ACT Teacher November 2009

Page 1


teacher Journal of the Australian Education Union

Dec 2009


into the curriculum

LITERACY AND PLAY IN THE EARLY YEARS WINNING ENTRY New journal name winner Shaun Haidon - Public Education Voice

THE FAIR WORK ACT 2009 New Act an improvement on Workchoices industrial report New Agreements for Schools and CIT don’t deal with burma campaign New protocolby between a Get involved becoming AEU Branches Burma Campaign supporter

from the

Secretary I wish you all a happy, relaxing and rewarding break, and look forward to working with you again in 2010.

Ministerial non-response to AEU enquiries In the last edition of The ACT Teacher, I reproduced a letter to Minister Barr [19/8/09] asking him to respond to the following questions in light of the ACT’s better-than-expected end of financial year result: 1. Are you prepared to propose an increase in the Treasury funding allocation for teachers’ salary provision in the 2009-2011 Agreement currently under negotiation? 2. Will the ACT Government support such a proposal? The AEU also wrote to the Minister on 26/8/09 seeking information about progress on the implementation of the ACT Legislative Assembly decision on League Tables. In a reply dated 8 October 2009, Minister Barr addressed both issues, as follows: Thank you for your letters of 19 and 26 August 2009 about the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) and the publication of school data. In relation to your query about media reports of the ACT’s financial situation, the Treasurer and Chief Minister have confirmed there is no significant change in the ACT’s financial outlook. Voting on the EBA began on 14 September 2009 and will conclude on 25 September 2009. Elections ACT is conducting a ballot of all employees covered by the Agreement, and the result will be available on 28 September 2009.

In relation to the reporting of national schools data, Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers have been working through a range of issues in relation to the transparency agenda to enable the new Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority to publish school profiles online. The profile of each school will provide data on individual school performance and relevant data about school context. By including school level results from the 2008 and 2009 literacy and numeracy assessments, the profiles will provide a much clearer picture of school performance around the country. These transparency measures will give parents, teachers and the public much better information about how schools are performing and allow better targeting of resources. I will provide an update to the Legislative Assembly later this year, as there are further meetings planned for the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs. Yours sincerely, Andrew Barr MLA Minister for Education and Training A masterful performance at avoiding a direct answer to any of the AEU’s questions! One can only presume that we should now expect little or no action from the Minister on either front. This highlights the need for members to prepare to engage with the AEU’s Community Campaign from the beginning of the 2010 school year. The

Government is on notice that they have until 30 June 2011 to find an acceptable solution to the salary disparities that will emerge over the life of the new Enterprise Agreement, and to address the issues that will come forward as the work of implementing the EA gets underway. Teachers will not accept anything less. Polytechnic debacle In another ill-conceived comment, the Minister recently made a speech suggesting that the Tasmanian polytechnic model might be a future direction for the ACT. This is despite the well-documented and observable chaos that grips that system at the present time. Post Year 10 teachers in Tassie’s polytechnics [TAFE and secondary college members] had a round of stopwork meetings at the end of October to protest against the disarray into which their sector has fallen; further meetings of schools sector teachers are underway as I write, with a view to stopwork action in that sector in the second week of November. The AEU concurs that there is a need to examine VET provision across the ACT to ensure that we have the optimum provision. There may be opportunities in a small, geographically compact jurisdiction that have not yet been explored. The AEU remains concerned that the Tasmanian polytechnic model is a return to ‘60s-style streaming of students into academic & vocational pathways – surely not a desirable pathway when one considers the diversity of interest among our students, and the requirements of the Continued next page

SECRETARY’S COLUMN CONTINUED Government’s “earn or learn” agenda. The AEU supports access to the widest possible options for all of our young people; what we cannot support is a suggestion that looking to the debacle in Tassie offers a solution. Teacher Quality Institute Teacher Registration has been a matter of discussion in the ACT for some time. We are the only jurisdiction that does not have some kind of process, and the time has come for the ACT to engage in this matter again. The catalyst this time is the Federal Government’s National Partnerships process. Arising out of the National Partnership on Teacher Quality, discussion has resumed about the future of teacher registration in the ACT. Stakeholders from across the Territory have had an initial discussion, and a project officer is on board. Expect to hear more about this matter early in 2010. Congratulations and Thank You At the end of another hectic year, it’s wonderful to be able to acknowledge some recent award recipients in the ACT: Vicki Fortescue [Jervis Bay School] and Tricia Meier [Palmerston District Primary] have received a NEiTA 2009 ASG Inspirational Teaching Award; Coralie McAlister [Majura Primary] and Phil Brown [Black Mountain School] were both Highly Commended in the recent Australian Awards for Teaching Excellence; and Black Mountain School and Canberra College’s CC Cares program for young parents have achieved great success in the

Cartoonist Andrew Viller - Reprinted with permission

Schools First Impact Awards, winning at both the local and State level. Best wishes for the next round! Finally, to all of you – congratulations and thank you. Your hard work and dedication throughout the year ensures that our young people have the best education our public schools can offer; your support of the AEU makes the work undertaken on your behalf satisfying. I wish you all a happy, relaxing and rewarding break, and look forward to working with you again in 2010.

WINNING ENTRY - Public Education Voice Winner of $100 Teachers Credit Union Start -up Account Kevin King from the NSW Teachers Credit Union presents Shaun Haidon from Calwell High with $100 as the prize for submitting the winning entry in the New Journal Name Competition. From the first edition in 2010, the ACT Teacher will become the Public Education Voice.

December 2009



This final report for 2009 looks at the Enteprise Agreement, the probationary process, Shared Services leave audit & part-time work. Bill Book & Glenn Fowler - Schools’ Organisers

AEU Organisers have spent many hours in Sub-Branches talking to members about the recent Enterprise Agreement [EA] vote. Hopefully, members feel they were able to cast their vote from an informed perspective. The Organisers look forward to working closely with members over the next 14 months to build our Community Campaign and to prepare ourselves for the all-important EA negotiations commencing at the beginning of 2011. In recent weeks, some problems have appeared with regard to the probationary process for new teachers. DET’s guidelines are very clear on the obligations of probation panels and supervisors. Lessons must be observed and the probationer provided with written feedback. Panels must meet at least once per term to discuss where the probationer might rate in the various categories in the probation report. The report must then be completed at the end of each term. It is essential that constructive criticism is brought out into the open throughout the process so that the probationary teacher is not surprised by anything in the report and feels supported throughout. When applied diligently, the probation process is a very effective means of starting off teachers in our system. The Shared Services leave audit for 2007 is causing consternation and stress for some of our members. If a leave form is missing, it is very difficult to determine the stage of the process at which the problem occurred. The best short-term fix is to see if the staffing officer at your school has a record of the form being submitted, or a diary note regarding the

reason for leave. The only really foolproof long-term solution [whilst we await electronic submission of leave forms - hopefully in the not-too-distant future!] is to ensure that you always keep a copy of a leave form submitted, along with details [date, time, to whom] of the form’s submission. If you believe you and/or your school has clear evidence of a form’s submission, please contact an Organiser. On the question of part-time work, the following clauses appear in the new Enterprise Agreement: 179.1 The Department and the AEU recognise that regular part-time work and job sharing can be an effective means of reconciling the sometimes conflicting demands of a teacher’s work and personal commitments. 179.2 The Department is committed to providing teachers with opportunities to access part time work so that they can more easily balance their work and life responsibilities... 180.10 As a means of promoting family friendly policies in the workplace, the Department and the AEU fully support part-time employment. Is enough being done to fulfil this commitment? Teachers in the system who want to access part-time work sometimes find it difficult to do so as there are limited positions available in the Transfer Round each year. Often it is left up to negotiations between the principal and the staff member to create a position

that is suitable. This can be for short periods of time and doesn’t adequately cater for the part- time teachers who want a long-term arrangement. Many teachers are happy to job-share but unless they know of a colleague with similar needs, teachers have little or no access to information on how to find a compatible job-share partner who fits their part-time needs. Through the DET Equity and Diversity Committee, the AEU has asked DET to consider ways to increase the number of women in promotions positions [currently underrepresented] and to provide consistent support for a work-life balance across all classifications. DET has reported that a paper was presented to the last HR Committee meeting on facilitating part-time work arrangements in schools. The HR Committee agreed to the development of “Facilitating Part-Time/ Job Share Arrangements” guidelines for managers and employees and also to the development of a “Job Share Register” as a mechanism for identifying employees seeking part-time/job share arrangements. Draft guidelines are currently being developed and are to be presented at the next HR Committee meeting. Hopefully this will be a solution to the issues faced by many part-time job-seekers in the current Transfer Round. If the Job Share Register is put in place, teachers may be able to seek a teaching partner and apply through the tandem application process in the next Transfer Round. Glenn Fowler & Sue Amundsen [Acting] School Organisers

Don’t Deal with Burma! Burma Campaign Australia, the ACTU and the Uniting Church have launched the Don’t Deal with Burma campaign which calls on: • Australian companies helping fund the military dictatorship to withdraw from Burma, and • The Australian Government to introduce targeted trade and investment sanctions against Burma. Australian companies operating and investing in Burma help perpetuate the horrific cruelty of a repressive unelected military regime. This is because it is not possible to do business in Burma without supporting the military regime and its systematic human rights abuses. These Australian companies are securing the long-term financial viability of the military dictatorship. Forced labour, murder, rape and forced relocation are some of the human rights violations that companies who trade with and invest in Burma risk supporting. There are no sanctions preventing Australian companies fuelling the military dictatorship through investment and trade. This must change. The AEU is playing a key role in this campaign by signing a Statement of Support. AEU members can also get involved in this campaign by: • becoming a Burma Campaign Australia Supporter • volunteering to assist the campaign • signing a Petition • writing to Foreign Minister Stephen Smith

Go to to sign up, get further details and to read eye-witness accounts.



Phil Rasmus

World Teachers Day was celebrated on 30 October. The theme for the day was “Build the future: invest in teachers now!” What a pity that the ACT Government, in its refusal this year to adequately recompense teachers for their vital work, doesn’t seem to have got the message. On 28 October, I had the pleasure of joining AEU activists from across the country at Parliament House to celebrate National TAFE Day. Time will tell whether the spending promises made at this function by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard bear fruit. Currently TAFE is in crisis in various parts of the country, most notably in Tasmania. Our TAFE colleagues in NSW are currently facing an horrific industrial outcome. Members could be forgiven for thinking that Minister Barr intends to visit similar nastiness onto CIT, with confusing advocacy of a polytechnic concept apparently modelled on the chaos reigning in Tasmania. Recently we’ve had a couple of Council meetings abandoned for the lack of a quorum. The inability to pass recommendations delays and frustrates the Union officers in their work. It’s also disheartening for those Councillors who’ve made the effort to attend. If you have ideas as to how we could attract better numbers to Council, officers would be happy to chat to you. It is an appropriate time to acknowledge the great work done by the many AEU members who represent the Union on a variety of working parties, committees and inquiries both in schools and the TAFE sector. The time and effort these people expend helps to ensure that the Union’s voice is heard where it matters. In particular, thanks go to Wendy Cave, who is standing down as one of the Schools Vice Presidents and Stephen Darwin as TAFE Vice President On behalf of the Executive, I’d like to thank all the Union staff for their unstinting efforts on behalf of members throughout the year. Unfortunately many members, not having close contact with the office, don’t appreciate the amount of effort expended on their behalf by the small number of workers in the Union office. There is a huge number of positive results your Union secures, particularly for individual members in difficulties. I hope that all members enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday season, and take the opportunity to unwind with family and friends, away from the stresses of a demanding profession .

December 2009

INTEGRATING ICT INTO THE CURRICULUM Historically, many schools have attempted to teach Information Communication Technology [ICT] as a stand-alone subject. While this approach has produced pockets of exemplary practice, in today’s classrooms it is not sufficient for “others” within the school to “do ICT” with students. In the 21st Century, we all need to be integrating ICT into our classrooms. We live in a society where technology is at our fingertips. Increasingly classrooms have Interactive Whiteboards, computers and other hardware and software devices. Many children are already skilled in utilising a vast array of technologies even before entering the classroom environment and expect to use these skills in their learning.

work their primary source document is a comprehensive school based curriculum scope and sequence document into which the framework has been embedded.

Although many people have previously viewed ICT as a Key Learning Area on its own, the new ACT Curriculum Framework, particularly Essential Learning Achievement 6, looks at ICT as being a tool or “means of learning” that is to be embedded in the teaching practice of the eight key learning areas to enhance students’ overall learning in these disciplines.

• Operate ICT

Remember that Every Chance to Learn is a curriculum framework rather than a school curriculum and so does not provide all the answers. When teachers are planning units of

ELA 6 – The student uses Information and Communication Technologies effectively Essential content within ELA 6 is presented within four broad categories: • Inquire and create with ICT • Communicate and collaborate with ICT

• Use ICT ethically and safely At first glance ELA 6 may seem a little daunting, and you may be asking yourself, How do I implement this in my classroom? The first task for any teacher is to “unpack” ELA 6 and find hooks within existing teaching programs where elements of ELA 6 can be inserted. You may even find that your current teaching practice already incorporates aspects of ELA 6.

Inquire and create with ICT In all bands of development this category asks the student to experiment with the use of ICT and recognise it as a tool with which they can create solutions in various learning tasks. Students are to select appropriate ICT to use for inquiries and research and in doing so be able to reflect on the efficiency of the ICT resource they choose in supporting their own learning. Communicate and collaborate with ICT This category asks students to use ICT to share and communicate ideas and present critical opinions. Students are encouraged to use ICT to work collaboratively with others within a range of local and global audiences. The focus is on the student understanding how they can use ICT to enhance their own communication and interpersonal skills, extending beyond the classroom. These two areas of the essential content are the easiest to link with existing units of work. The following is a suggested outline for this process. Take an existing unit of work and scan it for the words: inquire, create, communicate, collaborate and operate. These verb groups present ideal opportunities to bring ICT into your planning. The essential content associated with these verbs generally outlines the learning that students should undertake with ICT in each band of development.

Setting expectations for students Having identified opportunities for ICT integration, exactly what ICT activities should I include and what general expectations should I set for students’ ICT abilities? At this stage of the planning process, teachers would be able to refer to their own school’s curriculum documents that includes a “sequenced” ELA 6 scoped across the other KLAs. Operate ICT Students develop the technical skills to use ICT devices in this category. The essential content in this area also describes approaches that students should use to continually develop their ICT technical skills. Students learn how to apply known conventions and formats to access networks and personal systems and the capacities of emailing, editing tools and digital filing. As students progress through the bands of development, they are also encouraged to begin using ICT terminology to describe common ICT devices and processes.

Ethical Considerations Once you have identified where you can incorporate ICT within existing units of work you then need to decide what types of activities are appropriate and what technical standards should be expected from students. Be mindful that ICTs are

very powerful tools that have the ability to enhance the way we interact with the world but unfortunately, they can also be used for unethical purposes and have the potential to harm students. Use ICT ethically and safely This category can be taught concurrently with the general curriculum integration of ICT. It is about applying the codes of practice that promote intellectual and physical safety, responsibility and respect for using ICT. Students develop strategies for protecting the security of personal information and they learn to recognise ownership of digital information from sources in light of legislation surrounding digital theft and plagiarism.

A final check... At this stage it can be helpful to cross check what has been developed with the attitudes and values of ELA 6 and the markers of progress for the appropriate band of development. It is advised that you use these to complement the planning process of the unit of work. The attitudes and values will help you ascertain the benefit that ICT implementation is bringing to your programming and student learning.

Attitudes and Values • Will my students develop confidence and a sense if enjoyment in using ICT for different purposes? • Will my students develop an attitude of openness to new ways of doing things using ICT? • Will my students appreciate the responsible, legal and ethical use of information developed by others using ICT? Go for it! Remember that ICT is not a stand-alone subject or a resource for passing time. Quality teaching and learning uses ICT as a tool to “do it better”. Teachers need to use a variety of technologies in their deliveries and activities to encourage students to use higher order thinking skills, develop their creativity and promote intellectual quality. From experience, it is often the simplest teaching ideas which have the greatest effect when it comes to embedding ICT in the classroom. Jackalyn Herrick & Nicole Graham DET Learning Technologies Section The DET Curriculum Support and Professional Learning team provide a wide range of PD opportunities. Go to the Professional Learning calendar at:

December 2009


Industrial Report

Schools Enterprise Agreement

CIT Enterprise Agreement also approved by Fair Work Australia

The AEU was formally advised by the new Fair Work Australia [the replacement body for the now defunct Australian Industrial Relations Commission] on 30 October 2009 that the new ACT DET Teaching Staff Enterprise Agreement has been approved.

The vote for the new proposed CIT Enterprise Agreement was completed on Friday 30 October with 99.5% of the count supporting the Agreement.

As a result the new Agreement came into legal operation from 6 November 2009 and most members will have received their back pay from 1 July 2009 and the first increase of 1.5% in the pay of 26 November. The new pay rates are provided on page 9. For full details of the new Enterprise Agreement go to www.aeuact.asn. au/documents/SchoolsEA.pdf The implementation of the terms of the Enterprise Agreement has now formally commenced. In particular, the Joint Working Party, established under the Agreement, has begun its work on addressing various issues of concern to members. The active participation of members, including school leaders, in this working party and its associated task groups will be critical to ensure positive outcomes. Equally important will be the pursuit of our Community Campaign over the next 2 years in preparation for the next round of bargaining. The documents detailing the strategy for this campaign have been distributed to all Sub-Branches and its implementation will begin in the near future. Peter Malone

The AEU was formally advised by the new Fair Work Australia [the replacement body for the now defunct Australian Industrial Relations Commission] on 6 November 2009 that the new CIT Teaching Staff Enterprise Agreement has been approved. As a result, the new Agreement came into legal operation from 13 November 2009 and most members should have received their back pay from 1 July 2009 and the first increase of 2% in the pay of 26 November. The new CIT pay rates are provided in the table below. For full details of the new Enterprise Agreement go to: documents/CITEA.pdf From early next year the AEU office will be conducting training courses to ensure that CIT members are fully aware of their rights under the new Enterprise Agreement and understand how best to use it in order to improve their working life. Equally important will be the pursuit of our combined Schools and TAFE Community Campaign over the next 2 years in preparation for the next round of bargaining. This will be particularly significant for CIT members given the ongoing attacks on the TAFE system across the country. CIT Teaching Classification Teacher Band 1.1 Teacher Band 1.2 Teacher Band 1.3 Teacher Band 1.4 Teacher Band 1.5 Teacher Band 1.6 Qualifications Barrier Teacher Band 1.7 Teacher Band 1.8 Advanced Skills Teacher Senior Teaching Post Teacher Band 2 Teacher Band 3 Teacher Band 4 CIT Casual Teaching Rates Delivery [per hour] Non-delivery [per hour]

1 July 2009 2.0%

1 July 2010 2.5%

$56,833 $59,505 $62,175 $64,982 $67,919 $70,590

$58,254 $60,993 $63,729 $66,607 $69,617 $72,355

$73,395 $76,468 $79,472 $81,811 $95,126 $112,713 $135,169

$75,230 $78,380 $81,459 $83,856 $97,504 $115,531 $138,548

$73.56 $46.46

$75.40 $47.62

New Schools Pay Rates 1. Classroom Teacher

July 2009 1.5%

January 2010 1.5%

July 2010 1.5%

January 2011 1.5%

3 YT





New Educator 1.1 New Educator 1.2 New Educator 1.3

$52,910 $55,556 $58,201

$53,704 $56,389 $59,074

$54,509 $57,235 $59,960

$55,327 $58,094 $60,860

Experienced Teacher 1 1.4 Experienced Teacher 1 1.5 Experienced Teacher 1 1.6

$60,847 $64,152 $67,460

$61,760 $65,114 $68,472

$62,686 $66,091 $69,499

$63,627 $67,082 $70,541

Experienced Teacher 2 1.7 Experienced Teacher 2 1.8

$70,768 $75,393

$71,829 $76,524

$72,907 $77,672

$74,000 $78,837

Accomplished Teacher Leading Teacher

Minimum $100,000

2. School Leader C

July 2009 1.5%

January 2010 1.5%

July 2010 1.5%

January 2011 1.5%





July 2009 1.5%

January 2010 1.5%

July 2010 1.5%

January 2011 1.5%





July 2009 1.5%

January 2010 1.5%

July 2010 1.5%

January 2011 1.5%

$99,728 $104,280 $108,832 $113,383 $117,935 $122,486 $122,486 $127,038 $131,591 $136,143

$101,224 $105,844 $110,465 $115,083 $119,704 $124,323 $124,323 $128,944 $133,565 $138,185

$102,742 $107,432 $112,122 $116,810 $121,499 $126,188 $126,188 $130,878 $135,568 $140,258

$104,283 $109,043 $113,804 $118,562 $123,322 $128,081 $128,081 $132,841 $137,602 $142,362

July 2009 1.5%

January 2010 1.5%

July 2010 1.5%

January 2011 1.5%

Casual Teacher





Experienced Casual Teacher





3. School Leader B

4. School Leader A* Principal Category 2 Principal Category 3 Principal Category 3+ Principal Category 4 Principal Category 4+ Principal Category 4++ Principal Category 5 Principal Category 5+ Principal Category 5++ Principal Category 5+++

5. Casual Teachers

* Principals of Category 2 to 5 Schools and Managers

INCREASE IN MEMBERSHIP FEES FROM DECEMBER 2009 Council at its meeting on 21 November 2009 endorsed the following schedule for adjustment of AEU membership fees for teachers in the schools sector in line with the EA wage increase: [a] 3% increase from 11 December 2009;

[b] 1.5% increase from 11 June 2010; and

[c] 1.5% increase from 11 December 2010. Council notes that no adjustment for back fees for the period 1 July - 10 December 2009 will occur and that the slightly earlier fee increases are balanced by this later initial adjustment of base fees. CIT members will have a 2% increase on 11 December 2009 and a 2.5% increase on 11 June 2010 with no back adjustment as for the schools sector.

December 2009

OH&S New Work Safety Bill 2008 and Work Safety Regulations 2009 The Key is Consultation

The new Work Safety Bill 2008 and Work Safety Regulation 2009 was gazetted on October 1 after months of discussion, workshops and seminars interpreting its potential impact on employers and employees. There were of course some excitable types in one camp or another who forecast doom for either employers or employees; some who believe the law should be much tougher and others who fear the changes are too tough. The fines for breaches of the law have been increased and the scope of those who may be fined has been broadened. In fact there are not huge changes to the legislation. It’s just that in parts, the law is much clearer and more definitive. Hopefully this improved transparency will be of great benefit to both employers and employees. One of the key elements within the legislation lies in Part 4, Workplace Arrangements and that is the section which focuses on the duty of employers/the person in control of the premises [that is the Principal/Manager] to consult. Surprisingly, it is becoming rapidly obvious that Principals require clarification on how to consult. For example, being informed that the construction work to be done at your site has been arranged and managed by DET and the timeline for completion is set and will not interfere with your work safety is not consultation. Being informed at a staff meeting of action to be taken is a fait accompli knowing that there will be an impact on your work environment is not consultation. The law instills a duty in the employer to consult, “…if reasonably practicable, with the employer’s workers to allow the workers to contribute to matters directly affecting their work safety.” The terms are clearly defined for all as are options for consultation. It doesn’t matter if the work at your site has commenced, is well progressed and seems out of control. If it impacts on your work safety then workers have to be included in the consultative process. But how the consultative process is enacted is not determined by DET or a site supervisor. It is determined in consultation with the employees. So as an obvious example, under the legislation, the employees at a school will include all teachers, assistants, administrative staff, BSOs, cleaners, contractors


and volunteers. They will all contribute to the decision that will define the agreed consultative process for that site. If the decision is that the Health and Safety Representative [OHS Rep] is the conduit between the staff and the Principal/Manager then that is the process that must be established and adhered to at that site. When a Worker Consultation Unit [WCU] is established it is to be done consultatively and by an agreed process. If there are changes to be made to the WCU they are agreed consultatively and the outcomes recorded. In short any health and safety position, or process impacting on work safety must be dealt with consultatively rather than by direction. Penalties will be applied more broadly under the legislation. Failure to consult may lead to a fine of up to $10,000 for the employer, including the person in control of the premises. While the employer in your situation is DET or CIT, the “person in control of the premises” is the Principal/Manager. Neither the employee nor the Principal/Manager will be able to shift their responsibilities to the other. We are all in this together to achieve work safety for all and to expect shared responsibility for ensuring that the public education system provides a quality education within environments that promote work safety and provide for individuals’ physical and psychological needs. It’s not just a dream; it’s the law! It is important for you all to note that there is a clear set of definitions in the legislation and one that is more of a general descriptor of what should be common practice. “Work Safety” is a term covering both physical and psychological needs of all employees that appears throughout the legislation as in “The person [in control] has a duty to ensure work safety in relation to the premises by managing risk” [Part 3, s22/2 p13]. Bill Book Schools’ Organiser

Literacy in PlayBased Education Programs Felicite Dawson, DET Preschool Support Teacher [ESL], explains the importance of play in developing literacy skills in young children.

“Play” is one of those words that has a different meaning for people in different contexts. For Early Childhood Educators, especially those working with children before they start formal schooling, play has a distinct meaning that colours their outlook of education: what it looks like, feels like, sounds like and even tastes like. Wood and Attfield [2005] have written that play is difficult to define but that it has a number of characteristics - Play is child chosen…child invented...pretend but done as if the activity were real… focuses on the doing… is done by the players… requires active involvement... is fun. Gestwicki suggests that, a definition of play includes the ideas of pleasure, self-imposed ideas and spontaneous activities, and activity not restricted by reality or instruction. Play can be solitary, parallel [where players are near each other but not playing together] or co-operative [where ideas, roles and directions are negotiated between players]. The role of teachers within a play-based program is to facilitate play and support the players. This enables them to make suggestions which allow players to think about new ideas, practise new skills or move in new directions. It is through this role and the ability of good Early Childhood Educators to foster children’s play, that curriculum is explored in early childhood settings. So, what would literacy look like in a setting where children are free to explore all the experiences available in the environment at their own pace and in their own way? How are ELAs 9: the student reads effectively and 10: the student writes effectively, addressed? Here are some examples of how different environments and play can develop the literacy understandings and skills that underpin a child’s later literacy learning. Experience 1: A child playing alone with a car on the floor. S/he is moving the car across the carpet and making ‘broom, broom’ and ‘beep beep’ noises as the car moves and meets obstacles in the form

of blocks and other toy cars on the floor. S/he usually moves the car around these obstacles but occasionally flies the car over them with a loud ‘brroooomm’ sound. This child is developing an understanding of narrative through the storytelling involved in moving the car from place to place. As different obstacles are approached s/he makes decisions about what will happen, just as decisions have to be made when a story is being written. The car is or contains the characters of the story, the obstacles and driving define the problem and resolution - a simple narrative. A simple question from the teacher could lead to a variety of literacy models. A long, complex oral story, a re-playing of the action [with information provided for the observer] or a drawing with perhaps an adult scribing information or a child writing the label for the car or his/her name. Experience 2: A group of children are ‘cooking’ in the sandpit. One child is stirring sand in a bowl, ‘First you put sugar and chocolate’. Another child pours some more sand in, and the first child says, ‘Yes, put the icing in next’. The second child says, ‘You have to cook now’ and another child says, ‘You need some of this’ as s/he adds a handful of tan bark. ‘Now - into the oven,’ says the first child as she puts the bowl on the sandpit wall. Here is an example of children constructing a procedural text. From previous experiences, they know that you put different things into a cake mix, in a specific way. They are using words such as first, now and next, commonly used in procedural texts. A teacher could take advantage of this by supporting them to write down their recipe or to retell it to the class. On another day she may use it to talk about writing -“Do you remember when you cooked in the sandpit?” Linking the unknown to a known experience is a very powerful tool for supporting learning. Continued on page 28.....

December 2009


Indigenous News Supporting and Valuing Indigenous Students When asked what he’d like to do when he leaves school, Brandon Williams quietly says, “I’m not sure,” but it’s clear he has some ideas because he immediately replies, “A rugby league player or a park ranger. He’s one of nearly 30 Indigenous students enrolled at Melrose High School who gains the benefit of support provided in their Indigenous Studies Centre [ISC]. When I visited the centre, Brandon was working with teacher Chris O’Hare on his German studies, a subject that may initially seem disconnected from his current dreams. But the teachers at Melrose and the ISC program in particular are supporting students to keep their options open and assisting them to succeed. The award-winning ISC program is one way of providing Indigenous students with additional support. The ISC was established in 2005 to provide Indigenous students at the school with small group or individual support for learning assistance or extension/project work. The ISC is a stimulating, culturally enriched environment where all students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, can find resources, attend workshops and participate in SOSE classes. Indigenous students take a leadership role in delivering lessons, workshops and presentations regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture. Family members and local leaders are also involved in building understanding of culture and traditions through interactive, handson workshops. Such activities are valued by the school community and are a source of pride and self-esteem for Indigenous students.


Photo: [L-R] Melrose High Principal George Palavestra, teacher Chris O’Hare and student Brandon Williams.

Students and family members use the centre as a meeting place since there is a non-threatening, non-judgmental and supportive atmosphere. Regular lunches and special events take place in the ISC each term. The ISC has helped with the attendance of Indigenous students, which has steadily increased since the inception of the centre. Student surveys show the benefits of the centre. All students acknowledged the program contributed to improving their learning, particularly in English, SOSE and Maths. They also indicated that the “individual attention”; “small group work”; the “supportive learning environment” and “extra time to work on assignments” were key features of the ISC that were appreciated. Continued next page.....

This year’s NAPLAN results show that the Year 7 and 9 students [the majority of Indigenous students at the school] are performing better than the ACT average for Indigenous students across all 5 assessment areas [reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy]. In some areas, Indigenous students at Melrose do better than the ACT average for all students. Melrose High School staff have also been surveyed about the ISC’s impact on students’ learning outcomes. 62% of teachers noted that the learning outcomes of Indigenous students had “significantly improved”. All staff use the ISC as part of their support program or to enhance the delivery of the curriculum. The influence of the ISC program is spreading beyond the classroom and the immediate community. The Woden Cluster Schools [Torrens, Farrer and Mawson Primary Schools, Canberra College and Melrose High School] are working collaboratively on a cluster Reconciliation Action Plan and this is in the final stages of development. The cluster also ran a Reconciliation Conference in 2008 which was led by Indigenous students and elders. The ISC is a resource for the whole cluster. Indigenous Education Officer Nick Hawley is developing a range of transition programs which involve students from the cluster primary schools. The work of teacher Chris O’Hare, and Indigenous Education Officer Jenny Dries, has been acknowledged by numerous awards which include: • 2009 ACEL Teacher Excellence Award; • 2008 Dare to Lead Award for Excellence in Leadership of Indigenous Education Award; • 2008 NAIDOC Award ACT for non-Indigenous Organisation’s Contribution to the Indigenous Community; • 2007 Indigenous Education Consultative Body Award; • 2007 NAIDOC Award ACT Indigenous School Student of the Year Award, presented to Year 10 Sallyanne Sanderson; • 2006 AEU-ACT Branch Reconciliation Award Commendation for advancing the aims of Reconciliation in the ACT education community. Cathy Smith Assistant to the Secretary [Professional] Photo: [Above Right] Artwork by Indigenous students takes pride of place in the Melrose High School foyer.

In the news.... $3 MILLION FOR “MAKE IT COUNT” INDIGENOUS MATHS PROGRAM The Federal Government has provided $3 million for “Make it Count”, a numeracy project for Indigenous students. The project will be run by the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers Inc and will research and develop new approaches to delivering mathematics education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Information about the most effective teaching models and approaches will be shared with the teaching profession and promoted within professional development and community engagement activities.

GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S INDIGENOUS STUDENT TEACHER SCHOLARSHIPS Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced the establishment of the Governor-General’s Indigenous Student Teacher Scholarship to assist one Indigenous student in every State and Territory to undertake education studies at university. These prestigious scholarships will see $25,000 per year awarded to successful recipients for the life of their teaching degree [up to 4 years]. This will enable scholarship recipients to concentrate solely on their education studies whilst at university and fully develop their teaching skills and knowledge. In addition, all scholarship recipients will be provided with the support of a highly accomplished teacher or teacher educator as a mentor for the duration of their studies.

December 2009


Focus on

SSOs An SSO recruitment and support strategy has been developed to build upon our growing base of SSO members. The strategy has three goals: 1. Achieve a successful Enterprise Agreement [EA] outcome The ACT Department of Education and Training Staff Union Collective Agreement 2007-2010 [which excludes teachers but includes administrative staff and education support staff or SSOs] will expire on 31 March 2010. For the first time, the AEU will join the Community and Public Sector Union [CPSU] in being an active participant at the bargaining table. The AEU office is currently convening meetings of our SSO members to discuss the EA strategy and to seek input as to what our members would like to see in the next agreement. SSO members will be formally surveyed in the coming months and will be encouraged to become involved in the process of negotiation. 2. Integrate SSOs within the AEU’s decision-making structures Initially, SSOs will be invited to observe at Branch Council. The AEU will seek input from all SSOs to determine how they would like to participate within the AEU. Further, identified training needs of SSOs will be incorporated into the AEU training program. 3. Increase SSO membership of AEU The AEU will conduct an extensive recruitment campaign; developing a recruitment kit specifically for SSOs, organising workplace blitzes and increasing teacher awareness of the


integration of SSOs as AEU members through the journal, as well as through Branch Council, Branch Executive and Sub-Branch meetings. It is essential that all education workers in the system work together to achieve the best possible salaries, working conditions and entitlements. Statistically, a unionised workforce is a better paid workforce and together we are stronger. Ideally, the AEU will recruit enough SSO members to be able to one day provide an Organiser who can specifically address the concerns of SSOs.

Services available to AEU members:

So, if you are an SSO:

• Financial Planning

• Let us know how your working conditions and entitlements can be improved through the next EA.

• Teachers Credit Union

• Let us know what training you would like to receive [as part of the AEU’s free training program]. • Talk to other SSOs about the value of membership of the AEU – the Union for education workers.

• Legal assistance • Industrial representation • Journey Cover Insurance • Professional development • Publications • Workplace visits • Teachers Health Society • Counselling Service

• Members Equity Bank • Car Purchasing Services • Union Purchasing Service


Monthly Fee















Glenn -



Bill -



• Invite an AEU Organiser to visit your workplace in order to explain these benefits to potential members. See you in the schools! Glenn Fowler & Bill Book Schools Organisers

Why we must stop school league tables



League Tables: The problem Within months the Federal Government will publish for the rst time the test results of every school in the country. Unless that information is protected it will be taken by the media and used to create and publish misleading league tables. League tables rank schools just on their test scores. It is a crude and simplistic measure that does not provide a true picture of how a school is performing.

“Failing Schools” The publication of league tables has profound negative consequences for students, teachers and parents. Those schools who do not achieve high scores and are dubbed by the media as “failing” or the “worst schools” are often those in the most disadvantaged areas. Unfairly branding these schools as failing has the e ect of magnifying that disadvantage. It does immense damage to the con dence and self-esteem of the students, undermines the relationship of trust between teachers and parents and makes teaching and learning much more di cult. 16

Parents, Teachers and Principals Are United Across Australia parents, teachers and principals have all spoken out against league tables. They say allowing league tables will damage education in Australia. But state and federal governments are refusing to act. We need to work together to make sure students and schools are not damaged by league tables. The Federal Government needs to pass laws which will stop this misuse of test scores.

Help Stop League Tables We need your support to stop the publication of damaging league tables. Visit the Australian Education Union’s website

There you can send a message directly to the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the Minister for Education Julia Gillard and your local MP telling them to take action. December 2009


What’s wrong with league tables? Misleading: Publicly ranking schools based on students’ results in national tests presents an invalid and misleading picture of school performance.

Inaccurate: The national tests were never designed to be used to compare schools. Experts say the results are not accurate enough to be used this way.

Damaging: Schools where students do not do well in literacy and numeracy tests are likely to be unfairly branded as ‘failing’ schools

Demoralising: It takes schools many years to throw o the tag of a ‘failing school’ and it is demoralising for students, teachers and parents. It makes it much harder for those schools to improve the performance of their students

Unnecessary: Politicians don’t need schools to be publicly ranked to know which ones need help and more resources. Parents can already access relevant information on school performance by directly contacting schools. Authorised by Angelo Gavrielatos, Federal President, Australian Education Union, 120 Clarendon Street, Southbank 3006.


Member Profile

Schools’ Organiser Glenn Fowler recently interviewed Erindale College teacher Stephen Smith. Stephen is not the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

What attracted to you to teaching?

What is it like at Erindale College?

Both my parents were teachers, with my father assisting in setting up the ACT Schools Authority. I briefly studied Forestry at ANU before studying PE teaching at Wollongong University.

When I first started at Erindale, I taught PE, Human Movement and Outdoor Education, along with working in the Talented Sports Program. The sports program at the time was quite new, highly successful and well known and it was a great time to be working in the area. I was fairly focussed on these subjects and coordinated many enjoyable Outdoor Ed trips. As all teachers know, all schools have great teachers and programs in many areas but they definitely become hard to publicise in a supposedly specialised school. Since working in a school-wide position, I’m much more aware of this fact and I think the College is making a significant effort in trying to push the attributes of the whole College. There have been some significant teaching and classroom changes at Erindale which are based on successful models at other schools and it is interesting to watch these changes being implemented. The hard thing for teachers is that they must continue to deliver high quality lessons amid this change. Somehow, we teachers always manage to do it, but we require ongoing and meaningful support.

The sports science side of the degree interested me the most, and it fitted in nicely with my efforts in ski racing. I guess an overly theoretical focus on teaching and learning bugged me at the time and probably still does. I was fairly opinionated at university with one lecturer telling me in no uncertain terms that I would never be a teacher. Some of my students may wish he was right, but of all that year’s graduates, I am one of the few that have stayed in teaching. An attraction from the beginning was that I enjoyed teaching and never really found it hard work. Even in the early days of doing a lot of relief teaching, I found it enjoyable. Teachers are a great group of people with whom to work and that has helped over the years. At the time of graduating, I probably would have stayed in the Wollongong area but with the only permanent NSW jobs being up in Western Sydney, teaching in Canberra became attractive, and here I am. What are your professional ambitions and long term goals as an educator? Although it is probably not the best way to begin to answer this question, I’m not looking to be promoted. Obviously more money would be nice but I’m fairly happy with the sort of work I’m doing now. My goal as an educator is to get better at what I am doing. In my current position I’m doing mostly Careers work and course advice, and a goal is to develop a deep understanding of these areas. There are different schemes, entry pathways and opportunities for students opening up, so I’m looking to keep up with the information and then look to getting it to the students more effectively. What do you like about your work? One of the attractions to the Careers area is that one can see positive results quite quickly and success is really measurable. This is a slight change from the classroom, where one is always wondering if things are sinking in. The downside is that I see hundreds of students but don’t get to know them as well as I did when teaching them for a semester or more.

How could the working life of a teacher be made better? We really need more considered change. I’ve been in the college sector for over ten years now and it seems to be in a permanent state of change. The Quality Teaching model has brought new challenges and there have been significant local changes at Erindale. The extra things teachers are asked to do never seem to end and perhaps schools and teachers need to get better at saying “No” so as not to detract from our core business of teaching students. New initiatives should replace old ones, not add to them. Overall I think teachers need more support from within the system to meet the different and varied needs of students. What does being an AEU member mean to you? The benefits of AEU membership are obviously the bargaining power at wage negotiations but also the enhanced ability to keep abreast of the issues that are important to teachers. Having an organisation to represent you is very reassuring and the value of that cannot be discounted. If I ever have an issue, there is a group I can go to for help, and I can raise an issue at a union meeting with confidence.

December 2009



In the 2008 AEU Teacher Survey, members at CIT identified that excessive workload was a key factor contributing to workplace stress. Many teachers reported that the levels of responsibility of Band 1 and Band 2 teachers have increased significantly over the past decade. But quantifying teacher workloads has long been an elusive phenomenon due to the complex nature of their work. A scan of the CIT Annual Reports dating back to 1998 demonstrates a consistent pattern of increasing “efficiency� of permanent Band 1 and Band 2 teachers in relation to the Nominal Hours [NH] of education and training delivered at the CIT. Massive Casualisation The CIT Annual Reports over the past decade do not consistently list the figures for full-time equivalents of the various teacher categories at CIT but it is clear from the Annual Reports 2006-2008 that CIT has failed to minimise casual and contract teacher employment across the Institute in recent years. Casual teacher numbers have increased from 141 in 2006 [CIT Annual Report 2006] to 596 in 2009 [eligible to vote for new EA] representing an increase in casualisation of 322% during that 3 year period from January 2007 - December 2009. This appalling statistic represents an average increase in CIT casual teacher numbers of more than 100% pa! At the same time, the number of permanent Band 1 teachers has depleted, coinciding with the increasing casualisation of the teaching workforce. Indeed, the number of permanent Band 1 teachers at CIT has reduced by 11% in the period 2006 to 2008 years alone. Quite clearly, CIT has failed to promote permanent employment of teachers as outlined in both the CIT Union Collective Agreement 2006-2009 [Clause 26] and ACT Government policy. The commitment by CIT to promote permanent employment remains within the new Enterprise Agreement and the AEU intends to pursue it being honoured. Class Sizes In addition, throughout the past decade there has been a steady increase in the total teaching workload at CIT as


expressed as total Nominal Hours of delivery. The past decade has seen the average CIT class size increased from less than 14 to approximately 17 students; representing approximately 20% increase in Nominal Hours education and training deliverer per full time teacher at CIT. Band 1 Teacher Workloads These statistics point to a substantial increase in the administration workloads of permanent Band 1 teachers who are largely responsible for the completion of the following teaching related functions on behalf of the majority of casual teachers across the Institute: program coordination, enrolment related functions, curriculum development, student liaison, industry liaison, lesson preparation, moderation, assessment preparation, recording tasks, casual teacher training and many more functions. Band 1 teachers are currently being requested to complete these additional tasks as duties other than teaching [DOTT] over and above their 720 hour full time annual teaching load, which is compounded by the ever increasing average class sizes and the administration functions associated with their own teaching load. Members have informed AEU officers that they are rarely provided with teaching reduction reflecting this increased workload as Band 1 teachers, Advanced Skills Teachers [ASTs] or Senior Teaching Positions [STPs]. Band 2 Teachers The AEU also notes that the number of CIT Band 2 teachers has reduced from a peak of approximately 100 in 1998 to 28 full time Band 2 positions in 2007. On an Institute-wide basis this astounding statistic suggests a 3 fold increase in the average number of Nominal Hours delivered at CIT for which individual Band 2 teachers have responsibility. In addition, the compounding effect of the increased casualisation for the period 2006-2009 alone has seen an increase in the number of Band 1 CIT teachers of approximately 80%. This increase in teacher numbers has placed additional workload burdens on the Band 2 teachers who have responsibilities for Band 1 Continued next page.....

teacher recruitment, induction, performance management, counselling, mentoring, coordination, training, professional development, student welfare, management of technical and general staff, industry liaison and other human resources functions. These aspects of their workload increase in direct proportion to the number of individual teachers that Band 2 teachers supervise. Overlaid on these responsibilities are the drives by CIT to increase commercial training opportunities across the Institute. Commercial program development is largely the domain of the permanent teachers who may, from time to time, employ casual teachers to deliver the actual training. However, member feedback suggests that the extensive teacher workload which is required to procure commercial training opportunities is rarely compensated appropriately. Workload Efficiencies Not Acknowledged These teacher workload efficiencies achieved over the past decade have certainly not been reflected in teacher salary increases. Indeed, during the recent Enterprise Agreement negotiations CIT sought significant additional increases in teacher workload as “efficiencies” to off-set any proposed increases in salaries. CIT refused to recognise or compensate teachers for the efficiencies already achieved in average class sizes and administrative workloads. The AEU calls upon CIT to publically acknowledge the role of CIT teachers in meeting the extraordinary demands for increased workplace efficiencies within the Institute over the past decade, to appropriately compensate teachers for their work and to work with the AEU to identify healthy, sustainable workloads for CIT teachers in future. The struggle for reasonable CIT teacher workloads and appropriate recognition of them does not stop here. The AEU has negotiated within the CIT Enterprise Agreement 20092011 definitions of teaching related duties, duties other than teaching and, also, the establishment of a review of the roles and responsibilities of promotional positions and coordinators. In order to ensure fair, sustainable and equitable CIT teacher workloads in the future the Union aims to establish: • sustainable workload parameters for these positions and • clear duties and roles of Band 1, coordinators, AST, STP, Band 2 and Band 3 teachers. Mike Fitzgerald CIT/VETiS Organiser

TAFE Vice PRESIDENT Stephen Darwin

Now that we have a new Enterprise Agreement [EA] covering teachers at CIT, it is an ideal time to remind ourselves of the significance of unions to our working lives. Despite the best efforts of successive governments to undermine collective organisation and some of the harsh realities of changes in the labour market, unions still set the standards for high quality outcomes for wage and conditions. Outcomes in highly unionised areas continue to be the envy of those not represented, yet the struggles of the unionised sector continue to force up expectations more generally. Therefore, unions continue to be critical to preserving the broad social justice and equity foundations of Australian society. Our new EA represents this in practice: preserving important conditions and offering wage increases that on top of those in the last two Agreements ensures vocational teaching remains a viable profession. However, in this Agreement, there is an important new provision that offers all of us the potential to further improve our life as teachers. This is the new Direct Teaching clause of the Agreement, which for the first time quantifies what actually constitutes teaching [and therefore hours] and what does not. It has the promise of providing a sustainable mechanism for ending the drift of administrative and other non-teaching tasks into the professional work of teachers. It is an exciting and important concession that can do much to quantify what teachers do and what they are forced to do that is currently unrecognised. However, like the EA more generally, this clause is only as effective as the members who insist on its provisions. Union negotiators [as always] have fought hard to preserve and extend your rights at work, but these rights are a mere illusion if they are not insisted on and exercised. We often heard in negotiations that “no-one has raised this” or “only a few people have used that”, which then became a rationale for reducing, cutting or compromising conditions. A right not exercised is one foregone. For this reason, the AEU will shortly start an education campaign across campuses to ensure all members understand their new agreement and what rights it offers. However, more than ever it is critical that members use the real power in this Agreement in practice: that is, make the agreement real. Otherwise, the Enterprise Agreement becomes just a shelf stacker, and that is something in vocational education we already have enough of.

December 2009


AEU Federal Women’s Conference

Melbourne 3-4 October 2009 Cathy Smith, ACT Branch Women’s Officer

This year a delegation of five members was selected by Branch Executive to attend the AEU Federal Women’s Conference with ACT Women’s Officer, Cathy Smith – Sue Billington, Ruth Edge, Zuzette Fahey, Nina Leuning and Sharon Skinner. Unfortunately, Sue and Zuzette were unable to attend at the last minute. The theme for this year’s conference was Taking on Global Crises – Sisters with Solutions. Photo: [L-R] ACT Branch Delegates Nina Leuning, Sharon Skinner, Cathy Smith, Ruth Edge. Sharon Skinner,

Delegates had the opportunity to hear excellent speakers discussing very interesting topics: • Pat Ranald, ACTU Organising Centre, who spoke about how the Global Financial Crisis is particularly affecting women; • Michelle O’Neill, National Secretary, Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia, who shared her thoughts on employment and training issues, especially following Pacific Brands sending their manufacturing overseas; • Helen Henry, Oxfam Sisters on the Planet, who spoke passionately about climate change and her grassroots community campaign; • Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, discussed the fact that Australian women are number 1 for attaining an education but are 44th for participation in employment. Delegates also chose one workshop to participate in. These were: Women’s Wages; Flexible? Work; Education and Training; & Women’s Climate Change Action Here, ACT delegates report on various aspects of the conference that particularly interested them.


Lanyon High School

The Women’s Conference was addressed by some interesting speakers including Belinda Tkalcevic, ACTU Industrial Officer and Kylie Whicher Members Equity Bank. All speakers were compelling and highlighted particular aspects of women’s issues, both locally and globally. I participated in the “Women’s Wages” workshop led by Pat Ranald, in which we discussed the issue of undervaluation of women’s work. A recommendation arising from this workshop was that all delegates sign a letter to Deputy PM Julia Gillard, requesting that the current gender equity pay enquiry address the issue of women’s work and pay equity in female dominated industries, such as teaching, nursing and community work. Definitions of women’s employment need to be re-evaluated. Women are officially defined as having moved in and out of the labour market, rather than as being officially unemployed. In other words, women comprise around 80% of the hidden unemployed.

Ruth Edge, Melrose High School Emily Wheatley from Industry Fund Financial Planning talked to us about the inequity women face in regards to superannuation and financial planning. We were informed of the importance of women taking an active role in managing the family finances and of setting financial goals for the future. We were shown how to create a simple budget that can assist with achieving financial goals and basic ways to Continued next page......

save money like minimising bank fees and consolidating credit card debt into a low interest loan. Superannuation is of particular concern to women. According to IFFP the average male spends 38 years in the workforce accumulating superannuation. In comparison, the average female works for only 17 years simply because many women have to put their careers on hold when they have children. This means that in retirement women are far more dependent on the aged pension and many are living in poverty. There are some myths associated with financial planning, the most significant being that anyone who tells you with certainty that interest rates are going to rise or that the share market is going to improve is lying to you as neither of these can ever be certainties. Women are also encouraged to accumulate assets to secure their financial future.

Nina Leuning, Narrabundah Early Childhood School Most of us try to be as environmentally friendly as we can in our own lives. This individual action is an important part of reducing our impact on the earth, however it is not enough. At the “Women’s Climate Change Action” workshop one of the guest speakers, Helen Henry [Oxfam Australia, Sisters on the Planet] started her journey towards climate change action as a concerned mother and citizen who bravely put an ad in the town paper inviting locals to join her at the coffee shop to chat about their environmental concerns. She is now an influential environmental activist. During this workshop we drafted a number of recommendations which can be achieved at an individual, worksite, union and government level. These recommendations include:

Photo: [L-R] Inspiring Women Panel Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner; Jane Benefield, Advisory Officer, NZ Post Primary Teachers’ Association; Darcel Russell, AEU Deputy Federal Secretary

• Call on the Government to maintain strong leadership, particularly in Copenhagen, to achieve a global deal that ensures policies will immediately reduce carbon emissions. By following these recommendations, all individuals can take positive climate change action. AEU women members are encouraged to consider nominating for next year’s AEU Federal Women’s Conference, a professional development opportunity which is always held during the October school holiday period. The Conference is a great way to meet other women unionists, discuss issues of concern and it provides a chance to develop a strong sense of collegiality with women in public education from all States and Territories.

• Engage in environmentally sustainable practices

Why not get more involved in the AEU:

• Join the ACTU Climate Connectors campaign – see

Nearly 80% of ACT Branch members are women, yet this proportion is not reflected in the number of women involved in the AEU’s structures or activities. Each year the ACT Branch calls for the nomination of Women’s Contact Officers [WCO] in workplaces. The WCO’s role is to ensure that information about, and action around, issues of specific relevance to women are given priority and communicated to members. It also provides a great opportunity for women to become more involved in the union at their local Sub-Branch level. Sign up as a WCO in the 2010 Sub-Branch Rep nominations. For more information go to: women-focus

• Lobby Federal politicians • Investigate, advocate and publicise sustainable practices and initiatives • Develop an environmental policy • Undertake energy audits • Designate a workplace environment representative • Gather and promote resources, organisations and links for environmental education and training

Women Need Unions Need Women

December 2009


The AEU office from the inside .... Sue Amundsen, Hughes Primary My position in the AEU was as relief Schools’Organiser replacing Bill Book. It was an interesting role with many facets. I had the opportunity to talk personally and assist Union members with information on a variety of issues, the most common being maternity leave and transfer entitlement. I was involved in meetings in the Union office and in schools regarding current issues in the workplace. I attended school Sub-Branch meetings for recruitment purposes and to provide information regarding the Enterprise Agreement. I attended the preschool teachers’ meeting regarding the Federal Government’s new Early Childhood qualifications requirement, and was able to assist members with this information. I had the opportunity to attend an AEU presentation for pre-service students at UCan where sound advice was given with regards to their future roles. I provided input on behalf of members’ special considerations during the transfer round. My role also included the attendance at Council and Branch Executive meetings. My interest in the issues around teaching and my involvement in attaining better working conditions for teachers gave me the incentive to apply for this position. I am a regular attendee at Council meetings and feel that this is a relevant forum for attaining a broader understanding of issues in the workplace. Having been part of school Sub-Branch Executive for many years I felt that it was a great opportunity to find out about issues in the system. It also provided opportunities to discuss the relevant issues regarding the new EA with the people who have all the corporate knowledge. I was made to feel welcome in the office. The abundance of questions that I asked were always answered willingly and usually with additional and relevant information. The office had a quiet buzz with everyone doing their individual role but at the same time sharing and resolving issues through impromptu discussions. The office meetings were short, regular and efficient. The variety provided by working in the office and attending meetings, information sessions and other relevant events outside the office provided a good balance. It was extremely educational and provided me with an opportunity to work with some very talented and extremely knowledgeable people. We are lucky to have such dedicated professionals serving our interests as our AEU officers.


As Schools’ Organiser I have acquired a working knowledge and an informed view of the new EA. I am also more aware of the issues that teachers face in their working environments and feel more able to assist them in the resolution of these issues. It is always beneficial to have a broad view of the system and working in the office gave me the opportunity to find out what is happening in preschools, primary schools, high schools, colleges and in the P-10 schools. I can now look with greater confidence at issues outside the parameters of my direct workplace. It was also interesting to find out about CIT and alternate school structures in the ACT. I have gained an understanding of the work that is involved in getting information out to members and the responses of the membership to issues being negotiated through the AEU. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Working in the AEU office is an option well worth considering.

AEU - ACT Branch

OFFICE CLOSURE The Union office will close at 4:00pm on Wednesday 23 December 2009 and reopen at 9:00am on Monday 4 January 2010. Office hours during the school holiday period are from 9:00am-4:00pm and while many officers take leave during the holiday period there is always an officer available to answer any queries from members. The office will also be closed from 12 noon on Thursday 17 December as the officers and staff have their Christmas lunch. The AEU Officers and Staff take this opportunity to wish all members a safe and happy Christmas.

THE QUALITY TEACHING MODEL An anniversary update By Chris Melican, Quality Teaching Team Leader

2009 saw the strategic beginnings of the use of the Quality Teaching model in ACT public schools. From Preschool to Year 12, teachers have been engaged in becoming familiar with the model and applying it to their teaching practice. The implementation has been supported by the work of three Quality Teaching consultants, one per district, who have worked with the clusters of schools in each district. In addition, each cluster has had a Quality Teaching coordinator and each school has had a Quality Teaching team leader. In collaboration with schools directors, principals, and deputies, Quality Teaching staff have run PD, led discussions, worked with and coded units of work and assessment tasks, and in a few cases, begun lesson observations. The Quality Teaching coordinators have had a wide and deep range of experience in working with their colleagues across year levels and subject areas. Although their positions are only for 2009, they will be a huge asset to the ongoing implementation of the Quality Teaching model in their schools in the future. In one short year, much has been achieved. Teachers are learning a common professional language to share their understandings about their practice. They are increasingly putting the “QT lens” on their work, evaluating it, reflecting on it and allowing their growing understanding to inform future

Photo: The Quality Teaching Team: [L-R] Chris Melican, Merryn O’Dea, Therese Gallen, Reijer Hilhorst

planning of work. Coding isn’t the main goal, but the process of using the coding is developing a deeper understanding of how to build on what we already do successfully. The Department has invested in approximately 55 scholarships over the past two years for teachers to complete the Graduate Certificate in Education Studies [Pedagogy] at Newcastle University. These teachers have been immersed in the research underpinning the Quality Teaching model, the current research and evidence of the impact it makes on student learning outcomes and how to apply it in their own areas of work – and the certificate counts as half a masters degree. Currently the Department’s Central Office Quality Teaching team is preparing resources to assist schools in 2010, as we begin the second year of a three year implementation process. The long term aim is for every teacher to become so familiar with working with the QT model that it is embedded in our thinking and becomes second nature in our reflection, planning, teaching and assessment. At that point sustainability will be assured.

What’s New in our Schools & TAFE? Call for contributions to the Innovation and Change edition of the AEU Journal The first journal of 2010 is planned as a special edition looking at change and innovation across the ACT public education system - both schools and TAFE. The journal deadline is Wednesday 24 February 2010. Contributions are invited from members who wish to showcase changes or innovation that is occurring in their workplace. Articles up to 500 words in length are welcome, together with high resolution pictures. Smaller “snapshot pieces” or high resolution pictures with commentary are also welcome. The ACT Branch journal [renamed Public Education Voice from next year] is read across our system and interstate. There’s a lot happening in our system - and here’s a chance to share what’s new in your workplace on a wider stage. For more information, contact or telephone Cathy on 6272-7900.

December 2009


The climate crisis: Australian workers are stepping up. The climate is changing

Workers can make a difference

We live on one of the driest continents on Earth, which puts us right in the firing line of climate change. We can see the terrible effects of climate change; the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, increases in fires and drought, and more severe storms such as Cyclone Larry. The cost of extreme climate events in economic terms is unsustainable; and in human terms shocking. Working families will bear the brunt of the climate crisis unless something is done.

Between August and December the campaign will activate over 3000 Union Climate Connecters around Australia to take actions in their workplaces, homes and communities to build awareness and understanding about climate change.

We need to take control of our future Union Climate Connectors is a joint campaign between the Australian Conservation Foundation and Australian Unions. Unions have a proud history of campaigning on environmental issues. But rarely have the stakes been as high as they are now. Our country is in a great position to be a world leader in climate solutions and create hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs and new export industries. The vast majority of Australians believe climate change is an important issue and that we as a country, as organisations, and as individuals have a responsibility to take serious action. We need action now to ensure a safe and sustainable future for our kids. The UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen this December are our best chance to secure a global agreement that will succeed Kyoto and help solve the climate crisis.

Union Climate Connectors

Union Climate Connectors will receive action kits by post or email; and phone calls to follow up each kit and provide support. Activities will be themed to coincide with community events both locally and globally, such as Walk to Work Day, National Recycling Week and the Global Day of Climate Action. Face to Face ‘Connector Trainings’ will be held in major centres in conjunction with ACF’s The Climate Project and the ACTU Organising Centre. We’ve built a new online platform to support activists and enable interaction between Connectors around Australia. Being heard Our leaders need to hear from us. As the political debate heats up in the weeks leading up to Copenhagen, we’ll be using innovative approaches to make sure our voices are heard loud and clear. And by standing together We are facing a challenge on a scale that workers have never faced before. By standing as one, taking small actions and pressuring decision makers together, we can make the difference for generations to come. Australian workers have shown that when we stand together as one we win.

Union climate connectors: Australian workers stepping up for our planet. Authorised T Svendsen 27 Peel Street South Brisbane 4101


By taking action

The Fair Work Act 2009: Not perfect, but a big improvement on WorkChoices! During 2006-2007, AEU members contributed to the highly successful Your Rights at Work campaign which saw off the retrograde and harmful WorkChoices legislation. This legislation has, as of 1 July 2009, been replaced by Labor’s Fair Work Act. The Government argues that it creates a much more balanced industrial landscape and includes numerous benefits for workers in Australia. These benefits include: • A fair safety net for workers through the National Employment Standards [NES] which protect conditions such as hours in a working week, the right to request flexible working arrangements, leave entitlements and public holiday pay. • A greater range of matters over which unions can bargain. • The eventual abolition of individual contracts. • A requirement that flexibility, consultation and dispute settlement clauses be contained in Agreements. • A commitment to good faith bargaining. • The coverage of 3 million more workers under unfair dismissal protections. • The removal of the 4 hour minimum pay deduction [remember those unpaid tea and coffee sessions after each stop-work meeting in 2006!]. • Fewer restrictions on a union’s right of entry to a workplace. The new Act however, does not address all the concerns raised by the union movement during the Your Rights at Work campaign. In particular: • The union movement continues to have grave doubts about the award modernisation process in that it threatens a lowest-common-denominator approach and in some instances is causing gains won over many years to be lost. In our case, the ACT Teaching Award contains only outdated

Photo: [L-R] UnionsACT Secretary Kim Sattler relishing the end of WorkChoices, AEU-ACT Branch Secretary Penny Gilmour, ANF-ACT Secretary Jenny Miragaya and LHMU-ACT Secretary, Lyndal Ryan

salaries and conditions and so is irrelevant to the actual employment conditions of AEU - ACT Branch members. Any final “modernised award” for our industry will have no impact on the daily working lives of ACT teachers. • The introduction of “bargaining agents” has the potential to hold up negotiations between unions and employers. [Interestingly, the word “union” appears nowhere in this Labor Government legislation - only “employee representatives”.] Combining individual bargaining and collective bargaining into one process in reality only serves to undermine the ability of unions to negotiate effectively. • The new Fair Work Australia [which replaces the Australian Industrial Relations Tribunal] does not have the power of compulsory arbitration [except in limited circumstances]; it can only settle disputes if the employer agrees to let it do so. • The ability for Unions to take industrial action continues to be very restricted and Fair Work Australia has the power to order industrial action to be stopped and then arbitrate an industrial outcome. • Fair Work Australia has limited independence as the Federal Minister for Industrial Relations has the power under the Act to set the parameters under which Fair Work Australia can make a decision. Time will tell just how “balanced” the Fair Work Act really is. In the meantime, the AEU - ACT Branch will seek to use the new legislation to the best possible advantage of our members. Glenn Fowler - Schools Organiser Peter Malone - Assistant to the Secretary [Industrial]

December 2009


Literacy in Play-Based Education Programs ways. Conversations with peers, staff and preschool visitors allow for children to use different genres of language. Songs, rhymes and finger plays enable children to practise new types of language; listening to and saying lots of words and sounds. Games can develop vocabulary, understandings about synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, and understandings about negotiating.

From page 11 ..... Experience 3: A group of children are sitting around a table eating their snacks and comparing what they are eating. One child holds up a cheese stick and says, ‘I’ve got cheese.’ Another child holds up cheese too and laughs, ‘cheese, bees.’ They all begin to chant, ‘Cheese, bees, cheese, bees’. Then one child says, ‘Cheese, bees, dees, mees, wees’. All the children laugh together uproariously and chant, ‘Cheese, wees, cheese wees’ for some time. These children are playing with rhyme and rhyming words. In this situation without a teacher at the table, the children feel free to use slightly “naughty” words and this “spice” could be a powerful aid to memory about these words that sound the same. Rhyming is an important part of developing strong phonemic awareness skills and is used in preschools in all kinds of songs, rhymes and games. These children are practising this skill in a real, spontaneous and fun way. Tabors [2008] discusses the importance of oral language in developing literacy skills and Pauline Gibbons [2002] observes that, In most classrooms it is probably true to say that someone is talking most of the time. This implies the need to use strong expressive and receptive language skills in primary classrooms. Play based learning environments enable children to develop and practise their oral language skills in active, authentic


Children are also engaged in a large number of experiences with the tools of literacy, such as books, magazines, lists, writing implements, paper and computers [and other ICT]. The understandings and skills that develop as children explore these tools are fundamental to their ability to use them in meaningful ways as communicators in the future. Teachers in play based learning environments in preschools build on children’s literacy understandings and skills, encouraging them to become confident, capable learners. They are aware of how literacy is used across curriculum experiences and understand the importance of supporting children to practise and learn new skills in meaningful, interesting and fun ways. Bibliography: Gestwicki, C. Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Curriculum and Development in Early Education. 3rd Edition, Thomson Delmar Learning, USA, 2007 Gibbons, P. Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning. Heinemann, Australia, 2002 Tabors, P.O. One Child, Two Languages. 2nd Edition, Brookes Publishing Co. USA, 2008 Wood, E. and Attfield, J. Play, Learning and the Early Childhood Curriculum. 2nd Edition, Sage Publications, UK, 2005 Felicite Dawson, DET Preschool Support Teacher [ESL]

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

Home phone


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+


Date of application

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 December 2009


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

I/We understand and acknowledge that:

O Fortnightly Payroll Deduction

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.

I authorise the AEU to contact DET to commence fortnightly deductions at the appropriate rate as soon as possible.

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.

Name Signature

3. The User may, by prior arrangement and advice to me/us, vary the amount or frequency of future debits.


4. Any queries to be directed to the Debit User in the first instance.

O Monthly Credit Card

11th of each month or next business day

Please debit my credit card automatically Visa O Bankcard O MasterCard O Cardholder’s name

5. It is the responsibility of the customer to have sufficient funds in the account by the due date to permit the payment by BECS or bank charges may apply. 6. I/We understand the information supplied will not be used for another purpose. 7. Statements will be issued upon request. Customer Signatures [joint signatures may be required]

Card Number Expiry Date /

Amount $

Customer Address

Cardholder’s signature The Schedule

O Monthly Direct Debit [Bank/Credit Union]

11th of each month or next business day

I have completed the DDR Authority below to have my subscription deducted from my bank or credit union account. Direct Debit Request Form and Service Agreement

(Note: BECS is not available on the full range of accounts. If in doubt, please refer to your Financial Institution) Insert name of account which is to be debited BSB [Bank/State/Branch No.] Account Number

Request for debiting amounts to accounts by the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS) Manager [insert name & address of financial institution]

O Quarterly Statement I enclose Cheque/Money Order for $

I/We [Insert your name in full] [Surname or Company/Business Name] [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. Continued next column


Please post to PO Box 3042, Manuka 2603 or pay in person: AEU Office, Ground Floor, 40 Brisbane Avenue, Barton. Note: Please multiply the fee on the account by 4 to calculate the yearly payment. If you select payment by this method you will receive a quarterly statement [11 March/11 December/11 September and 11 December] which can be paid online through a secure gateway payment [www.aeuact.].

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