School officers: Queensland Catholic classification review
The review of school officer classifications and pay rates in Queensland Catholic schools provides a once in a generation opportunity to deliver careers school officer members can count on.
School officers play a critical role in the delivery of quality education – and the review is the chance to build meaningful career paths and ensure long overdue professional recognition for these Queensland Catholic school staff.
The current school officer classification and pay structure was developed over 25 years ago.
Despite some amendments in specific areas, the structure essentially remains the same as that which applied in 1995 – despite the extraordinary changes that have occurred in schools and in the work and responsibilities school officers now undertake.
This review was a key priority identified by members when collective bargaining began last year. The new Queensland Catholic school collective agreements contain clear requirements for the conduct and scope of the review.
Like all negotiations, our success in the classification review will rely on member engagement and action. To learn more and add your voice to the campaign, visit: www.qieu.asn.au/careersyoucancounton
Maintaining a strong voice for members on TRB
Longstanding IEUA-QNT nominee Elsabe Bott is stepping down from her role with the Northern Territory Teacher Registration Board (TRB) and will be replaced by member and teacher Louise Lenzo.
Representation of our union on the TRB is crucial to ensuring the voice of members is heard regarding the professional concerns they face.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said our union was incredibly grateful to Elsabe for her contribution in representing our union on the TRB for the last 15 years.
“Elsabe has shown professionalism and dedication during her time serving on the TRB, ensuring the voices of IEUA-QNT members have been heard,” Mr Burke said.
As our union’s new TRB appointee, Louise Lenzo is a highly experienced teacher and active IEUA-QNT member who believes practitioner and union representation is vital.
Louise said she hopes to contribute to positive changes and improvements in the NT education system in her role and give the early childhood education sector a greater voice through her appointment.
Unhealthy changes for Catholic WHS Committee
The IEUSA has been on the Catholic Education Sector Work Health and Safety (WHS) Committee for many years and we have consistently made valuable contributions. IEUSA Assistant Secretary, Wendy Evans, is the chair of the committee ... well - until now that is.
The presence of the union is no longer welcome. We have been unceremoniously dumped from the committee because the church is disbanding it and instituting an equivalent committee with no union presence. Spot the difference!
The first indication that major change was imminent came from employer reps expressing issues with the union being involved, especially with the Chair being a union official.
The IEU officially expressed concerns about the interaction and the manner in which the sentiments were expressed. We received an assurance that “there is no ‘anti-union’ agenda” - however, the union is now excluded.
Nevertheless, the IEU will continue to advocate on behalf of members and monitor health and safety, and where appropriate, we will utilise right of entry provisions under the Workplace Health and Safety Act.
Reviewing the regulators
The Tasmanian Government has just announced a review of the regulatory framework which covers a number of education regulatory bodies. The review will look at the Office of Education Registrar (Education and the Non-government Schools Registration Board), the Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification, and the Teachers Registration Board Tasmania.
All three regulators are established as entities independent from the Department of Education (DoE) and are accountable to the Minister of Education. However, they are funded through an output in DoE’s appropriation and all staff, with the exception of board and committee appointments, are employed as state servants by DoE.
The review discussion document says it seeks to achieve the following outcomes:
- the provision of independent cross sectoral advice as it relates to the entities’ existing education regulatory functions
- the strengthening of the governance framework as it relates to the entities’ existing functions
- the sustainable funding of education regulation
- the adoption of better practice regulation with a focus on education outcomes.
COVID crisis impacts pre-service teachers
While the rollercoaster journey of remote learning, significantly restricted lifestyle and heightened anxiety is taking its toll on Victorian schools and communities. Those about to enter the teaching profession have been experiencing a raft of anxieties and uncertainties that many in the teaching profession have not had to face.
Although the problem is being closely monitored by a government working group, final year Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students in either the four-year undergraduate degree or those in the second year of their Master of Teaching are facing the worry of whether they will be able to graduate this year.
Many final year placements to occur in Terms 2 and 3 have been severely affected by the impact of COVID-19 on schools, particularly as a result of the move to remote learning. The continuation of the metropolitan lockdown affecting schools well into Term 4 will continue to provide placement challenges.
While the number of required days of practicum has been reduced by the Victorian Institute of Teaching, there are still challenges in the remote learning context. A very helpful set of guidelines and suggestions has been distributed to Victorian Catholic school principals about remote teaching and meeting the practicum general requirements.
A copy of the Catholic Education Melbourne document Pre-service Teacher Placements during the Coronavirus Pandemic is on the union’s website under its COVID-19 advice section: www.ieuvictas.org.au.
Catholic systemic and independent school negotiations
While the industrial focus in NSW/ACT has been very much on EA negotiations for Catholic systemic and Catholic independent schools, as well as pending negotiations in the independent sector, a number of major education issues have also been priorities for the IEU. These have included:
- Concerns about the rushed timeline for implementing the NSW Curriculum Review – there must be genuine engagement with the profession so that reform is not just quick but effective.
- NAPLAN review – while the IEU welcomed the NAPLAN review commissioned by NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT, there are significant concerns that the proposed Australian National Standardised Assessment (ANSA) will not be better than the flawed NAPLAN system it seeks to replace.
The IEU has responded to a proposed NSW Government review of NESA approved PD by indicating that it proudly stands by its courses. We believe that teachers require and deserve high quality professional development.
In response to ongoing member concerns about the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD), a working party has been established, further member input requested and an IEUA federal office research project sought into the validity of NCCD processes and outcomes.
The union looks forward to working with members to progress these issues which impact so directly on their work in schools.
Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill 2020
Introduced to the ACT Assembly on 20 August 2020, the Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill 2020 (the Bill) prohibits certain practices aimed at changing a person’s sexuality or gender identity (‘conversion practices’).
The Bill makes it a criminal offence to conduct such practices on a protected person, or to remove a protected person from the jurisdiction for the purpose of conducting such practices. A protected person means a child or a person who has impaired decision-making ability in relation to a matter relating to the person’s health or welfare. It also provides a civil mechanism through the ACT Human Rights Commission (the Commission) for people who are harmed by conversion practices to make a conversion practice complaint which, if not successfully conciliated, can then be referred to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).
The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch supports the position that inclusive schools are good schools. It is not anticipated that teachers in our sector are or will be involved in conversion therapy: teachers implement syllabuses and faith-based schools must be compliant with these expectations. For a teacher to be supportive of students grappling with sexuality and gender identity issues is to be true to their profession that is, caring for students.
Within a school setting, the union certainly would not be supportive of schools referring students on for such therapy and believe it is beyond their remit, nor is it in the best interests of students.
A number of ACT faith-based schools are resisting the haste with which the Bill has been presented and debated.
The union is concerned that the ACT Government is rushing through such a significant piece of legislation without adequate scrutiny and consideration of unintended consequences for children and families. We therefore implore the ACT Government to provide a reasonable extension of time to consider the practical and legal implications of this new law in consultation with non government school leaders.