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Home > News > 2019 > August > Aquinas College commits to School Consultative Committee

Aquinas College commits to School Consultative Committee

Committee_concept.jpgThe Chapter from Aquinas College, a Catholic secondary college on the Gold Coast, has successfully implemented a School Consultative Committee with the help of our union. 

Members at the college had been reporting ongoing concerns with their workplace culture and environment, a culmination of student behaviour problems and a lack of communication between leadership and employees.  

IEUA-QNT organiser Caryl Davies said our union conducted a workplace culture survey to determine what the core problems were, why they were present and how to resolve them. 

“We surveyed members’ attitudes and opinions towards workplace culture, leadership, student behaviour, work conditions and hours of duty, employee-employer consultation and levels of professional respect and support,” said Ms Davies. 

“We presented the findings to the school’s leadership, with the key one being that to rebuild a positive workplace culture there needed to be better communication and a space for constructive consultation between the staff and leadership. 

“We agreed there needed to be a School Consultative Committee made up of staff and leadership, where staff could be consulted and have an input about major workplace changes or decisions.

“This also allows staff to provide feedback and assist in mitigating any impact the changes or decisions would have on them.

“The first meeting, held Term 3, had a very positive turnout.

"The establishment of the Committee will allow our members to have a say in workplace issues, proposed changes and foster co-operation and collaboration with leadership.

“The Chapter and leadership should be commended for their commitment to collaboration and their willingness to work towards a solution," Ms Davies said.

What are School Consultative Committees?

School Consultative Committees are a formal consultation mechanism where workplace issues can be brought up in a constructive and safe place and are a key feature of our union’s collective agreements. 

They are made up of both employer and employee representatives. 

They are critical to ensuring:

  • Better two-way communication between employers and employees;
  • Employee advice on implementation priorities in the agreement;
  • An avenue for employees to address issues relating to the implementation of the collective agreement; and 
  • Utilisation of employee knowledge and experience. 

Why are they important? 

Members have a right to be consulted about major school policy and changes to working conditions. 

School Consultative Committees recognise the value of teachers’ professional judgement regarding both the classroom and the workplace in general and that their expertise is essential for good decision making. 

Chapters with School Consultative Committees enable enhanced two-way conversations between employers and employees as well as helping to facilitate employee advice on the implementation of priorities in their collective agreement. 

Examples of the effective use of School Consultative Committee’s include: a commitment to exploring ways to address workload and intensity at a school level and initiating school-based trials of measures to mitigate the expanding roles of teachers and school officers. 

How to set up your Chapter’s School Consultative Committee

  1. Speak with your IEUA-QNT organiser about the consultative arrangements in your collective agreement. 
  2. Obtain a clear and shared commitment from all parties involved.
  3. Determine the size of the Committee.
  4. Schedule training for employee representatives.
  5. Establish a Charter and structure.
  6. Identify items from your collective agreement to be implemented, monitored and evaluated.
  7. Determine who will be responsible for different tasks.
  8. Establish lines of communication and keep your Chapter members updated.
  9. Review the effectiveness of the Committee periodically.

For more information on School Consultative Committees and how to establish one in your school, contact our union today. 

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.