NSW Department of Education and Training schools are delivered significant amounts of funding each year as a tied grant to be for Teacher Professional Learning. Schools are able to utilise these funds to conduct and access internal and external training and development for both teaching and non-teaching staff based on school and departmental priorities including: beginning teachers, use of ICT for teaching and learning, literacy and numeracy, quality teaching, syllabus implementation, career development and welfare and equity. It is essential that schools develop effective procedures for access and implementation of professional learning and the management and delivery of these 'TPL' funds. Wirreanda Public School is a large primary school located in the semi-rural town of Medowie, a suburb of Newcastle with a current enrolment of 600 students and a committed staff of over 35 full and part time teachers ranging in experience from 0 to over 30 years. The effective and equitable use of TPL funds has emerged as an issue with regard to promoting progress towards global departmental and school targets such as quality teaching. In an attempt to address these issues, a survey was undertaken of staff perceptions and needs with regard to professional learning at the commencement of the 2009 academic year. Results of this survey showed clear discrepancies in staff satisfaction with access, quality and sharing of professional learning opportunities. This data was then used to devise a new structure for the delivery of TPL at the school, a coordination role for TPL management, timetables for feedback sessions from attendees at professional learning activities, and the assessment of the perceived value of potential activities against specific school targets. A follow-up survey is planned for early Term 4 to assess the impact of these new structures. The paper will present the results of this professional learning action research and attempt to identify some of the structures, pedagogical practices and learning designs that may assist in the effective use of professional learning funds, including a structured, ongoing and hierarchical model of staff professional development around quality teaching, and strategies for setting and achieving personal professional learning goals.
AARE 2009 International Education Research Conference: Inspiring Innovative Research in Education, (AARE 2009). Proceedings of the AARE 2009 International Education Research Conference: Inspiring Innovative Research in Education (Canberra 29 November - 3 December, 2009)