This year NSW early childhood teachers will have their own representative on the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) Quality Teaching Council (QTC).
Late last year IEU Early Childhood Vice President and Albury Preschool Director Gabe Connell was elected as the IEU Rep to the QTC to represent early childhood members of the IEU.
IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam also sits on the QTC, representing the interests of all IEU members.
The representation of early childhood teachers on the QTC comes after years of lobbying by the IEU to have early childhood teachers recognised and accredited in the same way as school teachers, so it’s important for early childhood teachers to be members of the IEU and have a say on the QTC.
The QTC meets about six times a year and its sphere of influence includes the requirements for teacher training courses at university, the standards for teacher accreditation and professional development necessary to maintain accreditation.
BOSTES is largely driven by NSW government legislation. It has input from employers as well as unions.
“The role of the IEU is to hold BOSTES to account, hold them to their charter, and if we believe legislation needs refining, to lobby to have it reviewed,” Mark said.
It is not involved in setting wages or salaries.
“In a perfect world you would see a connection between industrial agreements and accreditation standards, and this is what the IEU strives to achieve,” Mark said.
Gabe Connell will bring issues of concern raised by early childhood teachers to the table.
“One of the biggest issues facing early childhood teachers is pay parity. The recognition we have worked so long for has led to accreditation and is a great platform for teachers to continue to press for pay parity,” Gabe said.
“It is also an opportunity to further impress on the wider community the importance of early childhood education and the role early childhood teachers play in this,” she said.
“This is another step towards lifting the profile of early childhood and early childhood teachers. Having a representative on the QTC means that issues directly affecting the sector can be discussed through a wider field.
“We can represent early childhood teachers and we can also educate teachers in other sectors as to our role and it’s relevance in a broad education system.
“Accreditation also means recognition of the professionals we are and have always been. We have been a long forgotten sector in NSW and if not for the strong lobbying of the sector and IEU we may still be left behind.”
Mark said: “Teacher accreditation is a licence to teach in NSW so its crucial the Union works with BOSTES to make sure the profession is respected and union values considered.
“BOSTES is a vehicle by which teachers can shape their future within the constraints of legislation.”
Teachers should contact Gabe Connell, email firstname.lastname@example.org or their local IEU organiser if they have issues they wish to raise regarding the QTC.