The AEU’s member leaders have endorsed a new Teachers Agreement that would deliver significant relief to educator workloads and provide ground-breaking career pathways for Teacher Assistants.
Branch Council has endorsed a new two-year Teachers Agreement and recommends members vote “YES” in a binding ballot, to be held early in Term 4.
“This Agreement addresses our teacher members’ number one concern; workload. Both our Executive and Council have passed motions encouraging members to vote YES in a binding ballot,” said Helen Richardson, AEU Tasmania President.
“Primary teachers will have the least face-to-face teaching time of any state or territory meaning teachers have more time to plan and prepare classes and tailor learning to meet the individual needs of students,” Ms Richardson said.
This nation-leading win on workload reduces instructional load, or face-to-face teaching time, by two hours a fortnight for primary teachers through the employment of additional teachers.
“Primary teachers will now have two extra hours a fortnight for the critical task of tailoring learning to individual student need and there will be more specialist teachers in schools for areas such as STEM,” she said.
A three-decade long struggle to have Teacher Assistants recognised as para-professionals has been achieved through the transition of Education Support Specialist role into the Teachers Award.
“Teacher Assistants will have a professional career pathway that paves the way for ending stand-down, an unfair practice whereby Teacher Assistants are stood down without pay during the school holidays,” she said.
“New teachers will receive more support early in their careers through an extra hour per week of time release, helping us to retain our best and brightest educators.
“The difficulty of recruiting teachers to regional and isolated schools is recognised through improved leave conditions for these hard-to-staff areas.
“As a profession with a majority of female employees the increase in paid parental leave to 16 weeks is also significant, as is the continual payment of superannuation while employees are on workers compensation or family leave.”
Teachers will receive a pay rise of 4.2% over the life of this new Agreement, additional to the 2.35% back pay which was also recently secured. That’s a 6.55% total increase over three years.
If endorsed by a majority of members in a binding formal ballot, registration would be sought at the Tasmanian Industrial Commission.
No single Agreement is a silver bullet that will address the huge complexity of issues in education and there is much more to do to address workload and under-resourcing in our schools. But this Agreement is a positive step forward and we will continue to campaign for solutions to workload outside of this EB process and through important platforms such as the AEU-DOE working parties and review mechanisms.
Harriet Binet, AEU Tasmania, 0427 841 760.