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PRIMARY SECTOR

NEWSLETTER SUPPLEMENT TO THE AEU NEWS • NOVEMBER 2010

Our policy, their pledges From primary welfare officers to trade training centres, the major political parties have adopted AEU policies to win votes. Mary Bluett branch president

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UR Education for Everyone’s Needs campaign has placed pressure on all the major political parties in the lead up to the November 27 state election. Our policy document, lobbying, television ads, community campaigns and the My School Needs website have ensured public education has already featured strongly in the election. While we expect more announcements, this newsletter provides a summary of the policies released so far. They cover VET in schools (VETiS), a rural plan, disability, welfare in primary schools, languages, maths/ science initiatives, non-government school funding, teacher supply, early childhood and TAFE. The November 5 debate on the ABC between Premier John Brumby and Opposition leader Ted Baillieu, which I expect most people missed, saw both make an education pitch in their 90-second opening statements. Mr Baillieu said he was committed to providing “schools with the resources they need”. Premier Brumby

devoted more time to claiming he was passionate about education as transformative. He went on to focus on his government’s investment in more teachers and new buildings. The Greens were

education including prep–2 class sizes, primary welfare teachers and secondary teacher assistants, said there were more announcements to come. He indicated these included further significant investment for government

MY SCHOOL NEEDS not included in the debate. A Herald Sun forum on November 10 again saw the two leaders push their education credentials. In response to a question from a man with a student who had special needs and required more support from a psychologist (“not a chaplain,” he said), Mr Baillieu said: “We know what those kids need,” but he focused exclusively on the Coalition’s “substantial commitment” to primary school welfare officers. Premier Brumby, while claiming a solid record of investment in public

schools including more teachers for secondary schools. We will keep members informed of any further announcements from the parties. In the meantime, here are some highlights from this election campaign from our Education for Everyone’s Needs policy. From the Government, the “Trade Training in Schools” policy provides a very significant boost to our secondary schools. It includes: • Support for 110,000 students to take up VET subjects in secondary schools

Parties commit on welfare officers B

OTH the Government and Opposition have commited to continued funding for the program that employs welfare officers in primary schools — an area of need highlighted in our Education for Everyone's Needs policy. Labor announced it will commit to funding the program into the future;

the recurrent funding commitment gives essential security to schools. Meanwhile the Liberals pledged $34 million to create 150 more welfare officer positions, lifting the number of schools in the program to 800. Welfare officers currently work in fewer than half of Victoria's govern-

ment primary schools, despite the program’s proven success. They specialise in areas such as early identification of student behavioural, health and social problems; and referral for students and families needing expert assistance. That both the Labor and Liberal

• Building new trade classrooms at 20 secondary schools or re-equipping existing rooms • Committing up to $20 million to develop two new technical education centres (TECs) at Sunbury and Seymour, coordinated with the trade training centres serving each region • Building a new $23m trades career centre at Berwick servicing secondary schools. This represents a significant investment in VET. Currently, Victoria spends $2.9m on VET. This policy provides $14.2m in 2011–12 rising to $26.3m in 2014–15, almost an unprecedented 10-fold increase. There is also a $109.2m investment by the ALP in infrastructure to support this program. In addition, there is a clear bidding war between the major parties on primary welfare (the Greens have not submitted policy in this area). We should celebrate the success of our Education for Everyone’s Needs campaign — it is clearly delivering and we keenly await further announcements. ◆

parties have acknowledged the Education for Everyone's Needs campaign's call for funding to be directed to this area of need is a sign that the parties are listening — and that the calls of the campaign are being heard. ◆

A E U h e a d o f f i c e 112 Trenerr y Crescent, Abbotsford 3067 Tel: 03 9417 2822 Fax : 1300 658 078 Web : www.ae u v i c . a s n . a u


What the PARTIES Labor

Teacher supply $90m for the Energising Science and Mathematics Education Strategy, including $46m for 200 specialist maths and science teaching coaches.

Disability in schools $4.4 million for inclusion support programs and satellite classrooms: • $2.4m for inclusion support, including special classrooms for students with autism within six mainstream schools • $2m for five mainstream schools to set up satellite classrooms in partnership with special schools to provide “flexible learning spaces for students with an intellectual disability”.

Rural schools • $4.3m to tackle teacher shortages and lift Year 12 retention rates, which are significantly lower in rural schools • $500,000 to expand “virtual classrooms”, allowing remote schools to share teachers by streaming lessons online • Scholarships and financial incentives for teachers to work in rural schools, particularly in shortage subjects • Ease pressure on overworked principals in small schools by providing assistants to take on administrative tasks • Improve training programs for rural aspirant principals to get them used to the challenges of remote schools • $20,000 across 2011–12 for each nonmetropolitan network to provide CRT, travel and accommodation subsidies for PD • Expand the Rural Educators Network • Teaching recruitment program for rural students.

VET in schools (VETiS) $194.3m for more VETiS places and capital investment in school trade classrooms and other VET infrastructure: • $85.1m over four years to support 110,000 students to take up VET in schools • $40m for new or re-equipped trade classrooms in 20 secondary schools • $20m for Sunbury and Seymour Technical Education Centres • $23m for the Berwick Trades Career Centre • $26.2m for the East Geelong campus of Gordon TAFE. Welfare in schools • Maintain current student welfare officer numbers (including 256 primary welfare officers) • $11m over three years for the Brighter Futures initiative which aims to trial programs to improve engagement of 10–18-year-olds with education and training and to “minimise escalation of the issues they face”.

School buildings • $1.9 billion spent on 553 schools under the Victorian Schools Plan in the current term of government • Other projects announced including Maroondah regeneration ($100m) that incorporates schools specialising in particular curriculum areas.

Languages • $4.7m for four bilingual secondary colleges. Non-government schools • $194.7m to increase per student funding from the State Government to 25% of their contribution to government schools (around $650 extra per student based on 2008 figures) • $5m for PD for principals and teachers in “needy” non-government schools. Early childhood $19.4m to build and expand more than 50 kindergartens and children’s services: • $9.2m in ten capital grants to establish integrated children’s centres • $8.1m to renovate 42 not-for-profit preschools to meet increased demand • $2.1m in infrastructure redevelopment grants for Wodonga, Latrobe, Yarra and Hume municipalities. TAFE $37.6m to ameliorate some aspects of the Skills Reform including: • $15m to give every apprentice access to the Victorian Guarantee of a governmentfunded training place, regardless of prior qualifications • Exempting all VET certificates undertaken at school, with students entitled to a funded place • More than doubling the number of TAFE fee exemptions.

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Primary newsletter | november 2010

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are PROMISING This is the state of play in education announcements from the main political parties as we go to press. Watch for email updates if more comes out in the final days of the campaign. By research officers John Graham and Justin Bowd.

Liberals/Nationals Languages • Compulsory LOTE classes for every primary school • $32.7 million over four years for community language schools, including increasing funding from $120 to $190 per student in tuition fees to help students attending afterhours community language schools • $6m over four years for 210 scholarships for undergraduate and experienced teachers to become trained and qualified LOTE teachers • $1m in start-up grants for schools to develop LOTE programs.

Maths and sciences • $29.3m for 100 science and maths specialists in primary schools and • 400 scholarships (over four years) for science graduates to study Dip Ed. Primary welfare officers • $34m for 150 extra PWO positions over four years • Number of schools receiving PWO support to increase from 520 to over 800.

Greens

Funding Increase funding for Victorian public education to best international practice levels to ensure all institutions have the necessary facilities, or students have easy access to facilities as close to home as possible. • An extra $1 billion per year to match the state average for education funding • Maximum primary school class size of 20 students • A qualified teacher is in every classroom in preschool programs, schools and TAFE • Free government schools and TAFE from the need to compete for funding, students and resources.

Truancy • Coalition Government to enforce truancy laws by issuing fines on parents for each day a student misses school without a reasonable excuse.

Safe schools plan • Principals to have the right to suspend or expel students at their own discretion • New legislation to support the right of principals to ban dangerous items from school grounds • Increase punishment for offences such as assault and vandalism committed on school property by students or others • $2m PD program to help train teachers to maintain discipline in the classroom. Non-government school funding • $390m over four years to increase state government grants to Catholic and independent schools to around 25% of the cost of educating a child in a government school.

Principals’ autonomy • Cut paperwork by 50% • Regional network meetings to be run by principals, not officials • Allow schools to decide how staff training funds are spent • Abolish student support system. Building projects • Design, planning and management of major capital works projects to be handled by principals at the school level • Schools will design projects in consultation with government • Government will award funding on the basis of school planning • Schools to source project manager and construction team, oversee construction and fund works out of the total capital works grant awarded.

Early childhood education • 15 hours of fully funded kindergarten for 3-4-year-olds and 4-5-year-olds • Improve inclusion support for vulnerable children in 3-year-old programs and cut waiting lists for kindergarten places.

VET and TAFE Address declining enrolments in TAFE: • Revert immediately to previous TAFE course fees structure (pre-2009 levels) • VET and TAFE places should be equally accessible to metropolitan and regional students.

Schools • The fundamental needs of government primary and secondary schools should be provided by government without the need for “voluntary” parent fees or school fundraising activities • All government schools should have sufficient resources to provide programs for at risk students and/or those with special needs.

Accountability and transparency • Introduce measures to ensure that all educational institutions and programs in receipt of any public funding are held to high levels of audit and accountability, financial transparency and non-discriminatory staff recruitment and enrolment policies.

www.aeuvic.asn.au

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National curriculum

DELIVERY DATE

December’s meeting of education ministers is expected to sign off on the first four subjects of the national curriculum. Erin Aulich explains what happens next.

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ITH the first phase of the Australian Curriculum set to be endorsed at the December meeting of education ministers, the AEU has been busy making sure members remain an integral part of the consultation and implementation process. The first phase consisting of four core subjects — English, history, maths and science — has been through rigorous consultation and as a result has been largely rewritten. Drafting is still taking place, and due to the significant changes, schools should be aware that any planning based on the original draft curriculum would be premature. Members should wait for the release of Phase 1 documents later this year. There is now agreement on naming the curriculum F–10 (F for foundation). A statement will follow the December 8 meeting of federal state and territory ministers, MCEEDYA; assuming the drafts are signed off, the Australian Curriculum will be made public via the ACARA website shortly after. In Victoria, VCAA will then release a paper outlining its rationale, structure, Phase 2 and 3 implementation, the general capabilities and

how the curriculum can be linked to the VELS for teachers in this state. A number of challenges must still be addressed such as the reporting on the Australian Curriculum subjects, the reporting scale and the current reporting of VELS. Some form of hybrid curriculum will be needed until all phases are completed. Other challenges include where alternative programs such as VCAL, VET and the announced cadetships will fit. The Australian Baccalaureate is also being developed and certification arrangements will be a focus when ACARA revisits senior secondary. Currently information is limited on the specific hours allocated to subject content. It is important that there is a focus on the rationales — why it is important to know the content. Timing will be largely up to schools and systems, with guidance from states and territories. ACARA is responsible for writing the curriculum and some samples will be made available on its website. The implementation and extensive curriculum development will be the role of the VCAA. We

will see samples, and a new web portal will provide an F–10 framework which will make it clear how other subjects fit in with the Australian Curriculum and VELS. It is hoped that the portal will be live by the end of Term 1. A more detailed timeline on the implementation phase and trials and training available for schools will probably be out by the end of the year. It is hoped that there will be release time for curriculum coordinators to enable face-to-face training. VCAA is currently looking at training methods and deliveries for teacher PD. The trials, in 20–30 volunteer schools, could take a number of forms, from the implementation of a subject across a school to an individual teacher trialling in one class. The AEU continues to be involved in discussions and briefings with ACARA and VCAA to ensure members will receive appropriate time and PD to implement the curriculum. For further information, email me at erin.aulich@aeuvic.asn.au. ◆ Erin Aulich is AEU deputy vice president, secondary.

Federal funding review:

Has your school made its submission yet? T HE Federal Government has launched a fullfledged review into the funding of schools in Australia — the best chance we will have to get a fair deal for government schools. Each year Canberra spends over $13 billion on schools. Of that, over $9bn — 70% — goes to Catholic and independent schools. Some of the wealthiest schools in Australia receive over $7000 per student; public schools get just over $1000. The AEU is campaigning with parents to get

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every government school to make a submission to the review. The submission process is simple, straightforward and won’t take up too much time. The review panel needs to hear about your school and students, what you are doing to meet your students’ aspirations — and most importantly, what you could do if you had the resources. It is vital that all government schools make a submission, preferably endorsed by the school council. We have contacted every sub-branch rep,

AEU principal and school council. Find out what’s happening with your school’s submission, and get involved. If you need help, contact the AEU. The best way to ensure that a new funding model addresses the needs of all students is tell them about your students’ needs. Now is the time to speak up for government schools. ◆ For more information, go to www.forourfuture.org.au.

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Primary newsletter | november 2010


Primary Sector Newsletter, Term 4, 2010