It’s been a huge year for members in schools and we are only halfway through.
The PSA wants to extend our thanks to all of you who have been working tirelessly throughout the different crises that have hit our state. We respect and admire your professionalism and hard work in supporting your school community in extremely difficult circumstances.
Through it all the PSA has been there supporting you so you can be safe and protected. Below are just a few of the things the PSA has been working on and lobbying for so that your working lives can be improved.
In this update
- 2.5% Pay Rise
- School Learning Support Officers and Student Health Support transition
- Business Manager Transition
- Staffing Methodology Review
- Professional Learning
- Staffing in New and Combining Schools
- Service Transfers
- Work Health and Safety (general)
- Work Health and Safety (covid-19)
- International Education Centres – employment during covid-19
- Use of FMWeb
- Student Support Officer position
SASS and the 2.5 per cent pay rise
The Government wants to freeze wages of all public sector workers despite the Public Service keeping the state and its people going throughout the drought, bushfires, floods and COVID19. The move to do this was defeated in the Parliament.
The matter is now in the Industrial Relations Commission but the SASS Award is exempted at present because it is an ongoing award. It is possible that the Government will try to do something in 2022 when your award expires and the PSA will have to return to the IRC but, for now, you will receive the 2.5 per cent increase won for you by the PSA last year.
The PSA will continue to fight to protect your hard-won, hard-earned increases.
School Learning Support Officer (SHS) Transition
The transitioning of SLSO to SLSO Student Health Support (SHS) was due to begin in Term 2. This has slowed a little due to the Pandemic.
Any SLSO who has been carrying out Health Care Procedures (HCP) and who has HCP Training Certification can be directed to take on the new SHS duties. The PSA advises all SLSOs with this certification to make themselves aware of what it entails.
All classifications, but especially SLSOs, should familiarise themselves with their new statements of duties that were implemented in September 2019. Members are encouraged to make themselves aware of any changes within them. The statements of duties and PSA fact sheets can be found HERE.
Business Manager transition
The Department of Education (DoE) has begun working on the implementation of Business Manager classifications in to the School Administrative and Support Staff Award. DoE previously communicated with staff about the transition late last year following the making of the SASS Award in September 2019.
The introduction of the BM classification into the SASS Award strengthens the administrative career path within schools through the SAO, SAM and BM roles. The Business Manager classification also retains equivalency with other public sector roles which means staff can apply for Public Service positions and know their role’s equivalent
The PSA will continue to work with our BM delegates to ensure that the process of transition is implemented consultatively and will report back to members as discussions progress.
Staffing Methodology Review
The PSA has previously reported on the Staffing Methodology Review which aims to address resourcing issues across all classifications in schools. The review has progressed with the development of modelling on different staffing formulas almost complete. We will report back further as the review progresses.
Professional learning and training
The PSA has raised a range of issues with Department representatives from professional learning for Non-Teaching Staff (PLNTS) including release and relief for SLSOs, specific training needs for General Assistants, Farm Assistants, SLSOs and SAO Science staff as well as some positive feedback on a range of professional learning that has been developed and delivered remotely throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
The PSA is collating further feedback from members and delegates across the classifications to provide to PLNTS and will continue to work with them to ensure training and professional learning meets the needs of staff.
Guidelines on staffing for new schools
The PSA raised concerns at the last Joint Consultative Committee, as the guidelines do not adequately reference advising the PSA or work health and safety consultation processes that are required throughout the build of a new school, refurbishment or merging of two schools. The Department will now consult internally and report back to the PSA.
In December 2019 the Department of Education distributed information on the removal of service transfers. This change will be complete by September 2020. The DoE will consult with the PSA on the changes prior to that date and we will keep members informed.
Work Health and Safety – general
At the request of the PSA peak level Work Health and Safety meetings have been scheduled once a term to deal with a wide range of issues raised by members relating to their safety at work. PSA staff attend along with elected delegates of the union representing each classification including General Assistants, SAO Science, Administration and SLSOs. Delegates are able to raise issues affecting their classification directly with senior WHS staff.
Work Health and Safety – COVID-19
A key discussion at the recent WHS meeting was COVID-19 and. in particular. access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The Department has prepared a significant amount of material around PPE which is available on the intranet. We encourage members to familiarise themselves with this information.
Each school needs to manage the situation locally and the Principal is ultimately responsible for ensuring protocols and protections are in place. The executive of the school should be dealing with the school community to educate them on new protocols and ensure that they are not breaching recommendations.
It is Important for members to raise issues directly with their supervisor and/or Principal so that it can be managed locally.
International Education Centres
The PSA was contacted by a number of International Education Centres across the state about the impacts of COVID-19 on enrolments and resulting staffing levels at IEC schools. DoE recognised that this is an issue and are working on ways that IEC staff can continue to be supported and employed for the remainder of the year.
Use of FM Web and third-party software
Many of you would be aware that the PSA was involved in a dispute with DoE regarding the use of FM Web and third party software by SAS Staff and General Assistants. The PSA has used all available industrial and legal means to protect member’s interests through this dispute.
With the advice of the IRC we reached agreement on the requirements that this work be undertaken including that the Principal is responsible for management of workload and provision of training. DoE has also made it clear the scope of the work that fits within both the General Assistant role description and SAS Staff statements of duties.
If you would like more information on this issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679.
Student Support Officer position
The Department has received additional funding to increase recruitment of Student Support Officers (SSO). SSOs fulfil a Youth Worker type role, mostly in High Schools and are eligible to be members of the PSA. The PSA has been involved in consultation around the introduction of this role into schools and has been in discussions with existing SSO members. If you are an SSO or have one in your school please let us know via email@example.com.
Do you know someone who still needs to join the PSA?
You can support the work of the PSA and delegates to get better outcomes for everyone just by asking your colleagues to JOIN the PSA.