We need a new code of conduct

The IEU thanks principal members Sidonie Coffey and Noeleen O’Neill for their contribution as delegates to IEU Council during 2018. Both Sidonie and Noeleen attended the Union’s AGM on 20 October.

The Term 4 meeting of Principals Sub Branch will be held at the IEU’s Parramatta office on 3 November, with possible agenda issues to include codes of conduct for parents and carers, the implementation of Learning Progressions in some dioceses, students with disabilities and the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data process, and the ongoing funding debate.

Diocesan principals’ gatherings have been held in Lismore and Canberra and are planned for, Wollongong on 7 November, Bathurst on 8 November and Lismore on 29 November. Dates are to be confirmed for IEU principals’ meetings in Forbes and Armidale.

Workload and wellbeing continue as major concerns for principals and their staff. As in previous years, the IEU has supported the Teachers Health principals’ wellbeing survey and has encouraged the participation of principal members. The Union has also publicised the survey outcomes when released annually and has liaised with employers where appropriate in regard to principals’ workload and wellbeing issues.

Specific initiatives to support principals’ wellbeing are acknowledged in the Maitland-Newcastle, Wollongong, Broken Bay and Wagga Wagga Dioceses. The IEU has also spoken recently with some employers about the need for a code of conduct for parents and carers to protect the interests of principals and staff in relation to inappropriate and sometimes violent behaviour. Such codes are currently in place in some dioceses and should be monitored and reviewed with principal and staff input with a WHS focus.

Principals have welcomed the recent Senate inquiry into the ‘effect of red tape on private education’, noting the valuable contribution of the IEUA Federal Secretary Chris Watt to the inquiry in raising issues of excessive compliance requirements and the explosion of data collection and analysis.

In the independent schools sector, an IEU teleconference is scheduled for 29 October for principal members in independent schools. Proposed agenda items include funding, school governance issues and dealing with challenging situations involving parents and the school community.

The Union congratulates member Judi Nealy who is now principal of The Illawarra Grammar School in Wollongong, the first female principal in the school’s almost 60 years of history.

Pam Smith
Principals Organiser