Schools What the principal class wants from the next agreement

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

The VGSA 2017 has a nominal expiry date of 30 April 2021 and negotiations can begin at least six months prior to that. The vital role that our principal class members play both in our union and within our education system is incredibly complex, and the AEU is committed to ensuring that the next agreement delivers improved entitlements and conditions for those members.

Principal class members have been sharing their views about what they would like in the next log of claims – new clauses or conditions that may be included through a range of avenues such as PCA meetings, regional meetings, AEU PCA executive and advisory meetings, or via the sub-branch processes.

One key issue is principal salaries being presented as a total remuneration package. It is only principal class employees who are remunerated this way.

The previous log of claims process outlined that PCA members were seeking a statement in the agreement that indicated that their remuneration was a package, as that was widely misunderstood by other school staff. We were able to obtain a statement in the VGSA 2017, but PCA members have informed us that they would like further consideration as to how they are remunerated.

As part of the negotiations for the VGSA 2017, we were able to secure a commitment to: ‘Establish a working party… to identify what support is available to principals and how that support can be effectively communicated and accessible by principals.’ As part of this working party, an in-depth analysis of Schedule B has occurred, alongside analysis of the role of the principal.

PCA members have indicated a desire for a review of Schedule B and some clear acknowledgment by DET that the nature of the work has changed and that the complexity of the current role needs to be considered and captured in the next agreement.

PCA members are also keen to see greater acknowledgment of the complexities of the role of small schools and teaching principals in the next
agreement.

Principal contract renewal is another area where our PCA members are keen to see improvements. The main themes raised with us in relation to contract renewal are ‘additional steps’ being added to the process. The process being used in some cases is a pseudo-PDP process, rather than a process to support principals in the changing nature of their work. The length of time that the process takes can lead to principals working without a formal contract in place.

There are many other areas where AEU PCA members would like to see changes, including having more support in principal health and wellbeing, PLC leaders being funded, and teaching principals having access to PPDs.

As your union, we want to ensure that the log of claims includes suggestions for changes or additions to the currentVGSA – and to do that, we need to hear from you.

We encourage you to come along to your next PCA meeting, participate in the log of claims submission via the school sub-branch process, and attend AEU regional meetings.

For more information on the VGSA, visit: aeuvic.asn.au/help-advice/vgsa

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