In the wake of Anne Ellis’ resignation after being the inaugural CEO of the Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) since January 2011, Jason Borton is temporarily performing the role of CEO.
Throughout Anne’s appointment, she remained steadfast in promoting collaboration across school sectors and across universities in the ACT. Secretary Mark Northam acknowledged and thanked Anne for her willingness to engage with the IEU in a productive and positive manner.
Jason comes on board as an experienced executive with a history of working in the education industry. His particular skills are in K-12 Education, policy development and implementation of large-scale projects.
At the same time, Bill Maiden as TQI Chair has reached the end of his term. Bill recognised both the opportunities and challenges of teacher registration in the ACT and nationally. He will be missed for his knack of encouraging different viewpoints. Roberta McRae OAM, teacher, public servant, member of the Legislative Assembly and solicitor, has been appointed as the interim chair.
Each of the ACT based organisers, Lyn Caton, Jackie Groom and Berna Simpson, represent the union on TQI committees, namely Teacher Professional Practices, Standards and Professional Practices, Professional Learning and Development, and Initial Teacher Education. Berna holds a position on the TQI Board.
The IEU is currently reviewing an 18 page TQI document with the AEU. The document entitled “Professional Boundaries: A guide for ACT Teachers” if approved by the Board would replace a one page “Code of professional practice and conduct for ACT teachers”. The union believes that the latter is sufficient and still current. It is a code that simply encourages professional practice that demonstrates integrity, respect and responsibility. The new document details “the sometimes challenging area of managing professional relationships with students”. It provides an unnecessary list of possible ‘at risk’ circumstances teachers might find themselves in. The union will not be supporting the proposed change. It is a lengthy document that has no status, no power, and it could easily become another tool for employers to use against employees.
TQI’s end of June 2020, Registration Renewal Data, provided interesting information (see diagram). In the ACT there are 8,109 registered teachers with 75% female and 25% male. The average age of a teacher in the ACT is 43 years. These teachers work across 149 schools of which 52 are in the independent and Catholic sectors.
Expired registrations amount to 688 teachers of which 283 have been identified as casual teachers. While the variance in the number of expired registrations over the past few years is relatively minor, it is well known in the ACT that there is a shortage of casuals in Catholic systemic schools. While this was once a seasonal problem with the ‘grey nomads’ heading north for winter, teachers have spoken of the difficulty of hiring casuals all year round. In the absence of a casual, primary schools’ resort to ‘splitting’ classes – a practice that places additional stress on teachers and detracts from the learning environment. There are instances of LSL being rejected due to the perception that casuals are in short supply either side of the second term break.