Federation recognises that every attempt must be made to minimise, reduce and eliminate the use of restrictive practices in schools and is committed to working towards this goal.
However, Federation is concerned with the Department’s haste in implementing a new major policy and framework from day 1, term 1, 2023. The Department’s timeline makes it impossible for any meaningful or relevant discussions to occur regarding the extensive nature of the substantial number of documents associated with this policy, let alone the significant changes to school operations and infrastructure that are proposed.
Alarmingly, the primary case for the current timeline being pursued by the Minister and the Department is to implement new legislation outlining the use of restrictive practices, including new reporting requirements for the Departmentâ€. This reasoning is based on legislation that has not yet been introduced to, or passed by, the NSW Parliament. It is therefore premature and inappropriate on the part of the Department to develop policy without the legislation that they themselves admit is the necessary basis of such policy.
Moreover, the Department’s documents have been developed without proper consultation with the union and therefore the profession. Of grave concern is the devolution of responsibility for the planning and implementation of the proposed new framework and procedures to the school level and the resultant increased administrative burden placed on teachers and principals.
The proposed documents, in the absence of systematic supports, will place an already strained and disaffected teaching service under greater pressure, dramatically increasing the workload of teachers and principals and put at risk the safety, health and wellbeing of students, teachers, principals and support staff.
ADHERE TO ESTABLISHED POLICY
Until these matters are settled, members are directed to continue to adhere to established policy and procedures until further notice.
Should any pressure be placed on a school to implement the new policy (including direct pressure on individual principal members) schools are authorised to call a Federation meeting in consultation with their Organiser and commit to an appropriate course of political, media, work health and safety and industrial action.