NCCD: Data gathering should be fully resourced
The identification, collection and moderation of data for the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) should not be permitted to result in increased workloads for an already burdened teaching staff, as IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Paul Giles writes.
From 1 January 2018, the Australian Government has used the NCCD to calculate the students with disability loading in recurrent funding for schools.
The introduction of the NCCD marks a significant alteration in the way schools receive funding to support inclusion of students with additional needs.
The data required is significant in quality and quantity and is onerous upon the school.
Where there are workload issues these can – and have been – successfully dealt with through the school’s IEU Chapter and Organiser.
High demands on teachers
A significant source of concern for teachers is the fact that the processes and procedures used to identify and document the level of adjustment provided for each student with disability can be audited.
Teachers are rightly concerned that any oversight or omission in planning and documenting teaching adjustments could result in a loss of funding for their students and their school.
It is therefore imperative for schools to have clear and consistent processes for recording and monitoring changes in teaching and learning practices.
However, it is unacceptable for classroom teachers to be solely responsible and/or unsupported in meeting the demands of these requirements.
Any requirement to create or develop individual education plans (IEPs), attend meetings for students with special needs, or develop alternative teaching and assessment materials, must come with provision of additional time.
NCCD enables schools, education authorities and governments to better understand the needs of students with disability and how they can be best supported at school.
However, it also has direct relationship to the quantum of funding a school receives for the adjustments they have made to educate students with a disability.
For a student to be included in the NCCD, the school must have evidence of adjustments provided to meet ongoing, long-term specific needs associated with disability that have a functional impact on the student’s schooling.
The significant volume of data needed to be documented is causing severe workload issues in some schools which need to be addressed by employers.
We encourage IEU Chapters to read through the NCCD resource pack developed by our union to assist in seeking support which includes information on the NCCD and students with disability, NCCD related workload issues and auditing processes as well as letter templates to Principals regarding NCCD support.
These resources can be accessed by contacting our union on FREECALL 1800 177 938 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Employers must take a proactive approach and meet NCCD demands by implementing adequate infrastructure and realistic time provisions for teachers.
This should be distinct from usual planning, preparation and correction time (PPCT) and general, regular or scheduled staff meetings.
It is not fair or reasonable to expect a teacher to develop IEPs, or make teaching and learning adjustments for all (or most) students in their class without significant extra resourcing.
Schools must also establish clear processes through which staff members can raise concerns if they believe the demands of the NCCD are not being adequately resourced.
Inclusion of students with additional needs is an integral element of contemporary education but quality inclusion requires the provision of adequate support and resources for teachers, inclusion support staff and students.
We commend those school Principals who have already intervened with measures to ameliorate the increased demands.
School leadership at many sites has responded effectively and positively when these issues have been raised by the IEU Chapter at the school.
These responses have included: providing additional teacher release time, reallocation of school officer hours to undertake data entry, dedicating staff meetings or professional development time for NCCD tasks as well as appointment of additional staff to support the process.
In addition, any requirement to: create or develop IEPs; attend meetings for students with special needs; or develop learning and/or assessment alternatives, must be adequately resourced by the employer and not merely added to the list of tasks to be completed in PPCT.
Where requirements of the NCCD are significantly affecting members, IEU Chapters need to work collaboratively with their IEU Organiser to address the situation.