Page 5835 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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jurisdiction except the Northern Territory and well below the Australian average of 15.4. The New South Wales student to teacher ratio is 15.7.

The general conditions of service for ACT teachers are based on the ACT public service common terms and conditions and, in most cases, match or better the conditions in any other jurisdiction. The government offer to ACT public school teachers of 26 October 2011 for a new enterprise agreement provides salary parity with New South Wales without increasing face-to-face teaching hours.

The ACT currently has an eight-point classroom teacher incremental scale. The government offer of 26 October 2011 proposes a ninth increment be added to the classroom teacher scale in order to match the New South Wales scale. Under the agreement there will be pay parity with New South Wales for classroom teachers, executive teachers, deputy principals, casual teachers and principals backdated to 1 October 2011. This will be followed by increases totalling seven per cent over the second and third years of the agreement.

Recognising high performing teachers early in their careers will also help to attract and retain quality teachers in ACT public schools. Through previous agreements, the ACT government has already strengthened the performance culture and the focus on educational outcomes for our students. This agreement will deliver a structure that recognises high performing teachers early, progresses them faster up the pay scale and promotes them to higher paid positions in the classroom. Accelerated progression will make it possible for outstanding teachers to reach the top of their salary scales after their fifth year of teaching rather than the usual eight years.

This agreement brings a new career pathway for classroom teachers with the introduction of an executive teacher (professional practice) classification from 2013. The roles and responsibilities of the executive teacher (professional practice) will be focused on classroom teaching and building teacher capacity. The salary for this professional practice role will be at least $100,000 because the ACT government recognises the importance of these outstanding teachers in building the strength for the teaching workforce within their schools and across the entire ACT public school system.

The agreement also provides principals with greater capacity for making decisions at the local school level, decisions which target the needs of their particular school community. For the first time principals will have a say in choosing their own teaching staff to meet the particular needs of their students, thereby helping them to achieve the best possible educational outcomes. Principals will be able to create high performing teaching teams. Teachers with different talents and areas of proficiency will complement one another to form an expert team in every school.

To support quality teaching in every class the ACT government will put in place a transparent career structure system. It will enable excellent teachers to accelerate through their careers without being hindered by the number of years served. The agreement will remove the current requirement for teachers to transfer at the end of their placement periods. This, in turn, will enable principals to continue to drive whole school priorities without the fear of losing corporate knowledge or their lead teachers.

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