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.