IEUA NSW/ACT Branch has written to its 11 Catholic dioceses seeking discussions in relation to the current learning progressions trial underway in some 99 Catholic systemic schools.
The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch resolved that the additional workload involved in tracking students via data collection was of considerable concern.
In the Catholic sector the trial is known as the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan K-2. A software package – Plan 2 – is used for reporting. At present the only learning progressions developed are for two of the general capabilities; literacy and numeracy.
Member responses in trial schools are overwhelmingly negative. Teachers feel stressed, and under pressure and duress to complete the checklists.
Members also questioned the purpose behind the learning progressions. They were asking for whom they were collecting this data?
The general feeling from the members is all schools will be required to implement the learning progressions from the beginning of 2019 and there would be no extra time or support for teachers.
In meetings with the various dioceses, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch will be seeking details of the assistance provided to classroom teachers and propose an audit of the actual time taken to generate and enter data. A scaling back of expectations will be sought.
Review of Certificate of Education
The Government has appointed state high school principal Wendy Johnston to conduct a review of the South Australian Certification of Education (SACE), including an assessment of the controversial Research Project subject and Year 12 subject numbers.
This fulfils an election promise to conduct a review of the SACE in light of declining language enrolments and also focusing on the required number of Stage 2 subjects and the role of Vocational Education and Training (VET).
The review follows an update to the SACE curriculum at the end of 2010, which cut minimum study requirements for Stage 2 from five subjects to four, with the fifth choice subject replaced by the compulsory Research Project.
Some educators have criticised the change, citing a restriction on students’ subject choices and a decline in enrolments in subjects including secondary languages.
IEUA SA is currently surveying its members who teach SACE subjects to provide input into the review. To date there has been a solid response from members. Concerns are being expressed about the impact on student subject choices because the Research Project is compulsory, as well as the impact of having only four stage two subject for an ATAR to gain entry to tertiary institutions outside of South Australia.
Another strong theme is equity, particularly for students from non English speaking backgrounds, those with learning disabilities which qualify them for modified SACE assessment and access to support in the context of social disadvantage. The review is due to be completed by the end of the year.
Working women tackle issues facing the profession
IEUA-QNT members as well as their colleagues in the Australian Education Union (NT) held the Northern Territory’s first Women’s Rights at Work (WRAW) Chat earlier this year.
WRAW Chat is an initiative by Union Women, created as an opportunity to gather and discuss what is not working for women at work.
The chat involved women sharing their experiences of work and the challenges faced during employment.
The exercise seeks to clarify ways in which all union members can participate in meaningful action to address issues affecting their work and the profession, such as work/life balance, hours of duty and school-based violence.
Participants identified actions such speaking with colleagues about how our union can address these issues, mentoring new women in the workplace and addressing violence using Workplace Health and Safety laws.
Members in the Northern Territory are continuing their WRAW chats, with a future meeting to focus on addressing issues specific to the LGBTI community.
To host a WRAW chat at your workplace, visit www.unionwomen.org.au/wrawchat and download a WRAW Chat kit.
Members feeling the effects of out-of-field
Out of field teaching – where teachers are directed to teach subjects outside of their areas of expertise – has a strong and significant impact on teacher wellbeing, and on the quality of teaching and learning experiences offered to students.
Research conducted through the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in 2016 indicated that up to 40% of teachers are teaching in subject or year levels outside their field of qualification.
Our Union believes employers have an obligation to provide out of field teachers with the support and resources required to undertake these roles.
This may include: access to professional development; facilitation of ongoing consultation with colleagues experienced in teaching the subject, and the appropriate curriculum leader/manager for the purposes of professional guidance and reflection, and joint planning; additional release time; and adjustments to processes and procedures of performance appraisal that acknowledge the teacher’s out of field status.
To assist members with addressing this issue, the IEUA-QNT Branch has developed a factsheet, which can be accessed at www.qieu.asn.au/at-work/fact-sheets/
McGowan Government ‘taking action’ on violence
Education Minister Sue Ellery has announced an action plan is to be developed to reduce intentional violence in schools against students and staff.
The Violence in Schools Action Plan is to come into effect from 2019 and will include updated policies regarding appropriate penalties for violent behaviour and how students can earn privileges back by demonstrating positive behaviour.
Ellery met with stakeholders across the education sector, including the IEUA WA Branch, and has secured their commitment to being involved in the review process.
The non government school sector will be included in the consultation process and all schools will be encouraged to sign up.
The Minister recognises that the support of the community is necessary if change is to take place.
IEUA WA Branch General Secretary, Angela Briant met with the Minister and emphasised the need for this plan to also include strategies for protecting staff in schools.
Briant raised the increasing incidents of violence against teachers and the need to make sure that they are protected, along with students.
Briant said the priority was to members and all staff and this was an occupational safety and health issue which was part of union core business.
Joint union and employer workload review
As part of the late 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the IEU VicTas and the Victorian Catholic Education Commission, a review of the workloads of principals, deputy principals and teachers was commissioned and undertaken by the Nous Group.
As part of the terms of reference of the review, a quantitative element was an online survey sent to the relevant employee groups in all Victorian Catholic schools. Supplementing this were forums held across Victoria, individual case studies and interviews with stakeholders. The results of the review will inform negotiations for the agreement and it is hoped there will be some practical measures agreed to by the parties to address workload intensification. The review has now concluded and the IEUA VicTas will be reporting on the findings in due course.
Review of external marking complete
Further to the report in IE #2 2018, the external marking process review has now concluded and all recommendations have been accepted by the Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification (TASC). The review examined and made recommendations for improvement on the following areas of concern: