Principals call on government and employers to respect the profession's voices

As Term 2 drew to a close, many IEU principal members would have reflected on the year so far and on the challenges schools are still facing because of staff shortages, ongoing COVID concerns, and the lack of empathy often shown by government and employers to the practical realities of school life.

In the words of one regional primary school principal: “I would like politicians and employers to spend more time listening to principals, teachers and support staff about the day-to-day issues of staffing, workloads, supporting special needs students and helping families in crisis.”

The IEU valued the opportunity to meet with Catholic systemic principals via Zoom on 27 June to update them on the Hear Our Voice campaign.

While principals couldn’t participate in the stop-work action on 30 June, many expressed their support for their staff taking action and sent messages of support for the rallies, recognising that this campaign is about the future of schools, the teaching profession and quality education.

Ultimately, it is relevant for all education sectors throughout NSW and the ACT.

Principals in government schools in NSW are active in the NSW Teachers Federation’s industrial campaign and have spoken at rallies and other events, noting the pressures on all schools because of workload intensification, including excessive compliance and data collection, and the impact of the teacher shortage.

A Federation principal member at a regional rally acknowledged the shared issues government and Catholic systemic principals face: staff shortages caused by uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads, and governments and employers who don’t seem to understand or respect the real life challenges of running schools.

Our union thanks principals for their ongoing support and for their contribution to our collective commitment to protect and enhance members’ workplace rights and the future of the education profession. The Term 3 meeting of the IEU Principals’ Sub Branch will be held on 6 August at the IEU Parramatta office and with a Zoom option.

Pam Smith
Assistant Secretary/Principals’ Organiser