Protecting the statewide staffing system is crucial

Gary Zadkovich
Acting President

Conference supported the development of a new deal to address casual and temporary issues

Annual Conference endorsed Federation’s longstanding position to campaign vigorously to defend the statewide staffing system that ensures protection, stability and security for NSW public school students and teachers (see box below).

Threat of devolution

In response to the threat of devolutionary policies such as Local Schools, Local Decisions and Empowering Local Schools, Conference endorsed a call on the Department to provide data to Federation Representatives so that Workplace Committees can monitor the maintenance of the school’s staffing entitlements and the filling of permanent vacancies with permanent appointments.

The Department was also called on to provide clearer information and processes for schools to implement the Principles for Determining the Mix of Staff in Schools policy, which facilitates the use of Gonski funding to create new, additional permanent positions to better support teaching and learning.

Casual and temporary teachers

Conference supported the development of a new deal for casual and temporary teachers to address issues such as: access to professional learning; regulated employment mechanisms; temporary engagements for the length of the vacancy; conversion to permanency; and access to beginning teacher release time and mentoring.

Negotiating the next staffing agreement

In light of state election commitments from the Greens, Labor and the Liberals/Nationals, and the comprehensive policy platform determined by Council and Annual Conference, Federation is well placed to commence negotiations in term 4 for a new staffing agreement to replace the current one that expires at the end of term 1, 2016.

Continuing protection of class sizes, permanency and the transfer system are key priorities.

Federation will also be seeking:

  • protection of school staffing entitlements by their inclusion in the agreement
  • development of a new promotions system based on the union’s long-held policy of on-the-job assessment to determine an applicant’s merit
  • allocation of primary executive release time on the same basis as secondary schools.

Should it be necessary, Annual Conference authorised Federation Executive and Council to call appropriate political, industrial and legal action in pursuit of the
union’s campaign objectives.

Equitable provision

“A statewide staffing system, including the full range of teacher transfers and recruitment/retention incentives, is crucial to ensuring the equitable provision of suitably qualified teachers and a curriculum guarantee for all students, wherever they attend public school in the socio-economically diverse and geographically vast state of New South Wales. This system is also crucial to ensuring career mobility and security of employment through permanency for teachers…

“No public school should be allowed to make a ‘local decision’ which has the direct or indirect effect of causing harm to another school. Specifically, no school should be allowed to refuse the appointment of a teacher on transfer, if that decision undermines the capacity of a harder-to-staff school to attract and retain teachers for its students, denies a teacher due credit for service, or causes hardship and disadvantage for a teacher whose current position is abolished and whose right to be appointed to another permanent substantive position is guaranteed by a nominated transfer.”

Extract from the Annual Conference decision