2019 campaign priorities

The campaign priorities outlined here are by no means an exhaustive list nor are they necessarily in any particular order. Rather, these are the major issues, determined by members at Federation’s democratic decision-making forums, that we will continue to campaign for in the forthcoming elections, and beyond.

1. All public schools to be funded to 100 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard to ensure that all teachers are equipped with the necessary resources to meet student need, with additional loadings for students in the following categories: low socio-economic status, disability, Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, English as an Additional Language or Dialect, remote schools and small schools

Federation is working with teacher unions across Australia to reverse the Morrison Government’s decision to rip $14 billion of funding from public schools.

The Federal Government has legislated that it is only required to fund public schools to 20 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard, (the minimum amount of additional funding required to meet the needs of a school’s students). In contrast, it will provide private schools with 80 per cent of the funding towards the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). In addition, last September, the Morrison Government announced a $4.6 billion special deal for private schools, with no extra funding for public schools.

The union is working to ensure the Commonwealth, states and territories strike new agreements to ensure all public schools are funded to 100 per cent of the SRS by 2023. A loading that matches the actual cost of delivering high-quality education to students with disability is also a goal of the campaign.

2. A growth in permanent positions for qualified teachers, delivered as a staffing entitlement

Federation is working to ensure all schools have the necessary permanent teacher staffing entitlement to meet the learning needs of every student. The union is working to achieve a growth in permanent positions, delivered as a staffing entitlement, filled by qualified teachers, and necessary improvements to the staffing entitlements of schools for specific purposes (SSPs).

Federation continues to advocate for priority to be given to filling vacant positions on a permanent basis, as outlined in the legally binding school Staffing Agreement, as permanency brings benefits to teachers, including economic security. The Staffing Agreement ensures monitoring and compliance action for permanent teacher employment and provides for permanent appointment for teachers in positions created by schools with additional needs-based funding.

Federation is also working to ensure class sizes are protected, also outlined in the Staffing Agreement.

3. Investment in statewide system support for teaching and learning to replace the failed ‘schools autonomy’ policies

Federation is working to prioritise teaching and learning by providing more support for teachers and students. At a system level, this means more administrative and professional support for teachers and specialist support for students with additional needs. At a school level, more permanent teachers will ensure that teachers have more time to collaborate on planning, programming, assessing and reporting to meet students’ learning needs.

4. The provision of high-quality public school infrastructure in every community

Federation is working to secure teaching and learning spaces in new/renovated buildings that are designed to enable teachers to deliver the curriculum so that it complies with syllabus requirements, and adheres to award conditions, the Staffing Agreement, work health and safety legislation and Performance and Development Framework requirements.

5. Repeal of unjust federal and state industrial laws that restrict the rights of all workers

In NSW, the public sector wages policy has capped salary increases for teachers and other public sector workers at 2.5 per cent unless working conditions are traded off as employee-related savings to fund higher increases.

Federation continues its work to secure the lifting of the cap and reversal of the 2011 amendments to the Industrial Relations Act that deny public sector workers the ability to pursue in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission salary increases based on changes to work value. At the federal level, Federation joined the ACTU Change the Rules campaign to reinstitute workers’ rights. Our TAFE members have very few protections under the federal so-called Fair Work Act.

6. Industrial rights for teachers to pursue significant increases in salaries, without trade-offs, to reflect the value of teachers’ work

As a priority, Federation is working to achieve a significant breakthrough in teacher salaries in the next awards and enterprise agreements, without trade-offs.

Award negotiations must have the genuine capacity to address the disparities in the schools award arising from the transition to standards-based pay, including school counsellor salary progression and other anomalies.

Teacher salaries and superannuation must meaningfully reflect the value of teachers’ work, the increasing complexity of the job and the diverse employment patterns among teachers. Enhancing the status of the profession and recruiting high academic achievers will be a core focus of the negotiations.

7. Guaranteed government funding of TAFE of at least 70 per cent, plus the abolition of the market model in vocational education and training

The introduction of the competitive funding model for the provision of vocational education has seriously weakened the TAFE system.

The union is working to ensure that TAFE is once again the recipient of at least 70 per cent of direct vocational education funding from government.

8. The restoration of public provision of education in NSW correctional facilities

Research overwhelmingly shows that educating prisoners is the most effective intervention to minimise reoffending rates. Federation is working to ensure the restoration of university-qualified public education teachers in NSW gaols, removed by the state Coalition in 2016.

9. The recognition of teacher professional judgement through the restoration of teacher-driven pedagogy and assessment

Federation is working to achieve the restoration of teacher-driven pedagogy and assessment to the education system and for any state testing programs to deliver high-quality educational assessment that does not negatively affect school curriculum delivery.

10. The protection of teaching qualifications and high teaching standards including initial teacher education entry requirements

The union has a long history of protecting and enhancing the status of the teaching profession; from initial teacher education to induction and ongoing career progression. Federation has concerns there is a looming crisis with initial teacher education that poses a serious threat to the long-term status of the teaching profession.

The union is working to ensure that rigorous academic entry standards are applied at the point of initial teacher education and the ongoing regulation of teacher education courses to ensure relevance, rigour and quality.