Workload reviews: an opportunity to change
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 8, 6 November 2020, page no. 11
At the end of Term 3, the QTU and the department released a progress update in relation to the workload reviews. Work continues on the development of joint communications and the revision of joint statements such as the data joint statement.
The reviews provide an opportunity for change in the culture of the department, to allow QTU members to exercise their professional judgements. By adopting the principles within the certified agreement and considering workload when developing expectations of schools, more space would be freed up for greater professional autonomy.
Below are just some of the outcomes of the reviews that should help to change the culture of workload intensification.
Regional and systemic initiatives
Proposed new initiatives at the regional and system levels will be subject to consideration of workload impact and consultation with the QTU, in accordance with the certified agreement. These include regional pedagogical frameworks, models of collegial engagement, and data collection.
The QTU anticipates that members in schools will see:
- a new joint communication reaffirming the importance of consultation
- local, regional, or system disputes when adequate consultation does not occur.
Throughout Semester 1, consultation with QTU members and branches led to the development of the QTU’s Position Statement on Workload. The statement states: “To mitigate incremental workload creep, the QTU calls on central office of the Department of Education to ensure that variations or additions to Department of Education procedures, prescribed by regions, are developed in consultation and agreement with the teaching profession and QTU at the local level.”
Through the workload reduction negotiations, the department has agreed that the workload impact of proposed new initiatives at the regional or system level will be subject to consultation with the QTU, in accordance with the certified agreement. In schools, this means:
- use of the LCC and other mechanisms to manage change
- evidence of consultation with the QTU and/or your QTU reps on your school’s local consultative committee
- demonstration of the Principles of Good Workload Management, contained in Schedule 6 of the certified agreement.
Annual performance review
The current annual performance review (APR) process adds to workload but adds little value to teachers, heads of program, and school leaders. The Public Service Commission requires that a new process is developed in accordance with the principles of the new Positive Performance Management Directive, and the QTU and the Department of Education will negotiate this new process. As a result of the QTU’s workload reduction negotiations, members in schools can expect that the new process:
- will not occur outside of rostered duty time
- will be streamlined to reduce the workload of heads of programs and school leaders
- will be the subject of a new joint statement. Therefore, members working conditions will be protected by the certified agreement.
Assessment & reporting, Semester 2
For the remainder of 2020, schools can make decisions that focus on providing students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning against the qualities described in the relevant achievement standards, rather than be concerned about coverage of all aspects of the standard.
Curriculum and assessment programs for Semester 2 will proceed as planned, with minor modifications made if required.
The number of planned assessments for Semester 2 may be reduced to allow students to “catch-up” on any content missed in Semester 1.
School-based decisions re the plans do not include attempting to cover the same amount of curriculum content in half the amount of school time.
In Prep to Year 10, the curriculum and assessment plans have to ensure the coverage of the relevant achievement standards, but not necessarily the same content.