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Teacher Workload – A novel approach in new Catholic EA

Needless to say, any attempt to improve teacher workload, first requires that a full time load is formally defined. The Catholic Schools EA has contained quite detailed codification of teacher workload for many years. Many AIS schools however are strongly resisting the definition of teacher workload for the obvious reason of not wanting to be held to it.

In the interests of providing a mechanism for relieving some pressure on teachers, particularly those working at the upper end of the range, the IEU eventually agreed to a Catholic employer proposal to reduce Student Contact Time (SCT) by a minimum of 40 hours a year from 2023. (EA Clause 78)

The new entitlement is called School Directed Non-Contact Time – SDNCT – with the mechanism being left open to each school.

The existing maxima of 24 hours per week (Primary) and 22.5 hours per week (Secondary) would remain but each school would determine how they would reduce the average for a full time teacher to 23 or 21.5 hours per week over the year. Schools would then be able to utilise those hours for other purposes such as PD, report writing days, pupil free days, faculty planning etc.

The record keeping and planning are going to be quite complex. For each individual teacher, there will need to be kept a record of Student Contact Time (SCT) used by the school to satisfy the SDNCT requirement. There will also need to be accounting for any ‘normal’ Non-Contact Time (NCT) lost at the school’s direction as the EA specifies that the use of NCT is teacher directed rather than school determined.

If the arrangements for 2023 are not planned in detail during term 4 this year, the danger will be that 2023 may finish with a less than 40 hour reduction for all or some teachers. Those most likely to be negatively impacted are part-timers and staff who do not work the full year. The SCT reductions may be planned for times they were not working.

Re-crediting of NCT lost in this process is another layer of complexity.

The simplest way to make sure the reduction is evenly applied would be for the school to simply set maximum SCT at one hour less when calculating full loads. It will be interesting to see how many adopt this model to avoid the complexities of other approaches.

IEU Organisers will be working with Catholic school branch Reps to keep track of how schools are proposing to reduce SCT from EA maxima and whether the proposals provide the promised reduction for everyone.

Members can email with comments and questions.