Qld push to scrap NAPLAN, give teachers extra leave
THE Palaszczuk government wants to scrap NAPLAN and reward teachers with extra holidays to placate the angry powerful teachers union who threatened to boycott the controversial test after the government deferred teachers' pay rises amid COVID-19.
In a proposal to the Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU) the state government has promised it would strongly advocate to the national Education Council, comprising the country's education ministers, that it replace NAPLAN with a modern and more effective national assessment - something that would require the Education Council's consensus.
The QTU has boasted to its members online that the state government's proposal follows "member anger and lobbying" against the legislation to defer pay increases for principals and teachers this year.
The proposal, just months before the state election, also includes a raft of measures to appease the 47,000 member-strong union, including an extra two days annual leave at the end of the school year, on top of teachers' regular holidays of up to 4 weeks recreational and 7 weeks concessional leave.
A review of the curriculum assessment reporting framework and streamlining data collection to reduce workload is also proposed alongside a commitment to continuity of employment for temporary teachers.
It comes ahead of the Queensland, Victorian, NSW and ACT joint-review of NAPLAN, expected to be released in August.
Education Minister Grace Grace said Queensland had pushed for the review and interim findings had revealed major issues with the testing.
Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said the deferral of pay increases led to "significant anger" among teachers, and following negotiations, the state government put forward the proposal as a way of addressing some of teachers' and principals' concerns.
"In no way does it compensate them for the $100m that has been taken out of their pockets as a consequence [of the pay deferral]," he said.
The QTU executive has recommended its members vote "yes" to opposing the pay deferral and accepting the state government's proposal on the ballot open this week until Friday.
Ms Grace said teachers, principals and school-based support staff always went above and beyond for their students, especially during the pandemic.
"The Palaszczuk Government acknowledges these extraordinary efforts included work undertaken during school holidays and outside ordinary working hours in preparation for the transition to remote learning," Ms Grace said.
She said the QTU and Education Department had picked up discussions from earlier this year which were halted by the pandemic, and are close to finalising the matters.
"While there will always be a need for standardised testing in some form, the interim report showed that major changes were needed to the current [NAPLAN] model for it to be effective."
Originally published as Qld push to scrap NAPLAN, give teachers extra leave