Australia Wide

NSW ACT Campaign for fair treatment of asylum seekers

The Union is engaged in a range of equity and social justice initiatives including activities in support of fair treatment of refugees and their children. Following an announcement by the Minister for Immigration to return 72 children to Nauru that are currently held in detention on the Australian mainland, the IEU joined the campaign against the transfer of the children. A rally was held in Sydney on 4 February.

IEU members have great concern about the impact of detention centres on children with IEU Council members donating generously to Chilout (Children Out of Immigration Detention) on World Refugee Day 2015. It is reported that the average length of time that asylum seekers (including children) spend in detention is 445 days. Alarming statistics are available about the devastating impact on the mental health of children in Nauru. There is also great concern about the exposure of children to abuse and sexual harassment in the centres.

The Union will continue to work with Chilout to make 2016 the year that ends child detention. The IEU also has a broad commitment to campaign for fair treatment of asylum seekers. The High Court’s recent 6-1 ruling that Australia’s detention regime at Nauru and Manus Island is lawful opens the door for the return of more than 220 asylum seekers to Nauru. This includes children and 37 babies born in Australia. The legal decision however has sparked significant community comment about the moral issue. We invite all IEU members Australia wide to join this important campaign.

Ambitious program

The NSW/ACT IEU Women’s Committee launched the year with the IEU International Women’s Day Event held on 4 March at the Union’s Wattle St Office. Union leader and Assistant Secretary of Unions NSW, Emma Maiden spoke about ‘Women in Unions’ and IEU member and secondary school teacher, Cassandra Pride presented ‘Boys Reading Women’. These now annual evening events are popular get togethers for members and friends of the IEU.

The Committee has an ambitious annual program with networks in city and regional centres. The biennial Women’s Conference will be held on Friday 19 August 2016.

Queensland Coding on the curriculum

Students in state schools will begin learning digital literacy from prep and will be taught coding until Year 10 under a new education plan. The Government also plans to establish a specialist coding academy to connect students and teachers with industry experts and cutting edge technologies.

IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said while it is pleasing to see the government focus on teaching children digital literacy, teachers and students in all schools and areas must have access to the resources required for meaningful delivery of the coding curriculum.

“While our Union recognises that the primary focus of the government is education in state schools, it is important that students attending non government schools, and schools in regional and remote areas, also have access to quality education,” he said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Education Minister Kate Jones announced in November last year that coding “is a new literacy that every child must have”.

With the unveiling of the government’s Advancing Education plan and #codingcounts discussion paper, Ms Palaszczuk reiterated that coding and robotics are essential to students’ learning in 2016 and beyond in STEM jobs.

“This is all about preparing students for the jobs of the future through embracing new technologies,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Victoria Landmark laptop court case

November last year saw a landmark court case win for the Australian Education Union (AEU) Victorian Branch against the deductions from teachers’ wages for laptops.

The government had introduced a scheme a number of years ago that provided laptops to 90% of teachers and deducted between $4 and $7 per fortnight from their wages. After three or four years, the laptop was returned to the Department and a new one issued. Personal use was allowed on certain conditions. Being in the scheme was not really optional.

The AEU lodged a court action because the Fair Work Act prohibits employers deducting money from wages except in very limited circumstances.

The Federal Court found that the laptops were a “tool of trade” for teachers, and decided that the deductions from wages were unreasonable because:

the teachers had no real choice

they mostly had to participate

the deductions were greater than the value of teachers’ personal use, and

the deductions were not made “principally for the teachers’ benefit.

The Department was ordered to repay $37million to 46,000 teachers and principals.

In non government schools a variety of laptop schemes apply. Advice from the IEU helps members identify whether their circumstances are similar to the government scheme.

South Australia What is professional learning evaluation?

On renewal of registration all SA teachers are required to make a declaration that they have completed 60 hours of professional learning in their current term of registration (three years). Teachers must keep a summary record of professional learning undertaken to verify their participation.

An easy way to keep a record is through the Teachers’ Portal accessible through the Teachers Registration Board (TRB) website, or one can download and complete the TRB Professional Learning Summary Record template from the website.

The Teachers’ Portal provides a secure way for teachers to access information and services, such as:

updating contact details

viewing registration details

recording and tracking professional learning activities, and

accessing and completing the Application for renewal of Registration during the renewal period.

Teachers will need to sign up for an account before they can access the Teachers’ Portal at Only currently registered teachers are eligible to log in to the portal.

To ensure a broad sample across all cohorts of teachers the TRB will randomly select 25% of renewal applicants for evaluation. The evaluation aims to collect evidence as to how teachers are meeting the new professional learning requirements.

Being involved in the evaluation will not delay the renewal process and provided that teachers meet normal renewal requirements, registration will be granted.

Teachers will be contacted via email or letter and given 28 days to respond. They will need to provide their professional learning summary record to the TRB. If they have recorded their professional learning on the Teachers’ Portal, the evaluation team will access the summary directly. Otherwise, they will need to send in a signed hard copy of their professional learning summary record.

They will need to complete a survey that will ask for demographic and evaluation information about their professional learning experiences and may be invited to participate in focus groups to be held in Adelaide and regional locations.

Western Australia Network Teach advocates improvements

In 2016 the IEUwa will be working with an organisation linked to the Faculty of Education at Edith Cowan University, Network Teach. This is a not for profit organisation that supports aspiring teachers across the two metropolitan and one regional Edith Cowan University (ECU) campus sites in Western Australia.

Network Teach was established in 2011 by a small dynamic group of undergraduate education students at ECU. They recognised the need to supplement formal university study with additional and more practical professional learning opportunities. Network Teach hosts an array of professional learning courses, teaching expos and orientation events. Participation in the Network Teach leadership team and in general student participation in professional learning sessions enhances employability. Students are also introduced to a collaborative network for educators well before they reach the classroom. Network Teach is an independent organisation that is staffed by a changing group of Faculty of Education students working alongside Network Teach employees and a University staff member liaison. Network Teach is a voice for the student body; it advocates for improvements such as more meaningful practicums and useful university orientation sessions. Another role is the support of Individual students. The IEUwa partnership with Network Teach presents an exciting opportunity for us to support our early career teacher program and raise our profile amongst education students. The Network Teach model will be taken up by other West Australian University campuses in 2017, with long-term focus on Australia wide growth.

Northern Territory Education Act in force

The Northern Territory now has a new Education Act and set of regulations which came into force on 2 January.

The Northern Territory Government said the new Act and regulations provide an updated framework for delivering high quality contemporary education to develop students’ potential and maximise their education achievement.

Minor amendments were made to the Act in 2009 and 2011, but the legislation remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1979. The Government initiated comprehensive reforms to the outdated Act in 2014.

Our Union has played an instrumental role in providing vital stakeholder consultation since 2014 in order to address the much needed reforms and share the concerns of non government schools in regulating and implementing curriculum.

Policy documents and fact sheets discussing key changes to the Act will soon be available on the Northern Territory government website at