October 24 Council Report-back
October 24 Council covered items including National Gonski Week; Enterprise Agreement implementation; the Healthcare Access at School program; the Canberra Teacher Recruitment Assessment; and safety in educational settings.
National Gonski Week
In advance of National Gonski Week, Glenn Fowler reported that the Gonski-based Student Resource Allocation will be implemented in 2016. He also pointed to a number of Gonski success stories from states where Gonski funding is already flowing.
Here are ways you can take action in Gonski Week:
- Call Malcolm Turnbull's office on 02 6277 7700. Let his staff know why this issue matters to you personally. Ask if Mr Turnbull is sticking with the Abbott plan to cut Gonski funding.
- Join in our tweetathon on Tuesday night. Across the country Gonski supporters will be tweeting Mr Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) between 6.30pm and 9.30pm AEDT. Use the hashtag #Gonskiweek
- If you live or work in Tuggeranong, join us on Friday morning for a Gonski Breakfast with Senator Katy Gallagher at Lanyon High.
- If you live in Queanbeyan or surrounds, join us on Friday evening for a Gonski celebration at Karabar High.
- Sign and share our Gonski petition
EA Implementation: Workload
AEU representatives attended the AEU-ETD Enterprise Agreement Implementation Committee on Thursday October 22. Both parties have reiterated their commitment to reducing teacher workload in a measured and sustainable fashion. The AEU Workload Advisory Group will monitor developments across the system and identify best practice. We are inviting members to nominate for to sit on the group by close of business Wednesday October 28. More details here.
Healthcare Access At School
Glenn Fowler reported the AEU's view that the work of the Mercer review cannot proceed until a threshold legal question is addressed. That question arises from a legal opinion we have received that school assistants working in this program meet the legal definition of healthcare workers, which triggers a range of regulatory obligations. The AEU has communicated this view to the Directorate and is awaiting their considered response. The review which is being conduced by Mercer, a consulting firm, is designed to assess the appropriate training, qualifications and remuneration for those educators working in the HAAS program. The review follows improvements to HAAS won earlier in the year.
Council passed the following resolution on HAAS:
The AEU ACT moves to ensure that:
1. The health, safety and wellbeing of all students and staff in schools remains a priority for the AEU & ETD
2. Active workload committees are established in all schools to support principals and staff dealing with HAAS and other workload issues
3. All sub-branches report immediately to the AEU office all concerns in relation to HAAS.
4. The AEU seeks assurances that education staff currently participating in the HAAS program are not compromised legally or otherwise in the current phase prior to the signing of an MOU.
Glenn Fowler reported on the implementation of the CANTRA. While the AEU supports a numeracy and literacy assessment for new entrants to the profession, we have a range of concerns regarding implementation. Council passed the following resolution:
Branch Council requests the Secretary to convey to ETD its profound concerns about the current implementation of CANTRA, with permanency as the threshold rather than entry to the profession, and asks the Secretary to impress upon ETD senior officers the need for an immediate reconsideration of this approach.
Safety in Educational Settings
The annual conference component of the morning explored what action we want to take as a branch over the coming year to enhance safety in the ACT education system. Council passed the following resolutions.
Resolution on campaigning for more school psychologists
Branch Council reiterates support for school psychologists and call on AEU Branch Executive to endorse the use of political lobbying, industrial campaigning and collective bargaining to secure the equivalent of one full-time school psychologist per 500 students or school site, whichever is smaller.
Resolution on Code of Practice in relation to violence in schools
ACT Branch Council asks Branch Executive to negotiate a code of practice to cover violence including threatening, intimidating and harassing behaviour in ACT Government schools.
Resolution on class sizes
Council asks the Secretary to:
- Coordinate an update of the AEU’s policy on Class Sizes so that it provides clear guidance to schools to manage any class size issues collectively, with the Sub-Branch, School Workload Committee and our School Leaders at the heart of the process.
- Request data from ETD about current class sizes (for internal use) and communicate in writing and in person to ETD that the AEU is seeking to develop best practice around the management of issues relating to class sizes.
- Commence a member awareness campaign prior to any future consideration of a political campaign.
Resolution on information sharing
Council acknowledges numerous member concerns in regard to sharing of information about student history to ensure safety and wellbeing of both students and teachers in schools.
- Failure to implement ETD risk management policy and procedures in relation to transition of students between settings and related flow of information.
- Protocol differences between ETD internal public, private and interstate transfers
- Problems arising from policy and legal requirements
- Digital information storage and transition mechanisms are inappropriate
Council calls on the Secretary to consider actions to address the aforementioned problems.
Children in Detention
Glenn Fowler reported on the Commonwealth Government response to our correspondence on children in detention.
Council unanimously carried the following two resolutions:
This Branch of the AEU acknowledge the exemplary action of 1000 health workers, doctors, nurses and administrative workers at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne who demanded the release of traumatised children held in detention centres in Australia, Manus Island, and Nauru. This action was taken on International Mental Health Day, October 10.
That AEU ACT utterly condemns the current practice of housing refugees offshore at Manus
and Nauru. We call on the Australian Federal Government to close these facilities and for all refugees to be housed in the community on the Australian mainland.
Vice-President Appointment: Angela Burroughs
Glenn Fowler reported that Angela Burroughs was appointed by Executive to fill the position of Vice-President, vacated by Nina Leuning. The current Vice-President term expires at the end of 2015, nominations and elections will be conducted for the 2016/17 term.
A highly competitive field, including nine of our current members, have applied for a new Organiser position in the AEU ACT office. The outcome will be announced shortly.