Stepping up for equal pay

Arguably we are at an historic point in time when we could get synergy in policy and planning from birth to the end of schooling.

This year’s keynote speaker at the Early Childhood Conference is Susan Pascoe, co-author with Deborah Brennan of the Lifting Our Game Report.

The conference, Stepping Up for Equal Pay, will focus on the campaign for better pay and professional recognition for early childhood teachers.

Pascoe will present on the significance of this report at the conference.

“Lifting Our Game: is a significant review, triggered by discussions at the Council for Australian Governments (COAG) in June 2017, and completed at the same time as the Gonski 2.0 Review,” Pascoe said.

“Our report was released in February 2018 and Gonski’s finished a month later in March. Deborah Brennan and I met with Mr Gonski twice during the conduct of our review to brief him on our findings and recommendations.

“The Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools (also known as Gonski 2.0) has a chapter on early childhood education which draws on our findings and related research. The reports complement one another very well.

“Arguably we are at an historic point in time when we could get synergy in policy and planning from birth to the end of schooling. For example, we argue in Lifting Our Game, that the bifurcated historic focus of the Commonwealth on funding workforce participation (via childcare subsidies) and the states and territories on childhood learning and development, need not be oppositional.

“In fact you could achieve a ‘double dividend’ if you aligned the two policy approaches and funding programs.

“One of our core recommendations is to build on the success of universal access to four year old programs and offer 15 hours of quality early childhood education to all three year olds.

“This would take some time to achieve with a significant focus needed on improving workforce planning and provision, and attention to infrastructure requirements.

“However, such a move would bring us in line with our OECD counterparts, and move Australia from bottom rankings in relation to early childhood provision.

“The international literature is clear that the benefits to children, and the return on investment to governments warrant such a move.”

IEU Industrial Officer Michael Wright will also address the conference on the progress of IEUA’s landmark equal remuneration case, which comes before the Fair Work Commission in July.

The case will argue early childhood teachers are historically underpaid because they are mostly women.

Other workshops will look at professionalism, Reggio Emilia and sustainability.