Schools Historic wins contained in the new VGSA

Robust negotiations and powerful campaign action, culminating in industrial bans, have achieved a proposed agreement that provides significant improvements to the working lives of schools members.

AEU members have endorsed the new Victorian Government Schools Agreement (VGSA), with a clear majority voting ‘yes’ in ratification meetings held around the state.

Addressing the unsustainable workloads of school staff, and delivering fair and reasonable salary increases, the outcomes achieved in the proposed deal are historic, recognising the changing nature of members’ work and introducing significant improvements to their professional lives. 

Salaries and structural adjustments

Teachers

The proposed agreement delivers teacher pay rises in excess of the state government’s public sector wage policy. The AEU has achieved structural adjustments and allowances that significantly augment these base wage increases. This will see Victoria’s teacher salaries keeping pace with or moving ahead of many other states and territories over the life of the agreement.

Range 1 and 2 teachers will receive initial increases to their current salary in a number of ways. Firstly, a structural adjustment worth 0.95% for most teachers (backdated to the first pay period on or after 24 December 2021), followed by a backdated 1% wage increase from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2022. Plus, incremental progression for those still moving through the sub-divisions; a 1% increase in July; and lump sum payments of 1% of salary in December. From 2023, the annual increases are delivered as 1% in January, 1% in July, and a 1% lump sum in December.

By the end of the agreement, the graduate salary will be $79,589, up 10.45%, plus four annual 1% allowance payments. For a teacher at the top of the scale, the salary will be $118,063, or a 9.3% increase, plus four annual 1% allowance payments.

From 1 January 2022, the daily rate for CRTs will increase from $383.13 to $397.15 (or 3.66%). This includes the 0.95% structural adjustment that all teachers receive, the first 1% increase, and an increase in the casual loading from 20% to 22%. The six-monthly 1% increases then apply over the life of the agreement so that by July 2025, the daily rate will be $425.80.

Find a full breakdown of teacher wages, with a link to the salary tables on this page .

Education Support

All education support staff will receive salary increases of 1% in January and 1% in July throughout the agreement. In addition, all Range 1 and Range 2 ES employees will be moved to the new Range 2, removing the hard barrier between classifications. For example, a current Range 1-5 will translate to the new Range 2-3; over the life of the agreement, their salary will move from $55,357 to $70,289 – an increase of 26.93%.

All current Range 1 ES will be able to access additional sub-divisions. ES at the top sub-division of Range 2, and those in Ranges 3 to 6, will receive a 1% lump sum payment in December of each year of the agreement. The work of ES in particular roles will be better recognised. For example, lab technicians will commence at the new Range 2-4. Business managers, and ES staff who manage a school science laboratory, library or information technology function, must commence at Range 3.

The draft agreement also ensures employees on contracts of up to seven years, linked to SSP funding, will receive a redeployment period, and severance payment if their employment ends. 

Details at news.aeuvic.asn.au/recognition-and-reward-for-es.

Principals

Pay increases for principal class members have been secured via three measures: a structural adjustment; six-monthly increases of 1%; and a 1% ‘position allowance’ for assistant principals. Structural changes mean a lift of 7.55% for principals and 2.43% for APs, backdated to
24 December 2021. These changes create a clear separation between the salary ranges for principals and assistant principals. Plus, management responsibility for co-located kinder services will now be considered in calculations for the school budget to determine the principal’s remuneration.

The in-principle agreement creates a shift away from a Total Remuneration Package (TRP) to a salary-plus-super arrangement. Salaries will now reflect the income of a principal class member in an accumulation fund, with super paid separately. 

Details at news.aeuvic.asn.au/a-better-deal-for-pca-members.


Reduction in face-to-face teaching

For the first time in more than 30 years, the proposed agreement features a reduction in face-to-face teaching hours. From 2023, teachers will have one hour less of face-to-face teaching per week, expanding to one-and-a-half hours in 2024. The state government will employ 2,000 extra teachers to support this reduction. Along with improvements to the 30+8 model, this provides teachers with more time for preparation, planning, collaboration and assessment within paid hours.

Improved entitlements for ES

Revised Dimensions of Work explicitly limit group size supervision for ES in the new Range 1 and Range 2 to a maximum of four students – individually or in groups – in controlled circumstances where the responsibility for students remains with the teacher. In Range 3 and above, ES can only supervise students in groups of more than four where it is an ‘integral part of the role’.

Improved clauses clarify the ES lunch break and time in lieu for work required in excess of ordinary hours of duty, including for school camps. ES staff will receive a DET-funded laptop as per the program for teachers. The department has also agreed to a common start date at the beginning of each school year for teachers and ES.

Expanded time in lieu for teachers

This proposed agreement recognises that it is not acceptable for teachers to be working unpaid for required school activities. For any structured school activity where staff are required – such as parent–teacher meetings, camps, excursions, concerts, parent information sessions or after-hours sport – they must be provided with time in lieu for any time worked in excess of their ordinary hours of attendance. From 2023, teachers will join ES in receiving time in lieu for any time worked beyond their ordinary hours when attending school camps.

Boost to parental leave

Maternity leave has been increased from 14 weeks to 16 weeks, and employees will now accrue superannuation for the first 12 months of leave (inclusive of the 16 weeks). This is something the AEU has fought for over many years, in recognition of the impact that these breaks in service have on women’s capacity to accrue superannuation. We have also secured an increase to paid partner leave, from the existing one week to four weeks; and for other paid parental leave, from the existing eight weeks to 16 weeks.

A better deal for CRTs

There are a range of improved conditions for CRTs: increased funding and broader criteria for professional development; payment for late cancellation of bookings; DET to investigate the development of a CRT booking system and a CRT handbook; plus more support for graduates to move to full registration.

Reduced admin for principal class

The draft agreement secures $11.988m towards reducing the administrative burden associated with health and safety, emergency management and investigation processes.

Vote yes to the new agreement!

Members should feel proud of the significant improvements achieved through our VGSA campaign. The proposed agreement has achieved what AEU members have been seeking for a very long time – greater professional autonomy and control over their working lives, and more time to focus on core work. We urge all members to vote yes in the upcoming employee ballot. 

In this election year, we must also maintain the push for better government funding for public education, to support measures to reduce workloads so that school staff can focus on meeting their students’ needs.

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