School staffing gains and threats

Gary Zadkovich
Deputy President

Under the current funding arrangements involving targeted programs such as National Partnerships, the Department of Education and Communities would not permit schools to create additional teaching positions on a permanent basis. Instead, schools were instructed that only temporary positions were to be created because the funding was temporary.

On the achievement of the Gonski funding agreement, Federation has pursued with the Department that newly created positions should be established permanently, not temporarily, as targeted program funding is now built-in to the new recurrent funding model.

In a major development, the Department has informed Federation that schools will have the capacity to establish new positions on a permanent basis. Federation will seek written confirmation of this significant undertaking and seek to negotiate the process for this to occur.

In contrast to this development, however, schools’ staffing entitlements will continue to be threatened by the Resource Allocation Model (RAM). Devolving 70 per cent of total schools funding to the local school level as staffing and non-staffing budgets, combined with deregulatory policies that pressure schools to trade-off or cash-in executive and specialist teaching positions, means state-wide staffing formulae that guarantee equity and quality in educational delivery are at risk.

Permanency in teacher employment is also under threat from the Local Schools, Local Decisions and Empowering Local Schools policies. Despite the provisions of the school staffing agreement, the Department states in RAM documentation that schools will be able to “choose the number and roles of temporary and permanent staff within their budgets”.

In response to these developments, Federation will allocate the appropriate resources to train and support Federation Workplace Committees to take action in defence of their school’s staffing entitlement.

Federation will continue to pursue the case before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to ensure the Department complies with its obligations under the staffing agreement to fill permanent teacher vacancies with permanent appointments.