No. 01-17, 22 March 2017
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Non-contact time interim tool and key principles now available

The QTU and the department have agreed a set of key principles to provide scope and practical application in relation to the non-contact time (NCT) provisions in the award and certified agreement. The key principles will be the basis of discussions for a joint statement on the replacement of lost NCT in schools.

One key principle is that NCT should be replaced “as soon as possible, and where practicable, should be replaced by the end of the term…” consistent with pre-existing conditions in primary and special schools. 

In addition, as a result of extended discussions with the department, an interim tool enabling schools to track NCT is now available for use. The tool enables the replacement of NCT in blocks which are no less than the length of the school teaching period. Given the length of a teaching period varies across schools, multiple teaching period lengths have been provided for recording NCT. Schools are to use the length equal to their teaching period. Log on to the DET OnePortal site to download the key principles and tracking tool. 

As agreed in 2016, the department will continue to work with the QTU on an appropriate OneSchool solution to enable the recording of NCT. 

Replacement of NCT for planned school activities, together with acknowledgement that use of NCT is teacher-directed, are important workload provisions in the new agreement. 

What is a planned activity? 

Planned school activities are those things that form part of the school calendar and are known, e.g. excursions, school camps, sports carnivals (swimming and athletics carnivals), school assemblies, graduations, QCS, exam blocks, practice fire drills and practice lock downs. Unforeseen activities, such as evacuations, visits by parliamentarians, critical responses (e.g. lock downs etc.) are not seen as planned school activities. Additionally, sick leave, carer’s leave, student free days, voluntary professional development, industrial relations education leave and public holidays are not recognised as planned school activities, nor are they recognised as a way to repay lost NCT. 

Resourcing for ‘half-cohort’ 

The Education Minister, Kate Jones, announced in Parliament yesterday (Tuesday) that additional resourcing will be made available to schools adversely affected by the entry of the prep ‘half-cohort’ to senior secondary in 2018. To preserve the variety of subject offerings, the Minister has committed $57m for up to 230 extra teachers in 2018 and 2019; these positions are in addition to the 875 extra teacher positions committed to by the current government to put downward pressure on class sizes. More information will be available via OnePortal

The Queensland Teachers’ Union advocated strongly for this assistance to be provided to schools to ensure that curriculum offerings will not be reduced for these students. The additional investment represents a sensible and welcome outcome which will provide confidence to affected school communities. Many thanks to the QTU school leader members who made themselves available for the consultation regarding the model. 

State Council decision regarding federal government’s phonics test proposal 

At its meeting on 11 March, QTU State Council resolved to reject the planned introduction of a standardised phonics test for students in year 1. State Council also determined that should the test be imposed upon Queensland schools, either on its own or in connection to any future federal funding of education, a ballot of members be conducted with a view to banning the test. State Council also considered other repugnant aspects of the federal government’s education policy that might be linked to funding, including the introduction of performance based pay, and determined to take action as required to protect the pay and working conditions of Queensland’s teachers and school leaders. 

Promotional Classification Review 

The initial meeting of the QTU/DET working party was held on 6 March. Most of the discussion related to the scope and terms of reference of the review. 

A number of important matters that fell outside the scope of the review are already being raised with the QTU. These include workload issues, staffing allocations and principal wellbeing issues arising from Dr. Phillip Riley’s research. These issues are not part of this review but will be collated and pursued separately. 

QTU Executive on Monday endorsed a major consultation with members in promotional positions in term two. As well as opportunities for face-to-face discussions, the QTU website will provide a forum for online consultation. Look out for further details.


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