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Inside Teaching : June 2011
News Inside Teaching | June 2011 NEWS 48 The Budget Money for teacher bonus payments, students with disabilities, school chaplains and more autonomous schools? It must be Budget time. STEVE HOLDEN reports. Commonwealth Treasurer Wayne Swan’s fourth Budget, delivered in May, promises pay bonuses for teachers. The Budget included $425 million over the next four years for ‘around’ 25,000 teachers. The program aims to offer the top 10 per cent of teachers bonus payments of up to 10 per cent of their salary as a one-off bonus based on their performance. The program delivers on Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s election commitment in August last year to give one in 10 teachers a bonus – up to $8,100 for those with most experience and around $5,400 for early career teachers. The first bonuses will be based on performance in the 2013 school year to be paid in early 2014. It’s understood the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) will develop ‘a nationally consistent, transparent and equitable performance management system’ to manage the bonus scheme. ‘All teachers will be required to participate in the performance management framework and, for the first time, every teacher in the country will be potentially eligible for a bonus payment if they are a top performer,’ the PM explained last year. That, according to the PM, means the performance management framework will be mandatory, which would mean AITSL will be assessing at least 250,000 teachers. Exactly how AITSL will apply the performance management framework remains unclear. While AITSL’s national professional standards are mandatory for graduate and proficient teachers, they’re currently voluntary for highly accomplished and lead teachers. The performance management assessment is expected to include data from lesson observations, student performance results, feedback from parents, and the qualifications and professional development activity of teachers. The Budget includes an ‘ambitious’ reform of vocational education and training, with $1.75 billion over five years from 2012-13 on offer to the states and territories through national partnerships. There’s an additional $200 million over three years to 2013-14 for students with disabilities in all government and non-government schools. There’s also $222 million to extend and expand the National School Chaplaincy program over three years to 2014-15 and $481 million over six years to 2017-18 for programs to increase local school autonomy in terms of school budgets and staffing. Funding of the Digital Education Revolution (DER) was reduced by $132.5 million over four years to $20 million per year, with savings expected to be redirected to establishing a digital strategy for teachers. The Commonwealth government expects it will still be able to fund its DER program to ensure a one-to-one ratio of computers to students in Years 9 to 12 by the end of this year. According to Budget papers, the Commonwealth government will postpone the rollout of trades training centres, saving $102.8 million over the next four years, and will axe the $80 million Vocational Education Broadband Network. The Treasurer expects the underlying Budget deficit for 2011-12 to be $22 billion, and projects $22 billion in savings over four years.