Crucial claw back on ONE TAFE

Amber Flohm
Acting Deputy Secretary

Federation has won back ground on the original ONE TAFE modernisation changes, known as the Group 4 Consultation.

This restructure has imposed significant change to the way in which regions will operate and while most individuals are satisfied with the ultimate organisation, significant numbers of head teachers and other positions have been deeply affected by the reorganisation.

Federation supports the concept of centralising the structure of TAFE NSW, because having 10 separate institutes running their own kingdoms has long been a source of angst and frustration for members.

The reorganisation into Skills Points areas will ensure that teachers with the appropriate qualifications and industry expertise will be working together and this goes some way to addressing the current situation where those with little or no knowledge of these areas were managing and leading those sections. Federation has not, however, endorsed the current configuration of each region under Group 4, announced on 16 October, nor does it support any loss of head teacher positions or the abolition of equity support across TAFE NSW.

The original organisational charts provided for consultation were unacceptable to Federation.

There was no uniformity across regions (a stated intention of the change), a considerable loss of head teachers, an inappropriate use of band 3 head teachers and a wiping out of multicultural and outreach functions. The location of some head teacher positions were unsustainable and inconsistent across the state.

Federation wrote a detailed submission, which highlighted a multitude of problems with this structure. As a result of this feedback, significant changes have been made, however, Federation recognises that while it has been able to claw back much of the original proposal, it is by no means content with the final structure. The use of band 3 head teachers as a standalone is now contained to five across the state where centres of excellence have been established. This is a significant change that resulted in many head teacher bands 1 and 2 deleted and replaced with head teachers on band 3.

In the south region, from the initial proposal, six head teachers band 3 were deleted and 10 additional head teacher bands 1 and 2 were put back into the structure. The south region has clearly been the hardest hit, with a loss of 24 head teacher positions. In the north region, nine head teacher band 3s were deleted and 14 additional head teachers in bands 1 and 2 were put back into the system after Federation’s submission and meetings with TAFE NSW.

The proposal to completely delete Outreach and Multicultural sections has been thwarted with the creation of seven additional head teachers in Career Pathways, bringing the total number of these head teacher positions to 91, many of which are currently vacant. Additional Multicultural SEO roles have also been included since the initial proposal and targeted engagement roles in each college and managers of community engagements in areas of high LBOTE density have now been included.

This is by no means a perfect outcome for the individuals involved or TAFE NSW’s provision in this area, but by providing these Outreach coordinators with a teaching section to lead and targeted Aboriginal and Multicultural roles, there is some surety to the vital work they undertake with their students and communities. Only time will tell whether this model will be successful for their students’ educational and psychosocial outcomes.

Federation applauds the members who have assisted in highlighting the difficulties and effects of this current structure. Tribute must also be paid to the extraordinary commitment of community members advocating for a fairer provision of support for their communities in TAFE NSW.

Amber Flohm is Acting Deputy Secretary (Post Schools)

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