Member update: School Psychologists - Public Service Association

Member update: School Psychologists

This bulletin contains an industrial update for our PSA School Psychologist Members, including the following:

  • School Psychologists’ Salaries Award update
  • Pay rises
  • Formal consultative arrangements for School Psychologists
  • Wellbeing Services review and reform
  • New government

School Psychologist Salaries Award update

Over the past 18 months, the PSA has negotiated with the Department of Education (DoE) to establish a Salaries Award for School Psychologists. This is to secure your salary progression and respective pay rises and ensure that the Department provides School Psychologists with AHPRA-approved professional supervision, to meet Psychology Board Registration requirements.

The issues in dispute were narrowed in Conciliation in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) last year. However, having not reached full agreement, the IRC set down the matter for arbitration hearing before the full bench of three commissioners in March 2023. Your delegates have been engaged in the preparation of evidence with the PSA industrial and legal team, with both parties required to file and serve final evidence and submissions by 31 January 2023.

Your delegates have also applied considerable time and effort to provide statements and act as witnesses over the two-day hearing in the commission on 8 March and 22 March 2023. The parties will now provide written submissions in closing, for the consideration of the full bench, to decide the Award outcome.

Pay-rises by consent

As part of the proceedings, in early December 2022, the PSA surveyed our School Psychologist members, for your endorsement to seek the same pay rises as the School Counsellors’ receive. This survey resulted in endorsement of the following:

An Award application including salary increases to School Psychologists to match those given to teachers and other employees covered by the Crown Employees (Teachers in Schools and related Employees) Salaries and Conditions Award. The increases are as follows:

  1. 0.25 per cent increase backdated to 1 July 2022.
  2. 3 per cent increase (including a 0.47 per cent increase in super guarantee) from 1 January 2023.

Noting these increases are on top of the 2.04 per cent increase from 1 January 2022.

We are aware that these pay increases exceed the limit the IRC can award in arbitrated proceedings under the Government’s Wages Cap, because the limit is presently three per cent per annum for FY 2022-23. In practical terms, the Commission can only award these increases if it is by consent.

This is a consent position in the current Award proceedings.

 Formal consultative arrangements for School Psychologists

Whilst the PSA has met with various personnel from the Department on an issue-centric basis, such as the Director and LPP over critical incidents, we have sought to establish a formal Joint Consultative meeting schedule to raise School Psychologist industrial and workplace issues with Employee Relations, on a quarterly basis.

Through formal correspondence including amidst the Award negotiations, the Department has agreed to meet once per school term with PSA industrial staff and your delegate representative, together with the Student Support Officer delegate representative, since these GSE Act school-based classifications have similar workplace concerns.

Some concerns we have heard from members include professional recognition and ethical practice, clear role duties and parameters, proper record keeping and communication and access to entitlements under the applicable industrial instruments. PSA staff will engage with your delegates prior to the quarterly meetings to ensure we effectively gauge the matters of concern to our School Psychologist members.

Wellbeing Services review and reform

In 2022 the Department engaged independent consultants, Price Waterhouse Coopers to conduct a Wellbeing Services review and to produce a report with recommendations for reform. Late last year the PSA corresponded and met with the Deputy Secretary, School Performance North and relevant Directors, concerning the recommendations and the reform agenda, to be updated on the department’s commitment to implement the recommendations; and to ensure consultation with the PSA throughout.

A new temporary directorate has been established in the corporate structure for a 12-month period, with responsibility for implementing the wellbeing reforms. The PSA has secured a commitment that we will be participate in consultation concerning the Wellbeing Reforms.

New government in NSW

After the recent NSW State Election, we have a new NSW Labor Government under the Leadership of Chris Minns; and a new Education Minister, Pru Carr. In the lead up to the NSW election the PSA campaigned against privatisation and met with the then shadow Education Minister concerning a number of issues in the education sector, including the prevalence of temporary insecure work and the unfair wages cap.

The PSA can assure our School Psychologist members that we plan to meet with the new Education Minister, as soon as her availability allows, to advocate for the issues of concern, on behalf of our members. We will keep you updated on this in due course.

PSA contacts

Your PSA delegates are Erin Kremer, Marcella Kabala and Belinda Mc Gaw; and the PSA is pleased to welcome your new PSA organiser, Alison Crittenden, who would be happy to come out to meet you and/or arrange a member meeting.

You can contact Alison on .


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