Leading action on workload
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 3, 9 April 2021, page no.8
Leading action on workload is everyone’s business. With differing levels of pressure adding to the workload of our members in schools, and members reporting that there are plenty of tasks that they do that are not of value, pushing back against the continued requests to do more is key for us as professionals.
Teaching and learning should not be buried by a range of other initiatives. It is a slippery slope, and one which will cause quality teaching and learning to suffer.
The Union continues to advocate and negotiate with the department on workload reduction, following on from the workload reduction reviews of 2020. The Agreed Statement – yes, it was agreed to by both the Department of Education and the QTU – and the QTU’s workload reduction resource give our teachers and our school leaders an opportunity to review current practices to reduce workload. But where do we go from here?
Consider current state of play
Teachers and school leaders should consider the practices that are currently carried out that add little or no value when it comes to our core business of teaching and learning. Make a list if necessary. If the tasks relate to collection of data, annual performance reviews, collegial engagement (this list is not exhaustive) or other areas covered by joint statements, these should be part of the LCC agenda. Then look at the practices that have been consulted upon and agreed by the school LCC. If these do not align, raise this as a priority.
Know your working conditions
Knowing the working conditions associated with your role will help you determine whether something you have been asked to do – an additional playground duty, for example, or detention supervision after school – is reasonable. The QTU produces several guides that detail the basic working conditions of a teacher, including timetabling matters.
Establishing good working relationships with members and school leaders at the workplace will allow you to work together on getting to know your working conditions and taking the next steps to achieving workload reduction. Communicate with each other via staff meetings, noticeboards or email, and consult with other members to determine your priorities.
Use the workload reduction resource (https://www.qtu.asn.au/wr-resource-poster) and the workload reduction action plan (https://www.qtu.asn.au/wr-wrap), both available on the QTU website, to determine what the priorities are for members at your workplace. Together, develop an action plan that has a clear objective, timelines and a way to measure tangible outcomes.
The workload of teachers and school leaders matters. By engaging with our members in the workload reduction campaign and working together in support of local action, we can bring about sustainable reductions in workload.
If we keep doing what we have always done as teachers and school leaders, we will continue to face ever increasing workload and the associated wellbeing issues. Achieving sustainable reduction in workload for teachers and school leaders is as much about changing the culture of the profession, for the students we teach and for each other.
What is the next action you will take in your workplace?
Melissa de Waard
Workload Project Officer
Workload reduction resource (poster) https://www.qtu.asn.au/wr-resource-poster
Workload Reduction Action Plan https://www.qtu.asn.au/wr-wrap
DoE/QTU Agreed Statement http://www.qtu.asn.au/agreedstatement17sep20
QTU guides https://www.qtu.asn.au/seek-advice/basic-guides
DoE/QTU joint statements https://www.qtu.asn.au/joint-statements