The QTU’s workload reduction roadmap
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 8, 6 November 2020, page no. 12
- 3 July – the QTU’s 113th Biennial Conference, comprised of more than 250 elected members from every branch and Area Council throughout Queensland, adopts the reduction of workload as the Union’s number 1 priority for 2019 to 2021.
- 5 August – More than 30,000 QTU members participate in the EB9 ballot, which is supported by more than 80 per cent of votes cast. EB9 negotiations achieve important concessions on workload from the department.
- 17 November – The first trace of coronavirus is recorded in Hubei province, China.
- 19 November – The new certified agreement is certified by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) and includes the establishment of the Workload Advisory Council (WAC) and Principles of Good Workload Management.
Term 1, 2020
- The QTU’s Workload Position Statement is distributed to branches for feedback and amendments. The intent is to seek adoption of the statement at May State Council, however May Council is later cancelled due to COVID-19.
- 21 February – General Secretary Graham Moloney’s editorial in the Journal identifies that workload arises from various levels: national, state, region, community, school, and individual.
- 7 March – The 120 teachers and principals of the QTU State Council vote unanimously to conduct a ballot of members across the state to boycott NAPLAN (in its entirety) in 2020.
- 12 March – The department is unsuccessful in applying to the QIRC for orders to stop the QTU NAPLAN ballot.
- 16 March – Following negotiations with Queensland unions, the Office of Industrial Relations releases Directive 01/20 “Employment Arrangements in the Event of a Health Pandemic”, which includes leave provisions and flexible work arrangements.
- 19 March – QTU President Kevin Bates calls for NAPLAN to be abandoned in 2020, in light of the public health emergency. The following day, the Education Council agrees to cancel NAPLAN 2020. The QTU suspends its ballot.
- 20 March – Kevin co-authors a letter with other presidents of AEU affiliated state and territory public sector teacher unions, calling for measures to address health and safety in schools and school closures.
- 26 March – Following a period of intense negotiations with the QTU, the Queensland Government announces all Queensland state schools will cease business as usual from the close of school on Friday 27 March. The QTU continues to negotiate operating guidelines for Term 2.
Term 2, 2020
- Teachers, heads of program and school leaders re-engineer education delivery from classroom-based delivery to remote learning, virtually or by paper. The QTU General Secretary tells the Queensland Government that this work is “an amazing professional feat to anyone with any understanding of teaching and the operations of schools, notwithstanding limitations of time, resources and experience in remote teaching.”
- The QTU continues to negotiate updates to the COVID-19 operating guidelines and the Workload Advisory Council’s terms of reference and procedures. Throughout WAC negotiations, the QTU demands a submission process that ensures the respect and dignity our members need to tell their story of workload pressures. As a result, the character limits of any one WAC submission are increased and members can attach additional files. The QTU also ensures that the WAC submission process is available to both individual members and organised QTU Area Councils, branches, sub-branches, special interest groups and other formal and informal QTU structures.
- 13 May – The Australian Research Council announces a grant for an investigation of teacher workload carried out by Queensland University of Technology, the University of New South Wales and the University of Queensland, in partnership with the QTU.
- 5 June – in addition to meetings with branches, Area Councils, standing committees, and special interest groups, an article in the Journal encourages individual members to provide feedback on the draft Workload Position Statement.
- 12 June – The Education Council releases the terms of reference for the F-10 Review of the Australian Curriculum.
- 17 June – The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA), as the agency responsible for the Queensland submission to the Australian Curriculum review, calls for QTU nominees on 10 newly established learning area advisory groups (LARGs). All QTU nominees are classroom teachers, heads of program or deputy principals.
- 19 June – The QTU writes to the QCAA and the Department for Education, calling for terms of reference of the curriculum review to be expanded to include: (i) recognition of the adverse impact of the Australian Curriculum on the workload of teaching profession, and (ii) implementation strategies to reduce teacher workload.
- 22 June – WAC submissions open, and support materials for making a submission are published on the QTU website.
Term 3, 2020
- 14 July – The Minister for Education directs the Department of Education to accelerate workload reduction negotiations. The Minister’s correspondence commits to: joining calls for the replacement of NAPLAN; rationalising the requirements of the Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework (CARF); streamlining data and information collection; continuity of employment for temporary teachers; ending the 2020 school year two days early.
- 15 July – The QTU launches the right-to-disconnect campaign, reducing digital communication in support of reclamation of work-life balance.
- 23 July – Union nominees serving on the QCAA’s 10 LARGs meet and reaffirm a commitment to ensuring any recommendations will be framed with a workload lens.
- 24 July – More than 27,000 members vote in a QTU ballot, with 89 per cent voting to reject the Queensland Government pay increase deferral and 84 per cent voting to accept the government’s proposal for accelerated workload reduction negotiations.
- 27 July – Accelerated workload reduction negotiations with the department commence. The QTU position is informed by QTU policy, the result of the QTU member ballot (24 July), collated member suggestions on workload throughout the year, and the draft position statement.
- 16 August – WAC submissions close, with just over 800 submissions received suggesting areas for workload reduction.
- 22 August – QTU State Council receives a report on the progress of negotiations around school accountability requirements and the P-12 Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework (CARF) and endorses continuing with the process. Council notes the imminent release of the tri-state review of NAPLAN and authorises the QTU to conduct a ballot on banning preparation and implementation of all versions of NAPLAN in 2021 if the review does not result in the abolition of NAPLAN in its current form. Council endorses the QTU’s Workload Position Statement and launches the Enough! campaign.
- 17 September – An agreed statement on the initial outcomes of the QTU/Queensland Government workload reduction negotiations is published.
Term 4 2020
- 6 October – The QTU’s NAPLAN ballot is conducted. More than 94 per cent of the members who participated voted to ban NAPLAN in all its forms. The QTU Executive issues the following directive: “All QTU members are hereby directed to cease all activities associated with the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) for the remainder of 2020 and the 2021 school year.”
- 7 October – The QTU writes to the Department of Education, expressing continued concern over incremental workload creep associated with technology, change, and future work.
- 13 October – The department releases WAC submissions to QTU delegates at the scheduled quarterly meeting.
- February – The QTU advocates for greater clarity around Day 8 processes, to ensure schools are allocated appropriate human resources.
- March – The QTU demands central allocation of funding to support professional development related to the department’s roll out of Q-Learn.
- July – QTU State Council receives a report on proposals to amend the Invest for Success funding formula, and resolves not to support any changes that would leave any one school worse off. Subsequent QTU consultation with the department means that no changes to the formula are implemented that had the potential to remove human resources from some schools.
- During 2021, the QTU :
- produces a workload action plan and poster for members to use when making changes at the local level
- publishes single page reference workload reduction documents and worksheets, which include links to the authority document, ie. P-12 CARF
- shares workload reduction wins videos filmed at the QTU Union Reps Conference about how/why this work is important
- stages school leader forums around the state, with workload a particular focus
- puts Campaign Action Reports before State Council sharing the work at the local level and the resulting wins
- introduces Workload Wednesday Facebook posts
- publishes articles sharing schools' success in managing workload in the Journal.
- January to July – EB10 negotiations occur.
- July – the EB10 offer includes additional workload clauses and provisions for a review of the allocative methodology, the first in 30 years.
- August – WAC Joint Communiqué released.
- August – the QTU releases a suite of revised workload reduction resources (https://www.qtu.asn.au/workload-reduction).
*Article updated 22 August 2022