study Assistance



Source: Commerce and Works Directorate

Whole of government learning and development initiatives are listed in Table C8.5 and includes the number of participants in each program.

Table C8.5: Participants in whole of government professional learning initiatives, 2012-13


Number of participants

ACTPS Graduate Program


Young Professionals Network


Future Leaders Development Program


Executive Leadership Development Program


Executive Master of Public Administration


Source: Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate

For more information contact:
Senior Manager
Strategy, Research and Innovation
(02) 6205 8260