Professional practice days

The professional practice days (PPDs) are an element of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement (VGSA) 2017 (pdf - 904kb).

Professional practice days provide teachers with release from their scheduled duties (all duties which would have been otherwise scheduled, including teaching) to focus on the improved delivery of high quality teaching and learning.

The proposed Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022, if approved by the Fair Work Commission, provides teachers with three professional practice days in 2022, two professional practice days in 2023 and one professional practice day in 2024 and beyond.

Professional practice days are pro rata for a teacher employed part-time. Professional practice days are not pupil free days. 

Your individual school context may inform the focus area(s) of your PPDs and help you to get the most out of these days.

Focus areas


The work undertaken on PPDs is to be consistent with department and school priorities - School Strategic Plan (SSP) and Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) - selected from the following areas:

  • planning
  • preparation
  • assessment of student learning
  • collaboration
  • curriculum development
  • relevant professional development
  • peer observation including feedback and reflection.

The timing and focus of each day for each teacher will be nominated by the teacher and agreed to in consultation with the principal. Where the timing and/or focus are not agreed, the timing will be determined by the principal and the focus of the day determined by the teacher, remaining consistent with the focus area(s) outlined above.

Planning

Early planning is key to getting the most out of your PPDs. This may involve analysing school data and sharing school priorities, planning, consultation, scheduling and reflecting on impact.

Following the positive feedback on a common professional practice day in Term 2, 2022, the department is recommending schools hold one of the two further 2022 professional practice days on the same day for all staff. The second professional practice day should be organised in line with previous practice.

The professional practice day for teachers does not alter the attendance requirements for education support employees. Principals are encouraged to discuss the work arrangements for education support staff on professional practice days in advance.


Getting the most out of professional practice days

Read how principals and teachers have approached the planning and implementation of professional practice days within their schools. The school vignettes (pdf - 786.25kb) may prompt thinking and discussions amongst colleagues.

  • Assessing well-made plans – Hoppers Crossing Secondary College
  • Dedicated collaboration - East Gippsland Specialist School
  • Transparent planning – Oberon Primary School   
  • Planning alongside FISO - Koo Wee Rup Primary School
  • Supported planning - Williamstown High School
  • Consultative refinement – Boneo Primary School
  • Supported teams - Footscray City Primary School

Planning tips for principals

Sharing school priorities

Sharing the SSP, AIP and various school data regularly with staff, and reviewing the school’s focus area(s) as the need changes, will create a culture of shared goals within your school.

As you know, distributed leadership is an important way to support planning efforts. This may be done by:

  • consulting with teachers to agree on the timing and focus of the day
  • supporting teaching teams to plan the focus of their day if they decide to work together
  • consulting with teachers to plan the whole-school professional practice days as aligned with school priorities.

Strategic resource management

A range of strategies may be used for the scheduling of PPDs in schools, including:

  • teachers accessing an online calendar to schedule whole-of-school activities, curriculum days and PPDs
  • using an online tool to seek teacher input on the preferred timing of the PPDs
  • ensuring PPDs are scheduled well ahead of time
  • organising teacher coverage a term or two in advance (some schools arrange coverage twelve months in advance)
  • sharing tips with teachers on effective support for their classroom coverage.

Options to cover teachers on PPDs may include:

  • engagement of casual relief teachers
  • employing an additional teacher(s) to cover the PPDs and other teacher absences
  • innovative scheduling where possible; e.g. encouraging PPDs to be used during exam practice sessions and whole school camps.

For more information on strategic resource management, workforce planning and distributed leadership see:

Planning tips for teachers

Focus on school priorities

Teachers may choose to use their PPD to work in teams, individually, or a combination of both.

Teachers are using their PPDs to:

  • consider and plan strategies to improve differentiated student learning in literacy or numeracy
  • prepare a session for their Professional Learning Community (PLC) on using the department's various toolkits
  • collaborate on curriculum activities within the region
  • analyse and moderate assessments for a subject area
  • undertake professional development that links to an AIP outcome within their PDP
  • observe teachers at neighbouring schools who are using high impact teaching strategies.

The school leadership team will have insight into school data supporting the school's focus area(s) for the year ahead. By talking with the school leadership team and/or learning specialist, teachers can decide to concentrate any professional learning on the school's focus area(s).

Resources

The department provides professional practice resources for teachers.

Find out more

The professional practice elements and professional practice guide will help you improve your professional practice.

If you have a question about the professional practice elements, please contact one of the following teams:

Teacher professional practice

Professional Practice and Workforce Reform Branch
Email: professional.practice@education.vic.gov.au

Policy and Employee Relations Branch

Phone: 7022 0011
Email: employee.relations@education.vic.gov.au
Professional practice days policy

Funding and the student resource package (SRP)

Log a call through Service Gateway
Helpdesk phone: 1800 641 943
Email: studentresourcepackage@education.vic.gov.au