Union concerns acted upon with changes to school operations


Thursday 26 March, 2019

Union’s concerns acted upon with immediate changes to NT school operations

The Minister for Education has just announced immediate changes to NT school operations that address many of the concerns of the Australian Education Union and our members.

The key changes are as follows:

  • Schools will remain open to students to next week, especially vulnerable children and the children of essential workers.
  • All public schools will be pupil free from Monday 6 April for the final four days of term. Teaching staff will be able to use this time to plan for differentiated education delivery in Term 2 (in what could be a very different model, incorporating methods such as distance learning).
  • “Vulnerable” teaching staff will be able to work from home until further notice, subject to developing a plan with their principal.
  • Principals will be given greater flexibility over the next two weeks to manage operations in accordance with the needs of the staff and their school community.

At this stage Term 2 will commence as scheduled on Monday 20 April, depending on the health advice at the time. It is of course not possible to predict what the situation will be in three weeks’ time.

The AEU NT negotiated these changes in recent days in conjunction with other key stakeholders. They are in line with changes occurring in other jurisdictions such as South Australia and Tasmania.

The AEU NT will continue discussions with the Department on the scope of operations over the next two weeks, ensuring that teacher workloads are managed carefully.

The union will also engage in urgent discussions with the Department and other agencies about the new movement restrictions coming into force under the BioSecurity Act and how these will impact on remote teachers.

AEU NT President Jarvis Ryan said: “These changes are a welcome acknowledgment that just carrying on pretending it was business as usual was not a viable proposition for Territory public schools.

“The Minister’s announcement is a circuit breaker. It shows the NT Government has listened to the concerns of our union and its members, by acknowledging the growing stress level of teachers, principals and other school-based staff. This announcement will come as a great relief to educators.”