A win for Picton High members but more still to do - Public Service Association

A win for Picton High members but more still to do

A win for Picton High members but more still to do – August 2018 (PDF version)

Members at Picton High School will be aware that the school is about to be demolished and a new school will be built in its place. During the demolition and construction a temporary school (or “pop up school” as the DoE sometimes refers to it) will be erected on site.

Building a new school is a great idea, as the working environment in a new build should exceed the old school it’s replacing. The union advocates for better working conditions for members and having a brand new school to work in is a good thing for members.

At a recent meeting between the DoE and the union which included a representative of each of the SAS Staff membership (SAM, SAO, SLSO) and the GA, the DoE indicated it would agree to:

  1. a process for regular input from Association members and all staff regarding the move to the temporary site
  2. the establishment of a communications team headed by Mr Andrew Smith, Deputy Principal with representation from staff, community and communications expert, Darius Turner.
  3. a site visit to a similar temporary school, with the general assistant, school administrative manager and librarian to attend. The school learning support officer may also attend if the other school site has support classes
  4. the communications team will forward communications regarding the move to the temporary site to local Association organisers.


These are welcome developments, however they do not alleviate all concerns around the work health and safety aspects and how you will be expected to undertake your important work for students during the unavoidable disruption to the school.

We would like to hear from you to gain a better understanding of what you think the impact of the infrastructure project will have on you, how you do your job and how you support the school and its students.

A survey of PSA members at the school is located HERE and it won’t take much of your time to complete. The survey is now live and if you can spare four minutes of your time, this will help in progressing the issues you identify.

Your response will be confidential however, as the survey is only open to union members, please note that you will be asked for your name and/or membership number during the survey.

All members are encouraged to complete the survey. Now is the time to have your say!

Drip feeding information is not meaningful consultation

The union has asked the Department of Education (DoE) for specifics on how this infrastructure project will impact on our members employed at the school. The union has been seeking that the DoE provide access to:

  1. the business plan
  2. risk assessments
  3. schematics of the temporary school
  4. the plan to ensure business as usual during construction.

The union believes that non-sensitive information such as predicted student numbers, changes to staffing numbers, subjects that won’t be able to be offered or new subjects being considered for offer and other relevant material could be extracted and provided for your consideration.

The DoE has an obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act and your industrial Awards to provide information to its employees when major changes, such as the Picton High School infrastructure project.

The objective is to allow for workers to make considered feedback as part of the consultation process. The DoE seems to want to drip feed information to you after decisions have been made.

This is not meaningful consultation and the union will continue to press for detail about the infrastructure project to help keep you informed.

Job security during the project

Members are also concerned about the application of the staffing formula at the school during the infrastructure project. It is possible that parents may not wish to send their children to the school and if student numbers drop, so will the staffing allocation of SAS Staff to the school.

The union has requested the DoE temporarily suspend the staffing formula while the infrastructure project is underway until the new school has been built.

What’s next?

If the DoE continues to refuse to share information on the infrastructure project, the union may take an industrial dispute down to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

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