Policy Development and Advocacy
SASSLA develops policy positions on employment matters that reflect the interests and aspirations of our members. We undertake research that is designed to generate discussion and engagement with our members and influence Government and Departmental decision making. Through our work we have moved the employment related conditions of leaders into the foreground of policy thinking.
Our key areas of focus:
SASSLA recently contributed to the Federal Government’s Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System in the form of a formal submission available to read here. The submission is focused on three areas we see as topical and important to future employment related education policy. These are:
- The Need for Improved Forecasting of Teacher Supply and Demand.
- Application of Incentives: Benefits and Risks
- Reconceptualising the Paraprofessional Workforce
The issues raised with respect to the paraprofessional workforce (SSOs and ECWs) are drawn from a literature review which SASSLA conducted incorporating national and international research. The work of education paraprofessionals is often neglected in national policy and framed in limited understanding. The literature review is available here. An intrastate comparison attached to the submission highlights the disparate models of paraprofessional employment across Australia.
We believe these topic areas are relevant to form a complete understanding of the importance of strategic human resource management in guiding education change and improvement.
SASSLA and SASPA have collaborated on the development of a concept paper titled Reconceptualising the Principal Role.
The purpose of this paper is to present a powerful and persuasive argument that a fresh look at the principal role is urgently needed. Our approach is to surface the key systemic issues relevant to the principal role that are critical to the future success of our public education system.
We have identified four key fields of enquiry that will assist in gaining a bigger picture view of changes needed:
• Responsibility, decision making and accountability of principals.
• The team around the principal.
• Illuminating good practice in the principal role.
• Towards a new generation of school leaders.
Our paper has been developed through extensive engagement and consultation with our members and draws on national reports and research findings. We will continue to develop our thinking and engage with the Department and Principal Associations at a local and national level.
Click here to read our Position Paper on Workload in EB negotiations.
In term 3 2022, SASSLA visited 12 school sites in the Iron Triangle, Riverland, South-East, Mid-North and Kangaroo Island. The focus of our site visits was to gain an appreciation of the issues and pressures facing principals and their leadership teams.
Our work with country principals has enabled us to develop a more complete picture of the working conditions and challenges facing people in these roles. We have developed a summary report based on our observations which we have provided to the Minister and the Department. You can read the report here.
In 2023 SASSLA will continue to work with country leaders in making sure that their interests are understood and actioned.
- Development and implementation of an improved Band A classification and remuneration structure.
- Reduced teaching load for Preschool Directors.
- A focused and continuing program of amelioration of workload pressures on Band A and Band B leaders.
- Extension of the Workers Compensation Additional Compensation Scheme to the education workforce.
- Improved conditions of contract for Band A and Band B leaders.
- Review and improvement of recruitment and selection practices for Band A and Band B leaders.
SASSLA has collaborated with other SA Principal and Preschool Director Associations in 2022 to prepare a joint submission to the Department on changes to classification and remuneration that is needed to positively support public education now and in the future. This is a matter that will be considered in enterprise bargaining negotiations beginning in 2023. Read our submission here.
SASSLA, in collaboration with the Preschool Directors Association, has released two evaluation reports on Preschool Director workload. This work has provided a comprehensive picture of Preschool Director workload to inform policy decisions and future industrial negotiations. These reports can be accessed here: Evaluation Report Part 1 2020, and Evaluation Report Part 2 2021
SASSLA has been active in developing a deeper understanding of the conditions that give rise to excessive leader workload since the initial publication of the Education Leader Workload paper in 2020. Our State Conference, held on 20 May 2022, discussed this topic in detail. Presentation notes from the Conference can be found here. In November 2022, the Chief Executive of SASSLA delivered the keynote address at the Australian Principals Federation Conference in Perth on School Leader Workload.
SASSLA has made a submission to the Federal Government’s Draft National Teacher Workforce Action Plan in which we clearly identify the risks and costs associated with a continuing pattern of excessive workload for school and preschool leaders.
These risks and costs need to be confronted so that we can maintain a strong and vital public education system. The issue of workload must be brought to the foreground of thinking and action. In 2023, SASSLA will advocate for the development of a strategic approach to improve workload conditions for school and preschool leaders.
SASSLA presented a comprehensive submission on workforce planning for leadership positions in 2021. The work was well received by the Department and can be viewed here.