Beginning teacher support discussions

Joan Lemaire
Senior Vice President

Support allocation not tied to experience

Federation criticised the Department’s unilateral decision to change the current arrangements for supporting all permanent beginning teachers, at a meeting on February 18.

Federation pointed out that the decision to change the existing support provisions for permanent beginning teachers who commence employment after the beginning of term 2, 2016 is both an industrial and professional issue.

The union will now consider lodging a dispute in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission if a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved.

The Department has agreed to meet with Federation on the issue.

Since 2014, all permanently appointed beginning teachers have been entitled to the equivalent of two hours of additional release in their first year of appointment and one additional hour of release in their second year. Teachers who mentor these permanent beginning teachers are provided with the equivalent of one additional hour of release per week to provide this support.

The allocation is provided regardless of the teaching experience of the permanently appointed teacher.

The Department has pointed to the findings of a survey and evaluation conducted by the Centre of Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) that indicated that significant numbers of beginning teachers who had been employed in long-term temporary engagements over many years suggested they did not need the additional support.

The Department stated that after considering this report it wished to adopt better measures to provide beginning teacher support.

For many years, Federation has strongly advocated for additional support in terms of release and mentoring to be provided to all beginning, permanent, temporary and causal teachers in the early years of their teaching career.

It feels the Department’s current provision of eight teacher mentors to provide support across approximately 40 schools with significant numbers of beginning temporary teachers is inadequate.

Federation will pursue its policies on support for all beginning teachers around induction, probation and accreditation in meetings with the Department.

Information will be sought about how the current provisions are accessed by beginning teachers and their members. Federation Executive and Council will consider the outcomes of these meetings and determine whether an appropriate resolution has been reached.

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