Principal update 14 February 2020
In this issue : Reducing workload is priority #1 | Workload Advisory Council | Certified Agreement Implementation Committee | COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019) | Student code of conduct and discipline for 2021 | Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments- AARA | Instrumental music - joint communiqué | Truth: Seek, Challenge and Lead - NATSIPA Conference, Sydney 16-20 March | School leader involvement in the QTU
In July last year, QTU Conference endorsed the reduction of teacher and school leader workload in a sustainable way as the Union’s number one priority for 2019–21.
The QTU Workload Survey, conducted for the QTU by the Australia Council of Educational Research (ACER) in late 2018, showed that:
- 53 per cent of teachers work up to 45 hours per week
- 22 per cent work 46–50 hours per week
- 25 per cent work more than 50 hours per week
- principals work 61.8 hours in a typical week.
Only about a quarter of teachers, heads of programs, and principals saw their workload as manageable. Even fewer said they had a good work/life balance.
The Conference decision is very clear: the Union’s objective is the reduction of workload, not building resilience or adapting to excessive workload. This is more than a red-tape exercise and will require systemic examination from top to bottom.<back to top>
The first meeting of the Workload Advisory Council will be held on Tuesday 18 February 2020. The QTU has provided a number of agenda items for discussion, including the senior curriculum and assessment processes, the accountability regime, the recruitment and selection process, the new student code of conduct and behaviour management policies, and the duties of teachers and school leaders.
The QTU’s representatives on the WAC include a principal, a senior secondary classroom teacher and a classroom teacher from a P-10 school. Advice will be provided to members regarding the outcomes after the council meets, as well as information on making submissions.<back to top>
The Certified Agreement Implementation Committee (CAIC) met at the end of 2019 and again this week. The standing items for the CAIC include student free day hours, non-contact time for beginning teachers, outstanding matters from the PPCR and non-contact time for primary and special schools. The CAIC is currently working on the revised model for senior teacher and experienced senior teacher, and will consider the the RAIS Advisory Group’s recommendations regarding any amendments to the scheme later this year.<back to top>
The additional workload that all school leaders have taken on over the first weeks of 2020 has been unprecedented. While we have much experience dealing with the normal start of school mania and natural disasters, we have never before dealt with combinations of start of school, natural disasters and a pandemic.
With the Day 13 staffing cut off behind us, you will soon receive your confirmed staffing for 2020. Issues arising directly from the impact of quarantine measures for COVID-2019 should be referred to your regional HR team for further consideration in the first instance. If the issues can’t be resolved, please notify the QTU for assistance. The QTU has been in close contact with the department throughout, and we have the capacity to quickly contact DoE senior officers to negotiate a resolution.
The risk of the spread of COVID-2019 in the Australian community remains low, according to health authorities. Your work has played a large part in ensuring that students and staff remain safe. It may be some time before the global emergency has passed. Thanks for all you will do over the coming weeks and months to manage the impact of COVID-2019 in your school.<back to top>
With the release of the new Student Disciplinen Procedure in late January, the QTU has been contacted about concerns regarding workload issues, work intensification and unreasonable expectations of schools. As already mentioned, the number 1 priority for the QTU is reducing workload and the QTU will be raising this matter with the department and looking at ways to alleviate the work intensification that has occurred with its release. We are currently meeting and talking with principals and deputy principals to discuss the impacts they see being placed on them.
The QTU has advised the department that the procedure needs to recognise the roles that classified officers play in the behaviour management process and needs to ensure that the complexities of schools are acknowledged, as well as outlining a process which is reasonable for school leaders to follow. The process also needs to be supported by statewide training.
The QTU is continuing its battle against the department by trying to decrease the workload impact on school leaders of the continual change and implementation of new policy and procedures.<back to top>
Just a reminder that QCAA-approved AARA due dates are looming. If you have students with known long-term conditions who may require alternate format assessments such as braille or large print, unit three and four applications are due to the QCAA by the end of February. Some students will have long-term and chronic conditions. The QCAA-approved AARAs, including those in combination with the principal-reported AARAs, are due by the end of term one of the summative year. <back to top>
During term four of 2019, the QTU negotiated terms to settle the work-to-rule directive for instrumental music teachers and instructors. The resulting Department of Education (DoE) and Queensland Teachers’ Union of Employees (QTU) Joint Communiqué – Instrumental Music Teachers and Instructors has now been signed by DoE and the QTU.
The joint communiqué will be an addendum to the MOA, providing further clarification and supporting the working conditions of instrumental music teachers and instructors.
2020 will see the QTU continuing to work with the DoE and the Instrumental Music Reference Committee on monitoring the implementation of this joint communiqué, ensuring that the unique working conditions of instrumental music teachers and instructors across the state are supported and that they can begin to restore work/life balance.
Base school principals and regional music coordinators are encouraged to be aware of their responsibilities in making decisions that impact on the working conditions of instrumental music teachers and instructors, using the joint communiqué, along with the Industrial Relations Act 2016, Teaching State Education Award 2016, Certified Agreement 2019 and the MOA.
A QTU guide, “Unpacking the Joint Communiqué – Instrumental Music Teachers and Instructors”, has been developed to further assist our members and education leaders.<back to top>
NATSIPA is an Australian Indigenous principals association supporting, developing and building capacity to promote quality Indigenous leaders. One of its many objectives is to work with education and professional representative groups to strategically influence future state and national policies relating to the wellbeing and life chances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This is a conference for all educators. Registration is still open.
The theme is Truth: Seek, Challenge and Lead. The keynote speakers and the conference program clearly put this theme at the centre of the conference, as it creates a space and place to strategically influence future state and national policies. Link to the conference website
The conference was flagged in the QTU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network Newsletter in September 2019. It is timely to highlight the conference and the work of the association. If you or interested staff members haven’t already registered, there is still time to get engaged in the richness of Truth: Seek, Challenge and Lead.<back to top>
There are many ways in which QTU members in leadership positions can be involved in the decision-making of the QTU, and in fact there are school leaders on QTU Executive, State Council and Area Councils.
While school leaders can attend their local branch meeting (and we actively encourage this), the QTU also has a standing committee titled the Education Leaders’ Committee, which comprises 15 principals, deputy principals and members in other promotional positions. The committee is chaired by Andrew Beattie (principal and long term QTU Executive member).
The Education Leaders’ Committee:
- monitors developments and provides advice to executive regarding:
o relevant issues arising from state and federal government initiatives
o the implementation of departmental initiatives which directly impact on education leaders
o other issues that may emerge which impact on education leaders
- monitors, influences and advocates on issues that impact on education leaders, such as the issues stated in the QTU’s Principal Support and Involvement Strategy. (provide link to PSIS)
- monitors, influences and advocates on issues that impact on education leaders’ health and wellbeing
- contributes to and influences national education leaders’ policy through the Australian Education Union’s National Principals’ Committee
- reviews and develops appropriate proposals for new and amended Union policy in accordance with the Committee’s terms of reference.
Any members wishing ELC to address a specific issue should outline the issue and send it to: email@example.com (mark it Attention: Education Leaders Committee).
The QTU also has more than a hundred Principal Union Representatives across the state.
The role of Principal Union Representatives includes assisting the QTU Organiser and the Union by providing a school leader perspective on education and industrial issues (including local school issues), in public comment in the media (as a Union member), in delegations to regional offices and parliamentarians supporting union campaigns, and in providing a role model, QTU support and information for other school leaders and QTU members.
The criteria for nomination as a Principal Union Representative are:
- understanding of the operations of the department and the Union and experience as a school leader
- a history of strong support for QTU campaigns and decisions
- the respect of QTU members in his/her workplace, Union activists and fellow school leaders
- the capacity to undertake the role in collaboration with the Organiser and independently
- the geography of the Organiser’s region.
Each Organiser is to nominate Principal Union Representatives, after appropriate consultation with the Area Council officers. Advice received from the Area Council officers will be considered in discussions with the General Secretary prior to nominees being endorsed by Executive and confirmed by Council.<back to top>
Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street,Milton, QLD, Australia, 4060