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There’s nothing casual about teaching
Initial conversations between Federation and the Department in relation to the change in the casual teacher booking processes took place in August 2017. At that meeting the Department’s sourcing project for an alternate booking solution was discussed, including the expected timeframe for completion of the procurement process. The changes were in response to feedback from schools about the ongoing need of schools and the effectiveness of, what was at that time the casual teacher booking solution, Casual.Direct.
The procurement process started in August 2017 and was completed in May 2018 when the Department informed Federation that the new provider, ClassCover would be rolled out at the beginning of term 3 2018 and that Casual.Direct would be decommissioned at the same time. At the time of the initial roll out ClassCover was already in use in more than 700 NSW public schools. The Department then gave priority to schools that were relying on Casual.Direct to fill short-term casual teacher positions.
Federation has made representations on behalf of casual teachers concerning the lack communication with casual teachers concerning the change in provision of the booking system. The Department stated in a letter dated 25 October, 2018: “A proposal is underway to make direct email contact with all casual teachers with a current approval to teach with the Department. As per the proposal, the email message will provide a quick start-up guide to sign up with ClassCover and, a checklist for teachers to help set up a complete profile.”
ClassCover does not directly make phone calls to casual teachers. Phone calls to casual teachers are made from schools that have looked at the availability of teachers as indicated on the casual teacher’s profile.
The other way teachers are contacted is via SMS. The format the school uses to SMS casual teachers is the school’s choice. It may be that the school uses:
1. The “all at once” choice, which means multiple teachers are sent an SMS at the same time. The first person to respond with a “Y” and the three-digit reference number is successful, or
2. The use of a priority list — casual teachers are sent an SMS from the school in priority order. The time between the SMS messages can be timed to allow casual teachers to respond, for example if the time is set at 15 minutes, and the teacher does not respond, then the SMS is sent to the next person on the prioritised list. If the teacher responds with a “No” an SMS is immediately sent to the next person on the list.
Federation will continue to make representations on behalf of casual teachers to ensure the Department communicates effectively with this very important section of the workforce.
Julie Moon is a City Organiser and the Officer responsible for casual and temporary teachers