Schools Sticking to the plan

We are now in the thick of long-term planning for 2024. This time last year, much of the discussion at the local level related to the implementation of the new time in lieu clauses. Those clauses, which make it clear that teaching and support staff who are required to undertake duties outside their work hours must be compensated through time or money, should now be embedded in every school. 

Pleasingly, we have heard many stories of these payments, or equivalent time, being provided to members – or of schools reducing expectations on staff commitments to evening and weekend activities. And the success of the AEU Fair Work Commission claim, settled mid-year, means an additional $30 million per year added to school budgets for payments to staff for time in lieu arising from camps.

The long-term plans for 2024 will consolidate this entitlement for members and give space for sub-branches to ensure that other aspects of the agreement are also implemented – both to the letter and the spirit of the agreement.

For the first time, the VGSA 2022 refers to avoiding grade-splitting wherever possible. Long-term plans should identify how the school will achieve this.

Fundamental to this is consultation. The consultation clauses were updated in the VGSA 2022 to clearly set out the minimum requirements necessary for the consultation clause to be met, including a minimum of 30 hours per year for the AEU rep to facilitate consultation. With this time to meet with members, every sub-branch can examine the allocation of teacher work to ensure that no teacher is allocated face-to-face in any one week greater than 21 hours for primary and special schools, or 18.5 hours for secondary. When responding to proposals for 2024, measures such as shaving minutes from period or session lengths, or converting instruction time to ‘walking time’ or some equivalent, are not how the agreement should be implemented. It is timely to remember that reductions in face-to-face teaching were introduced to lessen teacher workloads.

For the first time, the VGSA 2022 refers to avoiding grade-splitting wherever possible. Long-term plans should identify how the school will achieve this.

While the meetings clause did not change in the latest agreement, it is important to ensure that schools are not exceeding the maximum of two one-hour meetings per week, adjacent to the school day. We have seen, over several years, many different names given to meetings, including Professional Development, or Professional Learning Communities. While worthwhile, these activities are still meetings, and are therefore subject to the two hours per week maximum.

When proposals are put forward for 2024, the sub-branch can and should object if it believes the proposal sits outside the VGSA 2022. An explanation in writing must be provided as to why the school believes the proposal meets the requirements of the agreement.

The past year saw a significant increase in engagement by sub-branches in implementing the schools agreement. Sub-branches are again invited to pay particular attention to the long-term plans for next year, as these plans provide the mechanism for the implementation of the workload reduction clauses won in the VGSA 2022.

The AEU has sample long-term planning documents, including workforce plans, for primary and secondary settings to support school-based planning.

Developing your long-term plan

The AEU has sample long-term planning documents, including workforce plans, for primary and secondary settings to support school-based planning. 

In each template, there is sample information provided for reference only, which can be updated to suit your school’s local arrangements, in accordance with the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022 (VGSA 2022). 

Long-term planning documents must be provided to all staff in writing by the end of the last week of November each year (see clause 12(5)(c) in the VGSA 2022) and should be stored locally.

The VGSA 2022 seeks to ensure that employees have the opportunity to perform all of their duties within a reasonable timeframe and have fair and reasonable conditions. This long-term plan supports that objective.

Please contact your AEU organiser or principal class organiser if you need additional support.

AEU long-term plan sample: Secondary school-based consultation

AEU long-term plan sample: Primary school-based consultation

 

    * mandatory fields


    Filed under

    Latest issue out now

    In the Term 2 edition of AEU News, we celebrate our members' professionalism and commitment to their students, their union, and to public education.

    View Latest Edition