Schools A principals’ guide to implementing the 30+8 clause

Making decisions about what you and your staff are not going to do is critical to managing your workload and that of teachers at your school. For too long, we’ve rolled out initiative after initiative from DET because they have expected us to. But when the department is not acting in a way which honours the agreement and considers workload properly, it is up to us to be proactive and use the agreement to manage workload.

There is little doubt that decisions at the school level can have a huge impact on workload. Taking a minimalist approach to what is expected of teachers, together with a clear focus on quality teaching and preparation for quality teaching is key. Equally important is eliminating busy work which does not overtly help teachers but instead distracts them from the activities which actually make a difference for students – and for teacher health and safety.

Principal class members are uniquely placed to take the lead on reducing teacher workload without losing sight on ensuring all students are receiving the best possible education.

Put simply, you need to know how long it takes to do the work in order to genuinely say that it can be accommodated within the requirements of 30+8.

The 30+8 clause gives 30 hours per week to a teacher for the work they need to complete in relation to the teaching and learning program of their class(es) with the setting of expectations around that work being done collaboratively.

Genuine consultation leads to manageable workload
The department often has unrealistic expectations of what is achievable. The consultative requirements of the agreement are fundamental to managing these expectations locally and for union members to collectively work to manage workload.

The agreement enables the sub-branch through the consultation committee to consider the allocation of teacher work – all of it – and, through the yearly long-term planning decisions, demonstrate that the allocation of teacher work is compliant with the 30+8 clause.

Through this process, which requires the genuine understanding and input of union members, decisions about the work required of teachers can be made to reduce workload.

Knowing what fits into the 30 and what fits in the 8
A clear understanding of what work falls within the 30 hour and eight hour components is critical. The union has developed a list of the key tasks and duties for each component which can be accessed on our website. While the list is not exhaustive, it is important that principals and assistant principals work with teachers to build a common understanding which reflects local programs and arrangements.

Knowing how long it takes to do the work
Genuine consultation will reveal the time it takes to implement a new initiative, prepare properly for quality teaching and learning, undertake peer observation and review, assess and report on student learning, and all those other task and duties.

Discussing and understanding the time required is central as the work of a teacher ebbs and flows across a school term and school year. It is also critical to give particular consideration to how workload affects new teachers, those with classes out of their field of expertise, specialist teachers, and others who may have specific needs.

Put simply, you need to know how long it takes to do the work in order to genuinely say that it can be accommodated within the requirements of 30+8.

Monitoring teacher workload throughout the year
Workload should be discussed at every consultative committee meeting and in other staff forums in the school. It is too easy to shy away from what can be challenging discussions about the impact workload is having, but it must be addressed if we are serious about health and safety and ensuring quality teaching.

Implementing the 30+8 clause

  • Have an inclusive and effective consultation process.
  • Be clear, after consulting with the AEU sub-branch, what work is considered part of the 30 hours and the eight hours.
  • Have these discussions and agree on the classifications well in advance of the allocation of work through long-term planning.
  • Establish a process to allow for ongoing review of workload issues and seek to resolve these through the consultative committee.

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