A roller coaster ride of the year

The last 12 months has been a roller coaster for early childhood services and teachers.

On the one hand we have the wonderful news from the Fair Work Commission that our wage case has been successful and early childhood teachers can look forward to significant wage rises in 2022, and a boost for NSW Educational Leaders.

This has been a long-fought battle over eight years – the best minds and huge amounts of time and resources have gone into achieving this.

Many teachers from across the sector also gave their time and expertise to support this in the form of statements and attending the Commission.

The IEU has always gone above and beyond to support this sector. Considering early childhood members comprise a small proportion of the union's overall membership, we are very well supported through advocacy, help with work issues and professional development.

In the New Year we urge you to check you are being paid correctly and to call the union if you think there is a discrepancy.

COVID is still impacting on services with teachers and directors trying to navigate the continually changing situation and the mountains of information and misinformation, while still delivering high quality programs to children and supporting families.

Closures, staff shortages, vaccination mandates and isolation are still an everyday occurrence, but early childhood professionals have shown great resilience and should be warmly congratulated by all – you are essential, and your commitment is incomparable.

Preschool funding has been announced with the Free Preschool model continuing for 2022. While many services are finding this is a sustainable model, many on high SEIFA (Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas) bands are finding this model could bankrupt them.

Representations from preschools have gone to the NSW Government. Continuing to fund children instead of funding services will always lead to a disparity in fees.

I know many of you will be looking forward to a well-earned break and a chance to rest and rejuvenate for another year. We have no idea what next year will look like as we all make our way through this pandemic. I thank you all for your continuing dedication and your professionalism in the face of such adversity.

Here’s to a wonderful 2022.