AIS stalls on salaries while some schools STEP UP

The Association of Independent Schools (AIS) has indicated it is uncertain about pay increases for this year. Further, the union understands the AIS doesn’t intend to visit schools until March/April to determine pay rates for 2021.

April is too far away to achieve what teachers, support staff, principals and business managers and budgets require – certainty and predictability. The AIS not knowing takes us nowhere.

How did we get to this position?

The AIS commenced bargaining for a new multi-enterprise agreement (MEA) in late 2019. Following a six month pause in the bargaining, the AIS finally agreed to recommence negotiations with the union. Meetings were held between the union and the AIS on 5 November, 24 November and 17 December 2020. Further meetings are scheduled for 15 February, 15 March and 29 March. A central position on salaries for 2021 has not been determined by the AIS. IEU members have had to approach schools directly to find out about intended pay rises.

What’s next?

The union accepts that the student census in week three of February will provide firm student numbers upon which federal government funding is based. School budgets stem from the census figures. It is critical that union members in schools where offers of less than 2% have been made, meet as a chapter and seek pay parity. Union organisers are available to assist in convening meetings and moving endorsed motions forward.

The vast majority of independent schools were lavish in their praise of how their staff managed and responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. And rightly so. The missing dimension is pay outcomes in line with Catholic, Christian and government schools.

Schools paying 2% or more

Abbotsleigh Senior School
Al Zahra College
All Saints Grammar Secondary
The Anglican School, Googong
The Armidale School
Arndell Anglican College
Ascham School
Aurora Steiner School
Barker Senior College
Biala Special School
Bowen College, Youth off the Streets (YOTS)
Burgmann Anglican School
Byron Community Primary School
Canberra Girls’ Grammar, Junior Campus
Canberra Girls’ Grammar, Senior Campus
Canberra Grammar School
Central Coast Grammar School
Claremont College
Craig Davis College (YOTS)
Danebank School
Eden College (Koch Centre for YOTS)
Elouera Special School
Emanuel School
Hunter Valley Grammar School
Inaburra School
Inner Sydney Montessori School
Kambala Girls School
Karuna Montessori Preschool
Key College, Chapel Campus, (YOTS)
Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart
Kinross Wolaroi School
Knox Grammar School
The Lakes College Blue Haven (YOTS)
Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar Primary
Loreto Kirribilli
Macarthur Anglican School
Macquarie Anglican Grammar
Malek Fahd Islamic School
Mamre Anglican School
Meriden School
Monte Sant’Angelo Mercy College
Montgrove College
Mount Annan Christian College
Newcastle Grammar School
Newington College
Northside Montessori Preschool
Nowra Anglican College
Oran Park Anglican College
Orange Anglican Grammar School
Pacific Coast Christian School
Pacific Hope School
Pacific Valley Christian School
Penrith Anglican College
Pittwater House Grammar School
Presbyterian Ladies College, Croydon & Armidale
Pymble Ladies’ College
Queenwood School
Radford College
Ravenswood School for Girls
Reddam House, Senior School
Redfield College for Boys
Richard Johnson Anglican School
Roseville College
Rouse Hill Anglican College
Sathya Sai Primary School and College
SCEGGS Senior and Junior School Redlands
SCEGGS Darlinghurst
Scots All Saints Bathurst
Shellharbour Anglican College
Sherwood Hills Christian School
Snowy Mountains Grammar School
St Andrew’s Cathedral School
St Catherine’s School
St Euphemia College
St Luke’s Grammar School
St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox College
St Mary and St Mina Coptic Orthodox
St Mary and St Mina Coptic Christian
St Paul’s College
St Peter’s Anglican College
St Stanislaus College
Sydney Montessori School
Tangara School for Girls
Thomas Hassall Anglican School
Valley Hope School Townsend
William Clarke College
Wollemi College
Wollondilly Anglican College
Woodbury Autism Education and Research

To this end, IEU members in AIS schools have had a lot of contact with their organisers. Member concern at being ‘left behind’ is valid.

Teachers in NSW Catholic systemic schools and government schools have been in receipt of a 2.28% increase since the first full pay period in January. Schools represented by Christian Schools Australia and Christian Education National (46 schools) are paying teachers 2.3% in February 2021, 2.3% in February 2022 and 2.5% in February 2023. The Independent Christian Schools NSW Teachers Multi-Enterprise Agreement will pay teachers 2.25% in February 2021, 2.25% in February 2022 and 2.25% in February 2023.

Members’ action at school level has resulted in more than 90 schools indicating (in writing) they will pay 2% or better from 1 February 2021.

The vast majority of independent schools were lavish in their praise of how their staff managed and responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. And rightly so. The missing dimension is pay outcomes in line with Catholic, Christian and government schools.

Research undertaken by Associate Professor Rebecca Collie at UNSW based on 325 teachers’ responses found that “the COVID-19 pandemic placed teachers in a situation likely to increase the challenges they already faced, potentially heightening the risk of negative personal outcomes, such as illness and exhaustion.”

Associate Professor Collie went on to explain that “school leaders and senior teaching staff can promote teachers’ initiative and empowerment by encouraging their participation in decisions and making general efforts to support them in their work.” A key ingredient of ‘support’ for teachers is ensuring that pay increases are commensurate with other sectors.

Some 90 schools have stepped up and backed their teachers and support staff by providing pay increases from 1 February 2021 of 2% or more in one or two instalments. The MEAs expire on 31 January 2021 but remain in force until agreement is reached for a new MEA. The union will provide regular updates to members.

The IEU website has a ‘map’ of pay outcomes for independent schools. Please check the schools in your area. IEU organisers can provide details of the funding your school receives from the Federal Government.