Everyone in schools has continued to deal with uncertain and challenging circumstances throughout the term as they support students and their school communities. You are all due a very well earned break over the next few weeks.
As always, your delegates and PSA staff have been working hard to advocate for members over the last few months on a range of important issues affecting your working lives. We have also successfully celebrated PSA Recognition Week 2020 with you, promoting you and the work you do.
In this update:
- New DRAFT Recruitment Procedures
- PSA continues to fight for LTT Conversion to Permanency
- BM Transition
- Staffing Methodology Review and SSPs
- PSA Submission on DRAFT Behaviour Strategy
- Feedback on Code of Conduct and EPAC Name Change
Award Implementation Update
Under the new School Administrative and Support Staff Award the Department and PSA are required to consult about the development and implementation of new appointment and recruitment procedures and the transition of Business Managers into the award.
As members would appreciate, discussions have been delayed due to Covid 19. Throughout the consultation the PSA has strongly advocated for the best possible outcome for our members and will continue to do so.
New appointment and recruitment procedures
The PSA continues its involvement in negotiating the new merit based appointment and selection procedures.
Principals can recruit and appoint staff to vacant permanent SAS staff positions using either an external merit selection process or the Department’s revised process to convert suitably qualified long term temporary employees to permanent employment.
The PSA has successfully negotiated some improvements to the procedures and acknowledges that the proposed new recruitment procedures will assist in addressing recruitment issues in the future.
Long Term Temporary Conversion – PSA Continues the Fight
Your delegates and the PSA are very concerned that the new procedures do not directly address the problems with past recruitment and employment practices that have left vast numbers of members in insecure work for long periods of time of temporary contracts.
The Department has so far refused to engage with the PSA in addressing this issue.
As members would know the PSA has consistently and regularly argued for conversion of Long Term Temporary staff. This is one of the key parts of the Worth 100% Campaign to address the issues that matter most to members. To date, no response has been received.
The PSA has put to the Department on numerous occasions that we wish to discuss this issue, stating it again in recent correspondence. The PSA has requested the Department provide a response to our most recent letter on this issue by 25 September 2020.
Transition of Business Managers
The PSA has been actively involved in discussions with the Department about its planning for the implementation of the Business Manager (BM) role from January 2021.
This process has also been disrupted by the COVID crisis and BMs have yet to be given definitive information about what future role they will have, creating anxiety and stress. The main concerns for members are the timing of the transition and security of employment.
The PSA has been able to confirm that members will not be required to relinquish their substantive position and that DoE intends to provide information to affected BMs throughout term 4.
For more information on the BM transfer read our previous bulletin HERE
New DoE Behaviour Strategy
As members would be aware, The PSA is preparing a submission in response to the new Student Behaviour Strategy, which has been publicly released for feedback.
The new strategy makes recommendations about having fewer grounds for suspension, reducing suspension periods across all age groups, increasing options for Principals prior to considering suspension, building capacity through professional learning and bringing in more outside ‘behaviour services’.
The PSA ran a survey to gather member feedback on how this might operate in their schools and how it might apply to their work which will inform the PSA position. We will release further information on our submission once it has been finalised.
The Submission is another way that the PSA is pushing for better protections for members as part of the Worth 100% Campaign where we are fighting for members to make sure they are 100% Paid, 100% Protected and 100% Permanent.
Staffing Methodology Review and Supplementary funding for Schools for Specific Purposes in 2021
The Department has just advised the PSA that the SSP Supplementary Funding of $37 million for 2020 will be allocated again in 2021, adjusted in line with the different number of classes and SSPs compared to 2020, together with revised modelling, and principal feedback on the use and benefits to their schools throughout 2021.
The amount provided to each school is based on similar criteria as last year, including:
- school setting
- number of classes and/or students
- current centrally funded staffing FTE
- changes to staffing algorithms to align SSPs with mainstream settings
- identified whole school roles to support the health and wellbeing of students.
Guidelines will be provided to SSP principals on how the funding can be used across the following staffing options:
- increasing executive entitlement and/or funding an existing initiative that is being funded through school or community funds
- increasing the number of school administrative and support staff employees such as school learning and support officers
- engaging public service classifications (e.g. occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists) to address areas of specific student / school need.
The Staffing Methodology Review (SMR) has been underway for some time and is yet to address the significant staffing issues raised by your union.
The review has the potential to address longstanding issues such as under-resourcing of administrative positions, disparity between Primary and High Schools and the outdated allocation of hours for General Assistants which should be based on more measures than just student numbers.
The PSA will continue to push for updates on the SMR and advance the concerns of members.
New name for EPAC and review of the Code of Conduct
The Department has advised that EPAC has had a name change and is now called the Professional and Ethical Standards Directorate. This is to better align it with their purpose in upholding professional and ethical standards
The PSA has provided preliminary feedback on how the Code of Conduct can be improved to make it clearer and support members in their compliance. We will be responding to the Department’s request for further and more detailed feedback through a Discussion Paper about the Code of Conduct which is available on the Department’s website.
The paper outlines a number of issues that have been identified as a result of the review process and the PSA will consult with your delegates and representatives throughout the process to ensure the concerns of members are reflected in our response.
Members are encouraged to provide any individual feedback to the Department through the following channels which have been distributed to staff by DoE previously:
- a survey which provides for anonymous submissions
- an email address to provide broader feedback and documentation
Have a safe and happy holiday period
PSA staff, your delegates and the Executive of the union wish everyone a safe and happy holiday period.
We will continue to fight for all members in schools over the coming months to ensure the issues of importance to you are at the forefront of the union’s activities.
PSA Organisers will be available for Covid safe meetings and visits in term 4 to update you on everything the PSA has been working on for you.