Early learning report

The State of Early Learning in Australia 2019 report shows sharp differences in access to affordable, high quality early learning across the country and emphasises the need for strong federal oversight. Some young children are missing out based on which state, territory or region they live in, with the report identifying significant pockets of unmet need and problems associated with affordability. “Just a 1.75% increase in the Federal Government’s spending on education would bring Australia in line with other leading English speaking countries and deliver outcomes that benefit our nation throughout each child’s educational journey and beyond,” said Early Childhood Australia CEO Samantha Page. See report at: http://bit.ly/SOELReport2019

Meet your new team

A new leadership team at IEUA NSW/ACT Branch will keep fighting for improved pay and professional recognition for early childhood teachers, following the retirement of long term leaders John Quessy and Gloria Taylor late last year.

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam, Deputy Secretary Carol Matthews and Assistant Secretaries Pam Smith and Liam Griffiths (pictured above) have played an integral role in progressing the IEU’s landmark Equal Remuneration case (see p18) for early childhood teachers and have the needs of early childhood teachers at the forefront of their agenda.

“Early childhood teachers are an important and dynamic part of the union’s membership, and we will grow and strengthen union representation in this area,” Northam said.

We want to hear your stories and find out what matters to you. Contact us at bedrock@ieu.asn.au

Online resources

Podcast: Brain architecture

Why are the early years of a child’s life so important for brain development? How are connections built in the brain, and how can early brain development affect a child’s future health? This episode of The Brain Architects dives into all these questions and more.

See: https://bit.ly/2RAYN4d

Podcast: Babytalk

Do you know how important play is for a child’s education? While some of us obsess over choosing childcare and early learning programs that have academic outcomes, what the educational experts are telling us is that education is nothing without play. Play is part of our curriculum.

Professor Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator and author who has worked as a schoolteacher, teacher educator, researcher, and policy advisor and has studied education systems, analysed education policies, and advised reforms around the world.

In the Babytalk podcast you’ll meet Professor Sahlberg, who explains what’s really letting the education of Australian children down. https://www.abc.net.au/radio/brisbane/programs/babytalk/babytalk/11711628

Documentary: Poverty and unborn babies

The dangers of foetal exposure to alcohol, drugs and lead are now widely known. But researchers have found increasing evidence of another potential threat to babies in utero: toxic stress. And, more specifically, the kind that’s churned up in a mother who’s struggling to make ends meet. See: https://yhoo.it/2vtivpW

Star ratings for NSW

Every NSW centre is now required to display a coloured star chart on its front door showing how it rates against the National Quality Framework for Education and Care Services.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald when the system was announced in November, early childhood consultant Lisa Bryant said NSW was the only state to introduce such a system, and also spent the least of all states on early childhood education.

“If our government really wanted to make sure parents can make good choices about where to send their children and make sure children are safe and receive high quality care, it should get rid of the companies that are rubbish at providing quality care,” Bryant said.

“Forcing centres to display a star chart devalues education and care, devalues the professionalism of educators and teachers and won’t stamp out providers that shouldn’t be awarded a single star.”

Queensland Lutheran early childhood members start collective bargaining

Securing parity with the state sector on additional teacher classifications is set to be a critical issue for members in the Queensland Lutheran Early Childhood Services (QLECS) as negotiations for a new collective agreement commence.

State schools and all major denominational sectors currently provide additional classifications for teachers. These further classifications come with improved remuneration – the most obvious example being Senior Teacher.

In state schools, a new classification of Experienced Senior Teacher already exists, and an incremental step will be added to this classification in 2021.

Teachers in Lutheran kindergartens do not currently have access to these additional senior teacher steps and would not have these in the future under the employer’s current position in bargaining.

This means the most experienced teachers working in QLECS centres would not, under the employer proposal, receive wage rates comparable with the other educational sectors in Queensland.

Employee representatives are also hoping to secure paid domestic violence leave in the new agreement – aligning with the majority of the non-government sector.

Wage parity for C&K members

Creche & Kindergarten (C&K) members across Queensland have overwhelmingly endorsed a new collective agreement which saw employees receive a 2% wage increase backdated to 1 July 2019, with a guaranteed 2.5% increase on 1 July 2020.

As a result, the teacher wage rates in the new agreement are largely consistent with teacher wage rates in other sectors, maintaining hard fought wage parity for Queensland early childhood education teachers.

IEUA-QNT Senior Industrial Officer John Spriggs said securing wage increases and parity was a priority for members.

John said the overwhelming endorsement of this agreement by members in C&K sites reflects the importance of recognising kindergarten teachers and staff through professional rates of pay.

The new agreement was endorsed by 95.28% of employees who voted.

Other issues of concern identified by members will now be on the agenda for the next round of collective bargaining, which will occur in late 2020 or early 2021.