Women in Education
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Unite to advance profession
Reach deep into your school and TAFE communities to build new relationships with the female colleagues in your workplace and strengthen those relationships that you already have, Federation Senior Vice President Amber Flohm told members participating in the union’s virtual Women’s Conference on 22 August.
Ms Flohm outlined the union’s campaigns in the areas of salaries and status, staffing, principal contracts, curriculum, assessment and pedagogy, plus devolution.
“Regardless of whether you agree with your colleagues’ politics, pedagogy or practice, we have to unite as women, as a profession, to deeply engage in these professional issues that face us,” Ms Flohm said.
“The outlines of these campaigns today are not aimed to scare you, although the agenda is huge and it’s coming down upon us,” she said.
“It is to prepare you for what lies ahead and so you are ready to take a stand, should we need you to; as always, united in the defence of public education.”
Having outlined the goals of Federation’s staffing campaign — including two additional hours of release from face-toface teaching for teachers, release time for primary assistant principals and deputy principals to match release time for secondary executive colleagues, reduced class sizes and additional qualified classroom and non-school-based teachers — Ms Flohm appealed to conference participants.
“It is critical that your engagement drives this campaign in staffing. It is you, in your staffrooms and classrooms that know exactly the difference it means to have additional permanent teachers … in your school, to provide you with in-built relief, for professional learning and other things that you need to undertake in the course of your day-to-day work,” she said.
Ms Flohm’s report on salaries and status revealed the work of “Valuing the Teaching Profession” inquiry and the State Government’s proposed public sector wage freeze, which highlighted TAFE teachers’ lack of a salary increase since November 2018.
When discussing the matter of principal contracts Ms Flohm said: “There is no evidence that less security and tenure for principals creates better, improved outcomes for our students.
“What it does create is a compliance and fear culture and we will oppose that at every level.”
“The Government’s/Department’s managerial (rather than public education improvement) agenda, should worry us all,” Ms Flohm said.
“We all can refine our teaching; of course we can. We all want to improve the outcomes of our students, but we can’t do it through a managerial system of compliance, with no support and insufficient resources to meet the needs of our students.”
Keynote speakers, Professor Rae Cooper and Dr Sarah Mosseri, from the Women Work and Leadership Research Group at Sydney University, spoke about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women.
Aware Super ran two webinars about superannuation.
Women’s Conference has been one of the biggest online forums conducted by Federation so far this year. The event was interactive, with participants able to ask questions via a chat function.
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