The Department of Education and Communities has imposed a new definition for the recent school experience criteria used in non school based teaching service (NSBTS) position advertisements. The imposition of such a criteria on all NSBTS positions will also exclude those positions from being permanent NSBTS.
The Federation did not agree to the change and continues to oppose the new definition. Unions do not have access to a legal mechanism that can prevent the employer from imposing such a position criteria of this type in this way if the employer chooses to do so.
The Federation was successful in arguing for a transition process that will assist many members. The result was that existing NSBTS officers were able to apply for NSBTS positions under the previous criteria for a period of time. Initially this period was for 2013 but has been extended on a number of occasions following Federation representations. The transition period was extended to include positions advertised up to the first day of term 2, 2014.
The Federation will continue to argue that the imposition of the new criteria prevents candidates who would otherwise (under all other criteria) be the preferred candidate from being eligible to even be interviewed. The exclusion of these experienced officers from being candidates for senior positions could result in there being no successful candidates and the positions becoming vacant. This could occur when school based candidates meet the new recent school experience criteria but do not have the necessary experience to be deemed to meet the other criteria used for these senior (promotions) positions.
The union continues to advocate for a replacement criteria definition that acknowledges that non school based officers can and should always remain closely connected to the work of teaching, leading and administrating in schools, whilst undertaking their non school based teaching roles. Such a definition would not exclude existing NSBTS officers in the selection process from being interviewed, selected and appointed on merit.
The Federation will continue - with the assistance of members - to monitor the impact of the DEC imposed changes on NSBTS members and on the support provided by members to schools.