Showing posts with label DET. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DET. Show all posts

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Baby Mackenzie & Paternity Leave

Our wonderful baby girl Mackenzie was born on Monday.. After sleeping on the floor in the hospital for three days, I'm glad to be home. Working this week was hard, with little sleep and wanting to spend time with Mackenzie but I know being able to help when the baby goes home is more important after watching other mothers struggle without the assistance of the hospital midwives. My students were understanding and my colleagues supportive so that was good!

I suppose the downside is that I'm not as prepared to help with our baby as I would have been if I had been at the hospital all week. Dr says I need to take two weeks to help with Mum's recovery. I may need to have two weeks recovery from the fluff Mackenzie just did!

Organising leave has been a bit of an experience. The new EBA has clause 34.1 that allows partners to have five days paid leave. Payroll (after initially saying it was like carer's leave and I directed them back to the EBA to check) acknowledged that this was not a sick leave allocation and it was an additional leave allowance.

This raised a second issue that there is no code in HRMIS for relief to be allocated against when I am on Partner leave. AFAIK HRMIS has not been updated for the new EBA leave requirements. Multiple calls to district office has left this unresolved.

All this checking and outlining requirements to relief teachers chewed up my DOTT making it difficult to create enough time to adequately prepare relief lessons and get back to the baby quickly after school to give my wife some respite. I didn't anticipate needing to take off more than a few days. I'm am going to owe some chocolate to our great relief teachers.

Interim reports are due next week, so I need to do them at home between sleeps. Since my HoD is taking my level 3 classes (these classes I know will be ok - albeit they may be more judgemental of my teaching style), I can mark my tests today, collect my Modelling assignments on Thursday, look in on my 10's some time next week and all should be right when I get back.

There's nothing worse than going back after an extended leave and there being a heap of mess, unsettled students and lagging programmes to fix. Hopefully I've done enough.

The big news of the week is no more levelling for assessment. Yay for the minister!

Now to focus on the family for a little while. She's soo cute!

Monday, November 3, 2008

EBA4 Teacher pay rise and the new offer

Here is a link to the DET summary of EBA4

General opinion seems to be to accept the offer which is around 20% over three years (including the 6% we already have) with the next pay increase scheduled for October 09. No back pay to the last agreement. No 15 hrs unpaid overtime (eg. compulsory PD).

I can't say that I am excited - but will be glad when I can focus on teaching and all the fuss about wages and conditions stops.

I suppose I think back to the original questions posed at the start of the campaign.
  • Has the new EBA created a profession with salary and conditions that will attract new teachers? No.
  • Does the new EBA create conditions that will keep existing teachers within the system? No.
  • Has the new EBA energised teachers within classrooms by making a statement that they are a valued part of the community? No.
  • Should we fight further? No. In an economic downturn we should lick our wounds and stand aside.

To my mind the whole EBA process has been a lost opportunity, but now is not the time to resume this fight, it is a time to regroup, accept the small gains and prepare as one (DET, teachers, union, community, media, government) to create a feeling that education is the most critical element of our society.

When we better appreciate, evaluate and express publicly the positive contribution education makes to the community, then and only then will large increases to teaching budgets and salaries be justified.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

EBA3, WA teachers' pay claim and DET

Trolling through the blog log I've noticed lots of searching for details on the new EBA. I'm not an expert but the best explanation that I've found (as we are still waiting on the union and DET detailed explanations) can be found here (again by Marko Vojkovic): - sadly this forum is now closed (updated 1/8/2009)

The new proposal doesn't seem to live up to the hype in the newspapers or the video release by the union (about half way down the following hyperlink.. click on the unflattering picture of Anne Gisborne for nine minutes of monotone summary):

The net result seems to be at best a 1% increase and at worst a 2% decrease after inflation is applied with significant loss in conditions. It does not seem to be inline with Twomey recommendations. We shall await more detail.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The offer that promotes strike action.

Education in Western Australia is currently passing through a time of turmoil with an industrial dispute between the State government (department of education and training ("DET") and the local State school teachers union ("SSTUWA"). Currently the dispute is in arbitration. DET has put forward its statement of claims:

1. 15 hours of PD per year in your own time;
2. One, one hour staff meeting per week;
3. a requirement to be at school 15 minutes before school and 15 minutes after school;
4. Duties of a teacher have been expanded to include planning and preparation of courses of study activities undertaken to enrich the educational experiences of students including camps, music and drama festivals and performances;
5. A clause that says that a teacher can agree to teach hours that exceed the weekly maximum with of course an equivalent reduction in their DOTT time;
6. The vast majority of teachers will receive salary increases of 8.2% by February 2010 compared with their present salary level. Administrators will get 9.8%;
7. Those over 45 with two or more years continuous good service will be required to give five weeks notice instead of the present four to terminate their contract;
(taken from a post on - a local pro-teacher lobby group)

Considering that the above is a change in conditions for a less than CPI increase, teachers are generally unhappy with the proposed changes.

At first glance the offer made to teachers was inflammatory but is underpinned by DET that is in a precarious position. Currently there are not enough teachers to staff hard to teach locations (with many non specialists teaching specialist subjects) and the employment market is buoyant enough for teachers to decline hard to staff locations. It is questionable that any amount of money would staff these locations given housing, behavioural issues and remoteness of some of these locations. Morale in DET schools is fragile with many teachers at the point of breakdown and many contemplating leaving for other employment sectors.

There is a perception that the government does not wish to be a part of the public education sector other than as a safety net provider. University entrance subject provision (commonly known as TEE subjects) in many DET schools is becoming limited with many not providing one or more of English Literature, Geography, Specialist Maths (such as calculus), Physics, Chemistry or Economics - subjects typically available as a baseline. This has been compounded this year with a directive from DET to not offer courses in schools with less than 14 students enrolled in the course. Many courses in year 11 & 12 have needed class sizes smaller than 14 to run (successfully) - typically the more demanding courses.

The current DET behaviour management programme has become teacher oriented with the onus to resolve behavioural issues within the classroom. As academic students leave the public system for private schools and students are forced to exit private schools for behavioural reasons, behaviour in public schools has become an ongoing issue between staff, students and administration.

At least 1000 teachers this year left the sector and did not renew their teacher registration. Many of these were relief teachers that at first investigation experience difficulty in being assigned work and then are faced with the typical difficulties experienced by relief teachers.

New courses were introduced this year with no capability to delay if teachers are unable to prepare adequately for 2009. SSTUWA has banned preparation of the new courses for 2009. This was recently overturned by the state arbiter. The horse though has bolted. With the teacher shortage, low morale, behavioural issues and limited ability to find relief staff for planning it is difficult to see how many schools will adequately provide these new courses for 2009 with significant goodwill from teachers that at present does not exist.

Despite these concerns the state government made no allowance for substantial teacher pay rises in the recent 2008 budget nor seemingly wishes to bridge this gap in goodwill between teachers and their employer.