Member Bulletin Number 7 2021

In this bulletin:

  • Teacher bargaining log of claims finalised
  • 3 wins for the union: School dates, Principal Classification Review, Katherine Housing
  • Festival of Teaching – five free passes for members
  • Quality Educator Award – nominations open
  • Branch elections – Women’s Officer and Indigenous Councillor

Teacher bargaining log of claims finalised
Bargaining for a new enterprise agreement for teachers and assistant teachers begins on Friday 24 June. Our bargaining team consists of the Full-Time Officers plus an additional five members of Executive.

Our initial log of claims has been finalised and endorsed by Executive.

Thank you to all members who have had input into the development of these claims, most of which were adapted from resolutions adopted by our last two Branch Conferences. About 800 members completed our survey, providing valuable information to table in bargaining.

As bargaining proceeds in the coming months, we will keep members updated on negotiations.

3 wins for the union
As this semester comes to an end, we would like to note three important achievements resulting from union activity.

1) School dates
The Department of Education has formalised changes to school calendar arrangements for the 2023-2027 period. This follows an earlier decision to return to four 10-week terms in response to employee feedback.

These latest changes come in response to lobbying by the AEU on behalf of members and are a win for urban teaching staff. The newly gazetted dates will see remote and urban schools operate on the same calendar from 2023 (Gunbalanya excepted), with urban schools no longer commencing a day earlier than remote.

This will end the practice in some years of urban teaching staff having to commence the working year by attending a professional development day on a Friday (or even a Thursday) ahead of an Australia Day long weekend. Like remote schools currently do, urban schools will now finish on a Friday instead of a Thursday at the end of the year.

2) A new principal classification structure
The AEU has fought for a long time to restore permanent employment arrangements for principals. In our last round of bargaining, the union secured a commitment to review principal classifications. In 2019 we spearheaded a push for permanency in response to the government’s executive contract pay freeze.

These efforts have now culminated in the announcement of a new seven-grade principal classification structure commencing in Term 3.

Some of the improvements in the new arrangements include:

  • A fairer and more transparent classification structure, with descriptors explaining principal levels;
  • All principals to have the option to be employed permanently (a contract option to remain for the four highest grades);
  • Ongoing principals will have six weeks of stand down in addition to six weeks of recreation leave;
  • All principals will be able to access to a higher pay point within their classification;
  • Remote principals who become ongoing will be entitled to teacher EA allowances such as the Remote Incentive Allowance.

Many small schools were reclassified upwards in the review, in recognition that the work of principals in these schools was undervalued. Effectively this means that many principals in small schools will receive well-deserved salary increases (in some cases they will have to apply for and win their position again through a closed merit process).

For those principals whose schools have been reclassified downwards, transitional arrangements mean there will be opportunities to win a position at their old level. The AEU will support any members requiring advice during the transition period.

Our expectation is that the new classification structure will be embedded in the next teacher enterprise agreement – this will be a topic during bargaining. The Commissioner has also requested a review of the new arrangements within five years to assess its impact.

3) Review of Katherine housing brought forward
Members in Katherine township are concerned about the impact of the phasing out of old head leasing arrangements on teacher recruitment and retention. In response to pressure from the AEU, the Department has now agreed to bring forward a planned review of housing arrangements in the town. A third party consultant will be identified and commence work in Term 3.

Festival of Teaching – five free passes for members
The AEU is proud to again sponsor the biennial Festival of Teaching, which will take place at Palmerston College on Saturday 28 August.

As part of our sponsorship, the NT AEU will pay (or reimburse) the registration cost of five current financial members to attend the event (but not associated travel and accommodation costs). Please indicate your interest by emailing the office.

Quality Educator Award – nominations open
Nominations are now open for the AEU NT’s 2021 Quality Educator Award, an annual award to recognise one member’s outstanding contribution to NT public education.

The winner will receive a prize valued at $1000 generously donated by Fleet Network and our intent is to announce the winner at the Festival of Teaching on 28 August.

If you have a colleague who is doing exceptional work, please consider nominating them for this prize. Applicants should address the following criteria with examples that show skill in the following areas:

  • Creates innovative and engaging learning
  • Demonstrates a significant positive impact on students
  • Has a great rapport with parents, students and colleagues

This award is open to all financial members of the AEU NT (with the exception of Branch Executive members) currently working in NT schools or educational facilities.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 30 July 2021. More information and a nomination form are available here.

Branch elections – Women’s Officer and Indigenous Councillor
A postal ballot election conducted by the AEC will take place to fill vacancies on our Executive for the position of Women’s Officer and Indigenous Councillor. All financial members are eligible to vote in these elections. Candidate statements will be distributed next week. The ballot will open on 6 July and close on 16 August.

New Principal Classification Structure
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