Important permanent staffing win for support units

Improvements to the executive staffing of support units with seven or more classes will start in term 2; a significant gain for members, students and their families.

Primary school support units with seven or more classes will be entitled to an assistant principal and a non-teaching deputy principal. The current entitlement is a deputy principal (0.5 teaching load).

High school support units with seven or more classes will be entitled to a head teacher and a non-teaching deputy principal. The current entitlement is a head teacher.

“While this has been a policy objective of the union for many years, the manner in which it is to be provided to schools was a critical factor during discussions with the Department,” Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said.

Federation advocated strongly that such additional executive staffing must be provided via an expanded staffing entitlement.

“The union was not prepared to accept an inferior staffing provision for students in support units compared with their mainstream peers,” he said. “Stability and consistency of teaching and learning programs by way of an expanded permanent teacher staffing entitlement is the least our students in support units deserve.”

From 2023, the positions will be provided as an expansion to the staffing entitlement. From term 2 until then, the positions will be provided via funding allocations to schools.

Campaign continues

Federation will continue to pursue with the Government and Department, the provision of additional support classes and Schools for Specific Purposes where student need exists.

Of further concern is the lack of departmental planning and coordination across the system in determining the number of support classes and their locations.

“It is unacceptable that a public school can operate without the provision of a support class or classes when there is unmet student need within that school’s immediate community,” Mr Rajendra said.

“Such practices force too many students to travel beyond their local public school, at times splitting-up siblings and creating unnecessary logistical challenges for families.

“This situation also distorts the enrolment profile of schools with some settings having a disproportionate number of support classes in comparison to neighbouring public schools.”