What makes Catholic Schools different?

Question: 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, i.e. 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: There are a number of questions that you raise here and I would refer you in the first instance to our FAQ’s page as we have addressed a number of these here. http://foundationsforexcellence.com.au/message-board/

It is important for employers to correct any misconceptions that exist around the proposal – for example, there is no intention to limit pay increases for staff– in fact, some staff would be receiving a boost to their pay as a result of the proposed pay structure.

We also want to assure staff that it is not the intention of Catholic employers to impose additional duties on teachers but to look at new ways that we can address concerns around workload and the changing expectations placed on teachers today. To this end, when it comes to class sizes, RFF etc, the Agreement provides clear entitlements but does favour flexibility and autonomy over prescription, recognising that one size does not fit all and that contemporary schools are places of constant change and innovation. We know that this flexibility has caused concern and ensuring safeguards are put in place for teachers is something that we will be looking at in more detail as we work through negotiations with the Union.

Catholic employers have taken the view that the best way to start a conversation is to put forward a concrete proposal and ask for feedback and comment.  This is the process that we are in now and we thank you for your contribution. We would encourage staff to speak with their Diocesan HR team to see what opportunities exist at the local level to engage in these conversations.

It is important to remember that ultimately it is the staff who are in control of the process – and we will not put forward an agreement for staff to vote on until we are confident we have a document they will support.