Staff reject open-space learning

June 14, 2018

While teachers and the community of Arthur Phillip High School welcome the much overdue infrastructure investment, the Department has refused to address numerous issues raised from within the workplace.

While the school is being rebuilt, it has been split across two sites. During this time the school has tried to accommodate and minimise the impact on all staff and students, teachers are still finding the need to traverse between the two sites.

This takes around 10 minutes, with teachers often having to rush to ensure they arrive to class on time. Such arrangements and the lack of support from the Department are potentially risking the health and safety of staff and students. Importantly, this situation is also affecting the delivery of curriculum to students.

Teachers have consistently demonstrated goodwill in support of the rebuild and continue to do so during this trying time. The members at this school believe that the Department has done very little to neither support the school through this trying process nor has it adequately supported the wellbeing of teachers.

One of the most significant issues that has caused this current situation is inadequate consultation with staff and Federation for the project. The “open-space learning” and proposed “21st century learning” pedagogy has been forced onto the school with staff and community concerns not being acknowledged or addressed.

Federation Senior Vice President Henry Rajendra addressed staff and discussed their concerns at a recent union meeting. The staff unanimously rejected the proposed open-space learning and proposed 21st century learning pedagogies.

Members have called on the Department to address their serious concerns and to ensure the building project, and its ramifications, complies with the Award, Staffing Agreement and NESA syllabus requirements.

At the time of publication, Federation members are awaiting a response from Education Minister Rob Stokes and will consider appropriate action once the reply is received.

This action coincides with the June Council decision that called on the Department to suspend any further implementation of such changes and engage in negotiations with Federation.

In these and similar situations, the power of the collective and the strong voice of a united front cannot be underestimated. Both are essential if we are to combat and address such vigorous attacks on the teaching profession, our students, our conditions and our ability to deliver the curriculum now and into the future.

Tim Danaher Relieving City Organiser