Schools are responsible for creating the best conditions for the educational success of children and young people. School is, however, not only the institution in which pupils learn and develop; school is also a learning organisation in itself that is in constant motion.
Schools are facing different challenges: In the first place, it is important to provide high quality when it comes to processes of teaching and learning in accordance with the legal framework conditions, and to ensure the best possible educational results. Moreover, pupils are not just learners; they are primarily children and young people with different needs that schools have to meet. Schools are also complex social organisations that have to face continuously changing legal framework conditions and the demands of a changing social composition.
With all the challenges that schools are facing, the university colleges of teacher education are the partners in educational and organisational development. This makes them the most important provider of support services for school development in Austria. Therefore, these support services have to be of high quality and strongly oriented to the needs, to provide school leaders and educators with the best possible instruments to cope with the challenges.
The project started based on the development plans for the university colleges of teacher education, a strategic document with the aim of positioning these colleges in Austria and managing them in a quality and development-oriented context. One of the strategic goals is the improvement of continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers. Therefore, the Federal Quality Framework for CPD and school consulting was set up.
The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey 2018 (TALIS) also showed a great need for development of CPD for educators. More than 50% of Austrian teachers and 42% of the school leaders agreed that there was no suitable CPD available to them. On average in the EU, significantly fewer teachers and school leaders agree that the lack of suitable opportunities is a reason for not taking part in training. So far, there has been no common understanding of quality in CPD and school consulting at a strategic level. University colleges of teacher education have no instruments to work on their quality and no indicators that make this measurable.
The aim of the Federal Quality Framework is to create a common understanding of quality in CPD and school consulting. This includes setting nationwide standards when it comes to the quality of processes, products, staff and results at university colleges of teacher education. It ensures a high-quality offer of CPD and school consulting that is tailored to the needs of teachers and school leaders. The enhanced competencies of educators and school leaders are key to the educational success of pupils, and the Federal Quality Framework is a guiding instrument that defines quality standards throughout Austria. Furthermore, the framework represents a vision that provides all university colleges of teacher education with orientation, and the nationwide agreement to pursue national standards together strengthens their reputation. In addition, the Federal Quality Framework for CPD and school consulting is going to highlight the importance of continuing professional development for educators and school leaders.