Principals news

Your input is more important than ever

The IEU again thanks our principal members and hopes Term 4 is progressing safely and well. We acknowledge the many challenges principals have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the agility with which principals and staff have responded to the educational, emotional and economic impacts on schools and their communities.

Principals will be aware of the enterprise agreement negotiations that have occurred in several sectors for teachers and support staff, with votes conducted or pending for Catholic independent, Catholic systemic and Christian schools.

Unfortunately, in the independent sector, the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) indicated it did not wish to negotiate centrally with the IEU in regard to a pay increase for 2021. Within this context, the union commenced meeting with members in independent schools and encouraged members to liaise directly with their principals about the way forward.

The IEU also wrote directly to principals in independent schools on 16 October. Clarity around a pay rise in 2021 is also important for the many principals of independent schools whose pay is linked to the multi-enterprise agreement for teachers in their schools. Hopefully, there are some signs that the AIS may recommence meetings with the IEU.

For Catholic systemic principals, the IEU has received from the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) the final draft of the NSW/ACT Catholic Systemic Principals Enterprise Agreement – it includes Emergency Disaster Leave and a 2.28% pay rise to come in January 2021.

Principals have faced bushfires, other extreme weather events and a pandemic, so their voices are especially important the annual health and wellbeing survey.

In the Sydney Archdiocese, the IEU met with Sydney Catholic Schools on 16 October to progress Sydney principals’ EA negotiations.

After all the particular challenges 2020 has brought, the IEU encourages principals to participate in the ACU/Deakin University annual survey of principals’ health and wellbeing. Principals have faced bushfires, other extreme weather events and a pandemic, so their voices are especially important in this year’s survey. Findings from this annual survey are invaluable to discussions and directions about wellbeing support for principals.

Workload is of ongoing concern to principals and staff and the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) process has been a significant issue in relation to the workload impact on staff, concerns about the technology platform and perceptions that the effort required is not commensurate with the funding received. The union has invited principals to share their NCCD thoughts and experiences and we welcome your contributions.

The IEU thanks current and former IEU principal members Sidonie Coffey, Barbara Fitzgerald, Lisa McSweeney and Phil Gane for their wonderful input to the IEU’s ‘Ace the Interview’ online session for student teachers on 17 September. Early career teachers who participated in the session greatly appreciated their experience, wisdom and practical advice.

The Term 4 Principals Sub Branch meeting will be held on 7 November via Zoom and the IEU welcomes the opportunity to engage with principal members through the Sub Branch and at other diocesan or regional gatherings. A Zoom meeting for principal members in independent schools is scheduled for 29 October.

Pam Smith
Assistant Secretary and Principals Organiser