State of the art professional learning academy to support South Australian ECTs

by Freya Lucas

April 11

A new professional learning academy for teachers, including those working as early childhood teachers (ECTs) has been officially launched in the South Australian suburb of Hindmarsh.

 

The professional learning academy, Orbis, was named in acknowledgement of the collective nature of the education system, and will provide a comprehensive program of professional learning for the state’s public school and preschool educators, to support them in developing their teaching expertise and educational leadership.

 

Following an international tender process, the University of Melbourne was awarded the contract to deliver three pilot courses focusing on literacy and numeracy. 180 teachers will take part in the pilot courses in 2019, with the number of courses and participants to increase in 2020 based on feedback gained during the pilot phase.

 

Speaking about the program, South Australian Education Minister John Gardner said “We are going out and getting the best available professional learning to empower our teachers to deliver world class education.”

 

Mr Gardner added that Orbis would “deliver a prestigious program that invests in our people, and in the teaching profession,” with courses being designed based on contemporary research, contextualised for South Australian schools and preschools.

 

Initial leadership offerings through Orbis will include the partnership with the University of Melbourne, which will support leaders to engage in learning relating to leading school/site improvement. The program is currently being designed, and leaders will have the opportunity to shape the delivery of the course.

 

Dr Jim Watterston, Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne welcomed the partnership announcement.

 

“The Melbourne Graduate School of Education is delighted to partner with Orbis to deliver crucial professional development for leaders in schools to increase their expertise and develop the capacity of their teams,” said Dr Watterston.

 

“We look forward to bringing our knowledge of contemporary teaching and leadership practices, focus on evidence-based strategies and strong connections to schools to Orbis.”

 

Orbis will also engage with Harvard’s Leadership for School Excellence program, with a program designed specifically for principals and site leaders in Australia and New Zealand. 30 leaders will have the chance to connect with Harvard faculty, and fellow practitioners, to exchange ideas and best practice, when the Harvard program launches in Sydney in 2020.

 

“The engagement of Harvard and the University of Melbourne is just the beginning, and I am confident that as Orbis expands it will become a national leader in professional development for teachers and leaders.” Mr Gardner said, adding that, as the program expands, there would be more opportunities for other universities and providers to partner with the academy.


The full Orbis program will be further developed in the coming months, and will be designed to align with the South Australian Education Department’s school improvement model.

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