AEU NEWS volume 20 I issue 1 I february 2014
Go-Go Gonski Van
On the road with the school funding campaign The campaign year ahead | Curriculum review | Our summer competition winners AEU
t:03 9417 2822 f:1300 658 078 w : w w w. a e u v i c . a s n . a u
Branch president: Meredith Peace Branch secretary: Gillian Robertson
AEU VIC head office address 112 Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford, 3067 postal address PO Box 363, Abbotsford, 3067 tel (03) 9417 2822, 1800 013 379 fax 1300 658 078 web www.aeuvic.asn.au email firstname.lastname@example.org
country offices B allarat (03) 5331 1155 | Benalla (03) 5762 2714 Bendigo (03) 5442 2666 | Gippsland (03) 5134 8844 Geelong (03) 5222 6633 AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION UNION - VICTORIAN BRANCH ELECTION NOTICE Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 Nominations are called for: DELEGATES TO BRANCH CONFERENCE To be elected by and from members of the Early Childhood sector, Primary sector, Secondary sector, TAFE and Adult Provision sector. ELECTION OF WOMEN TO BRANCH CONFERENCE The rules of the branch provide that the minimum number of women to be elected shall be 50 per cent of the number of persons to be elected from each region. If the number of persons to be elected is an odd number, the minimum number of women to be elected shall be determined by reducing the total number of persons to be elected by one and taking 50 per cent of that number. If the number of women candidates is less than the number of women to be elected, the remaining position or positions in question will be filled by a male candidate or candidates. NOMINATIONS, which must be in writing and comply with the Rules of the union, may be made anytime from 10 February 2014. They must reach me not later than 12:00 noon on Tuesday, 11 March 2014. Nominations cannot be withdrawn after this time. NOMINATION FORMS are available, on request, from me or the Branch Office of the Union. A form is included in this advertisement. ELECTORAL MATERIAL supplied by candidates for distribution with ballot papers shall be restricted to a maximum of 200 words per candidate and may include a passport size photograph. The material may include an indication of preference provided all candidates are shown in the order they appear on the ballot paper and there is a preference allocated to each candidate. Electoral Material may be emailed to email@example.com but must reach my office or postal address not later than 12:00 noon on Tuesday, 18 March 2014. Candidate statements must be provided in MS Word format only. ADDRESS FOR LODGING NOMINATIONS By Post: Australian Electoral Commission, GPO Box 4382, Melbourne VIC 3001 By Hand: Australian Electoral Commission, Level 8, 2 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 By Fax: (03) 9285 7149 By email: firstname.lastname@example.org BALLOT: The ballot, if required, will open on Monday 7 April 2014 and close at 10:00am on Wednesday, 23 April 2014. Changed Address? Advise the Union now. NOTE: A copy of the AEC’s election report can be obtained from the organisation or from me after the completion of the election.
aeu news | february 2014
10 February 2014
Tel: (03) 9285 7141
In an election year, only one thing matters: putting public education top of the agenda.
The year ahead
Our Gonski vans have hit the road and we’re gearing up for a November state election — all in all it’s another busy campaigning year for AEU members.
14 16 19 22
to repair the damage and rebuild our and Ken Wiltshire, the independent a fair and equitable funding system. TESTING year looms. Conservative public education system. schools policy launched in Victoria Abbott and Pyne have walked away agendas are being stamped It is up to us to make sure that by Christopher Pyne, the targeting from the so-called “unity ticket” with on our public education system in public education is the number one of the union movement, the constant Labor of their election campaign Canberra and Spring Street. Every issue in this election. We cannot do undermining of workers’ rights: this is and committed themselves to just AEU sector is affected — preschools, that without our members. We will a government with no commitment to one-third of the Gonski funding schools, TAFEs, AMES and our all need to be in our communities, public education or to decent salaries agreed with states last year. disability services. visiting our MPs, writing to candidates and conditions. We cannot let this As you read this, the National The light at the end of the tunnel is and participating in local activities. agenda be carried through. the state election on November 29. All Gonski Tour is in Victoria, attending It is up to all of us to get involved, The track record of the Napthine our efforts must be focused on seizing schools, running street stalls, to campaign, to challenge what is said Government in Victoria is no better. attending rallies, local markets and the agenda, making public education and done, and to stand up for the We have now had three years of country shows. In all, four Gonski the first priority of voters and holding students we teach. See you on the broken promises and cuts in excess vans will cover 22,500km from the politicians to their primary obligaroad. � four corners of Australia — Brisbane, of $2.1 billion: over $600m in public tion to deliver strong, well-resourced schoolsPREFERRED alone and $1.2bn overPROVIDERS four Perth, Darwin and Hobart — on the AEU education services for all. years in TAFE. way to Canberra on March 18. Our ability to campaign will be As we near the state election, we If you see a van come through integral to changing the course of AEU Vic branch president your community, get involved and help will be looking to all major political recent months, which has seen so us get the message out. The only way parties to show their commitment to much damage inflicted on our public public education in their platforms. we will achieve these vital reforms is system. Join me on Twitter! Our campaign will focus on key if parents, teachers, support staff and But first we have unfinished electorates and on what our schools, principals let the Abbott Government business: the continuing Gonski campaign to deliver funding reform for know what the extra funding will mean TAFEs and early childhood centres need to continue to deliver a highfor their schools. our schools. quality education to our students. The federal agenda is clear. The The election of the Abbott Follow @meredithpeace Level 3/432 Kildainto Road, Melbournereview 3004of the national curriculum by Our budget submission sets out Government has St thrown doubt and @aeuvictoria Retirement Victoria is the AEU’s preferred provider of financial and retirement planning services to members. our vision of what Victoria needs to do arch conservatives Kevin Donnelly the full six-year program to create Visit us at www.retirevic.com.au
COVER PHOTO: AEU Federal
Out with the new, in with the old The Coalition believes it can improve students’ performance by rewriting the curriculum.
From greenies to zucchinis
A family friendly band with a positive message grew from the inspiration one teacher found in a tiny class of prep students.
East meets north
A new museum in Melbourne aims to showcase Islamic culture and make a positive connection with the wider community.
APPOINTMENTS (03) 9820 8088
We need to talk about Kevin... Kevin Donnelly as the voice of balance in education?
3 president’s report 4 letters 23 women’s focus 24 AEU training 25 on the phones contacts
Retirement Victoria Pty Ltd (ABN 11 132 109 114) is a corporate authorised representative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Ltd AFSL 244252
27 28 29 30 31
safety matters classifieds Miss takes culture giveaways
editorial enquiries Nic Barnard, Rachel Power tel (03) 9418 4958 fax (03) 9415 8975 email email@example.com advertising enquiries Lyn Baird tel (03) 9418 4879 fax (03) 9415 8975 email firstname.lastname@example.org
AEU News is produced by the AEU Publications Unit: editor Nic Barnard designers Lyn Baird, Peter Lambropoulos, Susan Miller, Kim Fleming journalists Sian Watkins, Kellee Nolan Rachel Power editorial assistant Helen Prytherch PrintPost Approved: 1000/07915 ISSN: 1442—1321. Printed in Australia by Print Graphics on Re Art Matt 100% Recycled Paper. Free to AEU members. Subscription rate: $60 per annum. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the AEU News are those of the authors/members and are not necessarily the official policy of the AEU (Victorian Branch). Contents © AEU Victorian Branch. Contributed articles, photographs and illustrations are © their respective authors. No reproduction without permission.
AEU PREFERRED PROVIDERS THE VALUE OF A PERSONAL APPOINTMENT
Printed on ReArt Matt 100% recycled paper
AEU Victorian Branch
Jeff Webb Returning Officer
A chance to change
Clients referred to Retirement Victoria recently mentioned how worthwhile a personal appointment had been compared to their attendance at a seminar run by a large financial institution. The seminar was general in nature with an overwhelming stream of information delivered by way of a power point presentation. It was slick and glossy but could not focus on personal needs and circumstances. By contrast, at the end of a one-hour appointment we had designed a tailored financial model that addressed super, social security and related taxation issues. The diagram on the whiteboard provided a visual model of a strategy that would satisfy our clients’ retirement needs. It was a positive, productive outcome followed up later with a detailed financial plan. Seminars have their place, we have run them successfully for years, but a personal appointment with an experienced RV adviser is a great way to prepare for retirement.
Level 3/432 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004
APPOINTMENTS (03) 9820 8088
Visit us at www.retirevic.com.au Retirement Victoria is the AEU’s preferred provider of financial and retirement planning services to members. Retirement Victoria Pty Ltd (ABN 11 132 109 114) is a corporate authorised representative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Ltd AFSL 244252.
Environment ISO 14001
Letters from members are welcome. Send to: aeu news, po box 363, Abbotsford, 3067, fax (03) 9415 8975 or email email@example.com. Letters should be no more than 250 words and must include name, workplace and contact details of the writer. Letters may be edited for space and clarity. Next deadline: 5 March.
AEU rejects ratings for school staff
The AEU will resist State Government attempts to rank the performance of all school staff in the next performance and development cycle. Sian Watkins AEU News
The importance of healthy debate I WELCOME Meredith Peace’s response to my letter in the December AEU News as it’s healthy to debate. I didn’t expect her to agree with me. I strongly disagree, however, that “our criticisms should be saved for Premier Napthine and Ministers Dixon and Hall.” I and others should feel free to constructively criticise our union. I have no respect for the Government’s education agenda. However, debate within the union is healthy. I believe unions once had too much power but now have too little — much of it legislated away. We must work with what we have and a strong and reflective executive is vital. It should encourage and reflect on any suggestions or criticisms and will be all the stronger for doing so. I made suggestions during the recent campaign that were not
followed — that’s fine; they were only one view. I also unsuccessfully voted against the Agreement — I wanted to hold the Government to its promise. That’s also fine. That’s democratic. But we should never reserve our criticism for any one particular organisation, person, government or side in a debate. We should examine ourselves and our “side” as well. Indeed, we should teach this. Our union will be stronger if members feel comfortable making suggestions and criticisms. I hope Meredith’s words were an unfortunate turn of phrase rather than what she and the executive believe. — David Bishop Bandiana PS Too expensive I have been employed in the same government primary school for 18 years as an Education Support (ES) person.
Membership subscription rates
AEU Branch Council in December increased the membership subscription rates by 3% effective from January 1, 2014. The rise follows a teachers’ salary increase and is in line with conference policy established in 1995 “that the base annual rate shall not exceed 0.8 of the salary fixed from time to time as the top rate on the subdivisional scale for teachers in Government schools.” This will be the only rate rise for 2014. The current fee for a full time teacher will rise from $564.40 to $581.33 plus the $25 Public Education Levy. The levy is used solely to support our campaign to promote public education, and finances our television advertisements, opinion polling and focus group research. The GST component will add $60.64 to the annual cost of union membership. This results in a total full time union membership fee of $666.97. This fee is fully tax deductible so remember to claim it on your tax return to substantially reduce the actual cost of union membership. Members who work part-time pay pro-rata fees with a minimum fee of 0.2 of the full amount. It is imperative that members advise us when their time fraction changes. Teachers in their first three years receive a discounted membership. In addition ES, Early Childhood Teachers and Assistants, Disability Services members, AMES members and casual and CRT members also receive discounted rates. Many members believe their employer notifies us of changes in time fraction, change in work location, periods of leave without pay and resignation. This is incorrect. It is your responsibility to notify the union in writing of any changes affecting membership.
aeu news | february 2014
Over the years my time and responsibilities have increased, making my job enjoyable and stimulating. Several years ago, under a previous agreement fought for by the AEU, I successfully applied to be reclassified from ES Range 1 to Range 2 to reflect my new duties and responsibilities. I now find myself in excess because the school says it no longer requires my Range 2 duties. More like they don’t want to pay me to do those duties. Those duties will still exist. Either a teacher or a lower classified ES will be required to do them. My choice is to be redeployed or to be reclassified at a lower level on lower pay. I am angered that the wealth of experience and time I have invested in the school now means diddly-squat. No one seems to be advertising on Recruitment Online at my level of classification. If I cannot be redeployed I will be made redundant. I could of course reapply for the lower classified position and — yippee — start the climb again. My school would of course benefit from my prior knowledge and experience. But I become nothing more than cheap labour! I have given countless years of service and experience to a school that I know appreciates my skills and work ethic but which is now being directed by the department — with the union’s acceptance — to employ someone cheaper. Unless the union starts genuinely fighting for real conditions such as job security, not the fluffy, hard-to-understand mish-mash that came about with the current agreement, membership will fall dramatically. It’s time we started fighting for more ES staff in primary schools (like secondary schools) that do not rely on D&I funding and reflect the expertise and experience that some ES can offer. — Dianne Neilson ES, south-western region
Out of sync? IF YOU haven’t heard, this year is a state election year. From an AEU point of view it works out very nicely when the end of an agreement and an election coincide. In 2008, WA teachers used their industrial dispute to make their agreement a hot election topic and themselves the highest paid teachers in Australia. I’m not sure when Victorian teachers were last able to take industrial action over an agreement during a Victorian state election campaign but it certainly hasn’t happened since 1999. Elections happen every four years and agreements are meant to be for three years, which means that every 12 years they should coincide. In the 15 years since 1999 this hasn’t happened. In fact, the end of the current agreement is in 2016, which is nominally not an election year. With some speculation, the next time that we get an election coinciding with an agreement would be in 2022. The problem is that agreements in 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2013 were negotiated in such a way as to make sure that this coinciding, which creates enormous political pressure, didn’t occur. It would be great if every now and then the Government felt the pressure to finalise an agreement promptly. — Steven Adams Hallam Senior College Spelling test UNDER Christopher Pyne’s new independent public schooling, children in well-off suburbs will be able to spell plutocracy but the students in poorer suburbs will not even know the meaning of egalitarianism, let alone be able to spell it. — Greg Tuck Nyora PS
HE AEU disagrees with school staff, including principals, being ranked as part of a new performance and development system that the Government wants to implement from next term. In a draft received by the AEU, a five-point numerical rating scale has been replaced with a four-point descriptive scale, and a guiding range indicating what percentage of a school’s staff should not receive increment pay rises has been removed. The draft makes no mention of schools being given more money to help them administer the proposed system or deliver the extensive staff training and development required to ensure it is fair and transparent. The AEU will seek feedback from members on the Government’s proposed system and will continue to insist that the Government delay any changes until next year. AEU president Meredith Peace said the Government’s timeframe was unacceptably short. It made adequate consultation with school staff and the teaching profession difficult and gave principals too little time to comprehend and implement what were complex and time-consuming demands. Peace said that elements of the Government’s proposal were acceptable, but the AEU disagreed with differentiated performance assessments (DPA) and the four-point rating scale proposed for every teacher, principal and ES. Those scoring 2 or lower on the proposed scale would be deemed ineligible for progression. Such rankings could also be later used by the Government to introduce performance pay, Peace said. The Government’s proposal, foreshadowed in its
New Directions policy, is heavy on performance but light on development, Peace said. Staff needed consistent and constructive feedback, not arbitrary ratings. A 2012 report by the Hay Group for the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership said that effective PD schemes were difficult to implement, “particularly when applied in complex environments such as schools”, and required “sustained effort”. They required regular classroom observations, frequent and constructive feedback, goal-setting and
Reverse VCAL cuts
HE AEU is urging the State Government to reinstate VCAL funding, the loss of which has had significant consequences for disengaged and disadvantaged students. The Government has cut $48 million over four years in funding for schools’ coordination of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning. VCAL is a hands-on option for students in Years 11 and 12, providing practical, work-related experience and literacy, numeracy and other life and work skills. In its state budget submission, the AEU says the Government has not properly funded alternative education pathways. The AEU’s latest State of Our School survey found that nearly 60% of the secondary school principals offering VCAL programs had cut other programs to cover the withdrawal of VCAL coordinator funding.
Assisting s AEU Members for over 30 years Adviceline n Injury Lawyers can assist you – no win, no charge – with: •
Work injury compensation – physical and psychological injury W
o and transport accident injury compensation Road
Contact us directly on 9321 9988 or contact your AEU organiser for a referral. www.advicelineinjurylawyers.com.au Adviceline Injury Lawyers is a division of Holding Redlich
ways of measuring progress, coaching from peers and leaders and high-quality professional learning. The majority of government schools do not have the money or staff to deliver this for all employees. Senior regional leaders will conduct principal performance reviews. There are about 40 of these leaders in the state and about 1,520 principals. AEU deputy president Justin Mullaly said the Government was ignoring the fact that challenges in the existing P&D system were a result of underresourcing. �
Of the affected principals, 20% said the funding cut had led to a reduction in the number of VCAL subjects offered and nearly 20% said the cut had led to a reduction in the number of VCAL students and the number of VCE subjects offered. AEU president Meredith Peace said the union was urging the Government to “listen to the concerns of hundreds of schools and reinstate funding”. In its submission to the May budget, the AEU, among other recommendations, urges the Government to increase funding to reduce class sizes and deliver more teaching and student welfare support; and at least double infrastructure spending. VET in Schools funding should be uncapped to help schools cover rising costs, the submission says, and staff cuts to regional offices reversed. � — Sian Watkins
More on the AEU’s budget submission on pages 12–13.
Melbourne Ground Floor, 555 Bourke Street Melbourne VIC 3000 T +61 (0)3 9321 9988 or 1300 MY INJURY Springvale 369C Springvale Road Springvale VIC 3171 Melton PO Box 156 Melton VIC 3337 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pyne’s independent puzzle
Giving the west a chance
Can Victoria’s schools become even more autonomous? The Government thinks so. Sian Watkins AEU News
ederal Education Minister Christopher Pyne chose Ringwood Secondary College to launch his $70 million plan for independent public schools this month even though Victorian schools are already self-managing. At the launch federal Victorian MP Michael Sukkar said he would encourage schools in his electorate of Deakin, which includes suburbs such as Blackburn, Croydon and Nunawading, to ask the Education Department for more autonomy and control of their own budgets. He cannot have spoken to AEU-member principals, who are already burdened by excessive
responsibilities and tight budgets. A spokeswoman for Education Minister Martin Dixon said the State Government would seek money from the IPS pot but could not specify the types of activities or work it would seek funding for. Victorian schools already hire their own staff and decide what they teach and specialise in. Mr Pyne said he suspected that the $70m would “mostly be spent on building the skills base for principals and their leadership teams” while Mr Dixon called it “an opportunity to take our autonomy further”. There is no evidence that 20 years of selfmanaging schools in Victoria has lifted student performance. Nor is there much evidence in any
Students in Melbourne’s west are getting a “leg-up” from a program started by former teacher Terry Bracks. developed country where greater autonomy has been introduced. NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said he did not believe there was evidence to support creating IPS, and he didn’t support “having two types of public schools in NSW”. In a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this month, Ben Jensen, school education program director at the Grattan Institute, said the evidence for IPS being more successful was “very mixed”. “NSW has had a very centralised system and they have, essentially, the same results (as Victoria’s),” he said. �
State seeks more pre-service “academies” A
S WELL as asking Kevin Donnelly to review the Australian Curriculum, Education Minister Christopher Pyne has placed his ideological stamp on two reviews of tertiary education. Pyne’s predecessor, the former Liberal Party Victoria president David Kemp, is conducting a two-month review of demand-driven university funding, while Pyne has pre-empted a review of teacher training courses this year by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency by announcing he will select his own advisory group. Pyne’s plans for teacher training include loosening entry requirements for “smart” people and a national exam to assess graduates’ readiness for registration. AITSL is developing a tool to help universities identify whether their teaching students need literacy and numeracy support. In Victoria, the DEECD is seeking
expressions of interest from schools and teacher-training universities to establish five new pre-service teacher education centres. To be known as the Teaching Academies for Professional Practice, the centres will supplement seven existing School Centres for Teaching Excellence. Funding available to successful applicants and existing centres totals $1.6 million. Like SCTEs, the academies will exist as a partnership of universities and schools providing pre-service teacher (PST) education. Unlike the traditional studentteacher placement model, the SCTE model sees a large group of PSTs assigned to one school at which they spend more time during the year — part of an international trend towards more extensive and intensive in-school placements.
The SCTEs employ individuals to manage the trainee teachers and be the conduit between participating schools and universities, who share the cost of their salary. Schools provide teachers to mentor individual PSTs. It’s still a very big job for
participating schools. Fifty schools and six universities are now involved but the initiative is a small share of Victoria’s cohort. Finding sufficient placements for thousands of trainee teachers each year remains problematic. �
Kellee Nolan AEU News
PROGRAM in Melbourne’s west is supporting state secondary school and university students to continue and complete their education. Western Chances identifies students in the western region who have a talent, or goals, but face barriers to fulfilling them. It provides them with assistance such as laptops, musical instruments, travel cards or textbooks, or other resources students need to continue their education. Founded in 2004 by former teacher Terry Bracks, a western suburbs woman who is the wife of former premier Steve Bracks, Western Chances has now helped almost 2000 students. Bracks says that many recipients have gone on to graduate from high
school and university, when they otherwise might have not. “A lot of them say it made a huge difference, not just the financial support … having an outside organisation believe in them just made them think, ‘I really want to do well because that group has believed in me and assisted me’.” Bracks’ words are echoed by Kurunjang Secondary College support officer Christine Warke, in Melton, on Melbourne’s fringe, who has nominated many students for Western Chances scholarships. “It’s made a huge difference to our school over the last 10 years or so,” Warke says. “We’ve got students graduating in many areas who would not have got as far as they have without Western Chances.” She says the scholarships change
students’ outlooks, instilling the belief in them that achieving is the norm. “We are giving them the idea that, yes, you can succeed and you need to succeed.” There is also a flow-on effect, with scholarship recipients often volunteering at Breakfast Club homework sessions and with other community groups. Their success inspires others to achieve. “It has an impact on siblings, on friends, to see that those young people are achieving,” Bracks says. “The young people we assist, some of their stories are extraordinary, and they are extraordinary young people.” Bracks says many of the students are independent, finishing school without family support, often because they are refugees or have difficult family circumstances. The western
Expressions of interest are invited from financial members interested in being an AEU delegate to the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) or Regional Labour Councils. The following vacancies have to be filled: VTHC 19 Bendigo 4 Ballarat 4 Geelong 7 Gippsland 4 Goulburn Valley 4 North East & Border 4 South West 4 Mallee Murray 4 Expressions of interest in writing or via email should be submitted by 4pm, Wednesday, 19 March 2014 to: John Cassidy, AEU Victoria Branch, 112 Trenerry Crescent, PO Box 363, Abbotsford, 3067. Fax (03) 9417 6198. Email: email@example.com
Great deals for new wheels
With New, Used and Green options, our Car Loan range offers you a great choice. n n n
Highly competitive rates - fixed or variable. No service fees. Free redraw (minimum $500). Pre-approval. And more!
To find out more or apply: Call 1300 654 822. Visit victeach.com.au. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. 1. Promotional fixed interest rates available for loan applications received between 2 December 2013 – 28 February 2014 and funded by 30 June 2014. Interest rate effective 2 December 2013 and correct at time of printing. Interest rate subject to change. Check website for current rates. 2. Comparison rate calculated on a secured loan amount of $30,000 for a term of five years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the example given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees and other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Fees and charges apply. Terms and Conditions available upon request. Victoria Teachers Limited, ABN 44 087 651 769, AFSL/Australian Credit Licence Number 240 960.
aeu news | february 2014
suburbs are home to many refugee families, and include some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged local government areas. Local councils and community organisations are supporting the program, including Melbourne Airport and the AFL Western Bulldogs. Having given more than $2.8 million worth of assistance in 10 years, Western Chances is constantly looking to raise more money. It has started a direct debit campaign for people to donate monthly and provide the program with a consistent income. Bracks says Western Chances can also offer guidance to others wishing to start similar groups in their local areas. Find out more at www.westernchances.org.au. �
TRADES HALL & LABOUR COUNCILS AEU DELEGATES 2014
Oliver is starting a music degree at NMIT thanks to support from Western Chances.
Green Car Loan
5 Year Fixed Rate $90 establishment fee
1 % p.a. 2
Preschool reforms at risk
Give schools the full six years!
Sian Watkins AEU News
Kellee Nolan AEU News
A federal inquiry into early childhood education looks like a pretext for watering down qualifications and child/staff ratio requirements.
HE Abbott Government’s desire to make childcare cheaper and more flexible suggests it is more interested in aiding private operators than in supporting the vital preschool reforms already underway, the AEU has told an inquiry. The AEU’s submission to the Productivity Commission (PC) inquiry into childcare and early childhood learning says conclusive research on the benefits of investing in the sector proves there should be no trade-off between quality and cost. Watering down educator qualifications and raising staff-child ratios “would be in the interests of private operators, rather than the development and learning needs of our children”, the AEU submission says. Research shows quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education and employment outcomes later in life. The Government is challenging reforms introduced from 2009 under the National Quality
Framework designed to improve the quality and consistency of early years education and care. It has asked the PC to suggest ways of making childcare more affordable (within “existing funding parameters”) and to report on the effects the National Quality Framework has had on the childcare sector. It has referred to “burdensome” red tape and compliance costs. The AEU submission says it is a federal government responsibility “to ensure sufficient funding and support to meet the full requirements of the NQF; that the profit motive is incompatible with governments’ primary obligations to deliver quality education for all children, including early childhood education.” OECD Education at a Glance data shows that Australia’s expenditure on early childhood education and care is low by international standards, while a report by The Economist ranked Australia 28th out of 45 OECD countries in terms of their availability, accessibility and quality. AEU vice-president Shayne Quinn said
requirements for higher qualifications and reduced staff-to-child ratios were crucial to achieving better education and care. “Yet it is these key components of quality that the policy seeks to postpone, water down or potentially remove.” The AEU urges EC members to make a submission to the inquiry. The PC will deliver a draft report in early July and final report on October 31. Find out more and make a submission at www.pc.gov.au/ projects/inquiry/childcare. At last — VIT registration Early childhood teachers will have to register with the Victorian Institute of Teaching from September next year — fulfilling a longstanding AEU goal. The change is part of the Government’s response to the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children inquiry and will require legislation. EC teachers will also be legally required to report any concerns of child abuse or neglect. More information will be sent to members shortly. �
Disability team’s back pay win
Caution over NDIS impact
EU members at Knoxbrooke disability day service have secured thousands of dollars in back pay owed from the equal pay case, after the union stepped in. The back pay follows the historic equal pay case won by unions in 2012. The team at the Ferntree Gully service will typically get $1000 to $1500 each. Many AEU members in disability day services are starting to see the benefits of the union’s equal pay win at Fair Work Australia (FWA) in 2012. The FWA decision increased wages in the social and community services sector, including in disability day services. But given the complex range of existing pay rates in the sector, the AEU is working closely with members to ensure they get their entitlements — including back pay. AEU disability organiser Kerry Maher worked with Knoxbrooke management to see members got the pay rise they were due in December, and followed up with a request for back pay owed from July 2013’s pay rise. “This is evidence that this FWA case is going to deliver higher wages for our members in disability day services,” Maher said. “All the hard work the union did with its members’ support is clearly paying off.” The equal pay decision gives members legislated pay rises until 2020. Any disability day service member who is unsure about their new pay rate or entitlement to back pay should contact their AEU organiser, or call the union on 9417 2822. Maher added: “We can only assist AEU members so if you know of colleagues who are not members, please invite them to join.” �
— Kellee Nolan AEU News
aeu news | february 2014
S THE National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rolls out in Victoria’s Barwon region, the AEU is working to ensure members’ rights in disability day services are not eroded. AEU deputy VP Jen Walsh says workplaces should not use the NDIS transition to casualise jobs or cut hours or entitlements such as annual leave. She says it is crucial that state and federal governments monitor and regulate day service providers to ensure service quality remains high. Governments must also ensure that the individual support packages granted to NDIS clients are properly funded to cover workers’ negotiated wage levels. The AEU has already been in talks with two Victorian centres that tried to cut annual leave from six to four weeks, citing transition to the NDIS. It is also wary of workplaces attempting to pay workers only for billable contact hours with clients. Walsh says agreements provide for workers to be paid for non-contact hours to allow them to complete paperwork, liaise with families and other tasks. “Any members worried about work conditions being altered due to the NDIS roll-out should contact their organiser,” Walsh said. “It is also a good time to invite colleagues who aren’t members to join to ensure a strong collective presence.” Disability plan AEU organisers will visit disability day services in Term 1 to discuss the NDIS changes with members. To book a visit, call (03)9417 2822 or 1800 013 387. �
— Kellee Nolan AEU News
It’s time to tell the Federal Government to give schools the full six years of Gonski funding.
HE Gonksi campaign has hit the road again. With the federal Coalition refusing to commit to the full six years of Gonski funding for Australia’s schools, it is vital to keep the campaign firing. Four new Gonski vans are travelling the breadth of the country, garnering support to fight for the full six years of funding. The vans set off from Hobart, Darwin, Perth and Brisbane on February 10 and will converge on Canberra on March 18 to deliver the Abbott Government a strong message on Gonski — Give schools the full six years! Like other states, Victoria has a lot to lose in this battle. In a signed deal, the former Labor federal government vowed to give Victoria an extra $2.5 billion for its schools during 2014–19; about twothirds of that was to be delivered in the last two years.
Find out when the Gonski vans are due in your area at www.igiveagonski.com. au/roadtrip. But the Abbott Government says it will deliver only the money promised in the first four years despite its election claim to be on a “unity ticket” with Labor. Of the federal money promised in the first four years, only a third is new money.
Victorian schools need strong community support to tell Canberra loud and clear to deliver the legally committed $2.5 billion in funding. The Napthine Government has said it expects the Abbott Government to come good on the funding agreement. The AEU supports Napthine in his demands. Three Gonski vans will travel through Victoria. Fitted out with campaign information and materials, they will raise the campaign’s public profile in the lead-up to May’s state and federal budgets. AEU Vic deputy VP Briley Duncan said: “It’s crucial that the vans get strong community support. The more people who go along to support them, the more visible and prominent the campaign will become. “There is so much at stake for our schools — we need the full six years of Gonski funding to give all our students equal access to a great education.” �
Where’s the money gone? Coalition claims that it has pumped record billions into education have left principals perplexed and angry. Sian Watkins AEU News
EN Robinson became incensed listening to state Treasurer Michael O’Brien boast on ABC radio last month about the record billions the State Government was spending on education this year. Robinson called Jon Faine on ABC 774 to put the record straight. Despite great anticipation about promised Gonski funding this year, many Victorian government schools, unlike those in NSW, were still unclear about how much they would get — if anything. Robinson is principal of Cranbourne Secondary School. With about 1300 students, a significant proportion from disadvantaged families, its funding has been cut by nearly $400,000 a year since the Coalition was elected in late 2010. Cranbourne SC’s small funding increase this year was not identified as Gonski funding. Some of it was to cover school staff wage rises and the rest — $18,000 or just $14 a student — was “extra” low-SES funding. Robinson is not alone. Glennis Pitches, AEU
principals organiser, said funding had been high on the list of concerns for school leaders at the end of last year. Concerns that their budgets for 2014 did not reflect the new schools agreement were followed by “outrage on receiving their indicative Gonski funding for 2014,” she said. One school got just $650, others barely $1000. And unlike NSW, schools have no indication of what their funding will be in the following years. The Education Department’s December 12 notification implied that the State Government is giving its schools $23 million this year in Gonski funding, but $7m of it is to cover school staff wage rises. NSW has allocated $100m in extra funding, distributed by way of loadings for socio-economic and Indigenous disadvantage. Ken Robinson’s appearance on Faine prompted an indignant Education Minister Martin Dixon to call in and say Cranbourne’s funding had increased this year. Calling a second time, he said the school had $1m in the bank — plenty in reserve. As an ex-principal he knew how school budgets worked.
Mr Robinson was back on Faine’s show the next day to again set the record straight, itemising lineby-line how the $1m was committed to expenses including student levies, camp fees, equipment, building costs, December’s bills, and future refurbishments. Nearly $200,000 was held on behalf of the local theatre group. Mr Robinson (pictured above) said that $18,000 was not enough to provide significant help for students with poor literacy and numeracy, or to replace his psychologist or to maintain learning programs paid for with National Partnerships grants that Gonski funding was meant to replace. The school has 100 students for whom English is their second language. Many are Afghans who arrived in Australia with no English. Some are working up to 35 hours a week to pay their rent and school costs. Many have no parents or family alive or in the country. Some have spent many months on Christmas Island and immigration detention centres around the country. �
Teachers silenced in VIT overhaul
Time to revive TAFE The TAFE4All campaign is gearing up to put the plight of TAFEs front and centre in this year’s state election. Kellee Nolan AEU News
aeu news | february 2014
Photo: Darren Tindale
N 2010, the cost of a government-subsidised place on a Victorian TAFE diploma course was at most $2000 a year. In 2014, at one Melbourne TAFE, it is up to $10,160 a year. At the same TAFE, a government-subsidised Victorian TAFE Certificate III or IV course has risen from $1000 to $5,365 a year. These are some of the impacts on students of the Coalition Government ripping more than $300 million a year for four years from the TAFE sector. The cut includes about $140m in subsidies that TAFEs used to get for providing services such as libraries and welfare officers, and about $160m promised to cover teacher salary increases already negotiated through EBAs. Further cuts to course subsidies have followed. Combined, the cuts have led many TAFE course fees to rise through the roof, enrolment rates to fall, courses to be dropped and campuses to close. Thousands of teachers and other staff have lost their jobs. The effects can be life-changing in country areas, where students often have no comparable study options close by. In one example of many, Bendigo TAFE last year announced the closure of mining, bricklaying and furniture-making courses and made 47 positions redundant. AEU TAFE vice president Greg Barclay says campus and course closures are appalling on two levels. “It cost-shifts to the student because they’ve got to relocate and pay travel, accommodation, all of those types of things, which on an apprentice’s wages would be a huge challenge anyway,” he says. “The other damaging long-term effect is that it reduces the capacity of local economies and communities to train people for their local industries.” Swinburne TAFE and university student Amie Watson knows first-hand what it is like when a TAFE campus closes. She was studying at Swinburne Lilydale, which closed last July, forcing more than 2500 students to switch campus or drop out. It was part of a restructure that cost 240 jobs. Watson, living with her parents in Healesville and faced with an impossible commute, had to leave home to find an apartment and job in Hawthorn, so that she could continue her studies at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus.
Amie Watson was forced to move after the Swinburne Lilydale TAFE and university campus closed last year.
Watson, who chaired the Lilydale students’ union, knows others who dropped out because of the closure. Lilydale had also provided VET and VCAL options for local high schools. Watson is angry that people living in Melbourne’s north-eastern fringe, already a low socio-economic area, now have fewer opportunities to study. “People who want to re-enter studies or re-skill themselves, the young people who are forced to go into full-time employment because they don’t have the opportunity any more… people don’t have the time or the money to travel that far,” she says. The effect of subsidy cuts on TAFE teachers has also been harsh. The AEU estimates there have been about 2600 TAFE teacher job losses in the past 18 months. The Coalition cuts have been brutal but the ground for them was laid by the former Labor government’s Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) policy, introduced in 2008. Prior to this, most government subsidies for VET had been reserved for TAFE places, with private providers tendering for the rest. The VTG opened up all government-subsidised places to private operators, forcing TAFEs to compete for funding and students. The Government also uncapped the overall number of subsidised places, leading to a 75% increase in enrolments, from 381,300 to 670,400, in four years. “It resulted in an explosion of private providers who cherry-picked all of the low cost, high turnover
courses,” Barclay says. “And so the state blew its budget by about $400 million and the Coalition decided to take the money out of TAFEs in its 2012 cuts, to try to fill the black hole it had created.” Barclay says the pressure will be on the Government and the Opposition to present the community with a much better deal for TAFE. The AEU will continue to push for a public inquiry into the VET crisis including the impact on accessibility and equity, the quality of education and training, and the impact on local economies and training opportunities in country areas. “The Government also needs to properly fund TAFEs and not force them to operate like private providers,” Barclay said. “Our state needs a public provider of vocational and educational training, which holds the public interest at its heart, not the need to make a private profit.” He says it will be a big year for TAFE and urges the thousands of teachers, students and community supporters to support the TAFE4All campaign. The next phase of the TAFE4All campaign will be launched in March. Watson says there is still a lot of public anger over what has happened to TAFEs. “Education is one thing that can change your life,” she says. “The Government is making TAFE so inaccessible to so many people. “Even that $1000 increase is a lot for some people. It can be the deciding factor between being able to study or not.” �
NEW SOUTH WALES NSW Teachers Federation has condemned a suggestion by Australian Curriculum reviewer Kevin Donnelly that only heterosexual teachers should be allowed to teach sex education. In his 2004 book Why Our Schools Are Failing, Kevin Donnelly questions whether gays and lesbians should teach sex ed, saying “many parents would consider the sexual practices of gays, lesbians and transgender individuals decidedly unnatural and that such groups have a greater risk in terms of transmitting STDs and AIDS”. Federation president Maurie Mulheron said the statements were cringe-worthy. “Why did Christopher Pyne choose someone with such extreme opinions to review the national school curriculum?” NORTHERN TERRITORY A DRAFT review of Indigenous education in NT has recommended the explicit teaching of English to primary school children and that secondary education should, with a few exceptions, be delivered in the territory’s towns (including Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek) with boarding for remote students. Huge sums spent delivering secondary education in remote areas had failed to improve students’ literacy and numeracy in the past 10 years, Bruce Wilson’s report says. It adds that the education system is limited in what it can achieve for young Indigenous people given the substantial disadvantages they face, including health, social conditions, nutrition, developmental difficulties, non-English speaking backgrounds and low levels of adult education. Wilson says the Australian Curriculum should be implemented in NT bush schools only in English and mathematics during the first four years of school until satisfactory literacy and numeracy levels are achieved. Read the draft report at bit.ly/1ekwnwJ (PDF). �
A State Government plan to abolish teachers’ rights to elect VIT council members is an affront to teachers, the AEU says. Kellee Nolan AEU News
ictorian teachers’ right to elect fellow teachers to the council of the teachers’ registration body will be abolished under a Bill before Parliament. The State Coalition Government has introduced the bill to amend the Education and Training Reform Act, removing the right of teachers to elect members of the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) council. The bill also contains a plan to introduce a Register of Disciplinary Action, which will keep records of any sanctions recorded against teachers for five years. AEU deputy president Justin Mullaly said the changes were an affront to teachers. They would lose the right to be represented by elected peers, while potentially having sanctions recorded against them “long after any problems have been rectified and resolved”, he said. “It’s unclear what the benefit is, as these matters are already recorded on the VIT Register and in the record of formal hearings.” Mullaly said the Government’s move to appoint all 12 members of the VIT council was a chance for it to “disempower teachers and principals by not giving them a direct voice in the council that has responsibility for their registration”. “There are well over 100,000 registered teachers, of
which about 70,000 are currently employed so we could have people who are not actively employed dominating the council.” The AEU does support plans to extend registration to early childhood educators and greater consistency of criminal record checks which are contaned in the bill. VIT council currently comprises a mix of teachers, principals, academics, parents and a departmental officer. The majority are practising teachers from government, Catholic and independent schools. Six council positions are currently elected by the profession, five are appointed by the Education Minister and the final member is the DEECD Secretary, or their nominee. The 2008 King Review of the VIT recommended that councillors be selected based on the skills and experience required to direct the strategy and operations of VIT. In its New Directions to Action policy paper, the Government says that “given our reform agenda, it is timely to reconsider this recommendation”. Mullaly says the Government already has the capacity to appoint experts in its five appointments and that it is offensive to teachers to say it is necessary to look outside their ranks for the required expertise to run the board. At the time of going to print, the AEU council was set to meet to form its response to the proposed amendments. �
Providing the personal touch at Baden Powell
aden Powell College Tarneit campus AEU rep Carol Jones says the personal touch is her secret to increasing union membership. Jones has been the AEU rep at the rapidly growing P–9 college campus for about four years and in that time has lifted membership from about 60 to 130. “I find the personal approach always works best,” Jones told AEU News. “At the start of every year I go and introduce myself to new staff, with a membership form in my hand, especially the graduates, and it has increased membership dramatically, just through that personal approach.” Carol Jones Jones is a secondary teachers’ assistant. AEU organiser Meaghan Flack says Jones has Baden Powell College been “magnificent” in her union rep role, activating staff at the large school and setting up a highly organised system. “Carol consults really well. She has a good relationship with the principal and she looks after her members really well, she’s fantastic,” Flack says. Carol has set herself the goal this year of recruiting 10 new ES members — the group she says often least understands the benefits of membership. “I don’t think you should step foot in a classroom without having some sort of union support behind you.”�
Nominate your REP!
Does your school or workplace AEU Rep deserve special recognition? Email email@example.com telling us who you’re nominating and why. The Rep of the Month receives a limited edition AEU leather briefcase.
� � � � � � � � � � � � �
� � � � A state election in November puts the Coalition’s cuts firmly in the spotlight in another busy campaigning year for AEU members. Sian Watkins reports.
The year ahead
RAWING public attention to the unprecedented devaluing of public education and teaching will be central to the AEU’s campaigning effort before November’s state election. In the wake of massive cuts to schools and TAFE funding and staff cuts, and a determined attempt by the Government to impose an arbitrary performance system in schools, the union will seek the support of school staff and communities to make public education the central issue in the election. The union will campaign in electorates in regional cities and in Melbourne’s south-eastern “sandbelt” suburbs. It will also draw attention to the significant impact of TAFE funding and staff cuts, particularly in regional Victoria. Gonski campaign hits the road Kicking off the year as part of the Gonski campaign for better funding, four vans are crossing the nation to demand that the Abbott Federal Government deliver the full six years of the funding deal signed up to by the Victorian Government. Three of the four vans are passing through Victoria, where the AEU continues to demand that the State Government reveal the amount of additional Gonski funding it is distributing to schools this year and that it set aside money in its May budget for the fifth year of the funding deal, as it vowed to do in its deal with the Commonwealth last year.
Under the funding deal that arose out of the Gonski review, Victoria vowed to spend an extra $1.3bn on education between 2014–19 and to increase its existing education budget by at least 3% a year from 2016. The Commonwealth vowed to give Victoria an extra $2.5bn for schools between 2014–19, the bulk of it in the final two years. But the Abbott Government says it will deliver only the money promised in the first four years — less than one third of the six-year total. The AEU wants Victoria to insist that the Abbott Government fund the full six years. AEU Vic president Meredith Peace said that any failure by the State Government to set aside money for years five and six “would make the issue central to the AEU’s state election campaign”. The NSW Government’s transparency about how much, when and how it will distribute Gonski funding to its schools is in stark contrast to the Napthine Government’s secrecy. (Precise information about NSW’s funding allocation model and how much each school will receive is available on the NSW Government website at bit.ly/1iJQ3ia.) The four vans are marked with colourful Gonski livery to draw public attention to the importance of all governments committing to the Gonski funding deal. Emblazoned with the messages “Gonski: Our Kids Are Worth It” and “Resources get Results”, the vans will take in rallies, street stalls, letterboxing and visits to schools, markets and country shows. School funding inquiry The AEU will make a submission to the Federal Senate select committee on school funding that will report on or before May 13. The AEU urges schools to make their own two-page submission to the inquiry on the improvements that extra, needs-based funding would make to learning in their schools. Submissions should be made by March 21 through the I Give A Gonski website — www. igiveagonski.com.au. Chaired by Labor senator Jacinta Collins, the committee will report on the development and implementation of the new national school funding arrangements.
aeu news |february 2014
Agreement campaigns Members in the TAFE and early childhood sectors are and will be campaigning for new agreements this year. TAFE Agreement negotiations will coincide with a union push to pressure both major parties to restore TAFE funding to ensure the system can offer sound, quality training for Victorian vocational students. Leading up to the May state budget, the AEU is calling for restored funding and a public inquiry into the VET sector to examine the impact of government’s policy and the severe TAFE budget cuts. The AEU is negotiating new EBAs for early childhood members and challenging the Abbott Government’s attempt to water down reforms designed to improve the quality and consistency of early learning and care. The Federal Government has ordered the Productivity Commission to report, by late October, on ways to make childcare more affordable, reduce “burdensome red tape” and compliance costs. The AEU has made a submission to the inquiry and urges preschool members to do likewise. The Productivity Commission’s report “must be filled with the voices of those who believe early childhood education and care is not a market but a critical contribution to the life chances of Australia’s young children”, says Shayne Quinn, AEU vice president, early childhood. To make a submission, go to www.pc.gov.au/ projects/inquiry/childcare.
State budget The AEU’s submission to the May state budget indicates what we will be asking of candidates at the November election. Among its recommendations it urges the Government to: • Fund schools in a way that enables them to reduce class sizes and deliver more teaching and student welfare support • At least double its present capital infrastructure spending • Reverse its 2011 cuts to VCAL funding • Increase VET in Schools (VETiS) funding to help schools cover increasing costs. The Government must do more to attract and retain specialist teachers in primary schools, such as music and language teachers, the submission says, and should reintroduce literacy and numeracy support officers, Koorie support officers and Reading Recovery tutors. It should also reverse staff cuts to regional offices, which delivered valuable professional and administrative support to schools, and significantly increase access to professional development for teachers, principals and ES. The union also calls on the State Government to establish an accurate register of asbestos in schools and prioritise its removal. In the TAFE sector, the Government is urged to: • Reverse its 2012 cuts and reinstate TAFE’s service provider funding • Set up a public review of the state’s VET system and articulate the place of TAFE in it • Rescind full contestability for VET subsidies, which has proven to be costly and inefficient • Prescribe minimum, enforceable standards for VET teaching and learning, VET teaching qualifications, and delivery of governmentsubsidised training. In the early childhood sector, the AEU urges the Government to: • Spend more to attract and retain staff and improve infrastructure, particularly in growth corridors, to ensure that all Victorian children have access to kindergarten • Ensure that teachers and support staff get regular and consistent PD, and improved ICT and ICT support • Fund more preschool field officers. �
Timeline SS February
Gonski vans arrive in Victoria on a national road trip to engage local communities in the fight to ensure the final, all-important two years of Better Schools (Gonski) funding is delivered.
Our Gonski vans arrive in Canberra on March 18. Schools urged to make a two-page submission to the Senate select committee on the implementation of the Gonski funding before the March 21 deadline.
SS May 1
Intended start date of proposed new performance and development system in Victorian government schools.
SS May 6
State budget delivered.
SS May 13
Federal budget, and Senate select committee reports on implementation of new school funding system.
Productivity Commission draft report on childcare and early childhood learning.
SS October 31
Productivity Commission final report on childcare and early childhood learning.
SS November 29 State election.
The Coalition believes it can improve students’ performance by rewriting the curriculum. Kellee Nolan reports.
resh from his Gonski debacle of 2013, Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has popped back up bright and early in the New Year. Undaunted by the confusion he created for himself, his government, states and schools around the country by scrapping Gonski only to reinstate it amid public outcry, Pyne was one of the first ministers to reappear after the Christmas break. This time it was to announce a review of the national curriculum by arch-conservative education commentator Kevin Donnelly and academic Ken Wiltshire. Pyne’s review was part of the Coalition’s education policy released before last year’s election. Donnelly and Wiltshire will review a national curriculum that is barely completed, let alone implemented. The Prep–Year 10 English, maths, science and history curriculum emerged from five years of independent consultation with experts across the country. It has been taught in the ACT since 2011, and in South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory since 2012. Victoria began the transition last year and NSW is introducing it this year. Other Prep–Year 10 curriculum areas have been completed, but not
aeu news |february 2014
Out with the new, in with the old?
yet endorsed for implementation by the council of education ministers. Federal shadow education minister Kate Ellis called claims of the curriculum’s failure “ridiculously premature” while AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos noted it had been signed off by every single state and territory education minister — including Coalition ministers. And he warned: “We don’t want to see a return to the culture wars. We certainly don’t want to see the politicisation of the national curriculum.” Pyne has said he wants an objective review; but both his panellists have been staunch critics of the new curriculum. Wiltshire is Professor of Public Administration at the University of Queensland Business School. He has specialised in governance and public policy and chaired the 1994 Queensland school curriculum review for the Goss Labor government (and later accused Kevin Rudd of sabotaging its recommendations). Wiltshire criticised the national curriculum last year in The Australian, saying its content was “poor and patchy and has been condemned by experts in just about every discipline, [with] no apparent values serving as its foundation”. Kevin Donnelly established and runs the Education Standards Institute and is one of Australia’s most vocal and conservative education commentators. His articles take frequent aim at the AEU and what he calls the “cultural left”. Donnelly’s views on the new curriculum are clear. In 2012 he said it was no secret that under Labor governments “schools have also been forced to adopt a politically correct, dumbed-down curriculum that ignores the basics and that preaches a politically correct view of subjects like English and history.” In 2011 he asked: “Instead of Asia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, why not define the curriculum in terms of Australia’s Western heritage and Judeo-Christian tradition?” When announcing the review, Pyne questioned whether the three curriculum themes of Australia’s place in Asia, Indigenous Australia and sustainability “fit with maths and science”. Even so, Pyne says the review “is a very objective process” and that he is “very confident that its outcome will be objective and fair”. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) chairman Barry McGaw told Crikey that the issue of the three themes had been misrepresented, as those areas were only to be addressed where relevant and barely covered, if at all, in courses such as maths.
He also said that the curriculum involved a back-to-basics approach to English, with a stronger emphasis on grammar. McGaw says experts developed each learning area in the national curriculum over a two to threeyear period. The independent process included input and review by state and territory education bodies, along with teacher and industry professional associations. But the Coalition education policy claims the curriculum was politicised under Labor. “The national curriculum contains two references to trade unions, four references to progressive ideas and associated movements, and the only prime minister to be explicitly referenced is John Curtin. There is no mention of conservative parties in the curriculum,” it states. Asked if he could have appointed people to the review with more varied opinions, Pyne said that a larger committee would be “harder to manage and come up with a report that tries to please everyone”. “That isn’t the objective of this review,” he said. “The objective of this review is to turn out a robust curriculum, a good curriculum that improves the
Curriculum review The review will evaluate the development and implementation of the new Australian Curriculum and consider its robustness, independence and balance. The panel, consisting of academic Ken Wiltshire and education commentator Kevin Donnelly, will submit a preliminary report to Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne by March 31 and give its final report by July 31. Pyne announced the review on January 10; public submissions close on February 28. The Government is expected to discuss proposed changes with states and territories after receiving the final report. Pyne wants to implement changes next year.
results of our students. It’s not a political exercise so everybody ends up having a piece of the curriculum. I haven’t appointed a committee that tries to please everybody.” Within days of Pyne’s announcement, Donnelly hit the airwaves saying education should be pared back to basics instead of teaching “edgy babble”. AEU Victorian president Meredith Peace says the national curriculum “was developed through a far more independent process than this review will provide”. “This review smacks of a government trying to insert its own political views into the classroom.” Pyne will receive the panel’s recommendations in mid-July but it is still up to the states to decide whether they implement any suggested changes. Historian Stuart Macintyre, lead author of the national history curriculum, thinks they will not be interested. He told Crikey that ACARA used a consultation process that was “almost interminable” and that state governments would likely be unwilling to further tinker with the model. “All Pyne has to force their hand is the traditional funding blackmail card, but he has already criticised federal command and control of education,” Macintyre said. So Pyne’s review may all be much ado about nothing. As he likes to say, state governments are adults and he will not dictate to them how they should run their schools. However, he has also said that he hopes to work with the states and territories with a view to implementing curriculum changes next year. Pyne has leant on international data to couch his review in the context of Australian students “going backwards”. Peace says this ignores aspects of OECD studies that show one of the keys to producing high-performing schooling systems is to improve equality of opportunity, and ensure that students from low socio-economic backgrounds can do just as well as those who are better off. “This is what the Gonski review addressed and is exactly what the Coalition Government is trying to unravel,” she says. The Government has at times removed the Gonski report from federal websites, does not refer to it in its education policy and has refused to commit to the full six years of equity-based funding, as formally agreed to last year by five states and territories including Victoria. “If Pyne really wants to improve Australia’s schooling outcomes, Gonski should be his priority — not some snap, ideologically motivated review of the curriculum,” Peace says. �
PIC: David Butt
Land depicts , Zucchini Clan ow sh ur ho eures of In a on mour the advent hu d an ic us m through olves from a entric, as he ev -C go E cor so es of Pr into Professor E ty si rio cu ld or stainable crotchety old-w advocate for su ed en ht lig en an Centric, communities. has been professor, who The kooky old ky apprentice s, and his chee ar ye 0 0 1 r fo ss the asleep m, stumble acro to ot eb id S s tiu ucchini Master Igna in the magical Z en re G ly Li s is an interactive enchanting M the audience in g in lv vo in , nd eness and Clan La discovery, awar lfse of y ne ur musical jo ore about acceptance. in finding out m ed st re te in ls oo Sch k out show can chec nd La n la C i in or the Zucch hini-clan.com cc u z at te si eb the band’s w m. firstname.lastname@example.org email zucchini.
L-R Jamie Antonio, Madeline Hudson and Adam Gooderham make up the Zucchini Clan.
From greenies to zucchinis
A family friendly band with a positive message grew from the inspiration one teacher found in a tiny class of prep students. Kellee Nolan AEU News
N UNPLANNED music lesson at a tiny school in a remote logging town led to a band that encourages school kids to care for the planet and their communities. Zucchini Clan was founded by teacher and musician Jamie Antonio in 2006, after he fronted a prep grade of just three students for a music lesson at Goongerah P–8 School. The school has about 12 students, and is tucked away in a remote part of Victoria’s East Gippsland forest region, about an hour’s drive north of Orbost. “I had an hour, three preps and nothing really planned and so I just asked the kids if anything interesting had happened over the school holidays,”
aeu news |february 2014
Antonio told AEU News. Guitar in hand, he strummed a tune to the students’ stories, and two songs, Happy Puppy and Tooth Faery emerged. They soon became favourites in the classroom and Antonio went on to record them with friends from bands he had played with in Melbourne. Eventually he teamed up with Madeline Hudson, a former teacher’s aide and radio announcer on 3CR, and fellow primary teacher Adam Gooderham to form Zucchini Clan. Since then they have released an album and played a multitude of community festivals and school events around Australia, often touring in their enviro-friendly, vegie oil-powered bus. This year they plan to tour primary schools across Victoria with a new show called Zucchini Clan
Land, which follows the humorous journey of an eccentric old-world professor, while promoting the values of sustainable, positive communities. Antonio said it was a natural progression for the band to come up with songs and a show focused on protecting the environment and caring for communities. Their friendship goes back to their days of forest activism in the Goongerah region, tucked between the Erinundra and Snowy River national parks. An old logging town, Goongerah has also been the scene of many anti-logging protests over the years. “We always had that interest,” he said. “We want to empower kids to peacefully care for the planet and care for each other, and it’s about communities developing a positive can-do spirit.”
Zucchini Clan is also not the first green prodigy to come from Goongerah P–8, one of Victoria’s smallest and most isolated schools. Past students include current PIC: Richard Greens senator Sarah Clarke Hanson-Young. The band’s debut album, Wildlife, features songs such as Log Trux, Little Black Fly and Seasons. “Log Trux was another song I wrote and the kids always requested Log Trux and that’s quite pertinent to this area,” Antonio says. “From the Goongerah school we could all see the log trucks coming down the road with loads of old trees from our most precious forests every day.” Seasons is about people growing food in their gardens, while Antonio says the single, Wildlife, seems to inspire kids of all ages to pretend they are the Australian animals in the song. New songs include Solar Power, about using alternative energy and being sun-smart, and Unique, which celebrates people of all ages developing a positive self-image and resilience.
Antonio says that as well as bringing positive messages, the band hopes to inspire children to connect with their own creative musical instincts, while having fun and a bit of a laugh. The band’s website provides the chords to all the songs to encourage children to play themselves. “We want to inspire kids to connect with their own musical side,” he says. Zucchini Clan has performed at festivals including the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Folk Rhythm and Life, Rainbow Serpent and St Kilda Festival in Victoria and festivals in Tasmania and Queensland. Antonio, who has played in several bands before, is having fun “embracing the kookiness” of his character, the Professor. “It’s interesting because whilst I never set out to do a kids’ band, Zucchini Clan is the best fun I’ve had in a band. It’s very liberating and I’m really enjoying the journey.” �
Changing hearts and minds A new website aims to give sustainability educators creative ways to inspire kids. Rachel Power reports.
East meets north
icolle Kuna believes education for sustainability should involve a wider variety of learning media to help inspire young people to take action. “Traditionally, education for sustainability has been too focused on providing information and setting out rules of behaviour. It has been about lists (what we should and shouldn’t do) and values (doing the right thing),” she says. “We are seeing ballooning health issues across western countries, despite all the ‘right’ lessons being disseminated about sugar intake. Similarly, I think we need to get away from logic and reason if we want to drive a heartfelt interest in greening up.” In her attempt to help sustainability educators find new ways to reach students, Nicolle has created converseconserve.com, a website devoted to sharing resources about new messaging styles and novel ways of inspiring people to care for the planet. “Initially it was mainly a blog, expressing my thoughts on a wide range of sustainability communication topics, but it’s developed into a site about how we, as ‘green communicators’, can be more inventive and think outside the box when expressing our environmental messages.” Building up the site over the past two years, she has recently added a page for educators, with activities to help young people engage with sustainability “on a more heartfelt and creative level”. “What we want to do is to bring about a change of heart and not simply a change of mind where behaviour is concerned. Nude food campaigns get parents and kids to lower lunchbox waste and litter around the school, but when students stop by the milk bar they are not necessarily
aeu news |february 2014
thinking about how they will dispose of the wrapper,” says Nicolle. “Behaviour theorists now accept that much of our consumer and general behaviour is not based in logic, reason or a cause-and-effect way of thinking. That’s why there’s a movement among certain sectors of the environmental community to start using a greater variety of tools to get young people to open up to green ideas.” Among the tools she promotes are competitions, games and quizzes, films, songs, performances, art and craft activities, as well as events and field trips. “Just as with educational TV shows such as Horrible Histories, teachers know they need to bring in some animation, story-telling, eco-rap and theatrics to bring sustainability lessons to life,” she says. “Educators can also throw some environmental heroes, like Enviro Man (Canadian Josh Rachlis) or other bigger name eco-celebrities, into the mix as potential role models.” Nicolle wants to see her website evolve into a multi-purpose online tool for teachers to connect with each other about what works in education for sustainability. She is currently expanding her site’s education page to include more creative games and activities for students. “While the environmental issues can depend on the geographical context, the ways we share our green messages as environmentalists and educators have common threads, themes and patterns across the globe,” she says. Also the author of eBook Green
Spin (or) Promoting the Green Message, Nicolle says she would like to work more with government and schools to see education programs catching up with societal change and the need for more creative approaches. “By adapting our eco-learning so that it’s taught at a more suggestible,
accessible level, we stand a better chance of stirring up the desired responses among young people, who are going to be the captains of this ship we call Earth into the future.” Visit converseconserve.com/ educators-page for some creative approaches to environmental education. �
Islamic Museum of Australia board member Sherene Hassan PHOTOgrapher: Darren Tindale
A new museum in Melbourne aims to showcase Islamic culture and make a positive connection with the wider community. Kellee Nolan reports.
ID you know that Muslims invented chess? It was brought to Europe from Persia in the 9th Century. The term “checkmate” came from the Persian term “Shah maat” meaning “the king is helpless” and “Rook” from the Persian word for chariot, “rukh”. This is one of many stories presented at the new Islamic Museum of Australia, opening in March in Thornbury, Melbourne’s north. It is the first of its type in Australia, and indeed, the world, according to board member Sherene Hassan. Hassan says the museum has already brought together people from Australia’s diverse Muslim communities, and will showcase Islamic achievements while providing a bridge to the wider community. “I don’t think there’s been such an exciting project, it’s really unprecedented, the opening of the first Islamic Museum in Australia, “ Hassan told AEU News. “It’s pretty phenomenal, given that there are no Islamic museums in any other country where Muslims are the minority.”
In a sparkling white new building on an old industrial site by the Merri Creek, the museum has five galleries, showcasing Islamic faith, contribution to civilisation, art, architecture and history in Australia. There is also a visiting exhibition space for Islamic contemporary artists. Hassan says the aim is to share the art and heritage of Islam with the wider community and the museum has been designed with school groups in mind. “The fact that more than 1000 words in the English language are derived from Arabic, Turkish or Persian languages is quite staggering, as well as so many of the inventions Muslims have contributed, like coffee and the camera and chess — I think that will be surprising to people.” The museum has a theatrette, workshop spaces and an outdoor courtyard. Schools can book tours and request tailored presentations and art workshops. A schools kit has also been designed to tie in with the national curriculum.
“We’ve made every attempt we can to align the museum content with the national curriculum, so it crosses over many different points in the curriculum and is certainly very relevant,” Hassan says. A schoolteacher, Hassan has conducted more than 1000 community talks about Islam, many with school groups. She says that Muslims have a lot to be proud of and the museum is a chance to present those achievements. “People usually fear the unknown and when they have an opportunity to engage with Muslims and learn more about Islam and Islamic heritage, it will give them an opportunity to really appreciate the contributions that Muslims have made to civilisation and to see Islam in a different light.” Hassan expects one of the biggest surprises to be learning about the long history of Muslims in Australia. In Australia there are Muslims from more than 70 different countries of origin, several-generation Anglo-Saxon Muslims and Indigenous Muslims.
Indonesian Muslims are known to have travelled to Australia for many centuries, trading with Aboriginal people before white settlement. “Even Muslims themselves don’t realise that these Indonesian fishermen were coming to Australia since 1650 … I think that will be quite surprising.” Then there is the history of Afghan cameleers in Australia, with the first Australian mosque built in 1861, in Maree, South Australia, a vital cameleer stopover known at one point as “Little Afghanistan”. The $10 million museum was the dream of businessman Moustafa Fahour and his wife Maysaa, also a teacher, who began the project in 2010. Moustafa’s brother, Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour, is the museum’s patron. It has been developed with a mix of state and federal funding and corporate and community sponsorship. For more information, go to www.islamicmuseum.org.au. �
Fishing for a good book
Other books recommended by AEU members: Steve Biddulph, Raising Boys Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
THE volume and standard of entries made selecting a winner a difficult task for the AEU News editorial team. As a result, we chose two runners-up alongside our winner. The winner is Ann O’Brien from Yallourn North Primary School for her piece about Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results, by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen. She won a reading pack of more than 20 new-release books to enjoy over summer. Our runners-up are Nigel Kilpatrick (Korumburra Primary School) for his piece about Tom: A Child’s Life Regained by John Embling, and Andrew Banks (Mildura Senior College) for his entry about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree Marie Clay, Literacy Lessons: Designed for Individuals Arthur Fleischmann, Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism
Hugh Mackay, The Good Listener – Better Relationships Through Better Communication Debbie Miller, Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades Anh Do, The Happiest Refugee and Refugee: My Journey from Tragedy to Comedy Roald Dahl, Matilda Gabrielle Lord, Conspiracy 365
aeu news |february 2014
Runner-up: Andrew Banks, Mildura Senior College
Fish by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen (Hyperion, 1996)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (JB Lippincott & Co, 1960)
AEU members responded enthusiastically to our Summer Reading Competition with passionate accounts of the books that have inspired you in the classroom and beyond.
Winner: Ann O’Brien, Yallourn North Primary School
Stephen R. Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Noel Pearson, Radical Hope: Education and Equality in Australia David Nyuol Vincent, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.
LTHOUGH directed at the business sector, Fish is a book about life. Its four principles of “Choose Your Attitude”, “Play”, “Be Present” and “Make Their Day”, were easy to translate to my teaching. It took only two hours to read but its messages are relevant to this day. Based on the experiences of workers in the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, the book charts the turnaround of a toxic culture in a Seattle financial institution. Mary Jane Ramirez was in charge of the third floor and had quickly come to the realisation that, although she liked the workers, the organisation deserved its reputation as “a place that sucked the life right out of you”. While on her lunch break, Mary chanced upon Pike Place, a public market. What surprised her was the fact that it was attended by well-dressed corporate workers laughing uproariously. Being curious she stopped and to her amazement saw the fishmongers throwing fish, interacting with the crowd and genuinely having fun. This became the catalyst for her journey of changing the “third floor” culture. Choose Your Attitude is the first lesson. In a school situation, you often are faced with decisions that you don’t agree with or the difficult behaviour of others. These things are often beyond your control; the only thing you can control is how you choose to behave or react. Once mastered, this is empowering and uplifting. Play was an important feature of the Pike Place Market. Throwing the fish was how the workers had fun. Often we reflect on how to make lessons more fun for students, but that is not the point. How do we have fun at work? Last year I thought it would be fun to dress up in the different eras of popular music. The result was that the students looked forward to seeing what I would be wearing and I enjoyed the challenge. Though I have to say, I was deflated when dressed in ’70s gear and one student commented that I usually dressed like that. Make Their Day basically means include others in your fun. In the fish market, it was the throwing of the fish to the customers when answering their questions. In a class it equates to how we engage our students and create memories about their learning. The final lesson is Be Present, which means include them in your decisions; don’t dismiss their questions, opinions or thoughts. If we can accomplish this, then our students will know that we care. Given that many of us have experienced toxic workplaces, and the outlook for next year is not so bright, I recommend this book. It’s one I return to. �
T DOES not matter that this text is set in America because Harper Lee’s message is universal and crosses all real, or imagined, boundaries. I read Mockingbird hot on the heels of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and, for most of that year, I conducted all my internal monologues in the voice of Jim, the slave, or the lawyer/ father Atticus Finch. The voice selected was based on whether I was depressed or optimistic. Now, more than 30 years later, I am a father (unfortunately not a lawyer) of twins. Our girl
is called Harper and our son Atticus. My wife, also a teacher of texts, often says to our children that “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”. It would be a truly beautiful thing if Harper and Atticus aspired to the moral code eschewed by Harper Lee through the central character. According to many critics, Harper Lee based the character of Atticus Finch on a combination of idiosyncrasies she saw in her father and grandfather. One of the facets of Mockingbird so meaningful to me is that, as a young person, I saw my father in similar terms as I saw Atticus: morally just and truthful. If my children live to regard
Runner-up: Nigel Kilpatrick, Korumburra Primary School
Tom: A Child’s Life Regained, by John Embling (Penguin, 1978)
ASED on the experiences of a new teacher in the western suburbs of Melbourne in the 1970s, this novel has had a big impact on my teaching. It describes the torment that some children go through each day just to get out of bed (if they have one), let alone get to school ready to learn. The home conditions described in this novel — the dysfunctional families, the violence, the unemployment and the despair — show exactly why some children can’t learn. Not that they don’t want to learn; it’s just that attending school with a happy smile and eager to research or present or discuss is not a priority. Having something nutritious to eat, having somewhere to sleep safely, having a person to whom they can talk in confidence is much more important than school. And they act out at school because of all of these factors. The main character is a teacher who took the time to get to know Tom — his past, his present — and to care about his future. He looked into Tom’s family, where he lived, how he lived, what he had to put up with, to understand why his school results were so poor.
Atticus’ judgments and morals as similar to mine I will have succeeded in my biggest task. I live in the optimistic hope (just like Atticus) that, at some stage in their life, my children will believe that, like Atticus, their father is a man of principle who puts truth and justice ahead of self-promotion; a man with talents (like shooting a rabid dog) hidden beneath the surface of mundane domesticity. It would be a beautiful thing if every student left school with Atticus’ words ringing in their ears. If we learned to understand people by taking their perspective we would surely inhabit a happier, more peaceful society, one that places less emphasis on celebrity and more on substance of character. �
Tom’s attendance, attitude, hopes and frustrations were laid bare. Tom’s distrust of someone taking an interest in him was also apparent, as was the way he reacted with learned behaviours: swearing, running away, lashing out and avoidance. His school life eventually improved due to his teacher and Tom learning that there were some things he could do to improve. He could take responsibility; he could help his impoverished family by learning enough to get through school so that he could get a job and earn money. Tom’s situation brought home to me that so many factors impinge on a child’s education, and relationships are often more important than academic results or test scores. Not everyone fits nicely into a box, a scale or a dot point on a report as Tom showed — and he is representative of many children in schools today, even though his story is 35 years old. Mistakes made in the past are still happening now, but can be prevented if we listen to children like Tom. �
aeu news I february 2014
Donnelly on …
methodology. In 2008 Donnelly re-launched his company, changing its trading name from Education Strategies to the more prestigious-sounding Education Standards Institute. Its purpose: to take on the “cultural Left” on issues such as “multiculturalism, the environment, gender and gay rights, the class war and Indigenous issues”, and campaign for an education system based on “a commitment to Christian beliefs and values”. Donnelly’s unbalanced views about the curriculum are well documented through their constant repetition in the many articles he has published. Presumably Christopher Pyne wants the national curriculum to be coloured by them. �
A four-day course for AEU women members interested in union leadership, employment or activism at sub-branch, council or regional level. Participants will have knowledge and experience with the union and have participated in training such as the Anna Stewart Memorial Program or AEU Active. All four days will be backfilled and travel and accommodation costs covered.
May 17: AEU Women’s Conference May 26–27: Days 1-2 at the AEU October 21: Day 3
Includes the role, structure and processes of unions, industrial agreements, leadership for women, speaking up and taking action, power and politics, resilience and work-life balance, and mentoring.
Contract teaching: “Forgotten is that contract teaching was introduced by the Kennett Government to stop the financial haemorrhage caused by having too many teachers in the system.” (2000)
Eight places are available. Applications close March 25. For how to apply, go to www.aeuvic.asn.au/wild. Enquiries to email@example.com or call (03)9418 4896.
Gonski: “Believe the teacher union and it [the Gonski campaign] is all about raising standards, helping disadvantaged children and supporting parents — wrong. The reality is that the AEU is driven by self-interest as more money going to government schools means more teachers and more members.” (2013) History: “The impact of the cultural Left on education has been profound. In history teaching, instead of focusing on significant historical events and figures and celebrating past milestones, the focus is on victim groups, such as women, migrants and Aborigines.” (2006)
WILD Women in Leadership Development
The Coalition has ditched a program to encourage women into school leadership.
he Napthine Government has quietly stopped the highly successful Eleanor Davis program. This development program for aspiring principals was developed in conjunction with the AEU and has run with excellent evaluations for many years. It aimed to redress the low number of women in principal positions. The Eleanor Davis program was highly sought after. Only a limited number of applicants were selected each year to undertake the formal development, intensive mentoring and school-based work involved. The program was recently cited in The Age as a factor in the recent improvement in gender balance in school leadership. However, women remain under-represented in principal positions in primary and secondary schools. The AEU is very concerned at the program’s disappearance and intends to develop and run its own program this year, with a focus on preparing women for principal roles. It will add to our growing suite of professional development for women members — see www.aeuvic.asn.au/women for more details. Union leadership The WILD program — Women in union Leadership Development — will run again this year. Last year’s pilot program was over-subscribed. Apply early — places are very limited. As part of a supportive group, you’ll learn about leadership, employment and other ways to get more involved in the AEU, and be mentored by an AEU leadership team member. We cover replacement costs for the four days of the program in May and October (see notice left).
Luke McGregor & Ronny Chieng FEATURING
The VCE: “The truth is that [the VCE] is the product of an outdated and bankrupt ideology that, as events in Eastern Europe and the USSR have proven, has been condemned to the rubbish heap of history.” (1991) The National Curriculum: “(It) treats Christianity as simply one religion among many”. (2012)
Where’s Eleanor Davis?
NATIONAL GRAND FINAL THU 3 APRIL, 1PM MELBOURNE TOWN HALL
Homosexuality: “… in recent years several education groups have sought to introduce gay, lesbian and transgender studies in the classroom and to convince schoolchildren that such practices, along with being heterosexual, are simply lifestyle choices open to all.” (2004)
Barb Jennings women’s officer
And there’s more Have a look at the AEU website or calendar to see the full range of PD options for AEU women members. You will be surprised! �
The Cronulla riots: “Nobody should condone the violence in Cronulla perpetrated by those wearing the Australian flag or the actions of young Lebanese Muslims abusing women, destroying property and burning churches. But we also need to recognise that the PC approach to teaching multiculturalism in schools in part underpins the recent violence.” (2006)
Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews. He remained there for a year. A few months after resigning, he approached the Howard Government with the idea of producing a report on the primary school curriculum in each state. The Government agreed and his company was awarded an $80,000 contract. The Clerk of the Senate at the time, Harry Evans, said the Donnelly case raised concerns about whether former staffers should be able to enter a “revolving door” into government contract work. The report heavily criticised and ranked each state’s curriculum and was itself condemned as a political exercise and clear waste of government money. Ken Rowe, then research director at ACER, said that there was “no science behind” Donnelly’s
BO $1 T OK 3.5 IX NO 0 F $1 W OR 5 !
T HAS taken Christopher Pyne less than six months to confirm just how unsuited he is to the role of Federal Minister for Education. He has taken the Coalition Government’s flawed policies and made them even worse through his ham-fisted implementation. After his chaotic attempt to undo the Gonski reforms — resulting in a humiliating back-down, an early poll shock for his government and a general impression of incompetence and deceit — he used the January school holidays to announce a review of the half-completed Australian curriculum to ensure that it is “balanced” and not captured by “those pursuing political or narrow agendas”. He then appointed as one of two reviewers, the winner of the gold medal for the least balanced voice in education — Kevin Donnelly. Donnelly has been a long-time factional warrior in the battle for ideas in schooling. His agenda has always been narrow and political. He has carried out his own 30-year war against what he sees as the “leftists” who oppose his ideas. Prominent in his list of “cultural-Left” opponents are the AEU (his particular bête noire), all Labor state and federal governments, all education bureaucracies, subject associations, most teacher education academics, the ABC, the Fairfax Press and even people like businessman David Gonski (who had the temerity to propose that public schools needed the lion’s share of additional funding). Donnelly has written about his long involvement with the right-wing Institute of Public Affairs and how he “advised” Don Hayward when the latter was the Victorian Liberal Opposition spokesperson on education. Hayward became Jeff Kennett’s Minister for Education and was responsible for eliminating 8000 teaching positions and 350 government schools. In 1994 Donnelly set up his private company Impetus Consultants Ltd, owned by the K Donnelly Family Trust and trading under the name of Education Strategies. In the period 1994-98, he earned around $500,000 in 14 contracts from the Kennett Government without ever being subject to competitive quotes or tender. In 1999 he was paid by the tobacco company Philip Morris to produce a kit on “self-esteem” and “independent thinking” for use in secondary schools. Donnelly revealed that he had advised the company that it should not put its name on the kit. Philip Morris said that it had spent “a couple of hundred thousand dollars” producing the kit. In 2003 Donnelly became chief of staff to Federal
Becoming a leader with/in the Union
Women in Leadership Development (WILD)
Kevin Donnelly as the voice of balance in education? AEU research officer John Graham has to laugh or else he’d cry.
Max & Ivan (UK) School booking forms at classclowns.com.au
SECONDARY SCHOOL COMEDY COMPETITION
Entries still welcome for heats! Go to classclowns.com.au to sign up PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY
inside the AEU
We need to talk about Kevin
inside the AEU
CRT Scene Marino D’Ortenzio deputy vice president, secondary
Erin Aulich vice president, secondary
Koorie strategy set for release Kickstart your CRT career
HIS term should see the much-delayed release of the Education Department’s long-awaited successor to the Wannik Koorie education strategy. The new strategy is expected to take a system-wide approach intended to address the individual needs of every learner. What resources will be available to support the new approach is not yet known. Once the strategy is released we will send it around through our networks and put it on the AEU website. Feedback is appreciated — we need to hear from you on this. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Education Dreams A new Indigenous education campaign features kids urging their parents and guardians to “send us to school, every day, on time” so they can get the education they need to land the jobs they dream about. You may have already seen the Education Dreams campaign ads, which have had a limited airing on NITV & Imparja. They were produced by the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council in Queensland, working with footy star Steve Renouf and actor Leah Purcell. The project is seeking donations to help buy more screen time. Watch the ads and find out more at www.educationdreams.com.au. Recognise campaign The AEU is backing Recognise, the people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life have already declared their support to recognise the first Australians in our founding document. The campaign calls for fairness and respect to be placed at the heart of the Constitution, and for discrimination to be removed from it. This is a chance for Australia to acknowledge the first chapter of our national story, and to forge our future together. Find out more at www.recognise.org.au. �
ELCOME back! We kick off 2014 with the launch of our essential one-stop guide to being a casual relief teacher — What Every CRT Should Know. This handy brochure provides an introduction to the world of casual relief teaching with facts and figures around CRT work and your rights and entitlements. It covers VIT requirements, ways of sourcing PD, how CRTs are employed and the differences in conditions resulting from that, as well as advice about what to look for in an agency contract — plus of course the rates of pay you should expect. This brochure is available to members on the AEU CRT Association page of the AEU website — go to www.aeuvic.asn.au/crt. Kickstarting 2014 We launched the brochure at our inaugural Kickstarter day — our new PD event designed in response to your suggestions at last year’s CRT conferences run by TLN (you can find this year’s program at www.tln.org.au). Many CRTs said they wanted basic information about starting off in casual work — a clear gap in PD for CRTs. Interest in our first Kickstarter day was even greater than anticipated — 150 members attended and more than 90 joined online. We again saw a broad range of age and experience, but a new characteristic this time was the large number of mature-age graduates. While many of the day’s sessions covered familiar themes — getting a job, your industrial rights, legal liability — we added a new one in response to your requests: leadership. All teachers lead in classrooms, and for those CRTs who secure a fixed term or ongoing position, leadership knowledge and skills are an advantage when working in teams in schools. We’ll be running Kickstarter again next year. To give your feedback to the AEU, or to join in the debate on professional issues with other CRTs, join the AEU CRT Association Facebook page. �
inside the AEU
On the PHONES Membership Services Unit — 1800 013 379
Working in heat John Kelepouris AEU organiser
XPECTING staff and students to just tough it out because cooler weather is “just around the corner” is not a reasonable approach for any school. Working in extreme heat is dangerous — the risks cannot be ignored. Workplace laws require your working environment to be safe and without risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable. This applies to any risk, including illness from working in heat. Dealing with extreme heat requires consultation between leadership, health and safety reps, staff and community. Although no temperature limit is set by the DEECD, and thermal
comfort is subjective, it can generally be managed by: • Increasing air movement • Providing air conditioning • Access to cool water. Conduct a risk assessment of each area in your workplace and consider steps such as temperature monitoring inside and outside, limiting exposure to UV, increasing air movement with fans, installing air conditioners or coolers, and educating staff on how to recognise heat-related illness and give first aid in extreme conditions. Extreme heat usually coincides with the start of the year, but schools who plan and budget for it well in advance report far greater success in dealing with the heat. Our planet is not getting any cooler
— it is important that planning for next year starts now. Calculating your starting salary Every new contract of employment for a school teacher, or conversion from contract to ongoing, requires your starting salary to be recalculated. Being a qualified teacher places you on entry point T1-1; from there you advance one salary subdivision for each full calendar year of approved teaching experience you can prove you’ve completed. Remember, whatever your circumstances, you must start no lower than the last pay point you were on. Rego expired? If you were due to renew your VIT registration in 2013 but didn’t complete all your registration tasks before December 31, your name has now been removed from the register.
Teachers who find themselves in this position will not be paid while they remain unregistered. To resume teaching, you must apply for registration by submitting an online application. This must include evidence of qualifications that meet current requirements, a new national police history check and up-front payment of fees. To minimise potential delays, ensure that all documents are provided and correctly certified. Lump sum payment Have you returned to teaching this year after a spell of leave without pay? Then you should check whether you are entitled to the one-off payment contained in last year’s Schools Agreement. Teachers who were on unpaid leave at that time are paid the lump sum on return to the payroll. �
Does your fund perform as well as you do in the job?
RETIREMENT PLANNING SERVICES FOR MEMBERS IN REGIONAL VICTORIA
Super questions? Get super solutions.
WHEN AND WHERE? Seminars will be conducted by an RV Adviser in conjunction with the regional AEU organiser either in one of the major schools or the AEU offices after school at 4.30pm to give members in surrounding schools time to join in. Watch for notification of dates for your region on flyers that will go to school 3 weeks ahead of time.
Independent super specialists once again rated ESSSuper funds Platinum (the highest rating possible) – five years running for our Accumulation Plan and six years running for our Income Stream product. Which means our funds are working hard for you, too.
REGISTRATION: Once dates are announced members can register interest by booking a place via • AEU website www.aeuvic.asn.au • Call RV on (03) 9820 8088 For well over a decade these RV seminars have provided the starting point for the successful retirement of thousands of AEU members.
For more information about our ratings, go to www.superratings.com.au
Retirement Victoria is the AEU’s preferred provider of financial and retirement planning services to members. Retirement Victoria Pty Ltd (ABN 11 132 109 114) is a corporate authorised representative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Ltd AFSL 244252
RETIREMENT VICTORIA, who are the AEU preferred provider of retirement planning and financial services in Victoria, have for many years conducted free pre-retirement information seminars in our metropolitan offices. To more readily bring the benefits of these seminars to country members, RV Advisers are scheduling seminars and personal appointments in some regional centres during the first school term in 2014.
CONTENT: Seminars include content on: • The need for a personal financial and lifestyle strategy pre and post retirement • State Superannuation Schemes • Social Security • Efficient capital and income structuring
Make a FREE personal appointment to learn more on 1300 655 476.
Issued by Emergency Services Superannuation Board ABN 28 161 296 741 the Trustee of the Emergency Services Superannuation Scheme ABN 85 894 637 037 (ESSSuper).
aeu news I february 2014
Adam Surmacz graduate teacher organiser
Jen Currie & Rowena Matcott training officers
AEU Vic branch
Voice of the future: you
EVENTS CALENDA R 2014
112 Trenerry Crescenoffice t Abbotsford Vic 3067 Ph: (03) 9417 2822 Fax: 1300 658 melbourne@aeu 078 vic.asn.au
HAT does effective consultation look like? How can I increase membership at my workplace? What should go in a Long-Term Planning Document? How do I get my sub-branch to be more active? What’s in the agreement? uvic.ason Are you new to leading your sub-branchwworw.aaeseat n.au the consultative committee? Or perhaps you’re a member who wants to get more involved? Then come to our AEU Active Training, and bring a friend too! You’ll find the answers to the questions above and much more during our one and two-day training sessions. Maybe you want to find out about your legal rights and responsibilities? Or get that new leading teacher position? Understand the changes to ES leave entitlements? We are running a huge range of industrial and professional programs this year. All can be found in our Events booklet which is now on its way to reps. Ballarat
ITH the change of federal government, a lot of politicians have been commenting on what and how we should teach. A state election later this year means there is more to come. Our work is shaped by politics and if we choose to ignore it, we have to accept whatever changes are made to our profession and the way we work. As the future of the profession, graduate teachers have the power to influence the work we do and the impact we have. For 2014 I urge you: engage with the politics. Get active. Shape your profession. Start by making a point to read more about what politicians, your union, media commentators and educational experts are saying about the work you do. Talk to your friends, family and neighbours about the value of a quality, well-funded public education system and the difference it would make to the community you teach in. Attend sub-branch and regional meetings to be more informed. Put your name down to support the I Give a Gonski and Stop the TAFE Cuts campaigns. If you’re ready to take the next step and become more active, contact me on (03) 9417 2822. There are many opportunities for involvement and training for new educators at the AEU, including our regular three-day placement at the AEU. Find out more at www.aeuvic.asn.au/nen. �
AEU ACTIVE CONFERENCE S PD & TRA INING
608 Sturt Street, Ballarat 3350 Ph: (03) 5331 1155 email@example.com sn.au Benalla
90-94 Nunn Street, Benalla 3672 Ph: (03) 5762 2714 firstname.lastname@example.org sn.au Bendigo
Ph: (03) 5442 2666 bendigo@aeuvic .asn.au Geelong
Ph: (03) 5222 6633 geelong@aeuvic .asn.au Morwell
Level 1, 42 Buckley
Street, Morwell 3840 Ph: (03) 5134 8844 gippsland@aeuv ic.asn.au
15/01/14 3:20 PM
Training online Is travel or time an issue? Then you will be pleased to know that we’ve recently welcomed a new training officer, Jennifer Currie, who will be developing our online training program. This will complement our popular “Live and Online” sessions, which you can already join, individually or as a sub-branch, from the comfort of your own school. Knowledge is power, so get involved. We look forward to meeting you soon. �
For the full range of AEU industrial and professional training, go to www. aeuvic.asn.au/events, or browse our online calendar at www.aeuvic.asn.au/ calendar.
2014 Victorian Disability Sector Awards Have you witnessed an individual, organisation or the community go above and beyond for a person with disability?
Seeking promotion or a classroom teaching position
Janet Marshall OHS organiser
The 1-2-3 of OHS
Our goal this year is to get an elected and trained health & safety representative in every workplace.
HIS year we take a back-to-basics approach to OHS to build local knowledge and capacity. Health and safety reps (HSRs) are key players in the workplace when it comes to representing AEU members on health and safety issues. In our schools, colleges and centres, they positively influence the daily working conditions of our members on everything from the temperature and comfort of teaching spaces, room design and technical safety to occupational violence and stress. OHS, industrial and legal issues are multi-layered and intersect regularly. HSRs play a huge role in alerting WorkSafe to issues; recently their work led to a legally binding undertaking by the DEECD to act on asbestos (see the following item). The law is clear that the HSR must be chosen by members of the designated workgroup (DWG). They cannot be nominated by the principal or
manager. They get to nominate the workplace’s OHS manager and the two cannot be the same person. Nominations for HSR can be invited (by the employer) at any staff meeting where all staff are entitled to be present, or on the noticeboard (physical or electronic). No ballot is needed if there is only one nomination. HSRs hold the position for three years. Under the OHS Act, the workgroup can determine how many HSRs are required. The Act also provides for a deputy HSR. Both should be seen as key AEU sub-branch officers, working with and through the sub-branch to represent AEU members and the wider workgroup. The HSR is entitled to take a WorkSafe-approved five-day course. We recommend the educationspecific Victorian Trades Hall course run at the AEU and regionally (see bit.ly/1bA0Hqw).
Department forced to act on asbestos The DEECD has agreed to an “enforceable undertaking” with WorkSafe on asbestos issues following charges that it contravened the OHS Act at Newlands Primary School, Clayton South PS, and Timboon P–12 College. The contraventions involved failure to ensure that each workplace, and the means of entering and leaving it, were safe and without risks to health. At some schools there were also contraventions of regulations requiring asbestos to be clearly labelled and the asbestos register to be reviewed. The 12-month undertaking requires the DEECD to increase its asbestos audit and awareness training programs, with at least 400 audits and 20 training sessions (400 participants) by June. It must also establish a joint DEECD/WorkSafe working group to develop a management of asbestos in schools strategy, principles for removal and labelling, and set up a taskforce to monitor DEECD compliance. The AEU should but does not have seats on both bodies. The union is pursuing the matter. �
Engage with a World of Wildlife Zoos Victoria School Programs
Provide your students with hands-on, interactive educational experiences. Our education programs are suitable from kinder through to tertiary and have direct links with conservation and research programs that support the curriculum.
Images © John Tsiavis
inside the AEU
Training & PD
inside the AEU
New Educators NETWORK
Nominate them now for the 2014 Victorian Disability Sector Awards! It’s one way we can recognise and celebrate the every day people who are making a difference to the lives of Victorians with disability.
For more information and to nominate visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/disabilitysectorawards
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Introduce your students to Victoria’s endangered species. Learn about our breeding programs and be inspired to help fight wildlife extinction.
Discover, investigate and wonder at unique wildlife from around the world. Engage with education, animal and conservation experts who will inspire students of all ages.
Surround yourself with incredible African species when you take your students on safari and visit Victoria’s most endangered grassland ecosystem.
Book today! www.zoo.org.au/education (2521112)
aeu news I february 2014
Abruzzo, Italy Join a small group custom tour of this relatively unknown region of Italy with Angela Di Sciascio, teacher and author of Finding Valentino: Four Seasons in my Father’s Italy. The handpicked itinerary will ensure you encounter the best gastronomic, cultural, scenic and local experiences Abruzzo has to offer. 10 nights/11 days, 5-15 October 2014. Go to www.findingvalentino.com. au for details or contact Angela at info@ angeladisciascio.com.au “Abruzzo holds a special place in my heart. This is the Italy I know and love and I am so proud to be able to share it with you.”
driveEUROPE Peugeot Citroen Renault 2014 European specials out NOW Our 39th year of service to the European traveller. Email: gha25440@ bigpond.net.au (02) 9437 4900
FUNDRAISING with Little ‘smart’ Artists Let your kinder or school’s Little ‘smart’ Artists make you money. Kids can now have their artwork put on an Australian made T-shirt and your kinder/ school makes a percentage from every T-shirt sold. Requires minimal work on your behalf. Contact email@example.com or 0431 995 165 (Meri) www.littlesmartartists.com.au
AIREYS INLET HOLIDAY RENTAL Holiday rental, 3 bdrms, 2 living, large decks, 1 acre garden, bbq, woodfire. Phone 0416 234 808, (03) 4208 0668
FRANCE — PROVENCE Restored 17th-century house in medieval fortified village of Entrevaux. Spectacular location, close to Côte d’Azur and Italy. Contact owners (03) 5258 2798 or (02) 9948 2980. www.provencehousestay.com.
AIREY’S INLET SATIS BEACH HOUSE Stylish and comfortable 3 bdrm house for six on the beach side of Great Ocean Road. Paddle our canoe on the inlet, walk to the lighthouse, cliff walk and beaches. Phone (03) 5380 8228 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.satisbeachhouse.com HOLIDAY HOUSE PHILLIP ISLAND, VENTNOR Two bedroom sleeps 6, available weekends and holidays. Jane (03) 9387 9397 or 0431 471 611 or Louise (03) 9343 6030 or 0413 040 237 holiday accommodation Rosedale Beach between Batemans Bay/ Moruya, South Coast NSW. Beautifully renovated beach cottage. Brand new kitchen with dishwasher. 3 bedrooms. 200m flat walk gorgeous beach. Aircon. Peaceful and quiet, shady verandah. Available school holidays. http://www.stayz.com.au/119878
FRANCE — LANGUEDOC Two renovated stone houses in tranquil village near Carcassone, sleep four or eight, from $600 a week. See website at www.frenchrentalhouses. bigpondhosting.com or phone (02) 4757 1019; 0414 968 397; email email@example.com
FRANCE — SOUTH WEST Renov 17thC 2 bdrm apart in elegant Figeac, “centreville”, or cottage in Lauzerte, 12thC hilltop village. Low cost. www.flickr.com/photos/clermontfigeac/ or www.flickr.com/photos/ les-chouettes/ Ph teacher owner (03) 9877 7513 or email jimmcdon@ tpg.com.au for brochure. ITALY — UMBRIA Apartment. Beautiful sunny 2 bdrm. Historic Centre Citta Di Castello €625pw 2p, €675 3-4p. 0414 562 659 firstname.lastname@example.org SOUTH OF FRANCE — LANGUEDOC Two charming newly renovated traditional stone houses with outside terraces. Sleeps 4 or 6. Market town, capital of Minervois, wine growing region, close to lake, Canal Midi, Mediterranean beaches, historic towns. From $460 per week. Web: www.languedocgites.com Email: email@example.com
RYE/BLAIRGOWRIE HOLIDAY HOUSE Quiet, sunny area, overlooking ti-trees. Extensive decking and BBQ. Walk to bay beach 10 mins. Newly renovated: polished floors, updated kitchen, bathrooms. TV, spa bath, semi-ensuite to main bedrm. Sleeps up to 5 (3 bedrm). Summer/public holidays $140 per night up to 4 people. $130 per night other times. Available mid-week, weekends, public holidays, including Easter. Pics available. Please contact Mandy: mhomewood@swin. edu.au or 0437 093 571.
TEACHER TOURS 2014 Cambodia and Laos June 28 (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane etc). $3590 per person twn. China September 20 (Xian, Terracotta Warriors, Pandas, Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, 4 nights Yangtze River cruise, many Shows, all meals). $4399 pp twn Vietnam September 20 (Hanoi, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Saigon, Halong Bay , Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels). $3390 pp twn.
WILSONS PROMONTORY Promclose Cottage. www.promclose.com 0488 592 725
Tours can be tax deductible as we visit schools. Ph 0431 359 283 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Handyman/Maintenance All jobs, big & small + bathrooms/tiling. 25 yrs exp. Work in Eltham/Diamond Valley area. Phone Simon 0414 294 824. (MPS) Melbourne Property Solutions Vendor advocacy — selling your property? Take away the stress and engage an independent advocate and a former teacher and aeu member. There is no cost when using Melbourne Property Solutions, as the agent you select pays (MPS) a set percentage of the fee from their total commission. Mark Thompson, Licensed Estate Agent Melbourne Property Solutions. Buyer and Vendor Advocate Services. Ph 0409 958 720 Email: email@example.com Website: www.mpsadvocates.com.au
RETIRING SOON? Volunteers for Isolated Students’ Education recruits retired teachers to assist families with their Distance Education Program. Travel and accommodation provided in return for six weeks teaching. Register at www.vise.org. au or George Murdoch 0421 790 334 Ken Weeks (03) 9876 2680. RETIREMENT VICTORIA Visit us at www.retirevic.com.au Seeking Australian Teachers — Teach Overseas Professionally rewarding career with lucrative salary packages. Obtain current information at www.travelandteach. com.au about quality international schools. Outstanding opportunities. Daryl 0449 005 339 VISAS IMMIGRATION For the professional advice you need — contact Ray Brown. Phone (03) 5792 4056 or 0409 169 147. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Migration Agents Registration No. 0213358
DEADLINE FOR EDITION 2 March 5 For advertising queries contact Lyn. Baird@aeuvic.asn.au
Boys living with cancer need male role models to help with their development and confidence at camps which involve everything from rolling in mud to laser tag.
Can you help? or know someone who can? campquality.org.au/volunteer or 1300 662 267
bathrooms, construction & maintenance *bathrooms *en suites *new or old *complete service*evaporative cooling & all home maintenance. N.E. METRO AREA Quality work for the right price with over 25 years industry experience
mobile: 0414 294 824
phone/fax: 9439 9223
Kids Like These Need Families Like Yours
Can you open your heart & home to a child today? Berry Street is looking for families like yours who can provide emergency, respite, short and long term care for vulnerable children. If you have room in your heart and home for a child then we want to speak with you. Call today to discuss about becoming a foster carer on 1800 U FOSTER (1800 836 7831) or visit www.berrystreet.org.au
aeu news I february 2014
Hot and cold running staff
Loving the aliens
MPORTED wines have been a growing presence on the tables of Australian wine lovers in the past decade. No doubt novelty and curiosity have played their part — and let’s not forget a booming taste for champagne, the real stuff — but there are other reasons for our increasing interest in imports, largely from Europe. The strong Australian dollar has made these imports very competitive, while travellers to Europe taking advantage of the currency situation have returned with fond memories of the wines they enjoyed in France, Italy and Spain, and broader, enhanced palates. (How to classify Kiwi sauvignon blanc?) Both major supermarket chains now stock quite a variety of bargain-priced imports, as do most independent retailers. Many urban bars, cafes and restaurants also include imports to match their cuisines, Mexican cantinas aside. Join me in my resolution to try more alien wines this year, including the following: George Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages 2012 ($20): Ideally suited to summer meals, this light-bodied red is chock full of charm and cheer. Perilously drinkable, widely available, absolutely delightful. JP Chenet Chardonnay 2012 ($7): Somewhat plump, soft and broad but there’s enough ripe fruit flavour here and it would be churlish to argue with the price. Definitely worth a thorough sampling. (Dan Murphy’s) Arrogant Frog Shiraz Viognier 2012 ($9): Stands out in an unbeatable value-formoney range from southern France; no more than medium-bodied, modest alcohol, with very pleasant ripe berry fruit flavour and ideally suited to summer evening meals. (Woolworths, BWS, Dan’s) Robinson’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($16): There are some cheaper and very handy sauvignons among Coles imports but this one has a clear quality edge. Lives up to all expectations. (Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice) �
HE “Back to School” sale signs are being replaced with Easter eggs and we are well and truly back in the swing of school again. The holidays seem like a distant memory as once again our lives are governed by bells, staff meetings and the mood of the class sitting in front of us. The scorching weather does little to promote school to reluctant students and there are times when, standing at the whiteboard, with a bead of sweat on your forehead, you look out at the class and see glazed, heat-affected expressions. No one has slept the night before and it has taken its toll. It feels as if you are delivering a constant monologue, your questions lingering in the air unanswered, and the only noise to be heard is the buzz of an unidentifiable flying insect. The one animated discussion you have been able to prompt was when you tried to start the air conditioner and nothing happened. “Why is it always our class that gets the rooms without air con?” “Seriously, this has been happening since Year 7.” “Miss, isn’t it true that we get to go home when it reaches 38 degrees?” “Nah, 35 degrees.” “I thought it had to get to 40 degrees.” “Yeah, at my primary school we used to get to go home when it was above 28.” “No we didn’t.” “Yes we did. Like, heaps of times. You must have been away.” I love the time-honoured urban legend that, in extreme heat, school closes and we all get to go home. Imagine if that happened. I think even I would be able to summon a leap and a skip as I flee for the freedom of my car and a blissfully liberated afternoon. The coolest area in the school is always the administration zone. The conditions there are invariably Arctic when you triumphantly return from your lesson in a portable with a climate to rival
that of a tropical island (without the atmosphere), and need to collect something from the office. The office staff appear comfortable, non-sweaty and can even cope with drinking a hot beverage. A couple of them are actually wearing cardigans and wondering aloud whether they might need to raise the temperature as they have started developing goose bumps. As you stand and chat after collecting your coloured paper for Year 7 posters, your body temperature drops and you wonder why the air conditioning in this area is always so reliable and effective and the remote control is never missing. Water from the office water cooler is also much cooler than that from the cooler in the staff room and is highly coveted by the teaching staff. At our school, the teachers are hot, the office staff are cool. You can read into that anything you like. � Tragically, comedian and teacher Christina Adams was later found with hypothermia in her hiding place under a desk in the admin block.
AEU News is giving members the opportunity to win a variety of Australian resources for their school libraries from our good friends at Ford Street Publishing, Penguin Australia and ABC for Kids.
A new book highlights the creeping evangelisation occurring in our supposedly secular school system. Review by Jane Caro.
Reviews by Richard Haridy, Cynthia Karena and Rachel Power
AKING God To School is a hard book to read if you care about education rather than indoctrination. Not because of the writing, which is fluid, pithy and engaging, but because of the extraordinarily chilling evidence Marion Maddox amasses to prove her case about the creeping religiosity, not just in faith-based,
private schools, but in our supposedly secular public school system. By the end of this exceptionally well-researched and well-argued book, I had decided such religiosity isn’t creeping into public schools anymore. It is galloping. What makes Maddox’s achievement even more impressive is that she is
20 feet from stardom Dir: Morgan Neville Rated M, 90 mins Transmission Films
ALL IS LOST Dir: JC Chandor Rating TBC; 106 mins Release: March 6
“That walk to the front is complicated,” says Bruce Springsteen in this terrific documentary about the stories of the talented back-up singers who add texture and soul to stars’ songs but remain forever 20 feet from stardom. Featuring some wonderful archival footage and insightful interviews with stars and back-ups, their stories are funny, moving and sad as they talk about trying to chase recognition for their work. Some want to make their own break for fame, with mixed success. Mick Jagger talks about Mary Clayton’s astonishing “rape, murder, it’s just a shot away” line in Gimme Shelter. But the stand-out voice belongs to Lisa Fischer, feature backing vocalist for the Stones since 1989, who sings better than most of the people she supports. A great tribute to back-up singers everywhere. — CK
FEATURING almost no dialogue, All is Lost is a tightly wound, immersive survival film that’s uncompromising in its precise focus, and features an impressively physical performance from Robert Redford. The film follows Redford’s nameless character as he struggles through a series of increasingly dire situations that begin with a giant cargo container ripping a hole in his yacht. Redford’s corporeal performance becomes an almost cipher-like representation of the human survival instinct. He methodically approaches each calamity with a stoic sense of purpose and determination, turning the film into a viscerally existential experience. All is Lost is a genuinely bold film. It’s not narratively innovative but its commitment has a cumulative effect that is gripping. The film demands its audience be patient and attentive but rewards them with a singular experience of pure cinema. — RH
aeu news I february 2014
To enter, email us at email@example.com by 10am Tuesday March 8. Include your name and school or workplace. Write “Win Teaching Resources” in the subject line. Prizes will be sent to the winner’s school or workplace with an inscription recognising the winner. Good luck!
Chasing Shadows By Corinne Fenton illustrated by Hannah Sommerville
a Christian herself. She is, however, one of the many (perhaps even the majority) of Australian believers who understand that secular doesn’t mean anti-religion, simply separate from religion, and recognise the importance of that to opening and informing young minds. She also reminds us that the
largely Christian men (and they were all men) who created Australia’s public education system in the 19th century clearly understood the difference and were alert to the dangers of taking God to school. This wisdom, according to Maddox, has been lost. Worse, the very things the founders of public education feared have happened. Funding has been diverted from public schools WHAT MAISIE KNEW and, unforgivably, from the much Dir: Scott McGehee higher concentrations of needier & David Siegel children they service. Anti-factual, Rating M; 99 mins anti-evidence, anti-scientific content Madman DVD is taught uncritically, and welfare services have become attached to LIVING with her narcissistic rock-star often untrained — if well-meaning mother (Julianne Moore) and charming — religious representatives via the but selfish art dealer father (Steve chaplaincy program. Coogan), six-year-old Maisie (Onata By the end of the book, I was Aprile) has learned to fend for herself. deeply disturbed by how much worse With parents too self-absorbed to things are than I had imagined. recognise the impact on their daughter And the future looks as bad. As of their dysfunctional marriage and Maddox points out: “The Abbott hedonistic lifestyle, Maisie is forced to Government’s announced policy glean the situation as silent witness. of encouraging 25% of public Their divorce leaves Maisie victim schools to become ‘independent’, to her parents’ unscrupulous actions which includes school councils and empty promises, largely made to contributing to curriculum decisions, spite each other. When her mother presages the potential for more such learns that her ex-husband is now living evangelising.” with Maisie’s nanny, Margo (Joanna Taking God to School is a clarion Vanderham), she responds by marrying call for those of us who believe sweet but naïve bartender, Lincoln schools should be teaching kids how (Alexander Skarsgård). to think, not what to think, to get on Before long, benign neglect the front foot. becomes perilous abandonment, with I am very grateful to Maddox for Margo and Lincoln forced to step in. being one of the first to say this. � A remarkable performance from Aprile lifts this film above its potentially syrupy resolution, making it a moving retelling Taking God to School, by Marion Maddox, of Henry James’ 1897 novel. is published this month by Allen & Unwin, — RP RRP $29.99.
This book uses gentle, poetic language to address depression in children; an illness that even many adults don’t want to talk about. Everyone feels sad sometimes, but when sadness lingers, shadows appear. Some of us, even children, chase shadows . Will a wriggly, mischievious surprise help Beth chase her shadows away? RRP$26.95 Ford Street
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck By Jeff Kinney Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story? Hard Luck is the eighth book in the hilarious and highly successful series. RRP$14.99 Penguin
First Day By Andrew Daddo & Jonathan Bentley Are you ready? Let’s have a yummy breakfast first. (Whatever you want. Porridge? Fruit salad?) Then it’s time to get dressed. It’ll be fun. You’ll meet new friends. New BFFs! You might have to be a bit brave... It’s the first day at school. But who is most nervous about the big day? A new picture book about first-day nerves from the team who brought you I Do It and Check on Me.
RRP $19.99 ABC for Kids
The Poppy By Andrew Plant Stunningly illustrated in over 70 paintings, The Poppy is the true story of one of Australia’s greatest victories, and of a promise kept for nearly a century. On Anzac Day, 1918, a desperate night counterattack in the French village of Villers-Bretonneux became one of Australia’s greatest victories. A bond was forged that night between France and Australia that has never been broken. RRP$16.95 Ford Street
Congratulations to our winners from AEU News issue 7: History Hackers — Robyn Johnson, Greenvale Primary School; The Ugliest Dog In The World — Simone Draper, Boroondara Park Primary School; Diary of a Wombat — Brooke Allen, Dandenong Park Kindergarten; Goddess — Joanne Johnson, Rowville Secondary College.
Make the right choice this school year. At bankmecu we do things differently – whether you’re after friendly one on one service from our Community Development Managers, or the convenience of having banking come to you. We believe in supporting you, and your school. So, make the switch today.
bankmecu… the bank of choice for schools across Victoria.
Call Sharon on (03) 9854 3320, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bankmecu.com.au for more information. mecu Limited ABN 21 087 651 607 AFSL/Australian Credit License Number 238431 trading as bankmecu.
Win teaching resources
Church trumps state
subscribe to the e-newsletter AEU www.a at e u v for the ic.asn.au win more chance to giveaways !
2014 Teaching Initiatives Program Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank gives back to the Education Community in many ways. Our Teaching Initiatives Program is designed to provide small grants for learning programs in Schools and Preschools. Since its inception, our Program has given back over $500,000 to educators with innovative teaching methods and concepts.
Apply now for a chance to share in this yearâ€™s funding categories: n
Engage with Asia.
Applications open 24 February until 20 April 2014. For program criteria, further details and to apply:
Victoria Teachers Limited, ABN 44 087 651 769, AFSL/Australian Credit Licence Number 240 960.