Member update: Student Support Officers - Public Service Association

Member update: Student Support Officers

Please find following a member update for Student Support Officers (SSOs), covering:

  • Welcome to new PSA SSO members
  • Industrial instruments that determine your conditions of employment
  • Your safety at work: Working alone or in isolation
  • PSA formal consultative arrangements established with the Department
  • Your SSO PSA Delegates

 Welcome to our new SSO PSA members

The PSA extends a warm welcome to our new members, as the Department continues to work to the goal of one SSO in every High School across NSW.

Industrial instruments that determine your conditions of employment

As an employee of the NSW Public Sector, your employment is governed by the Government Sector Employment (GSE) Act 2013 and the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009 (“ Crown Award”), including the Flexible Working Hours Agreement 2022, that being a local arrangement negotiated under section 10 of the Crown Award. These instruments determine your workplace rights and entitlements.

 Your safety at work: Working alone or in working in isolation

As above, a GSE “employee”, in the schools-based role of SSO or School Psychologist (SP) has access to working flexible hours, between 7:30am and 6:00pm, as per the recently renegotiated Flexible Working Hours Agreement 2022. The PSA expressed concerns to the Department’s Employee Relations in the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting on 12 April 2023, about SSOs and SPs finding themselves working alone on the school premises, when other staff have left for the day.  This may also be the case, if working during the school vacation periods. To ensure your safety, a risk assessment must be conducted.

The PSA has been provided with the department’s Health, Safety and Staff Wellbeing Directorate’s resources on employees working alone or in isolation. These resources are also available to employees in the ‘staff only’ section of the Department’s website HERE.

A ‘Sample Risk Management Plan’ provides an example to SPs/SSOs and their Principals and Managers.

The PSA recommends our members do not work alone onsite at a school, but rather consult and negotiate a sensible arrangement with your Manager and Principal to avoid risk. This may include proposing to work from home, where a checklist has been completed to ensure it is safe to do so. Be aware that your access to working flexible hours is an entitlement under the Crown Award and Flexible Working Hours Agreement 2022, including the accrual of up to six days’ flex leave in a 12-week settlement period; and be assured, that it is the primary duty of your employer to ensure your safety at work.

PSA formal consultative arrangements established with Employee Relations

The PSA has commenced formal JCC meetings for SSOs (and SPs) on a quarterly basis (one meeting per term), to raise matters of an industrial nature with employee relations. After our meeting on 12 April 2023, the PSA was provided with the Risk Assessment resources above, after expressing our concern about SSOs (and SPs) working alone on school sites.

We plan to survey members about this, to ascertain the breadth of the concern. Separate consultative meetings will be established concerning the Wellbeing Reforms and implementation throughout this year. There will be delegate representation at these meetings and members will be updated as we progress issues on your behalf.

PSA Organiser

We welcome Alison Crittenden as your new PSA Organiser. She is looking forward to meeting with SSO members, attends SSO inductions and would be happy to arrange a member meeting or visit. Alison is contactable on .

 PSA Delegates

 Callum Baillie Tomaree HS

Amy Smith Warners Bay HS

 Need assistance at work?

As your union, the PSA is here to support you. If you have any questions or concerns you can contact the Member Support Centre on 1800 772 679, Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm.

 Know an SSO who isn’t a member?

The more members the union has, the more influential can be. Encourage your SSO colleagues to JOIN the PSA today.


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