The statewide staffing system is the promise to parents that a qualified teacher will be appointed to every class that every child in a NSW public school learns in.
With reports like Local Schools, Local Decisions, and the evaluation of the 47 Schools devolution trial, it is clear that the main aim for some is replacing the guaranteed staffing formulae and transfer procedures of the statewide system with local staffing budgets and local selection.
Not all principals involved in the trial believe that principals and schools should be able to opt-out of a system that ensures equitable teacher supply for students in 2240 public schools across NSW, and upholds the rights of teachers to permanent employment instead of limited tenure and individual contracts:
“There should be centralised staffing – we must protect priority and incentive systems or you will get dying schools. Priority, nominated and compassionate [transfers] must be retained.” (p22)
However, the overall tone of the devolution trial report supports the agenda of dismantling the staffing system.
“Most principals who reported not being able to achieve all their objectives said that this was due to the limitations of the staffing system.” (p10)
“We would still like further autonomy of staffing. There has not been any real flexibility due to staffing award constraints.” (p20)
“My belief is if they want to transfer into something they can apply that’s fine – let them apply with other people. I think transfer points is just silly.” (p22)
The common mistake is to assume that the method of appointment will guarantee the quality of the teacher.
There is no fail-proof or fool-proof method of appointment. Comprehensive professional development and rigorous performance appraisal determine teaching quality, not the method of appointment. Classroom teachers, executives and principals undertake improvement programs, even though they were locally selected ‘on merit’.
Federation will continue to oppose the use of devolution as a deregulating, cost cutting exercise by governments, within and beyond any trial that purports to improve the quality of education for our students.
For more, read the attached article by Deputy President, Gary Zadkovich, which appeared in Education.
Also attached is the report from the 47 schools devolution trial.
Keira High School in Wollongong has a diverse staff, which has arrived after a variety of experiences ranging from first appointments from university, to incentive and service transfers. In the video below, Keira HS teachers and the principal talk about the advantages of a statewide staffing / transfer system.