Professional learning, activity days, preparation days and student free days

Professional Learning (PL) – is time undertaken within the 70 hours per fortnight schools and college teachers’ work (if you are full time).

PL can include award-bearing courses and agreed activities arising from PDP’s and school/system activities such as:

  • committees
  • seminars to introduce new syllabus curriculum, methodology, administrative and conceptual changes
  • activities for individuals or groups which have been approved by the employer.

Whole of school PL occurs on Student Free days.

Student Free Days – these are determined each year by DoE and can include Moderation Days, strategic planning and professional learning workshops. Part time teachers who do not normally attend school on a particular day cannot be expected to attend PL if a Student Free Day is held on their day off, but this can of course be negotiated with the staff member. Student Free Days are days of normal teacher attendance (without students) and should not be confused with Professional Activity Days.

Professional Activity Days – are an additional five days to be worked throughout the year. These additional days may be used for purposes such as curriculum development, school planning or any other purpose as determined by the employer including: report writing, parent teacher meetings, presentation evenings or activities that require teacher supervision of students. The timing and content of PA is determined by the Principal in consultation with the teaching staff.

Part –time teachers are only expected to attend on a pro-rata basis and this should be discussed with them at the beginning of the year. It is acceptable for Principals to express a preference as to which PA activities are undertaken, and then negotiate with the part-time teacher.

Preparation Days – are worked within your teaching year. For Primary and High school teachers you must be in attendance two days prior to students first school day each year, and one day after students’ final school day (unless you are working in an isolated school, when you would leave on the same day as students). In colleges, teachers shall commence and complete the teaching year one week earlier. Preparation Days are allocated for teachers to get themselves ready for the beginning and the end of the school year. Whilst it is acceptable for schools to have staff meetings on the first day, it’s not acceptable to have all-day meetings or PL. If you are part-time you are only required to attend on your ordinary days of work.

An AEU win in the new 2019 Teachers Agreements is that Professional Activity for purposes such as professional development, curriculum development and whole-school or team planning should not extend beyond 5pm. We have also secured a joint AEU/DoE Review of PA Days to consider best practice use of this time and ways to ensure consistency across all workplaces. The Review will be completed by the end of 2020.

References & further information