No. 02-21, 1 February 2021 | DOWNLOAD PDF
To QTU Members
The QTU and you – Term 1, 2021
As we start students’ second week of the school year, we wanted to wish all our members the very best for the next 12 months. For those of you who are beginning your teaching career, welcome to the profession. While teaching is both a challenging and rewarding career, there is one thing of which you can be certain; the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) stands by its members, supports them, campaigns with them and wins with them. While this year will still see us facing the challenge of COVID-19 and all the adjustments that it requires, the pandemic will not stop us campaigning and striving to ensure that you have the best working conditions and your students have the best learning conditions. We look forward to seeing what we, as Union members all, can achieve together this year.
Workload reduction remains the QTU’s top priority in 2021, and while efforts may have been stymied somewhat by COVID-19, some inroads have been made.
At the end of last year, the department and the QTU released the outcomes of the Term 3 workload reviews, which you can find via these links: www.qtu.asn.au/agreedstatement17sep20 and www.qtu.asn.au/workload-reduction-resource-sem2-2020. These outcomes should now be implemented in schools and across the department.
Members have been provided with copies of the revised data joint statement and the department will distribute the Data Literacy Framework and data sets to schools this term.
The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) is currently undertaking a review of senior assessment and tertiary entrance (SATE). Members are encouraged to participate in this review – we cannot address the issues if we remain silent.
The first meeting of the Workload Advisory Council (WAC) for 2021 occurs this week. This meeting will provide an opportunity to engage in a more detailed analysis of the WAC submissions and the work required to address these issues.
The hearing of the QTU’s appeal against the Industrial Commission’s orders removing the ban on NAPLAN was held on 20 January. After hearing the appeal, the Industrial Court determined that the ban was unprotected industrial action and ordered the Union to remove the directive. These orders were communicated to members on 25 January. While the QTU complied with these orders, the campaign will continue. Now more than ever, we must take a stand and wrestle back control over our students’ achievements. Currently, this data is being used as a political football and to measure teaching quality, rather than for the data’s actual purpose, to enable teachers to inform the progress of students; this data is generated in classrooms every day, and a test like NAPLAN adds little.
Members should not be fooled by arguments that NAPLAN keeps schools accountable. There are many ways Queensland schools demonstrate accountability, including (but not limited to): annual school plans; invest for success plans; student reports; student attendance and discipline; school reviews; QCE attainment and other data sets which demonstrate the diverse needs of students and inform teachers and school leaders how best to address these needs to provide students with the best opportunities.
NAPLAN provides point-in-time information about those elements of literacy and numeracy it tests. This information is then used by politicians as an ill-conceived measure of teacher and school-leader performance.
At a time when the QTU’s main focus continues to be on workload reduction and member wellbeing, it is important that we all stop doing those things that do not add value to what we do.
Consequently, members should follow the QTU/Department of Education (DoE) NAPLAN Joint Statement. This means members should not be required to:
- conduct/practice repeated or regular NAPLAN tests or other familiarisation activities unless they are in proximity to the test. It is only February, with the tests to be conducted in mid-May - it would be a flawed argument to suggest that any NAPLAN activities conducted this term are in proximity to the test
- use NAPLAN results to enrol students in Queensland state schools
- use NAPLAN data as evidence in recruitment and selection
- issue “awards” for NAPLAN achievements
- report on NAPLAN results
- use NAPLAN data in annual performance reviews
- implement pre-tests to capture data for the purpose of shaping teaching and learning specifically related to NAPLAN.
Union proud, Union strong
2020 was one of the most challenging years for education in the QTU’s proud 132 years history, but QTU members did tremendous work throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 lockdown and transition to remote learning.
The QTU is strong and effective because of the members who choose to belong and engage in the democratic decision-making processes of the QTU.
In 2020, thousands of new members joined the QTU, seeing our membership rise to more than 48,000 for the first time in our history.
Our values underpin the work we do every day with and for members. We are:
We strive to maintain high standards of work, to deal with members and their issues sensitively and respectively.
We implement the decisions of the collective regardless of the difficulties or obstacles that stand in our way.
We work collaboratively and stand together to achieve the best outcomes for our membership.
We involve members in the decision making of the Union and implement these decisions on behalf of members.
- Member focussed
We ensure that members issues and decisions are central to our work. We work with members and on behalf our members to achieve our objectives.
We always have work to do, and 2021 will be no different as we see through the implementation of the agreed workload reduction actions agreed in late 2020 and ensure that members are safe in their workplace from both the COVID-19 pandemic and occupational violence.
This year there will be many new teachers commencing their career for the first time. Please consider discussing with them why you choose to belong to the QTU and encourage them to join by sharing the following link: https://www.qtu.asn.au/join
The QTU remains the professional and industrial voice of Queensland’s teachers and school leaders in state schools and TAFE.
To view our current strategy, mission, values and objectives click here.
New school year, new leadership team
The start of the new school year also marked the start of a new leadership team for the QTU.
Cresta Richardson (former QTU Vice-President) commences in the role of President of the Union and Leah Olsson, a primary school teacher and member of Executive, is the QTU Vice-President. Kevin Bates, in accordance with Union rules, has served his maximum term as QTU President and has started a well-deserved break before embarking on a new career.
Kate Ruttiman (former Deputy General Secretary) is now the General Secretary of the Union. Kate’s election to the role follows the retirement of Graham Moloney after 33 years of service with the QTU.
Both Graham and Kevin have worked tirelessly for QTU members over their careers with the Union and will be greatly missed. The Union thanks them for their hard work, dedication and endless efforts on behalf of members.
The new leadership team of Cresta, Leah, Jenny Swadling (Honorary Vice-President), Kate and Brendan Crotty (Deputy General Secretary) look forward to the challenge of their roles and working with members to continue to deliver for Queensland teachers, heads of programs, school leaders and TAFE (the Deputy General Secretary position vacated by Kate upon her election to the role of General Secretary will be subject to an election process conducted by the Electoral Commission of Queensland in coming weeks).
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064