The IEU again thanks its principal members for their own great efforts and those of their staff, in meeting the evolving challenges of Term 2 as students returned to the classroom within the context of ongoing COVID-19 issues.
Principals discuss the issues by Zoom
Principal's sub branch met by Zoom on 2 May and online meetings have also been held with principal members in the Sydney Archdiocese and the Parramatta Diocese. Issues raised at these meetings included:
- the COVID-19 situation and managing workload for staff and also ensuring appropriate work health and safety and hygiene provisions
- government and system expectations around assessment and reporting in Term 2
- clarification of arrangements for the 2020 HSC, including students’ major works
- whether there would be any changes this year to the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data process which is linked to funding for students with special needs.
For principals in the Catholic systemic sector, the union looks forward to working with our members to progress EA negotiations. Principals have strongly expressed the view that any further delay to bargaining because of COVID-19 is unreasonable and unfair to staff, including principals, who have been carrying out their work with extraordinary dedication and commitment in very challenging times, without the 2.5 % already paid to their NSW DET colleagues. In the words of one principal, “we have received the praise but not the pay.”
Appreciation is expressed to Sydney and Parramatta principals’ meetings for voicing their support for an interim 2.5 % pay rise to be paid pending finalisation of the EA.
Call for pay rises
As principals are aware, IEU chapters in schools have also been meeting to endorse resolutions calling for Catholic employers to resume bargaining with the union in relation to pay and conditions for teachers, support staff and principals, and to match the 2.5% pay increase from January 2020 for government school teachers in NSW (3% from July 2020 for teachers in the ACT) and for a minimum 2.5% pay increase for principals and support staff.
These chapter resolutions have also called for support staff pay to be raised in line with increases received in 2019 by support staff in NSW government schools. World School Support Staff Day was held on 16 May and the union thanks those principals who acknowledged their support staff and held various activities to celebrate this occasion.
Survey shows no reduction in workloads
With regard to principals’ health and wellbeing, the latest report from the Teachers Health/ACU survey of the health and wellbeing of school leaders unfortunately shows no reduction of principals’ workload and stress. The survey was undertaken pre-COVID and it is highly likely that the workload and stress factors have increased in recent times.
The IEU values the opportunity to work with principal members to address current challenges and to protect and advance their industrial, professional and wellbeing interests now and into the future.