Are you worth the same as a scientist?

The IEUA is pushing through a ground breaking case at the Fair Work Commission, arguing that early childhood teachers are historically underpaid because they are mainly female and in a ‘caring’ role.

If successful, the IEUA’s case will result in the Fair Work Commission issuing Equal Remuneration Orders, which would result in higher wages for early childhood teachers across Australia.

At the moment, the IEUA is collecting evidence in the shape of comparison case studies about males in similar occupations who are paid more. These case studies include male primary teachers, engineers, IT professionals and scientists.

This evidence must be submitted by the end of this year. The ‘opposition’ which is a large group including government representatives as well as numerous employer groups, will then present its own evidence, with the Fair Work Commission hearing the case in July/August next year.

A final decision is expected late 2018.

Centralisation by Uniting

Uniting, which administers the Uniting Church’s not for profit services, is taking over the employment of teachers, educators and administrative staff employed in previously locally managed services including preschools, long day care, occasional care and out of school hours care centres. About 400 staff will be affected.

Many locally managed services had enterprise agreements which provide significantly better wages and conditions than under the directly managed agreement. The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch is ensuring that staff are aware of the implications of transitioning their employment conditions and trying to preserve the better conditions and wages.

More free PD

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch has announced it is continuing to offer free professional development for NSW/ACT early childhood teachers through Teacher Learning Network (TLN) into 2018.

TLN is a not for profit professional development provider sponsored by the IEUA and Australian Education Union in Victoria.

Many TLN courses are NESA registered and will count towards the maintenance of your teacher accreditation and provide opportunities to stay on top of current issues in early years education. To register for TLN courses follow this link: www.tln.org.au

Remember, reading Bedrock can also contribute to teacher identified accreditation hours.

Fundamental flaw

It is a “fundamental flaw” in our system that we “do not value those who deliver the all important education to children at the most critical times of their lives,” Opposition Early Childhood Minister Kate Washington said.

Washington addressed the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Early Childhood Conference via video, saying the unequal treatment of early childhood teachers was also causing inequality for the children in their care.

Opinions such as those expressed by Senator David Leyonhjelm (see editorial) were “outdated, ridiculous” and “quite obscene”.

Optimising emotional learning

A research team from Griffith University is conducting a study of the ways in which early childhood teachers and educators support social and emotional development of 3-5 year old children.

The goal of the research is to identify ways to provide greater support to early childhood practitioners as they work to optimise social and emotional learning opportunities in the critical preschool years.

IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said members were well aware of the importance of supporting children’s social and emotional development.

“As societal pressures grow increasingly focused on the academic elements of education, it is vital that early childhood educators are in a position to argue in support of teaching practices that support more holistic learning.

“This is an opportunity for our members to identify the nature of the critical judgements they make as professionals in the emotional development of children.

“We invite members who work in early childhood Education to participate in this research to ensure their professional voice is heard because as teachers they know what is best for their students,” Burke said.

The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and can be found via bit.ly/ECEsurvey

The time spent completing the survey may also be counted towards teacher registration renewal in Queensland – reflection/self-assessment for your centre’s Quality Improvement Plan for Quality area 1 (Educational program and practice) and Quality Area 5 (Relationships with children).

Elders as storytellers

The importance of family and community involvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ learning has been highlighted by The Early Years Count Elders as Storytellers campaign.

On 29 June, Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones launched the Elders as Storytellers campaign to encourage more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to enrol their children in kindergarten.

“Using the trusted voice of prominent community elders and personalities it will draw attention to the powerful role our Elders, ancestors, families, early childhood services and many more, play in the development of children in the early years,” Jones said.

IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary and Caretaker of our union’s Reconciliation Action Plan, Terry Burke said lessons learnt from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community are invaluable.

“By ensuring families play a role in their children’s early childhood education, not only will it benefit their child’s learning, it will also help develop their cultural identity and sense of self.

“Ultimately, this is what is needed to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can thrive, and that culture is preserved,” Burke said.

More information on The Early Years Count Elders as Storytellers campaign is available via www.qld.gov.au/biglearninglife

New vaccination rules

The NSW Parliament has passed a Bill to amend the Public Health Act to strengthen vaccination enrolment requirements in early childhood. From 1 January 2018, children who are unvaccinated due to their parent’s conscientious objection will no longer be able to be enrolled in childcare. It will be an offence (with penalty of 50 penalty units) for a director to fail to comply with the child care vaccination enrolment requirements and it will be an offence (with a penalty of 50 penalty units) for a person to forge or falsify a vaccination certificate. Details: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/Pages/childcare_qa.aspx