IEUA-QNT has provided feedback to the Northern Territory Government regarding the Northern Territory Teacher Registration Board’s review of the Teacher Registration Act and Regulations.
IEUA-QNT has highlighted issues including the problematic nature of the Teacher Registration Board being responsible for assessment of individual teacher ‘competence’.
Our Union believes the Board does not have the appropriate knowledge of individual circumstances to undertake such reviews.
IEUA-QNT questions if it would be inappropriate to allow the Board to have the power to defer registration renewal applications if there are disciplinary proceedings in progress.
The unjust proposal that the Board would not be required to invite a person involved in a disciplinary proceeding to respond is also questioned. Our Union believes it is a fundamental principle of natural justice that the subject should be given an opportunity to respond.
New South Wales
Support for NAPLAN on the decline
NAPLAN standardised testing has been one of the education fads of recent years with ever increasing testing and reporting requirements imposed by government on all stages of schooling.
Recent events, however, have sparked a sharp turnaround in attitudes towards the tests. The Gonski report questioned the benefit of standardised tests that only assess a child’s achievement at a point in time that is often dated by the time the results are available.
NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes is calling “for the urgent dumping of NAPLAN” and claiming that the test “is being used dishonestly as a schools rating system and has sprouted an industry that extorts money from desperate parents”.
Other state and territory governments have joined in the opposition to the test. The Chief Executive of Catholic Schools NSW, Dallas McInerney, called for changes to the “unfair” way NAPLAN results are reported and shared Minister Stokes’ concerns that the results “are being turned into league tables”.
The IEUA NSW/ACT hopes that the voice of the profession will be heard in reforming this agenda.
Australian Capital Territory
Review of the Education Act
In February this year a review of the Education Act 2004 (the Act) in ACT was proposed.
A discussion paper proposing a change to the principles currently stated in Section 7 of the Act have been circulated for comment. The discussion paper wants a greater emphasis to be placed on understanding that education for each child is an individual journey and must be catered for, particularly when they have additional needs.
There should be an effort to balance the rights and realising the diversity of needs of the children, individually and collectively, as well as the staff. Recognising learning as a lifelong journey from early childhood education through all its iterations to university and vocational education is crucial.
There must be acknowledgment of the evolution of early childhood education in the ACT since 2004 and how critical a period of learning it is, and the principles involved in the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
IEUA NSW/ACT Branch provided a response to the review panel in late May and will monitor developments on any further proposed changes to the Act.
Carinity Education intent on scrapping conditions
IEUA-QNT members working in Carinity Education schools, an outreach of Queensland Baptists, in Brisbane, Gladstone and Hervey Bay, took part in a one hour stop work action on 24 April in the face of an employer that remains intent on cutting conditions.
At the time of writing, Carinity Education’s wishlist of cuts included scrapping top tier teacher classifications, meaning the most experienced teachers could be earning up to $8000 less per year than their state and Catholic school counterparts.
Carinity Education wants cuts to working conditions including superannuation provisions, long service leave and redundancy provisions and plans to significantly increase the hours of work expected by staff in leadership positions.
It also wants to limit access to community standard leave conditions such as natural disaster leave and domestic violence leave.
Carinity Education signaled an intention to proceed to ballot on a sub-standard new agreement.
This follows the employer earlier stating it could look to ‘terminate’ the current collective agreement. Such a move would be unheard of in the education sector in Queensland – making it clear that no worker is safe from the unfair industrial laws that put all the power in the hands of the employer.
IEUA-QNT members are continuing to campaign to restore the rights of our members in Carinity schools. For the latest updates on the campaign visit www.showyoucare.com.au
The article Employers must support staff through NDIS rollout in Issue 1 Vol 48 of IE incorrectly stated that the “introduction of the NDIS [marked] a fundamental change in the way schools will receive funding to support inclusion of students with additional needs”.
Don't keep history a mystery
IEUSA is continuing to provide quality and relevant professional learning opportunities for members. This term education consultant Christine Reid provided a session on cultural perspective to assist teachers preparing their own activities and lesson plans for Reconciliation Week.
For many people the history of Aboriginal Australia is a mystery. Many educators have not had the opportunity to understand the traditional culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people nor have an awareness of the profound effect of colonisation.
Reid’s interactive workshop provided a look at the history that has shaped Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives. By gaining knowledge and becoming aware of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives have been changed by the effects of another culture, teachers are able to teach in a manner that makes a difference in the lives of all students.
In April IEUWA delegates came together for the inaugural WA Delegates Conference.
The venue was the original Perth Trades Hall, now proudly restored by the CFMEU. IEUWA delegates met in the May Holman room. May was the first ALP woman elected to the WA State Parliament, not once but three times, and she is an inspirational figure in the labour movement.
Delegates had the opportunity to hear from formidable presenters including Steve McCartney, AMWU Secretary; Chris Watt, IEUA Federal Secretary; and Meredith Hammat, Secretary of UnionsWA.
The star speakers were two delegates who inspired all present by their talk of the way they built union presence in their school and made a difference.
Review of teacher registration body
An independent review of the operations, structure and legislative framework of the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) was conducted late last year and has resulted in a number of significant changes. The IEUA VicTas had input by both written submission and formal consultation with the reviewer. The final report makes 32 recommendations for change to VIT.
The review recommended that the VIT hearing panel system be abolished. Allegations of teacher misconduct or incompetence are to be determined by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). IEUA VicTas is concerned about the teaching profession being removed from the process and whether moving almost all matters to the VCAT jurisdiction will result in even more lengthy delays.
The Act currently allows VIT to impose an interim suspension on teachers who pose an unacceptable risk of harm to children. The review acknowledged that the commencement of the Reportable Conduct Scheme could see increased use of the interim suspension power. Of concern is that there is still no right for a teacher to be represented at the time of making the decision.
Where VIT has made a decision to suspend, it is required by legislation to commence an inquiry as soon as possible. This can mean that multiple investigations occur in parallel, for example. The review recommends restoration of previous practice – that is, all other investigations being complete before VIT commences one.
Union complaints result in review of external marking
The IEUA VicTas raised concerns last year about the marking of Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification (TASC) external assessments after new procedures relating to the appointment and payment of markers were introduced without consultation with the education unions.
The piece rate per completed script was changed to a flat rate for the whole period. Assistant chief supervisor roles were abolished and replaced with a lesser paid support supervisor role. A more onerous application process was also launched later than usual in the year, after the regulations relating to the changes were gazetted.
Education Minister Jeremy Rockcliff announced a review of all external assessment processes to take place this year and that unions should be consulted.
The unions’ three key areas of concern – appointment of markers, determining a marking load, and payment of markers, will inform the scope of the review. The IEUA and Australian Education Union will continue to be consulted as the review progresses and will keep members advised of the outcomes.