A plan by Queensland teachers to boycott NAPLAN testing has been given a fail grade by the Industrial Court, with teaching of the controversial test set to go ahead this year.

State school teachers in the Queensland Teachers' Union voted almost unanimously to boycott teaching the controversial test to pupils in October last year.

However, in an internal memo circulated to all Department of Education staff on Friday, director-general Tony Cook announced the industrial dispute had been slapped down by the courts.

"The department considered the directive to be unprotected industrial action, and therefore unlawful, and sought the assistance of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to resolve the matter," Mr Cook said.

Department of Education director-general Tony Cook announced that the Industrial Court had upheld the department’s concerns over the QTU’s NAPLAN ban.
Department of Education director-general Tony Cook announced that the Industrial Court had upheld the department’s concerns over the QTU’s NAPLAN ban.

Following an appeal by the QTU, Mr Cook said the Industrial Courts sided with the Education Department, ruling on Thursday that "the QTU … immediately cease and do not recommence."

QTU president Cresta Richardson said the union's executive was now considering its next steps, saying the test had been shown to have a negative impact on students' wellbeing.

"It's use is beyond what it was meant for," Ms Richardson said.

"The main focus of teachers for student outcome should be on the day to date teaching, learning and assessment that students receive and the outcome of such assessments."

In a statement, the Department of Education told The Courier-Mail the decision was now an opportunity to move forward with "fully implementing the Australian Curriculum."

"The department accepts the decision of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and will continue to consult with the Queensland Teachers Union on the most appropriate way forward," a spokesman said.

Among those who welcomed the decision to resume NAPLAN was the 222-member Teachers' Professional Association of Queensland.

The controversial test was the subject of a major ban by Queensland teachers.
The controversial test was the subject of a major ban by Queensland teachers.

The organisation's vice-president Cameron Murray said the controversial test was a powerful tool to ensure schools weren't missing elements of students' learning.

"We've always supported NAPLAN as a measure of student progress," Mr Murray said.

"It's a diagnostic which can tell everyone - parents, teachers, kids, the Education Department - of our progress," he said.

"I truly believe that NAPLAN allows us to identify where there's gaps and where there's need for support."

Mr Murray praised teachers as skilled but said the NAPLAN system was designed to "trust but verify" student performance.

Originally published as Qld teachers fail in bid to boycott NAPLAN


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