Workload reduction: where to from here?
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 8, 6 November 2020, page no. 14
The QTU's workload reduction campaign rolls on. Here's a summary of what lies ahead.
The QTU continues to work with our members serving on the QCAA LARGs and pursuing measures of workload reduction in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum.
The directive to cease all activities related to NAPLAN remains.
The QTU will continue to campaign for additional federal funding for Queensland state schools. We know that fair funding means smaller classes and more teacher-aide time, both of which can reduce teacher workload. The QTU is also monitoring the emergence of the new federal body called the National Evidence Institute, which has the potential to inform government policy in ways that adversely impact workload.
CARF and school accountability
QTU members, working through their local consultative committee and with their local QTU Organiser, should ensure that the commitments secured from the department during the Term 3 workload reduction negotiations are actioned in their school. The QTU reserves the right to commence dispute procedures where the CARF commitments are not actioned.
Through the workload reduction negotiations, the department has agreed that proposed new initiatives at the regional or systems level with workload impact will be subject to consultation with the QTU in accordance with the certified agreements. It is not possible to describe all of the types of initiatives that are imagined at regional and central office, but in schools, the negotiated outcome should mean QTU members see both evidence of consultation with the QTU wherever change is introduced and demonstration of the Principles of Good Workload Management. We need informed QTU members to assert their workplace rights and, where the department has erred in its obligation to consult, member preparedness to work with the local QTU Organiser and engage in dispute resolution procedures.
There is no requirement for reporting more than twice per year. Where communities call for additional reporting, schools can consider the use of the Q-Parent app, which allows parents to log on and check their child’s academic results.
There is also no requirement for individual curriculum plans for every student. ICPs are only for the small percentage of students working two years above or below their age cohort.
Right to disconnect
QTU members are not required to respond to unreasonable amounts of email. The QTU recommends that teachers exercise professional autonomy in making decisions about which emails to prioritise, and use the automatic reply function.
The QTU maintains that the local consultative committee is a key mechanism for managing workload at the workplace level. QTU Organisers are available to assist schools with LCC training, and to support QTU Workplace Representatives.
Reducing workload requires change. The infrastructure is in place to recognise sources of workload and reduce workload in sustainable ways. Change has been negotiated with the employer. What’s needed now is supported change at the workplace and individual level. The QTU’s Enough! cards are a reminder to start small and put in place measures that reclaim your own work-life balance.