NEWSLETTER SUPPLEMENT TO THE AEU NEWS • February 2009
Help amidst the ruins Education support staff will play an important role in helping communities recover from the devastating bushfires — and the AEU is here to help you. closed for some time. Communities have suffered loss of life and homes. Tragically AEU members were among those killed and many others are homeless.
Mary Bluett branch president
HE bushfires have hit many of our communities directly — and have touched us all. It is times like these that highlight the role schools play in helping students (and often their families) come to terms with difficult and traumatic events. You will continue to play that role. For some in the most affected communities this will be a long process. Three schools — Strathewen Primary School, Middle Kinglake PS and Marysville PS — have been burnt to the ground and many more schools were
AEU support The AEU has released an emergency assistance package for affected schools and members. For details, see www.aeuvic.asn.au — look for the logo above. The package includes: • Immediate financial assistance of up to $5000 for members who have lost their homes • Interest-free loans to assist while insurance claims are finalised. The union will also provide $5000 for those schools burnt down and $1000 for other schools in communities affected. Our credit unions and Teachers Health Federation have also provided practical support and are to be commended for their
quick response. Our legal firm Holding Redlich is providing legal assistance by phone and on the ground in helping with insurance claims. One story out of many While many teachers, principals and education support members have been directly affected (see the next edition of AEU News for much more), I will illustrate with one example. Carolyn Fennell is business manager at Middle Kinglake PS and an AEU member. Her school and her own home were destroyed in the fires which devastated the Kinglake community. Carolyn’s principal, Janette Cook, contacted me, keen to ensure she could access the AEU Member Assistance. Where was Carolyn? Out fighting the fires as a CFA volunteer! ◆
New Year, New Name S
o much has happened that the holiday break already seems a while ago! But welcome back to a new school year. This first newsletter of the year focuses on the new agreement for Education Support (formerly SSO) members. The AEU is committed to ensuring that ES members maximise the benefits of this agreement. That is why we have produced an Implementation Guide and are running information sessions across the state during Term 1. You can find out more about these, and key features of the agreement, on pages 2-3. The backpay from the salary increases should now be in your savings account — or well spent already! As I travel around, many ES members have asked me about the reasons for the
name change from SSO (school services officer) to ES (education support). Here’s why. Schools educate and support our students — this is our prime focus and responsibility. ES staff play a key role in this. Principals, teachers and ES staff work as a team to maximise educational outcomes for students. The new name is recognition of this — it more accurately describes the role of ES staff and gives you professional recognition for the work you do as part of that team. I hope the year ahead is a rewarding one and encourage you to take the opportunities the new agreement provides. ◆ — Mary Bluett
A E U h e a d o f f i c e 112 Trenerr y Crescent, Abbotsford 3067 Tel: 03 9417 2822 Fax : 1300 658 078 Web : www.ae u v i c . a s n . a u
Getting it right The ES Agreement is in place — now we have to put it into practice on the ground. A busy program of AEU meetings and workshops will help you to help yourself. Kathryn Lewis ES organiser
UR new Education Support Agreement has the potential to improve the working lives of ES staff everywhere — and just as importantly, to improve the quality support you provide to our students and schools. But to do that we’ll have to turn the words of the agreement into actions in our schools. The AEU will be here to work with members to develop your understanding of the agreement and help you gain the full benefits. Every member — along with the AEU sub-branch — has a key role in the local implementation of the agreement. To help you, the AEU has already begun a full
program of meetings, workshops, training sessions and publications. You should already have your Implementation Guide (see below). Now come along to one of our meetings. Our main implementation advice sessions are being held in conjunction with our AEU regional meetings this term. We have chosen to use the regional meeting structure because it is important that teaching and ES staff work together to ensure that the benefits of the agreement are realised. ES members and AEU reps are encouraged to attend to ensure that they are informed. Dates and locations will be published in the coming weeks as they are set for each individual region. You’ll find them in the About Us section of the AEU website at www.aeuvic.asn.au/about/.
Your AEU rep at school will be also be sent information about the regional meetings, so let them know that you are interested in attending. It would be great if members organised a contingent from each school to attend so that they can take the information back to school. We also encourage as many members as possible to attend our training courses and forums, which will focus on the new agreement. For dates and venues, see the table opposite. Don’t forget, our organisers are keen to visit your school to work with members to implement the agreement. If you would like to arrange an ES implementation meeting at your school, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. Over to you! ◆
Where do we begin?
Got a question?
ITH so much in the new ES Agreement, you could be forgiven for asking: Where do we start? The answer is — pages 6-7 of the AEU Implementation Guide. It sets out a timeline for putting the agreement into practice. We would recommend all reps and ES members to consider it. First and foremost it encourages members to familiarise themselves with the new agreement. You can do this by attending regional meetings and/or AEU Active training courses. If this is not possible you may consider inviting your AEU organiser to your school to meet ES staff. Once members have had a look at the improvements in the agreement they need to mull over how or if their school will be affected. Some practices or policies may need to be reviewed in the light of the agreement. We suggest that members discuss any areas of concern and form a common view, then develop a plan to address them. Consultation will be central to ensuring that your plan works — and the revamped consultation clause gives you the means to raise your concerns and have them addressed. It is identical to the consultation clause in the Schools Agreement (covering teachers), which means that thorough consultation must be carried out with both ES and teaching staff before any decisions are made that impact on your working conditions. “Working conditions” for ES staff include hours of work, time in lieu, attendance at meetings, time fraction changes, yard duty, and role descriptions, to name but a few. ◆
ES newsletter | february 2009
It’s in the Guide!
VERY education support member and sub-branch rep should now have their own copy of the AEU Implementation Guide — the one stop shop for answers on the new ES Agreement. The handy booklet is your key to putting the agreement into practice. It contains details of all the main features, including how contract staff can gain ongoing positions, the new allowances system, rules on supervision, consultation, grievance procedures and more. Most importantly, it sets out in full the new Dimensions of Work and gives details of how to apply for a range review. This is the ammunition you’ll need to ask for a pay rise if you’re working above your range. Remember, you can now ask for a range review at any time.If you have not received your copy, download it at www.aeuvic.asn.au/sso or call Julie Lynch on (03) 9417 2822 or email email@example.com. ◆
ES Advocate program
Education support members are becoming increasingly involved in the union. The ES Advocate program gives ES members an opportunity to join in AEU activities and meet and work with AEU leadership and organisers. They will take part in AEU briefings and meetings, and join visits to schools to meet other members. So if you are a keen union member and interested in learning more about the AEU and how your union works for ES staff — then this is an opportunity for you. For more information: www.aeuvic.asn.au/sso/sso_advocate. ◆
Ongoing improvements It just got easier for contract staff to gain ongoing employment.
LIGIBILITY for contract ES staff to be converted to ongoing employment has significantly improved in the new ES Agreement. To be eligible you must have been employed continuously for longer than 12 months, either: • In a vacancy that was advertised as longer than 12 months OR • In a vacancy that was advertised as 12 months or less, resulting in two or more fixed periods of employment. When ongoing positions become available at school, the principal should offer them to any eligible employees, as defined above. This can be done at any time during the school year and eligible staff must be considered before positions are advertised externally.
Where more than one person is eligible to be converted but only one position can be made ongoing, an internal merit selection process should take place. To maximise ongoing employment for contract staff, sub-branches and consultative committees should review all contract positions, to check that each is a genuine contract position. Staff who are eligible for conversion to ongoing should be identified and when a suitable ongoing position becomes available, translation to ongoing should be sought. For help and advice on securing greater job security through ongoing employment, contact the Membership Services Unit on (03) 9417 2822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ◆
Training and PD for ES members TERM 1
AEU Active (2 Days) – The New ES Agreement
5 & 6 March
ES Regional Conference — Ballarat
AEU Active (1 Day) – For New Reps
ES Metropolitan Conference
AEU Active (1 Day) – The New ES Agreement
After School Member Forum – Applying for Jobs – Ballarat
After School Member Forum – Applying for Jobs – Gippsland
After School Member Forum – AEU Reps: Your Rights
AEU Active (1 Day) – Consultation
ES Regional Conference – SE Region
After School Member Forum – Consultation
ES Regional Conference – Benalla
AEU Active (2 Days) – The ES Agreement
8 & 9 September
AEU Active (2 Days) – Special Schools
2 & 3 June
After School Member Forum – Application & Interviews
AEU Active (1 Day)
Application & Interviews
All events held at AEU Abbotsford unless noted.
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Refer to our website for current rates
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AEU Active (2 Days) – The ES Agreement
13 & 14 October
After School Member Forum – SRP
ES Regional Conference – Gippsland
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The new agreement ensures greater rewards at last for ES staff who give medical care and support to students. Carolyn Clancy deputy vice president, primary
NE thing was clear from members’ feedback as we prepared to negotiate our new agreement — rewards for staff involved in medical intervention were desperately inadequate. The message was reinforced during our negotiations and meetings with ES members. Members informed us of inadequate practices occurring in schools — some of which severely exploited the goodwill of their staff. In some cases staff were not receiving the allowance. Some were receiving it when no longer responsible for undertaking medical intervention, while others were asked to share their allowance in a pool to go towards professional development. Consequently, we knew we had to address this situation in the new agreement. Medical intervention carries significant responsibility and accountability. ES staff undertaking this role should be adequately remunerated. This is now acknowledged in the new agreement, which removes the old medical intervention allowance. In its place, ES staff undertaking this role will be
classified as at least ES Level 1 Range 2. Any ES in Range 1 who is undertaking medical intervention will require a range review to move them into the correct classification. This request should be made in writing to your principal. Schools need to determine through their consultation processes how best to allocate positions to ES staff to satisfy the medical intervention needs of their students. Positions can be advertised internally — but must be at least at ES Level 1 Range 2. Specific and appropriate training must be undertaken by ES staff who are supporting students with complex medical needs. Training is provided by the Royal Children’s Hospital School Care Program. Schools previously received $599 a year for every student who required medical intervention, as part of their budget, the student resource package (SRP), to pay SSOs who were supporting these students. Schools are now funded through their SRP at $10,000 for each student requiring medical intervention, covering the cost of paying ES staff at the correct classification. Applications for the funding are made to the Student Wellbeing Branch. They are due by
It’s official! I
T’S official — Education Support staff are members of the teaching service. What, you already knew that? Well it seems the Government didn’t — until now. The Education Department has just announced that where it previously referred to school-based staff, it will now refer to teachers, principals and education support staff as members of the teaching service. All are employed by the department under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. The term teaching service will now be used when referring to principals, teachers and ES classes as a group. The memo in question was contained in HRM Online Issue 1-09 January 29 2009. ◆ — Peter Steele vice president, primary
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February 27 to coincide with census day. DEECD has a list of the support procedures that are eligible for medical intervention funding. They include mechanical ventilation, oxygen, tracheostomy care, suction, tube feeding, ostomy and faecal management. DEECD circular S044-2009, Program for Students with Disabilities — Medical Intervention Support 2009, has been sent to principals, giving more detailed information on the support procedures. If you have any questions or wish to discuss this particular area of the agreement, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. ◆
Welcome to new members! T
HE AEU is pleased to welcome the 900 Education Support members who joined the AEU during the SSO Agreement campaign last year. The new agreement has sparked the interest of ES employees, with many seeing why there are so many good reasons to join their union. We need to continue to highlight the importance and value of AEU membership to non-members. Growing membership will give strength and confidence to the voice of ES members as we work to ensure that the entitlements and gains achieved in the agreement are realised. Welcome aboard! ◆ — Kathryn Lewis ES organiser
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ES newsletter | february 2009