The returned Coalition government sees early childhood education as childcare that is a productivity measure for parents, with little value being placed on early childhood education for the child. Therefore, children’s services are treated as separate from the education system.
The current government has no clear early childhood policy or objectives for their next term. This means the sector has no guarantee of universal access for four year olds beyond next year and no funding for universal access for three year olds, even though both NSW and Victoria have committed to access for three year olds.
This is despite overwhelming evidence of the benefits of high quality early childhood education for all children, especially the disadvantaged. Ongoing funding for our regulatory body ACEQUA has not been guaranteed. We have no cohesive workforce strategy to ensure early childhood teachers remain in the sector.
IEU lobbying on Assessment and Ratings problems
IEU was contacted by more than 20 individual early childhood services and a group of 40 regional services with concerns about the current National Quality Standards Assessment and Ratings process (A&R).
In response to the issues raised by members, IEU wrote to Tracy Mackey (Executive Director, Early Childhood Education at the Early Childhood Education Directorate), Rhonda Livingstone (National Education Leader and General Manager, Educational Leadership at ACECQA), Sarah Mitchell MP (NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning) and Kate Washington MP (NSW Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education) seeking discussion on how to resolve the issues.
At the time of publication, we have received a response from ACEQUA thanking us for raising the concerns and encouraging us to ensure that members raise their concerns with ACEQUA and DEC.
As many of you would be aware there is currently a review of the NQF underway. We encourage all members to participate in the review process and ensure that you raise your issues through this process or directly with DEC or ACECQA.
The IEU will be making a formal submission to the review through our Federal office. To do the review: https://www.acecqa.gov.au/2019-nqf-review
ERO and Work Value Case before the FWC
The Fair Work Commission will continue to hear evidence on the need to address pay equity for early childhood teachers during June and July. IEU present evidence from experts and practicing early childhood teachers during June with employers giving their evidence in July. IEU is arguing both pay equity and work value cases, that changes in how early childhood teachers work should be recognised in the pay rates. The case will conclude in September with a decision pending.
Regular updates will be posted on IEU’s Facebook page.
Uniting Care agreement
IEU is negotiating a new Uniting Care agreement for all Uniting Care services under their umbrella. The Union is seeking improved wages, improved non contact time and additional release time for the educational leader.
Big Fat Smile
We have just concluded negotiations for a new agreement for Big Fat Smile services. Members will now determine whether to accept management’s offer.
IEU is negotiating with a number of services for new agreements. Many of these services are negotiating their third or fourth agreement.
If you are interested in negotiating an agreement for your salaries and conditions, contact your organiser.