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AEU improving the deal for beginning teachers

Mary Bluett AEU branch president


NE of the key functions of a union is to improve the wages and conditions of employment for its members. Last year after a long campaign by school ­teachers and the AEU we struck a better deal with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in the form of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2008. It sees better conditions won for school teachers, especially around the use of contract employment, and significantly improved salaries. Every three years, the AEU renegotiates teachers’ pay and conditions with the Victorian Government. In preparation, the AEU assembles a log of claims put forward by its members — a document containing the amendments or additional features they wish to see in the agreement. The AEU presented its log to the State Government in late 2006, negotiating with the Government throughout 2007 and much of 2008. Talks broke down because the Government refused to put forward any additional money for salaries beyond a pay offer of 3.25%, and also refused to commit to reducing contract employment and cutting the workload of graduate teachers. Through the efforts and commitment of its members, the AEU campaign compelled the Government to guarantee annual across-the-board pay rises well above 3.25% and to restrict the use of contract employment. The VGSA 2008 recognises that a well-paid and well-resourced teaching

profession is the best way to ensure Beginning teacher salaries that the best people are attracted Start in 2008 $46,127 and retained in teaching, which in Start in 2010 $53,996 turn will provide the best education to Victorian students. If you wish to have a say in the future of the profession and want to see these sorts of improvements in the future then make sure you get involved in your union and help make the difference. The first step is to join up. ◆

VGSA 2008–11

• Annual pay increases as well as annual incremental advancement for teachers during the agreement • Reduction in contract employment, offering teachers greater job security • No increases in face-to-face teaching hours and class sizes for the life of the agreement.

Your career — your union


he AEU is committed to supporting new teachers. As well as the traditional industrial work that the AEU does (winning you higher wages, better conditions and providing legal and workplace support), we also run many conferences, workshops and online content for people new to the profession. The New Educators Network is your link to the

u­ nion — a group set up to support and bring together graduate and student teachers. And there’s an NEN group on Facebook. To keep up to date, meet new teachers and share your experiences check us out on the AEU website at and join our Facebook group at ◆

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 : u v i c . a s n . a u

Search engine

Finding your first job can be a daunting experience. But there is a centralised one-stop place you can go to search for jobs and make your applications — Recruitment Online. James Rankin fills in the details.


ICTORIA’S government schools teach almost 70 per cent of all school students in Victoria. They should be the first stop for graduates looking for a teaching job in primary or secondary schools. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development uses an online system called Recruitment Online to advertise all positions of six months or more. For positions of 30 days up to six months, the school can employ a teacher directly on contract without advertising the position. As a graduate, now is the time to view the job postings online and make contact with schools to let them know when you are available. Remember though, to take up any teaching position in Victoria you must first be registered or have permission to teach from the Victorian Institute of Teaching. Recruitment Online can be accessed through the DEECD website’s human resources section ( — click on “Careers and recruitment” and follow the links or go there directly at Click on “Search current vacancies or apply for a position now”. This will lead you to the “Careers” page where it is recommended that you first register with Recruitment Online before starting a job search, as registering is mandatory when applying for any vacancies. Next click on “advanced search” which will allow you to choose various school regions to search within. From here you can save your settings and then begin your search. Recruitment Online constantly adds new positions so make sure you


Teacher Graduate newsletter | spring 2009

check back regularly. Recruitment Online also acts as a database that principals can use to search for suitable applicants for specific positions. To be registered you need to complete an online profile and resumé and then

submit it to the “talent pool”. Once you have chosen a position to apply for you will need to write and submit an application. This can be done using Recruitment Online (with a Word attachment) or directly to the school via email, post, or hand delivery. Your application should consist of a brief introductory letter or cover sheet identifying yourself and the position for which you

are applying, your resumé with relevant documentation, and a detailed response to the selection criteria set out in the job advertisement. Before completing the selection criteria, it’s a good idea to access the school’s website to learn more about the school and its priorities. It is also a good move to telephone the job contact person to ask intelligent questions about the school or even arrange for a tour of the school. This shows that you are both interested in the school and thorough in your application. While graduates can apply for general vacancies, DEECD also runs a special Teacher Graduate Program. Here schools are able to advertise positions solely to teachers who have graduated within the past four years and are not employed by the DEECD at the start of the advertised vacancy. Aside from applying through Recruitment Online, some schools also advertise in the employment section of The Age under education. Also, don’t forget to use your own networks — friends, relatives, teachers, principals, lecturers, local schools, and so-on — to promote yourself and find suitable vacancies. Finally, graduates may also consider casual relief teaching (see page 4). If so ensure you mention you are available for CRT work in any introductory letter you write for vacant positions. Graduates can register with CRT agencies that will help place you in temporary non-contract positions of less than 30 days’ duration. However, keep in mind that CRT agencies will take around 10% of your CRT rate — currently $243.40 per day — as a fee. ◆

Getting the job A good application will get you only so far — to win the job you’ll need to pass the interview. How do you give yourself the best chance of success? James Rankin AEU graduate organiser


N INTERVIEW is a crucial part of applying for a teaching position and will often determine whether you get the position you want. In government schools, interviews for all advertised positions of more than six months are conducted by a selection panel of at least three people. The panel will usually interview five or six candidates who have been placed on a shortlist because they are judged as best meeting the selection criteria for the position. The purpose of the interview is to assess the relative merits of each applicant who has reached this point. This means the panel will ask questions that relate directly to the selection criteria. While you may have applied for jobs at a range of schools, once you have an interview lined up it pays to prepare thoroughly. The first thing you should do is make sure you are familiar with the selection criteria and go over your written responses to them. Use your knowledge of the school and its specific programs. This information can be gained from the school handbook, strategic plan, website or any contacts you may have at the school. Think about the possible questions you could be asked and how you would reply — the panel will want to know why you are applying for this particular position at this particular school. The interview panel will be looking for concrete evidence that you can meet each of the selection criteria, so have examples ready which illustrate your relevant knowledge, skills and abilities. Use your course content and teaching round experience to show that you are aware of issues which face classroom teachers and have thought about ways to facilitate and improve student learning. Come to the interview knowing that you will be asked questions about areas such as the content of teaching and learning, programs and methods for particular curriculum areas, current educational developments, teaching practice (such as identifying individual learning needs and using teaching strategies

❛The first thing you should do is make sure you are familiar with the selection criteria and go over your written responses to them.❜ to enable all students to achieve success), classroom management, assessment and reporting, a contribution to the wider school program and the use of information (learning) technologies. ◆

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Getting serious about

going casual

If you’re looking for a job — or maybe don’t want to commit yourself to full-time work — casual relief teaching is an option. But what is a CRT, and what does it involve? James Rankin AEU graduate organiser


MPLOYED by the hour, by the day or by the week, casual relief teachers are the emergency troops of the teaching world. When teachers drop with the flu, take training courses or are away for any unexpected reason, schools turn to CRTs. In order to teach, CRTs must have completed an approved course of teacher training and be registered or have permission to teach from the Victorian Institute of Teaching. Unlike other teachers, CRTs are not employed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). Instead, they are employed directly by school councils. That means CRTs are not covered by the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2008. Their conditions of employment, including wages and grievance procedures, are set out in Ministerial Order 200 (find out more at However in line with the pay increases won by teachers in the VGSA 2008, the DEECD has committed to increasing CRT day and hourly wages in line: 14 August 2008


3 January 2010

CRT Hour Rate




CRT Day Rate




The current rate of pay includes a 15% loading as CRTs are not entitled to paid recreation leave, personal leave or public holidays. A school is required to pay superannuation to any teacher who has earned more than $450 from CRT work at that school in that month. CRTs may also be engaged on an hourly basis. The minimum period of CRT work is three hours, paid to the nearest 15 minutes. Six hours of CRT employment constitutes a full CRT day (excluding an unpaid 30 minutes for lunch). Overall, the maximum CRT work is 38 hours per week which should be applied

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on a pro-rata basis if the employment is for less than one week. When starting a fixed term contract or ongoing position, CRT work is included as approved teaching experience. That means a teacher with 200 days or 1200 hours of documented CRT experience will be able to apply for an increment to the next salary level. Therefore it is important for teachers to obtain and keep school records to provide evidence of all CRT work. Principals are asked to provide a letter on school letterhead detailing the extent of the CRT work undertaken by that teacher in each financial year. It is important that these letters be included with the teacher’s statement of earnings, as a means to verifying CRT work. For further information concerning CRT work, contact AEU vice president Peter Steele on (03) 9417 2822 or email ◆

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Teacher Graduate newsletter | spring 2009

GT Newsletter Term 3 2009  

Graduate Teacher sector newsletter Term 3 2009

GT Newsletter Term 3 2009  

Graduate Teacher sector newsletter Term 3 2009