Now that the Victorian Government Schools Agreement (VGSA) 2022 is certified by the Fair Work Commission, the AEU has developed a comprehensive implementation guide that supports our members in getting the most from their entitlements.
The improvements in the VGSA 2022 – which covers teachers, principals, executive class, education support staff (ES) and paraprofessionals in schools – build on previous agreements, with a number of significant changes. These include workload relief for teachers through reduced face-to-face teaching hours; new protections on planning and preparation time; improved time in lieu provisions; significant changes to ES dimensions of work; additional maternity, partner and pre-natal leave; superannuation paid on the first 12 months of parental absence; paid cultural and ceremonial leave; and improved principal and school-based consultation.
The one-and-a-half-hour reduction in face-to-face teaching is the first reduction in teaching hours for more than 35 years. The state government has allocated $779 million for 2,000 additional teachers to support this move.
As part of the 30+8 model for managing teacher workloads, the quarantining of planning, preparation and assessment time in the 30 hours, with duties determined by the teacher, will make a substantial difference to members’ working lives, as will the re-introduction of PPDs and broadening of the activities that attract time in lieu.
All workers should be paid for every hour that they work. This is why the AEU has secured time in lieu for teachers and ES required to attend any structured school activity (such as parent/teacher meetings and parent information sessions, camps and excursions, concerts and after-hours sport) in excess of their normal hours.
Any staff member required to attend school camp will be provided with time in lieu for the hours outside their ordinary hours at a rate of 100% (hour-for-hour) when performing duties, and at 50% when not participating directly with students (on call). New provisions in the VGSA 2022
also mean more flexibility regarding the
use of PPDs.
Importantly, we have achieved a living wage for our lowest paid education support members, and extensively revised the ES dimensions of work so ES staff are appropriately classified and properly paid for their important work.
“The union is its members, and when we stand together we create the change our members want and need.”
Bring on better funding
Victoria’s public schools remain the lowest funded in Australia. In the lead-up to the state election, the AEU will be ramping
up its campaign for better public education funding to ensure our schools can support the full range of options for staff and students.
The previous federal Coalition government introduced a 20% cap in its share of overall funding for public schools, with no requirement for state and territory governments to lift their share. This has left every government school in Victoria below the baseline Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) even though they cater for the vast majority of disadvantaged students and those with disability. Recent data provided to senate estimates showed that if public schools had been funded to 100% of the SRS last year, disabled students in public schools would have received an additional $598 million in funded support.
In August, AEU delegates from early childhood, TAFE, schools and disability services across the state attended our annual branch conference. Speakers included Premier Daniel Andrews, new education minister Natalie Hutchins, Greens education spokesperson Sam Hibbins, and AEU Federal secretary Kevin Bates.
Premier Andrews spoke about the power of education, and thanked teachers for their work during the past few difficult years. He noted the important role of the union in ensuring that the government is held accountable to being ‘the Education State’, and reiterated his commitment to public education, saying that there’s no better return on investment than the one you get from investing in public education.
Meredith Peace laid out AEU Victoria’s Ten-Year Plan for Staffing in Public Education, which sets the agenda for the union’s campaigning. This includes a retention bonus payment to all public education staff in acknowledgement of work-related stress; reductions in workload; greater job security in TAFE; the expansion of early career support for early childhood teachers; and much more.
The union is committed to agreements and campaign outcomes that improve our members’ working lives. The AEU is its members – and the only way we can create change is by working collectively to fight for what is right.