More than 11,000 temporary teachers will be offered a permanent job with the Department of Education after Federation secured broadening of the eligibility criteria in negotiations with the new Minns Government.
Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the improvements would benefit temporary teachers whose circumstances influence their pattern of employment, including child-rearing responsibilities.
“We know that far too many teachers, for far too long, have been employed in a temporary role when they should have been permanent,” he said.
How Federation achieved the improvements
Given temporary teacher numbers had increased by a staggering 83 per cent while permanent teacher numbers increased by only 1 per cent during the 12 years of the Coalition government, in the lead up to the state election, Federation sought a commitment from NSW Labor to address the situation if it formed government.
In October last year, opposition leader Chris Minns announced an election commitment to convert 10,000 temporary teachers into permanent roles. Within 12 hours, clearly caught out, former education minister Sarah Mitchell matched the announcement.
The criteria under the previous government included completing a minimum of three years of temporary employment at one school at the end of 2022 and being employed in a temporary engagement or engagements at the same school for all of 2023.
“The previous government refused to broaden this criteria, denying so many temporary teachers, predominantly women, the offer of a permanent job,” Mr Rajendra said.
The election of the Minns Government provided the union the opportunity to pursue a broadening of the eligibility criteria to maximise the number of temporary teachers offered permanent work.
“We therefore welcome the Education Minister’s recent announcement to address this. It’s a great start with a promise of more to come,” Mr Rajendra said.
Gains to eligibility criteria
Improvements to the eligibility criteria for conversion from temporary to permanent positions under the Temporary Workforce Transition Project are:
- Periods of paid and unpaid parental leave during temporary engagements will be counted as eligible service at a school
- Periods, where teachers are not employed as a temporary teacher due to child-rearing purposes for up to two years, will be counted as eligible service where there is a history of employment at a school
- Teachers who are eligible and working in a part-time temporary engagement in 2023 due to child-rearing responsibilities will be offered a full-time permanent position from 2024 if they request it and the increased cost will be funded by the Department
- Eligible teachers who only hold casual approval to teach who meet the eligibility criteria to be considered for transition to permanent employment will still be eligible, subject to a review of their approval to teach and full approval to teach will not be unreasonably denied
- The decision by a school to identify any permanent position created under the Temporary Workforce Transition project as excess to school requirements will be a rigorous and transparent process, based on a detailed rationale, which has included consultation with relevant staff in the school, approved by the School Workforce Directorate.
The Department has also agreed to establish a special consideration process for those temporary teachers unreasonably excluded from an offer of permanent employment under this program. Further details can be sought from Federation, including your Organiser.
Note: Permanent positions established under the Temporary Workforce Transition Project are above and beyond a school’s staffing entitlement. The Department has reaffirmed that “principals must progress recruitment for any permanent entitlement vacancy consistent with the current Staffing Agreement between the Department of Education and the NSW Teachers Federation”.
More to be achieved
Federation will continue to pursue a number of improvements, including:
- that the permanent positions created be added to an expanded, permanent statewide staffing entitlement; and
- expansion of the eligibility criteria for conversion, particularly in relation to long-term continuous service in multiple schools.
Mr Rajendra said increasing teacher permanency levels was just one important pillar that needs to be addressed to overcome the teacher shortages plaguing our schools, especially in our hardest to staff communities across NSW.
Are you in the correct membership category?
All members need to ensure their Federation membership details are up to date. This is especially so for temporary teachers converting to a permanent position, so that you maintain membership coverage.