Protocols for teacher's aides 'acting up' in ASPECT schools

In 2004 a proposal was agreed between the IEU and Autism Spectrum Australia (ASPECT) which acknowledged that from time to time ASPECT has problems with the availability and engagement of casual teachers on short notice.

The proposal recognised that, due to unique circumstances and the special needs of its students, an aide ‘acting up’ to continue with the prepared day plan in the event a casual teacher could not be found was a less disruptive option than a re-organisation of classes that would interrupt the consistency and routine essential to the children’s behavioural needs.

A set of protocols were embedded within this proposal that ensured fair processes and remuneration for aides ‘acting up’ under such circumstances.

The IEU recently met with ASPECT to address the Union’s concerns about the issue of replacing teachers absent from work with teacher’s aides.

It has come to the IEU’s attention that these protocols have not been consistently applied and the Union has met with ASPECT to come to an agreement which addresses this concern. Most improvements sought by the Union have been incorporated. ASPECT will send the resulting policy document to schools this week to clarify the process.

The higher duties allowance will apply on any whole day a teacher’s aide is required to replace a teacher for a day or more. Aides therefore cannot be requested to act up for part of a day and in the event a teacher is not present for part of a day aides may supervise a small group of students as per the multi-enterprise agreement.

The acting up allowance will not be used as a less expensive option to the employment of a teacher.

The appointment will be made and confirmed in writing by the coordinator/principal. The higher duties allowance will not apply unless the appointment has been made in writing prior to commencement of duties (pre-approved).

A teacher’s aide may refuse the request to take on higher duties.

The role of the teacher’s aide if acting up is to continue with the prepared day plan while supervising students. There is no expectation of programming or creating lesson plans.

It is agreed that a teacher’s aide may be required to work additional hours while ‘acting up’, for example preparation time before class or bus duty. This additional time will be remunerated at the casual rate plus the higher duties allowance. The Union sought this provision to address members’ concerns.

Another aide will be assigned to the class to assist the aide acting up. The regular class aide will be the acting up aide (unless the request to do so is refused).

An ASPECT teacher will be on site and available for the delivery of curriculum, if required. The employment of a qualified casual teacher is the preferred option and this agreement is not to impact on the employment of teachers. The acting up allowance will not be used as a less expensive option to the employment of a teacher.

The acting up pay rate is $9.79 per hour and applied to ‘agreed hours’ worked ie if an aide is required to prepare class beforehand or attend to bus duty, the aide will be paid for this time. The rate will be renewed annually and indexed to CPI. An indexation mechanism was specifically sought by the Union however, CPI, while adequate, was not our preferred position.

Members should contact their Union organiser on 8202 8900 if they have any concerns regarding the implementation of this policy at their school.