NSW Teachers Union negotiates to save specialist teachers under LSLD guidelines

2 06 2014

The NSW Teachers Federation has successfully negotiated with their state department of education for principals to be able to use Gonski funding to retain specialist teachers, such as teacher librarians.

“Federation successfully advocated that schools should use this funding to create whatever new staffing positions they sought, rather than trade off existing positions and jeopardise the overall entitlement in the future. If a school demonstrates that they can do away with an assistant principal, head teacher or teacher-librarian position today, why would Treasury in the future continue to fund the existing number of positions? As evidenced in Victoria, this reduction in provision is what the devolution agenda is all about.”

While devolution in staffing decisions has meant the trade off of some teaching positions for others, to the long-term detriment of these positions, this does not have to happen in NSW. See full article at “New policy to determine staff mix in schools” by Gary Zadkovich (Education newsletter of the NSW Teachers Federation, 2 June 2014)


Tell Your Union

20 03 2011

The new enterprise agreement between the Australian Education Union (AEU) in South Australia and the Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) has bargained away guaranteed staffing of teacher librarians and counsellors in government schools.  It seems school support staff can now supervise students if a teacher is permanently housed nearby or teaching in the library. Some retiring teacher librarians are being replaced by teachers without library qualifications or not being replaced at all. Staffing is being eroded.  Where a primary school of 700 may have had the equivalent of 2.0 TLs, they may now have 1.  Where there was one, there may be none. Newly graduated TLs are not able to find positions.  TLs who were formerly able to plan collaboratively with classroom teachers, now may be required to provide non-instruction time for other teachers instead.  At least 7 high schools have reported not having any teacher librarian at all. In one case the high school now has no library.  In the previous staffing formulae every school was allocated teacher librarian time.  Even under that formula an estimated one third of school libraries were not staffed by qualified TLs or were understaffed. Now there appears to be no formula.

“It may be that schools see replacing teacher librarians with [School Support Officers] SSOs as an easy cost-cutting exercise, since SSOs are so much cheaper than dual qualified teacher librarians. This blatant exploitation of SSOs is an issue in itself. But even worse is that apparent economic considerations over-ride educational theory and espoused departmental policy. Foundations for the Future declares, ‘Student learning is at the heart of everything we do’. Replacing teacher librarians with SSOs actively works against this, since it is hard to extrapolate improved learning outcomes from such a move.” (Sue Spence, “Survey highlights major problems with library staffing,” AEU Journal, SA branch, 4 December 2002.)

Western Australian AEU is commencing its round of enterprise bargaining.  So is the NSW Teachers Federation. Are you having a say in your union?

Here is one letter to the SA AEU which may inspire you to do so.