AEU Victoria has secured a new Enterprise Agreement for government school staff, winning significant improvements to address the workload crisis, the high levels of insecure employment and better pay for Victorian teachers, principals and support staff.
Meredith Peace, president of AEU Victoria, said the agreement delivers relief for school staff who have been stuck in a cycle of endless overtime.
“Negotiations have been on foot for 12 months and school staff were prepared to take stopwork action to make sure ever-increasing workloads were addressed. Teachers are working on average 53 hours a week and principals 60 hours a week.
“When teachers are expected to work unrealistic hours it is ultimately students who miss out on the support they need in the classroom. We are pleased we have been able to reach an agreement that addresses this growing crisis."
Under the agreement, teachers get four additional days each year over the life of the agreement to focus on the core work of teaching and learning – to do planning, preparation, assessment, collaboration and curriculum development.
“We have been able to get a deal that will see our members recognised for the contribution they make to children’s lives every day," says Peace.
She says the key role of principals as educational leaders has also been recognised through a range of measures, including salary increases of 4% per year, payments for network leaders, new consultation provisions and a commitment from the government to continue working with the AEU to address ongoing workload concerns.
The agreement also delivers 3,000 new learning specialists: teachers who are highly accomplished classroom practitioners.
"The creation of these new roles will mean teachers have improved career pathways," says Peace. "Experienced teachers who want to advance their careers but still stay in the classroom can take on classroom leadership roles, and work with other staff to continue to improve teaching and learning in our schools."
The agreement will also see many thousands of teaching and support staff in schools move from short-term contract employment to permanent, secure employment.
"It is by the actions of AEU members across the state that we have been able to achieve this outcome," says Peace.
“This is a great win for teachers, principals and support staff. It will mean we see fewer teachers leaving the profession, and stronger educational outcomes for students."