22 July 2015 | No. 11-15 | Download as PDF 

To : QTU Members

Curriculum timelines to be reviewed

New Minister listens to QTU concerns

One of the first matters raised with the new Education Minister after the change of government was the implementation of the Australian Curriculum and the QTU curriculum ban. At the start of 2015, Queensland was the only state to have implemented the five Australian Curriculum areas of English, Maths, Science, Geography and History. 

When she addressed QTU State Council in May, Minister Kate Jones shared her position that there would be no further requirement to implement new curriculum areas in 2015.  In correspondence to schools dated 22 July 2015, the Minister officially informs teachers and principals that there is no requirement for any new curriculum areas to be implemented.  This is in contrast to the refusal of the former Education Minister to halt the implementation of new curriculum areas.  The Minister has also advised schools that the remainder of 2015 should be used for the purpose of consolidation.

QTU State Conference earlier this month determined that when the Minister had communicated her position to schools, the QTU would be in a position to lift the ban on the implementation of the Australian Curriculum.  The situation in schools will remain the same: there is no implementation of new areas to occur in 2015.  Therefore:

The directive to halt implementation (including familiarisation) of any new learning areas of the Australian Curriculum until further notice is withdrawn.

As a result of the Minister’s communication, there is no requirement for any school to implement or begin the process of implementation of any new subject or learning area in 2015.

Implementation is a broad term which includes: familiarisation, planning, teaching, assessing and reporting.  At both State Council and in further communication with the QTU,  the Minister also indicated that she is prepared to renegotiate the timelines for implementation, both in light of state-based decisions in response to the review of the Australian Curriculum and the ongoing concerns the QTU has raised regarding teacher workload.

It must be acknowledged that this outcome has been achieved through the willingness of QTU members to take industrial action and put a ban in place.

Principles to guide negotiation of new timelines

The Minister in her correspondence indicates that she will consult with the QTU regarding timelines for implementation and acknowledges where the Australian Curriculum is not being implemented schools will continue to use the Essential Learnings.

QTU Conference also adopted a set of principles to guide negotiation of new timelines for implementation.  It is important that QTU members are aware of these.

  • Timelines must be such that individual teachers are not required to implement more than one learning area or subject at a time unless significant release time or other support is provided.
  • Timelines must be such that recognition is given to the amount of time required to write new programs, adapt current programs or unpack and contextualise C2C materials.  
  • No further implementation or negotiation of timelines should occur until such time as ACARA’s final proposals have been considered by the Council of Australian Governments Education Council and decisions on implementing any agreed decisions have been made in Queensland.  
  • The existence of C2C materials for a subject or learning area does not mean that these subjects or learning areas must be implemented.  
  • The C2C materials are a resource to support implementation. Schools, principals and teachers must not be compelled to use them or adopt them unchanged.

Process to be followed in schools where QTU members are ready to move ahead with implementation of a subject or learning area

QTU Conference noted that there may be some schools where QTU members are seeking to move ahead with implementation.  In these cases, the following steps must be taken.

1. A special QTU workplace meeting will be called, allowing members to:

a) discuss the level of resourcing available in the school to support implementation of a subject or learning area and 

b) discuss the potential for changes to curriculum to arise from the federal review and subsequent state decision-making

c) conduct a ballot of members.

2. If members vote to support the implementation of an Australian Curriculum subject or learning area, the matter will be placed on the agenda of a local consultative committee (LCC) meeting or dealt with in accord with the Consultation Guidelines for Small Schools.

3.The LCC (or small school consultation process) will discuss the implications of the implementation of the new subject or learning area in terms of teacher workload, available resources and the school's curriculum plan.

4.  A decision by the LCC (or small school consultation process) to implement a learning area outside of the current timelines, including the results of the ballot of members, will be communicated to the QTU by QTU representatives.

If your school does not have a functional LCC, please liaise with your local QTU Organiser.

The situation will continue to be monitored

QTU Conference also determined that:

"Should the QTU become aware that the intent of the Minister’s correspondence is not being enacted or should the QTU be dissatisfied with the level of consultation and negotiation of the revised timelines, QTU Conference authorises Executive to reissue the directive banning further implementation without a further ballot being required."

Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, Acting General Secretary