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Principal Matters Vol. 2 No. 1

In this edition

The newsletter for Principals

June 2012

Spotlight on Gonski:

Asking for not a ‘real’ dollar less

The framework and architecture of the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling is to be applauded. However, recent analysis of the 2009 school data reveals some concerns with the foundations of the new funding model.

Spotlight on Gonski

Principal Health & Wellbeing Survey

Salary Review Process

Principals Reach 25+ Year Milestone

Member profile, Lea Martin

Our union continues to be supportive of a new framework for school funding that offers more money for all schools, and in particular more money for students in disadvantaged communities and full funding for students with a disability irrespective of the school sector in which they are enrolled. IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke, Federal Member for Moreton Graham Perrett and However, application of 2009 data for individual non- IEU NSW/ACT General Secretary Dick Shearman discussed school funding issues at a recent meeting government schools reveals that the Gonski model could and certainty of members’ jobs. deliver fewer dollars for a significant number of nongovernment schools. “This includes ensuring that the Australian government’s

This financial data is somewhat contestable, being part of the first iteration of the ACARA MySchool financial reporting arrangements.

“...not a dollar less moves to a commitment of not a real dollar less.” These analyses point to the need for adjustments to the Gonski model to ensure that funding is not diminished in real terms. IEUA Federal Secretary Chris Watt said these adjustments could include amendment of the School Resource Standard (SRS) and/or the range of percentages of the SRS provided to schools based on their SES measure or adjustments to the various loadings proposed under the model, including weightings for SES, locality, and Indigenous population. It remains critical therefore that members stay engaged with and committed to our ongoing campaign to ensure a good outcome for students in our schools and the quality

commitment to ‘not a dollar less’ moves to a commitment of ‘not a real dollar less’,” said Mr Watt.

Our union is committed to working towards the delivery of the new model proposed by the Gonski Review provided that it is fully resourced by governments and that the nongovernment school sector is adequately and appropriately funded. Members of the IEUA federal executive met with Ministers of Parliament, Senators and Education Minister Peter Garrett on 9 May to continue discussions regarding funding of schools. Our union will continue to lobby government stakeholders to ensure that our members’ concerns are represented and that an adequate school funding model is implemented. Chapters are encouraged to engage with the school funding issue. ■■ Visit our website at to view more resources on school funding.

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Principals Health and Wellbeing Survey Principal health and wellbeing issues have been a key focus for researchers at Monash University, prompting a survey conducted late last year.

of healthy levels of exercise, diet and weight control. Most maintain a healthy alcohol intake, and do not use it to manage stress.

A recently released interim report stemming from the survey paves the way for serious dialogue about appropriately supporting school leaders.

“This year sees the introduction of a national curriculum tied to national testing and public accountability via the My School website. The work practices imposed by these changes will further increase work volume and public accountability and decrease principals’ decision latitude through externally imposed reporting deadlines,” according to Monash University.

The Report states that: “Extensive overseas research found adverse health outcomes including decreased life expectancy results from high role demand and concurrent low decision latitude. Under these conditions younger people appear to be at greater risk of coronary heart disease than their older colleagues.”

Key survey results ■■ Every education sector, state and region provided data: 2,005 principals completed the survey and, of these, 56 per cent were female. ■■ About 80 per cent work upwards of 46 hours per week during term with just over 25 per cent working upwards of 61 hours per week. ■■

Only 82 per cent of respondents rate their own happiness as very important or higher. They are generally positive about their job with only 2.6 per cent becoming frequently depressed about it.

■■ Overall levels of mental health range from very good to very poor. Principals overall score just less than the general population. ■■

There are large differences in reported maintenance of a healthy lifestyle: 49 per cent are taking prescription medication for a diagnosed condition and 43.4 per cent report a diagnosed medical condition.

■■ There are large differences in their self-reported maintenance

Nearly a third of d respondents rate ork” w “sheer quantity of of ce as a “major” sour st stress in the pa three months Principals experience nearly five times the incidence of threats of violence and six times the incidence of actual physical violence at work than other population groups. Data from these surveys will provide a solid base of evidence to argue for appropriate levels of support for school leaders in all stages of their careers. Principals’ Australia estimates that as many as 70 per cent of Australia’s 10,000 school principals will reach retirement age within the next five years. Monash University believes “the time is ripe for systematic research of the current state of school leader occupational health, safety and wellbeing.” Monash University will conduct the survey again in 2012. ■■ Visit for further information about the survey. Resources can also be found on our website at

Principals Salary Review Underway The review of principals’ salary arrangements has commenced. The conduct of this review is a requirement of the Enterprise Agreement, and was included as a result of arguments on behalf of principals by the Independent Education Union. The review is being conducted by the consulting firm Mercer. Visits to each diocese, and consultations with principals, by Mercer will be finalised in early June. These visits provided an opportunity for principals to identify and discuss issues related to their salary provisions. The

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group comprised of various stakeholders, including a representative of our union, will meet on 12 June to discuss the outcomes from these consultant visits. Principal remuneration is a key concern. Both the 2015 move of year 7 to high school and the additional requirements emanating from the proposed new Enterprise Agreement covering employees in Catholic schools will impact on the work and salary arrangements of principals. IEUA-QNT Senior Industrial Officer John Spriggs said protecting and enhancing the wages paid to principals is a priority for our union. “It is our position that principals should not have their remuneration reduced as a result of the government’s requirement to move year seven,” he said. “In addition, the unique facets of the work of a principal in a Catholic school need to be adequately recognised.”

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Principals Celebrate 25+ Years of Membership

Milestone also an opportunity to reflect

Our union has honoured a very special group acknowledgement of our 25+ year members.

of people with the recent

Those who have been a member of our union for 25 years or more received a commemorative badge and certificate to mark the milestone. Colleagues were strongly encouraged to formally recognise recipients. Many chapters held morning tea celebrations to recognise the achievement of their colleagues. Joining our union was a no-brainer for Our Lady of Lourdes School, Sunnybank principal Mark Badke (left). “Initially when I began teaching in 1980 it was important for me to be a union member as I came from a working class ‘union focussed’ family,” he said. “One of the first things my parents told my older siblings as they began their working career was ‘join the union - they will help protect your rights.’ “As I grow older I realise that this is even more important today.” Mark said teaching conditions have dramatically improved over the years as a result of collective action by union members but adds that educators face many current challenges. “Our union is only as strong as its members and the challenges to the members of today are many,” he said. “Today the pressures on our educators continue to grow.” Mark cites implementing national curriculum, utilising changing technology and maintaining quality professional development as key issues currently affecting educators. Mark was recognised for his 25+ year membership alongside colleagues Joanne Bowman, Ted Brooks and Michelle Gillies (pictured below, right) who also received the honour. Principal at Assumption College, Warwick Peter Moloney (pictured below, left with IEUA-QNT Organiser Greg McGhie) was also acknowledged for his long-standing membership. Peter said that it has been comforting to have the support of our union during his career, particularly given the range of issues affecting the education sector. “I feel that we have become much more vulnerable as the demands of society have changed over the years,” he said. Our union congratulates Mark, Peter and all of our union’s 25+ year members on reaching this fantastic milestone. IEUA-QNT Secretary Terry Burke said the loyalty and commitment of long-standing members is vital to the strength of our union. “The on-going support of our 25+ year members will ensure our union continues to be a strong presence in education,” he said. ■■

Visit our website at to see more photographs from the 25+ year member celebrations.

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cipal Matters Principal Matters Principal Matters Principal Matters Principal Matters Another challenge is to ensure school communities understand that the well being of students is just as important as academic results. How will the year 7 to high school transition affect your school? I am in an interesting position, as the local high school in Gordonvale is a trial school for implementing Year 7 into high school in 2014. An initial survey has indicated that the majority of students will stay at St Michael’s. As our school is growing from a single to two stream school, we will lose one draft of Year 7 so the effect on our numbers will not be as dramatic as for some other schools in our area. However, all education authorities will need to ensure that resources and funding will not be negatively impacted by Year 7 moving to high school. Why is it important for you to be part of our union? Firstly, being a member of our union is about protecting the rights and conditions of all and as a collective we have a much stronger voice. That’s true for principals too. Also the legal protection of our union is a necessary part of being involved in the education sector today.

Lea Martin

Principal St Michael’s School, Gordonvale St Michael’s School is located in the rural town of Gordonvale, on the fringe of the city of Cairns. The school teaches year levels P-7 and has an approximate student population of 274. Lea Martin has been Principal of the school for the past four years. What do you enjoy most about education? Without teachers, no other careers would exist. Teachers help children to reach their potential and help them to grow and mature. Children keep you young and they provide you with so many challenges and rewards.

Has your membership helped you and your colleagues? In the last round of principals’ enterprise bargaining, I was involved in the SBU. This gave me the opportunity to experience first-hand the process of negotiation between our union and the employers. Through my membership with our union, I have been able to work with my colleagues to improve our wages and conditions.

Join Our Union Today! To find out more about IEUA-QNT visit the principals’ page on our website: Alternatively, call our membership department on freecall 1800 177 938.

What are some of the challenges facing the education sector currently? The implementation of the Australian Curriculum would have to be one of the biggest challenges as teachers struggle with the introduction, planning, teaching and assessment of three learning areas in 2012. I also believe that the politicising of education is a challenge as governments push to compare schools and teachers through such tools as the My Schools website. NAPLAN results and student achievement are complex issues which cannot be judged purely on academic results. Education must make as a priority the teaching of the whole child including not only academics but also socialemotional, spiritual and physical elements. Are there current challenges facing principals in particular? One of the biggest challenges is to support staff through the massive changes in education and to provide quality professional development to enhance their skills in teaching and learning. Page 4

ISSN 1839-633X Principal Matters was prepared by Elise Cuthbertson Editor: Mr Terry Burke, Secretary IEUA-QNT PO BOX 418, FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006 PH: (07) 3839 7020 FX: (07) 3839 7021 Email: Website: ABN: 45 620 218 172


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