Principals highlight key issues

Recent IEU meetings with principal members in Sydney’s Southern Region and in Newcastle have highlighted a range of key issues and concerns for school leaders.

Sydney Southern Region principal members, meeting at Moorebank on 15 June, were keen to discuss the new Sydney Archdiocese principals’ enterprise agreement (EA) and to receive an IEU update on the negotiations for the EA for teachers and general employees.

Other issues on the agenda for Southern Region principals included funding, staffing and resourcing for schools, support for students with special needs, and the vital importance of addressing workload and wellbeing concerns for principals.

The IEU looks forward to opportunities to meet with principals in Sydney Archdiocese’s Eastern and Inner West Regions.

In Newcastle on 23 June, a well attended meeting of IEU principal members endorsed resolutions expressing their strong concerns about recent developments in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese. Principals noted the very significant role of the Catholic Schools Office in the provision of support for Catholic schools in the Diocese and expressed their concern about the Bishop’s proposal to integrate CSO services with those of other agencies under the auspices of the Chancery.

Issues were raised in relation to the possible impact on school finances, school fees, Education Act compliance and ongoing employment arrangements for principals, teachers and support staff in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese.

Principals also expressed their support for their Maitland-Newcastle CSO colleagues who at that stage were being denied a vote on an Enterprise Agreement for their workplace. Fortunately, with strong Union collective support, the CSO EA has since been progressed.

In relation to other matters affecting principal members, the IEU notes with concern some current disputes which highlight the stresses facing principals in relation to difficult parent/school community issues. While most dioceses and some independent schools have ‘codes of conduct’ or similar documents for parents and carers, situations have arisen this year where principals and their staff have been subjected to verbal abuse and threats of physical abuse. This has unfortunately resulted in some unfortunate impacts on the health and wellbeing of principals and staff.

IEU will continue to liaise with employers and members to ensure fair, safe and inclusive working conditions based on dignity and respect.

Principals Sub Branch will hold its Term 3 meeting at the Union’s Parramatta office on 5 August and the Term 4 meeting is scheduled for 4 November. IEU principals’ meetings have also been arranged later in 2017 in the Wollongong and Armidale dioceses and other meeting opportunities are welcome.

Pam Smith
Principals Organiser