Same problems facing Victorian colleagues

Pam Smith
Principals Organiser

IEU’s Term 3 Principals Branch meeting was held at the Union’s Parramatta office on 6 August with guest speaker Victorian Catholic primary Principal and VicTas Branch President Mark Williams.

Mark’s input as a long serving Catholic sector principal in Victoria, as well as his IEU activism over several decades was inspirational. The issues and concerns Mark raised resonated with the principals at the Branch meeting (pictured above), especially principals’ roles, workloads, compliance requirements, and the pressures faced in dealing with students and families with a range of complex social, economic and mental health issues.

These issues have also been strongly affirmed in the recent work intensification survey undertaken by the IEU in the Catholic systemic sector and also appear in the Teachers Health Fund/ACU longitudinal research.

The Term 4 IEU Principals Branch meeting will be held at the Union’s Parramatta office on 12 November with guest speaker Brent Hopping from NGS Super.

Catholic negotiations

Also welcomed at the Branch meeting was the update from IEU Deputy Secretary, Gloria Taylor on the current NSW/ACT systemic enterprise agreement (EA) negotiations. Appreciation is expressed to the principals who participated in the Branch phone conference on 25 July, at the Branch meeting itself and at the meeting with Sydney Eastern Region principals on 10 August.

EA concerns identified include the proposed salary structure (which has two steps per band rather than the three in the current Sydney EA), the impact on some secondary principals of the move to full primary/secondary parity, and the perceived unrealistic and excessive demands of the ‘Profession Leader’ role. The IEU will continue to pursue these issues with Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) and has sought a meeting to progress the EA negotiations.

In the Sydney Archdiocese, the IEU sought clarification of the process towards the next agreement and requested meetings as soon as possible. A response has since been received from the Archdiocese and the Union will follow up concerns expressed by Sydney principals at the Branch and Eastern Region meetings. An IEU Inner West principals’ breakfast is scheduled for 16 September.

IEU Secretary John Quessy and Deputy Secretary Gloria Taylor met recently with the Wilcanna-Forbes (WF) CEO Director and senior staff to discuss the principals’ EA and other matters, noting that WF is not a party to the current CCER EA negotiations. The IEU thanks WF principals for their input at a phone conference on 14 June.

In the ACT, an IEU principals’ breakfast meeting is scheduled for 15 September (with thanks to Peter Galvin).

Work intensification

As discussed at the Branch meeting and other recent gatherings, IEU has been undertaking a survey of its systemic members about workload and work intensification issues. There is a set of questions specifically designed for principals and this input will greatly assist the Union in better understanding the many and diverse pressures on school leaders. Information from the survey will also assist in discussions with employers and in informing EA negotiations.

Teachers Health Fund/ACU “Australian Principals’ Health And Wellbeing Survey”

The Union thanks the many IEU principal members who have participated in the previous Teachers Health Fund/ACU “Australian Principals’ Health and Wellbeing” surveys. Principals are invited to participate in the next round of research and further information will be available in the near future. As Teachers Health/ACU indicate “ Your participation is vitally important. High response rates mean that governments listen.”

Headlines enews for principals and aps

Term 3’s edition of Headlines was distributed on 11 August and featured items on the Catholic systemic principals’ EA negotiations, the IEU work intensification survey, the THF/ACU principals’ health and wellbeing research, NAPLAN issues and EA developments in the independent schools sector. Feel free to send Headlines on to colleagues, they’re full of information, colleagues can see the up to date work of our IEU and consider becoming a member.