Re-elected state government briefed on QTU priorities
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 1, 12 February 2021, page no.12
At the end of 2020, Queensland returned Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor government for a third term.
The QTU wasted no time in providing Ministers with a brief identifying the key issues in education and advising how these might be addressed.
What follows is a summary of the recommendations laid out in the brief.
The full document can be found at www.qtu.asn.au/education-brief-2020
- The Queensland Government must commit to the Workload Advisory Council as a consultative mechanism between the Department of Education and the QTU and allocate additional funding and resources to inform workload reduction initiatives in Queensland state schools.
- The Queensland Government should foster a culture in the Department of Education to ensure sustained funding allocations that support professional autonomy, provide time and/or resources for teachers and principals to collect and compile evidence to inform their teaching practice, and streamline workload imposts in schools, including but not limited to data collection. The Queensland Government must ensure the QTU is represented on boards of statutory authorities and all Department of Education stakeholder bodies.
- Resource and open additional positive learning centres and other alternative settings to address student behaviour and cater to student need.
- Extend the timeline for the implementation of the new behaviour management procedures until the end of 2021, provide additional TRS and professional development to support the implementation of the procedures in schools, and ensure that the department provides clear and consistent advice in relation to the procedures.
Provide differing resourcing scales for each sector and fully implement the classification review.
- Lobby the Federal Education Minister to abolish NAPLAN in its current form.
- Extend the timeline for implementation of any new and/or revised Australian Curriculum, following consultation with key education stakeholders, including the QTU.
Senior assessment and tertiary entrance
- Provide funding to the QCAA and the department for ongoing resourcing of professional development and support for new and beginning teachers (and for teachers who are teaching out of their subject field) on the new QCE syllabuses and senior assessment system, which will be essential to maintain the integrity of the new system.
- Introduce heads of departments curriculum across all primary and special schools.
- Review the traditional P-10/P-12 allocative model to ensure at least two classified officers are provided to each school.
- Provide a full-time teacher-aide as part of the school’s staffing profile for every primary and special school classroom.
- Fully fund and resource mentoring and introduction to teaching programs for beginning teachers.
- Provide support for students in initial teacher education programs and their mentors, to aid their learning and address the teacher shortage across Queensland.
Students with disability
- Review the Education Adjustment Program (EAP) and verification process and the staffing model for students with disability, in accordance with the department’s Disability Review.
- Continue to fund and staff early childhood development programs (ECDPs).
Health and wellbeing
- Prioritise the prevention of occupational violence in Queensland schools and support the mechanisms necessary to support staff and students subject to violence, whether in schools or in the online environment.
- Raise public awareness of the specific criminal offence provisions in relation to violence toward staff in schools.
- Implement the Public Service Act changes to provide for security in employment.
Gender employment equity
- Normalise job sharing and caring arrangements to enhance workplace flexibility and flexible work arrangements.
- Provide dedicated sexual harassment training and referral officers in workplaces.
Investing in education – school and TAFE funding
- Increase the state government’s expenditure on TAFE (as the public provider) to 80 per cent of the state’s vocational education and training (VET) expenditure.
- The schooling resource standard (SRS) is a measure of the funding required to deliver the national goals of schooling. It was devised by the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling and is now enshrined in the Australian Education Act. The bilateral agreement between the Queensland Government and the federal government commits the state to funding 69 per cent of the SRS and the federal government to 20 per cent – a total of 89 per cent and a shortfall of 11 per cent in the funding required to achieve national goals. The dual issues are increasing funding to the SRS and the allocation of funds on the basis of educational need.
- Increase state government expenditure on state schools to more than 69 per cent of the SRS during the term of the government.
Investing in education – capital works
Include school infrastructure in the COVID-19 economic stimulus package, to ensure older facilities are replaced and upgraded and new schools and facilities, including special schools, are established.
- Employ more TAFE teachers to ensure that demand for vocational education and training can be met within reasonable workload limits, and that programs are delivered in full. This will eliminate the current reliance on excessive overtime for teachers and the reduction of student contact hours to force delivery of programs in compressed timeframes to make up for shortages of teachers.
- Deliver modern, innovative capital solutions to ensure the best training facilities, to match TAFE’s status as the premier provider of vocational education and training in the state
- Eliminate the competitive training market in favour of targeted funding for TAFE, to enable them to provide skills programs to support the Queensland economy generally and the realignment of the economy to a just future centred on renewal energy and innovative technology.
- Expand the capacity of TAFE to provide post-school options for young people, both in terms of completion of the Queensland Certificate of Education and gaining vocational qualifications to support the jobs of the future.
- Fully fund TAFE to deliver training and retraining for all Queenslanders forced out of employment by the impact of COVID-19, and cater for those students abandoned by failed for-profit providers of vocational education and training.