TAFE teacher Annual Review

By Phil Bradley

Assistant General Secretary - Post schools unit

Federation is still negotiating with DET regarding implementation of the Annual Review provisions in the new Award (Clause 6).

Clause 6 of the new Common Award is titled "Teacher Quality". It provides that all teachers, head teachers, adult literacy officers and special program coordinators shall be subject to an Annual Review for salary progression and maintenance. Counsellors, part time casual (PTC) teachers, PTC counsellors and PTC coordinators are not subject to the Annual Review provisions.

Federation is still negotiating with DET regarding implementation of the Annual Review provisions in the new Award (Clause 6). The process as described in the TAFE Teachers Annual Review Policy (on the TAFE Intranet) is supposed to be simple and straightforward, using the tick the box form provided. This is especially so for experienced teachers. As indicated in the new policy,"In implementing the annual review, the Institute Director (or nominee) will take into account ... the level of experience of the teacher (so that less experienced teachers are given greater attention)".

There is no requirement for your lessons to be observed. The reference in the Policy to "Determination of satisfactory performance shall be supported as appropriate by ... observation of educational programs" is meant to refer to teaching programs rather than lesson observation. Attempts during negotiations to impose the latter in the Annual Review were rejected. Direct classroom observations by a head teacher or immediate manager would only be appropriate to consider for teachers in training or for teachers, for whom there is significant concern about their performance. The emphasis of the Review should be to assist teachers with any professional development needs they may have. TAFE has a responsibility to commit a high level of resources to professional development, so as to ensure teachers are able to update professional knowledge and skills.

Although the Policy referred to above has been agreed, the interpretation of this, including any Implementation Guide or process has NOT been agreed. For you to become involved in any new unagreed process is only creating additional unpaid work for yourself and others, so please don't do it! It was not the intention that the Annual Review process lead to any increase in the workload of teachers or head teachers. It has to be recognised that no additional time or salary is available for teachers to engage in the review process.

Therefore, all teachers and head teachers are advised to continue with the usual implementation practice regarding annual reviews (eg. for incremental progression) as closely as possible until further notice by Federation, provided this is not inconsistent with the new Policy.

Federation will issue further advice as negotiations continue.


Federation has raised numerous concerns with the Department regarding its proposed Second Edition of the new Award TAFE "Questions and Answers". This document includes several answers that Federation does not agree with, for example the answer to question 38.1 on class sizes. Any members receiving a copy of this document should contact their TAFE Organiser, if they have any concerns about the Department's interpretation. Federation will advise members further of its concerns about DET's answers, including that to question 41.6, in regard to Award subclause 41.3 ("Allocation of Duties"). This subclause states "Only at the discretion of the institute director (or nominee) shall any reduction in the teaching load be permitted. If any such reduction is permitted, the teacher shall not also be paid for excess hours." The answer to question 41.6 ignores the problems that exist with a large number of duties that teachers would normally be required to undertake with release and demonstrates how inoperable subclause 41.3 is.

As previously advised in a General Secretary letter of 20 March 2001 to Teacher Reps on OH&S Committees, Federation believes that"clause 41.3 of the Teachers' Award may breach the regulation on committees in the OH&S Act, as a committee member could be disadvantaged due to his or her participation in the work of the OH&S committee." The letter also urged OH&S committee members not to resign from committees at this stage, but rather to refuse to perform normal inspections and duties if they could not be properly compensated under the terms of the Award. This problem has also not been resolved, although the Department has promised to investigate it urgently.

Federation has also seen a document, which proposed several artificial schemes to subvert the intention of Clause 41.3. Some of these effectively encouraged managers to invite our members to engage in these schemes. For example, one of these involved full time teachers also being employed as part time teachers. Members should not get involved in these arrangements. Any member concerned that they may be involved in such a scheme should contact their Federation Organiser with details.

Members are reminded that Federation's advice on important new Award clauses is available in the Members Only Area of the Federation website as a "plain English interpretation".

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