THERE'S NOTHING CASUAL ABOUT TEACHING

Julie Moon
City Organiser

While the Department recognises that “casual teachers perform a critical role in the operation of all schools” there has been a great deal of uncertainty to date as to how the Performance and Development Framework (the Framework) will be applied to casual teachers.

After negotiations over many months with the Federation, the Department emailed the “Performance and Development Framework for Casual Teachers” guide to schools on March 13. This document aims to “specifically address the operational implementation for casual teachers employed in NSW public schools”.

The document delineates casual teachers who work on a “regular” basis from those who work on an “intermittent” or “infrequent” basis and states how the principles of the framework will apply to each category of casual teacher.

An intermittent or infrequent casual teacher is defined as working fewer than 42 days across a school year. These teachers will not be required to complete a Performance Development Plan (PDP), self-assessment or annual review.

Federation believes that a casual teacher working intermittently or infrequently should be able to negotiate an alternative arrangement that accounts for the infrequent nature of their work, recognises the ongoing professional development needs of the teacher and the requirement to meet the applicable NSW Standards Authority (NESA) teaching standards.

A regular casual is defined as a casual teacher who is working on average one day a week or more on a regular basis, no fewer than 42 days across a school year. This regular work allows for:

  • the casual teacher to develop a PDP
  • a meaningful performance and development process to be undertaken
  • a sufficient relationship to exist with the school where the casual undertakes most of their work to enable the framework process
  • the casual teacher to be given access to a supervisor with whom they can work within the school in which most of the teacher’s work is undertaken
  • the supervisor and the casual teacher to collaborate on the development of professional goals and activities associated with the PDP
  • professional discussions about the casual teacher’s performance and classroom observation of teaching practice are carried out as per the framework.

This means that where schools have been reluctant to provide the support, as outlined above, the school where the majority of the casual teacher’s work is undertaken now has a responsibility to provide the necessary support for regular casual teachers to complete the framework processes.

The Department recognises that “it is advantageous to everyone if casual teachers are able to access support with their professional learning”.

In-school professional learning

While the Department acknowledges that principals will provide access to school development days and other professional development activities for casual teachers working on a regular basis, it maintains that the payment of casual teachers for their attendance will continue to be at the principal’s discretion. Federation’s position remains that teachers who attend school development days and other professional activities during school hours should be paid.

In a letter to Federation (August 30, 2016) regarding part time teachers’ access to mandatory training on School Development Days (SDD), the Department states, “Where a casual teacher attends a school development day they are paid for that day”.

Federation will produce an information leaflet for members to provide guidance on the implementation of the Performance and Development Framework for casual teachers.

Julie Moon is the Officer responsible for casual and temporary teachers. Federation’s Casual and Temporary Handbook is under review

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