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Professional and industrial news from the states and territories

NSW: Insulting pay for prac expertise

The NSW/ACT IEU has launched a campaign for an increase in pay rates for members supervising trainee teachers during their practicum. As a first step, teachers in Catholic systemic schools are endorsing a pay claim raising the current prac rate of $21.20 per day to $39 per day. Current rates are an insult and have not been updated for 20 years. In the case of secondary teachers one method is as low as $12.45 per day.

The IEU considers the rates should be increased in line with the CPI.

The Union is recommending members not accept student teachers on the current rates from Term 2, 2014. The IEU has advised universities of the urgency of our claim. Universities receive indexed funding to support the practicum.

The supervision of trainee teachers involves professional consultation and should be suitably compensated. It's time for recognition of the critical role teachers play in sharing their expertise with those entering the profession.

The year began with an unfortunate start on the education front. Without any prior consultation, Minister for Education Martin Dixon introduced a new Bill into Parliament to make a number of changes to the Education and Training Reform Act which specifically deal with the registration of teachers in the State.

The most controversial change is to the way in which the VIT Council will be constituted. Currently half of the 12 members of the Council are elected by and from their respective government, Catholic and independent school sectors. The Bill amends the Act to remove the election process and replaces it with Minister appointed persons. The Bill also proposes to amend the Act to include the required registration of early childhood Teachers. By 30 September 2015 all teachers employed in early childhood settings will need to be registered. Other amendments to the Act make changes to the processes and content of the publication of disciplinary hearing outcomes. The education unions are opposing the removal of the election of teachers and are making representations on this. The Bill was due to be debated at press time.

Victoria: Teachers excluded

Tasmania: Legislation changes ahead

Following more than two years of intense lobbying from stakeholders, and negotiations between the Government and the ‘independent’ upper House, an amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act passed both Houses of Parliament.

Faith-based schools and the churches were seeking the capacity to discriminate in relation to admission to their schools. Attorney-General Brian Wightman agreed to an amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act to allow for this exemption. In what he describes as a ‘sensible and balanced approach’ Mr Wightman has announced that the exemption would be available at the point of admission. Examples would be: if a class is full the school could refuse to accept an enrolment from a student not of that particular religious belief or affiliation; if there was only one place available and two students seeking to enrol preference could be given to the student of that particular religious belief or affiliation. Students who are already attending a faith-based school could not be excluded.

Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act

Tasmania is the last jurisdiction to get ‘Working with Children’ legislation, so arguably this draft legislation is well overdue. This reform will introduce a compulsory background risk assessment and police checks for people looking to work with children and vulnerable people. A centralised screening process will also be established.

Unfortunately the introduction of this legislation was marred by a very poor consultation process. There was little awareness on the part of the Minister for Human Services and drafters of the Bill of the registration provisions of the Teacher Registration Act. It is unclear as to whether teachers will have to be registered twice – under the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2013 as well as under the Teacher Registration Act as there is no exemption for registered teachers. The IEU will be making a submission as the regulations are developed to avoid this unnecessary duplication. The IEU is also concerned about the fee that education support staff will have to pay.

Queensland & Northern Territory: Launch of new Beginning Educator Network

The IEUA-QNT has launched a beginning educators network (BEnet) to provide opportunities for Union engagement and support.

The BEnet will be comprised of members who are in the first five years of their career in education. The network is designed to allow early career members to network, share and learn during what is often an overwhelming time.

Research has shown that the teaching profession is losing some of its best and brightest members within the first five years due to a range of reasons such
as differences between expectations and reality, excessive workloads and lack of support.

BEnet Coordinator Caryl Davies says the program is designed to increase member engagement within this group and promote understanding of what it means to be union.

“The BEnet will offer recent graduates the opportunity to attend professional development sessions, meet other new educators and have a place to go when they need to ask questions or have concerns.”

The BEnet is open to teachers, school officers and associate members currently studying education.

“BEnet will have meetings across Queensland and the Northern Territory. There will also be an extensive range of online resources available for those in rural and remote areas.”

To get involved, visit the Facebook page at or email

South Australia: Union formed on the footpath

Prior to 1984 teachers employed in Catholic and independent schools, who considered membership of their industrial and professional association important, had no choice but to belong to the South Australian Institute of Teachers (SAIT) now the AEU.

This was the Union that all teachers, irrespective of the school sector, were able to join. This relationship endured for some years, with the teachers from the non-government schools forming their own sub group called the Association of Teachers in Independent Schools (ATIS)
to ensure that their professional and industrial interests were developed
and maintained.

In 1984 SAIT lobbied the government to withdraw any funding to non-government schools. The DOGS (those in Defence of Government Schools) and the members who taught in non-government schools came to loggerheads. This led to a particularly heated council meeting which culminated in the ATIS members being ejected from the meeting and the building.

These members held their first meeting as an unregistered association on the footpath outside of the SAIT building, but went on to become a registered union. Some years later it was renamed the Association of Non Government Education Employees and broadened its membership to include general staff. Ten years ago they became the IEUSA. The rest, as they say, is history and IEUSA will mark its 30-year anniversary by celebrating the work and commitment of these foundation members and their equally enthusiastic successors with a number of projects, including a DVD and dinner for past and present members.

ACT: Time to start logging learning

When the Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) was established in 2010, the IEU lobbied to have the annual teacher registration fee waved for two years and the maintenance of accreditation process delayed by three years.

This year will be the first in which all teachers will need to log their professional learning for accreditation purposes.

The importance of continuing Professional Learning (PL) for ACT teachers is now recognised through accreditation linked to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers or Standards for Principals.

All teachers (including casual and part time) need to start recording and reflecting on a minimum of 20 hours of their PL throughout 2014 to meet the requirements for registration renewal in 2015. This must be recorded by each teacher through their Professional Learning Profile on the TQI portal.

Teachers are expected to:

• keep a central record of all their PL on
the PL Profile, not just the 20 hours
needed for registration purposes.

• make up the 20 hours needed
for registration renewal from a
combination of programs accredited
by TQI (Accredited Programs) and other
professional learning (Teacher Identified
Activities), and

• each year must include 20 hours, with
a minimum of five hours of Accredited
Programs and a minimum of five hours
of Teacher Identified Activities.