Schools Sharpening our clauses
The VGSA 2022 increases allowances, and improves clauses on excess and on flexible work.
The VGSA 2022 continues to improve the annual translation process – so far resulting in around 17,000 translations to ongoing employment, including 8,000 ES staff – by extending this explicitly to staff on seven-year parental absence contracts.
The data provided to the AEU by the department will now include the reason for any fixed-term vacancy. Historically, a lack of transparency on this could present a major hurdle in the translation process.
The most significant improvement, though, enables teachers on contracts in special schools to be translated after three years, even if they do not yet have a special qualification.
Case study: Special schools
Helene has taught in special schools for seven years and has been on rolling contracts for that entire time. Helene’s principal wants to give her ongoing status but assumed this would be prevented by the requirement for a Special Education qualification, set out in the DET Recruitment in Schools Guide. They have both looked for a suitable special education scholarship to upgrade Helene’s qualifications, but haven’t been able to source one. Under the commitment in the VGSA 2022, Helene will now become eligible for translation to ongoing because she has worked in a special school for more than three years. Helene’s principal is pleased to be able to offer a translation, and will also continue to look for a course or scholarship to upgrade Helene’s qualification.
Excess in schools
The new agreement tightens up one of the parameters around the use of excess in schools. Previously, excess could be declared at any time during the school year. Under the new agreement, excess can only be declared in Term 4 or Term 1.
The declaration of excess must be considered in the development of the long-term plan and be based on indicative enrolments. When members seek to question whether an excess declaration is appropriate, there will now be data available to inform the discussion.
Similarly, the ability to declare excess in Term 1 will be based on the actual enrolments confirmed at the February census. For excess to be declared in Terms 2 and 3, direct involvement from the AEU and DET is required.
Case study: Flexible work
Nancy approached her principal to request a flexible work arrangement to enable her to care for her elderly father one day a week. Nancy is also a single parent and was worried that reducing her time fraction to 0.8 would have a negative impact on her parenting responsibilities.
In discussion with her principal, they agreed to a flexible attendance arrangement. Nancy will now compress her full-time hours into four days. The school has altered her timetable so her classes are on those four days. The principal and Nancy agree to reassess the situation at the end of the semester.
As with every new agreement, allowances have been indexed and increased, but there are also two notable changes: from now on, the special school allowance ($727 per year) is now payable to APs, teachers and ES staff working in special schools; plus a position allowance of 1% of salary per year paid to the majority of members, dependent on classification.
The position allowance will be paid to assistant principals, teacher class, paraprofessional class, and education support class Level 2, Level 1 Ranges 3 to 5 and subdivision 2-8 of Level 1 Range 2. It will be equivalent to 1% of the member’s salary, paid in the second pay period in December each year. This allowance does not cease at the end of the agreement, so if negotiations for the next agreement take more than 12 months, this 1% allowance will continue to be paid.
The salary leave loading allowance will continue to be paid in the first pay period of December every year to all staff.