Continuing professional development of educators in public ECEC settings for children aged less than three years is regulated by the national labour contracts that can be integrated at local level through agreements with the relevant trade unions. Due to the variety of regulations, Continuing professional development in public ECEC settings cannot be described in details in the following sections.
Central legislation and the national labour contracts guarantee rights and duties of teachers of State schools, CPD included.
The law 107/2015 on the reform of the education system, has established that professional development (CPD) for teachers, is compulsory, continuing and structural. The collective labour contract for school staff establishes that CPD is a both a right and a professional duty for teachers.
Each school defines CPD activities, also establishing networks with other schools in their territory. Activities must be consistent with the school three-year educational offer plan (PTOF), with the self-evaluation report and the improvement plans of the school, according to the priorities indicated annually by the Ministry of education and merit.
The priorities for the school year 2021/2022 are:
- teaching of STEM disciplines and enhancement of multilingual skills;
- implementation of the ‘integrated system 0-6’;
- accompanying measures on assessment in primary schools;
- inclusive and integration educational practices (also for pupils newly arrived in Italy);
- innovations in recent legislation at the different school levels;
- actions envisaged by the National Plan “RiGenerazione Scuola”.
Training initiatives are generally not part of the teaching timetable and teachers have the right to participate as CPD contributes to the development of their professional life.
Furthermore, teachers have the right to have five days with exemption from service during the school year to participate in training initiatives.
In-service training is currently undergoing a reform process according to the framework established by Law 79/2022. The main changes under the reform are summarized in the National Reforms in School Education section.
Incentives for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities
In order to help teachers in their CPD activities, law 107/2015 foresees a financial support delivered in the form of an electronic card. The card is personal and not transferable and is destined to permanent full-time and part-time teachers working in state schools, included teachers in their induction period. The Ministry of education and the Ministry of finance have defined the criteria and methods for the attribution of the card. Every year, each teacher will receive a maximum of 500 € for:
- purchasing books, magazines, hardware and software;
- attending courses offered by accredited bodies or by higher education institutions;
- attending cultural events (representations, movies, live events) and visit museums and exhibitions;
- carrying out activities consistent with the three-year educational plan of the school and with the National training plan.
The sum is not considered an ancillary retribution and it is not taxable. Within the end of August of each year, teachers must send the statement of expenses for CPD activities to their school administration that make them available to auditors. In case of late or incomplete documentation, unjustified costs are recovered from the sum allocated to the teacher the following year.