The Directorate worked collaboratively with key internal and external stakeholders to build new systems and processes to empower our leaders to build, develop and retain the teams they need to build and sustain community confidence in our services. We also developed strong initiatives to strengthen organisational resilience and to retain quality employees across the Directorate.
Focus on Teacher Quality
The Directorate's Strategic Plan 2014-2017, Education Capital: Leading the Nation identifies the key priorities of quality learning and inspirational teaching and school leadership to build teacher quality. Three initiatives implemented under the current teaching staff enterprise agreement gained prominence throughout 2013-14 as key initiatives in attracting, retaining and developing high quality teachers in ACT Public Schools.
- Executive Teacher Professional Practice is a leadership position with a focus on developing teacher practice. The 41 teachers selected for these positions model exemplary teaching practice, coach and mentor teachers, interns and student teachers; lead professional learning at the school; and actively participate in school-based development and implementation of effective curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices.
- Accelerated incremental progression recognises and rewards early career teachers who demonstrate outstanding performance in the classroom, with an additional salary increment. Five teachers received a salary increment after engaging in a rigorous assessment process throughout 2013-14.
- Additional beginning teacher support provided reduced face-to-face teaching hours for first year teachers to facilitate coaching and mentoring programs designed to meet their developmental needs.
The Directorate launched Connection, Collaboration, Careers, Leadership: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan 2014-2017 and associated promotional resource Our Mob...Our Stories in December 2013. A strong focus of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan is to become an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To do this the Directorate will work to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff moving into leadership and management roles, as well as support pathways into teaching for new and current administrative staff.
A key component of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan is to support schools to build strong reciprocal relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples engaged in their school communities and create pathways into employment within the local community. Ensuring the Directorate's workplaces are culturally competent and respectful is crucial in both retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and engaging with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Cultural competence training will be progressively enhanced for all Directorate staff through professional learning opportunities.
Classroom Teacher Recruitment
The quality of classroom teachers is the single greatest contributor to improving student learning outcomes. Students do well when they have a series of very good teachers - not by chance but by designa. Principals are best placed to make decisions about their workforce to meet student needs and improve student learning. Local empowerment carries with it the responsibility to plan well and to use available human and physical resources to achieve the best possible outcomes for students.
Workforce planning starts with school improvement goals, analysis of school needs and an understanding of the school workforce profile. It takes a considered approach to:
- securing the teachers and support staff schools need;
- developing the staff schools have; and
- being serious about good teaching and targeting interventions to address underperformance.
The Directorate continued to enable principals to select the right staff for their school. Principals were able to do this by assessing and rating outstanding pre-service teachers in their final year and making early offers of permanency. Principals were also able to assess and rate contract teachers within their school who demonstrated excellence in teaching.
Workforce Profile Reports
Workforce planning is a crucial element of strategic planning for the Directorate. It is a process of analysing the current workforce profile and identifying the capabilities needed from the workforce to meet the Directorate's vision and strategic goals. Quarterly Workforce Profile Reports were developed to enable School Network Leaders to make strategic, evidence-based decisions about the workforce within schools in their network to support workforce planning. The reports provide data on staff numbers, workforce diversity, teacher category, recruitment and separation.
The development of safe workplace cultures is critical to retaining quality staff. The term 'safety culture' describes an organisational culture that, at its heart, has safety, health and wellbeing as its number one priority. Establishing and developing a safety culture is cost effective, increases productivity and efficiency and improves the Directorate's financial bottom line.
For this reason, Workforce Profile Reports provided data on accidents and incidents, compensation claims, staff leave and informal and formal employee relations complaints. This enhanced the ability of School Network Leaders to have conversations with principals about their workforce and to identify 'hot spots' which may require early intervention support.
Flexibility in School Assistant Classifications to Meet Changing Student Needs
The ACT Government has adopted a new enterprise agreement structure. This will replace the existing agreements with new classification-based agreements to apply across the ACTPS. Enterprise agreements that related to the Directorate included:
- Administrative and Related Classifications Enterprise Agreement;
- Infrastructure Services Enterprise Agreement;
- Technical and Other Professionals Enterprise Agreement;
- Allied Health Professional Enterprise Agreement;
- Support Services Enterprise Agreement; and
- Teaching Staff Enterprise Agreement.
All agreements are currently under negotiation with the exception of the Administrative and Related Classifications Enterprise Agreement 2013 – 2017 (the Agreement) which came into operation on 30 May 2014. The Agreement provides for a review of the school assistant classifications with a view to moving from a rigid classification structure for our schools assistants to a more flexible structure. The review is expected to be completed over the next 12 months with the purpose of developing a classification structure that supports career development for school assistants, while meeting the contemporary operational and educational needs of schools.
Strengthening Preschool Assistant Competence
The Directorate recognised that the role of the preschool assistant has grown in complexity, associated with reform to the early childhood sector. A further negotiated outcome from the Agreement provides for the transfer of all preschool assistants from the School Assistant 2 to the School Assistant 2/3 classification. New guidelines were developed to support staff progression through the competency salary barrier.
Conflict Management Coaching
The Directorate has a strong focus on maintaining positive workplace culture through the prevention of conflict. Code of conduct training is undertaken by all school based staff annually. Extensive Respect, Equity and Diversity (RED) training is undertaken by all staff in supervisory positions and this training is extended at the local level to all workplaces. All staff have access to Respect, Equity and Diversity Contact Officers (REDCOs) and REDCOs are located in around 90 workplaces throughout the Directorate. The Directorate also had 23 trained conflict coaches. These coaches supported the informal resolution of conflict where appropriate. These coaches represent all aspects of the Directorate workforce including senior executive, school network leaders, managers, principals, teachers, learning support assistants and building services officers. During the 2013-14 financial year, 25 conflict management coaching sessions were conducted. conflict management coaching is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism which aims to build the confidence and resilience of staff in managing conflict situations and to reduce the number of complaints that proceed to formal investigation.
Performance Management - Administrative and Support Staff Performance and Development Toolkit
The Head of Service launched the ACT Public Service (ACTPS) Performance Framework on 10 July 2013. The Performance and Development Toolkit for administrative and support staff in schools and central office was developed to reflect the changes introduced in the new ACTPS Performance Framework. The Directorate has invested in coaching and training for key stakeholder groups to support them in engaging in quality formal and informal performance conversations. This is strengthening the performance and development culture across the Directorate and supporting schools to build trust, productive relationships and team work through this process.
The Directorate worked towards the goal of ensuring that all administrative and school support staff had a current Performance and Development Plan.
Injury Management Toolkit
The Directorate is committed to ensuring safe, supportive work environments for all staff and improving all aspects of the management of employee injury and illness and subsequent return to work. The Injury Management Toolkit was developed to support principals and managers to understand their roles and responsibilities in managing long term injury and illness in the workplace and ensuring a supported return to work process.
The Toolkit seeks to generate a positive organisational culture by focusing on the productive benefits that returning an injured or ill employee quickly and safely to the workplace has. By responding well and early, principals and managers create a positive and high trust workplace culture and reduce significant financial costs associated with recruiting or retraining new people into the position.
The purpose of the Toolkit is to provide practical guidance and strategies to empower principals and managers to effectively manage injured or ill employees within their workplace and to comply with legislative requirements. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, key elements of early intervention and return to work and rehabilitation processes. It also articulates the difference between compensable and non-compensable case management.
All teaching staff must hold registration, renewed annually, with the ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI). All school based administrative staff require a current Working With Vulnerable People clearance. Strategic partnerships with the TQI and the Office for Regulatory Services were strengthened during the reporting period to ensure the meeting of compliance requirements.
For further information contact:
People and Performance
(02) 6205 9202
a. Hargraves, A., Fullan, M. (2012) "Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School (p. 16)."