QTU Members' Newsflash No. 01-19, 24 JANUARY 2019 | DOWNLOAD PDF
To QTU Members
Welcome to 2019
Welcome to the 2019 school year: a year when our Union celebrates 130 years of promoting and protecting public education through representing the industrial, professional and legal interests of state school teachers and principals and teachers and leaders in TAFE.
In addition to the day-to-day challenges you face in your schools, colleges and classrooms, 2019 is building up to be a very significant year politically and industrially:
- a federal election by May
- EB9 in schools, with agreement due 1 July 2019; EB10 in TAFE, with agreement due 1 July 2019
- finalisation of the Promotional Positions Classification Review and negotiation of a modern classification structure through EB9
- a new federal school funding agreement
- a new career path for all school teachers with the statewide roll-out of highly accomplished and lead teacher classifications
- ongoing campaigns on workload, NAPLAN, IPS, teacher and principal wellbeing, climate control, teacher housing and RAIS, occupational violence and student behaviour
- the beginning of a new senior school assessment and tertiary entrance system.
Members made their views very clear in ballots conducted at the end of 2018. The human resource management systems of the department are broken and the IPS that have chosen to operate outside of agreed processes have contributed to that situation. QTU members expect real change that improves human resource practices and delivers benefits for individual employees, schools and the state education system. They demand that transparency, resilience and fairness are restored to the teacher transfer and promotional position relocation processes and that changes must be made from the beginning of the 2019 school year.
Details of the amendments to processes for transfers and relocations have been finalised and will be conveyed to schools by the department with immediate effect.
Key features of the trials will include:
- human resource systems will apply to all schools and all schools will comply with the same set of processes for transfers and relocation
- a new set of principles will guide the department’s human resource practices and provide a focus for decisions made to support individual employees, schools and the system as a whole
- measures to improve transfer experiences for teachers in remote locations
- measures to improve relocation experiences for teachers in promotional positions
- prioritisation of support for teachers who have been unsuccessful in the 2018 transfer round and teachers in promotional positions who have been waiting for relocation for 12 months or more.
The QTU will not be issuing any directives to schools to stop work in relation to IPS at this time.
The roll-out of changes to human resource systems will be closely monitored and responses made on behalf of QTU members, as required.
The Queensland review of NAPLAN has been completed and provided to the Minister. Informed by our 46,000 members, the QTU, having called for the review in the first place, will be active in providing advice to the state government during 2019 about the outcomes and subsequent agreed recommendations. In the meantime, a number of other major improvements have been achieved:
- robo-marking of writing tasks has been abandoned
- the federal Labor party has announced a national review of NAPLAN if elected
- A joint statement (October 2018) has been successfully negotiated with the Department of Education and implementation is being closely monitored.
Some key messages from the joint statement.
- Excessive test preparation using previous tests is not necessary or useful.
- There is a legitimate place for limited NAPLAN preparation activities, but they should be related to the mode and conditions of testing itself.
- Familiarisation activities should only be conducted in the vicinity of the test.
- Student wellbeing is paramount.
- The Australian Curriculum must be the focus of teaching and learning in Queensland state schools.
Two matters remain outstanding:
- action on the commitment to address the findings of the Queensland NAPLAN review
- an assurance that no school will be disadvantaged by moving to NAPLAN Online.
The ban on NAPLAN Online for 2019 continues until these matters have been dealt with.
Schools that have opted to be involved in the trial of NAPLAN Online in 2019 may continue to undertake time-sensitive activities required to ensure that schools will be ready. However, all schools should be aware that the ban on NAPLAN Online may remain for 2019, and/or the state government may withdraw schools from further participation in NAPLAN Online in response to unresolved concerns across Australia about the online test platform and its comparability with the paper version of the test.
Finally, it is important to reiterate the QTU’s position on online or computer-based testing. The QTU does not oppose these forms of testing. If NAPLAN is to continue to exist there may be advantages to moving the test online, but only if students are not disadvantaged.
Working in heat
At the end of 2018, following the completion of the QTU climate control census, the Union encouraged schools to develop a “heatwave strategy” to provide a local response to support safe and healthy working and learning environments in schools during extreme hot weather. Over the student free days, members are encouraged to review the strategy and ensure an understanding of the local response to hot weather. If your school has not developed a strategy, the advice regarding this process can be found on the QTU website. The QTU will continue to press the department and government for effective climate control responses in schools (including responses in heat and cold, efficient design, air conditioning and flexible arrangements for schools).
Start of year basics:
- Maximum teacher program time, excluding meal breaks and morning tea, is 1,450 minutes or 24 hours 10 minutes per week.
- Minimum secondary non-contact time is 210 minutes per week in blocks no less than the length of a school period.
- Minimum primary and special non-contact time is 120 minutes per week in blocks of no less than 30 minutes.
- The department is committed to the following maximum class size targets:
- Prep – year 3; years 11 – 12: 25 students per teacher
- Years 4–10: 28 students per teacher
- Classes in excess of these targets should only occur in exceptional circumstances.
- The use of teachers for playground supervision is to be minimised.
The QTU secretariat team, Graham Moloney (General Secretary), Kate Ruttiman (Deputy General Secretary) and Brendan Crotty (Deputy General Secretary), begin a new term of office on 24 January. This follows elections held in late 2018 in which they were elected unopposed.
The QTU welcomed our 46,000th member in the second half of 2018, and our Union continues to focus on growing our membership, campaigning and winning with members.
Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union