Common processes ensure authenticity

During recent negotiations with Catholic employers, a number of professional issues arose which could not easily be addressed in the enterprise agreement (EA) itself although these issues have distinct industrial implications.

In short these involve state government accreditation requirements for those who have been exempt and performance and development engagement required by the Federal Government.

The IEU will be meeting the various Catholic dioceses throughout Term 3 with a view to achieving clarity of understandings associated with the seamless transition of the pre 2014 workforce.

BOSTES has provided abundant certainty that the pre 2004 teacher workforce “will be recognised”. Cumbersome processes are not required and BOSTES describes the process for these teachers as “straightforward”. The ‘must haves’ by January 2018 are a current Working With Children Check, complete qualifications, continuity of service and financial standing with BOSTES (payment of accreditation fee currently $100 pa).

It is important to note pre 2004 teachers who have been teaching continuously will be accredited with their existing teaching and or degree qualification. There will be no requirement for any such teacher to upgrade their qualifications under the pending accreditation scheme.

Teachers who have had an absence of five or more years from teaching after 2018 will be required to meet the qualification requirements for provisional or conditional accreditation. For example a two year trained teacher will be required to retrain and cannot be employed with their existing qualifications. Three year trained teachers will be able to apply for conditional accreditation and undertake a fourth year upgrade. Continuity of service is therefore important.

Teacher Accreditation Authorities (TAA), for Catholic systemic teachers the diocese that employs you, will have training conducted by BOSTES later this year. The training will stem from a TAA manual currently under development. The manual will outline the policies and procedures schools must have in place to support induction and mentoring as well as fair procedures related to accreditation at all levels: Proficient, Highly Accomplished and Lead.

The Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), a federal government company not representative of teachers, has determined that teachers should engage in forward planning and reflective practice built around ongoing professional development.

The Union understands the following dimensions will constitute an authentic response to what AITSL is seeking: goal setting, reflective practice, ongoing and self-directed professional development and where agreed and adequately resourced, peer observations by a colleague of your choosing. It is critical to note that AITSL processes are formative and distinctly different from disciplinary/grievance procedures.

Many Catholic systemic schools were recipients of National Partnership funding in recent years that they used in a variety of ways. For some, Teacher Performance and Development became a particular focus with the funding driving this initiative and supplying the necessary release time for teachers to collaborate, devise procedures and visit other classrooms in a formative manner. This funding no longer exists and therefore employers cannot have expectations that these programs will continue without that resourcing.

The Catholic EA – unfinished business

As part of the terms of settlement of the NSW/ACT Catholic systemic schools EA, the Union and employers have agreed to discuss a number of matters over the next months. In some of these cases, we were unable to reach a resolution prior to settlement. On other matters we saw mutual benefit in discussion around issues or processes. Outstanding matters include:

inclusion of an IT stream into the general employee classification structure

arrangements for general employees on recurrent fixed term contracts for specific purpose programs

an agreement to hold ongoing discussions in relation to VET teachers

establishment of a Union/employer working party to consider process issues and best practice in handling complaints under the fair procedures clause in the EA, and

commencement of discussions in regard to establishing a diocesan wide framework for Teacher Performance and Development with an undertaking from employers to consult with the Union within this context where individual dioceses are already developing a framework.

The Union will consult with members about the above issues and keep members informed of developments.

Mark Northam
Assistant Secretary