At this very challenging time for many principals and their school communities, the IEU acknowledges the leadership of principals in supporting their staff, students and families.
Unfortunately, the Delta variant of COVID-19 seems to spread easily among children and young people, as has been evident in the recent outbreaks in both NSW and other states, resulting in both direct and indirect impacts on schools.
Within this context, the IEU has valued the opportunity to meet via Zoom with the Principals’ Sub Branch on 7 August; as well as with Parramatta Diocese principals on 30 July; with Sydney Archdiocese principals on 10 August; and a meeting is planned for 20 August with Lismore Diocese principals. The IEU is always pleased to engage with our principal members and we welcome opportunities at diocesan or sector levels.
Our union is continuing to advocate strongly for COVID vaccination priority and accessibility and for paid vaccination leave.
While the IEU welcomed the announcement of a priority vaccination hub for south-western Sydney, this has been insufficient and the IEU has continued to call for greater access for teachers and support staff as there are still too many examples of delays for staff who are keen to be vaccinated. (Expanded vaccine access has since been announced for school staff living in several Greater Sydney LGAs, but the IEU continues to advocate for priority and ease of access for all NSW/ACT school staff.)
Similarly, the IEU has supported the campaign by the union movement for paid vaccination leave in the National Employment Standards of up to one day per vaccination, as members tell us it is not always possible to obtain vaccination appointments outside school hours and appointments can often change at short notice.
During the rapidly evolving COVID situation, the IEU has issued regular media releases, including an open letter to the Premier and a joint statement with the NSW Teachers Federation in response to significant concerns in the greater Sydney lockdown area about the proposal that Year 12 students would return to school on 16 August, supposedly being vaccinated by that time!
There are also regular COVID updates on the IEU's (ieu.asn.au) website and Facebook page (Facebook.com/ieunswact).
We thank Parramatta Diocese Principal Dr Peter Webster for his own open letter to the Premier and for contributing to IEU media release on COVID issues.
Australian Primary Principals’ Day was celebrated on 6 August and the IEU thanks those primary principal members who agreed to be contacted for media comments. More than ever, the work of principals and their staff needs to be celebrated for their contribution to the learning of children and to the wellbeing of communities.
As principals will be aware, the important industrial work of the IEU also continues, including current negotiations for independent sector MEAs (which underpin the salaries and conditions of many principals in independent schools). A log of claims will be developed for new Catholic systemic school EAs.
The IEU looks forward to engaging with our principal members to protect and advance their industrial, professional and wellbeing interests.