Federation negotiations secure extra staff for SSPs

A Federation campaign has helped secure $37 million funding for extra staff across all Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs) during 2020.

The campaign was assisted by members’ backing of mass meetings throughout the state on 5 December last year and SSP members identifying extra staff as their greatest need, in their responses to the Time to Act survey.

Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the funding would provide for at least one, and up to eight, extra staff for every SSP, which is a significant step in the right direction for students with disability.

“The lack of permanent, specialist and qualified teachers to support students with disability was the biggest issue from the Time to Act member survey,” Mr Rajendra said.

“This funding allocation will give SSPs the capacity to employ teachers and executives above and beyond their 2020 staffing entitlements.

“While we are aware this is only for one year, it is a significant gain and Federation will continue to pursue a permanent increase in staffing entitlements in SSPs.”

Federation will be issuing advice to SSP Federation Representatives that the additional funds are the means to provide additional release time for classroom and executive teachers, employ specialist subject teachers to broaden the curriculum, and/or reduce class sizes reflecting student need.

In a letter to Federation, the Department stated that the purpose of the funding was to provide and evaluate interim additional resourcing to alleviate staffing pressures in SSPs and inform decision-making about the staffing entitlement for the future. To assist with this evaluation, principals will be asked to provide feedback on the use and benefits for their school throughout 2020.

“The NSW Teachers Federation has been a strong advocate of the need for additional staffing support to address the unique needs of SSPs and we sincerely thank you for your ongoing support regarding this matter,” wrote the Department’s Executive Director for Human Resources Caroline Reed.

At the beginning of the year, Mr Rajendra said that in 2020 members across all workplaces must ready themselves to campaign for major staffing improvements.

“We must continue to pursue the expansion of school staffing entitlements with additional permanent classroom, executive and specialist teachers.”

Scott Coomber is a staff writer