Forums weigh up workload

Adrian Saroff and John Pratt

The issues of teacher workload and work-related stress were the focus of two recent Federation seminars.

These two seminars were conducted in response to member concerns about excessive workload.

More than 90 members from The Hills, Ryde-Macquarie and Hornsby teachers associations gathered at Castle Hill RSL to hear from Senior Vice President Joan Lemaire.

Ms Lemaire talked about work health and safety policy and the Department's Work Health and Saftey Issue Resolution procedures as a strategy for discussing and managing some of the risk factors related to stress.

She identified the Department's resources on occupational stress and information provided by WorkCover NSW.

Ms Lemaire emphasised that knowledge is power when it comes to the issue work health and safety.

She also said that there was strength in a collective approach to dealing with concerns about workload and stress.

Members actively engaged by making comments and asking questions. Some members remained for more than an hour to discuss concerns.

Ms Lemaire was also a guest speaker at a Work Health and Safety and Workload Seminar hosted by Tumut Teachers Association.

Members car-pooled from as far as Tumbarumba and Gundagai to hear her address the concerns of the assembled teachers and principals regarding stress around excessive workload.

Ms Lemaire identified documents and policies produced by the Department that provide examples of workplace stressors in schools and the legislative framework to deal with the very real risks to health and safety related to work overload.

Members were encouraged to meet to quantify and qualify the specific workload matters of most concern in their workplace and develop strategies to collectively act on these risk factors using the Department’s Work Health and Safety Issue Resolution Procedures.

There is broad concern about excessive workload and work-realted stress, which is being addressed, consistent with the Annual Conference policy, “Valuing and supporting teacher professional judgement by addressing work overload”.

Contact your local oragniser about arranging a similar seminar in your area.

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