Boundary fences: Protecting teaching and learning

The IEUA NSW / ACT Branch has commenced a review of existing systemic agreements to both reinforce existing industrial understandings and extend them to embrace emerging work.

Unsurprisingly ‘meetings’ in all their various forms will be a feature of the claim for systemic schools. The plethora of demands on teachers requires management.

Work intensification

This topic is always on the agenda, but teacher work intensification is clearly the issue with the most currency in schools. Union members express concern about increasing demands generated by technology, assessment and reporting, parental and student expectations, changing curriculum, cocurricular activities, school events, accreditation and standards requirements, professional development and meeting demands among other issues.

The Union is seeking solutions to ameliorate this problem, such as encouragement of school based consultative committees, a provision to enable the development of agreed work practice/workload guidelines in schools, expanded support for those seeking accreditation at Proficient Teacher level and reinforcement of appropriate notice by schools of term dates, professional development and meetings.

From a union perspective in systemic schools this ‘management’ emanates from the Enterprise Agreement and Work Practice Agreements. A feature of the independent schools claim in NSW will be consultative committees to progress matters determined by members to be a priority in their schools.

The evolution of work will be reflected in the systemic claim. The quantity of teacher time now devoted to the collection, analysis and recording of data is considerable. The role of paraprofessionals in this process must be expanded. Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary of NASUWT, the UK’s biggest teacher union, who recently attended the IEUA National Executive Forum commented, “Globally, data generation and analysis is being used to strip teachers of their professionalism”.