IEU members of March Council and recent branch meetings have been refining work intensification issues to be components of a log of claims in both Catholic systemic and independent schools.
The focus in independent schools (as per the recently distributed NewsExtra) will centre on establishing consultative committees to distil specific school based issues requiring resolution and certainty for members.
In both school sectors, the priorities (after salary increases) hinge on protecting teaching and learning.
Members are not dismissive of the expanding role of a teacher but firmly believe that to not shield the classroom from excessive (often repetitive) intrusions is counter productive and will not enhance outcomes.
The multiple agendas teachers grapple with demand clarification of purpose and prioritisation. Multiple competing compliance agendas require a reduction in face to face teaching to achieve what is being expected of classroom teachers. To date, the issues emerging which members have highlighted as being inadequately addressed in enterprise agreements or work practice agreements include:
• meetings in all their manifestations but in particular staff briefings and meetings being defined
• data collection, analysis and discussion of same
• special needs – the preparation of IEPs, associated case conferences, funding applications and challenging behaviours
• programing – excessive demands (beyond that of BOSTES) and insistence (especially in primary schools) of generating a totally unique document rather than working from and contextualising/adapting an accepted model
• constraining expectations in regard to email communications, and
• accreditation processes – tangible support for mentoring/induction, graduate and proficient status. This is emerging but must be included in enterprise agreements.
The protection of RFF arrangements, management of overnight camps and excursions, VET and technology expectations rank highly.
The central issue is the inclusion of the expanding notion of 'what a teacher is' into existing workload patterns. Tasks that require a teacher’s professional judgement must remain the domain of a teacher. The direct teaching time of teachers must be diminished and that time utilised for collaborative planning time and professional learning opportunities which are being demanded by both state and federal governments (and supported avidly by employers). It is time to give serious consideration to a revamped industrial model which provides time blocks for teachers to meet the demands being made of them.