Act teacher march 2009

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teacher Journal of the Australian Education Union

UCAs & SCHOOL UPGRADES A busy year for schools ahead!

AUSTRALIAN EARLY DEVELOPMENT INDEX GET A MOVE ON Addressing childhood obesity and developing teacher capacity

March 2009

INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day - March 8

2009 branch vacancies Nominate for UnionsACT or as an AEU Committee Rep industrial report UCA negotiations in Schools & CIT commence CHANGES IN MEMBERSHIP It’s important to keep the Union office informed!

from the

Secretary A new year – and some not-so-new challenges!

Welcome back to 2009! The year is already shaping up to be busy on all fronts, not least of which is the new round of Union Collective Agreement [UCA] negotiations that began in both sectors in early February. A schedule of weekly meetings has been established with DET and with CIT. As this week marks the 3rd round of the discussions, it is very early days in terms of reports of progress. There is no formal offer from the employer at this stage, but this does not prevent the parties exploring the issues on both sides. The indications at this point are that the Government is tending towards a figure around 3% pa for a salary increase, and that the Agreement could be anything from 1 to 4 years in duration from the employer’s perspective. The prospect of a quantum of 3% is not good news for teachers in the ACT public education system. Such an increase does not keep pace with increases in other jurisdictions, much less with the inflation rate over the last 12 months. Also of concern is how the ACT Government’s election comment concerning salaries of $100,000 for the “best teachers” fits into the picture. If an “accomplished teacher” rate of $100,000 had to be funded within a 3% envelope for increases, this situation would mean that even a modest 3% increase would not be possible for all rates as it will take more than 3% to create a salary of $100,000 – even over the life of an Agreement. Apart from quantum and duration, the AEU’s Claim addresses many other issues in both TAFE and schools. While the potential matters for discussion are still being explored in TAFE, it is clear

that there are many matters in the School sector that both DET and the AEU wish to explore. That’s good news and such common ground suggests the potential to have productive discussions on those matters of shared interest. A frank assessment to date suggests that, while there is potential in the discussions, the way to a settlement on the salary issues may not be quick, or smooth!! In addition to the local situation, there have been significant changes in the world economic climate since the AEU lodged its Claims in November 2008, and since the last settlements in other States late last year and in early January. Of course, the ACT Government has been very public about its concerns regarding the state of the Territory’s finances into the future; without saying so directly, it is clear that they will be keen to keep any salary increase to the very minimum. It will be our task as a union to help the Government understand the need to invest in our public education system through keeping our teachers’ salaries competitive, addressing the resourcing issues outlined in the AEU’s Claim, and settling an Agreement over a satisfactory duration given the changeable economic circumstances. Regular reports will be provided to members as the UCA negotiations continue. On a more positive note, the Federal Government’s economic stimulus package has some significant benefits for ACT public schools. Building the Education Revolution will provide $145m for ACT public schools through initiatives targeting primary schools, school minor improvements, and science and language infrastructure. There

are 5 main principles underlying the funding provision: [a] use the money allocated or lose it, [b] money cannot be used to replace ACT investment, [c] stringent timeframes apply for works, [d] proposals must incorporate sustainable building principles, and [e] there must be support for every primary school. Much has been reported in the national and local press about the items of expenditure covered by the Federal injection, so I won’t go into that detail here. Suffice to say that from the AEU’s perspective, a number of concerns raised in our UCA Claim can be addressed through these initiatives. The capacity to address some of our long-held infrastructure concerns is very welcome and we will be looking to work co-operatively with all stakeholders to achieve the best outcomes for the ACT public education system.

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State of the Union reflects benighted state of unions By ROBERT B. REICH Robert B. Reich is a former US secretary of labour, is professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author, most recently, of Supercapitalism. This article was recently published in The Canberra Times and The LA Times and is reproduced with his kind permission. Why is this recession so deep, and what can be done to reverse it?

Hint: go back about 50 years, when America’s middle class was expanding and the economy was soaring. Pay cheques were big enough to allow us to buy all the goods and services we produced. It was a virtuous circle. Good pay meant more purchases, and more purchases meant more jobs. At the centre of this virtuous circle were unions. In 1955, more than a third of working Americans belonged to one. Unions gave them the bargaining leverage they needed to get the pay cheques that kept the economy going. So many Americans were unionised that wage agreements spilled over to nonunionised workplaces as well. Employers knew they had to match union wages to compete for workers and recruit the best ones. Fast forward to a new century. Now, fewer than 8 per cent of private-sector workers are unionised. Corporate opponents argue that Americans no longer want unions. But public opinion surveys, such as a comprehensive poll that Peter D. Hart Research Associates conducted in 2006, suggest that most

workers would like to have a union to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions. So there must be some other reason for this dramatic decline. But put that question aside for a moment. One point is clear: fewer unionised workers means less bargaining power, and less bargaining power results in lower wages. It’s no wonder middle-class incomes were dropping even before the recession. As our economy grew between 2001 and the start of 2007, most Americans didn’t share in the prosperity. By the time the recession began last year, according to an Economic Policy Institute study, the median income of households headed by those under age 65 was below what it had been in 2000. Typical families kept buying only by going into debt. This was possible so long as the housing bubble expanded. Home-equity loans and refinancing made up for declining pay cheques. But that’s over. American families no longer have the purchasing power to keep the economy going. Smaller pay cheques, or no pay cheques at all, means fewer purchases, and fewer purchases means fewer jobs. The way to get the economy back on track is to boost the purchasing power of the middle class. One key way to do this is to expand the percentage of working Americans in unions. Tax rebates won’t work because they don’t permanently raise wages. Most families used the rebate last year to pay off debt. Not a bad thing, but it doesn’t keep the virtuous circle revolving. Continued page 15

Challenge us to find you a better deal. Union Shopper is all about ensuring members reCeive great value for money on whatever you are looking to Buy. At no cost to you, we help save time and money, without the hassles and headache. Be part of the savings and make the most of this valuable money saving service. Before you make another purchase, remember Union Shopper and challenge us to find you a better deal.

Big Savings for Union Members

March 2009



Public Education week runs from 18 to 22 May 2009. Please let us know what you are planning! Bill Book & Glenn Fowler - Schools’ Organisers

This promises to be a big year for all of us. Negotiations have commenced and membership is growing apace as teachers recognise the importance of presenting a strong, united front to give voice to our claim. Members are encouraged to approach all teachers, assistants, home school liaison officers and youth workers new to your site to ensure that they are members or at least are presented with the opportunity to join the AEU. Recruitment to our Union is everyone’s responsibility. New staff members or those new to the ACT should be reminded that only members can travel to and from work secure in the knowledge that they are protected by the Union’s Journey Cover Insurance. Issues that have come up most frequently from the beginning of term have been various leave enquiries, permanent part-time [PPT] teaching loads, and PD requirements. Workload is now a perennial concern and we will hopefully address that through our negotiations with DET and the Government. Note 1: Leave Without Pay [LWOP] is NOT an entitlement and members should never assume that it will be approved. Always provide sufficient lead time when you are applying for any leave and be prepared to negotiate. If you are having significant problems accessing leave contact an Organiser for assistance. If you are requesting leave so you can work at a different job for a period of time you must also apply to work at that second job because you are still a DET employee. The approval to work that job or even to take leave is sometimes delayed and you may be fully

ensconced in the job before approval is confirmed. If you take LWOP it does NOT count as service and your accrual/ incremental dates will be adjusted accordingly. [If you take 3 months LWOP your incremental date will be set back 3 months.] Under current DET policy you cannot end your extended LWOP 1 or 2 weeks out from a stand down period and hope to be paid for stand down. The AEU was not consulted by DET prior to effecting the rule change in 2006 and Union officers continue to pursue discussions with Human Resources to resolve the issue. Similarly, if you are taking Long Service Leave [LSL] intending to return at the beginning of a term the stand down period prior to your date of return will be taken as LSL. Note 2: The working conditions relevant to the many Part-Time and Permanent Part-Time [PPT] teachers are clearly documented in the current Teaching Staff Union Collective Agreement [UCA]. However, we have received many calls this year from teachers and staffing officers seeking clarification around the basic conditions. The Department and the AEU are committed under the current Agreement [Section P: 97.2; Section S: 125.3; Section W: 170] to the provision of part-time employment options and promotion of family friendly policies [Section W: 170.11]. All staff working part time are required to complete pro rata PD. Any PD teachers are required to undertake on one of their rostered days off MUST be negotiated in advance and the school will be required to compensate them fully for the day or part day that they attend. Similarly if teachers are required to attend a staff meeting on a rostered day off the

school must pay for their attendance and childcare if that is a factor. Alternatively the teacher may apply to take paid carer’s leave. When making enquiries at Shared Services [Payroll] regarding pay, leave and other matters, it is a good idea to obtain the name and email address of the person with whom you are speaking. Once the conversation has finished, you should send an email to the person clarifying the advice you were given, and then print and file the response. This is a useful way of avoiding misunderstandings. Last year, asbestos was discovered by inspectors conducting an asbestos audit in the Dickson College gymnasium. Moves were immediately made to close off the site and work to remove the asbestos was completed over the Christmas holiday period. Staff and students are once again enjoying full use of the facility. It is the AEU’s understanding that no ACT school buildings are equipped with any unflued gas heaters, which have been linked to some health problems. However, we are asking our members to advise us if any of these heaters are being used. Finally, a reminder that Public Education Week runs from 18 to 22 May 2009. Please let us know what you are planning! See you in the Sub-Branches! Bill Book & Glenn Fowler Schools’ Organisers

Members needed as DET reps on committees for 2009 The Senior Officers would like to take this opportunity to thank the members who represented the AEU on committees in 2008. The Union has a practice of readvertising positions annually for various departmental and other committees. This provides experience for members and ensures that the Union’s view is clearly stated to the Department on a range of important industrial and professional issues. The successful applicants will serve for the 2009 school year unless otherwise specified. Members are encouraged to apply for the positions listed below and, if elected, may be required to provide written reports to the Union that will be tabled at Executive meetings [proforma will be provided]. • Qualifications Committee [1 position, 2 year appointment] • Board of Senior Secondary Studies [3 year appointment] • ESL Committee • Teacher Scholarship Committee • ACT Sports Council Applications [no more than 1 page] for the above positions, including a brief CV, should be addressed to Cathy Smith, Assistant to the Secretary [Professional], or fax 6273-1828 by close of business Monday 16 March 2009. Contact Cathy on 6272-7900 if you have any questions in relation to the committees listed above.

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 meeting dates for 2009 are: 18 March; 13 May; 17 June; 12 August; 16 September; 21 October; 18 November. All meetings will be held in MR 7 at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Fremantle Drive, Stirling from 5:00-6:00pm. Go to for frequently asked questions from casual relief teacher members.



Sadly, we begin 2009 with many of our colleagues suffering in various ways. We have natural disasters, in both Victoria and Queensland, and political disasters internationally – think, for instance, of the horrendous plight of teachers in Zimbabwe. The AEU is making every effort, within the limits of our resources, to support our affected colleagues. During the last stand down, I had the opportunity to attend the AEU’s Annual Conference in Melbourne, where a highlight was the conferring of Life Membership on Clive Haggar, our recently retired long-standing Branch Secretary. It was both heartening to hear of the successful agreements negotiated by some of our interstate colleagues, and disappointing to find that we continue to have serious political differences with the Rudd Government. They have an odd attitude to the funding of public education and a marked professional disrespect for teachers and their unions. The funding available to schools in the Stimulus Package is, of course, welcome, but vastly inadequate to address years of under-funding. I urge you, in a year which will see us in industrial negotiations with the ACT Government, to ensure that your Sub-Branch positions are filled, and that you actively participate in discussing the issues involved. Make sure your Councillors know how you feel, and that they report developments to your SubBranch promptly. We are all over-worked, but few work harder or more effectively for our members than your Schools Organisers. Invite one to attend your Sub-Branch meetings to keep you up-to-date and to hear your opinions directly. I encourage you to contact me at Lake Ginninderra College [] if I can assist you in any way. Phil Rasmus Branch President

March 2009

BY Dr lucas walsh and rosalyn black, the foundation for young australians

Responding to the Challenges of Participation in Uncertain Times The social inclusion agenda of recent years has helped to drive a greater awareness of the challenges arising from social disadvantage. “How Young People Are Faring� [HYPAF], a national research report published by the Foundation for Young Australians, provides a compelling picture of which groups of young people are most vulnerable – particularly in times of economic uncertainty. HYPAF indicates that currently one in 10 teenagers [15-19 years] and one in five young adults [20-24 years] are not engaged in either full-time study or work. Early school leavers are at greater and ongoing risk of not getting fulltime work. The most vulnerable of these young people come from low socio-economic backgrounds and/or live in regional and remote areas. For example, teenagers living in areas of high socio-economic status are twice as likely to be in fulltime education compared with those living in areas of social disadvantage. Almost every second 19 year old who lives in a major city is engaged in full-time education, compared with less than one in five in regional areas and barely one in 20 in remote areas.

As the figure [opposite] shows, the need to understand and address these vulnerable groups becomes all the more urgent given how hard previous economic downturns have hit young people in transition. Looking at this figure, one can see how previous periods of economic instability [such as the early 1990s] negatively impacted on teenage participation in full-time study or full-time work. According to the most recent data, it appears that this trend may be starting again. Clearly apparent is a structural difference between teenage male and female participation. Moreover, while the proportion of teenagers not earning or learning has been falling, increasing teenage participation in education and training [including school] has not been matched by an increase in full-time employment. This is alarming given the tremendous economic growth during the last several years. There has been insufficient full-time job growth in the youth labour market. Full-time job opportunities for young people have not kept pace with full-time job growth for older Australians. Young people in transition will be at increasing risk in a turbulent economic climate.

HYPAF supports the view that young people who are able to complete Year 12 or equivalent are more likely to earn and/or learn in their post-school years and consequently have better opportunities later in life. There are a number of ways we can improve participation in secondary education. One is to keep students engaged in learning. Research shows that schools operating in disadvantaged communities need proven models of learning that engage young people and the tools to implement these models in their own local context [Black, 2007]. Cityscape is a program developed by Education Foundation [a division of the Foundation for Young Australians] that uses the city as a resource for meaningfully interactive, real world learning experiences for Year 9 and 10 students. Cityscape caters annually for more than 3,500 young people from more than 50 Victorian state secondary schools. The majority of these schools serve disadvantaged areas. Cityscape is an exemplar for engaging learning. It is based on a challenging curriculum connected to students’ lives and connected to the community. It caters for individual differences in interest, achievement and learning styles. It develops students’ ability to take control over their own learning. It involves cooperation, communication and negotiation. An independent evaluation [Stokes & Turnbull, 2008] shows that programs like Cityscape re-engage students even in situations where early leaving is a real risk. At one school, a significant drop in absenteeism has been attributed to a new curriculum approach based around Cityscape. As leadership at the school has said: “This way of learning - less of the teacher out front talking, more discussion, kids being responsible …

has a real impact on kids, especially at Year 9 … The kids can’t say they hate school as previously”. According to students, Cityscape is engaging precisely because it is different to the common school experience: there are walls at school, no walls at [Cityscape]. Cityscape also provides teachers with first-hand experience of studentcentred learning in action. As one teacher has commented, [Cityscape] touches us. It doesn’t change everything but it gives us a model. The research findings of HYPAF present an often confronting picture of the scope and scale of the challenges faced by young people in transition. While many of these complex challenges suggest a need for new thinking and large scale responses, the need to engage students and keep them engaged remains pivotal to how young people fare at school and beyond. For more information about Cityscape and the full report of How Young People Are Faring 2008, go to REFERENCES: Black, R. [2007]. Crossing the Bridge: Overcoming Entrenched Disadvantage through Student-Centred Learning. Melbourne: Education Foundation Lamb, S. & Mason, K. [2008]. How Young People Are Faring. Melbourne: The Foundation for Young Australians. Accessed 18 February at Stokes, H. & Turnbull, M. [2008]. Reach, Research & Reflect: An evaluation of the City Centre program. A report for Education Foundation

Source: Lamb & Mason 2008, Figure 14

March 2009

Negotiations have commenced with both DET & CIT for the next UCA

Industrial Report The Union Collective Agreement [UCA] AEU negotiators are Ms Penny Gilmour, Ms Cathy Smith [DET only], Mr Peter Malone and Mr Mike Fitzgerald [CIT only]. Weekly meetings are occurring separately with DET and CIT. The opening positions put by the two Agencies are very different. CIT wish to have a one year only agreement, with a narrow range of issues negotiated and are suggesting a fully funded salary increase of 3% only. They have no authority at this stage to negotiate any increase greater than this percentage. DET want a 4 year agreement, with a wide range of issues negotiated and are suggesting a fully funded salary increase of 3%, but this would be reduced by the amount it costs to implement an Accomplished Teacher/Expert Teacher salary of $100,000 by the end of the Agreement. This of course means that the salary increase for most teachers would be less than 3%. Any amount over this percentage would need to be funded by productivity cuts. To put our bargaining in a context it is instructive at this stage to reflect on the recent outcomes achieved both in the ACT/ NSW private sector and the public sector across the nation. In every State and Territory where negotiations occurred in 2007 and 2008, AEU teachers were forced to take extensive

industrial action in order to get their government to stop making changes detrimental to public education and to listen to the voice of reason. The ACT Minister for Education has indicated that he does not wish to have a protracted dispute and, of course, neither is it our desire. The Union has listened to our members carefully and, after much debate by teachers, drafted a claim that reflects the real needs of our local public education system. It is a blue print for the way forward over a number of years, certainly beyond a single UCA period. We sincerely intend to bargain in good faith to achieve the best possible outcome for all ACT public education teachers and their students. Unfortunately good intentions didn’t prevent our interstate colleagues from having to take industrial action. The following table compares current ACT school teacher salaries with the outcomes achieved across the country. [NB: Some of the Agreements from which the rates are quoted have not yet been formally certified and therefore it is possible that some figures may vary slightly when formally registered.] It shows that the initial bargaining position of the ACT Government is insufficient to keep the ACT schools sector competitive, particularly with our nearest markets.

INTERSTATE AND PRIVATE SECTOR SALARY COMPARISONS, 2009-2011 - Draft: not for citation Beginning Teachers [ 4 year trained] State/Date






ACT Anglican Schools

ACT Catholic Congregational

NSW Catholic Systemics

Brindabella Christian College

Emmaus Christian College

Jan 2009



51,331 *1600 allowance



59,112 [Feb 2009]

56,275 [July 2009]


54,722 [July 2009, includes annual leave loading]

56,470 [July 2009]

Jan 2011




56,743 [Jan 2010]


61,476 [Feb 2010]

58,526 [July 2010]


62,146 [July 2011] 64,632 [July 2012]

61,371 [July 2011]

Teachers at Top of Pay Scale







ACT Anglican Schools

ACT Catholic Congregational

NSW Catholic Systemics

Brindabella Christian College

Emmaus Christian College

Jan 2009

78 ,703





82,402 [Feb 2009]

80,213 [July 2009]


78,032 [July 2009, includes annual leave loading]

80,525 [July 2009]

Jan 2011




80,480 [Jan 2010]


85,699 [Feb 2010]

83,422 [July 2010]


88,619 [July 2011] 92,164 [July 2012]

87,515 [July 2011]

TAFE Industrial Report TAFE members across the nation pursue professional and industrial justice If the fight across the nation in the schools sector for professional and industrial justice has been hard, it has been equally so for our TAFE members.

school teachers would ever again negotiate their industrial agreements simultaneously. It is a position that AEU ACT members cannot and will not accept.

The previous Howard Government’s drive for commercialisation and privatisation of the TAFE sector has continued almost unabated under the Rudd Labor leadership.

On the positive side, despite the initial opposition of State Labor governments in NSW, Victoria and WA, teachers there were able to eventually win substantial outcomes. They achieved these results in difficult circumstances only through the collective strength all teachers possess by being active members of there Union.

The trend for other State and Territory Governments to try to divide our TAFE members from the rest of the profession has been very prominent in recent years. This action has seen long and protracted disputes occur over the negotiation of collective agreements. To counter this negative division, in the ACT, our members in both CIT and the school sector, strongly endorsed serving a single claim on their one employer, the ACT Government. This claim, while acknowledging the differences between the two sectors, seeks to strengthen the industrial and professional links between CIT and DET teachers. Unfortunately at this stage of the Union Collective Agreement negotiations, CIT management and the ACT Government are following the same divide and conquer trend as our interstate colleagues have had to endure. Not only have they rejected the proposal for a single UCA, but they are seeking only a one year agreement in CIT but a four year agreement for school teachers. This position would make it unlikely that CIT and

Below is a table which compares CIT teacher salaries with the new rates that will apply in NSW, Victoria and WA. In making these comparisions it is important to note: 1. the agreements from which the rates are quoted have not yet been formally certified and therefore it is possible that some figures may vary slightly when formally registered; 2. the classification structures in each State and territory are very different and therefore the comparison of like with like positions is complex. Peter Malone Assistant Secretary [Industrial]

TAFE TEACHER SALARY RATES - Draft: not for citation Classification/State





Top of teaching scale

TB1.8 74,969 [1 July 2008]

T13 78,667 [1 January 2009]

T5 72,275 [1 October 2009]

Lecturer G8: 73,491 [4 September 2009]

TB1.8 To Be Negotiated

T13 84,759 [1 January 2011]

T5 79,500 [1 January 2011]

Lectuer G9: 81,662 [3 September 2010]






AST/STP [or equivalent]

AST 77,914 [1 July 2008] STP 80,207 [1 July 2008]

Special Program Co-ordinator Step 1 84,446 [1 Jan 2009] Step 2 90,006 [1 Jan 2009]

T5 72,275 [1 October 2009]

Advanced Skills Lecturer ASL1.1 76,096 [4 Sept 2009] ASL1.2 78,671 [4 Sept 2009]

Special Program Co-ordinator Step 1 93,163 [1 Jan 2011] Step 2 96,976 [1 Jan 2011]

T5 79,500 [1 October 2011]

Advanced Skills Lecturer ASL1.1 Discontinued ASL1.2 84,764 [3 Sept 2010]

March 2009

OH&S Occupational Health & Safety Issues In the first couple of weeks of term we provided advice to members as temperatures soared and tempers frayed. Our Union policy in regard to physical conditions in schools has temperatures set at a minimum of 17 degrees and maximum of 30 degrees as the parameters guiding your action within schools and office space. If the temperatures move beyond those limits in either direction at your site then you should initiate your risk management plan [see advice below] and move with your students to more comfortable areas, perhaps the library, the hall, shady external areas and so on. It may get too hot again and come winter it may be too cold indoors. If the weather forecast anticipates extreme conditions at your site then families should be notified in advance of your school’s management plan [such as a shortened school day and early collection of their children]. Those working in office-based roles should arrange to work from home, public libraries or other acceptable alternative settings. For assistance with the risk management plan process and to access a proforma you should go through the Shared Services customer service portal on Index. If you have difficulties following those links contact Shared Services directly [telephone 6205-9245 or 6205-0211]. You can also request the assistance of an AEU Organiser to guide you through the process and Shared Services will also assist sites to establish plans. For those of you who do not have a risk management plan in place to assist in the management of difficult physical conditions [heat, cold, water damage, fire etc], it is a good first task for the OHS Representative/Deputy Representative and OHS Committee at your site. You now know the possible internal temperature limits for your school/site. Identify and rank the associated risks [eg heat stroke, distress, hypothermia and medical evacuation] and chart what steps you can reasonably take to ensure you minimise those risks. That may range anywhere from bringing in evaporative coolers/space heaters or other equipment, through to relocation and evacuation. In past journals there have been reports of outcomes of legal cases in other jurisdictions whereby various departments of education have been admonished and fined for failing to provide full information about students with violent behaviours to schools they were moving into, resulting in


unfortunate outcomes for staff and students at the new site. It is a requirement that information concerning students with histories of violent behaviour transferring into “new” schools be provided to the school and the teachers. This is to facilitate the development of effective risk management plans to assist in the management and education of the student and maintain a safe environment for all staff. If the student is to have access to the full playground area and all staff members undertake playground duty then it follows that the information and the plan should be made available to all members of staff and not just the student’s classroom teachers. The confidentiality of such information is of course taken as read. For those of you wanting assistance to complete the safety checks at your site with no obligation or costs, you may wish to contact WorkWatch [6249-1099]. The WorkWatch trainers will bring a group of trainee OHS Representatives to your site as part of their training and will provide the school with a report, prioritised list of hazards and recommendations. They will work with your checklists or are happy to provide their own. There will be new OHS legislation in place from July 1 this year replacing the long serving OHS Act 1989. The Work Safety Bill 2008 contains some important differences that are summarised on the AEU website on the OHS page []. Finally, a reminder about the OHS Forum offered as part of the AEU Training Program this year to be held on May 28 from 9:00am-12:00pm, for OHS Representatives, Deputy Representatives and OHS Committee members. The theme this year is The Identification and Resolution of Safety Issues and we encourage you to notify your concerns to the Union office for inclusion on the program. Details of speakers and the program will be released nearer to the date. Register now by contacting the AEU office on 6272-7900. Bill Book Schools Organiser

IWD - International Women’s Day

IWD is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women. IWD first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Many early events involving political struggles by women helped entrench the notion of a commemorative day for women. In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March [this year it’s a Sunday so many celebrations are happening in the week leading up to that day]. For AEU women, we have a proud history of women unionists campaigning for and winning major equalities for women working in public education: • Equal pay for women teachers. • Removal of the bar on married women teaching. • Maternity leave – paid and unpaid. • Permanent part-time employment. • The right to return to work part-time after maternity leave. • Carer’s leave. • Parental leave. • Rights to superannuation for women. • Departmental Equal Opportunity

and Affirmative Action for Women policies. • Sexual Harassment Contact Officers. The gains the AEU has worked to achieve for women should be celebrated, never forgotten and never ever lost. The Union has and needs strong women who are actively involved to ensure we continue our proud history of fighting for rights at work and building upon previous gains. The AEU Federal website has a range of links to resources, lesson ideas and information au/Women/IWD2008.html Celebrate International Women’s Day in your workplace on Friday 6 March: • Involve students in IWD by using the resources from the link above and planning a lesson. • Plan an IWD event such as a special assembly, breakfast or morning tea. • Attend an IWD event in your local community. • Encourage women in your workplace to join the Union. • Ensure your workplace has an AEU Women’s Contact Officer – go to women-focus.html. Cathy Smith Assistant to the Secretary [Professional]

Fundraising, AEU donations and support for others The AEU and its members have a proud record of supporting those in need, a record that has been reinforced in the wake of the disastrous Victorian Bushfires. There is no doubt that the ACT’s own experience in 2003 has given particular empathy to our community, and the support that we received in 2003 is being returned to our neighbours in Victoria. The ACT Branch will be providing a general report to the AEU Federal Office of the types of activities conducted in ACT public education facilities and that general amount of fundraising achieved, so don’t forget to provide your workplace’s information to priority1@ Congratulations and thank you to everyone who has participated in the efforts at their workplaces – there have been a range of activities across the system with more planned, and many individuals have also contributed to various appeals. Branch Executive determined to donate $2000 to the fund established by the AEU Victoria Branch, and that money has been sent. In order to fund this contribution, the Executive revised the distribution of the $6000 budget allocation for donations; AEU support for APHEDA, Barnado’s and Stewart House was revised. Given the changed support from the AEU’s donations budget, the Executive encourages schools to consider these recipients when determining your fundraising for 2009. Members may also consider becoming a Global Justice Partner with APHEDA where your regular contributions support a range of assistance projects in the Asia-Pacific Region.

March 2009


Indigenous News World Indigenous Peoples Conference: Education – Melbourne, December 2008 ACT AEU delegates Beth Craddy, Cara Shipp and Vicki Lucas describe highlights from an inspiring and important world conference.

Beth Craddy - Professional Learning ACT Schools Office Respecting Tradition was the theme of the first day of the conference. Workshops and speakers provided opportunities to consider the strong links between language and identity as well as the role of education in maintaining Indigenous traditions and building Indigenous histories. The theme of Day Two was Living with Competing Knowledge Systems. Speakers and workshops focused on the exploration of Indigenous knowledge systems, the nature of mainstream education systems and how Indigenous knowledge systems can be incorporated into mainstream education.

Also available from this site is eight ways in which bias shows up in teaching resources, created by the SA Department for Education and should be compulsory reading for all teachers.

Associate Professor Li Tsung Wen Kuo, from the National Taitung University in Taiwan gave a presentation about a recent action research project using a community-based approach to achieving science curriculum goals for Indigenous Taiwanese students. Indigenous Taiwanese people are the descendants of the peoples inhabiting the islands before the major Han colonisations in the seventeenth century. There are approximately 500,000 Indigenous Taiwanese belonging to 12 tribal groupings. The action research project involved mid-primary aged students learning about traditional plants and their uses. The project is a good example of genuine two-way learning. Parents and community members provided the traditional knowledge and expertise for learning activities focusing on traditional uses for plants, their habitats and Indigenous language. Teachers complemented the learning with conventional botany lessons. Parents, community members and teachers were involved in all learning activities thereby learning from each other.

Dr Glenn Auld from Monash University and Rachel Thomas from the Maningrida Community Education Centre in North Central Arnhem Land were inspiring with their presentation about globalising a minority Indigenous language using interactive multimedia. The Ndjebbanna language is one of the 51 languages spoken in North Central Arnhem Land is spoken by approximately 250 members of the Kunibidji

Cara Shipp - Belconnen High School A recurring theme across the four days, and indeed at the Education International [EI] Seminar held the day before WIPCE commenced, was the need for the Australian Indigenous community to nurture and grow new leaders who will continue the fight for social justice and equity in Australia. At the EI Seminar Associate Professor Tracey Bunda

The focus of the final day was Beyond the Horizon or looking to the future. Community engagement was explored in workshops and successes highlighted. A workshop about Western Australia’s Aboriginal Perspectives Across the Curriculum [APAC] project demonstrated how a bank of ideas and resources can be developed to enhance the capacity of teachers to embed Aboriginal perspectives across the curriculum. Lesson plans and other resources can be downloaded from


community and was first written using the alphabet in 1978. Glenn spent nearly ten years in Maningrida before relocating to Monash University. Working collaboratively with Rachel Thomas and other members of the Kunibidji community Glenn has coordinated the digitisation of elders’ stories that were recorded in previous years. Rachel has been instrumental in developing new talking books of a global nature. For example, Rachel took digital photographs during a trip to Hong Kong and used them for a series of talking books which talk of city lights, ships and high rise buildings. Instead of resorting to the English language to label concepts and ideas not represented in Ndjebbanna, Rachel consulted with elders to create appropriate labels in Ndjebbanna thus providing a process through which the language can develop and maintain currency. Talking books were installed on donated second-hand iMac computers in Melbourne then shipped to Maningrida. The computers can only be used to read/listen to the stories, making computer malfunctions or computing errors less likely.

A new wave of Indigenous leaders needed from Flinders University spoke of the real need for Indigenous people already working in education to take care of themselves because the stress of “fighting the good fight” can take its toll. Bunda suggested that it’s time for a new wave of Indigenous leaders to emerge, and we are not going to get them unless we educate them – in both Indigenous and Western education systems. With this in mind, I embarked on the WIPCEorganised tour of four Melbourne high schools to see how they included and catered for their Indigenous students. Reservoir District Secondary College – Staff admitted that at present, there are no Indigenous perspectives included in their curriculum; however, two great initiatives this school has undertaken are to foster connections between the Indigenous students and the Melbourne University [with a Year 10 Orientation and a Year 11 residential program now in place] and arranging the timetable to make Wednesdays a more flexible day when students can attend VET or ASBA programs [this of course benefits all students]. Bundoora Secondary College have written and endorsed an “Indigenous Culture Action Plan” which aims to create a curriculum that, in Principal Stephen Smith’s words “supports an Australian who understands and acknowledges the place of Indigenous Australians”. Some of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students spoke to us on the day and their pride in their culture and sense of self-worth came through very clearly, something I think can be attributed to the school’s inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in the curriculum as well as their commitment to making connections with the local Aboriginal families. Northcote High School approached the challenge of making school-home connections by establishing close links with the local primary school, sending Indigenous students to the primary school to lead basketball coaching, maths tutoring and NAIDOC celebrations. As parent-school connections tend to be stronger in primary school than high school, they were able to meet and establish more connections with families through these projects. Northland Secondary School is a school with an inspiring history. This school was closed down by the Kennett Government and re-opened after almost two years of protesting by the local Aboriginal families and their two Aboriginal Education Assistants [AEAs], who are still working at the school 20 years on. The school is a large provider of VET programs to the region [taking students from 39 State and private schools] and is set up like a technical college with

equipment on-site for practical, hands-on learning. They have a small group of students completing a tertiary study package, but most are doing VET and pre-apprenticeship programs. Nonetheless, they were able to provide good examples of ways in which they had embedded Indigenous Perspectives into the curriculum at all year levels. One interesting example was teaching Year 8 students about William Cooper, a well-known Aboriginal activist who also protested about Nazi treatment of Jews, as part of a Holocaust unit. The school also has extensive programs in place for the Indigenous students, run by their two AEAs, which include cultural activities and literacy classes. Vicki Lucas - Early Years Learning, Schools Office Have you ever had the experience of finding that just being in a space is inspiring? Just feeling the energy and the buzz of like minded people looking for answers, swapping stories from around the world, remembering that we are all the same in struggle and success in so many ways, and having a deadly time doing it? That was WIPCE 2008 for me. The Conference was huge; over 1600 delegates and over 200 choices of concurrent sessions. My ignorance was astounding! I had no idea that within the land masses of modern-day countries are the long held boundaries of so very many peoples and their land, loves, life and futures. The cultural “displays” were mind-blowing. There was dancing and singing and the spoken word. Each session I went to was a demonstration of how other cultures acknowledge land and people. There were things to buy and things to touch and things to hear and things to see. The food wasn’t that great though! The theme was respecting the past, shaping the future with sub-themes on each of the three days of respecting tradition, living with competing knowledge systems, and beyond the horizon. I focused on sessions with early childhood education content. The bulk of sessions were presented from nations within modern-day Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Time and time again, the messages were the same: • quality, play-based early childhood education makes a difference in the lives of Indigenous people and communities; • educators with good ideas need to stop and listen to what communities actually want; Continued on page 14

March 2009


World Indigenous Peoples Conference: Education From page 13 ..... • acknowledging that culture, spirituality, child rearing practices and languages/dialect are surviving and thriving is critical; and • Indigenous families want the best for their children and they want educators who want the same. I should add that prior to the conference proper there was an Education International [AEU is an affiliate] one day seminar looking at the challenges faced by Indigenous educators and those passionate about Indigenous education in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Norway and many other countries. Whilst the contexts are often very different, the issues were overwhelmingly similar and included: • loss of access to land leads to despair and reduced access to the culture that land determines; • language must be acknowledged and celebrated to maintain culture; and • the damage caused by the denial of contemporary experience and its connection to traditional cultural ways by bureaucracies and institutions. We lamented, we consoled, we listened, we learned, we laughed, we thought hard, we committed to change and we grew stronger for the day. Unionists can make a difference. We can be an informed voice for Indigenous children in our school communities, but only when we have listened to what it is that they want said.


ACT Branch UnionsACT Reconciliation 2009 Awards 2009 Vacancies Nominations are invited for the 2009 AEU Reconciliation Awards. The Awards acknowledge and foster the good work of AEU members and community members in furthering the aim of Reconciliation in public schools and TAFE. These awards are funded through the AEU - ACT Branch Bernie Hearn Fund which was established in Bernie’s memory after his death in 1990. Award Criteria: Nominations should state why the nominee is considered worthy of an Award and should give evidence of how the nominee is furthering the aims of Reconciliation in his/her work in education. To assist in your nomination, the five steps to Reconciliation are as follows: • 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. For further information and a nomination form go to www.aeuact. or contact Cathy Smith on 6272-7900. Nominations close at 4:30pm on Friday 8 May 2009.

UnionsACT meets quarterly at 6:00pm [189 Flemington Road, Mitchell] on the first Wednesday of the month in March, June, September and December PLUS the AGM in November. The Union holds 11 Delegate and 11 Alternate Delegate positions which are filled via election at March Branch Council. Members wishing to nominate for any of the positions should send an expression of interest to PO Box 3042, Manuka, ACT 2603 or fax 6273-1828 to reach Penny Gilmour, Branch Secretary no later than 4:30pm on Thursday 18 March 2009. For any information on the duties of the positions, please contact Penny Gilmour on 6272-7900. Delegates will be elected at March Council and will take up positions from March 2009March 2010.

Journal change in 2009 The ACT Teacher will be distributed 4 times per year in 2009 with issues in schools: Friday 6 March; Friday 12 June; 11 September; 13 November. In between journals, UCA Updates and e-Bulletins will be provided and can be accessed on the Latest News page [opening page] on the Union’s website []. Schools are encouraged to submit articles and photos for inclusion in The ACT Teacher. Remaining deadlines are: 27 May; 26 August; 28 October. Please contact the Editor Cathy Smith on 6272-7900 or email csmith@ for further enquiries.

State of the Union reflects benighted state of unions paid health-care premiums for all active and retired unionised employees, but Verizon agreed also to provide $2million a year to fund a collaborative campaign with its unions to achieve meaningful national health-care reform.

From page 3 .......

Bank bail-outs won’t work either. Businesses won’t borrow to expand without consumers to buy their goods and services. And Americans themselves can’t borrow when they’re losing their jobs and their incomes are dropping.

Although America and its economy need unions, it’s become nearly impossible for employees to form one.

Tax cuts for working families, as President Barack Obama intends, can do more to help because they extend over time. But only higher wages and benefits for the middle class will have a lasting effect.

The Hart poll I cited earlier tells us that 57 million workers would want to be in a union if they could have one. But those who try to form a union, according to researchers at MIT, have only about one chance in five of successfully doing so.

Unions matter in this equation. According to the Department of Labour, workers in unions earn 30per cent higher wages taking home $US863 [$A1296] a week, compared with $663 [$A996] for the typical non-union worker and are 59 per cent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance than their non-union counterparts.

The reason? Most of the time, employees who want to form a union are threatened and intimidated by their employers. And all too often, if they don’t heed the warnings, they’re fired, even though that’s illegal. I saw this when I was secretary of labour over a decade ago. We tried to penalise employers who broke the law, but the fines are minuscule. Too many employers consider them a cost of doing business.

Examples abound. In 2007, nearly 12,000 janitors in Providence, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Boston, who were represented by the Service Employees International Union, won a contract that raised their wages to $16 an hour, guaranteed them more work hours and provided family health insurance. In an industry typically staffed by part-time workers with a high turnover rate, a union contract provided janitors with fulltime, sustainable jobs that they could count on to raise their families’ and their communities’ standard of living. Last August, 65,000 Verizon workers, represented by the Communications Workers of America, won wage increases totalling nearly 11 per cent and converted temporary jobs to full-time status. Not only did the settlement preserve fully

This isn’t right. The most important feature of the Employee Free Choice Act, which will be considered by the just-seated 111th Congress, toughens penalties against companies that violate their workers’ rights. The sooner it’s enacted, the better for US workers and for the US economy. The American middle class isn’t looking for a bail-out or a hand-out. Most people just want a chance to share in the success of the companies they help to prosper. Making it easier for all Americans to form unions would give the middle class the bargaining power it needs for better wages and benefits. And a strong and prosperous middle class is necessary if our economy is to succeed.

Every year, over two million men and women lose their lives from unsafe work.* *Source ICFU

Is it fair? MAKE LIFE FAIR EVERYWHERE, BECOME A GLOBAL JUSTICE PARTNER. Union Aid Abroad APHEDA The overseas humanitarian aid agency of the ACTU

Call 1800 888 674 or visit March 2009


Statement of Financial Performance for the year ended 31 December 2008 ACT Branch Committee of Management On 10 February 2009 the Committee of Management of the AEU - ACT Branch passed the following resolution in relation to the general purpose financial report [GPFR] of the reporting unit for the financial year ended 31 December 2008. The Committee of Management declares in relation to the GPFR that in its opinion:

2007 $


2008 $


Members’ subscriptions



Interest on investments



Other income



Rent received






Affiliation fees & ITF subscriptions



Amortisation - leasehold buildings



Arbitration & campaign expenses



Audit & accounting costs



Bank fees & merchant fees



Provision for doubtful debts & bad debts






Computer services & database costs






Donations - general






Meeting & conference expenses


[a] the financial statements and notes comply with the Australian Accounting Standards.


Membership services & training


[b] the financial statements and notes comply with the reporting guidelines of the Industrial Registrar.


Members Journey Insurance



Federal capitation fees



Newsletter expenses






Office equipment & leases



Legal - annual retainer



Legal - members



Legislation reports & awards



Photocopying charges



Postage, staff recruitment & general expenses



Printing & stationery [including Year Planner]



Professional development & training



Provision for annual leave



Provision for long service leave



Rates, taxes and body corporate fees



Repairs, maintenance & replacements



Salaries - officers [including retirement leave entitlements]



Salaries - other employees



Superannuation - general staff



Superannuation - officers



Telephone & internet costs






Vehicle expenses [including FBT]



Vehicle depreciation



Women’s budget








[c] the financial statements and notes give a true and fair view of the financial performance, financial position and cashflows of the reporting unit for the financial year to which they relate. [d] there are reasonable grounds to believe that the reporting unit will be able to pay its debts as and when they become due and payable. [e] during the financial year to which GPFR related and since the end of that year: [i] meetings of the Committee of Management were held in accordance with the rules of the organisation, including the rules of the branch concerned; and [ii] the financial affairs of the reporting unit have been managed in accordance with the rules of the organisation, including the rules of the branch concerned; and [iii] the financial records of the reporting unit have been kept and maintained in accordance with the RAO Schedule and the RAO Regulations; and [iv] reports done on a single reporting unit basis; and [v] there has been no requests by any member or the Registrar that required a report under Section 272 of the RAO Schedule. [vi] no orders have been made by the Commission under section 273 of the RAO Schedule during the period.

For Committee of Management: Penny Gilmour, Branch Secretary


2007 $


2008 $


Cash at bank



Cash on deposit



Sundry debtors and prepayments



Members’ welfare loans



Less: Provision for doubtful debts






Leasehold property, plant & equipment






Sundry creditors



Provision for staff entitlements - general staff



Provision for staff entitlements - officers



Subscriptions paid in advance






Provision for staff entitlements











Represented by: Members’ Funds 945,990

Balance as at 1 January 2008



ADD - Surplus/[Deficit] for Year





Statement of Cash Flows for the year ended 31 December 2008 2007 $


2008 $


Receipts from members



Interest received



Receipts - other persons



Payments to suppliers & employees





Cash Flow from Investing & Financing Activities [15,547]

Payment for Assets






Net increase/[Decrease] in Cash Held



Cash at beginning of year






Statement of Financial Position as at 31 December AUDITOR’S REPORT I have audited the accounts of the Australian Education Union, ACT Branch in respect of the year ended 31 December 2008 and have received all the information and explanations I required for the purposes of my audit. Scope: The Executive Committee is responsible for the preparation and presentation of the financial reports and the information contained therein. I have conducted an independent audit of the financial reports in order to express an opinion on them to the members. My audit has been conducted in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards to provide reasonable assurance as to whether the accounts are free of material misstatement. My procedures included examination, on a test basis, of evidence supporting the amounts and other disclosures in the accounts, and the evaluation of accounting policies and significant accounting estimates. These procedures have been undertaken to form an opinion as to whether, in all material respects, the accounts are presented fairly in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards and Statutory Requirements so as to present a view of the Australian Education Union, ACT Branch which is consistent with my understanding of its financial position and the results of its operations. The audit opinion expressed in this report has been formed on the above basis. In my opinion: [1] there were kept by the Organisation in respect of the year satisfactory accounting records detailing the sources and nature of the income of the Organisation [including income from members] and the nature and purpose of expenditure; [2] the general purpose financial report is presented fairly in accordance with applicable Australian Accounting Standards and the requirements imposed by Part 3 of Chapter 8 of Schedule 1B of the Workplace Relations Act 1996, and [3] that the Branch has not been involved with recovery of wages activities during the year.

Kim D Hanna FCA Registered Company Auditor McKay Gardens, Turner

March 2009


Focus on

SSOs The AEU was present at the Induction Day for School Services Officers [SSOs] at the beginning of the school year. The day was for Learning Support Assistants [LSAs], Home School Liaison Officers [HSLOs], Youth Workers and DET administrative personnel. It was an enlightening experience for a number of reasons, not least of which was the interaction with the other unions represented. One of the strongest messages to come through on the day was that LSAs, HSLOs and Youth Workers are all involved in the education of students and not administrative assistants. As such they should all belong to the AEU, the union that best represents the interests of educators to ensure that working conditions and salaries are linked to those of teachers rather than administrative officers. Every member shares the responsibility of recruiting new members and more often than not the reason there are nonmembers at any Sub-Branch is that no one has taken time to approach and ask colleagues whether they are a member or whether they want to become a member. There are many good reasons for becoming a member, including the fact that members are provided with the security of Journey Cover Insurance. With that, they are covered in the case of accidents on the way to and from work, to and from out of hours PD, to and from lunch away from the workplace, and to and from any out-ofhours Union meetings. Other advantages of joining the Union include the access to discounted vehicles, the Union Shopper service to assist in purchasing goods at the cheapest price, advocacy


and individual assistance from Schools Organisers, legal and financial services, targeted professional development/ training programs, banking opportunities and more. Ultimately the greatest benefit comes from the fact that we are all stronger together. In a time when negotiations around the teachers’ claim have commenced and those for the next DET Staff Agreement are not that far off, the importance of union membership cannot be overstated. SSO members shouldn’t hesitate to become active members of the SubBranch and to participate in its day to day operations. There is nothing to prevent an assistant from assuming an executive position within the Sub-Branch and participating in the processes that may have implications for their work environment. There is PD coming up in March to assist members with meeting procedures and in April and May there are programs to assist members in the art of writing applications for transfer and promotions and preparing for interviews. Go to membership/training.html for the AEU Training Program. As financial members you enjoy access to the services on offer. Make the most of your membership! We encourage you now to begin thinking of those aspects of your work that are irritating and frustrating for you. There are no doubt some who don’t have to think too long but when you have identified an issue send it in to the Union office [] and

we will begin to compile information that will be useful in identifying issues for your next Union Collective Agreement [UCA]. Finally, all new members who have joined from 2 February 2009 will be put into the draw to win a $100 Members Equity Bank Startup account drawn at the end of Term 1. Don’t delay: enjoy the services from today. Bill Book Schools Organiser

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS: Sub-Branch Representatives have been provided with a copy of the AEU office’s most current Sub-Branch Membership List for each workplace. Checking the list is a vital task at the beginning of the year so that we can allocate members to the correct Sub-Branch. If a member has left your school and you know their new workplace please indicate on the list. Please update the list and fax to the Union office asap - 62731828. If you have any membership enquiries contact Michelle or Sue on 6272-2900.

Member Profile Schools’ Organiser Glenn Fowler recently interviewed Jonah Haines, a teacher at Ainslie Primary School. Jonah moved from Adelaide and this is his 7th year of teaching.

What attracted you to teaching? I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after finishing high school. I’d had a positive week of work experience in Year 11 at a local primary school so decided to apply to study teaching. I was accepted into the course at UniSA and really got hooked on education. I met some wonderful lecturers and fellow students who inspired me then and continue to do so now. I feel really lucky to have found a job that I love! What are your professional ambitions? I was made permanent at the end of 2008 and that was a big professional ambition of mine. I spent a lot of time in the first years of my career relief teaching and that meant my ambitions were to get a contract and then my own class. Now I have an opportunity to build my skills and experience knowing I have a longer term appointment in one place. It is difficult to continue professional development when you are relief teaching or in and out of schools on various contracts. So my current professional ambition is to continue my development as a classroom teacher. What do you like about teaching? Every day is different as a teacher. I love the spontaneity and energy of a school. It can be incredibly tiring but those moments of excitement, achievement and laughter make it all worthwhile. I love inspiring children and helping them better understand their world. Sharing moments like last year’s National Apology to the Stolen Generations with children or helping them with little things that will last a lifetime is a great experience. I think it is a wonderful position to be in when you can be a positive force in somebody’s life. All teachers should be proud of the tolerance, patience, knowledge and love they share with their pupils - it makes such a huge impact on individuals and in shaping society. Are there things that you think should be changed in the teaching profession? For years I have been telling anyone who would listen that

there needs to be smaller class sizes and was glad to see that as a major policy initiative for both major parties at the last ACT Election. The sooner that policy is a reality the better. What is it like at Ainslie Primary? Ainslie is a terrific school. I have been made to feel very welcome and the support that staff members show for each other allows us and our students to achieve amazing results. A lot of hard work has been put in over a number of years to foster a culture of excellence, with time and money invested in continued professional learning to meet clear goals. There are very high standards for students and staff and I’m excited to be working here at this stage in my career. How does the ACT system compare to South Australia? The major difference is the number of open-plan classrooms in Canberra. I had never taught in a teaching space with three other classes in Adelaide and got a surprise on my first day relief teaching! It takes a little getting used to but the positive side is you are able to work in dynamic teaching teams and really make the most of the expertise and experience of colleagues. A big frustration when moving from Adelaide was the feeling of having to start from scratch with my career. Although schools were very accepting of my skills and experience in South Australia, the same acknowledgement was not initially forthcoming in the ACT. I would like to see a national system in place to make it easier to transfer from one State to another as I fear I’ll have similar difficulties if I move back to Adelaide in the future. What does being an AEU member mean to you? I am very proud to be a union member. The AEU is so committed to its members and to the teaching profession. There have been so many changes to the education landscape in Australia, especially through the Howard years. The AEU is always a consistent and strong voice in advocating for improved policy so teachers get better conditions and most importantly all students get the best education outcomes.

March 2009


TAFE WORKS THE HEAT IS ON: Collectivism Vs Individualism - A report on the National TAFE Council Annual General Meeting held in Melbourne in January 2009.

Delegates observed that, across many industries, the hard won improvements to conditions and salaries have been progressively undone by the free trade agenda and by the impact of the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation, especially through the impact of individual contracts. These changes are high profile and well publicised but there are also more subtle changes being insinuated into the industrial environment by global corporations and also by State, Territory and Federal Governments in Australia. The template for this “workplace revolution” may be summarised in the following case study. CASE STUDY In a calculated manoeuvre through the period 1989 - 1991, membership of the main union at the aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point in NZ was devastated as many workers “voluntarily” transferred from a collective agreement to individual contracts. This process was accompanied by a significant reduction in jobs, increased weekly work hours, elimination of paid overtime and allowances and multi-skilling of the workforce. These results were achieved with worker consent, by a management strategy to destroy the “collective values system” of the workplace and to encourage individualism. The Tiwai Point plant remains non-unionised to this day. Once individual contracts were established the workers quickly lost their hard won salaries and working conditions achieved through years of union collective bargaining.


Corporate managers in Australia and globally have now established training programs for managers to alter the workplace from the collective to the individual focus and from permanent to more casual jobs. The strategies used in the Tiwai Point example demonstrate these principles. The aim of the process was to change the perspective of employees from “the management is out to get me” and “the union will look after me” to what is perceived as “beneficial management”. This new look management was typified by: • flattening management structure. • merging all workers into the one category. • multi-skilling and providing a single uniform for all. • modifying the “language” of the workers. • setting up “output team” culture based on peer control [workers need to be “team players”]. • encouraging workers to compete with and to report on each other. • expecting grievances to be resolved within teams, not by union or external agency involvement. • elimination of consultation with the union as the negotiating body. • employing an “open door” [individual consultation] policy by management. • targeting strong unionists branded as “the weakest link” and vilifying and/or making redundant. • identifying a contentious issue [eg

overtime] and running a campaign to disenfranchise the union. • forcing workers onto individual contracts. Does this sound familiar? Privatisation of public education is a hot topic on the global free trade agenda. Nationally, the AEU is the bulwark against the privatisation of public education. The AEU is often the lone voice fighting to prevent further deterioration of funding for public education at the Federal and State levels. Julia Irwin’s [Labor MHR, Fowler] parliamentary address in late 2008 outlined the deficiencies and inequities of Rudd’s “educational revolution”, highlighting the lack of professional basis for the Government’s current direction to increase the private delivery of education. The NTC AGM identified that the themes outlined in the Tiwai Point example were indeed occurring across many TAFEs throughout Australia, to a greater or lesser degree. They noted that managers in many TAFEs appear to facilitate markedly similar restructures which generate constantly changing, stressful workplace environments in which competition between teachers is encouraged while the professional boundaries between teachers and general staff are progressively blurred. The stressful workplace and high work output demands means that teachers have little time to reflect on the greater strategies at play. Tasmania TAFE no longer exists. It has been supplanted by the Academic,

Trades Skills and Polytechnic streaming of post-Year 10 students. Similarly, in the Northern Territory TAFE per se no longer exists as it has been subsumed into the Charles Darwin University structure. Members should be aware that the Charles Darwin University/ TAFE joint campus recently offered a non-union agreement to teachers and lecturers, which was rejected. Similarly, our AEU colleagues from other States report that State Governments have likewise attempted to establish non-union agreements in TAFE colleges in recent months. AEU members from Western Australia report that the TAFE teacher agreement on offer has provision for individual teachers to negotiate variations in their leave and workload arrangements to permit “individual arrangements” within the Collective Agreement. So State Governments across the nation are attempting to radically change TAFE by either completely eliminating it or by promoting non-union agreements, individualised contract arrangements and/or accelerating the privatisation/ commercialisation processes of public TAFE education. Meanwhile the Federal Government is contemplating the recommendations of the Boston Consulting Group report which aims to further accelerate the privatisation of TAFE nationally. Members will recognise the following changes to the TAFE workplace in recent years: a “flattened” management structure, changes in the language around education, increasing responsibility and workload of teachers, “output” focus on teacher work, increased technical and administration work as part of teacher workload - to name a few parallels with the Tiwai Point example. In addition, many members nationally have reported an increase in the culture of coercion by management and a deteriorating industrial democracy in the TAFE workplace. Quite clearly, the education workplace environment of CIT is under threat. CIT management have acknowledged the AEU teacher survey results but members report little response from management to concerns raised. Commercialisation is very apparent but there are more subtle changes at work, eroding the professionalism of teachers and displacing the cooperative workplace culture.

VET in the ACT public school system VET [Vocational Education and Training] teachers in the ACT public school system are experiencing a period of rapid change and many are finding it difficult to keep abreast of the changes to the system and to adjust to the evolving VET environment. The ACT and Federal Government agendas to increase the offerings of VET in colleges and high schools are gathering momentum. VET teachers in the ACT find themselves liaising with a diverse group of clients and stakeholders. VET teachers liaise with TaTE [Training and Tertiary Education] personnel, employers and employer groups and with both private and public Registered Training Organisations [RTOs]. Indeed, as colleges are themselves RTOs, college teachers cannot remain isolated from the private VET market but are directly or indirectly competing with these organisations. Hence, these teachers are “sailing the unchartered waters” between the private and public sectors of VET delivery and find that the political and industrial environment is constantly changing as the “free market” agenda is driven home by governments. The AEU urges college teachers to support public RTOs wherever possible, thereby also supporting their colleagues within the Union. Inevitably, changes in the workplace influence teacher workloads. In the past three decades, few changes in the workplace have reduced teacher workloads. They invariably increase these workloads. VET teachers were surveyed in late 2008 to identify the impacts of VET delivery on teacher workload and sustainability. Overwhelmingly, VET teachers raised concerns about the inequities in their workloads and their unsustainable nature. Teachers noted the exodus of trades trained teachers from VET delivery in ACT colleges and also highlighted the shortage of replacement and relief teachers as a clear indication of the difficulties experienced in this sector.

By standing together, as AEU members have done for many decades, we have the ability to turn around any negative changes in the workplace.

Key concerns for VET teachers were:

During the current UCA negotiations we have an opportunity to show we are united in our desire to maintain and promote the best public TAFE system possible, one that the ACT community can be proud of.

• Currency of trades experience.

Mike Fitzgerald - CIT/VETiS Organiser

• Secondary trades qualifications for VET teachers.

• Capacity of teachers to network industry. • Capacity to develop industry partnerships. Continued page 24......

March 2009


ACT Government initiative

Get a Move On Ongoing concerns about childhood obesity and its associated health risks prompted the ACT Government to introduce Get a Move On, an initiative aimed at enhancing the physical well-being of ACT public primary school students.

Physical Education Consultants [PECs] Sue Smith & Karen Burton report on the progress of the 3 year program.

• creating links between public primary schools and their local community and sporting associations.

Each of the three PE Consultants works with teachers within one School Directorate and its PSSA clusters. By the end of 2010 they will have worked with 67 public primary schools. So far the initiative has already been positively received by 53 public primary schools.

• action research to establish whether the Fundamental Movement Skills initiative improves students skills.

The assistance to schools is provided through: • school based support to implement the ACT Curriculum Framework. • a sequence of learning of fundamental movement skills [P-6] aligned to Essential Learning Achievements, particularly 12 [the student takes action to promote health] and 13 [the student is physically skilled and active]. • developing teacher capacity and confidence to deliver quality physical education lesson content. • flexible professional learning delivery at point of need – coaching, mentoring, demonstration, individual, teams, whole school, cluster. • effective resources to complement the implementation of fundamental movement skills.


Schools who’ve worked with a PEC have created documentation that links Fundamental Movement Skills to the Essential Learning Achievements. Fundamental Movement Skills form an integral part of the ACT Department of Education primary school curriculum “Every chance to learn”, and are prominent in ELA 13 which is based upon: • the importance of motor skill development to the physical, cognitive and social development of the child. • the understanding that the development of Fundamental Movement Skills is not automatic as a child grows and develops, quality movement education programs in schools will attend to this. • Fundamental Movement Skills which are the foundations of a physically active lifestyle.

• advice and support to staff on implementation of “Get a move on” initiative and Minister’s Physical Activity Challenge.

The PECs have also worked collaboratively with the University of Canberra. During practicum sessions pre-service teachers and teaching staff have collected baseline data and begun the teaching of Fundamental Movement Skills.

• creating links between public primary schools and their feeder high schools through physical education programs.

The analysis of this data showed that the Fundamental Movement Skills of students in ACT public primary

schools on average falls below that of what is expected at their stage of development. At the conclusion of the PECs intervention, ACT students will be retested to see if the initiative has had a positive impact on the Fundamental Movement Skills of our students.


Physical Activity Foundation

In 2008 the ACT Government established a Children’s Physical Activity Foundation, which works to promote physical activity to children and assists primary schools in the delivery of physical activity opportunities through providing resources and additional support. Funding from the Foundation is made available to all ACT public and nongovernment schools through the Foundation’s grant and assessment program. Research support for the Foundation has demonstrated that children who cannot perform Fundamental Movement Skills are less able and often less willing to persist with learning more complex skills and will avoid activities that expose them to failure. This in turn leads to a less active lifestyle in adolescence and adulthood increasing the risk of chronic diseases later in life. The Foundation is championed by Order of Australia recipient and dual Olympian Adam Pine and involves high profile sporting figures from the ACT’s national league teams, providing encouragement

to primary schools, teachers, children and families through strong promotional messages.


Physical Activity Challenge

The Minister’s Physical Activity Challenge is an initiative introduced last year by the ACT Government to increase the levels of physical activity in children. The aim is to encourage children to be physically active [both in school and elsewhere] for at least 60 minutes a day. Each year all schools are invited to participate with individual classes encouraged to take up the Challenge. The physical education consultants are available to assist schools with preparations and activities throughout the challenge.

Photos: [Top] PE Consultant Sue Smith demonstrating a quality program. [Bottom] Fun & fitness - Sports Ability Day for students with a disability.

The Minister’s Physical Activity Challenge will run for 10-weeks and there are certificates for students and prizes for schools that meet the minimum requirements for the challenge. Prizes for schools are based on a percentage of classes participating in the Challenge. Depending on the level of involvement, schools can receive up to $800 in sporting equipment. Bronze certificate: Student maintained the minimum 60 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week for the 10 weeks of the Challenge. Silver certificate: Student achieved the Bronze challenge and added an extra 15 minutes of physical activity time for 3 days a week for at least 5 of the 10 weeks. Gold certificate: Students achieved the Bronze challenge and added an extra 30 minutes of physical activity time for 3 days a week for at least 5 of the 10 weeks. The first year of the Challenge was fantastic with 8095 public school students [from 31 schools] and 4558 non-government school students [from 47 schools] participating. PE consultants will be streamlining the Challenge for this year to make it even easier for schools to participate. If you wish to contact the Physical Education Consultants, below are their details. Sue Smith [Belconnen and Gungahlin districts] 6207-2651 / 0411407850 Karen Burton [North Canberra and Weston/Woden districts] 62054381 / 0411407829 The third PE Consultant Gareth Richards won a promotion recently and the position has been advertised to be filled soon.

SUB-BRANCH EXECUTIVE / COUNCIL & WOMEN’S CONTACT OFFICERS The nomination process to elect Sub-Branch representatives, Branch Councillors and Women’s Contact Officers for 2009 is now complete. A number of SubBranches did not fill their positions. A list of newly elected representatives is included in the mail drop in schools on Friday 6 March 2009. If your school is unrepresented you can now hold a Sub-Branch meeting to fill the vacancies and send in a letter or email indicating who is elected to each position. [A proforma to do this is also included in the 6 March mailout.] Please do not use a nomination form as the use of this form is not valid outside the nomination process. Fax the proforma to 6273-1828 or email the details to ASAP to ensure your Sub-Branch has representation at 21 March Branch Council.

March 2009


VET in the ACT public school system ...... from page 21

• Frequent return to industry opportunities. • Identification of suitable relief teachers. • Compliance with AQTF [Australian Quality Training Framework] requirements. • Compliance with ACT ARC [ACT Accreditation and Registration Council] and DET audits. • Counselling VET students in industry specific matters. • Development and maintenance of training plans and teaching materials. • Liaison with partnered high school VET teachers and students. • Validation of high school VET assessments. • Maintenance of extensive VET offerings within colleges and schools. • Maintenance of college VET offerings when teachers are subject to mobility. • Maintenance of extensive VET assessment and workplace visit records. • Addressing competition for students between colleges. • Vehicles and time release for workplace visits. • Curriculum, course material and assessment adjustment and moderation with each change of Training Packages and BSSS modifications. • Line allowance to accommodate dual assessment. • Line allowance to accommodate updates with changes to national VET curriculum. • Line allowance to permit additional VET administration tasks. VET teachers also find that they are delivering training in disciplines which are often viewed by the community as “second rate” qualifications. VET teachers consistently report that the ACT community member identifies success of students with the UAI’s achieved by their students. Viewed from this narrow perspective, successful attainment of VET qualifications may be viewed by less discerning individuals as a “failure” of the student to achieve the nominal academic targets set by the schools and community. VET teachers


report that their teaching efforts are also tainted by these attitudes. The net result is the perception that VET teachers are delivering sub-standard qualifications and that their teaching is consequently sub-standard. What a ludicrous assertion! It seems that all teachers may benefit from informed discussion about the relevance and desirability of VET qualifications in the spectrum of academic achievements by students. This message must also be promoted throughout the community to counter the bias of those with a narrow perspective of education. The Union Collective Agreement 2006-2009 provided for a DET appraisal of the workloads of VET teachers. VET teachers will be aware that John Gorman was appointed to complete this survey on behalf of DET and a report will be delivered soon and will form part of the negotiations for the next Agreement. While VET teachers have clearly articulated their workload concerns, discussions between the AEU and DET have raised the question about how these “extra” tasks performed by VET teachers stand out from those of other teachers. DET officials have pointed out that there are inconsistencies in workloads of teachers between sectors, within faculties and within schools. The difficulty they see is in identifying which tasks are additional and “excessive” to that of other teachers. While this is a discerning question to ask, it is also a problematic question for members to ask. The question about the relativity of workloads will always result in the answer that someone somewhere is working as hard so there is no need to recognise increased workloads of individuals or sectors resulting from changes in the workplace. Indeed, the question is used in industry to divide and conquer worker unity by setting workers against each other, creating arguments about who works hardest and who is “the weakest link” as management constantly raise the workload bar. It is “a no win” and a “no answer” question when working in a caring profession such as teaching. Taken to its logical conclusion, the net result of all teachers working to the same level as the hardest working teacher in the ACT will be the collapse of work/life balance throughout the entire teaching workforce. Clearly the provision of line allowances for VET teachers to accommodate excessive workloads needs to be discussed in an atmosphere of non-relativity. Every teacher is entitled to expect a manageable, sustainable workload, and this issue forms a key part of the current AEU claim for our next UCA. Mike Fitzgerald - CIT/VETiS Organiser

First Steps for UCan Pre-Service Teachers During term three 18 pre-service teachers from the University of Canberra participated in First Steps Second Edition Writing. This was the first time this professional development opportunity was offered to pre-service teachers in the ACT. This opportunity arose through negotiation and collaboration between the UC Division of Communication and Education Faculty and ACT DET Literacy and Numeracy Section. Trish Wilks, Director of Curriculum Support and Professional Learning and Julie McLaren, Manager of Literacy and Numeracy Section ensured costs were kept to a minimum to make it more affordable for students. Bernadette Hayes facilitated each of the six, two hour sessions.

Photo: Pre-service teachers at the completion of the 12 hours of PD

First Steps is an internationally recognised literacy resource and professional development program, effectively linking assessment to teaching and learning. Participants learnt how to use the Linking, Assessment and Teaching Book, the Writing Map of Development Book and the Writing Resource Book. Participants had several opportunities to plan a comprehensive writing program focusing on the four aspects: • contextual understanding, • conventions, • use of texts and processes, • strategies.

Photo: Participating in the course activities - completing experiences for the different writing processes

Some of the comments made by the participants were – I can’t wait to use this with my own class next year. I am now better equipped to teach the different aspects of writing. I have more questions but I know where to find the answers. This professional learning opportunity was held in high regard by all participants and facilitators alike. This will benefit not only the teachers as they enter the teaching profession but their future colleagues who will work with them and their future students. Jantiena Batt Early Literacy and Numeracy Officer Schools Office Sub-Branch

Photo: Looking for an exemplar model for writing

March 2009


Clive Haggar

AEU Life Member Life Membership of the AEU was bestowed on retired Branch Secretary Clive Haggar at the AEU Federal Conference in January 2009. [Photo: Federal President, Angelo Gavrielatos [R] with Clive Haggar after the presentation.] Clive was recognised for his services to the AEU and to public education generally, just recognition for his lifetime of work on behalf of public education workers and their union. It was good to see Clive looking relaxed at the Conference - retirement clearly agrees with him!

CMIS Course in UCA Claim Another successful Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies [CMIS] class completed their course in late 2008 [opposite]. Dozens of ACT public school teachers have now benefited from this practical, effective professional development course. Participants have shared their knowledge and experience with colleagues and have taken responsibility to sustain the model into the future, to the benefit of the whole system. AEU members have included the CMIS course in their UCA Claim as they believe the course is highly valuable, effective and should be fully funded by DET. The AEU is proud to be sponsoring more Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies courses in 2009. The first course for the year, Advanced Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies, commenced on 2 March. Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies - Level 1 Develop effective classroom management techniques and cooperative learning strategies that can help create a positive, supportive learning environment. This class is filled by Principal nomination. At least two participants must attend from each school. Participants must attend all 5 sessions. Tuesdays - 28 July, 25 August, 8 September, 13 October and 27 October 9:00am – 4:00pm @ CTL. Morning tea and lunch provided. Principal Nominations and Expressions of Interest will be called for the following courses at the beginning of April and mid-June respectively. Watch for emails/flyers regarding the Expression of Interest notices.


Photo: [L-R] Front: Tatjiana Tadulovich, Lynne Sheville, Sarah Sydney. Middle: Meegan Stuart, Victoria Margrain, Hayley Skipper, Danielle Lamond, Jenine Watson, Natalie Rose, Anne-Maree Collins. Back: Chris Shaddock, Matthew Weickhardt, Adrian Lemcke. [Absent: Ryan Walker, Alison Moran] NEW! Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies FOR SCHOOL SERVICES OFFICERS [Assistants] Gain an understanding of a range of strategies to assist teachers in classroom management. Participants must attend both sessions. This course is filled by Principal nomination. Monday 18 and 25 May, 8:30am – 12:30pm @ CTL [Fremantle Drive, Stirling] . Morning tea provided.

AEU Rule Change Re Refund of Membership Fees for Overpayment Council at its meeting on Saturday 29 November 2009 endorsed a Rule Change in relation to the Reimbursement of Membership Fees. This Rule change has now been ratified by the Australian Industrial Registry so has become part of the Australian Education Union – ACT Branch Rules [Rule 34C]. Please find below this Rule reproduced for your information: Rule 34C: Management and Control of Branch Funds 1. Members are required to notify the Branch in writing of changes to their membership within 28 days of the change occurring. 2. Where a member fails to notify of a change in circumstance in writing and fees continue to be received by the Branch, upon written request from the member the Branch Secretary will authorise a refund to the member of overpaid fees for a maximum of 3 months, or the period of the over-payment, whichever is the lesser. Circumstances in which this provision may apply include, but are not limited to: [a] resignation [in accordance with Federal Rule 17 resignations must be submitted in writing] [b] leave without pay [c] reduced workload [d] half pay leave. 3. A member affected by this clause who believes they have exceptional circumstances in respect of failure to notify the Branch of any change to their membership status may submit a written case for consideration by the Branch Executive.

4. A member dissatisfied with the decision of Branch Executive may request that the matter be referred to Branch Council for final determination, and may elect to address the Branch Council when the matter is listed for consideration. 5. In exercising responsibility under Federal Rule 9 2A, regarding informing applicants for membership of their financial obligations arising from membership, the Branch Secretary will ensure that correspondence to new members of the Branch will include specific reference to these provisions of the Branch Rules. This Rule means that members have an explicit responsibility to advise the AEU of changes in circumstances that result in a change of AEU fees payable. Where such notice is not received within 28 days of the change, members will have to seek specific authorisation from Branch Executive for refunds of fees overpaid for more than 3 months. This measure is necessary to ensure that the AEU-ACT Branch’s cash flow is not subject to significant variations caused by members seeking large refunds of fees – often many months after a change in circumstances about which they have not notified the union. In 2008, such refunds amounted to close to $10,000; such unplanned expense is not sustainable. Note that neither DET nor CIT advise the AEU of changes in members’ circumstances – it is each member’s responsibility to notify the AEU directly of changes to their own situation. It is also timely to remind members resigning from the Union that their resignation must be in writing [email is acceptable – send to]. Penny Gilmour - Branch Secretary

APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP Application forms to join the AEU are on our website [] under the Join Us link. They are also inside the back pages of each ACT Teacher! Please remember to complete both the Application for Membership and the Payment Authority. The AEU has 3 payment options: monthly debit from a bank account; monthly debit from a credit card; quarterly statement. Monthly debits are automatically deducted on the 11th of each month or the first business day thereafter. Quarterly statements are sent out on the 11th March / June / September & December. A fee schedule is also available on the website on the Join Us link. You must provide your annual salary when completing your application. Contact Michelle or Sue at the office on 6272-7900 if you require any assistance.

March 2009


AEU NEW EDUCATORS’ SURVEY The results tell the story Glenn Fowler Schools’ Organiser AEU New Educator Co-ordinator

The Australian Education Union recently announced the results of the latest AEU National New Educators Survey, for teachers with between one and three years of experience. 1545 teachers across the nation completed the survey, 85 of those working here in the ACT. Most of the respondents were completing the survey for the first time. Half of our New Educators believe they were not given adequate information about teacher working conditions and rights upon employment, a statistic which underlines the importance of AEU membership. 57.3% of ACT New Educators [48.2% nationally] have changed careers to enter the teaching profession. Over 50% of all teachers surveyed [and 56.1% of those in the ACT] said they planned to leave the public education system within the next ten years. Of that number, more than half say they intend to work in another industry and almost a quarter see themselves teaching in the private system. 19% of ACT New Educators [and 21% nationally] rated their pre-service education as “poor” or “very poor”. Less than onethird believe they had adequate grounding to teach students with disabilities, from non-English-speaking and dysfunctional backgrounds, and only 10% [13.5% nationally] believe they were adequately prepared for dealing with difficult parents and colleagues. Fortunately, free AEU training courses assist in making up some of this shortfall. Less than half of those surveyed studied mandatory Indigenous Studies units, and less than one-quarter feel they were adequately trained to meet the needs of Indigenous students.


AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said, “Not only are new teachers under-prepared when they enter the classroom, close to half [ACT – 46.8%] have never received mentoring or ongoing induction and nearly a third [ACT – 31.7%] have been asked to teach outside their area of expertise. These findings illustrate how ill-conceived the Federal Government’s plans are with respect to fast-tracking graduates into teaching by providing only six weeks of training.” More than 80% of New Educators and 59% of the general public [according to a recent national poll] see this proposed scheme as a flawed one. The top four concerns for ACT New educators are, in order: • workload, • pay, • behaviour management and • class sizes. These are the factors that are driving many new teachers out of the classroom and they are factors that all governments need to address. Union membership remains very high amongst New Educators who completed the survey, at 87.9% nationally and 78.4% here in the Territory. [These figures are higher amongst other sectors of AEU membership.] Most of those surveyed have some idea as to how the union is structured and makes decisions. Reasons for non-membership include lack of understanding about the benefits of union membership and the cost of membership. In light of this, all members are encouraged to make their workplace an even stronger Union Sub-Branch and to speak to potential members about what the Union offers.

AUSTRALIAN EARLY DEVELOPMENT INDEX Cathy Smith, Assistant to the Secretary [Professional] The AEDI is a national population measure of young children’s development and measures five developmental domains – physical health and well-being; social competence; emotional maturity; language and cognitive skills; and communication and general knowledge. The focus of the AEDI is on measuring development across the whole community and will be collated by suburb rather than by school or by individual. There are benefits to schools and communities in completing the AEDI. However, the AEU has been monitoring the preparations for implementation of the AEDI to ensure schools and teachers are supported. The Assistant to the Secretary [Professional] Cathy Smith is the AEU Representative on the ACT AEDI Coordinating Committee which discusses implementation issues for the ACT. The Federal Government has planned national implementation of the AEDI during Term 2 this year. Each primary school has been allotted a 2 week period between 1 May and 31 July in which to complete the data entry. All kindergarten teachers are being asked to complete an online checklist for each of their students. Each checklist is expected to take no more than 30 minutes per student. There is no need for the child to be present when the checklist is completed. The Federal Government will provide funds to schools for casual relief so that kindergarten teachers can be released to attend a 2-hour in-school-hours professional development session and to complete the AEDI data entry in school time. The AEU is concerned about a potential shortage of early childhood relief teachers during the data collection period as all kinder teachers [public and private] will need to be released over a period of about 6 weeks. Schools are encouraged to

book casual relief as soon as possible. There may be a flowon effect for other events occurring during this time, such as professional development, so keep this in mind in your planning for Term 2. Apart from the concern about casual relief supply, the issue of who can access the data has been discussed by the AEDI Committee. During the AEDI trial [2004 and 2008] of 60 schools, teachers were given the option to be able to print student and class records of the data they’d entered into online checklists. This enabled teachers to use the data to inform the teaching and learning process [not to report outcomes to parents]. The AEDI Data Protocol Consultation Draft released in early February proposed that governments, school systems, schools, other government departments and researchers could all access “confidentialised” data [ie students could not be identified]. However, the draft Data Protocol proposed that teachers should not be allowed to print records. In a joint submission to the National AEDI Committee, the AEU and the Independent Education Union advocated for teachers to have the choice to be able to print confidential records for their professional use. At the very least teachers should be allowed to have access to the data they entered online as a read-only document. As this journal goes to print, it is not known what the final protocols will be for use of data from the AEDI. For further information on the AEDI go to Please contact Cathy Smith if you wish to raise any concerns. Email Cathy at or phone 6272-7900. Photo: Students at the Co-operative School in Turner

March 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

Given Names Home address Postcode

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O Teacher O Assistant O Youth Worker O Indigenous HSLO O Other (please specify)_____________

Work Email

O I wish to be identified as an Indigenous Member EMPLOYMENT DETAILS Workplace Current level and salary step [Go to for the fee schedule]

I agree to pay to the AEU fees owing in accordance with the Union’s schedule of subscriptions. I understand that my fees will be adjusted automatically in line with salary movements. I recognise that I must inform the Union of any other salary or status adjustments otherwise I will not be a fully financial member and may not be eligible for the full range of services. I understand that the Union’s Rules require me to give written notice of resignation.


O TAFE O Preschool

Application for membership

O Secondary O Primary O Associate* (Retired/Student Teachers)

* Associate Members need only sign, date, attach payment or complete credit card details. Go straight to signature box.


O FULL TIME O Permanent OR Contract O O PART TIME O Permanent OR Contract O Load % O CASUAL (Schools) – Average days per week [tick ONE] O 0-1 O 2-3 O 3+


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Post to PO Box 3042 Manuka ACT 2603 or fax 02 6273 1828.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: The AEU will not sell or provide any information regarding AEU – ACT Branch members to third parties. The AEU’s Privacy Policy may be viewed at

O CASUAL (TAFE) – Average hours per week [tick ONE] O 0-6 O 7-14 O 15-20

Public Education Works 30

Please select ONE of the follwing: I am paying by…

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11th of each month or next business day

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doubt, please refer to your Financial Institution)

Insert name of account which is to be debited

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[Given Names or ACN/ARBN] request you, until further notice by me in writing, to debit my/our account described in the schedule below, any amounts which the Australian Education Union – ACT

Branch [User ID No. 066127] may debit or charge me/us through the Bulk Electronic Clearing System. I/We understand and acknowledge that: 1. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion,

determine the order of priority of payment by it of any moneys pursuant to this Request or any authority or mandate.

2. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion, at any time by notice in writing to me/us, terminate this Request as to future debits. 3. The User may, by prior arrangement and advice to me/us, vary the amount or frequency of future debits.

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Please post to PO Box below or pay in person: AEU Office, Ground Floor, 40 Brisbane Avenue, Barton.

in the account by the due date to permit the payment by BECS or bank charges may apply.

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I enclose Cheque/Money Order for $

Note: If you select payment by this method you will receive

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

March 2009



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