The VGSA 2022 contains significant improvements that provide workload relief. It is important that members are aware of these entitlements and work together with their sub-branch and school leadership team to implement them.
This year, teachers have received a one-hour reduction in face-to-face teaching time. For more than 30 years, teachers in primary and special schools have been required to undertake face-to-face teaching of 22 hours and 30 minutes per week. Since the 1990s, secondary school teachers have been required to undertake 20 hours.
In 2023, teachers in primary and special schools can be required to undertake face-to-face teaching of 21 hours and 30 minutes, and secondary school teachers can be required to undertake face-to-face teaching of 19 hours per week, with a further 30-minute reduction starting next year. This reduction gives teachers additional time to undertake the planning and preparation work that often ends up occurring outside of the 38-hour week.
The VGSA 2022 determines that teachers will be provided 30 hours per week to undertake the work directly related to the teaching and learning program, including face-to-face teaching, planning, preparation, collaboration and assessment, with the remaining 8 hours per week available for lunch, yard duty, meetings and other duties.
The AEU pursued these changes to this clause to give teachers more time in the 38-hour week to undertake their core work. Where the clause refers to the 30 hours, it now also adds: ‘…with the duties undertaken within that time determined by the teacher’. In other words, teachers have the right to select the work they will do within the available time between face-to-face teaching time and the 30 hours. The department‘s Management of Teacher Work guide states this time should be allocated in useable blocks of time, e.g. of not less than 30 minutes.
Teachers are entitled to be released from scheduled duties for two professional practice days in 2023, for planning, preparation, assessment, collaboration, curriculum development, professional development and peer observation, feedback and reflection. Schools are required to use one of the four pupil-free days each year for the purposes of report writing and/or assessment.
AEU teacher members have long sought recognition for the hours of unpaid work they do in excess of the 38-hour week. The VGSA 2022 significantly expands the previous time in lieu provision for teachers beyond parent–teacher reporting. In 2022, this provision commenced for structured school activities for teachers, and in 2023 it now also includes camps.
Teachers required to attend a structured school activity that results in them working in excess of 38 hours per week for a full-time teacher (pro rata for part-time) will be granted time in lieu for those excess hours. For school camp, time in lieu is calculated at 100% (hour for hour) for the time the teacher is on duty and at 50% when on call.
For too long, teachers have been participating in required activities outside of their normal hours for free, contributing to workload pressure.
It is important that these entitlements are implemented faithfully, so they can bring members’ work back inside the 38-hour week and provide the intended workload relief. If your sub-branch needs implementation support, please contact your organiser.