Revised professional development day process

Jack Galvin Waight
Country Organiser

Importantly, casual teachers who attend a school development day must be paid for that day

The Department has issued revised “School Development Day Procedures 2017” with a “Frequently asked questions” component following consultation with Federation.

While Federation has not endorsed the procedures there has been further clarification regarding guidelines around rescheduling school development days, consultation regarding the content and timing of school development days and their evaluation and payment or alternate work arrangements for temporary and casual teachers.

It is important to note that Term 1 staff development days still cannot be rescheduled. Term 2 and 3 days can only be rescheduled on another gazetted school day (with the agreement of the majority of teaching and non-teaching staff within the school). Term 4 days can be rescheduled (as a whole day or a minimum of two half-days) but again only with the agreement of the majority of teaching and non-teaching staff within the school. Consultation is required with all members of staff, including those on various forms of leave, temporary and part-time staff.

Even with the agreement of the majority of staff, no teacher can be forced to attend a rescheduled school development day. Teachers still have the option to attend on the last two days of Term 4 or to participate in professional learning activities at an alternate time.

Principals have the responsibility to make provision for professional learning to occur on the last two days of the year for staff who could not attend rescheduled days. This is important with regard to workload considerations and as many teachers have pre-existing commitments such as childcare arrangements that cannot be changed.

Prior to making the decision to reschedule a school development day, principals need to evaluate the effectiveness of professional learning that is not provided for all staff. While 51 per cent represents agreement of staff, the merit of offering the professional learning to a small percentage of staff must be considered. A checklist of action points in section 5.1 must also be followed.

Further clarification of these procedures are outlined in the FAQ document as are arrangements for teachers who are on leave, newly appointed to the school, return to work programs and temporary and casuals.

Payment and alternate work arrangements for temporary, casual and part time teaching staff who attend school development days are set out in Question 17 for terms 1, 2 and 3 and Question 18 for term 4.

Importantly, Question 17’s response states, in relation to casual teachers: “Where a casual teacher attends a school development day they are paid for that day”.

The new procedures remain clear that the content of school development days needs to be determined in consultation with staff and the school community. This is also outlined in the Department’s Professional Learning Policy for School, and enables teachers and Federation Workplace Committees to have a say into the content and relevance of the professional learning provided and to make sure that enough time is allocated for any mandatory training.

Last year, a number of schools used the procedures to convert existing staff meetings and professional learning opportunities provided by the school or region into a rescheduled staff development day afternoon. This minimises the length of time required for teachers to attend meetings and frees up the last two days of the school year for a well-earned holiday.

Federation encourages any school considering a reschedule proposal to begin the discussion and vote for agreement as soon as possible. Copies of the procedure and accompanying FAQ should also be provided to all staff before a decision is made and, as always, contact your local Organiser for any assistance.

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