Clause 9.6.1 of Ministerial Order 1388 provides that, unless otherwise approved by the delegate, the employment of a person who is not an ongoing employee to an ongoing position in the teaching service will be subject to a period of probation. A person remains a probationer until their employment is confirmed or annulled in accordance with these Guidelines.

The purpose of the probationary period is to ascertain whether the conduct and work performance of the employee meet the standard expected of employees in the teaching service in Victorian government schools before the full rights and responsibilities of ongoing employment are confirmed. Probation also provides support and feedback to an employee in the first year of ongoing employment and complements the induction process.

The probationary and induction processes are closely linked as both span the initial period of employment and both are designed to assist in the integration of new ongoing employees. Appropriate induction complements the probationary process in ensuring that employees are given adequate information and training to enable them to perform the duties of their position efficiently at an early stage. Similarly, the probationary process enhance the effectiveness of induction by requiring regular monitoring and assessment of an employee’s conduct and work performance together with counselling as required.

On employment to an ongoing position in the teaching service a 12 month period of probation is required for employees in the principal and teacher classes and a 6 month period of probation for employees in the education support class. The probationary period for an employee who has at least 12 months service with the employer in the previous 24 months, including any period of fixed term employment, will be up to 6 months for a teacher or 3 months in respect of an education support class employee.

The delegate has the discretion to employ a person on a shorter probationary period or without a probationary period. The offer of employment is to specify whether or not a probationary period is to apply including the duration of the probationary period where one is required.

Circumstances where the delegate may consider it is appropriate to employ a person without the requirement to undertake a probationary period include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • where the person has had a satisfactory period of employment in a similar position
  • where it is considered desirable to offer ongoing employment in order to attract the person to the position
  • where a person’s substantiated record supports that they can satisfactorily meet all the requirements of the position.

Where a person is transferred or promoted during a probationary period the transfer or promotion has the effect of confirming the person’s employment in the teaching service (that is, the probationary period has concluded). This does not apply in the case of a temporary assignment to another school or Department work location during the probationary period. The principal of the base school remains responsible for managing the probation process in accordance with this policy and in consultation with the principal or manager of the assignment location.

A probationary period is not required in respect of the transfer or promotion of an existing ongoing employee in the teaching service or where a person is employed fixed term or on a casual basis.

The conduct and work performance during the probationary period is to be assessed against the standard of work applicable to the employee’s classification level.

The standards of performance and conduct that can be expected of employees are set out in a number of documents or instruments including but not limited to:

  • ministerial orders
  • industrial agreements
  • department policy statements including the Performance and Development Guidelines
  • the Victorian Public Sector Code of Conduct
  • roles and responsibilities statements.

The delegate is responsible for the probation process for employees in the teaching service and for all decisions taken in relation to the outcome of a probationary period. For assistant principals, teachers and education support class employees the principal is the delegate. For principals, the Regional Director is the delegate.

Section 2.4.8 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and Division 6 of Part 9 of Ministerial Order 1388 provide the legal framework for probation. These guidelines set out the process to be used in a probation assessment. All documentation in relation to probation should be placed on the employee’s personnel file.

Introduction to Probation Guidelines - Teaching Service

Reviewed 27 October 2022

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