28 Aug 2015 | No. 15-15 | Download as PDF 

Teacher union voice removed in AITSL restructure

In June this year, Christopher Pyne, Federal Minister for Education, wrote to the Australian Education Union informing it of his unilateral decision to restructure the board of AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership). The Minister gave no reason for his decision. As a result of the restructure, there is no longer a union voice on the board or committees of AITSL. 

Even though its sole owner is the Federal Minister for Education, AITSL has had a history of consultation and cooperation with key stakeholders, including teacher unions. However, the board and committees of AITSL are now made up of political appointments, politicising AITSL and its work and silencing the voice of teacher unions dedicated to protecting and enhancing the profession. 

The QTU and the AEU have long supported and contributed to the work of AITSL. However, it is important to remind the Federal Education Minister that teachers and school leaders must be represented by their unions.  Professional issues are the province of the profession, not government–appointed boards.

As a consequence, QTU State Conference and the AEU Federal Executive determined to strongly recommend to members that they do not engage with AITSL initiatives and communications until such time as AEU representation is returned to its board and committees.

Actions QTU members may wish to take include:

  • unsubscribing from AITSL emails or refraining from forwarding AITSL communications to staff email lists
  • no longer “following” AITSL through social media, or using social media to voice your concern
  • ceasing involvement in AITSL projects or initiatives
  • not using AITSL tools or resources 
  • discussing this issue at workplaces and branch meetings and considering communicating the concerns of QTU members to Minister Pyne.

It is important to note that the recommendation does NOT apply to those AITSL documents and processes that form part of negotiated agreements with DET or apply to teacher registration requirements. Consequently, QTU members will continue to use the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, the Australian Professional Standards for Principals and the Leadership Profiles for the purposes of Annual Teacher, Principal and Head of Program Performance Reviews. QTU members will also continue to use the standards for processes related to registration and continuing professional development as well as the introduction of highly accomplished and lead teachers.

The QTU and the AEU have written to the Minister condemning his removal of the representative voice of teachers and school leaders from the board and committees. Once again, the Federal Minister is determined to politicise the profession rather than work with and listen to our members – the people who work in schools every day. If we are to reclaim the profession, members should support the recommendation of the AEU Executive and QTU State Conference and withdraw from engagement with AITSL initiatives and communications.

QTU data position statement now available online

In response to member concerns regarding the purpose and use of data in Queensland schools and the associated workloads, the QTU has developed a position statement on the acceptable use of data.

You can read the position statement here. While this is currently a QTU position statement, negotiations have begun to progress this as a joint statement between the QTU and the Department of Education and Training.

QCT Board Election

Vote for QTU endorsed candidates Alota Lima and Natalie Clarke in the election for practicing teachers on the Queensland College of Teachers Board. The ballot closes 18 September.

For more information see Newsflash No. 12-15.

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