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There’s nothing casual about teaching
Communication with casual teachers
In March 2017, Trina Schmidt, Executive Director, Human Resources, acknowledged that, “NSW public schools utilise around 30,000 casual teachers each year to provide short-term relief for teachers. Casual teachers are a vital part of the operation of every school.”
And yet, the Department’s procedures for communicating important information about casual teachers’ employment have fallen short throughout 2018. Two examples are:
- The rollout of ClassCover to replace Casual.Direct in term 3, and
- The introduction of SAP HR.
Both of these changes have had an effect on members, and caused unnecessary anxiety. Federation once again raised the issue that not all casual teachers have access to the Department portal and therefore would not be able to access various forms of communication used by the Department, such as SchoolBiz or the Secretary’s Update.
Federation has written to the Department seeking a meeting to discuss the issue of ongoing accessible and timely communication with casual teachers.
Compliance monitoring and reporting
The current Staffing Agreement (2016-2020), clause 21, calls for “Compliance monitoring and reporting”.
This clause states that a Joint Monitoring Review Committee (JMRC) will be established to monitor compliance with the Staffing Agreement.
In 2017, Federation took the Department to the Industrial Relations Commission for non-compliance with the agreement.
The outcome resulted in thousands of permanent jobs being filled with permanent teachers. This important review process will continue so that casual and temporary teachers have the opportunity to seek permanent employment through the staffing procedures.
Additional opportunities for temporary teachers in rural and remote areas
There have been additional opportunities for temporary to permanent conversions to occur under the changes for rural and remote areas.
From 1 January, 2018, where a permanent classroom teacher vacancy arises at a listed rural and remote (4, 6 or 8-point school) or Connected Communities school, and:
- a temporary teacher has been engaged at that school for a minimum of 12 months’ continuous service; and
- the temporary teacher has satisfactory performance in the Department’s performance and development process with the relevant principal; and
- the temporary teacher is deemed suitable to the position;
- the principal may elect to permanently appoint the temporary teacher to that vacancy.
The appointment will be subject to the temporary teacher matching the staffing codes required in the permanent vacancy to meet the educational needs of the school. Where more than one temporary teacher at the school meets the eligibility requirements, the principal will conduct a candidate assessment process to determine the appointment.
Federation continues to campaign for Fair Funding Now! The success of the campaign has direct consequences for casual and temporary teachers by enhancing opportunities for permanent employment.
At Federation’s December Council meeting, Senior Vice President Henry Rajendra delivered a report on school staffing. The report stated:
“The 2018 school year has been a critical period in Federation’s campaign to protect and enhance school staffing entitlements.
“Local Schools, Local Decisions remains the single greatest threat to teacher permanency.This failed ‘schools autonomy’ policy poses an immediate threat to the guarantee of existing permanent teacher positions, including specialist teacher positions such as dual accredited school counsellors, teacher-librarians, EALD (English as an additional language or dialect) and LaST (learning and support) teachers, and careers advisers.”
“If the State Government and Department of Education are genuinely committed to meeting the learning needs of all students, they must guarantee and increase the allocation of permanent qualified teachers across the system through a protected and expanded staffing entitlement,” he also said.
Casual and temporary teachers must continue to engage in this most important campaign to ensure that the funding is available for quality education in public schools for every student, no matter their circumstances, through the provision of a permanent work force supplemented by a strong casual workforce, both highly qualified.
Look out for local campaigning opportunities in the lead up to the state and federal elections in 2019.
And, finally I wish you all a fantastic break to recharge your batteries ready for whatever the new school year has to bring.
— Julie Moon, City Organiser and the Officer responsible for casual and temporary teachers