Win for low SES schools

Gary Zadkovich
Deputy President

Federation action has stopped the Department of Education’s attempt to remove from school staffing entitlements the teaching positions established to support students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds.

After Federation objected to this move, the Department confirmed in a letter on 7 September that these positions “will remain in place under current arrangements for the 2018 school year with no loss of benefit to any school”.

The removal of these positions would have:

  • abolished permanently established teacher positions
  • caused the nominated transfer of permanent teachers in these positions
  • cut temporary teacher engagements in these positions
  • reduced school executive staffing entitlements
  • enabled these positions to be cut over time, as has occurred in other school systems.

Future threat

While these positions have been protected for next year, the Department has signalled in the above letter a repeat attempt in the future.

It states: “The Department will, however, look to transition the PSP funding arrangements to a fair and equitably based model that is in line with the Local Schools, Local Decisions education reform.”

Converting these positions into a monetary allocation to a school’s budget would set in train the process for them to be abolished, as has occurred in other education jurisdictions.

In Victoria, for example, staffing entitlements were converted to a monetary amount in the school budget under a policy similar to Local Schools, Local Decisions.

As reported by the AEU Victoria, this has resulted in the loss of 50 per cent of school executive positions at the head teacher/assistant principal level over the past 15 years.

Should it be necessary in the future, Federation will vigorously campaign to maintain these teaching positions in school staffing entitlements to ensure that low SES students are guaranteed the teacher support necessary to meet their educational needs.

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