THERE'S NOTHING CASUAL ABOUT TEACHING

Julie Moon

What are the reasons a temporary engagement can be terminated early?

Before signing a temporary engagement notice the teacher should ensure that the notice has been completed correctly by the principal or principal’s delegate.

Two sections in particular on the notice are of utmost importance: these are the Replaced Classroom Teacher sections and the certification made by the principal that the temporary engagement meets one of the criteria for a temporary engagement in Clause 2 of the 2016-2020 Staffing Agreement.

Under Replaced Classroom Teacher the name of the permanent teacher should be inserted and a corresponding code placed in the column headed Account Code.

The table shows the Primary and Secondary codes that should in the Account Code column.

Primary CodeSecondary CodeUsage
135 235LWOP- Long Term Absence - Teachers
140240Maternity Leave- Long Term Absence - Teachers
145245LSL - Long Term Absence - Teachers
150250Unfilled Vacancy- Teachers
301301School-Based Initiatives- i.e. Gonski-funded positions
302302Specific Purpose Refief- Except Integration 005- i.e. tied funding, grants
711711New Arrivals Program

Early termination of a temporary engagement could arise for operational reasons.

You will find these operational reasons described in the document, “Managing temporary teacher engagements including circumstances of early cessation” as:

a) the substantive occupant of the position against which the temporary teacher has been engaged returns early from a period of leave;

b) the unfilled vacancy against which a temporary teacher has been engaged is filled by a recruitment action or through centralised school staffing process and a permanent teacher is appointed to the position;

c) funding that has been used to pay for the employment of the temporary teacher is no longer available;

d) the specified task or project that the temporary teacher was employed to undertake has been completed or will not continue.

If this occurs the temporary teacher should be given as much notice “as is reasonably practicable … Where the length of engagement permits, the temporary teacher should be given a notice period of four weeks”.

Certification of the reason for a permanent position to be filled in a temporary capacity

There are circumstances under which an identified vacant position within the Centrally Identified Staffing Entitlement can be filled in a temporary capacity; these, however, must be certified by the principal.

They are:

  • student enrolments at the school have been and/or are projected to decline
  • student enrolments at the school have been fluctuating
  • curriculum offerings at the school are changing and/or some subjects are expected to decline, or
  • part-time positions are required to target specific whole school programs that are subject to annual review and change.

A temporary engagement may also be for an “Above Centrally Identified Position” where local funds are available. This also must be certified by the principal.

If there are concerns about a teacher on a temporary engagement’s performance against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers the principal or delegate must refer to “Managing temporary teacher engagements including circumstances of early cessation” and follow the processes as set down in the document.

Other circumstances that may lead to an early termination of a temporary engagement are concerns regarding conduct and serious misconduct or child protection allegations.

If a teacher is informed that a temporary engagement is to be terminated, for whatever reason, s/he should immediately seek advice from Federation’s Professional Support Section on 1300 654 367 during office hours.

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

This advice is general in nature and members should contact Federation for advice and/or support in specific situations.

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