Let's stop this paperwork tidal wave

Principals Sub Branch congratulates principal members Noeleen O’Neill from the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese and Sidonie Coffey from Maitland-Newcastle Diocese on their election to IEU Council. Appreciation is expressed to Louise O’Sullivan from the Armidale Diocese and to John Farrell from Sydney for their previous contributions as Council delegates.

IEU was pleased to have the opportunity to meet recently with former Parramatta Diocese principal member Robert Laidler who is now a liaison officer with Catholic Secondary Principals Australia (CaSPA) and the Union looks forward to a positive relationship between the IEU and CaSPA.

Many IEU principal members have welcomed the recent statement by the principal of St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney calling for respect and an end to abusive and threatening behaviours by parents, amid concern that a decline in civil behaviour is harming school communities. These comments by Dr Collier have been supported by the Association of the Heads of Independent Schools of Australia which has also referred to the annual Principals’ Health and Wellbeing Survey, of which IEU is a supporter.

Issues of respect for principals and staff have also been central to recent discussions of wellbeing in the Maitland-Newcastle and Broken Bay Dioceses, including the vital importance of fair, safe and inclusive workplaces.

IEU principal members have also noted the report of a recent University of Sydney study commissioned by the NSW Teachers Federation, which found that schools were increasingly drowning under administration.

“Immediate action is needed,” the report said, “as the weight of evidence in this report makes it clear that negative impacts on students are likely to ensue if current trends continue unabated.

“Demands upon teachers, including principals, are very substantial, potentially debilitating, and growing – particularly in administrative work.”

Some 97% of government sector respondents reported an increase in administration, and 89% said their teaching was hindered by it. IEU principal members advise that concerns in their sector are similar, consistent with data from the annual Principals’ Health and Wellbeing Survey.

The Term 3 IEU Principals Branch meeting will be held on 4 August at the IEU’s Parramatta office. A range of diocesan/regional principals’ meetings are also planned, including Canberra on 1 November, Wagga Wagga on 7 November, Bathurst on 8 or 9 November and Lismore on 30 November.

Pam Smith
Principals Organiser