The Bargaining Reference Group met on the 28th of August. The Group discussed many issues, including the Wear Red days, class sizes, reporting and new educator stress. Group members agreed it was difficult to hold the Wear Red days as they coincided with it being Book Week, and due to this some schools changed the days to accommodate. However, the days were a great success. Of particular note was Launceston College who had great support from members across the three unions. There was also great media coverage of the Wear Red days. The group was keen to keep the ‘red’ theme going and keep the theme public. Our Organiser-Educational Leader, Nick Donnelly discussed current Promoted/Principal classifications and said that that the strong view of members to date is that the current model does not work and does not reflect the complexity of the work. They had a discussion about the AST role and the diversity within and between schools. This diversity leads to inequitable workloads. This also impacts on the role of APs. In smaller schools, the AST is the de facto Principal.

Katie reported that she has been collecting stories from new educators.  She gave the example of the need for ‘mental health days’ to cope with their job so instead are taking sick leave.  Also for those accessing BeTTR time, they were getting it at the end of Term 2 which is too late.  There are also cases of new educators doing relief work in their BeTTr time. The Group decided on the need to keep collecting stories related to our claim about what working life is like for our new educators. If you are a new educator, we would love to hear from you about your story.

On class sizes, Lisa talked about the challenges in her college regarding pastoral care groups as well as inequity of class sizes for the same subjects across colleges.  John talked about the pressing need to reduce class sizes in kinder and early years: children aren’t getting the attention they need, large class sizes mean reporting demands increase and impact of ILPs on workload. The Group discussed the issue of transient families impacting on class sizes.

David and Lucie spoke to the work being undertaken in the Workload Reference Group with the DoE, particularly on the issue of reporting.  A key issue is a lack of consistency and an inability to enforce workload controls currently in place (ie 300 word limit for primary).  The Group is currently collating sample ‘best practice’ reports.

The Bargaining Reference Group is keen to hear from you. If you have contributions to make, please email support@aeutas.org.au . To view the DoE Teachers, PSUWA Support Staff and TAFE Teachers Logs of Claims, follow the EB campaign on our website here and our Facebook here.