Prioritising PLD for teacher retention

Teacher shortages have exacerbated workloads, making it more difficult for schools and principals to prioritise PLD opportunities for staff.

However, research shows a positive correlation between PLD and staff retention, so could prioritising PLD attract teachers to your school?

Eighty-four percent of teachers surveyed in the international Tes Wellbeing Report 2022 indicated that a school offering and supporting professional development was a more attractive employer. The report also found that 75 percent of teachers prefer hybrid PLD that involves in-person and online training.

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In New Zealand, hybrid and online-only PLD took off during lockdown. When the traffic lights system was relaxed in September, the Ministry advised schools not to postpone PLD indefinitely but to gage comfort levels with face-to-face delivery and continue sessions onsite or virtually depending on preferences.  

Among other PLD preferences: 87 percent of teachers surveyed by the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association said PLD was most effective for them when it enabled collaboration with teachers from other schools; meanwhile, 98 percent of senior leaders preferred in-house PLD. Both senior leaders and teachers indicated that reflection time was vital for PLD to be effective.

To this last point, organising high quality PLD for staff requires careful timetabling so that adequate reflection time is possible. This involves a balancing act for schools and overworked school principals, to effectively organise PLD while balancing the additional workload demands of the teacher staff shortages.

Pauline Cleaver, the Ministry of Education’s Associate Deputy Secretary of Curriculum, Pathways, and Progress, spoke with School News about the importance of careful scheduling, and these challenges principals are facing as they try to juggle wellbeing and workload: “Many schedule sessions before and after school so that learning time with students is not disrupted.”

She acknowledged: “We know principals weigh up the balance between the importance of professional development and the workload of their teachers.

“All teachers are entitled to time away from the classroom (classroom release time) during the term.”

In addition, School News was told that the MOE is “developing self-directed and guided resources and services that can be accessed and used during classroom release times or teacher only days.”

In 2023, PLD priorities will remain the same as those implemented in 2020: “New priorities for regionally allocated professional learning and development were implemented to support teachers to provide culturally responsive and rich learning experiences and assessment practices for all students in 2020. These priorities will remain the same for 2023.

 In terms of PLD training and support specific to the curriculum refresh, she further noted: “Additional supports and services will become available as each learning area is tested and refreshed.”

“While we provide PLD support for schools to support the curriculum refresh, schools receive funding in their operating grants to fund staff professional development for this purpose.

“We know teachers work incredibly hard, often going above and beyond the scope of their roles and recognise teacher wellbeing is a critical component of a productive workforce that can effectively support learners. The Ministry acknowledges the important work teachers do every day to deliver high-quality learning to our children and young people.”

Rosie Clarke

Rosie is the managing editor here at Multimedia Pty Ltd, working across School News New Zealand and School News Australia. She has spent 10+ years in B2B journalism, and has spent some time over the last couple of years teaching as a sessional academic. Feel free to contact her at any time with editorial or magazine content enquiries.
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