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conne Vol. 3 No. 1

In this edition •

Recognise, Reclassify and Reward Campaign

School Officer Forums

Recognising NT Support Staff

Labour/May Day

Member Profile

April 2011

ions The newsletter for School Officers

RECOGNISE, RECLASSIFY AND REWARD CAMPAIGN ENSURING SCHOOL OFFICERS ARE REWARDED The Recognise, Reclassify and Reward Campaign is ensuring that the professionalism and hard work done by school officers is recognised and rewarded. In the first part of the campaign, school officers will participate in a ‘Sign Up Stand Up’ day in May which will celebrate the diversity of our school officers. Actions on the day will provide all members with the opportunity to stand side-by-side with school officers in acknowledging their enormous contribution to schools. School officers have already been very active in this campaign. Members have completed a School Officer Survey and also have been participating in forums across Queensland. Northern Territory school support staff in Catholic schools will have the chance in Term Two. The increasing complexity and intensity of school officers’ work needs to be recognised by accurate, current position descriptions. Over time, many school officers have been asked to acquire more skills, overloaded with extra duties and allocated more complex responsibilities. But while the work that school officers’ do may change, very often position descriptions stay the same. This means that school officer positions may not always be properly assessed and classified. School officers across the various sectors and in both Queensland and the Northern Territory have already identified additional responsibilities that require more skills and the use of these skills at a higher level; this has highlighted the out datedness of their position descriptions. Therefore, school officers may not be paid fairly for the work they do. Position descriptions need to be updated to appropriately recognise the diverse and skilled work of school officers, provide greater clarity around the duties and responsibilities for school officers and most importantly recognise and reward the diverse range of skills and knowledge that school officers bring to their positions. School officer from Trinity Anglican School in Cairns, Steve Blacklow, urges all school officers to take the time to consider all the tasks they are called on to perform in their roles, from the simplest to the more demanding. “ They should make a list of these tasks and also the complexity

of tasks, including specifics such as what qualifications they have that are necessary to their role and especially those times when they are asked to cover for someone at a higher level.” “Our union has some great information on how to do this effectively, including the criteria of different levels and steps. I found this invaluable,” Steve said. “With the help of our union you can lodge an accurate position description with your employer, thus giving yourself the best chance of being classified correctly.” School officers throughout all education sectors will have similar stories to tell about the increasing complexity and intensity of their work; any failure of employers to properly recognise this through updated position descriptions will be to the detriment of school officer classifications and wage levels. The onus is on the employers to Recognise the emerging role of school officers, Reclassify where appropriate and Reward school officers for the outstanding contribution they make to our schools. School officers have the right to a current and appropriate position description that recognises schools and school office work has changed. Now more than ever school officers must take this opportunity to review and revise their position descriptions to ensure their employer recognises the contribution they make as a school officer. Ensuring school officers have accurate and appropriate position descriptions and that they receive the level of wages which recognises the level of skill, responsibility and qualification that they bring to the position is an integral part of the campaign.

Xions conneXions conneXions conneXions conneXions conneXions conneXions conne SCHOOL OFFICER CAMPAIGN FORUMS MEMBERS GAIN VALUABLE INSIGHTS Throughout Term One, school officers across Queensland have been actively attending School Officer Forums run by IEUA-QNT organisers. The purpose of the forums was to inform school officers about the Recognise, Reclassify and Reward Campaign and the up coming training that will focus on developing accurate and up-to-date position descriptions. The forums also highlighted the importance of recognising school officers as professionals, whose skills and experience form a very important part of the backbone of each school. Members attending the forums identified where they do not currently have a position description or where their position description had not been updated for some time. Organisers Tanya Moritz (below with IEUA-QNT members) and Susan O’Leary held one such forum on March 3 2011 Susan said that the forums also emphasised how important it is for school officers to actively seek reclassification if necessary, so their wages reflect the important work they do. “The work that school officers do in our schools is diverse and complex

Majella Walker, Bev Ragonosi and Rina Nicolo, from Mt. Alvernia College and it is now the time to fully recognise this,” Susan said. “School officers were also made aware of the fact that it is the position not the person that is being classified, therefore it is very important to document everything you do on a daily basis in your role.” “If you believe your position description is not up to date and you need further clarification on how best to write a new one, it is important that members attend our training sessions in Term Two,” Susan said. Tanya agrees and said that organisers are here to help along the way. “Our union is committed to educating members about their working rights and conditions,” Tanya said. “If you believe your position description needs updating your union is here to help and support you through this process.” “It is also a great time for school officers to build collective strength in their workplace and I encourage school officer members to become part of their Chapter Executive also,” Tanya said. Northern Territory school support staff in the Catholic sector will have an opportunity to attend information and training forums in Term Two. For further information please visit the IEUA-QNT website

MAKING SURE YOU ARE RECOGNISED AND REWARDED - STEVE’S STORY Steve Blacklow is an IEUA-QNT member and school school officer from Trinity Anglican School in Cairns. He shares his story about the process he is undertaking in regards to updating his position description. I have only had a written position description for the last year or so, even though seven years ago when I started in this position as the publications/web officer, I was told one would be worked out with me with-in the first three months of employment. Having said that, the tasks that I was asked to undertake when I started have since grown more and varied. I sought to list all the aspects of my work in specific detail in the recent position description, so at least it is now documented. From this precise position description I hope to be successfully reclassified at the level I believe I should be on.

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If a school officer feels that their role has changed since their last position description was completed, I would urge them to consider how it has changed, and take the time to note all the changes, prior to requesting the employer review and update the position description so that it accurately reflects the present role of the officer. I found the training around School Officer Reclassification that our union provided to us, during the term of our current agreement (Anglican), was invaluable. It helped me formulate my position description so that is was accurate and comprehensive, and also gave me the information I needed to determine which Level/Step that I believe I ought to be on.

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Recognising Northern Territory Support Staff Members in Northern Territory Catholic schools through their collective strength, were successful in incorporating a new classification structure for school support staff, in their collective agreement which will provide more clarity around specific duties and tasks undertaken by support staff. The new agreement, which is now in the consultation phase, provides new formal classification structures for Inclusion Support Assistants (ISAs), Information Technology (IT) and Teacher’s Assistants (TAs). Indigenous Education Workers (IEWs) have also a new step added to their classifications. The agreement also will allow school support staff greater flexibility in regards to accessing part time working hours. There are also tighter provisions around hours of duty for school support staff. Wages were enhanced also for casual school support staff who will now get a 28 percent loading. Balloting for the new agreement will commence on Thursday, 28 April and close on Friday, 29 April 2011. Support staff working in Northern Territory Catholic schools, will also take part in the Recognise, Reclassify and Reward Campaign, which aims to appropriately acknowledge the contribution school support staff make to schools. In May, as the first part of the campaign, school support staff will be invited to fill out a survey. This survey will give members a chance to tell their stories in regard to the work they do and the position descriptions they work under and whether these are accurate or not. More information about the survey will follow in the new term.

Next term, your union organiser Camille Furtado, will also hold training sessions to assist members on developing accurate and up-to-date position descriptions. Camille encourages all school support staff members in the Catholic sector to attend. “The finalising of the new agreement will provide significant enhancements to the classification structure for support staff across the Catholic sector. Now is the time to act on the gains we have made in the most recent negotiations.” Information on these training sessions will be made available soon. Member Judy Summers from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Saddaden Campus in Alice Springs loves her job as a school officer because her role is so diverse. Judy said school support staff play an important part in any school and therefore must be recognised accordingly. “I am often multi-tasking, doing two or three functions at any one time,” Judy said. “The bottom line is our position descriptions need to be clarified more.” Inothernews,Lutheran sector employer and employee representatives are in the early stages of negotiating a tri-jurisdictional agreement between the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. All three jurisdictions currently have different classification structures for school support staff and negotiations are centred on how best to amalgamate these structures. For up- to- date campaign and bargaining information please visit the IEUA-QNT website at

IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE THIS LABOUR AND MAY DAY Labour Day and May Day is a time to unite and celebrate the achievements workers and unions have accomplished to ensure better working conditions in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Celebrating on Labour Day is a good way to recognise the professional work and contribution school officers have made and will continue to make in all schools. In Queensland, Labour Day falls on Monday May 2 and the IEUA-QNT will be involved in many of the marches and celebrations across the State.

The theme this year is “Strong Unions Need Strong Women.” IEUA-QNT members have a strong history of marching together each May Day and organiser Camille Furtado encourages members in the Northern Territory to come along and celebrate. “May Day is a very important tradition in the Northern Territory which recognises the achievements of workers who continually strive for improvements in their wages and working conditions. IEUA-QNT school support staff members are now a part of that tradition.”

Queensland school officer members can find further details on the IEUA-QNT website at or for further information please contact your organiser.

Darwin based members are asked to meet at the IEUA-QNT building, 38 Woods Street at 3pm. The march starts at 3:30pm, with people marching up to the Esplanade for an evening of live entertainment and family fun.

School support staff members in the Northern Territory will also celebrate May Day on Monday, May 2 2011. Members are encouraged to come and join in the march and celebrations.

To find out more information about the May Day celebrations in Darwin and Alice Springs please go to the IEUA-QNT website

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M ember Snapshot

eXions conneXions conneXions conneXions conneXions conneXions conneXions conne With the change of ownership, philosophy and ever increasing demands of excessive documentation and legal liability I needed a change. This is currently my 4th year as a School Officer Teacher Aide in Pre-Prep at Peregian Beach College (PBC). Our small independent school has evolved over the last nine years, from a one teacher/classroom to a Pre-Prep to Year 12 College. PBC has developed from a history of dedicated community, families, teachers and school officers planning for the best outcomes for all students.

Lea Thomline Peregian Beach College

“My role as a teacher aide in the Pre-Prep room is enriching and brings me joy each day at their wonderment of learning. Children feel life. They smell it, they roll in it, they see it all around them. This gift they give to me every day through the eyes of a child.” My role as a teacher aide in the Pre-Prep room is enriching and brings me joy each day at their wonderment of learning.

Lea is a school officer at Peregian Beach College(PBC). After working for many years in early childhood, Lea had a career change a few years ago. Having been a long time member of our union, Lea was recognised for her professionalism and passion towards her work as a Pre-Prep aide with the awarding of the Ruth George School Officer Award last year Just 34 years ago my husband, young son and myself set off on the great Australian adventure in our campervan from the southern States. We discovered the Sunshine Coast and purchased a hectare of land on the outskirts of Eumundi. We built our home brick by brick and raised three wonderful children.

Children feel life. They smell it, they roll in it, they see it all around them. This gift they give to me every day through the eyes of a child. PBC is in the final process of our Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) and I applaud the dedication, time and efforts of the bargaining representatives. Allie Broadley was co-ordinating the process with our union as well as teacher representative Shane Dupuy and Wayne Kennedy and myself as School Officer representative. Our union representative Nicole Carlill has been exemplary in all her efforts to obtain the best outcomes for all PBC staff. Through our union she has given us the confidence and a voice to negotiate for improved wages and conditions.

As our town of Eumundi grew so did the needs of the community. I studied the Diploma of Childcare and Education and worked as a Group Leader for 13 years at our local Centre.

As a School Officer in an independent school, I feel it is essential to be a member of the IEUA-QNT. Our union enables me to keep informed regarding a wide variety of issues and benefits and allows me to “call a friend” if in need of advice or information.

I knew instinctively that I was exactly where I wanted to be, working alongside a most respected and wonderful team of early childhood teachers. As union members we were advocates for equity of wages and professional status.

My husband and I have recently purchased a campervan and are eager to continue our long awaited Australian adventure – at least on school holidays!


ISSN: 1449-8294

Help build strength in order to enhance the working rights and conditions of all School Officers and EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS in schools. To join IEUA-QNT, download a membership form from or call our membership department on FREECALL1800 177 937. Page 4

conneXions was prepared by Belinda Hogan-Collis Editor: Mr Terry Burke, Branch Secretary IEUA-QNT PO BOX 418, FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006 PHONE: 1800 177 937 FAX: (07) 3839 7021 Email: ABN: 74 662 601 045