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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Slovenia

9.Teachers and education staff

9.2Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Teachers at public kindergartens and schools are public sector employees. The process of employing teachers is defined by law. Candidates for preschool teachers and schoolteachers apply to the open call for applications by kindergartens and schools. Headteachers and the application review committee make the selection.

Working conditions at kindergartens and schools are tentatively defined by the general legislation on labour, public sector employees, and schools. Individual aspects such as traineeship, professional examination, and advancement are stipulated by implementing regulations issued by the minister responsible for education. The scope of individual rights is subject to negotiations between the minister and the teachers’ union. Negotiations are concluded with the Collective Agreement for the Education Sector in the Republic of Slovenia.

Planning Policy

The government issues agreements on student intake in all study programmes including pedagogical ones. However, this is not done based on the actual employment demand but on the suggestions by higher education institutions. 

Demographic projections, student intake, the number of teachers employed, and the type of employment are monitored and published by the national statistical office (SURS).

The Ministry responsible for education tracks statistical information on student intake, classes and employment at kindergartens and schools. It also collects data for administrative purposes, especially for funding (salaries). The student-to-teacher ratio is determined by regulations (norms) in which rules on forming classes and groups, the number of teaching staff and similar are outlined.

The call for enrolment, the decision on student intake, the grouping of students, job structuring, and staff placement are the responsibility of the leadership of kindergartens and schools. Laws, ministerial regulations and the will of the founder or fund provider must be taken into consideration. It is these two who approve the final number of groups (classes) and the suggested job structuring (job classification). For kindergartens, municipalities decide, while for basic schools the state (for the standard programme) and the municipality (for the above standard programme) create a decision and for upper secondary schools, only the state. Based on the job structuring and acquired agreement the head teacher can advertise jobs for the following school year.

The school leadership or school founders can only roughly plan the future long-term need for teachers. The decision on the intake numbers into the pedagogical study programme is in the competence of higher education institutions while the number of job positions also depends on the number of retirements. Retirements depend not only on the age but also on years of service, personal circumstances and the will of the employee.

Entry to the profession

Preschool teachers and schoolteachers enter the teaching profession in two ways:

  • by applying for the open call for trainee positions advertised by the ministry responsible for education or
  • by applying for the open call for jobs advertised by kindergartens and schools.

Preschool and graduate teachers enter the profession by initially undergoing practical training under the mentorship of an experienced teacher, gradually taking over more responsibility. The ministry responsible for education advertises jobs by means of an open call for applications at least once a year. The open call for applications includes qualification requirements and candidate selection procedures. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of available trainee jobs, these procedures indicate the order of priority. The selection and placement of candidates are under the domain of the ministry responsible for education. The interests of the kindergarten and school and the will of a candidate are taken into consideration.

Applicants selected and placed by the ministry responsible for education enter employment relationships as trainees in a preschool or a school for a maximum of 10 months, which is the duration of the traineeship. Before the traineeship concludes they need to take the professional examination. The open-ended employment contract is only possible after they pass the professional examination and if there is a vacancy at a kindergarten or school.

In rare cases – when there are no other applicants – a kindergarten or school can accept a preschool teacher or a graduate teacher who has not yet completed the traineeship and teaching professional examination. In these cases, they can employ them for a fixed term.

Induction

Induction into the teaching profession is specified by the relevant rules on traineeship and professional examination for education staff issued by the minister responsible for education.

The induction may be organised as a traineeship. Trainees learn about all content needed for independent teaching as defined by the programme, as well as study for the professional examination. The traineeship lasts 6 to 10 months. In certain extraordinary circumstances, it may be reduced or extended. The mentor and the trainee together develop the relevant traineeship programme. The mentor must meet certain requirements and conditions to provide the mentorship as an experienced colleague. The headteacher appoints the mentor. The mentor leads and guides the trainee until the trainee takes the professional examination. The mentor writes the final report on the trainee’s skills and evaluates the trainee’s competences for independent work.

The traineeship programme includes:

  • Gaining knowledge of the real pedagogical process in a chosen subject field at a kindergarten or school, and
  • Learning about various methods and forms of work.

A trainee:

  • Improves own special didactical knowledge and skills in the relevant subject field;
  • Learns how to develop the teaching or learning plan, prepare teaching or learning hours and the implementation;
  • Sits in lessons with the mentor and other preschool teachers or teachers;
  • Cooperates in managing the class and in the activities of the expert bodies of the kindergarten or school, in preparing for parent-teacher meetings, as well as counselling activities;
  • Trains outside the kindergarten or school, as well, in particular, in the fields relevant to the professional examination.

The induction organised otherwise still must follow the principles of induction and interaction between preschool teacher or teacher beginner, mentor and head teachers. The implementation is subject to the employment status and teaching and workload of a preschool teacher or schoolteacher beginner.

Professional examination

The requirements for the professional examination, its scope, content, organisation and procedure are provided by the relevant rules issued by the minister responsible for education. This state examination is taken at the ministry responsible for education. Candidates must have the educational qualification required by law and a certain amount of relevant teaching experience (five successful performances in direct teaching assessed by the mentor and head teacher). All this must be provable by certificates that the candidates submit with the application.

The professional examination is oral. The minister responsible for education specifies the content.

The candidates must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of:

  • Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia and the EU and regulations on human rights and the rights of a child
  • School laws, and
  • Language of instruction.

The candidates take the examination before the examined by the examination committee that marks the knowledge of the candidate. Candidates who pass the examination receive a certificate with which they can apply for a permanent job at a kindergarten or school.

Professional status

Preschool teachers and teachers in public kindergartens are public employees within the meaning of the Public Employees Act. According to this Act, anyone who enters an employment relationship in the public sector is a public employee.

For employment and working relationships of civil servants at kindergartens and schools as well as their rights and duties, the Employment Relationships Act, the Collective Agreement for the Education Sector in the Republic of Slovenia, and the school legislation are used. Employment of public employees must ensure equal opportunity for all applicants so that the applicant with the best professional skills is selected for the position.

A kindergarten or school concludes employment agreements based on vacant posts. The agreement stipulates the rights and obligations of the teacher as prescribed by regulations and the collective agreement. The employment agreement is usually open-ended, but in some circumstances can also be a fixed term.

Employment can be full-time or part-time. It can also be concluded with several kindergartens or schools if there are insufficient hours for full-time employment in a single school. Irrespective of the duration of employment or working hours, the agreement stipulates certain legal rights and rights determined by the collective agreement. The employment agreement can require a 6-month trial period at most.

The employment agreement can be revoked by mutual consent, or the employee can terminate it unilaterally. In cases permitted by law, the kindergarten or school may also break the agreement.

Code of ethics

In 2002, the Education, science and culture trade union of Slovenia adopted the Declaration on Professional Ethics by the Education International global union federation and by doing so, declaratively accepted the personal and collective professional responsibility of preschool teachers, schoolteachers and other education staff.

The Slovenian association of catholic pedagogues (DKPS) has its own code of ethics, as well.

Replacement measures

In replacing a temporarily absent preschool teacher or teacher, kindergartens and schools use different measures. Sudden or short-term absences are substituted by regular teachers. The headteacher can assign extra workload or teaching hours. An increase in the workload or overtime can be paid but is normally settled among the education staff.

For longer absences, kindergartens or schools can employ a new teacher. This is the case with maternity leaves or long-term illnesses. A substitute teacher on a fixed-term contract has the status of a public employee and enjoys equal rights and assumes the same duties, which the teacher can assert during their employment.

In exceptional circumstances, kindergartens or schools can enter a non-salaried work contract (Obligations Code) for up to 10 months and a third of the weekly teaching load. This is the case when an uninterrupted pedagogical process needs to be assured only in a particular school year. Work contractors are not entitled to any rights arising from the employment relationship.

Supporting measures

Preschool teachers and schoolteachers do not have a counselling service set up especially for them; however, they have various sources of support, assistance and counselling available throughout their careers. Teacher beginners can consult their mentors during their traineeship, at the beginning of their employment, and while studying for the professional examination. They can also seek help and support from the headteacher or their assistants.

All kindergartens and schools must have an organised counselling service for children, basic and upper secondary school students, parents, as well as teachers.

Counselling staff can be:

  • Psychologists
  • Pedagogues
  • Social workers
  • Social pedagogues
  • Special pedagogues, and
  • Graduates in the study programme Social inclusion and fairness in handicap, ethnicity and gender, mental health in the community, supervision, personal and organisation counselling, or inclusive pedagogics.

The counselling service operates by the national programme guidelines that specify among other, the work areas of the counselling service. Counselling staff pursues three related and often intertwined types of activities: help and support, development and preventive activities, as well as planning and evaluation.

The counselling service at kindergartens or schools helps and works towards helping all participants (children, students, apprentices, preschool teachers, schoolteachers, leadership, and parents) and the educational institution to realise successfully the basic and, within this scope, all other system-defined general and special educational goals.

At all times available source of support are the pedagogical advisors at the National Education Institute of Slovenia. The Institute’s units are set up all over Slovenia. Pedagogical advisors are in constant contact with kindergartens and schools. The so-called study groups are organized by subject areas for the preschool teachers and teachers to meet, develop new ideas, exchange experiences and discuss professional issues.

The teachers at vocational schools can collaborate with pedagogical advisors of the National Institute for Vocational Education and Training. Teachers in adult education can find support from the experts from the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education.

The Slovenian Educational Network set up a portal site hosting Internet rooms for classes in individual subjects and by topics. On it, preschool teachers or schoolteachers can find the relevant online community to exchange ideas and experiences, learn about seminars and seek advice in their respective areas, as well as find useful links.

Teachers working with heterogeneous groups, in which there are SEN students, students with learning difficulties or students with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, give lessons in decreased class sizes. They can attend seminars and training courses on working with students with diverse needs. They can also find assistance from relevant specialists who can be on staff at a school, special school or institute and provide services as mobile teachers.

Salaries

Preschool teachers and schooteachers are public employees. Their salaries are determined by the Public Sector Salary System Act. The Act provides for common salary bases for all employees in the public sector to guarantee equal pay in comparable posts and titles.

Depending on the level of complexity, posts are sorted into 9 salary rates and further classified on a pay scale of 1 to 65 grades. The salaries of preschool teachers and schoolteachers are determined according to the matrix model of a scale that combines salary grades, title grades and past work.

Base salary

The salary encompasses base salary, performance-related benefits, and other allowances. The base salary of preschool teachers and schoolteachers is determined by the salary grade, and title awarded as provided with the Rules on promotion of education staff to titles.

Promotion to salary grades and titles

The salary grade scale is specified by law. The scale ranks posts by the level of educational qualification needed for a particular post. The levels of salary grades are adjusted annually. The level for preschool teachers and teachers (as well as for other civil servants) is determined by the Collective agreement for the public sector.

As by rules on the progression of education staff to higher salary grades, preschool teachers and teachers may advance to a higher salary grade within their post or title for 5 salary grades at most, namely every 3 years for 1 or 2 saley grades a a time. It is the decision of the head teacher who examines the situation related to promotion at least once a year. The requirements and conditions for the promotion to a higher salary grade:

  • Performance and work results
  • Autonomy
  • Creativity and diligence
  • Reliability
  • Quality of cooperation
  • Organisation of work, and
  • Other work-related skills.

Preschool teachers and schoolteachers can be promoted to lifelong titles of "mentor" (Mentor), "svetovalec" (Advisor) and "svetnik" (Councillor) and since September 2023 "višji svetnik" (Senior Councillor).

Lowest and highest base salaries

Since 1 Oct 2022 Min. per month Max. per month
Salary grade Base salary (gross) Salary grade Base salary (gross)
Preschool education Preschool teacher 32 1,552.31 46 2,485.30
Basic education Schoolteacher 32 1,552.31 48 2,688.10
Upper secondary education Schoolteacher 32 1,552.31 48 2,688.10

A little over 22% in contributions for social security and income tax (from 16 to 41%) is deducted from the gross salary.

For more information on teacher salaries please see the publication Eurydice Teacher's and school head's salaries.

Salary premium

As specified by general rules that apply to all public employees and by the collective agreement preschool teachers and schoolteachers are entitled to a premium for:

  • Job position

  • Years of service

  • Mentoring a trainee

  • Providing activities as a form teacher

  • Third cycle study programme degree if it is not a job requirement

  • Less favourable work conditions: teaching in combined classes, classes with children with special needs, hospital classes, for teaching three or more subjects

  • Special workloads: for working in shifts, in the afternoon, over-time, heavier workload, and

  • Performance.

Bonuses

The collective agreement stipulates that preschool teachers and teachers are entitled to a monthly food allowance and annual leave allowance. They also get a allowance for commuting, business trips and professional development training they are sent to by the head teacher. In individual cases, the municipality of kindergartens and schools in remote places can also secure an apartment for the preschool teacher or schoolteacher. Pre-school teachers and teachers are entitled to an award after 10, 20 or 30 years of service. When they retire they are entitled to a severance pay at retirement. In case of death, disability, longer illness or natural disaster the family may be entitled to aid if they apply for it.

Preschool teachers and schoolteachers receive salary compensation (from 80% to 100%) for sick leave, work-related injuries, annual leave, public holidays, professional development and strikes.

In addition to social security contributions, the state pays preschool teachers and schoolteachers compulsory pension, disability and health insurance, for work-related injuries, employment and parenting leave. In addition, they have also been entitled to collective voluntary pension insurance since 2004.

Working time and holidays

The full workload of preschool teachers and teachers according to the umbrella legislation is 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, or 40 hours a week. Full-time work includes the right to a 30-minute lunch break.

Preschool teachers

In a 40-hour working week preschool teachers must do 30 contact hours at a kindergarten, while their assistants must do 35 contact hours. Preschool teachers prepare their daily educational activities according to the Kindergarten curriculum and relevant methodological principles. They choose didactical aids and gaming devices for educational activities they execute. They document it. They follow the development and progress of the children and record their findings it in writing. They organise cultural, sporting and other events for preschool children and organise and lead children on trips and camps. They take part in organising everyday life and work at a kindergarten, they cooperate with colleagues, professional staff, external experts and parents. They take part in continual professional development and modernise educational methods and content. They work as mentors to trainees.

Teachers

Within the 40-hour work week, teachers have a legal teaching load defined as a number of pedagogical hours per week. Normally, a pedagogical hour equals 45 minutes.

The teaching load for a basic school teacher is 22 hours, and 25 for teachers in after-school classes and hospital classes. Basic school teachers of Slovenian, Hungarian and Italian (medium of instruction) teach 21 hours per week.

Teachers of general and technical subjects in upper secondary schools have to teach 20 hours a week, with some exceptions. The law specifies that upper secondary school teachers of the medium of instruction (Slovenian, Hungarian and Italian) teach 19 hours a week. Teachers of practical lessons and skills teach 25 hours a week.

The head teacher may assign teachers to teach additional 5 hours a week within the 40-hour weekly load, which is compensated with benefit to salary. The workload may also be reduced by 3 hours, which then also means a lower salary.

A teacher's workload may be divided into three categories:

  1. Teaching load or time teachers spent to provide lessons and other forms of organised direct working with students

  2. Developing teaching material for lessons: content and methodological planning and preparation of didactical aids, as well as correcting and assessing the work of students

  3. Other activities related to the realisation of the education programme specified by law, which include:

  • Cooperating with parents
  • Participating in the school’s expert bodies
  • Acting as a class teacher duties and responsibilities
  • Attending professional education and training
  • Collecting and processing data related to performing educational and other work
  • Mentoring pupils, apprentices, students and HVC students, and cooperating with schools and higher education institutions which educate education staff
  • Mentoring trainees
  • Maintaining study rooms, collections, school workshops, sports halls, playgrounds, gardens, etc.
  • Organising cultural, sports and other generally beneficial and humanitarian activities to involve pupils, apprentices or students
  • Planning and supervising organised school excursions, trips, competitions, outdoor school, holiday retreats and camping, and
  • Other duties and responsibilities specified in the annual work plan that are not time standardised. 

Form teachers have their teaching load reduced by one and a half pedagogical hour. Other teachers may also have reduced teaching load if they pursue other activates, in particular related particularly to external examinations.

Annual leave

The duties of preschool teachers and schoolteachers are allocated throughout the school year, that is from the beginning of September to the end of June. Annual leave is in June and August. A day or two of annual leave can be used during autumn, Christmas-New Year and winter holidays.

Annual leave of preschool teachers and schoolteachers may be 20 to 35 working days for full-time employees, depending on the level of educational qualification, years of service and particularly demanding work (e.g. working with special needs children). Staff over 50 years of age are entitled to an additional 5 days of leave (but not more than 35 days in total).

Additional paid leave is also possible in the case of illness, care of a family member, training, preparation and sitting the teaching certification examination, taking part in cultural and sports events of national and international importance, natural disasters, weddings, the birth of a child, death in the family, moving house and humanitarian activity.

Promotion, advancement

Promotion to titles

By law (ZOFVI) preschool teachers and schoolteachers can be promoted to titles:

  1. mentor ("Mentor")
  2. svetovalec ("Advisor")
  3. svetnik ("Councillor"), and
  4. višji svetnik ("Senior Councillor").

The relevant rules on promotion to titles issued by the minister responsible for education specify the requirements and conditions for promotion, criteria for assessment of conditions, and procedures. It is the Minister who decides on the promotion, namely at the recommendation of the head teacher or even pre-school teachers or teachers themselves.

The specified requirements and conditions for promotion include:

  1. Years of work experience
  2. Performance
  3. Continuous professional development, and
  4. Extra professional duties.

Candidates have to collect a certain number of points awarded for meeting the conditions. The higher the title, the more points are needed. Titles are lifelong and preschool teachers or schoolteachers keep them even if they change jobs or find employment in another kindergarten or school.

Career advancement

In the structure of kindergartens and schools, there are not many chances for career advancement of pre-school teachers and teachers. Possibilities are restricted to management and leadership posts, which are: Head of unit, Assistant headteacher and Pre-school head teacher or School head teacher. The requirements to be appointed to a head teacher position are prescribed by law.

Anyone who satisfies the conditions for a preschool teacher, teacher or school counsellor, has at least five years of work experience in education, the title of counsellor or advisor or has held the title of mentor for five years and has completed the school leader examination (it can be taken also within one year after appointment) can be named a head teacher of a public kindergarten or school. If the candidate has not completed the National school for leadership in education programme and passed the examination they can apply for the position of the assistant headteacher. There are no special conditions prescribed for heads of a unit or subsidiaries.

For the job position of a pedagogical advisor at the National Education Institute, National Institute for Vocational Education and Training and the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education 10 years of work experience at a kindergarten or school is needed.

In addition to appropriate qualifications, school inspectors must have 7 years of work experience in a pedagogical, advisory, research and development or administrative field of education and have passed the inspector certification examination.

Mobility and transfers

The headteacher can offer a pre-school teacher or a teacher a new employment agreement for a different post suitable for their qualifications or in a different location. A pre-school teacher or a teacher can do a part of their teaching duty at a different kindergarten or school. In urgent cases, and with equal salary, a head teacher or a teacher can be offered a less demanding job position.

If the post of a preschool teacher or a schoolteacher is retracted (if there are not enough students), the redundant teacher can be employed by another kindergarten or school outside the open recruitment procedure. In such transfers, the Ministry of Education is involved. In the new post, the teacher remains in the same salary grade.

Pre-school teachers and teachers can ask to terminate their employment contract. The notice period is 3 months.

Dismissal

If the education programme changes or intake of students decreases, the head teacher can decide to terminate the employment of a preschool teacher or schoolteacher. The headteacher can also do this if the Minister amends the rules on norms and standards.

The headteacher has to notify the Ministry responsible for education about the decision. The Ministry can find appropriate job positions for a redundant teacher. If there is no post available, the preschool teacher or schoolteacher is let go and is entitled to severance pay.

If an agreement between the Ministry and the head teachers of the previous and future kindergarten or school with a new job position is successful, then a preschool teacher or schoolteacher is employed at the new post. If they refuse reassignment without just cause, the employment relationship is terminated and they are not entitled to severance pay.

The head teacher has the duty to terminate the employment agreement of a preschool teacher or a schoolteacher in case of a severe breach of work duty or if they have been convicted by a final judgement for an intentionally committed criminal offence.

Retirement and pensions

Preschool teachers and schoolteachers may retire under common conditions and requirements of the Pension and Disability Insurance Act.

The right to retirement pension is subject to age and pensionable period. Both requirements have to be met.

 

Age

Pension qualifying period

60 years

40 years

65 years

no less than 15 years