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Human resources

Work Requirements — Teachers

Allocation of teacher work

The allocation of teacher work is managed by the principal at the school in accordance with the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017. The organisation of teacher work is to be determined by the principal using the consultative provisions of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017.

In considering the allocation of work to teachers, the following components must be taken into account:

  • face-to-face teaching, including rostered classes and extras
  • the work directly related to the teaching and learning program of a teacher’s class or  classes (such as planning, preparation, assessment of student learning, collaboration, professional development and peer observation including feedback and reflection)
  • other duties related to the operation and organisation of the school (such as meetings, student supervision, reporting, organisational duties, implementation of government education initiatives)
  • other factors including class size, curriculum mix, range of ability and age of students, demands and behaviours of those students, resources available and facilities
  • voluntary or discretionary effort, including school camps, concerts, excursions and after-school sport

These components must be considered together when determining the reasonableness of a teacher's overall workload. It is important to distinguish between the work that can be required of a teacher and the work a teacher may choose to undertake. As far as practicable, work should be equitably distributed and the work of an individual teacher is not to be unreasonable or excessive.

Duties required of a teacher for a 38 hour week as set out in the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 are depicted as follows:

Teacher Work

Teacher Work Requirements: Teaching and Learning Focus, Other
Teacher Work

Teacher work

Teaching and learning focus (30 hours)

Face-to-face

Including:

  • rostered classes
  • extras
  • replacement classes
  • home groups

Primary — maximum of  22.5 hours

Secondary — maximum of 20 hours

Related work

Including:

  • planning
  • preparation
  • assessment
  • collaboration
  • professional development
  • peer observation

Primary — maximum of 7.5 hours

Secondary — maximum of 10 hours

Other

including:

  • yard duty
  • bus duty
  • meetings
  • detention
  • lunch
  • assemblies
  • organisational duties

Primary — minimum of 8 hours

Secondary — minimum of 8 hours

Voluntary discretionary effort

Teachers, as professionals, contribute more than their required duties by participating in school camps, the conduct of concerts, after-school sports and so).  This occurs within the context of the whole school year.  Principals should, as far as possible, ensure that discretionary effort is recognised and encourage the sharing of voluntary activities.

Download Teacher Work

A teacher allocated the maximum face-to-face teaching hours is to be allocated 30 hours per week to undertake the work directly related to the teaching and learning program of their class or classes with the remaining 8 hours available for other activities. The actual number of hours for each component ( that is, the 30 hours and the remaining 8 hours) for any individual teacher will vary according to the proportion of face-to-face teaching in accordance with the following formula:

(actual face-to-face ÷ maximum face-to-face) × 30 hours

These provisions apply on a pro rata basis to teachers employed part-time.

A Ready Reckoner is available to assist in calculating the various components of teacher work.

Teaching and learning focus (30 hour model)

Face-to-face

‘Face-to-face teaching’ is defined in the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 as regular rostered teaching sessions in a documented course of study approved by the employer for which the teacher has primary responsibility for educational delivery, and includes sessions of direct student instruction rostered or required by the employer for curricular or pastoral functions involving student supervision, student counselling and consultation.

Extras (classes allocated to replace absent teachers) are considered within the face-to-face teaching maximum.

The Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 specifies the maximum face-to-face teaching hours that a principal may assign to a teacher as follows:

  • for primary teachers — not more than 22 hours and 30 minutes per week
  • for secondary teachers — not more than 20 hours per week unless the teacher supervises sporting activities of students on a structured basis for a period of 2 hours per week in which case the face-to-face teaching hours will be 18 hours 40 minutes per week
  • for a teacher in a P–12 setting — the pro rata of the above having regard to the proportion of teaching performed in years P–6 and 7 to 12 respectively

The actual face-to-face teaching hours required of teachers in a school will be agreed using the consultation provisions of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017. In determining the face-to-face teaching hours of a teacher employed part-time, the arrangements outlined in this section apply on a pro rata basis.

Principals should consider the face-to-face teaching commitments of all teachers. Principals can allocate a full range of duties and responsibilities, as the need arises, providing that the overall work commitment is neither excessive nor unreasonable.

A high level of duties, or activities involving voluntary or discretionary effort, may warrant a reduction in the face-to-face component. Similarly, where a teacher has a lower face-to-face teaching component, additional duties may be allocated.

It should be noted that within the definition of face-to-face teaching, time allowances are not included. However, in the organisation of work at the school level it is common practice to take account of time allowances when determining face-to-face teaching.

The Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 provides for the face-to-face teaching arrangements that will apply in those schools where agreement at the school level using the consultative provisions of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 cannot be reached as follows:

  • for primary teachers — the allocation of assigned face-to-face requirements should provide the opportunity for teachers to perform all of their required duties within a reasonable timeframe and must not exceed 22 hours 30 minutes per week.
  • for secondary teachers — the allocation of assigned face-to-face requirements should provide the opportunity for teachers to perform all of their required duties within a reasonable timeframe. A teacher cannot be required to undertake face-to-face teaching that exceeds an index of 480 (calculated by multiplying the teacher's actual face-to-face hours per week, inclusive of extras, by the number of students in each class). Time allowances are included in the index (calculated by multiplying the actual time allowance hours per week by the average number of students in all of the teacher's classes)
  • for teachers in P–12 schools — the allocation of assigned face-to-face requirements should provide the opportunity for teachers to perform all of their required duties within a reasonable timeframe having regard to the primary and secondary requirements set out above
  • notwithstanding the requirements set out above for primary, secondary and P–12, the work at the school level of teacher librarians, MARC, MACC teachers, visiting teachers and instrumental music teachers may be varied through the consultative process with the agreement of the teacher(s) to meet the particular circumstances of that school or network of schools or regional workplace.

Replacement classes

Replacement classes should be agreed at the school level as part of the consultation on the allocation of teacher work. Replacement classes (extras) should be allocated in an equitable manner, and in the context of the total work of the teacher. Casual relief teachers should be engaged where it is likely that the allocation of a replacement class (extra) will result in a teacher being required to undertake an unreasonable or excessive workload.

The Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 provides for the allocation of replacement classes that will apply in those schools where agreement at the school level using the consultative provisions of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 cannot be reached, as follows:

  1. replacement classes or reorganized classes of equivalent time period, which will not count as an extra, may be assigned to a teacher who loses normal classes for any reason. Such classes may only be assigned within the day normal classes are lost. In November and December of each year as classes are dismissed, teachers may be allocated replacement classes up to 80 per cent of their timetabled allotment. Such classes may only be assigned within the week normal classes are lost
  2. extras will be considered within the face-to-face teaching maximum.
  3. subject to (b) above, unless otherwise agreed at the school, the maximum allocation of extras to a teacher shall be calculated by the formula:

((1150 less the number of face-to-face teaching minutes per week) x 42) ÷ 2 

Note: In those secondary schools where agreement at the school level cannot be reached on the face-to-face teaching that is to apply, and the index set out above is in place, the extras formula in (c) above does not apply as the index operates to include extras.

Related work

From the commencement of the 2018 school year, in addition to face-to-face teaching, teachers may be required to undertake a range of duties consistent with their classification level and directly related to the teaching and learning program of their class or classes such as planning, preparation, assessment of student learning, collaboration, professional development and peer observation including feedback and reflection

A teacher who is allocated the maximum face-to-face teaching hours is to be allocated 30 hours per week (inclusive of face-to-face teaching) to undertake the work directly related to the teaching and learning program of their class or classes. On this basis the following time is available each week to undertake the work directly related to the teaching and learning program of a teacher’s class or classes:

  • 7.5 hours for a primary teacher
  • 10 hours for a secondary teacher

The duties directly related to the teaching and learning program of an individual teacher may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • preparation
  • correction
  • planning
  • assessment of student learning
  • curriculum development
  • collaboration
  • professional development, and
  • peer observation including feedback and reflection

The available time between a teacher’s face-to-face teaching time and the 30 hours directly related to the teaching and learning program of their class or classes should be allocated in useable blocks of time, for example, of not less than 30 minutes, for the purpose of preparation, planning, assessment and correction.

Other duties

In addition to the teaching and learning components, a teacher may be required to undertake other duties not directly related to the teaching and learning program of their classes and may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • student supervision (such as yard duty, bus duty, detention, assemblies, supervising students eating lunch)
  • organisational duties
  • whole school curriculum development
  • implementing government education initiatives
  • meetings

In the distribution of these duties, the following factors are to be taken into account:

  • as far as practicable, the equitable distribution of other duties within the school
  • the relative importance of the various duties to be undertaken
  • the time required to perform the duty
  • the range and frequency of tasks to be performed
  • the classification, salary range, qualifications, training and experience of the teacher
  • the preparation and correction requirements

Allocation of organisational duties

The principal has responsibility for determining the organisational duties, in accordance with the consultation provisions of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017, necessary for the efficient running of the school and the time release (if any) and special payment (if any) applicable for each organisational duty. Where it is determined that an organisational duty should attract a special payment the amount of the special payment may be set at different amounts for each of the teacher class salary ranges.

The Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 sets out the process to be followed when allocating organisational duties as follows:

  • once the organisational duties are determined, teaching staff are to be provided with the opportunity to express interest in one or more of the organisational duties
  • the principal has responsibility for identifying the most suitable applicant for each organisational duty using the merit-based selection process, including the use of a selection panel where appropriate, taking into account the requirements of the organisational duty and the qualifications and experience of each applicant
  • the principal will determine the successful applicant for each organisational duty having regard to the outcome of the merit-based selection process and will offer the organisational duty to that applicant. A successful applicant may decline the offer made
  • should any organisational duty remain unfilled following the process set out above the principal can allocate that duty to any teacher (including a teacher who has declined an offer previously) provided the duty is consistent with the roles and responsibilities that can be required of that teacher and the factors set out above for the distribution of other duties

Other factors

The Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 commits all parties to ensuring all students experience high quality teaching and that they are supported to become effective learners. It is important that students are provided with the highest quality learning conditions and that teachers have every opportunity to deliver quality education.

Teachers should have the opportunity to perform all of their duties within a reasonable time frame and have fair and reasonable conditions including a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. Students should have ready access to their teachers.

In this context, the work allocated to a teacher should, as far as practicable, provide for an equitable distribution of work across all teachers in the school and recognise areas of learning that may require specific consideration, for example, practical classes where the use of equipment or material of a potentially dangerous nature is involved. Having effective health and safety practices in the workplace will assist in identifying, eliminating or at the very least mitigating risk factors that can lead to injury or illness.

Comprehensive information and advice regarding occupational health and safety matters that need to be considered in the allocation of teacher work is available on the Schools Policy and Advisory Library at Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) and Workers' Compensation.

Where a teacher is required to travel between schools, campuses or annexes on any one day, a time allowance commensurate with the time taken to travel and associated logistical requirements will be included in the determination of the teacher's total work requirements.

Class size

Subject to satisfying Government policy requirements and using the consultative processes of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017, each principal has the flexibility to consider class sizes in the context of teaching methodology and curriculum programs.

Established class groupings may be varied to cover the absence of a teacher only when there are no other suitable teachers available within the school and it is not possible to engage a suitable casual relief teacher.

The principal should take into account any workload implications that may arise as a consequence of variations to established class groupings.

In this context, and within the fixed resources provided to schools and the physical facilities schedule, class size should be planned on the minimum possible. Provided that class sizes should be planned on the following basis:

  • P to 6 — an average of 26 provided that the average class size of 21 at P–2 is maintained,
  • 7 to 12 — groups of up to 25 students.
  • principals are required to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and minimises risks to health. Practical class sizes should be determined having regard to available facilities, the nature of the activities, the nature of the equipment used, the maturity and competence of the students and the capabilities of the teacher to provide expert supervision. A practical class includes a subject or course where the use of equipment and, or material of a potentially dangerous nature is involved and, or a class in which students are undertaking manual or other tasks requiring greater individual supervision of the classroom activity
  • schools should plan for the minimum English as an Additional Language class sizes possible given available resources, the educational needs of the students and the total teaching program

In determining class sizes, staff or the union sub-branch may provide the principal with alternatives and, following consultation, staff or the union sub-branch may request that the principal provide reasons in circumstances where class sizes are determined in excess of the planning guidance set out above.

Voluntary or discretionary efforts

Teachers, as professionals, contribute more than their required duties by participating in school camps, the conduct of concerts, after-school sport and so on.  This occurs within the context of the whole school year. Each principal should, as far as possible, ensure that discretionary effort is recognised and encourage the sharing of voluntary activities among staff.

First year teachers 

The primary focus of the classroom teacher in their first few years of teaching is on further developing skills and competencies needed to become an effective classroom practitioner. Ongoing support and development of these teachers is critical for the teachers themselves, the schools in which they teach, the communities in which they play a significant role, and for the students whose futures they shape.

To this end, the work allocated to classroom teachers in their first 12 months of teaching should recognise the need for those teachers to perform all of their required duties within a reasonable timeframe and to participate in the necessary induction and development activities designed to assist these teachers in their first 12 months. Accordingly, within the resources available to the school, the scheduled duties of a classroom teacher in their first 12 months should be reduced by at least 5% over the school week consistent with the allocation of duties at the school.

Mentors of first year teachers

If a teacher is requested to act as mentor for a classroom teacher in their first 12 months the principal should ensure that this role can be undertaken having regard to the total work required of that teacher over the 38 hour week.

Allocation of teacher work for Work Requirements — Teachers

Reviewed 24 March 2020

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