Australia Wide


Child safe schools

From 1 August this year, all Victorian schools will need to meet a number of child safe standards. There are 12 minimum standards that must be complied with by schools. Included in the standards are:

• a child safety policy or a statement of commitment to child safety

• a child safety code of conduct for staff

• staff selection, supervision and management practices for a child-safe environment

• principles of inclusion, taking into account the diversity of all children in implementing the standards

• procedures for responding to and reporting allegations of suspected child abuse

• strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse, including at least annually the school authority must ensure that appropriate guidance and training is provided to the individual members of the staff and the governing authority, and

• strategies to promote child empowerment and participation.

Northern Territory

Message stick grows in strength

In the lead up to the launch of the IEUA-QNT’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) later this year, a traditional Indigenous form of communication will represent an important part of formally recognising Australia’s First Peoples.

The message stick, which was donated by IEUA-QNT member, Noonuccal woman and Quandamooka elder, Thersa Nunn, to our Union Council, is currently making its way across Queensland and the Northern Territory.

IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said our Union invites all members to show their solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by participating in passing the message stick onwards.

Nunn said the use of this form of communication is a gesture designed to replicate the traditional method of exchanging information between different Indigenous clans and language groups.

“For me the message stick is a symbol of our Union’s growth in strength and respect for each other and to never forget that everyone walks the path of reconciliation together with us,” she said.

To learn more about the message stick and its journey visit


EA Review –  changes recommended

Since the latter part of 2014, the IEU, along with other key education stakeholders, has been involved in the Tasmanian Government’s process of reviewing the Education Act. The government’s review has now resulted in a number of significant recommended changes, including:

• extending the compulsory years of education and training by:

- lowering the school starting age from five years to four years and six months, with a flow on to kindergarten entry age of three years and six months. This will apply to children born in 2016, and

- lifting the minimum education and training leaving requirement to completion of Year 12 or equivalent (certificate III, apprenticeship) or until 18, whichever occurs first. This will apply to students in Year 7 in 2016

• for families of students with serious non attendance issues – a compulsory conciliation conferencing process to address the issues associated with the non attendance

• allowing for the collection of information to enable the development of risk management plans to better support students who have conditions which may cause behaviour that leads to risk of harm of themselves or others

• the ability to set a minimum standard for adult behaviour (eg parents/guardians) in the context of schools

• providing for dual enrolment of students with disability between a mainstream school and special school across government and non government sectors

• for non government schools, increased options in the registration process – for the SRB in assessing applications, and for schools to be able to register as systems of schools if they meet particular criteria, as is the case in a number of other states, and

• in respect to home education/schooling – a stronger regulatory approach including standards for registration as a home educator and annual reviews of student achievement, and the ability for partial enrolment in a school.

One area that the IEU believes still needs examination is the proposed school starting age. Currently in three Australian states a child may start school at four years and eight months, while in the other three states it is four years six months. The rationale for adopting the younger start in Tasmania has not been given.

Western Australia

Independent public schools

The WA Liberal Government introduced the ‘Independent Public School Initiative’ (IPS) in 2009-10. This was presented as an opportunity for schools to have more localised decision making, high level of autonomy, greater control over their finances and more say over staffing. Since then, 456 of the over 1000 public schools in Western Australia have transitioned and become an IPS.

Recently the Education Committee of the Legislative Council undertook an enquiry into the IPS initiative. The IEUwa was invited to make a submission particularly in regard to any negative effects of the IPS initiative on independent school student enrolments and staffing.

The evidence based view the Union put forward was that in communities where an IPS is in close proximity to an independent or Catholic school there are a number of instances where enrolments in those non government schools have suffered significantly. This may have been a factor in a number of small schools becoming marginal and closing during and at the end of 2015.

There has also been a negative impact on staff at some non government schools as employment is not as secure if there is a competing IPS. It leads to more staff being on short term contracts and not in a strong position when it comes to enterprise bargaining.

There has been a downturn in the WA economy, that combined with the IPS factor, resulted in a record number of non government schools having staff redundancies at the end of 2015.


Study examines teacher stress

Increasing workloads, additional administrative tasks and the pressure of parental and student expectations are leading causes of stress for Queensland teachers regardless of their career stage, new research has revealed.

The findings of the Supporting the Educators: Occupational Stress and Wellbeing across the Teaching Career Span project, a collaborative venture with Griffith University, the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) and the IEUA-QNT, has provided insight into what strategies are needed to counteract the health and wellbeing as well as retention issues that stem from educator stress.

Key survey findings for IEUA-QNT members included:

• respondents reporting low work life balance, the impeding use of technology in the classroom and relatively high role demands

• administrative duties produced the most demands, often forcing respondents to utilise detrimental workload management techniques such as working late or on weekends in order to stay on top of paperwork and other administrative duties

• the use of such detrimental workload management techniques then contributed to poor perceptions of work life balance and supervisor support with respondents reporting an intention to leave the profession, and

• positively, respondents were generally satisfied with their jobs, reporting relatively few bullying experiences and high colleague support.

New South Wales

Review of education structures

On 10 March, NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced a review of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Education Standards (BOSTES). An issues paper was released on 31 March with submissions due only three weeks later. The Union is concerned that the short process hindered genuine consultation. Despite the time limitations the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch made a comprehensive written submission.

BOSTES and its predecessors have a long and proud history of curriculum development and the Union is particularly supportive of its work in implementing the Australian curriculum in extensive consultation with stakeholders (particularly practicing teachers). The model adopted by the BOSTES respects teachers as authors and co-authors of NSW syllabuses.

In contrast to the significant role of practicing teachers in curriculum development, the teaching profession has little voice in the accreditation process.

The Union is concerned BOSTES is focussing on the needs of the Teacher Accreditation Authorities (TAAs), school proprietors and school systems rather than the needs of the profession. In the submission the Union highlighted issues regarding TAA registration and accountability, as well as registration requirements for schools.

Regardless of the outcome of the review, the Union will persist in its demand for high quality, consultative and transparent processes for policy development and implementation of curriculum, assessment, teacher accreditation and school registration in NSW.