Schools CRTs making their voices heard

A fundamental part of campaigning for a new enterprise agreement is to share your experience with the state government, and to set out just how conditions can be improved.

Throughout 2021, the VGSA campaign has included a number of actions undertaken by particular groups of schools members, including recording unpaid hours spent on report writing by teachers, posters displaying principal class demands, and ES members calling for recognition of the work they do.

Through the end of Term 3 and into Term 4, it was the turn of the union’s CRT members. Although the salaries of casual relief teachers are not directly covered by the Victorian Government Schools Agreement, CRTs are affected by the outcomes. When working casually for a school council, their pay is linked to a pay level in the agreement. Even the number of CRT days a school may need is influenced by the conditions teachers in schools work under.

It has been fantastic to see so many CRTs sharing their experiences through this campaign action and identifying exactly how government could improve conditions for casual teachers.

More than 200 AEU CRT members wrote personalised letters to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, James Merlino, detailing why the role that CRTs perform is essential to our students and to the school system overall. Members described the many and varied roles undertaken by casual teachers, requiring great adaptability, compressing various aspects of teaching usually established over weeks into a few minutes.

In outlining why their role is so important, a common theme was the connections created between students and casual teachers, and the value CRTs place on the students and on the relationships they form with them.

Members also explained some of the key issues faced by CRTs, including the impact of lockdowns on the availability of work, the reduction of pay when employed by agencies, and accessing affordable professional development.

It has been fantastic to see so many CRTs sharing their experiences through this campaign action and identifying exactly how government could improve conditions for casual teachers.

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