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


5 September 2016 

Surveys worth completing

Commercialisation in Public schooling survey | Queensland State School Resourcing Review | Disability Review | 2016 Principal health and wellbeing Survey | QCAA senior subject syllabus development | EB offer and education leaders - classification review - Non-contact time - Payment of temporary teachers for student free days

1.     Commercialisation in Public Schooling survey

The Commercialisation in Public Education survey being conducted for teacher unions nationally looks at the provision of products and services by commercial organisations in schools.

The research team conducting the survey is led by Bob Lingard and comprises academics from the University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  The survey is for members of the AEU and its affiliates.  The information will assist the AEU in understanding the scope of commercialisation in public education in Australia and the extent of concerns its members hold.

You can access the survey at https://survey.qut.edu.au/f/186317/128b/.  The survey will be open until 11 September.

It is expected that the survey will take 15 minutes to complete, and although findings of the survey may be published, none of the information that you provide will be/can be linked to you as an individual or to your school.

Commercialisation and outsourcing to for-profit organisations (“edubusinesses”) is having an increasing impact on public schooling with profound consequences for student access to public education. Please complete the survey.

2.     Queensland State School Resourcing Review (QSSRR)

The QTU is currently engaged in the QSSRR Peak Reference Group.  It has made verbal submissions to the review and is actively engaged in meetings regarding the process. The review is currently looking at how resources are allocated to schools and is working toward a revised process that will develop a resourcing model that is simple, predictable, flexible and needs-based.  DET has engaged Deloitte as the key partner in the review.  Deloitte has undertaken consultation with 50 representative schools, the key stakeholders and some broader community members.

Deloitte is currently writing the report to be provided to government regarding the review and its findings.

The QTU has advocated for a “base” resource allocation to all schools that ensures that industrial commitments and other expectations are met with additional resourcing provided on the basis of need.  The view of the QTU is that schools are best placed to consult on how to use the additional resourcing and, consequently, should be given the ability to make these decisions following consultation with staff and community. What recommendations will arise from the review is as of yet unknown.

In order to inform DET’s submission to government about the QSSRR, the project team has released an online submission tool to allow all DET staff the opportunity to provide their experiences with the current resourcing methodology.

 The question being asked is deliberately broad to give scope for respondents to provide their thoughts and experiences of current state school resourcing arrangements and how they see those arrangements being improved. Schools are encouraged to make a submission using this tool.  The tool is expected to remain open until the end of term.

3.     Disability review

The disability review being conducted by the department has recently opened.  Members are encouraged to participate in the review, including making the following points:

  • inadequate resourcing model for SWD, particularly for the broader range of disabilities identified through the federal disability standard
  • the need for more support for students exhibiting challenging behaviour, ie oppose DET’s moves to further restrict the ‘restrictive practices agenda’

The review can be accessed via
https://deloitteau.au1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_aeYth8sEwykgFdH

4.     2016 Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey

The Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) urges all principals and deputy principals to participate in the 2016 Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey being run through the Australian Catholic University, the chief investigator being Associate Professor Phil Riley. The results of the survey provide an important evidence base for improvements in your working life.

The survey opened: 

  • for existing participants on 27 July 2016
  • for new participants on 1 August 2016.

Survey link:  http://www.principalhealth.org/surveys/92538

The survey, first conducted in 2011, now has Australian Research Council funding for 2016-2019 to support a longitudinal study on the occupational health, safety and wellbeing of school leaders.

The survey involves all principals, assistants and deputies in every sector of every Australian state and territory.  It is being conducted in response to concerns that the increasing complexity and workload demands of school leadership roles are impacting on the health and wellbeing of Australian school leaders.

Survey data is providing evidence to policy makers about the real but often hidden costs and benefits of initiatives such as the introduction of the national curriculum and changes to national testing and accountability requirements.

The survey is being conducted by members of the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at ACU.  It is independent of all employer groups, professional associations and unions.  All individual survey data is kept strictly confidential and no individual or school will be identifiable in any reporting of the results.

All participants receive an instant, individualised report on their personal health and wellbeing status and can compare this to others in similar school situations.

5.     QCAA senior subject syllabus development - Stage 1 senior syllabuses: Draft 2 released for consultation – have your say

QTU members are strongly encouraged to provide feedback on Draft 2 of the Stage 1 (the first 35) redeveloped senior syllabuses.  

A number of QTU members have raised concerns that the redeveloped syllabuses and introduction of external assessment will have an impact on the capacity of schools to offer some subjects via combined or composite classes.  These issues are being actively pursued by the QTU with the QCAA and the department. 

It is very important that QTU members take the opportunity to raise these concerns and any other feedback in relation to the draft syllabuses via the QCAA online survey.  The survey is available until 14 September. 

https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/senior/new-snr-assessment-te/redev-snr-syll/draft-2-consultation 

6.     EB offer and education leaders

The QTU ballot regarding the government’s offer for a replacement agreement closes on Monday,5 September 2016.

The government is also required to conduct a ballot prior to the agreement being certified. The government’s ballot will open on 5 September and will close at the end of the last week of term.  Employees will receive an email from GoVote informing them how to cast a vote in this ballot. Members are again encouraged to vote in support of the agreement.

A number of issues have been raised by education leaders about aspects of the agreement.

Classification review

While the Union called for additional increases for promotional positions, the key focus was on the classifcation review. The current system was developed over 25 years ago and has not been able to adjust in line with the emerging pressures and issues of school leaders and others in promotional positions. To establish salaries that are a genuine assessment of the work value of school leaders and heads of programs, that system needs to be changed. The review will likely result in significantly improved salaries when a new structure is implemented.

Concerns have continued to be raised about the timing of the review, with some calls for earlier completion of the review. Issues remain about the amount of time practically required to undertake the review.  The last such review in the late 1980s and early 1990s took about four years.  The QTU believes the current timeframe is achievable and realistic.

It is worth remembering too that the department:

  1. only conceded a review at the very end of negotiations
  2. was reluctant to agree to a 31 December 2018 completion date, initially proposing 30 June 2019
  3. would not agree to an additional percentage increase for classified officers as a downpayment on the review.

Non-contact time

The claim adopted by the QTU State Council after two rounds of member consultation in March 2016 included clarification of the purpose and use of non-contact time (NCT) because of increasing teacher workload and demands. 

One of the issues was the loss of NCT because of planned school activities. This has been addressed historically in primary and special schools by banking NCT (subject to limitations) and informally and inconsistently in secondary schools through “time-in-lieu” arrangements.

The proposed agreement provides greater certainty about non-contact time entitlements.

Concerns have been raised by education leaders about the adequacy of school resources, including TRS, to satisfy the requirements of the agreement.  If the resources are inadequate to meet entitlements, the QTU will demand the necessary additional resources.  However, members would hardly expect the QTU to drop its claims because resources may or may not be adequate.

Payment of temporary teachers for student free days

Another claim was for payment for temporary teacher attendance at pupil free days.  Temporary teachers reported an informal “expectation” growing up over time of attendance without payment – a breach of industrial law.  The proposed agreement sets out specific arrangements for attendance and payment.

The QTU sought payment for both January pupil-free days centrally.  The department would only agree to one paid centrally and one from school resources.  Again, the Union would not drop its claim about member entitlements because of the proposed funding source, nor would members expect that to occur.

The QTU will continue to address issues about the implementation of the proposed agreement in materials and training if, as is likely, the agreement is endorsed.