Focus on workload and wellbeing issues

IEU Principals Sub Branch met at the Union’s Parramatta office on 4 August, with a focus on principals’ workload and wellbeing.

Congratulations were offered to principals Noeleen O’Neill and Sidonie Coffey for their election to IEU Council and appreciation expressed to former Council principals’ delegates Louise O’Sullivan and John Farrell for their contribution.

At the meeting, guest speaker Rob Laidler, who has a liaison role with the Catholic Association of Secondary Principals Australia, spoke of the vital importance of advocacy on behalf of principals in relation to their roles, workload and the many pressures now on principals from governments, their employers and from parents and the community.

He noted that succession planning is a key issue and there are concerns that many middle career teachers do not appear to aspire to principalship.

Laidler, a long term IEU member and a former principal in the Parramatta Diocese, indicated that he is happy to meet with principals in rural and regional areas and to work with the IEU to protect and advance the interests of all non government sector principals.

Major issues for discussion at the 4 August Principals Sub Branch meeting included ongoing concerns about accessing NESA’s ETAMS’ site for teacher accreditation and maintenance, including logging of PD courses. The IEU’s updates on NESA are much appreciated; principals also questioned whether the $100 NESA fee for 2018 should be refunded, given the extent and duration of NESA’s online issues.

Problems with the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for Students with a Disability was highlighted, with principals reporting that the time and processes required are excessive and that there often appears to be little return in relation to additional funding for students.

There are significant issues with Learning Progressions, with comments including questions about its relevance and purpose, lack of system support, the duplication of so many current data collection requirements, problems with the online ALAN site, and the overall view that time would be better devoted to teaching rather than data collection.

Principals Sub Branch members expressed their strong support for the IEU’s case before the Fair Work Commission on behalf of early childhood teachers, believing that ‘teachers are teachers’ and that the current pay gap is a social justice issue which also shows the need to address Australia’s gender pay gap.

A number of IEU regional principals’ gatherings are planned for the remainder of 2018, including Canberra on 25 October, Wagga Wagga and Wollongong principals on 7 November, and events to be convened in the Armidale, Bathurst and Lismore dioceses in Term 4.

The Term 4 IEU Principals’ Sub Branch meeting will be held at the IEU Parramatta office on 3 November.

Pam Smith
Principals Organiser