COVID vaccine rollout
Members’ health and safety remains a key focus for the AEU in 2021. The union, with the support of the ACTU and Victorian Trades Hall Council, is currently lobbying for educators – particularly those working in special schools and in the disability sector, as well as those in mainstream settings working with students with disability – to be placed higher on the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. We will keep members informed of any developments.
A simpler PDP process
The AEU has been working with DET to enable an alternative performance and development plan (PDP) process to again be offered to schools members in 2021. Staff (ES, teachers and principals) can choose whether they use the Statement of Expectation or the existing PDP process. We urge members to opt for the Statement of Expectation as a simpler option, with no need to complete any routine documentation or monitoring in eduPay. This option is more in line with the simplified model we are pushing for DET to adopt in the next Schools Agreement, as part of a broader reduction in workloads. The 2021 statement differs from last year, as there will be different statements of expectations for principal class, teachers and ES, more reflective of their actual duties.
Launch of new national TAFE campaign
The AEU launched its federal ‘Rebuild with TAFE’ campaign at Parliament House in February, calling on governments across the country to recognise the central role of TAFE in tackling the country’s skills crisis and aiding the economic recovery post-COVID. AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe told media: “We’re sick of governments and politicians putting TAFE last and letting a critical part of Australia’s economy and education sector waste away.” The Morrison government has pursued a relentless privatisation agenda, cutting $3 billion in from vocational education since 2013.
Capital needed for enrolment boom
The latest school enrolment figures offer further evidence of the growing demand for public education and deep inequality in the distribution of capital funds across Australia’s education system. ABS statistics show public schools enrolled 34,313 additional students in 2020, compared to 8,886 more students in Catholic schools and 14,964 more in private schools. Public schools already teach two-thirds of all students. Despite these figures, the federal government has given Catholic and private schools a capital works special deal worth $1.9 billion while providing no equivalent funding for public school infrastructure. The AEU is demanding to see capital works funding for public schools in the next federal budget.