ESP Day: recognising extraordinarily skilled people

What is ESP Day? Well, it’s certainly not about ‘extrasensory perception’, although I do think many of our wonderful ES members do have extraordinary perceptions and insights into the hearts and minds of our students and our educational communities.

Held on 16 May, ESP Day will see thousands of education support personnel (ESP) across the globe recognised and
celebrated for the extraordinary contribution they make to our students, our schools and our unions.

This year, the AEU Victorian branch will join the international education community to celebrate the work of ESP staff, or ES staff as we call them here in Victoria.

Victoria has celebrated ES staff since 2000 – first as SSO Week, then ES Month, then National Support Staff Week. With each new initiative, we have seen the benefits of actively recognising the work of ES staff, as it has led to a greater understanding of their role and working conditions. This, in turn, has helped us identify benchmark conditions across Australia, sowe can continually improve entitlements. With ESP Day, we are now looking to the wider global education community for ideas.

The benefit of greater recognition for ES staff has not only been evident in the improved entitlements in agreements, but also in the influence ES staff are having in their schools and sub-branches. More ES staff than ever are involved in consultation committees and taking up roles on sub-branches, as they realise this is the way to really influence positive change.

ESP Day is the perfect opportunity to ask nonmembers to join the AEU and work with us to defend and improve conditions not just for ES staff, but for all working Australians.

Workload and the review of ES work dimensions

The reality of ES work and workload was acknowledged through salary increases in the agreement, which included the mechanism to be back paid for salary range reviews. DET also committed to review the ES dimensions of work, with recommendations to make changes to better reflect ES work. A working party was set up last year to do this work and is meeting regularly.

This year, we shall be setting up ES reference groups and undertaking an ES staff survey to ensure members can contribute effectively to the review. We anticipate that that any recommendations from the review will be incorporated in to the log of claims for the next agreement.

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