State Council report - 11 March 2017
by Kate Ruttiman
Deputy General Secretary (Member Services)
The QTU State Council is the Union’s main decision making body, meeting four times a year. Branches from across the state are represented. The council considers decisions of Executive and other issues and is divided into four sessions – the first dealing with reports from Executive about major issues, the second considers Union governance, campaign action and national issues, the third session commences with TAFE before the remainder of the third and the fourth sessions complete the major issues report.
State election campaign
State Council endorsed the direction of the state election campaign, which includes a focus on the wellbeing of teachers and school leaders, consideration of the impact of heat and cold on working conditions and securing a commitment from political parties on the implementation of highly accomplished and lead teacher and the outcomes of the promotion classifications review.
EB implementation and school leader issues
The key focus was on the HAT and lead teacher pilot, issues arising regarding members eligible to express interest in the pilot, and the inaugural meeting of the working group for the review of promotion classifications. Council also endorsed principles relating to the replacement of non-contact time and the interim measure developed by the department to help schools maintain records of NCT needing to be replaced. It was reported that consultation had begun on the review of relocations and that training had been established for school leaders for 2017, including promotion and selection panel training and IR skills for administrators.
The new draft QCE and QCIA Handbook will be released in term two with the final version expected in October. The trials of senior external assessment have now concluded and the Review of Senior External Assessment is expected to be realised soon. A soft launch of the online syllabuses will occur on the first day of term two. A working group is being established to consider special provisions and how they will operate in the new system. State Council also noted the release of the 2017 P-12 Curriculum Framework, called upon the department to ensure that the full suite of independent learning materials for C2C units is aligned to Version 8 of the Australian Curriculum by the end of 2017, and requested clarification regarding the ongoing maintenance of C2C beyond the wind-down of the C2C team in 2017.
Additional resourcing will be provided to the Queensland Teachers’ Assist Desk, the fourth council in a conference year will be reintroduced, and additional funding was provided in the budget for local action campaigns and project work to be undertaken by QTU officers. Council received reports regarding revenue and expenses, activities of the Trustees and membership growth.
The campaign reports included presentations from activists involved in the Gonski bus tour, a report on its purpose and a call to action for members to respond to the current federal government’s plans for the quadrennial funding agreement. Council also provided Executive with the option to ballot members for industrial action if the agreement contains any offensive elements of the federal government’s education policy, including the phonics test for six year olds, contracts for school leaders and changes to salary progression for classroom teachers. Members were also updated on the paid parental leave campaign and the potential impact on workers of the omnibus legislation.
Council celebrated the certification of the Queensland TAFE employees agreement – the first agreement reached since the expiry of the 2009 TAFE agreement. Council also noted the ongoing negotiations for TAFE members employed by CQU.
Education for students with disability (SWD)
Reports were provided about the 2017 SWD staffing, and the QTU strategy to assist schools with SWD staffing issues was supported by Council. Additionally, reports were received on the WSS-SLR staffing, the NDIS and the Disability Review.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education
Reports were received about DET’s Advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Training Action Plan: DET’s cultural capability plan; DET’s equal opportunity survey; consultation with the ADG Indigenous Education, and the QTU’s Indigenous Education Conference.
Queensland schools and LGBTIQ+
Council received reports on the QTU’s continued support for the Safe Schools program. The QTU has attended a meeting of stakeholders with the Minister for Education regarding actions that DET may take to address the issue of homophobic bullying in schools. The QTU is advocating for the department to build capability within policy, programs and staffing to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of LGBTIQ members of the school community are addressed.
This council was the final in the three-year term of state council delegates. The next meeting of State Council will be held on Saturday 20 May, 2017 and will be the first meeting of the new three-year term.
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 122 No 3, 14 April 2017, p4
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