New ECE position created in Queensland Education Department

The Queensland Minister for Education, John-Paul Langbroek, has announced a change in the structure of the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE), including the establishment of new positions which are described as helping to “link state schools, childcare centres and kindergartens'€. In addition, a new Deputy Director-General within the Department with sole focus on early childhood education will be appointed.

Minister Langbroek said that the aim of the changes was to further prepare children for the rigours of school.

'€œWe need to make sure that we tie what they a€™re doing in early childhood a€“ in kindy a into helping us with Prep and schools, a said the Minister in a statement to News Ltd.

This could include ensuring fine motor skills like how to hold a pencil are developed, making sure children are independent and matching kindergarten literacy activities to lessons in Prep and Grade 1” the Minister is reported to have said.

While our Union welcomes the new focus on ECE by the Queensland Government, we are concerned about the absence of any acknowledgement of the importance of play-based learning and a narrowing of the educational experience of children.

The IEUA-QNT maintains its position that play-based learning should be an essential and non-negotiable part of early childhood education.

C&K announces increased class sizes

C&K Queensland has announced that it is increasing the maximum number for each cohort in its kindergartens from 22 to 24.

This is allowed under an exemption given to Queensland under the National Quality Standards that will be in force until 31 December 2015, after which time the numbers will need to return to 22. C&K has to date operated on a maximum of 22.

The IEUA-QNT questions the need for this increase, especially as it can only occur for the next two years, and rejects the couching of the increase in terms of â??increased accessâ?. The decision seems to contradict the slogan that children come first, because the reduced group size was originally introduced by C&K as part of a commitment to high quality provision. Further, C&K does not seem to acknowledge the possible detriment to the education of children and the workload of teachers and assistants which will flow from the decision.

The Union will monitor the situation closely to ensure that our members do not bear the burden of this change. It is pleasing a number of centres have already declined to take the maximum to 24.

Coffee and€™ cake with ECE members in North Queensland

In February the IEUA-QNT held its first ‘coffee ‘n’ cake’ network meeting to provide ECE members with advice and explanation of the legal and work issues that affect them. The gathering, held in Townsville, had Senior Industrial Officer John Spriggs and Industrial Officer Sheryl Saunders as guest speakers.

Issues covered in the session included: future funding changes to kindergartens, National Quality Framework Assessment and ratings, Nominated Supervisor Allowances and hours of duty and excessive workloads.