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Home > News > 2020 > October > Current school officer classification structure requires major change

Current school officer classification structure requires major change

school_support_staff.jpgThe Joint Working Party (JWP) reviewing the Queensland Catholic school officer classification structure is considering alternative classification models to replace the current flawed structure.


IEU-QNT Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said our union had identified a contemporary model which would provide significant and much needed improvements


“School officers know all too well that the current classification system is badly flawed,” Brad said.


“More of the same won’t do – we need major change and we need it now,” he said.


Employer proposal stuck in the past


Consistent with the JWP terms of reference, our union is giving genuine consideration to all viable alternatives.


However, significant concerns continue to be identified with the employers’ current proposal to adopt the minimum safety net classification structure contained in the Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award.   


Brad said even the employers had acknowledged their ‘alternative structure’ is merely a starting point.


“It would require significant amendment before it could be considered a workable model,” he said.


“The current employer draft would, for example, limit the classification of classroom support and curriculum/resource workers below the levels already provided under the current structure.     


“We remain concerned that the employers’ position fails to recognise the complex needs of modern school workplaces.


“Their proposal appears to replicate the historical deficiencies of the current structure due to the continued use of a narrow category specific approach,” Brad said.


IEU plan for a modernised structure


Limited category-based classifications have failed school officers for over 20 years.


School officers need a new updated structure that delivers for all.


Brad said our union has done extensive research of best practice models, both within and outside our sector.


“We have tabled a suggested ‘points factor evaluation system’ underpinned by four key objectives: consistency, transparency, flexibility and procedural uniformity,” he said.


“The new process would require employers to consider nine work standards to classify a position.


“A scoring system of accumulated points is then used to allocate the appropriate level.


“Similar models are already in place for staff in many Catholic education head offices.


“A key strength would be the extension of the current five role characteristics to nine new standards that would provide a deeper analysis of roles,” Brad said.  


You can read a summary of the proposed work standards here.


Joint trials needed to assess and explore


Our union has proposed joint trials of the respective employer and employee proposals.


Such an assessment across a sample of Catholic schools and educational settings would be an essential next step to evaluate the efficiency and accuracy of any proposed model.


Our union will be providing the employers with a framework for the conduct of such trials ahead of the next JWP meeting on Wednesday, 28 October.


Members can stay up to date with the latest news via www.qieu.asn.au/careersyoucancounton    

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