Education Support Specialists (ESS)

ESS Role

This relatively new role has been fought for and won by the AEU to acknowledge the increasing demands on the traditional role of a Teacher Assistant. It provides an opportunity for an Education Support Personnel (Teacher Assistant) to upskill and have a career path and to be recognised as a para- professional.

During the negotiations of the Public Sector Union Wages Agreement 2019 (PSUWA) AEU requested this role be included on the Teaching Service (Tasmanian Public Sector) Award No. 1 Of 2020 (Consolidated) (Teaching Award) and this was successfully achieved in 2020.

The Teaching Award classifies an ESS as “an employee who holds a Diploma Education Support, and who provides support with the delivery of instructional practices and contributes to the improved learning outcomes of students, including high level instructional or differentiated support, small group work and student supervision in a range of key areas involving Early Childhood Education, Literacy and Numeracy, Special Education and Behaviour Support.”

The ESS role can either be permanent or fixed term, full or part time, up to 70 hours per fortnight, 52 weeks per year including 11 weeks annual leave which is taken during school holiday periods.
Primary Duties (as of March 2020)

  1. Participate in all stages of the planning cycle and the implementation of co-constructed learning plans for groups of students, record student observations and independent application of new learning for teacher records and provide in and out of classroom supervision.
  2. Facilitate small group and one to one differentiated instruction to reinforce learning, practice and apply concepts introduced by the classroom teacher as part of the personalized approach to learning.
  3. Assist with researching appropriate ICT based learning materials, software and systems for classroom use and assist students to utilize such materials.
  4. Assist in planning and preparing the learning environment, including preparing materials, supplies and technologies and implementing assessment templates and/or instructional activities.
  5. Assist in gathering and recording relevant qualitive and quantitative data to support the monitoring, assessment and reporting of student’s achievement.
  6. Provide additional assistants to students from diverse cultural backgrounds, students with special needs, students with disabilities and Aboriginal students.
  7. Attend specific staff meetings, team planning meetings and ongoing professional learning opportunities as identified by Principal.
  8. Perform other duties as envisaged by assigned classification under relevant industrial or agreement and in accordance with the skill, competence and training of the occupant.

Essential Requirements:

  • Current Tasmanian Registration to Work with Vulnerable People
  • Diploma of Education Support

If you are an Education Support Personnel (Teacher Assistant) who wants to upskill you will need to obtain a Diploma of Education Support as offered by the University of Tasmania.

The course includes 8 units and takes around 24 to 30 months to complete. Once you complete this course it enables a career pathway to a school-based para-professional role or provides a pathway to an Associate Degree in Education Support or a Bachelor of Education.

References & further information