QTU Members' newsflash No. 42-20, 18 Sep 2020 | download pdf
First phase of workload reductions delivered
As teachers and principals prepare for a well-earned spring vacation, the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) is pleased to announce the first phase of workload reductions agreed with the Queensland Government.
For the past eight weeks, the QTU and the Department of Education have committed significant resources and personnel to negotiations on the suite of issues the QTU determined would be the focus of workload reduction.
The issues outlined in the below link look very different from the starting point of negotiations. After extensive member consultation and feedback, items have been removed from consideration and others added. These measures represent immediate and sustainable reductions in workload and will be complemented by additional changes during Term 4 and from the beginning of 2021.
The Department of Education has published a new school calendar for the 2020 school year, delivering on the government’s commitment that all state schools will close two days early – on 2 December in the north and west and 9 December for all other schools. The new calendar can be accessed here.
To make this commitment a reality, and to comply with the legal requirements, the Minister has chosen to make the last two days of the year student free days, and the department will grant special leave for all eligible school-based employees. The Director-General’s message from 17 September, sent to all employees, provides specific advice on the issue of eligibility for this leave.
To be clear, eligible school-based employees will not be required to be in attendance at school on those two days or be required to perform other duties in lieu of that time – you will have already done more than normally required throughout 2020...back to top
The QTU has been requesting advice from the department about the student free day on 25 January 2021 since October last year.
Despite this, earlier in 2020 some regions determined to provide advice to schools about this student free day that did not align to the certified agreement. The Minister has the power under the Education (General Provisions) Act to determine additional student free days, but the QTU argued that the certified agreement only provides for 25 mandatory professional development hours and that the department’s policy is clear that student free days are to be used for professional development.
Consequently, the QTU commenced a dispute in relation to this advice. Executive considered the outcome of the dispute at its meeting on Monday night.
The response from the department and Minister concerning the 25 January 2021 student free day is:
- The day is deemed a “flexible” student free day – this means the hours can be worked at another time and do not need to be worked on that day
- The five hours from this day are not to be used for professional development. The requirement of the certified agreement to perform 25 mandatory professional development hours on student free days does not extend to the five hours allocated to 25 January 2021
- Schools, following consultation, can determine how these five hours may be used. This means schools can determine to use these hours to recognise other work performed by members outside of rostered duty time.
The department has indicated that it will provide this advice in an exchange of letters with the QTU, however as schools are currently consulting on the timing of other flexible student free day hours in 2021, the Union believes it is important that members are informed of this outcome prior to the end of the school term.
How the five hours from 25 January 2021 will be recognised at the school and whether the hours from the student free day in Term 3 should be used flexibly should form part of this consultation...back to top
The QTU is conducting a ballot of its members to ban all aspects of NAPLAN for 2020 and into the future, after the Education Council meeting on Friday 4 September failed to make any changes to the testing regime. Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan is quoted in the media as saying that current problems will be resolved when NAPLAN Online works.
Queensland teachers and principals (and their colleagues nationally) have exhausted all avenues for negotiated changes to NAPLAN and its use. It is time for teachers and principals to vote to abolish NAPLAN and consign it to history.
The QTU has attempted to complete this ballot in the last two weeks of Term 3, but the feedback suggests that with all the other demands on teacher and principal time, we may have been too ambitious. The deadline for members to vote has therefore been extended to midnight on Tuesday, 6 October – the first school day of Term 4...back to top
Have a good holiday
We all know that school holidays are holidays for students and working from home for most teachers and principals. Whatever you choose to do with your holidays, remember to take some time for yourself to rest, recuperate and refresh for the final term of the 2020 school year. Best wishes for a safe and relaxing holiday...back to top
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064