From DoE Principal Matters 24 June 2020:
A key provision of the Teachers Agreement 2019 is the new maximum instructional load per fortnight for Primary Teachers. This is made possible by the provision of additional specialist teaching time for primary students.
The maximum instructional load for Primary Teachers will be 42 hours per fortnight, or pro rata for part-time staff from the beginning of Term 3 2020.
It is acknowledged that schools have been planning for this change for some time and the expectation is that this change will result in an increase in specialist teaching and no reduction in instruction time for primary students.
It is acknowledged that some schools have already implemented this change from the beginning of the 2020 school year or prior to this time based on individual school timetabling and learning programs.
Some teachers may already be working at or below the new maximum fortnightly instructional load and therefore no change will be required for Term 3.
The new provision was agreed as a workload reduction for primary teachers and correspondence to teachers and principals promoting the new agreement also supported the workload reduction as additional time per fortnight for planning, preparation and assessment. It was also directly linked to the commitment for an additional allocation of specialist teachers to provide additional specialist teaching per class.
Therefore, it is extremely important that the implementation of this change supports this philosophy.
Schools were provided with information regarding new allocations for staffing profiles to reflect this change in December 2019. Engagement of teachers to ensure the continuation of learning programs has been coordinated by DoE Recruitment and Learning Services HR Teams.
The new maximum instructional load per fortnight should be used in the best possible way to reduce workload and to improve teacher planning and preparation, whilst also delivering additional specialist teaching to students.
Principals should work with primary teachers to ensure that the new maximum instructional load is implemented appropriately with the following key principles in mind;
- The additional time should be utilised for teacher planning, preparation and assessment.
- To cultivate a culture of professional support and dialogue and to assist teachers better prepare for teaching, small teaching teams may collaborate and utilise some of the time for planning, preparation and assessment.
- The additional time is not to be utilised for staff professional learning or timetabled staff meetings.
- Schools must ensure they are meeting the increase in specialist teaching instruction.
It is open for Principals to agree on an approach for the individual school in consultation with teaching staff with the above key principles in mind.
In extenuating circumstances, Principals may need to negotiate with primary teachers for short-term solutions with a view to fulfilling the principles in full by the commencement of Term 1 2021. If a school is unable to meet the full increase in specialist teacher instruction or the new maximum teacher instructional load contact needs to be made with Learning Services to discuss support available to transition to the new arrangements.
A review of the principles and the use of specialist teachers to support the implementation will occur between the DoE and AEU in Term 4.