13 September 2017 | No. 08-17 | Download as PDF

To: QTU members

Turnbull government’s “Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools”

The Turnbull government has established a review to “examine evidence and make recommendations on how school funding should be used to improve school performance and student outcomes”. Submissions opened yesterday and close on 13 October, a farcical timeline given the school holidays fall within the period that submissions are open. State and territory teacher unions are calling upon the Turnbull government to extend the deadline for submissions, to demonstrate that it is genuinely interested in hearing about what is happening in schools, and is not simply conducting the review as a smokescreen behind which to implement its own command and control from Canberra – including performance pay for teachers, prescriptive approaches to pedagogy and increased standardised testing, to name but a few elements of its Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes policy.

Queensland Education Minister, Kate Jones, has reiterated her concerns about the process and the unacceptable timelines. She will be raising the issue at the national Education Council meeting on Friday.

The review is concerned with “the effective and efficient use of funding for primary and secondary schools”, and it is entirely likely that the Turnbull government will look to the outcomes of the review when determining what demands it will make of state governments when establishing new federal school funding arrangements. The Queensland Teachers’ Union maintains that the federal government does not operate school systems and should not be dictating education policy to state governments. QTU Council has already determined, for example, that the QTU will take action should a standardised phonics test for year 1 students be imposed on Queensland state schools by the Turnbull government.

It is the QTU’s view that the Turnbull government’s urgent priority should be to ensure that all schools achieve funding at 100 per cent of the school resourcing standard, not the implementation of a rapid and narrow review of how the funding should be used. Notwithstanding this, the QTU encourages individual members and schools to make a submission to the review panel.

Teachers and school leaders working within system frameworks are best placed to determine what success looks like for their students and school communities, and decide which programs to put in place to best address student need. It is important that the stories of Queensland state schools are shared in the review. The QTU will post additional information to assist schools in making a submission on the QTU website ASAP.

Submissions are to be made through an online form, and at this stage are set to close at 5.00pm on Friday 13 October. For more information, visit www.education.gov.au/educationalexcellencereview

Members will be informed immediately should the deadline be extended.

Update: The public submissions process has been extended. Submissions can be made via the online submission form until 5:00 pm AEDST Thursday 2 November 2017.

Turnbull government’s marriage equality postal survey

As has been widely canvassed in the media and through community campaigns, the Turnbull government is conducting a postal survey on marriage equality, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics having already commenced mail out of postal ballots.

The QTU opposed the concept of a postal plebiscite or referendum. However, along with the broader union movement, we have determined to maximise participation in the process. QTU Policy, adopted and confirmed at QTU Biennial State Conference in June 2017, is clear in stating support for marriage equality and, therefore, the QTU has been a part of the “Yes” campaign. The policy is consistent with concern for equal rights for LGBTIQ+ members and for the welfare of LGBTIQ+ students.

Tackling inequality is the core work of the union movement, and the QTU is proud to be a part of the campaign. As with any situation involving a secret vote, QTU members will make their own decisions about how to vote on this matter. A resounding “Yes” vote will be the best way to put pressure on the federal parliament to legislate for marriage equality.

The QTU has also been working with the Department of Education and Training to express our concern for the welfare of our LGBTIQ+ members and students as the debate and campaigns take place in the lead up to, during and after the postal survey. The Department of Education is giving priority to the matter by providing support at a regional level and initiating activities to encourage all employees to support their colleagues.

Teacher transfers 2017

Transfers are/were released on Thursday 14 September. The QTU can help if you have questions about the transfer process and can provide advice about review options if you are not satisfied with the outcome. There are two separate processes of review open to you, dependant on whether you received an unwelcome transfer or were unsuccessful in applying for a transfer.

The QTU sought improvements to the teacher transfer and relocations process during EB8 negotiations, and work has begun on this project during 2017.

For more information or assistance with the review process and timelines related to teacher transfer decisions, you should check out the information page at www.qtu.asn.au/transfers.

If you would like to discuss your options, you can also contact your QTU Regional Organiser or the Queensland Teachers’ Assist Desk (QTAD) on 1300 117 823

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union