NSW government school teachers - interim increase

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NSW government school teachers - interim increase

A Full Bench of the NSW IRC has granted an interim increase to teachers in NSW government schools as a special case application

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A Full Bench of the NSW IRC has granted an interim increase to teachers in NSW government schools as a special case application.

The full work value claim will be heard at a later date. The union is seeking 25% over two years. An increase of 5.5% was granted here - as an interim increase from 1 January 2004.

Special case

The special case principle, as the name implies, allows a party in relation to a contested claim over wages and conditions of employment to have the matter dealt with by the Commission in circumstances where the claim cannot be pursued under any of the other wage fixing principles.

A special case claim has to be processed before a Full Bench of the Commission.

Work value changes argued

The changes relied upon by the Teachers Federation included the following:

1. Significant additions to the school curriculum, including extensive new syllabuses, a shift to outcome-based education, more frequent revisions to the curricula and syllabuses and loading of the curriculum with components outside traditional subject areas;

2. The introduction of Vocational Education and Training in schools with associated requirements including teacher retraining, accreditation of courses, competency-based training approach, increased workplace placements and liaison with employers and the regular auditing of courses;

3. The introduction in TAFE of competency-based training and assessment, recognition of prior learning, new training packages and national regulation of consistency in teaching and learning, Technical and Vocational Education and Training in TAFE, new apprenticeships, traineeships and the new Higher School Certificate;

4. The introduction of new standards and accountabilities with respect to assessment and reporting including more regular and detailed reporting requirements, the assessment of students against stipulated learning outcomes, greater emphasis of consistency in assessment and greater accountability of teachers for assessment decisions;

5. Changes to disciplinary practices, the nature of teacher/student relationships and expectations, increased stress and uncertainty and additional reporting requirements and accountabilities as a result of the introduction of child protection legislation and associated requirements;

6. The integration and mainstreaming of students with special needs (i.e. intellectual and physical disabilities) including challenges to classroom management techniques, liaison with parents and care professionals, management of student needs and development of appropriate individual learning/teaching techniques;

7. Increased accountabilities and reporting with respect to occupational health and safety, registered training organisations, quality endorsed registered training organisations, International Standards Organisation, Australian Quality Training Framework, and the National Reporting System;

8. The introduction of new computer technology and its introduction into classroom delivery, and associated developments such as distance/online access and delivery, preparation of intranet material, development of school/college-to-home online access and delivery, screening of online resources for pedagogical quality and relevance, adaptation of technology for classroom use, and the teaching of web research techniques;

9 The introduction and increased use of computer technology in performing administrative tasks, including reporting, recording assessments and maintaining contact with students and parents as well as administrative work involved in technology maintenance. Specifically to TAFE, the introduction of the electronic educational management systems including computerised Class Management System (CLAMS), e-mail, online lecturing and accessing of course information and TAFE and Board of Studies documents;

10. Increased expectation and necessity for self-education, and for training and development to be provided by teachers to other teachers, as a result of a lack of provision of training and development by the Department;

11. Increasing demands placed on permanent teachers as a result of the increasing use of short-term casual and overseas trained teachers;

12. Increased behavioural problems among students and greater expectations and accountabilities with respect to behaviour management, including negotiation and mediation, risk identification, dealing with racial/cultural vilification, dealing with traumatised adults and children, and appropriate record-keeping and reporting;

13. Greater parental, student and community expectations, resulting in higher demands placed on teachers with respect to educational and behavioural standards, greater demands by parents for regular and detailed reporting, feedback and follow-up on individual students, parental aggression, and a more litigious environment requiring considerable care in dealings with parents and the community and in record-keeping;

14. Deterioration in the physical conditions of schools and TAFE colleges and inadequate provision of resources such as computer facilities and textbooks, placing greater strains on teachers as well as greater demands to maintain an appropriate learning environment;

15. Greater demands of teachers resulting from the introduction of global budgeting. In TAFE, competitive tendering, requirements to write submissions, undertaking commercial courses, requirements to generate income and access funding from external sources and the requirement (reflected in the current award) to generate Annual Student Contact Hours;

16. An increasingly competitive environment in which schools and TAFE now operate, involving a private school system operating with significantly increased government funding and support, the growth of private vocational and technical training providers, and greater specialisation and competition within the public school and TAFE systems, which has added to the demands, work pressures and accountabilities of teachers and has required them to engage in marketing activities;

17. Structural changes within the Department of Education and Training which have involved the significant devolution of authority, both financial and administrative, to schools, which has had the result of adding to the duties and responsibilities of teachers. Further such devolution is expected in the light of recent announcements of reductions in Department of Education and Training staff.

See: Crown Employees (Teachers in Schools and TAFE and Related Employees) Salaries and Conditions Award, Re [2003] NSWIRComm 479 - FB of IRC - 19 December 2003.

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