New educators: Additional non-contact time
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 3, 9 April 2021, page no.20
Every officer of the QTU was once a beginning teacher. We have all felt the first day jitters and the first-year shock of the hours and complexity of work. That’s why the QTU has long campaigned for additional non-contact time for beginning teachers.
Before the start of the 2021 school year, QTU members reported that additional time for beginning teachers lacked consistency and access to time was sometimes ad hoc.
During the negotiations for the current certified agreement, the QTU insisted on a fully funded and consistent allocation of additional non-contact time for beginning teachers. This win for beginning teachers was delivered in Clause 2.4 of the current certified agreement.
Your non-contact time entitlement
From the beginning of the 2021 school year, a teacher in a primary or special school will be allocated an additional 60 minutes of non-contact time per week, while a teacher in a secondary school will be allocated an additional 70 minutes of non-contact time per week. When added to your award entitlements, this means that a teacher in a primary or special school should be allocated 180 minutes of total non-contact time per week, and a teacher in a secondary school should be allocated 280 minutes of non-contact time per week.
You are eligible for additional non-contact time for the first 12 months of your teaching career, whether you are a permanent teacher or are employed on contract. Even if you are engaged on a temporary contract after the start of the school year, your 12 months commences at the start of your contract.
How you use your non-contact time is up to you
When negotiating certified agreements with the Department of Education, the QTU insists on the recognition of the longstanding principle that teachers have the professional autonomy to make decisions about the work they will undertake during their non-contact time. Typically, these tasks are planning, preparation, assessment and reporting. The additional non-contact time awarded to beginning teachers recognises extra work these members must undertake, such as transitioning to full teacher registration, attending to probation, and completing induction (see the article in the February Journal).
Accessing additional beginning teacher non-contact time
Beginning teacher timetables should already allocate your additional non-contact time. Your school does not need to apply for additional funding. In 2021, central office will be allocating additional funds to your school’s "school appropriation payments application" (SAPA). Suffice to say, if you are a beginning teacher and are not allocated additional non-contact time, talk to your QTU Rep and arrange to meet with your principal. If you are still not allocated non-contact time, talk to your local QTU Organiser or contact QTAD for further advice.
Beginning teacher professional development
Throughout the school year, the QTU hosts online and face-to-face professional development opportunities. Some are tailored specifically to support beginning teachers and are run locally with your QTU Organiser. Visit the QTU website to check on our professional development events. The Department of Education also offers professional development through regional teacher learning centres and centres for learning and wellbeing.