The Schools DC held its final meeting for 2017, which has been another extraordinarily busy year for NSW public schools. A number of major reforms such as LMBR, Working with Children Check, Performance Development Plans and the overall Local Schools Local Decisions have impacted on school staff.
A full report was provided to the DC on the progress of the case so far which was filed in the Industrial Relations Commission in March.
As previously reported to members, the PSA filed its evidence (excluding expert witnesses) on 27 October 2017. This represents a considerable body of work which comprises of 13 volumes and more than 22 witness statements mostly from SAS staff, including Schools DC delegates.
The DC expressed its appreciation and gratitude to those members who have contributed to the case. It is a major undertaking and a substantial commitment by those who have stepped up to the challenge.
Further reports to members will be provided as the case progresses through into 2018.
There was much discussion about the current School Leadership Strategy and the allocated $50 million funding provided for it.
Already the PSA and DC delegates are aware of a large variation across schools as to how this funding will be used.
The PSA position is that we strongly believe the skills and expertise of SAS staff should be utilised and existing staff should have access to those funds.
The PSA is having a further meeting with the Department to discuss this and a report will be provided to members on the outcome of these discussions.
PSA delegates and staff have been involved in considerable consultation with the Department over the year in regards to training and the review of the CRG and SRGs. The PSA strongly encourages members to participate in the survey to be conducted by the Department in the near future so that your views are heard. An invitation to participate in focus groups will also be included in the email to schools which will include a separate link to the survey. We encourage members to participate in these focus groups.
An external review of Professional Learning funds allocated to schools is to be conducted with results expected in 2018.
Four online SAP/SALM learning modules will be made available to Learning and High Performance Directorate and to SRGs in 2018, one of which is ‘Assets and Stocktake’.
The PSA has also received a number of complaints from SAMs in primary schools who only have access to the tier 3 option for the Excellence in School Administration and Strategy Coaching Mentoring program.
The PSA has raised this with the Department and was advised that the training was funded under the Secondary Schools Renewal programme. The PSA was advised that some training materials are available online.
The Department has informed the PSA that it will be conducting a Staffing Entitlement Review. This could potentially have wide ranging implications for SAS Staff and will be a major issue for members in 2018.
The PSA is currently following up with the Department to get further details about the proposed process for the review and PSA involvement.
PSA delegates and industrial staff continue to meet with the LMBR directorate on a fortnightly basis. LMBR Directorate will be closing down in 2018. A review by Ernst and Young will be conducted to investigate all support models to schools and determine options for future support. Version 4.26 is to be released next year in Term 1 with additional resources allocated to update all QRGs.
The current plan for Term 1 2018 is to provide phone support for the first three weeks, support for new and relieving School Administrative Managers, and training in SAP reporting.
PSA delegates and industrial officers met last week with HR and Industrial Relations regarding the new HR Payroll module. The new module will include the organisational chart for fund code, general ledger and cost centre, a timesheet for reason code, and a custom function for Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Internal Order (IO). There will be no CEPS codes used.
PSA delegates and industrial staff will be providing scenarios to the Department with the view to assisting in development.
Twelve ESS online help manuals will be developed. The system will focus on self-service/self-help with an additional seven online manuals to be developed for management.
Four change managers will be temporally employed geographically to assist in the first release along with increased resources that will be allocated to the support helpdesk (EdConnect).
Leader and Manager led communication packs will be provided to School Principals with training to be cascaded following communication from Directors.
The DC would like to remind SAS staff employed in primary schools of the long-standing ban on recording absences in primary schools.
This ban was implemented due to the disparity in staffing levels between high schools and primary schools with the same student numbers. High schools have a higher SAS-staff-to-student ratio and would typically allocate the task of data entry for student absences to one particular SAS staff member.
As this is not the case in primary schools, the PSA regards it as inequitable and inherently unfair to hold primary schools to the same workload standards without the appropriate staffing/resource allocation.
The PSA opposes any unfair pressure being placed on SAS staff and advises SAS staff in primary schools to adhere to this ban. This ban includes the entering of data for late arrivals and early leavers (partial absences).