In the September issue of Newsmonth we outlined the IEU’s response to member concerns regarding the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) process. Here’s an update on the work so far.
After consultation with the IEU’s NCCD Working Group, the NCCD survey was launched on 15 September and closed during the September holidays. In order to gauge the level of concern across schools, rather than within schools, the survey was directed to the learning support teachers or co-ordinators in each school who carry the major responsibility for the NCCD.
A total of 320 members engaged with the survey. Although the survey was fairly extensive, more than 90 percent of respondents completed it. Since only one member per school could participate, and the overwhelming majority were sounding the alarm on workload issues, the survey clearly demonstrates that concern about the NCCD process is widespread.
The survey participants were highly engaged and provided approximately 850 comments in addition to the objective data. Analysis of this data will continue during Term 4. The preliminary examination included collating quantitative data with the help of our external consultant, Michael Elphick, and identifying some recurring themes from the comments.
As a way of acknowledging the time and efforts of the respondents, survey participants were invited to attend one of two online meetings offered in Week 3 and Week 4 of Term 4, to hear feedback on the initial data analysis. The objective data clearly demonstrates two significant factors:
• the bulk of this essential work is being undertaken by a part-time work force, and
• the overwhelming majority of respondents also indicated they were spending between 2-14 hours per week of unpaid time outside of school to complete the task.
While there is no doubt that participants in the survey support a nationally consistent process for the collection of data to inform the funding for students with special needs, the comments provide a clearer picture of the reality of implementing the process at the school level.
While the analysing of the comments continues, recurring themes that were shared with the survey participants include significant workload intensification. Participants are clearly indicating that this intensification is independent of the pandemic, and that the increase in workload has been building for some time.
While the impact on personal health and wellbeing was raised repeatedly, most respondents identified it as their primary concern due to the way it interfered with their core work – supporting students with special needs and their teachers.
There are inconsistent guidelines and confusion around the amount and type of evidence required for the submission. Respondents report conflicting advice and changes in the requirements from year to year, and even within the year.