Secure employment for a professional workforce

Conversion to permanency action for support staff

Rates of permanency for support staff in schools and preschools are unacceptably low. Too many members are on contract for too long.

It’s time for sub-branch and member group action to increase member permanency. 

Consequently in Term 3, 2022, the AEU will ramp up its ongoing advocacy for members through sub-branch and member group action to support eligible contract SSOs and ECWs achieve conversion to permanency.

If you are a sub-branch secretary or AEU workplace rep, watch for further communications via email with all the information and resources you’ll need for this action.

It’s important to understand that not all members will be converted to permanency. There are eligibility criteria and sites need to have capacity for permanent positions. And there may be other members with placement rights who are considered before contract SSOs and ECWs in the filling of vacancies. 

You can find more information on the policy, eligibility criteria and the process below. 


Extracts from the DfE Ancillary Recruitment and Selection policy and procedure documents

These principles underpin the policy...

the department is committed to appointing existing permanent ancillary staff into permanent positions wherever possible and recognises that permanent part or full-time employment is the preferred form of engagement.

The policy aims to:

  • increase the overall percentage of permanent staff relative to temporary/contract staff
  • place all permanent staff in a school or preschool, that will then reduce the number of permanent staff held against temporary vacancies
  • support selection and placement processes throughout the year.

The policy will be evaluated against its success in achieving these outcomes.

The Principal will in all cases, except where it is not practicable because of the nature or urgency of the matter, consult through the personnel advisory committee (PAC) at the school on all vacancies. This is in line with clause 3.5 of the South Australian School and Preschool Education Staff Enterprise Agreement 2020 and any specific requirements established in the PAC handbook.

A permanent vacancy will be described unless the criteria for a temporary position are met. For all vacancies resulting from ancillary staff employees winning permanent positions, or by ancillary staff employees resigning, retiring, etc, it is expected that a permanent position(s) will be described by the school or preschool unless strong evidence can be provided as to why the resultant vacancy(s) cannot be filled permanently.

All permanent ancillary staff vacancies greater than 15 hours per week and with no end date will be filled by any ‘must place’ employees in the ancillary placement register in the first instance, provided they are a suitable match for the position and the appointment is within the placement conditions of the ancillary staff employee. This exercise will be managed centrally by People and Culture Operations.

If still unfilled, the vacancy may be considered for a conversion to permanency process, subject to specific criteria, as outlined below. 

Conversion to permanency

Principals, in partnership with the PAC, or preschool directors in accordance with the human resource profile can make a recommendation to the Assistant Director, Workforce Management to convert a temporary ancillary staff employee to permanent.

The following criteria need to be met:

  • the position is identified as a permanent position by the school or preschool
  • there are no ancillary staff employees available with specific placement rights through the Ancillary Placement Register to fill the vacancy
  • the incumbent was appointed in the temporary position through a merit based selection process and has occupied the position for a period of at least two years
  • the incumbent is not the subject of unsatisfactory performance.

In order to ensure that the overall needs of schools, preschools and individual ancillary staff employees are met, and in extenuating circumstances, the Assistant Director, Workforce Management, may approve special arrangements for the conversion of temporary employees to permanency.

Permanent and seeking to increase your permanent or temporary hours?

Many permanent SSO and ECW members have less than full-time hours and are seeking the security of more permanent hours. Some continue to have hours “topped up” each term with temporary hours. 

For a conversion to permanency, a school or preschool must have a vacancy of more than 15 hours per week. If there’s an additional 15 permanent hours or less per week available, these are ‘Additional Hours’ under the DfE policy and are managed differently. 

If you are permanent part time and seeking additional hours, there are steps you can take: 

  • Make sure your site leader knows you are seeking to increase your permanent hours. Write to your principal and PAC or Preschool Director seeking an increase in your permanent hours. This ensures that you will be considered for any additional permanent hours that become available. 
  • Check PAC agendas and minutes for any discussion about additional permanent hours so you are aware of any that may become available.  
  • Check in with your AEU PAC rep about these discussions at PAC meetings.
  • Watch for emails from your site leader and DfE. Any permanent vacancies of 15 hours per week or less must be offered to permanent part-time SSOs or ECWs in the first instance. Then they can be offered to those in nearby sites. This is merit-based and you should be offered an opportunity to apply via Edujobs. (Positions of 15 hours may be filled via the process for ‘must be placed’ SSOs or ECWs.) 
  • If you are seeking permanent or temporary additional hours, fill in the Additional Hours Register at your site and any other sites nearby where you are willing to work. It’s your responsibility to keep this register up to date. 

For all the details, please see the Recruitment and Selection of Ancillary Staff in Schools and Preschools Procedure.