For immediate release

The Principals Federation of Western Australia (PFWA) is set to take the McGowan government to task, lobbying for significant reforms to fix the conditions for Education staff at the next round of Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations, due to commence next month.

Among the list of claims it submitted to the Director General of Education today was a call for a 5% per annum salary increase for Principals and Deputies, over three years.

President Bevan Ripp said salary and remuneration of Western Australian school leaders lags far behind our Eastern States colleagues because the other states have simplified and updated their Principal and Deputy Principal Classification classification models, while WA’s has remained unchanged since 1993.

“Currently our Level 3 teachers are paid the same as Level 3 deputy principals and teaching Principals, which is just not equitable or fair,” Mr Ripp said.

“This not only fails to address the differences in the levels of leadership required for a school to be effective but also fails to incentivise teachers to aspire to the highest levels of school leadership.”

Housing is also on the list of issues they want addressed with PFWA challenging the Department of Education and Department of Communities over the lack of accountability regarding the provision of suitable housing for teaching staff in rural and remote areas.

“Regional housing is a key issue in being able to attract good staff to country positions, yet barely a week goes by that we don’t hear from one or more of our members about the truly appalling conditions they’re expected to live in,” said Mr Ripp.

The list of claims PFWA is calling for are:

  • a return to a negotiated salary agreement that will result in WA school leaders being remunerated equivalent to the nation’s highest level;
  • provision of quality, well-maintained housing for regional employees;
  • funding a revised model for the classification of Principals and Deputy Principals in government schools to ensure a significant salary differential between Level 3 Classroom Teachers and Level 3 Principals and Deputies, as well as recognising the complex contexts of each campus of the WA College of Agriculture;
  • the release of Level 3 Principals and Deputy Principals from face-to-face teaching, funded through the Student Centred Funding Model (SCFM);
  • funding administrative support for Principals to cope with the burgeoning workload associated with managing the Occupational Safety & Health agenda;
  • reinstating a previous condition that enables Principals and Deputy Principals to use long service leave entitlements more flexibly;
  • instituting provisions for Principals and Deputy Principals to access executive leadership leave in lieu of additional hours worked.

“The COVID 19 pandemic has really shown us the importance of having a good support system around education staff and why we now need to invest strategically for the long term in the people within public education,” President Bevan Ripp said.

“When people had to supervise their kids’ learning at home, they all of a sudden realised the value of teachers, and sitting above that is the work that Principal and Deputies did in terms of coordinating ongoing learning during the height of the pandemic.”

“It’s time to think about how the future of teaching looks and how we are going to attract education staff to the sector and to regional areas, especially when there are currently few incentives and housing is limited.”

PFWA strongly believes a well-resourced public school system is vital for the future development of the state and nation, and is calling for the West Australian Government to make a long term commitment to improving the State’s public school.

“The current lack of available, quality teachers continues to impact on school performance, workload, recruitment, and parent satisfaction in schools across our state.

“Only innovative and incentive-based strategies will exact the changes our sector so urgently needs to incentivise not only current teachers and school leaders but also the teachers and leaders of tomorrow.

“It’s due to conditions such as these that we’re seeing 60 per cent fewer students choosing teaching for their postgraduate degree and that should be a major concern for this government.”

EBA negotiations are currently scheduled to commence in September.


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Kelly Oversby

GT Communications

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