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Significant workload improvements for Victorian Catholic schools

In what was a hard fought ‘No More Freebies’ campaign, IEU Victoria Branch members stood up and won significant workload improvements in their new Enterprise Agreement.

The new agreement achieves significant improvements for all staff, including better classification structures for education support staff and a fundamental change to the way teacher work is regulated.

It greatly reduces Student Contact Time; so much so, that by the 2024 school year, Primary teachers are doing no more than 21 hours of lessons in a week and Secondary teachers are doing no more than 18.5 hours of lessons in a week.

It introduces the concept of a ‘30 + 8 hour’ model for teacher workload.

Under the agreement, normal attendance time for a Full-time Teacher is 35 hours a week (seven hours per day, commencing at least 10 minutes before the start of the school day), plus up to 3 additional hours as directed by the employer outside these hours.

What teachers do in that 38 hours is further governed, so that:

  • 30 hours per week consist of scheduled teaching and teacher-directed ‘class focus’ time.
  • Scheduled teaching time (commonly called Student Contact Time here) is 21.5 hours for Primary and 19 hours for Secondary. This reduces to 21 hours for Primary and 18.5 hours for Secondary from 2024.
  • ‘Class Focus Time’ – the time for the teacher to do work related to the learning and teaching program. Teachers have the professional autonomy to decide the work they conduct during this time, and they cannot be directed. This time must also be in usable blocks. For Primary teachers it is 8.5 hours per week and Secondary, 11 hours per week, increasing from 2024 to 9 hours for Primary and 11.5 hours for Secondary.
  • 8 hours can be directed by the employer for other tasks, this includes a 30 minute daily paid lunch break, leaving 5.5 hours per week for directed meetings, duties, eating supervision, professional learning.

For many South Australian Catholic teachers, this would mean that they are doing an extra 4 hours of Student Contact Time in a week compared to their Victorian colleagues.

That is 160 extra hours of work a year. This equates to more than 6-weeks extra work a year!

We urge South Australian members in Catholic schools to look to our Victorian colleagues for what it takes to win workload improvements.