Schools Special schools in the next agreement

  • By Briley Stokes
  • This article was published more than 4 years ago.
  • 12 Mar 2020

The AEU’s teachers, principals and support staff in specialist settings do incredibly complex and challenging work. It is essential that DET recognises the work that you do and that the next VGSA includes clauses that improve the terms and conditions of your work.

All members in schools will have the opportunity to participate in the development of the log of claims for the next agreement through a variety of avenues. The best way to participate is to use the sub-branch log of claims process to submit amendments that AEU members in your school would like to see in the next agreement. In addition, all members are welcome at AEU regional meetings, AEU Principal Class members can attend their PCA meetings, and AEU ES members can participate via the ES work dimensions reference group. Details of these meetings and groups can be found on our website.

In order to ensure that we are also capturing the views of our members in specialist settings, I am visiting as many workplaces as possible to speak with AEU members, reps and principal class members about any challenges that the wording in the current agreement poses, as well as exploring what changes or new additions may be included in the next agreement to better recognise the complex work that you do.

For specialist settings, the key themes that AEU members have raised are:

All allowances that apply for staff in specialist settings need to be increased – in particular, the special school allowance, as the rate does not reflect the complexities that our members face in undertaking their roles in specialist setting workplaces.

Professional Practice Days
Overwhelmingly the use of PPDs has been welcomed by AEU members in specialist settings. However, members are keen to see amendments to the model which
would allow ES members to also access PPDs.

A common view to date is that one way to achieve this may be in the form of more pupil-free days in addition to PPDs, to allow teachers and ES staff to work
together on the same day and minimise the impact upon their students.

Occupational violence
This is a key concern for our members in specialist settings. There are a range of measures that members have raised that may assist in reducing the risk of exposure
to occupational violence in the course of their work.

It is only teachers in specialist settings who have limitations on being offered ongoing employment based on their qualifications. AEU members in specialist
settings have raised this as an issue and there are a range of options that members have suggested for inclusion in the log of claims.

Professional learning and assessment/reporting time
AEU members in specialist settings have raised the need for more time to be provided for all staff to undertake professional learning. AEU members have outlined that in a specialist setting it is necessary to undertake specific assessments and observations of students, create reports that reflect the assessments and observations, and liaise with allied health and support staff around the needs of students. Staff need more dedicated time to enable this to occur.

I encourage all members in specialist settings to participate in the log process and to attend your AEU regional meeting.

Contact me at [email protected] if you would like to discuss any of these areas or arrange for me to visit your school.

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