Reviewing the past, assessing the future

The IEU’s AGM on 17 October inspired lively debate on a wide range of topics.

Much of the discussion centred on the future of education.

What are the implications of artificial intelligence being used to mark student papers? What new direction does BOSTES plan to take the HSC in? What ATAR requirements will be set for prospective student teachers, and what will their employment prospects look like?

An edited version of IEU General Secretary John Quessy’s address to the AGM can be found on page one, the full version will appear at

Federal President Chris Watt outlined his plan for an ‘Ask’ of political parties, questioning their policies on education and other matters. The AGM delegates agreed to add penalty rates as a major issues to be ‘asked’ about.

At this meeting putting children first has always been at the heart of it.

Carmelo Fedele, new Assistant Rep at Oakhill College in Castle Hill, was attending his first AGM.

“It’s wonderful to be involved in a collection of Union members and to get an overview of Union activities,” Carmelo said.

In his seventh year of teaching, Carmelo wants “help in any way he can” and “the Union was really important for education”.

Caroline McCaffrie from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Kensington is also a new Rep and Council member, attending her second AGM.

She was inspired to get involved after attending the IEU Activist Conference.

“I was pleased to be given an opportunity to get involved with Council during the middle of industrial action, and learnt a lot.”

The AGM had given her “more information to take back to school and discuss in meetings”.

“John’s a great communicator so it’s good to get an update from him.”

Holly Wright is another young teacher who was inspired to get involved by the Activist Conference.

She’s on maternity leave after giving birth to son Theodore in January, so debate about the IEU’s campaign Hands Off Paid Parental Leave was significant for her.

“Of course I support the campaign. I don’t get that much paid leave from my school so without the PPL I would have had to return to work earlier.”

Margaret Watt, a Council Rep from the Monaro Branch, is moving on from teaching after 22 years. She has been a Union Rep throughout her career.

“Things like technology have changed but at this meeting putting children first has always been at the heart of it,” Margaret said.

“When I was having my children years ago I was forced to resign. Things like that don’t happen any more thanks to the Union. We also have sick leave and long service leave. Young teachers take these things for granted. They need to understand that the Union got these things for them.”

Sue Osborne