Schools 30+8: trust in the process

Designed to give some much-needed clarity on teachers’ workloads, the implementation of the 30+8 clause hasn’t always been plain sailing. But according to Castlemaine Secondary College sub-branch president Andrew Dogshun, good communication between leadership and teachers has meant the process has been reasonably smooth at his school.   

“We have a very good dialogue with our principal Paul Frye,” Andrew says. “He encourages collaboration and puts a lot of trust in his staff. I suppose the hard part for some teachers is hearing how other principals in their backyard have interpreted the 30+8 clause in certain ways, whereas Paul is straight down the line.”

The advice issued by the AEU has been invaluable in getting the balance right, Andrew says. “The union has been fantastic in that regard, because there are clear guidelines on what sits within the 30+8 and Paul hasn’t tried to cut any corners.”

Paul was clear on how much of the eight hours should be put aside for duties, and for meetings in particular. Any changes to the 30+8 balance are negotiated openly, with a spirit of cooperation.

“We had some really good consultation about the plus eight when doing our long-term workforce plan.”

Paul Frye

He says it was important to that they get the balance right, and that teachers were on board with the implementation of the clause, particularly how it applied to staff on part-time fractions.

“It was the ‘plus eight’ where there was probably the most room for interpretation,” Paul says. “So, we had some really good consultation about that when doing our long-term workforce plan. We nutted out what that eight hours added up to.”

There were two-and-a-half hours for lunch breaks as standard, then a couple of hours put aside for weekly meetings. “That was fairly straightforward, but it was probably those few hours left at the end that we did some really productive consultation around, particularly in relation to organisational duties,” he says.

Even better, this collaborative relationship between staff and leadership is paying off more broadly.

The role of the AEU sub-branch proved invaluable in keeping negotiations smooth, Paul says. “The leadership has a great, open relationship with Andrew, and that’s so important.”

Andrew says Paul’s flexible approach is also crucial, particularly when it comes to navigating something like the 30+8 clause clearly and concisely.

“Just through that process – trying to recognise what fits in the 30 and what fits in the eight hours – we’ve come to a really great agreement.”

Even better, this collaborative relationship between staff and leadership is paying off more broadly.

“Our student numbers are increasing quite a lot, and that’s partly because staff morale has lifted. That’s thanks to Paul listening. He’s helped make it a really constructive, happy workforce.”

5 steps to implementing 30+8 at your school

  • Discuss the 30+8 clause in your AEU sub-branch meeting and audit teachers’ work, identifying pressure points, e.g. reporting, documentating curriculum, feedback on student work.

  • Decide what work is considered part of the 30 hours and what is part of the eight hours.

  • Raise this through the consultative committee.

  • Agree on classifications well in advance of the allocation of work through long-term planning.

  • Establish a process for the ongoing review of workload issues and seek to resolve these through the consultative committee.

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