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Working towards a resolution

As you know, negotiations on your new Enterprise Agreement are continuing to progress. Since the commencement of bargaining in April, employers have listened to your feedback and have been working with the union to develop a new agreement that responds to your concerns while taking into account the changing needs of our schools, staff and students.

We have worked through the majority of issues, and while there are still a range of matters to be discussed, we look forward to reaching a resolution in the coming weeks.

Employers are working closely with the Union to develop a more equitable competency-based classification structure for General Staff and together we’re developing a standards-based framework for teachers which encourages and rewards our future leaders and promotes teaching as a profession.

We look forward to providing you with an agreement in the near future that you and your colleagues can support.

Why negotiations are preferable to industrial action

After more than 11 meetings to discuss our respective claims, Catholic employers and the union will be working together over the next two weeks to continue the process of drafting a revised enterprise agreement.

Through this process, we will together resolve outstanding matters, including areas of concern that have been raised by staff.

The discussions between Catholic employers and the union have been calm, constructive and focussed on achieving an agreement as soon as possible which we believe you will support.

In this context, further union generated industrial action is a waste of your money and our students’ learning time during a crucial time in the school year.

We encourage you to speak with the union and ask it why it persists with industrial action when negotiations are moving steadily towards resolution.

Where are negotiations up to?

Catholic employers and the union have been negotiating since April 2014 on a new enterprise agreement for all school staff.

Employers have matched pay increases applying in government schools and will pay further increases that would normally have applied while negotiations continue.

While this occurs, all of your current enterprise agreement arrangements remain.

Catholic employers have met with the union on at least ten occasions to discuss issues raised by the union, employers and school staff.

Further meetings are scheduled over the next month to continue to resolve all outstanding issues.

We’ve listened to, and understand, the objections and issues raised by both the union and staff during negotiations and have written to the union to indicate that we will provide a proposal on 1 October to comprehensively settle all of the outstanding matters.

We will only put a settlement proposal that we believe you will vote to support.

Despite all this, the union is persisting with further industrial action ballots – including in those schools where you have already voted no.

The only effect the union’s industrial action will have is to lose staff pay, lose students learning time and cause unnecessary anxiety for parents.

Remember you can take part in the conversations at www.foundationsforexcellence.com.au/yoursay

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PROGRESS ON AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS AND NEXT STEPS

You’ve heard us talk about a modern approach to agreement making and you might be asking what that means. Put simply, it’s happening right now.

For the first time, we’re taking an open and transparent approach to negotiations, meeting with staff to discuss a range of issues that have not been dealt with before.

We’re talking about how work practice agreements can exist in an environment that also encourages open conversation about what works and what could work better.

We’re asking you about the support that teachers need to move to the National Standards over the coming years. We’re hearing your feedback about the issues that you’re facing daily in managing workloads.

The proposals that employers put were a catalyst for the consultation that’s taking place now in schools, online and with your CEO/CSO. Catholic employers are continuing negotiations with the union to discuss how your input can inform the creation of an agreement that you will support and that will support you.

More negotiation meetings are scheduled in August and September and Catholic employers plan to put to the union a comprehensive proposal on 1 October 2014 to resolve all outstanding matters under negotiation.

The proposal of Catholic employers will be strongly influenced by both the principles underpinning the draft Enterprise Agreement and the feedback you have given in a variety of forums and ways.

Please remember that nothing changes until you vote to change it and that the best agreements come from everyone having a say.

If you’ve not had a chance to have yours, you can email us at comms@ccer.catholic.org.au or register at www.foundationsforexcellence.com.au/yoursay

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PAY INCREASES FOR ALL SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF, MAINTENANCE AND OUTDOOR STAFF

Over the school break, a series of meetings were held between employers and the union to progress negotiations over the proposed new agreement.

Despite industrial action in some schools, these meetings have been constructive and continue to move towards a resolution.

We know that leadership positions, the place of work practice agreements and rates for general staff are key matters requiring resolution and we continue to work through these and other matters with the union.

As these discussions continue, employers will, in good faith, be flowing through a 2.27% pay increase to school support and maintenance and outdoor staff, backdated to the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2014.

We are confident that the issues of concern outlined by staff and the union can be resolved in our current negotiations. We encourage staff to trust and engage in the process and again assure your enterprise agreement will only change if you vote to support that change.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE VOTE

Employees will have the opportunity to vote on the Proposed Agreement.

The Voting Period: Opens 7am Monday 27 July, 2015 and Closes 5pm Sunday 2 August, 2015.

For further information on the vote, click here.

WELCOME TO THE ONLINE COMMUNITY

The proposed Enterprise Agreement puts forward a range of ideas about how our systems can adapt to support our staff in meeting the challenges of 21st century education.

We’ve said that this is just the start of a conversation and you’ve asked us how and where. In response, we’ve created a brand new website - foundationsforexcellence.com.au/yoursay - as one place where this conversation can take place.

We want to work collaboratively with our school communities – teachers, support staff, school leaders and Diocesan staff – in approaching the issues raised through the enterprise bargaining process.

We’re looking for thoughts, ideas and questions from everyone and over the coming months, we’ll be inviting staff to get involved in discussions, questionnaires and polls on a range of topics, beginning with the National Standards for Teachers.

There are great examples of excellence in our schools and this forum has been created so that you can see your ideas alongside those from across the 11 Dioceses of NSW and the ACT.

Register now to join the conversation and remember to follow us @CatholicEB_2014 for updates

What makes Catholic Schools different?

Message: One of the stand out factors is the commitment and dedication of the teachers (not to say that there are not similar teachers in the state system), to the point where teachers often give up evenings and weekends to help in the develop faith and social justice ideals.
This new EA seems to fly in the face of all the extra efforts and commitment that the staff in Catholic school put into their work.
My question is how will this new EA enable teachers or even encourage teacher to assist with the continued development of the students that teacher have in their charge if:
- there have increased face to face time or reduced release time
- could be expected to give up non teaching time for PD and other school business
- there little pay incentive to remain in the profession, ie limiting year pay increases.
- reducing sick leave and requiring medical certificates after the two separate days of absence
- having no clear limit on class size

Furthermore it seems in the Catholic system of school we talk about respect, valuing others, compassion, high moral values and care for individual yet it seems that this EA document shows blatant disregard for these important Christian values when dealing with staff. My second question is what steps are being taken (or will be taken) by the CCER to help rectify the negative feeling amount many staff due to the publication of this document.

Response: You’ve raised a number of issues that have come up before in feedback of other staff and we’re very conscious of the concerns that you and others have. We’ve said that our proposal is the start of a conversation and in no way a take it or leave it proposition. The next few months is an opportunity to work through the issues you’ve raised and look at how we might draw on the views and experiences of all staff to create an agreement that is both innovative and acceptable to staff.  We haven’t specifically answered your questions because the sorts of issues you raise now need to be part of a discussion at the school level and beyond and we’ll use the feedback from these processes to hopefully develop a final agreement that staff will support.

Further to this, you also raised important questions about the need for consultation and you are correct – we will be shortly launching some tools which will help to create opportunities for a two-way engagement on a number of these key issues you raised.

Will my Masters qualification contribute towards my attainment of lead teacher status?

You asked: I have spent the last four years working towards my Masters of Educational Leadership. Will this qualification contribute in any way towards my attainment of lead teacher status?

Congratulations on attaining your Masters. Under the AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, Lead Teachers are described as follows:
Lead teachers are recognised and respected by colleagues, parents/carers and community members as exemplary teachers. They have demonstrated consistent and innovative teaching practice over time. Inside and outside the school they initiate and lead activities that focus on improving educational opportunities for all students. They establish inclusive learning environments, meeting the needs of students from different linguistic, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. They continue to seek ways to improve their own practice and to share their experience with colleagues.

They are skilled in mentoring teachers and pre-service teachers, using activities that develop knowledge, practice and professional engagement in others. They promote creative, innovative thinking among colleagues.

They apply skills and in-depth knowledge and understanding to deliver effective lessons and learning opportunities and share this information with colleagues and pre-service teachers. They describe the relationship between highly effective teaching and learning in ways that inspire colleagues to improve their own professional practice.

They lead processes to improve student performance by evaluating and revising programs, analysing student assessment data and taking account of feedback from parents/carers. This is combined with a synthesis of current research on effective teaching and learning.

They represent the school and the teaching profession in the community. They are professional, ethical and respected individuals within and outside the school.

The classification of Lead Teacher is a nationally recognised standard and certification at this level is regulated (in NSW) by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES)

Further information on this process in NSW is set out at this link: http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/current-teachers/apply-for-lead-teacher-accreditation/

As you have attained your Masters in Educational Leadership, it is likely that you are performing at a higher level within your school community and will therefore have more opportunities to demonstrate your competence at this level. You would still need to go through the separate certification process with BOSTES to be classified at this higher level.

Having a Masters in Educational Leadership may also assist you in attaining other Leadership positions across Catholic System of Schools, for example, positions such as Assistant Principals or Religious Education coordinators. You may be concerned that the Proposed Agreement does not reference these positions and that these Leadership positions will be abolished. This is not in fact the case. For the time being, all existing Promotions positions will continue, but we want to engage staff into a discussion about how leadership structures in schools would work as we shift to a standards focus, including classifications at levels of Highly Accomplished and Lead teacher level.  (If you read the standards, a lot of the work of Coordinators is covered by the work of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers).

Why is it that males are only entitled to 2 weeks paternity leave after the birth of a baby?

…It seems very backwards to me compared to other industries/companies. I know of many of jobs where the male can get maternity/parental leave. You are wanting schools to come into the 21st Century but this is not.

Response from CCER: Within Schedule F of the Agreement, you can see that we have not yet included a proposal regarding Parental Leave and Related Entitlements. It is our intention to enter into discussions with the IEU and staff about how we can update our Parental Leave provisions to bring them in line with requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009.

You are correct, a paid parental leave scheme that can be accessed by either the mother or father of a child is a benefit provided by many other Employers and is a feature of many modern workplaces. We will ensure your suggestion is noted, particularly as we move to discussing this issue in further detail both with staff directly and with the IEU.

Who are the authors of this Agreement? Why was there no consultation before it was published?

The Catholic Commission for Employment Relations works on behalf of Catholic Employers in NSW and the ACT. The proposed Agreement was drafted by CCER on behalf of, and in consultation with, the 11 Catholic Education/Schools Office in NSW and the ACT.

You can find a range of information on the Foundations for Excellence website, but in brief, the proposal is Catholic Education’s response to:

- growing community, pupil parent and teacher expectations
- funding and policy developments around curriculum and professional standards
- evolving research on new ways teaching and learning can flourish.

It was created in the context of a changing educational landscape in order to support improved teaching and learning by being flexible, clear, concise and practical, and as a catalyst to begin talking about new ways of working.

Just as the IEU have provided their Log of Claims, employers have provided the proposed Agreement as a framework to begin discussions. We have taken the view that the best way to start a conversation on the future of enterprise bargaining and our schools is to put forward a concrete proposal and ask for feedback and comment.  There are levels of detail that are to be worked out through a consultation process with the Union, schools, teachers and CEO/CSOs – this will take place over the coming months. It is by no means the final word and is intended as a starting point for this process.