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Every three years the QTU has the opportunity to negotiate  a new industrial agreement with the state government to improve the working conditions and salaries of our members.

This year members are committed to see the government deliver its commitment (from the 2016 agreement) for:

  • a new classification structure for our school leaders and heads of program members (and the salaries that go with it),
  • more measures to address the increasing workloads of members and
  • measures to address the rising gender employment equity in education.


The EB claim was forwarded to the government in early February (as the current certified agreement expires on 30 June 2019) with the request for bargaining to commence as soon a practicable.

Throughout this EB campaign our message will be clear:
Our members make a difference in the lives of Queenslanders every day.
Our members and our profession matter, and consequently are worth more!

EB9 – Rural and remote education

The issue

Attracting and retaining teachers and school leaders in rural and remote state schools

Who is affected

While it can be suggested that rural and remote education only impacts on the approximately 15,000+ teachers and school leaders serving in Queensland schools in rural (generally transfer rating 3, 4 and 5 locations) and remote (generally transfer rating 6 and 7 locations) schools, the issues of rural and remote service impacts on all QTU members.

All children in Queensland deserve access to great teachers – this includes a mix of early career and experienced teachers and school leaders. In order to achieve this, the state government should ensure that these teachers and school leaders have opportunities similar to their colleagues working in provincial and metropolitan centres.

Consequently, having a Remote Area Incentive Scheme that serves to attract and retain teachers and school leaders in rural and remote settings, support for these teachers to access face to face professional development, and support for members in rural and remote locations to move to their preferred location after a period of service in rural and remote communities, is essential

What’s in the claim?

The QTU’s EB9 claim proposes a number of measures to improve conditions for members in rural and remote Queensland, including:

  • revising the Remote Area Incentives Scheme
  • improving the teacher transfer and relocation systems
  • more funding to support professional development in rural and remote centres.

Remote Area Incentives Scheme (RAIS)

The first version of the RAIS was secured in 1991 *. The purpose of the scheme was to attract and retain teachers and educational leaders in rural and remote areas to secure stability of school staff. This continues to be the purpose of RAIS today.

* see Table 1 Remote Area Incentive Scheme Improvements for the history of RAIS in Queensland for the history of RAIS in Queensland

Why was RAIS established?

The 1979 Select Committee on Education (Queensland) made this statement:

There are significant disadvantages to the education of children when teachers are replaced too frequently. The quality of education is enhanced when children perceive some degree of stability among the school staff.

(Select Committee on Education, Fifth Interim Report, 1979, p4)

The identification of these issues led to joint department and QTU working parties and the establishment of RAIS in 1991.

In 2008, the Rogers review of RAIS found:

Despite the existence of the Remote Area Incentives Scheme (RAIS) for over 16 years, DETA continues to face significant challenges in the recruitment and retention of experienced educators to identified schools. Current workforce data profiles illustrate the continuing disparity between RAIS locations and metropolitan and provincial centres. This disproportion, observable across the age, gender, professional experience and retention rates of teachers and school leaders, directly challenges the quality of educational service delivery provided in rural and remote schools.

DETA commissioned Remote Area Incentives Scheme Policy Review, 2008, Rogers Educational Enterprise (2008) p1.

This disadvantage was also identified in the original Gonski review when remoteness was identified as one of the key factors of educational disadvantage.

These ongoing challenges led to the agreement to review and trial variations to the RAIS in the 2016 certified agreement.

Additionally, the current Promotional Positions Classification Review has identified that the most appropriate method of addressing remoteness is through an incentive scheme applicable to all classifications.

Features of the current scheme

The current scheme includes a number of monetary and HR incentives.

1. Compensation benefit – this is payable to members who have worked 60 or more consecutive days in transfer rating (TR) 5 to 7 schools. The benefit is designed to subsidise air travel of one return flight to Brisbane and one return flight to the closest coastal provincial centre.

2. Dependent benefit – as per compensation benefit for dependents of teachers and school leaders.

3. Incentive benefit – paid to teachers and school leaders following the completion of the minimum years of service in TR 4 – 7 locations. This benefit is designed to retain teachers in the location beyond the minimum required years of service in the location.

4. Identified location incentive (also referred to as special incentive payment) – paid to teachers and school leaders working in identified Indigenous communities (accessible for five years).

5. Identified Indigenous communities travel benefit – choice between receipt of compensation benefit payment or three flights (two flights to the closest coastal provincial centre and one to Brisbane).

6. Human resources benefits such as additional leave days (referred to as RAIS leave) and other HR benefits.

Review of RAIS and trial 2016 Certified Agreement

Throughout the current agreement, the department has finalised a review of RAIS and conducted a trial of a differentiated incentives scheme in select locations.

The trial:

a) allowed for varied RAIS payment frequency (currently paid once/semester or in a lump sum)

b) provided an online dashboard for members to interact with RAIS

c) enabled choice between monetary incentive payments and/or goods and services such as travel, fuel, further study, freight, electricity, rent, additional RAIS days, health clubs and PD.

In reviewing the interaction of members with the trial, the vast majority of members (over 85 per cent) were found to have opted to continue to receive monetary payments of their incentives (either as requested through the portal or due to a lack of interaction with the portal to request a variation).

While the outcomes of the trial have not yet been released, the QTU supports the continuation of the online portal, the ability for members to choose between incentives and cash payments, and the offering of flexibility in terms of RAIS payment frequency.

The Union also supports the introduction of attraction incentives offered as both monetary and goods and services incentives. This is part of the Union’s claim around RAIS.

The QTU has also called for RAIS payments to increase aligned to certified agreement increases. However, the Union has been clear that action to improve RAIS must occur in this agreement. The time for reviews, trials and pilots has passed. Action on RAIS needs to occur in this agreement and not be locked into another review. The time for a new RAIS is now

Transfers and relocations

In Queensland, classroom teachers are subject to transfers and relocations apply to promotional positions.

An effective RAIS must be supported by a functioning transfer and relocation system. The Union supports the need for members to work in various locations across the state, including in rural and remote locations, but also recognises that for some members there are times during their career that “away from home” service may not be possible. As such, a transfer system that supports rural and remote service and service in “preferred locations” (as identified by relevant member) is necessary.

Consequently, the Union has been actively engaged in the reviews of the teacher transfer and relocation system throughout this agreement. Currently, the department is trialling various transfer initiatives, a relocations pilot, and reviewing the transfer points allocated to various locations. The Union supports the incorporation of these improvements into the new agreement as part of a suite of actions that need to be undertaken to ensure an effective transfer and relocation system.

Improved access to professional development in rural and remote centres

The review of RAIS highlighted the value members placed on PD opportunities. Within Queensland state schools there is a requirement for teachers to undertake professional development linked to system imperatives and aligned to the annual teacher performance reviews. Teachers also need to complete CPD hours to maintain teacher registration.

Mandatory PD such as code of conduct and student protection is generally conducted on student free days (SFDs) or in lieu of attendance at SFDs. Other system imperatives such as the new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE), new senior assessment and tertiary entrance (SATE) and senior curriculum and revised behaviour management procedures, are also required PD.

However, the provision of this PD on a statewide basis should include a blend of face-to-face and online delivery.The benefit of face-to-face delivery enables interaction with other colleagues and the development of networks. Consequently, to access quality PD experiences, teachers in rural and remote schools should be allocated additional time for the purpose of travel, attendance and release. To ensure the cost of face-to-face PD delivery is not prohibitive, schools in rural and remote locations receive supplementary funding to provide these opportunities. Additionally, the provision of district relieving teachers should be prioritised to support these and other short term vacancies in rural and remote locations.

......................History of RAIS in Queensland

Table 1 Remote Area Incentive Scheme Improvements

 

Year

Benefits

Locations covered

Pre 1979

DoE/QTU working groups focussed on an “Incentive Transfer Scheme” – no incentives

 

1979

Select Committee on Education – key focus on transfers

 

1984

QTU “Staffing Queensland Country Schools” informed the Department’s staffing plan

 

1991

First Remote Area Incentives Scheme introduced

 

 

  • Study scholarships
  • Regional induction programs
  • Provision of isolated leave – not as broad as RAIS emergent leave
  • Travel concessions

Applied to schools in the remoter areas.

1997

Improvements came out of QTU/DoE Joint working party report (1996)

  • Compensation cash benefit
  • Incentive cash benefit
  • Extended emergent leave provisions (RAIS leave)
  • Induction program for teachers appointed to TR 6 and 7 centres

Transfer rating 5, 6 and 7 centres.

 

1998

As above

Transfer rating 4 centres included.

1999 (due to activism of members in Cape York and Torres Strait Branches)

  • Special incentive payment for teachers who had continuing service for more than six years.

NB. It had to be re-secured every year until 2003, when payment was made a feature of RAIS.

Transfer rating 6 and 7 centres

2001

These improvements came out of a 1999 QTU review of the 1997 RAIS.

  • TR 4 and 5 schools to receive an additional emergent leave day.
  • The RAIS emergent leave entitlement clearly defined
  • Improvements to cash compensation benefit which led to a position that the department guaranteed the reimbursement for additional costs incurred in the procurement of flights out of a centre in line with the intended purpose of the Cash Compensation Benefit.

 

 

2003

  • Special Incentive payment becomes an ongoing feature of the RAIS

 

2005

Activism including industrial action within remote branches Far North Queensland supported by Peninsula Area Council to address a nine year freeze on RAIS payments secured further improvements

  • 10% increase in the total budget available for RAIS
  • Protection of all current benefits and entitlements in RAIS centres
  • Increased compensation and incentive benefits
  • The ability to access one additional flight per year for teachers in communities subject to an alcohol management plan
  • Changes to the incentives to include non-cash benefits as an option for all new appointments to RAIS centres, with a focus on incentives program to 3rd, 4th, 5th years only with saving returned to the scheme.
  • Grandparenting out of special incentive payment

 

2011

QTU advocacy secured an identified location incentive

  • identified location incentive (of $1,000 per annum) for teachers in employed in TR 7A locations and in communities with an alcohol management plan.

 

 

 

 

2018 -Trial

Implementation of commitments in the 2016 Certified Agreement, Part 10 – remote Area Incentive Scheme.

From a Joint QTU/DoE RAIS Review

Trial of teacher selection of incentives to provide more agency to teachers in terms of how they allocate their raise to benefit them.

The incentives portal includes a greater range of incentives and benefits and provides more flexibility around how these may be received including:

  • Greater choice about payment frequency
  • Fuel expense reimbursements
  • Travel reimbursements
  • Freight expense reimbursements
  • Memberships to sports and health clubs
  • Priority access to departmental (QELi) courses
  • Ability to apply for subsidy for Master of Education studies
  • Support for teachers to access their RAIS leave days

Teachers located in a community with an Alcohol Management Plan (AMP) will also have access to the additional incentive benefit of claiming rent and electricity expenses through salary deductions or reimbursements.

A helpdesk team has been established to assist participating teachers with all queries regarding the Remote Incentives Trial.

 

EB9 focus - Class sizes in complex settings - 15 April 2019

Who is affected

Teachers and students in:

  • special education settings
  • practical subjects such as home economics, agricultural services, VET in schools, and industrial technology and design
  • instrumental music
  • rural and remote schools 
  • communities with educational disadvantage.

The problem

Currently, the Department of Education and Training State School Teachers’ Certified Agreement 2016 acknowledges the fundamental importance of class sizes in contributing to the learning outcomes of students and the health and welfare of teachers.

The agreement outlines maximum class size targets as: 25 students per teacher in prep, years 1-2 and years 11-12; and 28 students per teacher in years 4-10.

These class sizes were established as the maximum in general class settings – they do not take into account the challenges of a number of complex education settings.

Research has confirmed that where class size decreases, the individualised attention students receive from the teacher increases, as does their engagement. Additionally, research also links smaller class sizes to increased opportunities for teachers to monitor student learning and provide individualised re-teaching suited to a student’s individual ability.

We need a formalisation of processes to review class sizes in complex settings to avoid negative impact on teacher workload, student and teacher wellbeing, and student outcomes.

There is also a need to review the class sizes for year 10 as Queensland transitions to the new system of senior assessment and tertiary entrance.

What needs to change?

There is no formal process for determining class sizes in special education settings, where our members are educating students in an extremely complex environment, even though research suggests that smaller class sizes allow teachers to vary their instructional techniques to suit individual student needs. 

There are no reduced class size targets for practical subjects, where our members often have between 25 and 28 students undertaking high and extreme risk activities across workshops, kitchens, science labs and numerous other practical areas. For example, under the current system, a teacher could be teaching 25 year 11 students how to use a welder, metal lathe and guillotine in the same class. A teacher could be expected to supervise 28 year 7 students in a cooking class, even if the students can’t physically fit in the kitchen facilities. It seems clear that smaller class sizes in practical subjects, where teachers are often working with individual students on practising and honing procedural tasks, would be of substantial benefit to student learning and teacher wellbeing.

There is no room for differentiating class size targets to assist instrumental music teachers/instructors in addressing classes of various combinations of instruments or in managing large ensemble rehearsals in excess of 28 students. 

There is no scope for differentiation for schools with a low index of community socio-educational advantage or rural and remote schools, which can often further disadvantage the students and teachers in these already complex and often isolated environments. Research in this space suggests that smaller class sizes produce greater gains for students who have traditionally been disadvantaged in education and that having smaller class sizes accelerates curriculum differentiation. Curriculum differentiation is critical when considering the number of rural and remote educators in small schools, who often find themselves in front of a class which is within the class size targets but which also involves teaching multiple ages and multiple grades simultaneously. 

How you can be involved

Members are encouraged to tell us what impacts reduced class sizes would have in practical subjects, special education settings, schools with a low index of community socio-educational advantage, rural and remote schools or in instrumental music settings.

Further reading

Biddle, B. J., & Berliner, D. C. (2002). What research says about small classes and their effects
Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., & Brown, P. (2008). Do low attaining and younger students benefit most from small classes? Results from a systematic observation study of class size effects on pupil classroom engagement and teacher pupil interaction. In American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting.
Glass, G. V., & Smith, M. L. (1978). Meta-analysis on the Relationship of Class-size and Achievement. Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development.
Handley, P. (2002). Every Classroom Teacher's Dream. Educational Leadership, 59(5), 33-35.
O'Connell, J., & Smith, S. C. (2000). Capitalizing on small class size.
 

EB9 focus - The history of class sizes in Queensland - 15 April 2019

Year Class size (targets) NOTES
1950s 50 - 60  
1970s >40 in most classes  
1974 36 Threats of strike action moved these decisions along to drop class sizes with a promise from govt. to reduce targets.
1975 34  
1971 32  
1979 Recommended but not adopted
Yrs 1-3 = 1:25
Yrs 4-10 = 1:30
Yrs 11-12 = 1:25  
Ahern Select Parliamentary Report recommended
1982

30 (Years 4 – 10)                   

25 (Years 1,2,3, 11 &12)

Ahern Report recommendation adopted by govt. in 1982-83 over four years.
2003 Reduced from 30 to 28 for Years 4 – 10 (middle schooling) phased in.  
2007 28 (Years 4-10) Fully implemented by Feb 2007 as a result of 2003 EB (Beattie govt).  
2016   2016 EB agreement determines that targets are only to be exceeded in exceptional circumstances, and only after consultation.

EB9 focus - Job security - 8 April 2019

Who is affected

14 per cent of all QTU members are not permanent employees of the Department of Education.

Job security has been the single most important employment issue for QTU members in every QTU member survey dating back to 1997.

The problem

Speaking on the topic of job security in Australia, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus recently said that too many people can no longer predict or plan their lives because they have no job security. These sentiments resonate with the masses of contract teachers who, under the current system, can be contracted for anywhere up to three years across numerous schools before being offered a permanent, secure job with the department. In many cases, this leads to:

  • ineligibility for pay over vacation periods
  • broken service, which impacts on salary progression and access to senior teacher, experienced senior teacher, HAT and LT classifications
  • limited professional development opportunities
  • a negative impact on the ability to promote.

In addition to this, there is research which suggests that job insecurity can also have implications on an employee’s wellbeing, attitude and behaviour, as well as the wellbeing of their dependents. Job security for members translates into stability for schools and for students. Evidence suggests that stability in staffing is linked to positive impacts on the quality and equity of educational experiences for students.

What needs to change

Evidence shows that employees who believe that their employment is insecure are often more dissatisfied with their job. This can be attributed to temporary workers having less autonomy in their roles and having less of an influence on decisions made in their workplace. As such, the practices of repeatedly extending teachers’ contracts for more than a year needs to stop. The QTU believes that temporary positions within schools should be limited and only exist in circumstances of a short-term vacancy, whether the school is IPS or not. Further to this, we strongly believe that when teachers are on contracts which are less than one year, they should be paid pro-rata of their annual pay increment (not just for the summer vacation period). They should also be entitled to paid parental leave.

We want to see improvements in the teacher transfer and promotional position relocation process. Too often we hear stories of teachers who relinquish positions or take leave without pay from regional, rural and remote schools simply because they have had enough of sitting on a relocation list or have missed out on a transfer to a preferred location. If our members have taught in these isolated and complex areas, it is only fair that there are adequate processes to transfer or relocate them. Under the current system, some of these teachers and school leaders are being forced to choose job insecurity as they are tired of waiting for the department to manage staff equitably. In addition to this, it is the view of the QTU that a provision for permanent district relieving teacher positions needs to be incorporated into EB9. We envisage these positions as being fully funded by regions, providing staffing flexibility while maximising permanency, increasing job security for members and maintaining a healthy transfer process. We also want to see support for permanency in teaching roles created using school funds such as Invest for Success.

How you can be involved

Permanent QTU members should stand united with their temporary colleagues to fight for increased job security and the associated positive benefits. We need to change the rules so that there are more secure jobs for QTU members.

 

References:

Australian Council of Trade Unions. (2019). Secure work harder to find. [Media release]. Retrieved from https://www.actu.org.au/actu-media/media-releases/2019/secure-work-harder-to-find

Australian Council of Trade Unions. (2018). ACTU welcomes ALP action on insecure work ad wages. [Media release]. Retrieved from https://www.actu.org.au/actu-media/media-releases/2018/actu-welcomes-alp-action-on-insecure-work-and-wages

Australian Council of Trade Unions. (2013). Income and job security biggest election issues for working people. [Media release]. Retrieved from https://www.actu.org.au/actu-media/archives/2013/income-and-job-security-biggest-election-issues-for-working-people

De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2006). The impact of job insecurity and contract type on attitudes, well‐being and behavioural reports: a psychological contract perspective. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 79(3), 395-409.

De Cuyper, N., De Jong, J., De Witte, H., Isaksson, K., Rigotti, T., & Schalk, R. (2008). Literature review of theory and research on the psychological impact of temporary employment: Towards a conceptual model. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10(1), 25-51.

Dickerson, A., & Green, F. (2012). Fears and realisations of employment insecurity. Labour Economics, 19(2), 198-210.

Ferrie, J. E. (2001). Is job insecurity harmful to health?. Journal of the royal society of medicine, 94(2), 71-76.

Foster, J., & Guttmann, R. (2018). Perceptions of job security in Australia. Bulletin (Reserve Bank of Australia), 80-99.

McGuinness, S., Wooden, M., & Hahn, M. (2014). The perceived probability of job loss and future labour market outcomes. Industrial Relations Journal, 45(4), 329-347.

Sverke, M., Hellgren, J., & Näswall, K. (2002). No security: a meta-analysis and review of job insecurity and its consequences. Journal of occupational health psychology, 7(3), 242.

EB9 focus - Non-contact time - 18 March 2019

The QTU member workload survey last year demonstrated that, on average, classroom teachers work 44 hours per week, which is 19 hours above and beyond rostered duty time. 

While all members report that they work from home or arrive early and leave late from work, this amount of extra hours per week is not acceptable. The majority of that 19 hours is given over to planning, developing assessment, correcting assessment and writing reports. 

This statistic strongly supports the need to review non-contact time for all sectors. The amount of non-contact time for secondary schools was set in the 1970s, and the NCT for primary and special was established in the 1990s - they were not set with 21st century schooling in mind. Teachers are working with a curriculum designed for preparing students for life in the 21st century, and their conditions need to reflect this. 

In the first instance, the EB claim calls for NCT in primary and special schools to be increased to at least the level found in their secondary equivalents. Additionally, the claim calls for extra days per term for collaborative planning, data conversations and other professional discussions. While this won’t alleviate all of the additional hours teachers work beyond their rostered duty time, it is a start. It’s important that the government take steps to addressing the workload issue for all members in this EB. Some measures to deliver improved NCT and/or release time will send this message to members. 

EB9 focus - Workplace health and safety - 11 March 2019

Every Queensland state school teacher and school leader deserves a safe and healthy working environment - and that includes being free from violence and abuse, whether physical or virtual, by students and parents. 

Workplace health and safety are key elements of the QTU's EB9 claim. The claim calls for better processes to prevent occupational violence, and for support and release time for QTU members undertaking WHS roles. Members should not have to resort to directives to protect themselves from abuse by parents and students.

EB9 focus - Gender employment equity - 4 Mar 2019

4 March 2019

It’s Queensland’s Women’s Week, and what better time to consider one of the key priorities of the EB claim - gender employment equity. 

The claim suggests ways in which the 10 per cent gender pay gap in education can be addressed, including recognising that the only consequence of part-time work for salaries should be a reduced fraction of salary, not a slowing of salary progression. The claim also suggests improved access to part-time work for all classifications. 

To address the gender superannuation gap, the QTU’s claim calls for superannuation contributions to be made on unpaid carers leave. In recognition of the various types of family, there is also a claim for paid parental leave to be accessed by the primary carer, not just the birth or the adoptive mother. 

These reforms will represent a step in the right direction toward remedying and addressing the existing gender pay gap. In a membership where 76 per cent are women, it is important that such a lens is placed on EB negotiations and the claim.

Read more in this journal article and check out the QTU's log of claims (members only).

#QTUEB9 #teachersmakeadifference

EB9 focus - PPCR - 25 Feb 2019

25 Feb 2019

The Promotional Positions Classification Review has affirmed that principals and heads of program are so much more than the bureaucratic formula that is used to measure their worth.

The value of a school leader is wrapped into a range of factors, including their instructional leadership (after all how can you lead teachers without having an implicit understanding of the role, the type of understanding that can only come from having been a teacher), the way they respond to the complexities of their school community, and the support they provide to students and staff.

They are the ones who ensure department priorities are addressed in the school, manage parents’ expectations and secure resources to support the learning needs of the students in their care. School leaders do all they can to provide a healthy and safe learning and teaching environment in the school.

And we mustn’t forget that principals and their schools are found all over Queensland in remote, rural, regional and metropolitan settings. Principals play an important role in all those communities, particularly during natural disasters, when schools become places of refuge for communities under threat.

These are some of the things that are not easily quantified but are intrinsic to the value of our school leaders.

As school leaders from across Queensland come together this week for the department’s 2019 Principals' Conference, the QTU's message to the government, their employer, is that our school leaders are worth more! This EB, it’s time for the government to deliver - not just a 21st century classification structure for promotional positions, but salaries that demonstrate that value and worth.
#schoolleaders #worthmore

More on EB9

The QTU’s EB claim, which will form the basis of the Union’s position when negotiations begin next year, was debated and endorsed at the State Council on 3 November. Here is a summary of the issues included.
Gender pay equity (GPE) is set to be a key plank of the QTU’s EB claim in 2019 – but given that we have had equal pay for decades, why is this so important?
QTU members have had their say on what the Union’s priorities should be as it enters the negotiations for EB9.
In communications to members, the QTU has been clear that the PPCR is a priority for EB9 as any salary increases that flow from the PPCR will be determined through the enterprise bargaining process. 
Arising from consultation with members, a number of key priorities and other issues have been identified and will be the subject of consideration at workplace meetings...
As the QTU starts the process of developing the next EB claim, it is important to take stock of what has been implemented and what needs to be in place as soon as possible.

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