If you are in your second or third year of teaching, it’s time to get serious about accreditation at Proficient.
Why? Many enterprise agreements (EA) actually stipulate a pay rise associated with accreditation at Proficient. In some agreements, it’s also tied to years of service. You need to read your workplace’s agreement carefully to find out if your pay is affected by accreditation at Proficient and if it is also time sensitive. You can ask for more help understanding your agreement from your IEU organiser.
For example, in 3 Band schools, you need to get your Proficient accreditation before a certain date in order to be paid in the following year at Band 2 (the ‘date’ differs between schools). In other agreements, including the new Catholic systemic schools EA, the pay step is also related to time served in a NSW classroom.
The amount of teaching days in a school year differs between agreements, but it’s roughly about 205 days. This means if you are casual, temporary or part time (or started off that way), it might take you a couple of years to reach a full year of service. For example, if you have done 130 days in 2013 and 40 days in 2014 and 25 days so far in 2015, you have only just finished your first year of teaching service in terms of most agreements. That means you have another 205 days to go until eligible for the pay rise.
Accumulator app helps you keep track
One way of keeping track of days you have worked across multiple sectors is the IEU’s new Accumulator app. It’s a simple app that allows you to enter days you’ve worked at multiple schools. It will add up all of the days and warn you when you’re approaching a threshold. Then you need to collect together statements of service/payslips and let each employer know how many days you’ve worked as a teacher. Each employer will have a different process as to how to apply for recognition of teaching days elsewhere, so best to get in contact with them about what they need and when they need it.
It’s important to remember, however, that there’s a difference between an agreement stipulating a pay rise = number of days + accreditation at Proficient, and BOSTES requirements.
BOSTES don’t have a requirement for numbers of days served in order to achieve Proficient, but they give a guideline of about 180 days (nearly a year) that should include continuous teaching practice equivalent to 6-8 weeks (but not necessarily consecutive days).
Continuous teaching practice might mean a block, but can simply mean a regular employer at the same school. Continuous practice allows you to develop your skills within a static environment but also allows the teacher accreditation authority to see you demonstrate the Proficient descriptors of the Standards.
Employers can’t hold back
Remember accreditation is about demonstrating the Standards at Proficient. It is not about time served. You should submit your documents when you are comfortably demonstrating the Standards, which means that employers shouldn’t hold you back from accreditation simply because you might cost them more money. If your Teacher Accreditation Authority (TAA) even flippantly suggests that they can’t afford to give you accreditation, get in contact with the Union. On the other hand, if your TAA says they cannot accredit you, ask for feedback about which descriptors they have doubts about, and work towards demonstrating those. Get this advice in writing, or confirm what you understand by email.
Right now we are halfway through 2015. If you are in your second year of teaching service, you should try to finish your accreditation at Proficient documents. You should talk to your school about aiming to get your accreditation done by the beginning of November. This allows time for feedback and associated changes, and also for the document to be processed by the TAA (who is not always on campus). It also means that if you are subject to a time sensitive agreement, your pay rise can be processed at the proper date in 2016.
The IEU’s new Accumulator app is free and available to all. Apple users: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/ieu-nsw-act-accumulator-app/id982497635?mt=8
Tax help available online
The HECS-HELP benefit is designed to encourage graduates of some types of courses to take up employment in specified occupations, including education.
The benefit was introduced on: 1 July 2010 for education and nursing graduates. Details: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Study-and-training-support-loans/In-detail/HECS-HELP-benefit/HECS-HELP-benefit-for-maths,-science,-education-and-nursing-(including-midwifery)-graduates/?page=1#About_the_benefit