State parties signal breakthrough staffing reform

The protection and enhancement of a statewide staffing system that distributes qualified, permanent teachers to every public school community across NSW, remains the most responsible use of additional needs-based funding in our public schools.

It is on this basis, and consistent with Federation’s election priorities, that the union has been lobbying all political parties.

State-based representatives from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens addressed staffing issues, including expanding school staffing entitlements with additional permanent teachers, when they addressed Federation’s February Council meeting.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said: We will … also ensure that the millions and millions of additional money in terms of RAM (resource allocation model) allocations … has the flexibility to be reshaped into additional staffing entitlements wherever appropriate.

“I think we all know that many temporary staff are engaging as temporary staff through necessity rather than through design.

“The more we can provide for additional staffing entitlement the better that is on reducing anxiety on teachers themselves and providing greater permanency and certainty to school communities. It’s in the best interests of the young people that we serve together.”

Labor’s education spokesperson Jihad Dib asked: “Why can’t we convert that … flexible money into proper full-time permanent teaching positions?

“One of the things we are certainly … looking at is … how we use that flexible funding. Then we can say this money doesn’t come as flexible funding, it comes as a full-time … teaching position, because that is a really important thing.

“The same applies to … specialist education staff and some of the other positions as well.”

Greens education spokesperson David Shoebridge told Council public school teachers had a right to permanent secure employment.

“I also acknowledge the work Federation and teachers have been giving to push back on some of the outcomes of Government decisions that have devolved more and more responsibility on local schools and more and more responsibility on teachers,” he said.

The provision of additional qualified permanent teachers, including executive and specialist teachers, and the provision of qualified permanent non-school based teachers, must be guaranteed for every public school if we are to maintain our systemic objective of meeting the learning needs of every student and providing co-designed shoulder to shoulder support for classroom teachers.

Federation will continue to work with all political parties and the Department of Education to realise the commitments made to expand school staffing entitlements.

Henry Rajendra Senior Vice President