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NSW Labor pledge

The IEU has welcomed the news that if elected a NSW Labor Government would commit to at least 15 hours of affordable preschool education per week for children in the year before school.

Currently, the NSW Government provides the lowest support for early childhood education of any state, leading to the highest fees for childcare in Australia.

“We welcome this acknowledgment of the importance of early years education by the Labor Opposition. We call on the NSW Liberals to match the Opposition’s pledge,” IEU Industrial Officer Verena Heron said.

“NSW has been lagging behind the rest of Australia and indeed many OECD countries for years in its provision of early years learning. Many disadvantaged families in NSW are missing out on these crucial years of education,” Verena said.

“Fees to parents in NSW are double those in Queensland and Victoria.

“The Baird Government has a history of under spending on its early childhood budget. It’s time to put that right.”

Goodstart pay rises

Teachers at Goodstart Early Learning will receive a 13.2% pay rise over three years, well above any pay rises being offered in the public or private sector. The pay offer came after negotiations between Goodstart and the IEU.

Verena Heron said the pay rise reflected Goodstart’s recognition of the value of teachers.

Teachers will receive a 13.2% increase in their salaries over the life of the agreement: 4.5% increase from the first full pay period 23 February 2016; 4.5% increase from the first full pay period 23 February 2017 and 4.2% increase from the first full pay period 23 February 2018.

Teacher directors will also receive an increase of 13.2% increase in their allowance over the life of the agreement.

A few teachers have been receiving a nominated supervisors allowance – this will now be absorbed into the above salary increases.

Educators will receive a 8.4% increase over three years. (3%, 3% and 2.4%) The teachers’ wage increases are an acknowledgement of Goodstart’s commitment to teachers and the need to ensure the gap between early childhood teachers’ and school teachers’ pay is narrowing.

It was only through the advocacy of the teacher unions, the IEU and AEU, that we were able to achieve higher salary outcomes for teachers. United Voice indicated that their preference was for the same increase for all classifications.

If you are interested in negotiating an agreement at your centre please contact the Union on 8202 8900

ACECQA – new child-to-teacher ratios in place from 1 January 2016

Improved educator to child ratios started on 1 January 2016 in all states and territories, except Tasmania and Western Australia where they were already in place.

The changes bring national consistency to the important area of the National Quality Framework (NQF), allowing staff to give more individual attention to each child under their care.

As part of the new benchmark agreed to by education ministers across Australia, the new ratios will vary according to age group, state/territory and service.

For children between the ages of 24 months and 36 months at centre based services in NSW, Queensland and South Australia the ratio is now 1:5. Previously all three states had different educator to child ratios.

New ratios also apply in the ACT, Northern Territory and South Australia with 11 children to one teacher who are older than 36 months up to and including preschool age. For children older than 36 months up to and including preschool age for all centre based services in Queensland and Victoria, the ratio is also 1:11.

Disadvantaged schools in South Australia will also have 10 children to a teacher, slightly below the 11 children to one teacher in most kindergartens in other states and territories. South Australia is the only state to ensure preschools in disadvantaged areas would have extra teachers, although the 1:10 ratio is the standard statewide in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.

For more information visit the ACECQA website. Contact your regulatory authority for further information or enquiries about the ratio requirements in your state or territory.

Queensland Minister for Education Kate Jones

Prep to be compulsory from 2017

The Queensland State Government’s decision to reverse changes to the prep eligibility age has been welcomed by the IEU.

The decision from Minister for Education Kate Jones affirms that children should not receive early admittance to their prep year unless they are socially, emotionally and physically ready.

The move reverses an abrupt decision made by the former Newman LNP government in January that allowed as many as 5000 children to enrol directly into prep in 2015 and miss out on the well established benefits of a kindergarten year. This change also had the potential to create lasting negative impacts on Queensland children’s schooling experiences.

IEUA QNT Secretary Terry Burke said he is pleased that the new government has sensibly restored Queensland’s prep eligibility. The move follows representations from our union to Minister Jones advocating for the eligibility age to be restored.

“Kindergarten is an integral part of a child’s learning experience, which provides them with the skills they need to thrive and succeed in prep and further schooling,” he said.

“Our Union is pleased that the current state government understands the importance of kindergarten and has supported Queensland children in accessing a kindergarten year by sensibly restoring the prep eligibility age.”

Queensland’s prep eligibility age will now be restored to children born by 30 June—reversing the former Newman LNP government decision which saw the prep eligibility age change to children born by 31 July.

The Government will introduce the changes to the Education General Provisions Act later this year.

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