The Small School's Committee operates within the Federation to improve the conditions for teachers and children in small schools throughout NSW. All teachers in small schools are encouraged to contact the Committee (at NSW Teacher's Federation, Locked Bag 3010, Darlinghurst 1300 or by fax on 02 9217 2470), if there are matters you believe need to be addressed.
Protection of small school principal positions
Federation's Small Schools Committee met with Deputy Branch Secretary (Research and Industrial), Rod Brown to discuss issues and concerns regarding the impending principal reclassification. Rod and the union's Industrial Officers have been involved in ongoing negotiations around the Terms of Settlement of the 2014 Award.
Federation has developed an Industrial Bulletin, which addresses many concerns raised by principals of small schools. The following extract is from that bulletin, which was emailed to all principals on September 16, 2015:
The Department's initial proposal for a new principal classification structure would have changed principals of PP6 and PP5 schools to Lead Teacher 1 or 2, cut administrative release time and linked all such schools to a larger school.
This structure was also unacceptable because while some principals would have benefited from higher salaries, hundreds of others would have suffered a salary cut and potential loss of superannuation.
In response to Federation's opposition to these changes, the Department conceded that all principals of PP6 and PP5 schools will remain as principals, not Lead Teachers. While they are classified as Teaching Principals in the wording of the Award, there is no change in responsibility, leadership or authority. They are and will be called principals.
Federation negotiated to ensure that the new position of Associate Principal, which the Department insisted on including in the new Award, cannot be imposed on a school. Where a Teaching Principal position becomes vacant, a school community consultation process must be conducted to determine if an Associate Principal position is to be established and the school linked to a larger nearby school. The NSW Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, confirmed this in a letter to John Kaye, Member of the NSW Legislative Council, on 18 May, 2014:
"Any future decisions for small schools to retain a Teaching Principal or explore further opportunities available by choosing an Associate Principal, where the school will be able to network more closely with other schools, will only be made after consultation and agreement with those respective communities."
At the time of writing, the Department has been unable to clarify the details of which principal administrative duties will be reassigned to a larger school, and how this is to be achieved. Federation is pursuing these matters with the Department.
The Department has confirmed that Associate Principals, like principals in secondary collegiate structures, will remain the workplace principal. Current PP6 and PP5 principals who are classified as Teaching Principals may choose to become Associate Principals, but they cannot be forced to do so.
Read more news in the September 2015 Small Schools Newsletter