Instrumental music teachers/instructors back work-to-rule settlement
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 8, 8 November 2019, page no. 11
Negotiations aimed at resolving instrumental music teachers/instructors’ work-to-rule have resulted in an agreed position and, subsequently, a settlement to the issues underpinning the dispute.
The settlement delivers genuine solutions to mitigate factors of workload for instrumental music teachers and instructors. In reducing and managing workload requirements and establishing a common understanding regarding the unique working conditions of instrumental music teachers/instructors, the key wins outlined in the settlement include:
- a commitment to timetables in accordance with the award, with any variations to be subject to consultation and agreement
- inclusion of the Queensland Instrumental Music Curriculum in the P-12 Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework, including a footnote stating that schools must be cognisant of the number of students, as well as the employment conditions in relation to OneSchool reporting and parent teacher interview requirements
- a commitment to developing a consistent statewide approach to the moderation processes for the QCAA Instrumental Music Recognised Study
- the implementation of one non-teaching day to support instrumental music teachers/instructors in completing the requirements for the QCAA Instrumental Music Recognised Study
- providing a range of support materials for moderation processes required for the QCAA Instrumental Music Recognised Study
- providing administrative support for instrumental music teachers/instructors for recruitment of students to instrumental music programs
- clarity around the role of regional music coordinator
- clarity around line management for instrumental music teachers/instructors
- clarity around collegial engagement processes for instrumental music teachers/instructors.
In recognition of the range of commitments made by the department in the settlement, QTU members employed as instrumental music teachers/instructors voted to lift the work-to-rule in a member ballot. The positive result is a win for instrumental music teachers/instructors, as it secures the range of commitments made by the department outlined in the settlement. It also means that the QTU and the department can continue to work to improve the conditions of instrumental music teachers/instructors.
At the time of writing, the settlement is being developed as a joint communiqué, which will provide regional music coordinators and base school principals with a single point of truth for information on working conditions and departmental policy pertaining to instrumental music teachers/instructors. It is important to note that lifting the work-to-rule does not mean any teacher or instructor can be required to undertake ensemble rehearsals or performances that exceed their working conditions.
The work-to-rule directive, which instrumental music teachers/instructors have courageously been following since the beginning of the school year, has highlighted not only the unique working conditions of this group of teachers, but the unique work they perform every day in Queensland state schools. In further highlighting of the work of instrumental music teachers, the formation of the Instrumental Music Reference Committee (IMRC) has allowed the elected teacher representatives – namely Nicole Elkins, Christine Jabs, Julianne Schick and Luke Todd – to share and articulate their lived experience to officers of the department who operate at a regional and central office level.
Thanks to the IMRC, which has proven a necessary and valuable forum to facilitate vital consultation between the Department of Education, instrumental music teachers/instructors and the QTU, progress has been made in terms of the department’s understanding of the realities and challenges experienced by instrumental music teachers.
Instrumental music teachers and instructors should be congratulated. Holding the line and standing up for working conditions isn’t always easy, especially when it might result in difficult conversations in the workplace. However, the results of this campaign are solid proof of what solidarity can achieve in terms of real wins for members. Every QTU member who has participated in or actively supported the work-to-rule directive should feel empowered in the knowledge that they have contributed to historic wins for the working conditions of instrumental music teachers/instructors – and that is an instrumental (pun intended!) legacy.