Feb 6, 2018

General Assistants bulletin

General Assistants bulletin – February 2018 (PDF version)

Welcome back the PSA hopes those of you who had a break enjoyed time off with their families and friends. Those who worked through the school vacation, we hope that you had a safe time on duty.

GA Survey 2017

Late last year the PSA surveyed its General Assistant (GA) membership. This bulletin is to report back to members the survey results of General Assistants which the PSA conducted late in 2017.

Some interesting statistics have been identified as a result of the survey. A summary of the responses include:

  • 78 per cent of GAs are ongoing full-time, 16 per cent are ongoing part-time, and the balance are employed as temp or casual employees
  • 20 per cent were not PSA members
  • 25 per cent of respondents work at two or more schools
  • 70 per cent of respondents have not completed performance development plans
  • Computer usage – 40 per cent do not have convenient access to computers with only 22 per cent being confident in using a computer
  • 54 per cent of respondents did not undergo a working alone risk assessment. Of those who did undertake working alone risk assessments 68 per cent participated in an informal or casual process. Alarmingly, 12 per cent have not completed a working alone risk assessment within the previous year and 68 per cent reported never to have participated in a working alone risk assessment
  • Text in/Text out notification to Principal on start and finish of duty – alarmingly 79 per cent of respondents report there are no welfare checks in place
  • 83 per cent report they are responsible for managing contractors during school holidays
  • 32 per cent report having no chemical safety training. 16 per cent report having no access to Material Safety Data Sheets
  • 92 per cent use their own car for school business.

The main industrial concern of GAs is the way other staff treat them. GAs are also concerned about their low rate of pay and inadequate pay rises. When raising industrial concerns, GAs were often countered with, that if they did not do everything asked by other staff then either:

  1. they would not have a job, or
  2. their jobs would be privatised.

GA’s also link the expanding number of duties and tasks with concerns over their own health and safety and their lack of ongoing training.

The survey showed that working alone risk assessments are being neglected for the majority of GAs employed in schools. It seems that Principals are not observing the regular notifications in School Biz to consult with GAs as required by the Department’s Safety Alert 45 – Working Alone guidance and outlines.

There appears to be a complete lack of sensible reporting mechanisms for GAs such as text in/text out at arrival/departure to schools when out of hours work is performed by GAs. This potentially puts GAs without these safety systems in place at risk.

The PSA reminds GA members that they have no supervisory or managerial responsibility for contractors at any time. If your Principal insists that you are to supervise or manage contractors, then this contradicts the Department’s position that GAs are not considered as having any supervisory role.

A GA’s involvement in dealing with contractors is limited to escorting the contractor to the location requiring the service or work after prior discussions with their Principal. GAs are not required to conduct site inductions for contractors or visitors.

School staff, including Gas, who use their own vehicle on school business are entitled to receive a car allowance as provided in the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award. Usage of your private vehicle on school business is voluntary and the appropriate allowance must be paid by the school.

The PSA would like to thank all those respondents who completed and returned a survey. If you have any further questions about working as a GA in schools, and you are a PSA member, please contact the PSA member support centre on
1300 772 679.

General Assistant’s Advisory Group Delegates

Delegate School Email contact
Douglas Ashton Cambridge Park High School Douglas.Ashton2@det.nsw.edu.au
Michael Burrell (Assistant Secretary) Chifley College Michael.Burrell10@det.nsw.edu.au
Philip Crowe Northern Beaches Secondary College Philip.Crowe@det.nsw.edu.au
Brett Hammond (Chair) Kirrawee High School BRETT.HAMMOND@det.nsw.edu.au
Michael Jedniuk Hinchinbrook Public School MICHAEL.JEDNIUK@det.nsw.edu.au
Boyd Kellner Byron Bay Public School BOYD.KELLNER@det.nsw.edu.au
Alan Livet (Assistant Chair) Woogoolga High School ALAN.LIVET@det.nsw.edu.au
Bill Martin Vincentia High School william.martin13@det.nsw.edu.au
Steve Smith (Secretary) Cobar High School stephen.smith130@det.nsw.edu.au
Riverina Vacant. If you are interested in becoming more active with the General Assistant’s Advisory Group please let the PSA know.
New England
Central Coast/Hunter

The PSA is committed to improving your rights at work. If you know a GA who is not a PSA member, please talk to them about joining. United we bargain, divided we beg.

Please contact the Member Support Centre for any further enquiries on 1300 772 679.

Join the PSA online HERE.

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