ACT Teacher June 2009

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teacher Journal of the Australian Education Union

June 2009


Is your sign displayed prominently?

LEAGUE TABLES Mis-use of data continues to cause concern

HISTORIC WIN! 18 weeks paid maternity leave for the ACT public sector

SELF ESTEEM & Eating disorders

industrial report Update on negotiations in Schools & CIT 2009 AEU AWARD RECIPIENTS Reconciliation and Public Education Awards 2009 PUBLIC EDUCATION WEEK Public schools celebrate across the ACT

from the

Secretary An update on negotiations and league tables

The Enterprise Agreement negotiations are well underway .... but it seems we can’t expect Minister Barr to argue in support of more funding to provide a competitive salary increase. The Industrial Report contains a full briefing of the current state of play in both the Schools and CIT negotiations for replacement Enterprise Agreements. Members will be aware from media reports and the report provided to May Council that the ACT Government Budget has not provided Treasury funding for a 3% pa salary increase. The funding provision for teachers’ salary increases in both CIT and DET is a paltry 2% in 2009/10, and 2.5% in the other years, with Agreements possible of up to 4 years in duration. This Budget provision is at odds with the Cabinet decision of February to fund 3% pa, but it seems that reneging on a bargaining parameter 3 months into the negotiations doesn’t bother the ACT Government a bit! A full report of this situation was provided to May Council, with the Council carrying the following resolution: AEU Branch Council condemns the ACT Government Budget decision to reduce the amount of Treasury funding for teacher salary increases in this bargaining round from the provision advised to DET and CIT some three months ago. This represents a serious undermining of the discussions that have been taking place between the AEU and the employers since February 2009. Council demands that the ACT Government increase Treasury funding sufficient to provide a salary increase for teachers in this bargaining round that

establishes competitive salary rates for ACT teachers. The AEU wrote to Minister Barr reporting this decision and calling on him “as the Minister to seek Cabinet reconsideration of the wages provision for a teacher salary increase in an effort to assist achievement of a new Agreement by 30 June 2009”. The Minister’s disappointing response was received on 24 May: “…DET and CIT will continue to negotiate on the basis of the budgeted provision for wages. I do not anticipate, and am not proposing, any increase in this provision.” So much for supporting public education – our Minister is not even prepared to ASK for a reconsideration of wages provision for teachers, much less FIGHT for one!! This is especially disappointing given that the 3% originally provided would itself have resulted in wages outcomes that do not meet the rates achieved in other States across the scale. A settlement based on funding of 3% would have been a significant contribution to “wage restraint” by the ACT public education teaching profession. Once again the rhetoric of the Stanhope Government and Minister Barr about their support for public school teachers is demonstrably undermined by their actions. While infrastructure provision seems to be an ACT Government priority, it seems commitment to the competitive salary rates to ensure a high-quality public education teaching workforce is not. AEU officers continue to meet weekly with CIT and DET, and will still strive to achieve a package for members in

each sector to consider by 30 June. It is regrettable that the Stanhope Government’s actions have made an already-difficult task so much harder. The Federal Government’s agenda for testing and accountability continues to cause concern. All Education Ministers and Deputy Prime Minister Gillard say they oppose the use of national testing data for the creation of simplistic league tables, but they refuse to put in place any measures – legislative or otherwise – to prevent this occurring. The ACT Government position seems to be that, as the information is already available on school websites and no league tables have been created to date, there is no need to take steps to ensure that can’t happen. Rubbish! High-stakes national mass testing [such as NAPLAN] has resulted in the creation of simplistic league tables in all the countries that use it! The evidence is clear in the US and the UK: schools are judged on the narrow basis of national test scores, resulting in a renewed emphasis on lifting results in the test at the expense of high-quality, broad curriculum. The UK has finally begun to move away from its raft of national testing after years of experiencing the negative consequences of league tables ranking schools. Parent groups, academics, and the profession have joined the teacher unions in calling for protections to prevent the creation of league tables. Recent efforts of The Hobart Mercury and The Courier Mail [Brisbane] to create league tables of school performance demonstrate that the concerns are well-founded: it CAN happen here, and it WILL – we must continue to take the debate up to Government at all levels in the interests of our students.


AEU members write to the press:


Barbara Preston Canberra Times, 30 April 2009

What is extraordinary is that the proponents of Teach for Australia believe that it will enhance the status of the profession. Surely the message is that teaching is not a profession - anyone who is keen and “bright” can do it. No “profession” or serious trade would place practitioners in demanding situations after only six weeks. Electricians are not sent unsupervised to do difficult wiring jobs after a six week crash course [even if they are brilliant mathematics degree graduates]. It is a message to the 70,000 serious current teacher education students, and all of those who might follow them, that their professional education is a fraud. Let us hope that Teach for Australia remains small and marginal, with minimal impact on how people understand the teaching profession and the real professional knowledge and skills it requires.

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Thanks to The Canberra Times editorial [“Idea found wanting”, April 24, p20] for alerting us to the flaws of the Commonwealth’s Teach for Australia plan, under which selected graduates of non-education programs will attend a six-week course before being given an almost full teaching load [0.8] in the most difficult and demanding schools.

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Then again, perhaps Nicola Roxon will follow the lead, and our doctor shortage will be solved by placing very bright teacher education graduates [there are quite a few of them] in GP surgeries after a six-week crash course in medicine. 09-07140/1

If that is seen as putting patients at risk, what about the children in the most disadvantaged schools in which these “teachers” will be placed?

Continued page 27

June 2009



For a full report on Public Education Week celebrations see pages 16 and 17..... Bill Book & Glenn Fowler - Schools’ Organisers

If you are sick you should stay home, full stop. Many of us adopt a misguided perspective of our own importance when it comes to our work. We have heard members expressing the view that if they take time off they have to do recovery work after their students have been distracted by their absence. We have also heard members arguing that if they take the time off they won’t have the time to get through the content they are required to cover in the curriculum. The world will not end if you are away for a day or two and we are all replaceable, so take time to recover fully from illness or injury before you return to work. Please be aware that it is an unreasonable expectation that you “catch up” on tasks missed during your absence, such as playground duties or roll marking. Concerned members should contact the AEU office to clarify such matters. Some of our teacher members were recently informed by the employer that a recovery of overpayment was required. These members exceeded their annual maximum of seven days personal leave without a certificate. Section D of the Teachers’ UCA outlines entitlements pertaining to leave. It is the responsibility of the employee to keep track of leave taken. However, the AEU is currently working with DET to ensure that there is more information regarding leave on the employee’s payslip. There was a time when the number of days taken without certificate appeared on the payslip but, alas, the move to a new pay system seems to have made that a thing of the past. It is the AEU’s view that the provision of such information would assist employees in ensuring

that recovery of overpayment was not necessary. This has benefits for the employee and the employer. Watch this space. Further on the topic of leave, it has become apparent that many of these days of leave without a certificate occur when members are unsuccessful in obtaining a doctor’s appointment during the day/s of absence. If the doctor cannot fit you in, we advise you to either complete a Statutory Declaration or to request a written note from the receptionist declaring that you were unable to see the doctor. This sort of evidence should assist you in having your leave authorised. As things start to get interesting on the industrial front, we encourage all of our members to stay in tune with the public debates regarding education. Letter writing is an essential facet of campaigning [as well as being quite cathartic] and we encourage members to support the Union’s lobbying activities by writing letters to politicians [Territory and Federal] and newspapers. Your Organisers are more than happy to cast their eye over your efforts prior to submission to ensure that they are in line with AEU policy. Please send draft letters to or Thank you to all members who participated in Public Education Day celebrations this year. As usual, the musical and dance performances in City Walk were very popular with the public and showcased the incredible talents of our students and teachers. Similarly, the AEU has fielded numerous comments

regarding the high quality of the artwork in our public libraries. Have you displayed your new Public Education: Australia’s Future sign in a prominent place? Be sure to put this sign up on a fence, wall or behind a window of your site where it can be seen by passing traffic and your community. The sign is one facet of a national AEU campaign for a fairer funding model for public schools, something we all agree is needed. During “Open Night” season and Student Reporting time, members will find that their workload increases. It is a good time to reflect on what duties are absolutely necessary and to pace yourself through these particularly busy times. If you have any concerns or questions, remember to contact your Organisers on telephone 6272-7900. Bill Book & Glenn Fowler School Organisers

$100 PRIZE! Do you know any teachers or assistants who are thinking of joining their colleagues in the AEU? Here’s an extra incentive ... Each term the AEU randomly draws a new member to receive a $100 Members Equity Start-Up Account. Go to http://www.aeuact.asn. au/membership/join-us.html and follow the Join Us link. They could be the next winner!

Frequent Values ™ program for members



Phil Rasmus

AEU membership - even more benefits! In partnership with UnionsACT, the AEU has purchased a limited stock of 300 Frequent Values packages for sale to AEU members. With a personalised membership card, a handbook and supporting web pages, Frequent Values™ by Entertainment™ offers AEU members access to a range of discounts: • Enjoy 20% off your total bill, up to a maximum deduction of $25, every time you dine at any one of the 1,500 participating restaurants just by presenting your Frequent Values™ Card. • Save up to 50% off the rack rate at over 500 hotels, resorts and motels just by booking using your Frequent Values™ card. • Print out vouchers online to enjoy great savings from leading national attractions, local activities, popular take away outlets as well as savings on cinema tickets, petrol, supermarket purchases, magazine subscriptions, floral arrangements, gift baskets, travel insurance, dry cleaning and other providers. From the publishers of the popular Entertainment™ Books, Frequent Values™ by Entertainment™ is a web-based national dining and leisure benefits program that provides AEU members with valuable and exclusive offers from restaurants, leisure activities and leading hotels. Unlike the larger format Entertainment Book that members may be familiar with, this new package offers unlimited access to savings through use of membership cards and online technology. There are no tear-out vouchers or scratch-off cards: the package consists of a handbook that lists a range of current benefits available, and a card that provides a unique membership number for access to a website from which vouchers can be produced and up-to-date lists of providers sourced. To view a sample visit The AEU is pleased to offer this new service to members. Frequent Values packages [book and card] can be purchased by members from the AEU office for $15. Order your package today! Pay over the phone by credit card or post in a cheque or pay in person. Contact Sue on 6272-7900.

As we near the end of Semester 1 and look forward to a well-earned stand down period, take some time to consider the many challenges facing ACT teachers. Our Union Collective Agreement negotiations with the ACT Government continue, and the current economic conditions present specific challenges for your negotiators. Members need to achieve a satisfactory salary outcome to enable the ACT to attract and retain quality teachers. The message has been received loud and clear that no reduction in conditions is acceptable to our members. The ACT Budget - in particular the requirement on Departments for an efficiency dividend [which you and I would call a cut], is a real concern. Minister Barr’s insistence on quotas on those teachers who meet [as yet unformulated and unagreed] high standards criteria for access to an Accomplished Teacher classification is illogical and will be resisted. The antics of the Federal Government, with its insulting Teach for Australia program, and its continued insistence on the publication of school data which has inevitably led to the generation of league tables [eg Hobart Mercury newspaper], offer us no comfort. On a positive note, Public Education Week again provided many opportunities to showcase the outstanding work of our schools and our teachers. This year, instead of the usual Public Education Dinner, we hosted drinks at The Hotel Realm, an occasion which enabled us to congratulate Jan Bentley from Dickson College and Vicki Fortescue from Jervis Bay School as recipients of Public Education Awards. In a separate ceremony, Annamaria Zuffo was presented with the Reconciliation Award for her work in Indigenous Education. Thanks to our sponsors who made these events possible, and to the staff in the AEU office who organised everything. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the work of those members of the current Branch Executive who did not seek re-election. Thanks to Vaughan Ellen, Peter Rayner and Pam Rosser for their efforts in defending teachers’ interests. Please do not hesitate to contact me at Lake Ginninderra College if I can be of any assistance to you.

June 2009



Teachers say eating disorders, body image issues and low self-esteem are affecting ever-younger groups of students, symptoms of the increasing sexualisation of children. But help is at hand, Elisabeth Lopez reports.

sexuality and body image have traditionally been the domain of secondary school students and their teachers, there is increasing alarm over how these issues are crashing into the psyches of ever younger girls — and boys.

This edited article was first published in AEU News [Victorian Branch], December 2008.

Amy [not her real name] was Year 10 student manager and also teaching Year 9, when a boy at her school developed an eating disorder. “Everyone was surprised, because we hadn’t come across a male with an eating disorder before,” she says. It defied everything the staff thought they knew about eating disorders.

Former preschool teacher and current AEU Victoria early childhood Deputy Vice President Martel Menz became increasingly dismayed at how much her charges — girls of just three and four — thought and talked about their bodies. “Things like, ‘My mum is on a diet, and I’m on a diet’,” says Menz. Things that were very sexualised in terms of mimicking things they might see on music videos. I had one little girl who pulled up her t-shirt and said really proudly, “Look at my bra”. “Parents can sometimes feel so overwhelmed by how fast society is moving,” Menz says. “They will often come to a teacher and say, Help!” “No-one had the answers,” she says. Welcome to childhood in the noughties. While concerns about

Then a girl developed anorexia. “[The school] was playing it by ear. We really hadn’t had that kind of illness and severity in the school before.” At first, the girl’s friends were supportive — “You know the way girls act, they’re all doting,” says Amy. But as the illness continued, with the girl in and out of hospital for a month at a time, their tolerance wore thin. “I don’t think they had a full understanding of the illness. They got annoyed that there was a bit of attention seeking. But she could have potentially died.” In a national AEU survey of women members in 2008, body image and self-harm emerged as the second greatest concern,

after teacher workload. The AEU’s Federal Women’s Officer, Catherine Davis, says that finding was underscored in focus groups she conducted later with union members. When Davis was drawing up the survey, she was curious to see whether “the hype and messages about obesity” had made a dent in the perennial problem of young girls and their anguished relationships with their bodies. Her hunch was on the money. “Kids were picking on each other’s lunchboxes, saying ‘That will make you fat’. Teachers reported six year olds refusing to put on bathers for swimming lessons.” She decided on the strength of those results to bring in Eating Disorders Victoria for a special session at the annual AEU Federal Women’s Conference in Melbourne. “It was the best way that the union could respond,” says Davis. “To be able to pick things up. To give teachers the tools they might need.” Eating Disorders Victoria educates teachers on picking up crisis signs. Communications Officer Megan O’Connor says the signs are often hard to read, and could be entirely unrelated to an eating disorder. “It could be a change of appearance, but that isn’t always the case,” she says. “They may start wearing baggy clothing to hide weight loss. It could be disappearing after meals, or signs that they’re restricting their food intake, for example, saying ‘I’m now a vegetarian’.”

Just about everyone agrees the field is under-resourced — the Butterfly Foundation would like to be able to help schools free of charge, and schools would like to pull students out of their normal schedules in smaller groups. There are some promising initiatives. In October 2008, Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon flagged the new National Eating Disorders Collaboration, bringing together research, education, health promotion, public health and mental health experts, to develop a national approach. The Centre for Excellence in Eating Disorders, based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, has had its funding renewed for another four years. And LaTrobe University Professor Susan Paxton’s acclaimed My Body My Life internet-based program for 12-18 year olds will continue this year. The AEU’s Catherine Davis says it all highlights the need for comprehensive health and human relationships education in schools. “You’re not just talking about nuts and bolts. You’re trying to equip young people to have defence mechanisms and boundaries.”

More help and information Eating Disorders Victoria: - see the fact sheet Approaching someone with a suspected problem under the “Family & Friends” link. Continued page 28....

“Boys are much more likely to be focused on building body mass or getting more of an athletic build. They could be severely restricting their diet, or if their disorder is more bulimia, they will binge and purge and take laxatives.” O’Connor says although early intervention is vital, the best thing teachers can do is try to establish trust and open communication, rather than trying to extract a confession. “In most cases, you need to be prepared for a negative reaction. It’s not uncommon for people to take a long time to get to that place.” “Sometimes they’ve reached a point where they’ve scared themselves. They may have had their eating disorder for a couple of years, and then their period stopped [or their teeth deteriorated]. We had one person who prided herself on her academic achievement. She started to fail. That was the turning point for her. She started having blackouts, and her memory was starting to go.” Eating Disorders Victoria has a teacher guide on its website on how to talk to someone with a suspected problem. Menz says she wishes age-appropriate material was available for early childhood teachers.

June 2009

What’s happening in the Schools Enterprise Agreement Negotiations?

Industrial Report Following Council endorsement in November 2008, the AEU served our Claim for the next round of salaries and conditions bargaining on DET late in 2008. Negotiations towards a new Enterprise Agreement for teachers in the Schools Sector have been underway since the beginning of February 2009, with weekly meetings occurring between DET and AEU negotiators. Early in the discussions DET advised the AEU that Cabinet had determined the following parameters for the teachers’ bargaining round: • 3% pa Treasury funding for salary increases; • an Agreement of up to 4 years in duration; and • any productivity savings identified as part of the bargaining able to be used to boost salary quantum or to buy conditions. The AEU immediately indicated that 3% pa funding would not produce a salary outcome competitive with the rates achieved in other salaries outcomes, and that the AEU had not finalised its position regarding the length of a new Agreement. Aware that the quantum of salary increase and the duration of the Agreement are always the last matters to settle in a negotiation, the AEU and DET agreed to set those issues aside and to explore what agreement could be achieved on matters other than salary that had been tabled by either party. The issue of Mobility provisions for the next Agreement has been the matter to which the largest amount of attention has been given to date. The AEU sought DET agreement to our Claim around changes to the mobility process. DET made clear that it would not abandon its fundamental position of requiring teachers to move around the system, but indicated that there were some aspects of the AEU proposal that it was prepared to consider. The AEU negotiators worked with DET to identify what aspects of the AEU Claim DET would consider, and subsequently to negotiate a new proposal for teacher transfer to replace the mobility provisions in the next Agreement. The results of negotiations on that issue are now with SubBranches for a vote to determine majority membership support or otherwise. While it is an unusual step to take matters back to the members for a vote during negotiations, the AEU negotiators appreciate the sensitivity of this issue and the need for a clear

understanding of the AEU membership position ahead of any proposed final package for consideration. Another major issue about which discussions have been conducted is the Accomplished Teacher provision. Both AEU and DET recognise that the Federal Council of Australian Governments Agenda on this item will impact significantly on negotiations, and the AEU has indicated that it will not sign up to an Accomplished Teacher provision without knowing and agreeing to the standards that will determine access, and the process by which access to the classification will be provided. Given that the draft standards are not expected to be released before the end of June at the earliest, this presents a significant problem in including the detail of Accomplished Teacher in this Agreement. The AEU understands that the ACT Government will require some commitment to establishing the classification of Accomplished Teacher in the next Agreement in order to meet their election commitment of $100,000 salaries for the “best teachers”, and to meet the requirements of the COAG National Partnership on Teacher Quality to which the ACT Government has signed up [along with all other State and Territory Governments]. The AEU’s Claim supports the introduction of Accomplished Teacher, so we are attempting to reach some agreement about a way forward that takes account of the external issues and the professional needs of our members. Other significant matters that have been canvassed include: • measures to address teacher workload issues in the system [and potential to leverage relief off the ACT Government proposal to provide extra teachers to reduce average class sizes across the system]; • capacity to reallocate administrative functions from promotions positions [and potential to leverage off the ACT Government election commitment around additional ancillary support]; • DET proposal for accelerated progression on the incremental scale for high-performing teachers [this meets a COAG commitment about reward and recognition]; • potential for a single incremental date across the system [creates administrative savings and streamlines a number of processes]; • school category determination and recognition of “complexity”.

There continue to be discussions about these and other issues, but no definite proposals have been finalised at this stage. The salary issue has come back into stark relief with the ACT Budget, which reneges on the Cabinet commitment to provide Treasury funding for teacher salary increases of 3% pa in each year of an Agreement. The Budget provides only 2% in 2009-2010, and 2.5% for each year thereafter. This is a serious undermining of the already difficult negotiating position facing the AEU and DET. As well, it certainly calls into question the ACT Government’s repeated claims to value and support their teaching workforce. The AEU has been very vocal about its concern that the ACT will not be an employer of choice with the uncompetitive salaries provided by such a small pool of funding, and continues to pressure Government and other politicians to increase the Treasury provision for teacher salary increases. Meanwhile, DET continues to explore its own capacity to augment the Treasury provision. The Global Financial Crisis has clearly had an impact on ACT Government revenue, and members will be well aware of Government calls for wage restraint from all employees. From the AEU’s perspective, the original position of 3% pa Treasury funding was clearly wage restraint for the teaching service, given the gap in salary this provision opens up between ACT teachers and their counterparts in the ACT non-government sector and teachers in interstate jurisdictions. In these circumstances, it seems likely that an Agreement of 4 years in duration will not provide salary and conditions outcomes sufficient to justify signing on for such a relatively long term, and this will be a matter shortly to come to the forefront of consideration. The AEU and DET are both committed to attempting to finalise a new Agreement by the end of June 2009 in order to secure a pay increase from the first available date of 1 July 2009. To that end, the parties expect to be increasing the amount of time allocated to negotiations from next week. The AEU is seeking to have a draft Agreement ready for consideration at the Branch Council meeting on 20 June, and all parties are very aware of the work to be done in the next few weeks if that goal is to be reached. Both the AEU and DET believe that the best chance of an early settlement probably lies in a shorter Agreement, and so each side is finalising the list of issues that it believes would be necessary to settle a 2-year Agreement, together with proposals for how the matters identified could be progressed. At this point there is real commitment to putting together a package that addresses the key issues on the table and maximises the available salary offer. Whether the efforts succeed, and whether any package developed is acceptable to AEU members remains to be seen. Peter Malone Assistant to the Secretary [Industrial]

TAFE Vice PRESIDENT Steve Darwin

In the current round of enterprise bargaining negotiations with CIT negotiators, many familiar issues are being re-visited. However, this time around, there is a new and somewhat disturbing undercurrent emerging in the CIT position around the work and professionalism of CIT teachers. The issue of building the professionalism of the CIT teaching workforce has been actively pursued by the AEU and it is an issue we are also motivated to debate in the negotiations. Indeed, this issue is even more significant after the disturbing results of last year’s AEU survey of teachers at CIT where the undermining of teacher professionalism by overwork and administrative distraction was so apparent. Reflecting this, the AEU Log of Claims seeks a series of constructive actions to both preserve and enhance teacher professionalism at CIT, including: • clarifying and recognising actual teaching work and ensuring this is both resourced adequately and respected; • setting up mechanisms to improve administrative support to ensure teachers are not wasting their skills and time on administrative tasks; • gaining recognition of the role of the subject coordination role; • improved access to teacher education and professional development in teaching disciplines; • bringing the delivery of flexible and commercially delivered learning into the mainstream, recognising nominal hours are nominal hours regardless of the mode of delivery; and • limiting the workload of teachers by sensible limits on overtime. However, rather than use the opportunity of enterprise bargaining negotiations to explore opportunities to further enhance teacher professionalism, a series of proposals put to the AEU by CIT negotiators seems to be seeking to do just the opposite. Aside from refusing to sensibly debate any of the reasonable propositions put by the AEU, CIT instead have opted to seek outcomes that will demonstrably Continued on page 24

June 2009

OH&S Identification & Resolution of Safety Issues Teachers in the UK are stressed to the max according to the results of a British survey conducted by the National Union of Teachers [NUT] reported in The Guardian in April. The survey exposed workload as the significant factor in the equation. The NUT has commenced a campaign to reduce working hours, gain guaranteed preparation time and reduce class sizes to a maximum of 20. One of the findings to come out of the NUT research referred to an earlier study which concluded that, “…teaching is the most stressful occupation in the UK…” Linked to that report is the fact that the suicide rate of teachers in the UK is 14.2 per 100,000 as opposed to the national average of 10.25 per 100,000. Finally, of particular interest to Australian teachers working under the current Rudd/Gillard regime, the survey reported that UK teachers experience incredible pressures to improve student test results which are then published in the press in league tables annually. As a result they are “burning out” and suffering anxiety and depression. Food for thought...we have to hold together to resist league tables and maintain/improve our work-life balance. The fourth annual AEU OHS Forum ran successfully on May 28, this time on the theme Identification and Resolution of Safety Issues. The information provided by the ACT OHS Commissioner, the AFP and Shared Services – Injury Prevention was truly valuable. The OHS Commissioner provided a thumbnail sketch of those aspects of the new ACT Work Safety Act 2009 to be enacted from October 1. Probably one of the more significant changes we can anticipate is the fact that it will no longer be possible to simply pay lip service to OHS. It will not be possible to claim safety improvements are just not affordable because the liability will be borne by individual sites, principals, the directors, the CEO and the Education Minister IF high risks are not addressed when they have been identified. There will be a legal expectation that all sites, public and private, will develop a genuine OHS commitment to avoid significant fines. The focus of the forum was on managing violent behaviours, risk assessment and risk management and the contributions


of the AFP to the discussion was enlightening and reassuring. First, we are all working toward the same outcome and that is to see the development of safe, secure schools for students and teachers. The police have community units who are keen to be invited to schools to assist in the resolution of issues big and small. It doesn’t require a call to “000” [for emergencies] or 131444 [for police attendance] because they would like to operate preventatively as well as responsively. When it comes to responding to violent incidents the advice was clear. Teachers should go to the nearest police station and file a report after any such incident. It is unlikely to mean that the student will be dragged off to Bimberri or through the courts. However, if there is no record of the event, then from the police perspective it didn’t happen. The importance of filing Incident Reports there and with Shared Services cannot be over emphasised as the paper trail is critical in developing any management plan. Injury Prevention clarified their role and took people through the Safety Management System Framework briefly [http://sharedservices/actgovt/WHS/Safety/Mgt] through which you are able to access all relevant forms to cover every conceivable incident, prevention and response. The underlying message emerging from all parties is that Commitment to Occupational Health and Safety, from the top of the department down, is the key to safe workplaces. The new legislation should assist in the development of that commitment. A safe environment is a starting point to facilitate a happy workplace. Bill Book - Schools’ Organiser

UK experience is “rank” Jon Berry - Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK It’s worth stating the obvious from the outset. I don’t know of any teacher or any school opposed to testing. We all need to know what young people have understood and we all need to recognise how we can modify and adjust our practice accordingly. But exposing children to national testing and putting their results into public league tables has nothing to do with sensible assessment of their progress. Watching what is happening in Australia is like watching the re-run of a slasher movie – only this time it’s real life and the disaster affects real people and real schools. When testing and league tables were introduced in England in the early 90s, a campaign by teachers, supported by parent groups, managed to stem the initial tide. Even at that early stage, teachers could see that a high-stakes testing regime was certain to impact upon what happened in classrooms with an inevitable drive towards “teaching to the test” eventually taking place. Teachers were ready to strike, not about pay and conditions, but about the damage the government was doing to children. The Conservative government of the time and, shamefully, its New Labour successor, was determined to see its education project through. Both administrations saw the implementation of market forces as the cure for all our schools’ ills. Central to this approach was the idea that schools needed to be ranked against each other so that parents could make “informed” choices about where to send their children. The fact that this choice was only ever, in practice, going to be exercised by the middle class made the whole enterprise even more grotesque, but in order for this ranking to take place, data was required – and the tests were the mechanism to generate this. In such a situation, it’s critical that teachers, along with all other interested parties, continue to oppose the principle of such one-size-fits-all testing. Parents, whether in Australia or the UK, are perfectly capable of understanding the damage that constant assessment of their children does – and they get very angry when they witness it at first hand. We mustn’t shy away from spelling out the dangers of a curriculum that is dominated by testing and the diminishing effect that this has for all concerned. And we mustn’t be blinded by sanctimonious talk from governments who tell us from on high that they are acting as the sole guardians of educational standards.

In England the whole system has collapsed under its own weight, aided by greedy private companies who failed to deliver the right tests to the right places, failed to have them marked by the deadlines and then produced final papers so riddled with marking errors that returning whole bundles of scripts to them became a completely routine matter. Despite something of a step-down on national testing, the Minister responsible [his name is Balls – and I’m not making that up] has reaffirmed that whatever developments occur, it is non-negotiable that schools must supply information that needs to go into the public domain about their academic profile. So, for national tests, read the school report card – a system that some government advisers fell in love with on a trip to New York where, in daily practice, it is an unmitigated disaster. What is there to be learned from all of this? Parents and teachers in Australia must oppose these proposals – and never be deterred by the fact that complete nonsense is often presented as commonsense by government “experts”. National high-stakes testing diminishes our curriculum, can change teachers into technicians, can make our schools testing hot-houses and can turn children off learning. That’s a pretty good set of reasons to oppose them.

Relief Teachers’ Sub-Branch The Relief Teachers Sub-Branch meets on a regular basis on the Wednesday prior to Branch Council meetings to discuss workplace issues of particular interest to casual relief teachers. The remaining meeting dates for 2009 are: 17 June; 12 August; 16 September; 21 October; 18 November. Meetings held in MR 7 at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Fremantle Drive, Stirling from 5:00-6:00pm.

June 2009


Indigenous News Reconciliation Awards Congratulations to the recipient of the 2009 AEU Reconciliation Award is Annamaria Zuffo, Deputy Principal of Majura Primary School. Ainslie School, one of the recipients of the 2008 Reconciliation Award, hosted the presentation which took place on Sorry Day, Tuesday 26 May. Reconciliation Week commenced on 27 May. Alinta Williams, teacher at Ainslie School and a Ngunnawal-Ngambri woman, gave the Welcome to Country. Vicky Lucas, Indigenous AEU member from the Early Years Learning section, presented the Award. The annual AEU Reconciliation Awards, now in their seventh year, acknowledge and foster the good work of teachers, support staff [who are AEU members] and community members in furthering the aim of Reconciliation through their involvement in ACT public schools and TAFE. In particular, the award recipients actively promote the five steps to Reconciliation: • Understanding and accepting the history of our shared experience between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider community. • Respecting Indigenous cultures and identity. • Recognising that past injustices continue to give rise to present injustices for Indigenous Australians. • Identifying what more needs to be done and making changes within Australian society. • Revaluing citizenship so that Australians can live together in unity and harmony.


Photo: L-R Coralie McAlister [Principal Majura Primary School], Alinta Williams [Ainslie School], and Annamaria Zuffo [Majura Primary School]

In her nomination, Coralie McAlister, Principal of Majura Primary School, said that Annamaria Zuffo has raised the profile of Indigenous Education and been instrumental in promoting Indigenous culture at Majura Primary School through partnerships within and beyond the school gate. She has built positive, respectful relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, parents, family members and the wider community. Annamaria is studying a Masters of Education, specialising in Indigenous Education. She shares her excitement about each new understanding with her colleagues in a manner that builds interest and critical analysis. Annamaria has a strong sense of social justice and she works hard to ensure inclusive practices operate throughout the school to ensure all students’ needs are met. She has been responsible for the ongoing co-ordination of the North Canberra Cluster Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Partnership. Annamaria is a passionate advocate for Indigenous Education and Reconciliation.

Reconciliation: IT’S UP TO ALL OF US Dare to Lead is a federally funded national project, managed by Principals Australia. Principals of Dare to Lead schools make a commitment to ensuring that their staff and community develops an informed understanding of Australia’s Indigenous people and their cultures, and of the importance of the Reconciliation process. Dare to Lead has a current membership of over 5,100 schools across Australia. In the ACT, 115 Principals from public and private schools have signed their schools up as Dare to Lead schools. This number represents over 85% of all ACT schools – a significant number and indicative of the commitment of ACT school leaders. Sign up to Dare to Lead! Go to: or contact ACT Consultant, Dennis Flannery on 0408 065 288 or email: flanvase@ Cathy Smith Assistant to the Secretary [Professional]

Australia to support UN Indigenous Rights Declaration The Australian Government has announced it will formally support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, reversing the Howard Government’s vote against it in 2007. Australia was a key player in drafting the Declaration in the 1980s and 90s but the Howard Government eventually chose to vote against it in 2007. It was one of only four countries including the United States, Canada and New Zealand to do so. Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma described the decision to support the Declaration as a watershed moment in Australia’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. “While substantial challenges remain for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, support for the Declaration can unleash Australia’s potential to be a world leader on how it engages with its Indigenous peoples”, he said. The Declaration is not legally binding and the Government’s statement to support it could be reversed by the next Government. /

$100 new member’s prize Christina Uhlik of Lanyon High School receives her $100 MembersEquity Bank Start-Up account from ME’s Paul Driver. Such a prize is awarded each term to a randomly drawn new AEU member. Encourage a colleague to join up and they could be in the next draw!

June 2009


Focus on

SSOs IT PAYS TO BE A MEMBER OF THE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION UNION “Ben” [not his real name] began working as an LSA in a primary setting part way through Term 1. It was a job a family acquaintance had suggested to him as he rested up after he completed a gruelling Year 12 experience last year. He entered the DET workforce with an open mind knowing that he could be working with really troubled children. But he did not expect to have to exercise all his athletic abilities to keep pace with the early primary aged child he was to work with at his first placement. He works with the teacher to manage a ‘’runner” and if ever there is a gap in the fence, the crowd or the door, the child is out and in full flight. Ben is fitter than he has been for a while and has run more than he ever anticipated would be required, most often in short sprints to keep track of his charge. His reflexes have been honed also as he defends himself against the occasional unanticipated assault by the child. What training did Ben have when he commenced? He completed Year 12 and has some younger siblings. What training has been provided by the DET that he has been able to access since he commenced? It has been all on-the-job training and while that is certainly vital it has not been sufficient. What training opportunities have been available? From the Department, very little, but from the AEU, there have been a number of courses offered to SSOs in Term 1 and Term 2. Plus there are other AEU training sessions which are applicable to all members.


The training offered by the AEU ranges from Understanding your Working Conditions [free!] through to Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies for SSOs, a program designed specifically for assistants to improve your skills in managing students in the classroom. While the majority of AEU training is free this program is subsidised by the AEU and your school is asked to pay a fee. One participant of this program said, “I enjoyed this course and found that I have come away with several strategies and information I will definitely use in the classroom.” Keep an eye on the AEU Training Program at www.aeuact.asn. au/membership/training.html as we add more courses throughout the year. There are many reasons to become a member of our Union not least of which is the fact that we specialise in assisting and serving all those employees in public education who work with students – teachers, LSAs, HSLOs and youth workers. As teacher assistants you face particular challenges that the AEU understands. We provide high quality training and support. As members of the AEU you also enjoy the protection provided by Journey Cover Insurance which applies to travel undertaken between home and work, to out of hours PD, union meetings and during lunch breaks. You can access legal services, financial services, advocacy, individual and group support through the AEU. The numbers of new SSO members is continuing to rise and the AEU will be deeply involved in the negotiations

of your next Enterprise Agreement in 2010. Do your colleagues a favour and encourage them to join the AEU with you so they too may enjoy the benefits of a union that understands what it’s like to work in education. Bill Book/Glenn Fowler Schools Organisers

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS: Members who currently pay their Union fees fortnightly from their salary are automatically moved up the Level 1 incremental scale by DET so your union dues are adjusted accordingly. Once members hit the top of the Level 1 scale no further fee adjustments are made unless through promotion. For members who pay on a quarterly statement, or a direct debit from their bank account or credit card the AEU receives no notice from DET of incremental movement. Therefore in June each year the AEU automatically moves such members to the next increment until they reach the top of the scale. This movement will occur on 11 June. If you have any questions please contact Sue or Michelle on 6272-2900.


Members at CIT will recall their contributions to the AEU teacher electronic surveys completed in late 2008. Among the issues identified by respondents were extensive dissatisfaction with teacher workloads, lack of recognition of flexible teaching related work, and the lack of appropriate technical and administrative support. Overall workplace stress was seen as the main issue confronting teachers at CIT. Following TAFE Council and Branch Council endorsement in November 2008, the AEU served our Claim, which was informed by the information from the surveys, in late 2008 for the next round of salaries and conditions bargaining on CIT. Negotiations towards a new Enterprise Agreement for teachers in both CIT and the Schools Sector have been underway since February 2009, with weekly meetings occurring between CIT and AEU negotiators. Early in the discussions CIT advised the AEU that Cabinet had determined the following parameters for the teachers’ bargaining round:

The AEU advised CIT that it could not accept these bargaining parameters and requested that they seek advice from the Education Minister about the Cabinet decision. A few weeks later, CIT presented another offer which proposed extending the current Agreement for 1 year with a 3% increase in teacher pay [no different to before] and with no productivity increases [ie no changes to current conditions]. Because this option meant that none of the issues raised by members would be addressed, the AEU declined this offer. Aware that the quantum of salary increase and the duration of the Agreement are always the last matters to settle in a negotiation, the AEU and CIT agreed to set those issues aside and to explore what agreement could be achieved on matters other than salary that had been tabled by either party.

• any productivity savings identified as part of the bargaining would not boost the salary quantum.

During the negotiations on these matters it has become clear that CIT is prepared to consider very few of the issues raised by our members in their Claim. In particular, CIT have a strong view that the teaching profession is no different to the rest of the ACT public sector staff and that our members’ working conditions should largely be identical to the rest of CIT staff. This position has made progress in the negotiations very difficult.

As members can read in the Schools Sector Industrial Report, this interpretation of the Cabinet decision was completely at odds with the way DET interpreted the same decision.

It took till April for CIT to advise that its bargaining parameters had changed, but rather than adopting the same interpretation of the Cabinet decision as DET they stated that the duration of

• 3% pa Treasury funding for salary increases; • an Agreement that must be of 1 year duration; and

the Agreement now had to be 4 years. These parameters were further changed after the handing down of the ACT Government Budget in May, when it was revealed that the proposed salary offer had been reduced to only 2% in the first year and 2.5% for each subsequent year of the Agreement. At that point CIT also revised its position on productivity savings and indicated that if the AEU agreed to trade off certain working conditions, [eg an increase in the annual teaching load, or removal of Daylight Equivalent], then the salary quantum could be increased up to 3% for each year. Despite these changes to the bargaining framework, the AEU continued to try to reach agreement on the issues contained in our Claim and presented to CIT specific clauses that would address those issues. It was agreed that CIT would respond to those clauses the following week. However, at the next meeting on 12 May CIT ignored the AEU position entirely and tabled a new proposal on a “take it or leave it” basis. This proposal required the AEU to accept as non-negotiable: • a two year only Agreement; • productivity trade-offs to increase the salary quantum to a maximum of 3%; • a reduction in certain other working conditions [eg an increase in attendance hours]; • agreement to only two parts of the AEU Claim [public holiday pay for Continued on page 19.....

June 2009



WEEK 18 - 2 ACT Senior Jazz Band Lyneham High School Band

Public Education Day - Bill Book reports

It was fantastic! Thanks to all of you who participated in Public Education Week celebrations. City Walk was a great venue once again and the crowds drawn this year were even better than in previous years. Arawang Primary commenced our week with a stellar performance by multiple choirs and their band. Their enthusiasm was palpable and it was a great “taster” of things to come!

Forrest Primary Bucket Band

There were a couple of minor glitches in the performance schedule however, they were mainly weather related and only once were we delayed briefly by rain. Thanks to Lyneham High for finishing their gig before the first rain drop fell and to Calwell High for beginning moments after the final drop. It was a cleansing shower followed by glorious weather through to day’s end. The flexibility of the Forrest Primary Bucket Band who arrived and “went on” early to help another scheduled act out was really appreciated. Their rhythm and volume was a great crowd pleaser and attracted “hundreds” more to the venue. Campbell High Big Band was very polished and the Googar Dancers attracted a huge crowd. The three bands from the IMP performed with such professional talent that it is difficult to view them as students. Then there was North Ainslie Primary Choir who stood and sang strongly on Friday morning even in the mizzle. What troupers! They sang the rain out in time for Ainslie Primary Senior Voices to step into the breach to entertain with a few songs. Everyone was in fine voice and provided great music for all. The Art Exhibition in the public libraries was also attracting a lot of comment from visitors who were impressed at the display of such widespread talent in both students and teachers. They do recognise the contribution of teachers in the mix too and voiced admiration of their skills and stamina. Thanks again to all of you for a job well done. Please mark the month of May on your 2010 calendars for the Public Education Art Exhibition. It will run for the whole month again.

Calwell High School Band

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS Caption to go here. Caption to go here.

2009 Public Education Week was proudly sponsored by:





22 May 2009 Congratulations to the two recipients of the Public Education Awards for 2009! Jan Bentley - School Leader C, Mathematics/Technology faculty, Dickson College Jan is wholeheartedly committed to high quality public education and positive outcomes for all students and staff. She ensures teachers in her team are strongly supported in their endeavours to also provide excellence in education. Jan approaches every new challenge with the enthusiasm of a beginning teacher. She is a proactive advocate for public education and has been an active and long-standing member of the AEU. Jan has been consistently involved in course writing since the introduction of the college system in 1974. Jan always plays a key role in her professional association and holds a strong belief in continually developing as a teacher and leader. Vicki Fortescue - Classroom Teacher, Jervis Bay Preschool Vicki is a hardworking, passionate, energetic, committed and enthusiastic public school teacher. The quality of Vicki’s relationships with parents and carers is based on mutual respect and an absolute

faith in her abilities as a professional. The Jervis Bay Preschool education program, for which Vicki is responsible, is highly regarded by parents, the ACT Department of Education and Training and the wider community. Vicki proactively supports all students, particularly Indigenous students, in their transition from preschool to primary school in order to ensure equality of opportunity for these students and give them the best chance of success. Vicki fosters partnerships with a range of external providers and local community organisations in order to enhance the preschool students’ learning opportunities. Vicki also makes a difference to special needs students by seeking additional resources and providing a supportive and encouraging environment. Vicki is an exemplary educator.

Googars Dancers - Richardson Primary contingent ACT Junior Concert Band

Arawang Primary School

The Awards were presented at the Celebration Drinks held at The Hotel Realm on Friday 22 May 2009. The AEU thanks our sponsors [listed below] for their financial support of Public Education Week and the Celebration Drinks. Part of the Civic Library Artworks Display

June 2009


Tackling the global economic and environmental crises ARTICLE SUBMITTED BY Union aid abroad APHEDA - the overseas humanitarian agency of the actu

The immediate causes of the global economic crisis lie in the US banking system, but the longer term causes arise from policies implemented by governments around the world over the last thirty years.

The justification was that benefits would “trickle down” to lower income groups. In fact, these policies fostered a culture and practice of greed which undermined community values and increased inequality.

Called neoliberalism, or the Washington Consensus, these policies removed social regulation, redistributed income to the rich, promoted huge growth in both corporate and consumer debt and contributed to global warming and other environmental damage. They assumed that economic growth could be endless, ignoring the history of boom and bust cycles in market economies. Global inequality also increased, with over two billion people now living on less than US$2 per day.

Furthermore, privatisation and deregulation of banks created giant global banks focused only on short-term profits. The finance sector grew much faster than the rest of the economy, driven by corporate and consumer debt. Falling real wages and casualisation of labour, especially in the US, meant that living in debt was often the only option for low income earners.

In developed countries, governments cut company taxes, wealth taxes and income taxes for high income earners, but introduced consumption taxes which hit the poor, who have to spend most of their small income on basic necessities – leaving little, if anything, to save. Governments cut spending on health, education and welfare, and privatised many services. In Australia, legislation like WorkChoices reduced basic working standards. The International Monetary Fund [IMF] and the World Bank then forced these policies onto developing countries in return for loans.


A critical factor of the crisis was the massive growth of high risk or subprime mortgage loans in the US housing market, which began after interest rates fell in 2001. Millions of low income Americans had no access to affordable housing as the government cut public housing programs. US banks offered mortgages to low income people at initially low interest rates. But hidden in the fine print was a shift to higher rates that they could not afford. The banks gambled that rising house prices would cover the cost of defaults. By 2008, sub-prime loans were 20% of the US housing market. The banks then converted the risky loans into securities, which were rated as safe

investments by ratings agencies and sold globally. This created contaminated time bombs in the global financial system. As the higher interest rates kicked in over 2007-2008, millions defaulted, leading to sharp falls in US house prices. Families were left homeless as their houses were sold. Ratings agencies then downgraded the value of the banks’ securities. Banks and other investors suffered huge losses, leading to collapses. Banks stopped lending to each other and to their customers. Share markets plunged in value, leading to losses for superannuation schemes and retirement incomes. Globally, we are now in a deep economic recession, with falling production and rising unemployment and predictions worsening on a weekly basis. In 2008, global production fell by 6%. In 2009, global trade flows are predicted to fall by 9%, and global job losses are now predicted to hit 200 million. Given the inequalities of wealth and power in the global trade system, the impacts of the global crisis are hitting developing countries hard, but in varying ways. Many of the poorest countries are net importers of food, and suffered badly from food price rises in 2007-2008. Continued page 21....


Enterprise Agreement Update From page 15 .... casual teachers and a deferred salary scheme – both of which had already been agreed in principle]. After careful consideration by the AEU negotiators and discussion at TAFE Council, the AEU rejected CIT’s “take it or leave it” proposal. Instead, at the 19 May meeting the AEU put forward an alternative detailed negotiating position for a 2 year Agreement. On Tuesday 26 May CIT again rejected the majority of the AEU’s position, but has indicated that they are prepared to: • negotiate a two year Agreement with salary increases of 2% and 2.5% which would not require any productivity savings or reductions in working conditions; • negotiate the AEU’s proposed Direct Teaching Activities and Duties Other Than Teaching clause, which seeks to address key workload issues raised by our members; • consider the introduction of flex-time for EDS positions; • agree to the restoration of public holiday pay for casual teachers; • negotiate a clause that redefines the role of a Teacher Band 4; • negotiate the inclusion of the ACT Public Sector wide Common Core template conditions within our Enterprise Agreement. Members should be aware that, with each of the CIT “offers” the AEU team has consulted with TAFE Council and sought member feedback through Sub-Branch meetings to inform the AEU response. Consultation will now occur over the latest CIT position.

While there have been minor variations in the response from Sub-Branch meetings to the various CIT offers, there has been remarkable consistency in the reaction of members: they have been offended by CIT management’s refusal to recognise the unique nature of teacher professionalism. In addition, members have consistently condemned the lack of recognition by CIT that the current level of teacher workload is unsustainable. The TAFE Council of 22 May carried a resolution deploring the failure of CIT to engage in genuine negotiations of the AEU Claim which details teachers’ concerns, and instructed the AEU officers to seek intervention from the ACT Government to ensure that future negotiations were indeed genuine in nature. Despite what can only be described as a hostile negotiation environment, it remains the intention of the AEU to try to reach an agreement with CIT before 30 June. If a package can be agreed that TAFE Council endorses then it will be put to members for their feedback and ultimately to a formal vote. It is vital that members are active in their Sub-Branches to discuss the progress of the negotiations, and to engage in recruitment of any non-member colleagues.

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June 2009


Mum’s Rights at Work Historic Victory ACT public sector workers get paid maternity leave extended to 18 weeks On 4 May, the ACT Government announced it will introduce the nation’s most generous whole of government paid maternity leave scheme for public sector workers and double bonding leave. The 2009-2010 Budget provides funding of $7.06 million over four years to extend paid maternity leave for ACT public service employees to 18 weeks. Mr Stanhope said the investment would help make the ACT public service the employer of choice for young working families. “This boost will give working mothers and fathers access to better conditions within the ACT public service and the flexibility they seek when raising a family,” Mr Stanhope said. The scheme will enable the ACT Government to provide an additional four weeks paid maternity leave for qualifying ACT public service employees on top of the current 14 weeks paid leave. As part of the initiative, the ACT Government will also double its paid paternity leave, providing two weeks of bonding leave. The scheme will take effect on 1 July 2009. In addition to the new 18 weeks paid maternity leave, women in the ACT public service can access up to three years of unpaid leave following the birth of their child and work part-time for up to three years after maternity leave.


ACT Department of Education – All Staff Alert 8 May 2009: These entitlements will not be formalised until the next round of agreement making is concluded. However, those employees who commence paid maternity leave or primary care givers’ leave on or after 1 July 2009, or who on 1 July 2009 are receiving paid maternity leave or primary care givers’ leave will benefit from the extra 4 weeks paid leave. The enhanced bonding leave will come into effect on 1 July 2009. Please direct any enquiries to Employee Relations on 62059149 or email

Unions welcome Federal Paid Maternity Leave scheme On Mothers Day, 10 May, Unions welcomed the historic introduction of a universal, government-funded paid maternity leave scheme covering the majority of Australian women and their families. “The campaign to win this essential piece of social infrastructure has taken 30 long years,” ACTU President Sharan Burrow said. “This is a major achievement for the thousands of women and men who have worked so hard to bring this scheme to fruition. “Importantly, the scheme will cover hundreds of thousands of women in lower paid jobs with poor job security, especially in hospitality and retail where there’s been very limited access to paid maternity leave. “The Rudd Government has rightly concluded that this money will go directly into spending on the necessities that go with having a new baby at a time when most families

have been reduced to living on one wage. “It also recognises that paid maternity leave is good for business and the economy because it will help keep skilled, experienced female staff attached to the workforce.” Treasurer Wayne Swan confirmed that a universal paid maternity leave scheme will go ahead however the scheme would not take effect until January 2011 [see box next page]. Ms Burrow said the 18-week scheme would give mothers time to bond with and breastfeed their babies without financial stress forcing them back to work too early, sometimes within weeks, as is currently the case. “The ACTU and unions will continue to help working women bargain for measures to help balance their work and family responsibilities,” said Ms Burrow.

Continued next page ......

Mum’s rights at work: historic victory

tackling the global economic & environmental crises ........... Others which export commodities or manufactured goods have seen both demand and prices fall.

It’s not in the bag yet!

As unemployment rises around the world, temporary migrant workers are losing their jobs, adding to poverty and unemployment in their home countries. Nations which are dependent on aid for essential public expenditure may face cuts in that aid as richer countries tighten their purse strings.

While this represents a great step forward for families and a win for unions, between now and the proposed implementation of a Federally-funded universal paid maternity leave scheme in January 2011 there will be another Federal Budget and election.

The crisis has undermined neoliberalism and the myth of selfregulating markets. Governments are now discussing how, not whether, to regulate markets and use government spending to create jobs and maintain consumer demand, at national and global levels.

Union members must remain vigilant on two counts. We need to ensure that politicians continue to understand that Australians support such a scheme. It is also important to realise that during bargaining for a new Agreement, employers and employees will discuss existing employer Paid Parental Leave [PPL] provisions [such as the 18 weeks paid maternity leave for ACT public sector employees] in the light of the introduction of a new Federal Government PPL scheme and employers are likely to try to reduce these employerfunded provisions. Unions will fight this! Keep informed, keep involved… go to and click on Campaigns. 82x185



Page 8

Unions are advocating that the crisis is an opportunity to reject neoliberalism and regulate the global financial and trading system so that they support, not undermine, social and environmental goals. Governments should not simply rescue banks and reward greed, but must actively reshape the financial system and prioritise support for low income people. This would mean fundamental changes in the policies of the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation [WTO], to support genuine development and fair trade. Governments must invest in job creation in health, education, public transport, energy conservation and renewable energy. For details on these policies see the Global Unions London declaration to the G20 summit, April 2009, found at Photo on page 18: Community leaders in the Solomons meet to share ideas for community training & development projects.

Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.* *Source Global Issues

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June 2009


Using iPods for teaching and learning Marika Vrieling, currently at Theodore Primary School, tells how everyday technology can be used to improve student engagement and self-direction.

Many students come to school every day with powerful computers in their pockets. Even in the primary years our students regularly bring their mobile phones, iPods and smart phones to school. However, most schools ban these devices from being used in the classroom as they are perceived to be a distraction. Last year I was tasked by the Teaching and Learning Technologies Team with investigating how mobile technologies could be harnessed to enhance quality teaching, and in particular, whether the functionality of iPods could be used in the classroom context. To conduct the project the students had access to 17 iPod Classics with voice recorder attachments. Two Year 3/4 classes were chosen to participate in the project over a 7 week period. The school was selected as the students generally had limited exposure to ICTs in both the school and home setting, and the teachers were willing to further explore the uses of emerging technologies. The students were studying an integrated unit called “Fast Plants”. I wanted to find ways that the iPods could be used to enhance the existing content of the unit, as a means of both delivering information and to capture student created work. Over the 7 weeks the iPods were used in the following ways: • To display photos of plants that the students could sort, classify and research. • To watch time lapse movies that demonstrated core concepts such as phototropism, plant life cycles and plant growth.


• To record information about plants to be shared with a partner. This formed the basis of a treasure hunt which saw the students listening to clues on their iPods while looking for plants in the playground. • To record reflections on their learning using a voice recorder attachment. This occurred at the end of each lesson and were collated and shared with the class at the end of the unit. By using the Quality Teaching model as a guide to assess the project, it was clear that using the iPods enhanced the quality of the teaching and learning in many ways. The most observable of these were the positive effect on Student engagement and Student self-direction. Student engagement refers to the extent that the students are noticeably on task It was obvious that the students were highly engaged throughout the project and were noticeably on task, including students who had previously demonstrated off task behaviour. This was expected as the students were interacting with new and exciting technology. However, high levels of engagement continued throughout the 7 week project. Contined next page....... Photos: Year 3/4 students participate in the 7 week project, using iPods to enhance their learning

Student self-direction refers to input from the students on the choice of activities, time spent on activities and the pace of the lesson The most noticeable advantage observed was the potential for differentiating learning for individual students. For example if the students were watching time lapse movies in order to write explanations about phenomena such as phototropism, they were able to watch the movie as many times as necessary. The students wrote high quality explanations which accurately reflected what they had observed in the movies. In this way, the technology enabled the students to work at their own pace, to take more control of their learning, and to produce higher quality work. What did we learn? Initially there were technical difficulties that needed to be overcome. For example, we had to learn how to manage 17 iPods using one version of iTunes and find ways of converting movie files. We also had to work out systems to manage the student-created voice memos. While it would have been better to sort out the technical issues before we commenced the project we discovered that it was possible to find solutions to most of our problems even when things didn’t work as anticipated.

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Ultimately we found that the iPods were effective in helping Editor’s Note: the students to understand the key concepts of the unit 5486_AEU ACT Branch advert.ind1 1 27/05/2009 10:49:33 AM The ACT Teacher is published 4 times per year. The next and encouraged high engagement by all students. At the deadline is Wednesday 26 August. For editorial enquiries conclusion of the project we were further inspired to find other contact Cathy Smith, Assistant to the Secretary [Professional]: ways to use mobile devices in the classroom. In particular, we or telephone [02] 6272-7900. would like to use iPods to differentiate instruction in literacy and numeracy. Australian Education Union - ACT Branch 40 Brisbane Avenue, Barton 2600 [PO Box 3042, Manuka 2603] The DET Teaching and Learning Technologies team PH: [02] 6272-7900 FAX: [02] 6273-1828 can be contacted on 6205-6749 EMAIL:

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Business Papers have been forwarded to Councillors via the drop to the Sub-Branch Secretary in schools on Friday 12 June 2009. Papers are available from 8:45am to allow for a 9:00am start. Councillors are urged to be on time as the meeting lapses if a quorum is not present by 9:00am.

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June 2009


Victorian Bushfire Relief Maribyrnong Primary School was one of many ACT schools that raised funds for those affected by the Victorian bushfires. On February 20, they held a Red Day, where students and staff dressed in red, orange, yellow or black [colours to depict the fire] and raised $666.45 for the bushfire appeal.

ACT Branch members still have strong memories of the 2003 Canberra bushfires. The AEU came to the assistance of members through the Teacher Welfare Fund, which is available for those in financial difficulty. Brian Henderson, AEU Victorian Branch Secretary tells of the support they’ve provided members after the devastating Black Saturday fires. The AEU Victorian Branch has paid out $430,000 in bushfire relief to schools and members affected by the Black Saturday bushfires on February 7 this year. The AEU has heard many stories of incredible hardship and heartbreak, amazing survival and courage. In all 114 members and 14 Sub-Branches have been assisted. This money has gone to help members rebuild their houses, purchase cars, repair damaged infrastructure and replace lost teaching materials. The 14 Sub-Branches have been given money to put towards the rebuilding of their schools where they were totally TAFE Vice President’s Report ..... from page 9 quality of teaching and learning outcomes the institute can achieve. In response to the AEU Log of Claims, CIT has proposed a series of crude and quite aggressive propositions, which have the clear underlying intent of “mainstreaming” teachers into a more familiar and controllable administrative world. These include further increasing teaching hours, extending the length of semesters, increasing compulsory attendance to the public service paradigm of 36 ¾ hours per week and abolishing daylight equivalent hours. Perhaps your first reaction to this [like mine] was that CIT was just being ironic. Unfortunately, it is a serious


destroyed and towards assisting local communities to recover where the community has been badly affected by the fires. Whilst some semblance of normalcy is returning to schools there is still a long way to go and three schools at Kinglake, Strathewen and Marysville will have to be rebuilt. The generosity of AEU members around Australia who also contributed to the AEU appeal for the State Schools Relief Committee has been appreciated by schools and families. Our Branch has also been greatly assisted by the generosity of our fellow Branches and Associated Bodies from right across Australia. This tragedy has brought home the benefits of being in one union nationally where the entire resources of the Union can be mobilised to help those in need. The AEU Victorian Branch thanks the ACT Branch and members for their support and assistance in this time of tragedy.

response and represents a quite immediate threat to teaching professionalism at CIT. Instead of understanding the increasingly complex nature of vocational teaching environments, CIT negotiators seem to be only motivated by the siren call of administrative convenience [or perhaps more darkly, control] and the ever more desperate scramble to reach illusory commercial imperatives. Despite the misconceptions, teaching and administration are fundamentally different and this is no way to build teacher professionalism and learning quality at CIT. Stephen Darwin - TAFE Vice President

Member Profile

Schools’ Organiser Glenn Fowler recently interviewed Belinda Bartlett, Deputy Principal of Lyneham High School. This is Belinda’s 20th year of teaching.

Belinda, what attracted you to teaching? To be honest, I came to teaching more by accident than design! It’s been a long and winding road that explored alternative lifestyles, parenting and greenie activism before realising I needed to get a haircut and a job. But seriously, on reflection, the potential to make a positive impact on young people and their journey through life is what sustains and keeps me in the profession. What are your professional amibitions and long term goals as an educator? To be principal of one our outstanding schools in the ACT! [I’ve let a few people know I’d like their job!] However, I love where I am at right now, and who knows where in the world I might be in the next few years. My long term goal as an educator is to see every child leave school with a strong sense of self, of their capability and equipped with the tools and knowledge to pursue in confidence their chosen path. What do you like about your work? Working with people – teachers, students, the community, and because personally I feel I make a positive difference. Are there things that you think should be changed in the teaching profession? The current mobility arrangements and increase in face-toface teaching hours have caused considerable angst for many staff in the secondary sector and I would like to see the Union work closely with the Department to produce a more positive outcome for teachers. What is it like at Lyneham High? Lyneham has an enrolment of about 1000 students and about 100 staff. Consequently, Lyneham High is a very busy school, due largely to the programs we provide, and the commitment of staff to offer myriad extracurricular activities for students in which to participate. The Band program [we have 5 concert bands and 2 jazz bands] has a huge schedule of events during and outside of school hours. This year we will have no less than 70 sporting teams participate in interschool and interstate competitions. Excursions to enrich academic learning and the many other opportunities for students to

participate in activities such as debating, Canberra School of Music “MuST” program and chess means that students are always “on the move”. Currently we are gearing up for the musical performance “Aida” – a major event on our calendar, and construction of the new performing arts centre has commenced. Challenging as this is at times for staff and students to “keep up’”, it does mean that something is always happening at Lyneham High!! Recently, you undertook a temporary role at Birrigai. What was that like? Markedly different from Lyneham High! I really enjoyed my time at Birrigai – two-way radios meant that my office could literally be anywhere on the site! Birrigai should be seen as one of the “jewels in the crown” of ACT public education and we must encourage everyone to see it as the destination of choice for all ACT school children. Some of the highest quality educational practitioners in the ACT are at Birrigai and their flexible delivery means the needs of most educational excursions can be met. As members will know, Birrigai was extensively damaged by bushfire in 2003 and many tears were shed for that loss. Much has happened in the intervening years and I encourage everyone to visit the area to see for themselves how resilient our natural environment is and how it has recovered significantly in a short period of time. What does being an AEU member mean to you? AEU membership has provided me with support both personally and professionally. I particularly appreciate the assistance the AEU has provided in support of colleagues advocating for their rights, and fair and equitable outcomes in their workplace. In the impending EBA negotiations I hope that the AEU will successfully advocate for teachers on issues concerning remuneration and mobility without any further erosion of working conditions and entitlements.

June 2009


Publication of League Tables

The Profession Speaks Out

The Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Minister for Education Mr Andrew Barr MLA, Minister for Education and Training, ACT

Dear Minister We write at a crucial moment for Australian Education. As peak Professional Associations representing educators across the continent we write to strongly urge you to take legislative action prohibiting the creation and publication of league tables flowing from the collection of student and school performance data. Whilst we are appreciative of MCEETYA’s desire to put in place a structure and process to allow for a longitudinal analysis of school and system performance, on behalf of our students and school communities the profession requires assurances that the misuse of this data will not occur. The damage to curriculum provision, students and entire school communities resulting from league tables is well-documented in international research and evidence. Describing “the ethical principles underpinning the publication of reports” your own “Principles and Protocols for the Collection and National Reporting of MCEETYA Key Performance Measures for Schooling in Australia” July 2008, highlights, among other things, the importance of the avoidance of harm to members of the community: this could occur where the privacy of individuals would be compromised or where the reputation of an institution or group of people would be damaged through the publication of misleading information or stereotyping. It also notes that no information that permits the identification of individual schools or students should be reported publicly without explicit permission. The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians states that “governments will not themselves devise simplistic league tables or rankings”. Legislative action is now required to prohibit their creation and publication by third parties. On behalf of our students and school communities we await your response. Please mark correspondence for the attention fo Angelo Gavrielatos and Andrew Blair, c/- au and [120 Clarendon Street, Southbank, Vic 3006 - Telephone: [03] 9693 1800. Yours sincerely Angelo Gavrielatos, Federal President Andrew Blair, President Australian Education Union Australian Secondary Principals Association On behalf of: Marian Strong, Hon. Secretary, Art Education Australia Inc. Barbara Stone National Chair, The Assoc. of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia Roselynne Anderson, National Co-convenor, Association of Women Educators Dr Judy Anderson, President, Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers Mark Howie, President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English Inc Jenny Lewis, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Council for Educational Leaders Angelo Gavrielatos, Federal President, Australian Education Union Dr Jan Turbill, President, Australian Literacy Educators’ Association Rob Moore, President, Australian School Library Association Peter Turubull, President, Australian Science Teachers Association Andrew Blair, President, Australian Secondary Principals Association Dr Jennifer Rosevear, National President, Australian Society for Music Education Garry Taylor, President, Business Educators Australasia Inc Vin Feeney, President, Catholic Secondary Principals Australia Chris Watt, Federal Secretary, Independent Education Union of Australia



Reproduced with the kind permission of Tandberg

72% of private school parents who were questioned opposed a scheme which allowed teachers who were not properly qualified to teach students – and is it any wonder? Just like fully-qualified teachers who completed years of formal study and work hard to support their students to achieve their full potential, parents want the best education for their children delivered by properly-qualified professional teachers. Minister Gillard is short-changing us all with another illconceived and populist scheme.

From page 3 ....... Penny Gilmour, The Canberra Times, 23 April 2009 I can’t understand why the Federal Government is so keen on importing overseas ideas that have been discredited and essentially demonstrated to be ineffective. In launching Teach For Australia, Julia Gillard is reported as claiming that programs such as Teach for America and Teach First in Britain had been shown to deliver better student outcomes and help raise the status of the profession. This claim appears to rely on some individual and school testimonials solicited by participants in the various Teach First programs. It ignores the peer-reviewed study conducted in 2005 by Stanford University academic Linda Darling-Hammond which concluded that certified teachers consistently produce stronger student achievement gains than do uncertified teachers. These findings hold for TFA [Teach For America] recruits as well as others…uncertified TFA recruits are less effective than certified teachers, and perform about as well as other uncertified teachers. Teach For Australia participants will be uncertified teachers, so on the basis of the research findings about the effectiveness of similar programs such as Teach for America it’s hard to reconcile the Federal Government promotion of under-trained teachers for our kids with their rhetoric about the need to maintain high standards in teacher quality. The AEU included a question about the proposed Teach For Australia scheme in a poll conducted nationally in January 2009. Results showed that 68% of public school parents and

Glenn Fowler, SMH and The Age, 23 April 2009 Let me get this straight. Teach for Australia will put graduates of accounting, law and science through a six-week summer school where they will learn to teach, before sending them to work in the most disadvantaged schools. After two years [if stress hasn’t killed them], these underqualified “teachers” will have two options. The first is to accept a job with a prestigious firm that sponsors the program. The second is to remain in their tough, under-funded, under-resourced, presumably lowly league-table-ranked school and continue to earn about $50,000 a year. Who has gone crazy: me or the Government? Help! Glenn Fowler, The Age, 23 April 2009 Forget Teach for Australia. Bring on Perform Brain Surgery for Australia. I’ve always wanted to have a crack at it. I’ve got my own knife and I’ve got six free weeks over summer. And finally …. A Detroit teachers’ union official has called Teach for America recruits “educational mercenaries” who are using public schools “as a pit stop on their way to becoming corporate executives.”

June 2009




The Butterfly Foundation: My Body, My Life [La Trobe University’s online body image program for adolescent girls]:

Kaz Cooke’s Girl Stuff Guide to Teen Years has a chapter on eating disorders.

Any Body’s Cool is a community theatre program about bodily survival in a disordered world of diets, exercise and identity. Aimed at girls in Years 7 to 8, the first part of the 90-minute program is a performance which explores body image, self-esteem, stress management, media literacy, and gender relations through the story of Kate. The performance is followed by an interactive workshop with the audience. Any Body’s Cool will be touring ACT secondary schools 25 May - 5 June 2009 [free to public schools]. index.php?page=anybodys_cool for more information.

Services and Programs in the ACT

Tips for Teachers

DET Student Counselling and Welfare – contact your School Counsellor on Ph: 6205-9214

Body image and appearance are sensitive subjects. Julie Thomson of the Butterfly Foundation suggests six ways to avoid damaging comments and support children’s self-esteem:

Positive Body Image, Health and Wellbeing - Queen Victoria Women’s Centre: AEU Federal Women’s Conference 2008: Background papers for the body image session can be found at www.aeufederal.

DET Student Support Ph: 6205-6925 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services [CAMHS] Ph: 6205-1971. For children and young people with moderate to severe mental illness and their family/carers. Child Youth and Women’s Health Program Ph: 6207-9977. Provides a range of services to assist families with a child experiencing eating disorders. Health professionals who may be able to assist include nutritionists, child health medical officers, social workers, and maternal and child health nurses. Eating Disorders Program Ph: 6205-1519. One hour presentations [including Q & A] for teachers and support staff are available. Located in Phillip Health Centre. Multidisciplinary team providing comprehensive assessment and treatment program. Team includes: psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, nutritionist, nursing and exercise therapist. Outpatient and day programs available. Clinical supervision for health professionals. Parentline Ph: 6287-3833 9:00am-9:00pm Mon-Fri. A free, confidential telephone service for parents and families


in the ACT and surrounding area. Calls are answered by professionally trained workers who are able to help with information and support.

1. It is never appropriate to make negative comments about a child or young person’s weight, shape or size. Such comments can damage someone’s self-esteem extensively. 2. Be a positive role model by working on your own selfesteem and body image. Putting yourself down in front of children and young people can lead to them displaying similar behaviours. 3. Create a culture within your school and classroom of acceptance, diversity and focusing on young people’s inner qualities and achievements, rather than their appearance. 4. Recognise that assisting children and young people to develop their self-esteem and body image is just as important as developing skills in the areas of drug, alcohol and sex education. 5. Be media literate and aware. Look for ways to help children and young people be more educated about the images and products they see in magazines, on TV and in particular in advertising. Continued next page....

From previous page ......

6. Encourage children and young people to participate in physical activities they enjoy, simply because they are fun and enjoyable, not for any reasons to do with weight loss or changing body appearance. Butterfly Foundation

FACTS AND FIGURES • One in 20 Australian women admits to having suffered from an eating disorder while one in four individuals know someone who has an eating disorder. • Dieting is the greatest risk factor for the development of an eating disorder - 68% of 15-yearold females are on a diet; of these, 8% are severely dieting. • Approximately one in 100 adolescent girls develop anorexia nervosa. • Anorexia nervosa is the third most common chronic illness for adolescent girls in Australia [after obesity and asthma]. • Anorexia is the most fatal of all psychiatric illnesses. • About 50% of people who develop anorexia will return to a normal body weight within six months of treatment; 25% will have a low but stable weight, and the remaining 25% will be chronically ill with the condition or die. • It is common for people suffering from bulimia to keep their disorder hidden for 8 -10 years, at great cost to their physical and psychological health. • 83% of bulimic patients vomit, 33% abuse laxatives, and 10% take diet pills. • One in 10 young adults and approximately 25% of children diagnosed with anorexia nervosa are male. Source: Eating Disorders Victoria Elisabeth Lopez is a freelance writer Editor’s Note: Minister Kate Ellis recently launched a survey/consultation regarding body image. AEU members are encouraged to participate: nsurvey.aspx?surveyid=24eb910d11346728576497c68a688c1

Today’s Youth Forum Keeping Cyber-Safe Given the amount of time youth spend online, who better than young people themselves to help law enforcement understand how technology is used, what can go wrong,and how the Australian Federal Police [AFP] might be able to help young people to stay safe? The Today’s Youth Forum initiative was created in early 2008. The AFP is seeking to extend the Today’s Youth Forum initiative and are looking to invite more Canberra-based high school students aged 13-16 to apply to attend the next forum in September 2009. Teachers, Pastoral Care Coordinators and Principals are welcome to nominate students to attend the forum. The forum aims to: • give youth a voice on how measures relating to online protection of young people are created and put into action; • connect with youth who directly face online risks by allowing them to design solutions and interact with those people and organisations whose job it is to protect them. More information will arrive in your school soon.

INTERNET SAFETY WEBSITE: ThinkUKnow is an Internet safety program delivering interactive training to parents, carers and teachers through primary and secondary schools in ACT, NSW and Victoria using a network of accredited trainers. Created by the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection [CEOP] Centre, ThinkUKnow Australia has been developed by the Australian Federal Policy [AFP], Microsoft Australia and the Australian Communications and Media Authority [ACMA] -

June 2009


AEU Membership Application ACT Branch PERSONAL DETAILS (Please complete all sections) Surname


I hereby apply for membership of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union and if admitted agree to abide by the Rules of the Union. AEU Rules can be found at

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a quarterly statement. Please multiply the fee on the account by 4 to calculate for a year.

June 2009


Come into our office at 2/27 Trenerry Street Weston today or go to rewarding you *Fees and charges and lending criteria apply. Terms and conditions available on request. The comparison rate quoted is based on $30,000 for a term of 5 years with monthly repayments. The New Car Loan is a secured product. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the example given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Teachers Credit Union, a trading division of NSW Teachers Credit Union Ltd. ABN 30 087 650 459 AFSL No 238981. A19620905