Supporting the independent education community

Media


News release

1/4/2020
Ease the burden on early childhood centres

1 April 2020

Ease the burden on early childhood education

The IEU calls on the federal and state governments to come up with a rescue package that is equitable to all employers in the early childhood education sector at its National Cabinet meeting on Friday 3 April.

We urge the government to: provide an equitable viability package that will allow all centres keep paying wages to teachers and educators, and to keep services open for parents who need to meet work commitments. One way to achieve this is to permit all early childhood education providers that lose 30 per cent or more of their turnover to access the new JobKeeper program.

As it stands, many early childhood education providers will not be eligible for the JobKeeper program. While early learning centres listed as separate companies are likely to be eligible, some big providers will not be.

Goodstart, which has an annual turnover of just over $1 billion, is required to demonstrate a loss of 50 per cent of its turnover before it would be eligible for the JobKeeper program. Goodstart has about 15,000 employees and educates and cares for 70,000 children throughout Australia. At the same time, G8 Education, which has 58,000 children enrolled and an annual turnover of $930 million, will be eligible on a 30 per cent drop in revenue.

Many regional and remote preschools that receive most of their funding from the state government will also be ineligible. The sector as a whole employs 200,000 people.

“Advice from the Chief Medical Officer around physical distancing must be followed,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Branch secretary Mark Northam. “Adopting new procedures around pick up and drop off means teacher-child ratios need to be enhanced to ensure the safety of staff, students and parents.

“Let’s make it a level playing field,” Northam said. “All providers deserve a go so everyone employed in the sector can keep their jobs. Eliminate bureaucratic barriers that are preventing centres remaining open for children of essential workers in particular.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said childcare is crucial to keeping the economy running. And while Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has already announced one assistance package, the $14 million Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant Opportunity for early learning services whose viability is affected by coronavirus just won’t go far enough.

 

News release

1/4/2020
100% support for industrial action from ACT Islamic School teachers

1 April 2020

 

100% support for industrial action from ACT Islamic School teachers

 

Members of the Independent Education Union NSW/ACT Branch in the Islamic School of Canberra have today won the right to take industrial action, as long running enterprise agreement negotiations continue to stall.

 

The IEU has been calling for school management to pay salaries and conditions in line with those received by teachers in other schools in the ACT and other Islamic schools in NSW.

 

The union has been in negotiations with the School Board for a new enterprise agreement since 2016, after the previous agreement expired in 2013. The school was sold in 2018 by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils to Islamic Practice and Dawah Circle Inc.

 

Initial discussions with the new school management were cordial, but negotiations stalled at the end of 2019 when the employer applied to terminate the enterprise agreement. The IEU notified a dispute to the Fair Work Commission about the school’s failure to bargain in good faith and applied for a Protected Action Ballot Order on behalf of its members.

 

“Staff employed at the school are an extremely dedicated group of employees who have stuck it out for their students during a very difficult period,” said IEU organiser Lyn Caton.

 

The teachers have today confirmed their concern and dissatisfaction by returning unanimous support for taking industrial action.

 

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam says he has “nothing but praise for the members at the Islamic School of Canberra, who have collectively indicated their desire to achieve parity with like schools.”

 

“Members at this school have the full support of the union in their ongoing struggle to achieve fair wages and conditions.”

 

Valuing teachers and support staff is a responsibility of all school employers.

 

All members of the IEU applaud the brave steps taken by teachers at the Islamic School of Canberra.

News release

18/3/2020
Keep teachers at centre of COVID-19 talks

18 March 2019

Keep teachers and support staff at centre of COVID-19 talks

The IEUA NSW/ACT branch is calling for immediate crisis talks with employers representing non government schools and early learning centres about the vexed issue of social distancing and other concerns in the face of COVID-19.

“Teachers and support staff need to be at the very centre of this conversation,” said Secretary Mark Northam. “Any decisions made must be firmly grounded in education and health priorities, not economic concerns.”

The union has been inundated with queries from anxious members about social distancing, leave entitlements, school assemblies, parent teacher nights, incursions and excursions, sporting events, performances, and hygiene in schools.

The IEU represents teachers and support staff in Catholic systemic, independent and other non government schools, as well as early learning centres and post-secondary colleges throughout NSW and the ACT.

Safety first

Work health and safety is a key issue in all schools and early learning centres, especially as teachers and support staff shoulder considerable responsibility for the health of not just students but also the wider community.

IEU members are responsible for a wide demographic: children as young as six weeks in early childhood centres through to adults in their 20s in post-secondary colleges.

The IEU has been representing members intensively since this crisis began unfolding and has successfully secured 10 days’ additional leave with some employers, and we are fighting to secure ongoing employment for casuals.   

We call on Catholic systemic school employers and other non government school employers to ensure safety in the workplace for teachers, support staff and students. This includes ensuring school staff have adequate resources needed to maintain hygiene.

At all stages, the IEU must be part of the solution.

The IEU believes alternative approaches to keeping pathways to education open are possible as long as the profession is at the heart of any decisions about changes to how schools are managed. Some independent schools are already implementing new approaches. Various options are currently being explored, and teacher input is critical in this process.

News release

28/2/2020
Bathurst Catholic employers won't talk

Teachers and support staff in Catholic schools in the Bathurst Diocese in central west NSW and their union representatives were left frustrated on Wednesday 26 February when the newly appointed Executive Director of Schools for the diocese, Christina Trimble, cancelled negotiations for a new Work Practices Agreement at short notice. The current agreement expired in December 2019.

In an unprecedented move that has stymied progress, the director asked teachers and their representatives to return to the drawing board to redraft and resubmit certain claims.

About 550 teachers and 115 support staff in 33 Catholic systemic schools in the region, including James Sheahan High School at Orange and St Matthew’s Catholic School at Mudgee, were disappointed to find the new director had squandered this initial opportunity to bargain in good faith.

“The time to talk is now,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Secretary Mark Northam. “It is incumbent upon the director to meet in good faith and progress negotiations.”

Teachers, support staff and the IEU are keen to progress negotiations, with issues such as workloads, practical class sizes, additional release time and a better deal for part time workers high on the agenda.

“We are keen to get the workloads negotiations moving so the 2.5 per cent payrise, overdue since January this year, is not further delayed,” Northam added.

The schools affected by this issue are: All Hallows Primary School, Gulgong; The Assumption School, Bathurst; Cathedral Primary School, Bathurst; Holy Family School, Kelso; La Salle Academy, Lithgow; Mackillop College, Bathurst; James Sheahan High School, Orange; Sacred Heart, Coolah; St Brigid’s Primary, Coonamble; St Columba’s, Yeoval; St Edward’s Primary, Canowindra; St John’s Primary, Baradine; St John’s College (Senior), Dubbo East; St John’s Primary, Dubbo; St Joseph’s Primary, Blayney; St Joseph’s School, Eugowra; St Joseph’s, Gilgandra; St Joseph’s, Manildra; St Joseph’s, Molong; St Joseph’s Primary, Oberon; Catherine McAuley Primary, Orange; St Joseph’s Primary, Portland; St Laurence’s Primary, Dubbo; St Lawrence’s Primary, Coonabarabran; St Mary’s Primary, Dubbo; St Mary’s Primary, Orange; St Mary’s, Wellington; St Matthew’s Catholic School, Mudgee; St Michael’s Primary, Dunedoo; St Patrick’s Primary, Lithgow; St Philomena’s, Bathurst; St Pius X Primary, Dubbo West; St Raphael’s Central School, Cowra.

Further comment:

Mark Northam, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary m: 0427 667 061

Carol Matthews, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Assistant Secretary  m: 0418 272 902

Media contacts: Monica Crouch (02) 8202 8900 monica@ieu.asn.au , Bronwyn Ridgway (a/h) 0433 373 109 bronwyn@ieu.asn.au

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 30,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post secondary colleges.

Authorised by Mark Northam, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary

News release

12/2/2020
Unions support victims of natural disasters

 

Union members are playing a vital role in the recovery process of bushfire affected communities.

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said unions were offering their members support to cope with the trauma they had experienced, as well as providing practical support rebuilding communities.

“This work will be needed not just for a few weeks but for a few years. It’s up to the union movement to make sure affected workers and their communities remain at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” Morey said.

Morey launched the innovative online professional development carried out by the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch to provide online trauma advice to 480 teachers and support staff, 350 of whom actively participated. Many were from the south coast of NSW, which was severely impacted by fires.

“This is a model for the type of support unions can offer their members. This initiative is bringing people together in an innovative way through a huge online union meeting. These innovative strategies enable workers to form connections and network with each other.” Morey said.

“It’s particularly important that teachers and school support staff, who are central to the recovery process moving forward, are offered this type of assistance.”

The course, Responding to Bushfire Trauma,  was conducted (free of charge for non government school staff who are members of the IEU) by Professor Lisa Gibbs and Jane Nursey of the University of Melbourne, authors of the study Delayed Disaster Impacts on Academic Performance of Primary School Children (2019).

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said it was important for school staff to attend to their own wellbeing so they could provide the best possible support and education for their students.

“Schools and early childhood services are important community hubs during crisis, and we are doing our best to make sure teachers and support staff are supported and can continue to provide a safe haven for children,” Northam said.

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch is also claiming up to five days paid leave per year for employees, unable to attend work due to a natural disaster, in its current negotiations for the NSW and ACT Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement 2020-2022.

Morey said all future awards and enterprise agreement negotiations should include considerations of our changing climate, with flexible arrangements to allow employees to deal with emergency situations such as the recent bushfires.

New guidelines on how to deal with hazards such as poor air quality are also required, he said. The ACTU is now examining all these issues.

“Unions will take a holistic approach to dealing with all aspects of climate change. Our members are at the front line when it comes to tackling natural disasters,” Morey said.

Further comment:

Mark Northam, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary m: 0427 667 061

Carol Matthews, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Assistant Secretary  m: 0418 272 902

Media contacts: Monica Crouch (02) 8202 8900 monica@ieu.asn.au , Bronwyn Ridgway (a/h) 0433 373 109 bronwyn@ieu.asn.au

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 30,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post secondary colleges.

Authorised by Mark Northam, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary

News release

4/2/2020
Helping teachers teach and students learn after bushfire trauma

Non government school teachers, early childhood teachers and support staff who have experienced bushfire trauma or are teaching students who have been through bushfire trauma, will get extra support through an innovative online course provided by their union, the Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA).

The IEUA has taken a proactive approach by designing the online professional development to respond to an urgent need for members to address their own wellbeing, but also assist their students or their own children to recover after a bushfire.

The course, Responding to Bushfire Trauma, will be conducted by Professor Lisa Gibbs and Jane Nursey of the University of Melbourne, authors of the study Delayed Disaster Impacts on Academic Performance of Primary School Children (2019).

Recent studies into those affected by Victoria’s Black Saturday catastrophic fires have shown that children suffering bushfire trauma demonstrate outcomes one to five years below their age group norm. Staff affected by bushfires are more anxious and have poorer overall wellbeing than staff in comparative settings.

“Through this online course, teachers and support staff will learn how to take care of themselves and each other as well as their students, to help communities get back to normal routines and learning as quickly as possible,” IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said.

“Delaying acknowledgement of trauma can only lead to more long term problems down the track, and this union has taken responsibility for its members’ wellbeing to try and provide whatever help it can,” Northam said.

“Schools and early childhood services often provide a lighthouse to communities under stress, and we want to ensure our members have the best chances supporting their community by looking after their own welfare too.”

IEUA is also claiming up to five days paid leave per year for employees unable to attend work due to a natural disaster in its current negotiations for the NSW and ACT Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement 2020-2022.

Further comment:

Mark Northam, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Acting Secretary m: 0427 667 061

Carol Matthews, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Assistant Secretary  m: 0418 272 902

Media contacts: Sue Osborne (02) 8202 8900 sue@ieu.asn.au , Bronwyn Ridgway (a/h) 0433 373 109 bronwyn@ieu.asn.au

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 30,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post secondary colleges.

Authorised by Mark Northam, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary

News release

22/10/2019
Curriculum Review: Give teachers the chance to teach, not prepare for tests

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch has welcomed the interim report from Professor Geoff Masters for the NSW Curriculum Review.

The Review presents a unique opportunity to press the pause button and reconsider matters after some 25 years. 

Professor Masters seems to have taken into consideration the views of teachers in his report. Many teachers, particularly those teaching in primary schools, find the existing curriculum overcrowded and inflexible.

“Teachers feel they lose the opportunity to seize the teaching moment, due to this overcrowded curriculum” NSW/ACT Branch Secretary John Quessy said.

For secondary school teachers, the curriculum is too focused on final exams, especially the HSC. The IEU welcomes the report’s consideration of a review the ATAR and would encourage ongoing consultation with the teaching profession.

“The voice of teachers must be heard in whatever future steps are taken,” Quessy said.

“The curriculum is the tool with which teachers do their work. You would not design a tool without a lot of input from those who were going to use that tool.”

 

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 30,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post secondary colleges.

Authorised by John Quessy, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary

 

9/09/2019
Religious schools don’t need Federal Government’s draft Religious Discrimination Bill 

The Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) expresses its serious concerns with the Federal Government’s draft Religious Discrimination Bill.

The IEUA is disappointed at the continuing practice of governments to polarize, disenfranchise and make a ‘whipping post’ of the rights of our members who work in faith-based education.

Yet again proposed legislation completely exempts religious schools from allowing their employees the same rights that all other Australians enjoy. Here it is not the freedom to love and marry who they wish but the freedom of religion and belief itself.

Religious schools don’t need this Bill. The IEUA believes that the vast majority of employers in faith-based schools have no difficulty in employing staff of other faiths and in fact are not threatened by their staff or students expressing diverse views.

The IEUA has and will continue to lobby governments and politicians to remove the unreasonable and harmful exemptions from discrimination law enjoyed by employers in our industry.

As the IEUA has made abundantly clear in our recent submissions and appearances before Senate inquiries, we believe that these exemptions are not required by employers. Current contractual law obligations and legislation more than adequately provide for employers to manage their workforces consistent with their beliefs.

The IEUA will call upon the Parliament of Australia to reject this current Bill as it not only fails to improve the current undermining of rights of our members but is an untidy and problematic drafting of legislation that will cause further confusion.

The IEUA will continue to carefully examine the Bill, seek expert advice and engage with stakeholders to ensure that IEUA members’ interests are paramount.

Further comment: 

Mark Northam, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Acting Secretary m: 0427 667 061

Carol Matthews, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Assistant Secretary  m: 0418 272 902

Media contacts: Sue Osborne (02) 8202 8900 sue@ieu.asn.au , Bronwyn Ridgway (a/h) 0433 373 109 bronwyn@ieu.asn.au

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 30,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post secondary colleges.

Authorised by John Quessy, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary