PUBLIC EDUCATION VOICE JOURNAL OF THE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION UNION - ACT BRANCH • June 2010
ON YOUR STRONG STAND
QUALITY TEACHING MODEL [QTm] Potential to deliver change and rejuvenation of pedagogy in ACT schools
SEND JULIA GILLARD A KISS Pay equity for women
40 Brisbane Ave Barton ACT 2600 • P (02) 6272 7900 • F (02) 6273 1828 • www.aeuact.asn.au
League Tables - congratulations to members for your strong stand! The recent NAPLAN dispute is a clear demonstration that we are stronger when we work together.
the last 12 months for a review of the processes and presentation of the data. It is to be hoped that the working party is convened very quickly and then left to do its work without interference from politicians or the media.
In a difficult environment of pressure from a range of sources, the majority of Sub-Branches stood firm in their determination not to assist in the delivery of the tests given the lack of protection from misuse of the data and the consequent unfair naming and shaming of schools as “failures”.
On the ground, as the dispute unfolded, principals and members kept in touch with the AEU office. There were many questions and some misgivings about the situation but the strength of AEU members’ resolve across the nation remained firm and created the result that was achieved. Each and every AEU member who supported the campaign should be proud of their effort and I congratulate you on your strong stand in support of our students. The outcome truly does reflect the basic idea of union membership – stronger together!
The members information meetings the AEU held about the issue were wellattended, and members were clear about their reslve to maintain the moratorium – even in the face of potential industrial and financial consequences. Those matters are discussed in Federal Industrial Officer Rob Durbridge’s article on page 5. The AEU’s message was consistent: it is not the NAPLAN tests themselves that are the problem, but the presentation of the data on the My School website in ways that allow third parties to create league tables ranking schools on the basis of individual student results. The AEU was not alone in its expressions of concern about the misuse of the data in this way, nor in its misgivings about the flawed nature of the data generated by NAPLAN. However, despite urging from the AEU, academics and other commentators, the Deputy Prime Minister seemed unable to appreciate the problems or the extent of the profession’s concerns about the issues until the last moment. The working party that is to be established reflects the AEU’s calls of
School Based Management Review – a mixed bag, and a Minister who ignores the Enterprise Agreement The AEU is concerned that the rights and protections provided under the current Enterprise Agreement are being ignored by Minister Barr in his recent announcements about greater autonomy for principals arising from the School Based Management Review. National Partnership Agreements – or recommendations from reviews – do not make void the provisions of Enterprise Agreements; it’s a pity the Minister seems not to have recognised and addressed these provisions before he made his announcements. The Allen Consulting Group’s recentlyreleased report Review of School Based Management in the ACT contains 18 recommendations, grouped under the
themes of Autonomy, Building System Capacity, Schools Governance and Resourcing Mechanisms. While the AEU believes that there should be consideration of measures to improve the way that SBM works and to provide greater flexibility and autonomy to principals, the Union cannot condone proposals that appear to cut across provision of the current Enterprise Agreement [EA] which does not expire until 30 June 2011. The EA contains a requirement for consultation about “proposals by the Department to introduce major changes in the organisation or to existing work practices” [Clause 82], as well as provisions about staffing/transfer processes [Section EE] and procedures for filling vacancies [Clause 195]. In recent comments announcing that the new Kambah P-10 School and Gungahlin College will be staffed using local selection by principals, the Minister has simply ignored the obligation to consult clearly set out in Clause 82. Depending on exactly what is intended to be implemented and when, the proposals may also be at odds with the staffing processes detailed in the EA. Following the Minister’s announcement, the AEU met with the Department. The discussion was welcome but it is completely unsatisfactory that discussions about proposals which fundamentally change teacher staffing and entitlements and which represent major change in the system, have not been dealt with respectfully in terms of the obligation to consult.
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Continued on page 13
UNION LOBBIES FOR BETTER
INVESTMENT As part of the Union’s ongoing community campaign to gain increased investment in ACT public education, the Branch Secretary, Penny Gilmour recently gave evidence before the ACT Government Estimates Committee.
The following is an extract from the transcript of evidence provided explaining the AEU’s concerns with the recent ACT Budget.
recognition of that in the provision made for teacher bargaining.
When the budget was released I [Penny Gilmour] indicated that the AEU thought it was a reasonable budget for education and so we did from the point of view of things that we need right now. However, while the budget has … provision [for the Teacher Quality Institute] and it has significant provision around infrastructure, what is missing from the education part of it is investment in people. In particular, there are four areas that we think the budget has failed to address sufficiently. The first is teacher salaries, the second is support for teacher professional development, the third is programs to support students and the fourth is workload measures. Just to put each of those in a little bit of context, in terms of salaries, teachers have not forgotten the outcome of the last two rounds of enterprise bargaining. … In both cases, the teachers settled for a smaller outcome than that which was competitive with other jurisdictions because we wanted to make a contribution to assisting the Government through what we recognised were difficult financial circumstances. Two rounds in a row we have been told, ‘We’re going broke; there’s no money. Everybody has to do their bit, and you need to do yours.’ We have done our bit. It is pretty galling, I guess, to see that there appears to be no
In terms of teacher salaries in… the school sector we advised Government, at the time that the last Agreement was settled, that over the two-year period there would be significant problems developing, to the point that, by 30 June next year, at the top of the unpromoted classroom teacher scale there will be a gap of 7.5 per cent between the salary paid to an ACT teacher and the salary paid to a teacher in NSW. When the Labor Party came to power, that gap was 6.87 per cent, and they closed it. But over their period of government, because they have taken their eye off the ball, the gap has not only opened up but it has opened up to an extent larger than it was at the start of their period in office. The absolutely urgent issue to address is the salary rate for deputy principals, which is, in fact, 15 per cent behind the salary paid to a deputy principal in NSW. In terms of maintaining a competitive workforce, we will not hold people who are capable of performing at that level if we do not do something about their salary… Our beginning teacher salary is still competitive – just, but unless the Government is prepared to look carefully at teacher salaries, the provisions it has made in the forward estimates will not address the issues that will be very apparent by the end of the Agreement. In terms of PD support, there has been no indexation at all to the teacher professional learning fund established under the Enterprise Agreements.
Teachers gave up salary to establish that fund. We have been very pleased that it has existed, but it has been held at a stable amount for, I think, this will be the fourth Agreement. That is in the face of increasing numbers of teachers actually employed. On the workload issue, the Enterprise Agreement commits the parties to looking at measures to address teacher workload, including examining what non-teaching tasks currently performed by teachers might better be performed by other staff, including administrative staff. We believe that in order to support that there needs to be some capacity to look at employing additional admin staff, because the current admin staff are not exactly sitting around with time on their hands. There appears to be no provision for anything that would recognise that sort of outcome. Finally, in relation to programs, the AEU has said before a number of Assembly committees that we have been pursuing for a number of years now a range of provisions, including alternative settings and additional support for ESL. In terms of alternative settings and support for students with particular needs, we identify a shortfall in provision for mental health, particularly among the younger age group – children not in high school – and for behavioural and emotional disturbance. We think that early intervention around all of those areas needs resource support, and that is not evident to us in this budget.
Penny Gilmour Branch Secretary
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 3
The role of Schools’ Organiser gives one a unique insight into the feeling of AEU members in our public schools.
It is with great pride that we report the overwhelming feeling of support for AEU policy regarding No League Tables: that is, that the data should not be misused for the creation of crude and simplistic league tables. Under considerable duress and pressure from the employer, most members made use of the protection afforded them by an AEU Sub-Branch motion. It is regrettable that attempts were made to weaken the decision to take collective professional action through individual members being asked whether they intended to stand by the AEU motion. It has been reported that some members were threatened directly with loss of wages. Members should know that they are under no obligation in such an instance to declare their intention as an individual and should simply say: “As a member of the AEU Sub-Branch, I will follow AEU policy.” It is pleasing that attempts to divide the membership were largely ineffective. Make no mistake, members: the decision of the Deputy Prime Minister to convene a taskforce charged with improving My School and guarding against misuse of the NAPLAN data was made due to the collective action of AEU members across the country. Members proved once again that they are stronger together! The AEU advises members that it followed up on a payroll glitch that occurred on 15 March this year in which some DET employees received the payslips of other DET employees. DET officers advise that the error was immediately corrected and that the Privacy Commission was notified as per the legislative requirement. They further advised that the pay system has been changed in a way that ensures there can be no repeat of this error.
What do the Organisers do besides SubBranch visits? There are usually multiple reasons for attending Sub-Branch meetings but our fundamental message at every meeting is “Recruit new AEU members!” The other issue that dominated so far this year is of course the League Tables campaign and that meshed with recruitment very effectively. We are looking to see members’ commitment develop further as we move into our Community Campaign to lobby the ACT Government for better funding of public schools in the lead up to the next teachers’ Enterprise Agreement [EA]. We represent the AEU on the EA Implementation Committee, negotiating the first steps toward a common incremental date for all teachers, accelerated progression up the scale, leave forms and arrangements and VET teachers’ workloads to name a few items. The final step in this process requires discussion and agreement [or not] by a Joint Working Party. We are also on other task groups considering workload and resource allocation and on committees focusing on special interest groups [teacher librarians and preschool/early years learning teachers, SSOs].
Glenn joined our Secretary and President in representing the ACT Branch at the National Public Education Forum. We are also involved in the Occupational Health & Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Committee [OHSRAC] to develop policy and discuss/debate issues. In line with that, we participated in the process of developing the Prevention of Bullying Kit released in March by the ACT OHS Commissioner. More recently we have been organising events and exhibitions around Public Education Day/ Week/Month! We have assisted many individual members as their advocates at school and departmental level and remind you that we are a phone call away should you require our services. In the meantime, write letters to the editor or your parliamentary/assembly representatives. Keep them honest and working for you.
Bill Book & Glenn Fowler Schools’s Organisers
We have participated in induction days, a “trade fair” and meetings at UC with preservice teachers, all of which have proven to be successful recruitment experiences. All Organisers, Schools and TAFE, attended the Australasian Organisers’ Conference organised by the ACTU. Bill organised and hosted the National [AEU] Welfare Officers’ forum held here in the ACT. The former was memorable due to the broad based disenchantment expressed by union officials from across all industries with the Federal Government’s performance.
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We are giving away 2 copies of Max Your Marks: Tips From Top Students On How To Conquer Year 12 by Rowena Austin and Annie Hastwell [Allen & Unwin, 2010]. The book assists senior students in planning for success and maintaining wellbeing whilst providing study tips and tricks. To win: Simply email Glenn Fowler [gfowler@aeuact. asn.au] telling him one thing you intend to do over the course of the AEU’s Community Campaign to raise support for greater investment by the ACT Government in our public schools. The first two email responses will score the books.
NATIONAL IR SYSTEM & THE NAPLAN
MORATORIUM YOUR RIGHTS AT WORK? Rob Durbridge, AEU Federal Industrial Officer
The recent dispute over school league tables saw the AEU and its associated unions in all States and Territories face directions and orders to lift the moratorium imposed on NAPLAN tests. In the Federal jurisdiction these extended to individual teachers and would have led to heavy fines for contempt if they had been disobeyed. In the event, an agreement to review the My Schools site provided a settlement which has still to play itself out. Fundamental issues were raised, such as the place of a teachers’ professional role and the public interest in the face of an employer’s power to require work as directed. The Federal Fair Work Act does not provide the means to resolve these issues on the basis of justice and fairness. It is imperative that the Act is amended not just to recognise employee and union rights but to prevent harm to children and the wider community. Caning children was commonplace in schools in Australia until the 1960s. It was a teachers’ campaign against corporal punishment which led to its banning in the face of considerable community and political opposition. The ban on caning began in a similar way to the union moratorium on NAPLAN tests, that is, as an exercise of professional responsibility. However, in States and Territories where teachers are subject to the national industrial system their professional views were irrelevant in the cases brought to direct and order
them to conduct the tests. Failure to comply would have led to fines which were not trifling – nearly $7,000 for each refusal to test or prepare to test students plus unknown amounts for contempt of the Court for not following its orders. The Union also faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for organising and for contempt. The evidence for these crimes was being collected by the Fair Work Ombudsman operating as an industrial police force. In the event, a strong campaign by teachers and their Unions saw the Minister agree to allow a working party to consider options in the development of the My Schools site; no guarantees or commitments were given. But the Ombudsman [previously a title for an agency to stand up for individuals against abuse by the State] continues to “monitor” the behaviour of the AEU and its members for “compliance” with the law, as revealed in its correspondence. Forcing Professionals to Deny their Vocation These issues should not just concern teachers. All workers exercise judgement and experience at work, over safety issues for example. Forcing teachers to act against their professional judgement over children’s education is no different to directing nurses to administer questionable medicines to children. If they refuse because medical opinion and their judgement tells them that some could suffer a reaction they would be in the same boat as the teachers in the NAPLAN test cases. Ultimately they would be forced to choose between the medicine or a crime.
In the teachers’ cases, professional opinion and international experience were solidly behind the Union’s argument that data obtained through standardised tests should not be published in a form which allowed the media to construct league tables of schools. Academic, systemic and even government policy stands firmly against league tables; in health terms they are toxic to students. Yet teachers’ refusal to participate in tests which have been proven to provide the basis for league tables was judged “industrial action” and the system was moving inevitably towards fines. The Fair Work Act does not allow for public interest arguments or consideration of the merits of refusal by an employee to work as directed. If the action is taken while an industrial agreement is in force, regardless of whether the subject of the dispute was included in bargaining or the agreement itself, any refusal or encouragement of refusal is illegal and must be stopped and if it is not stopped must be punished. [S 418 and S 419 of the Fair Work Act 2009] A Mockery of Fair Work Standards Minister Gillard, as Minister for Employment Relations, is primarily responsible for this mockery of “fair work” standards in the Fair Work Act sections dealing with industrial action. She is also the Minister responsible for the operations of the Fair Work Ombudsman which launched prosecutions in the Federal Court. As Federal Education Minister it was Gillard who arm-twisted State and Territory Government Ministers to prosecute Continued on page 25
ACT Teacher • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 5
With the League Tables moratorium behind us we aunched into Public Education Week
As I write it’s Public Education Week. I trust that you took the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of your students and their teachers. The displays of student art on show in the Civic Library and other venues around the city demonstrated the high quality of work our students produce and bring credit to both the students and their teachers. We publicly acknowledged the contributions of some outstanding workers in public education at a number of events. The DET Recognition of Service Ceremony, AEU Certificate of Appreciation, Public Education Awards, AEU Reconciliation Awards and DET Awards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Collaboration all provided a stage on which we justifiably honoured those who’ve gone above and beyond in so many ways. Now is the time to start thinking of which amongst your many worthy colleagues deserve to be nominated for an award in 2011. While there’s much to celebrate, as always, education workers face a number of challenges. The ACT Budget reveals that the Government has allocated funds for a Teacher Registration Authority. Registration will be linked to the National Standards and we have some misgivings about the draft Standards. Hopefully these will be ironed out before finalisation.
As we are only 12 months from starting to re-negotiate the Schools and CIT Enterprise Agreements, news of the ACT Government’s intransigence in the current pay dispute with its public servants is a great concern. Drafts of the National Curriculum in a number of subjects have been released and concerns have been raised. As far as the senior years draft curriculum is concerned, we seem to be being funnelled towards an HSC-style exam system. Hopefully the implementation strategies and the as-yet-unseen assessment details will be forthcoming. The heat has currently gone out of the League Tables issue but we will monitor closely the outcomes of the Working Party promised by the Deputy Prime Minister to examine use of the My School website data. Congratulations are due to members whose united action, both in the ACT and across Australia, finally focussed Ms Gillard’s attention where individual submissions had failed to do so.
Phil Rasmus Branch Vice President Lake Ginninderra College email@example.com
TEACHER QUALITY INSTITUTE Funded in the Budget, so where to now? The ACT Budget 2010-2011 provided $3.9m to fund the establishment of the Teacher Quality Institute [TQI], the proposed teacher registration body for the ACT. $2m of this money is allocated upfront in the Budget, allowing the next steps towards the physical reality of the TQI to begin. These steps will include sourcing premises and initial staffing for the set-up phase. The remaining $1.9m of Budget funding is allocated across the years of forward estimates. In the wake of Budget funding for the Institute it is likely that the process of establishing an interim Board will also move ahead. It is expected that the current steering committee/reference group will morph into an interim Board arrangement with the various stakeholders continuing to be represented on the interim Board. Details beyond this are still to be clarified but things will likely be moving along if the timetable of a properly-constituted TQI in the first half of 2011 is to be met. No further discussions have occurred at this stage on the treatment of the existing workforce but the AEU’s position remains clear: at the time the TQI is fully established the Union expects that existing employees whose service is satisfactory will be registered without charge or a requirement to “jump through hoops”. As has previously been reported to members, such a process of “deeming” is consistent with the treatment of the existing workforce in other States where teacher registration has most recently been introduced.
Penny Gilmour Branch Secretary
PAGE 6 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
SERVICES OFFICERS School Services Officers Enterprise Agreement:
Further Negotiation needed with ACT Government Since October 2009 the joint public sector Unions [called the Single Bargaining Unit or SBU], including the AEU, have been attemtping to negotiate with representatives of the Chief Minister’s Department and the Minister for Industrial Relations, improvements to the common core salaries and conditions that apply to all ACT public sector staff. The outcomes of these negotiations would then be replicated in each Agency Enterprise Agreement, including the Agreement which covers our School Services Officers [SSO] members within the Department of Education and Training. The Unions sought a number of improved conditions and salary increases of 4.5% per annum. The Government’s initial salary offer was 2% in the first year and 2.5% in any subsequent year. On 30 March 2010, the Chief Minister wrote to the Unions and offered to increase the salary offer to 2.25% in the first year but only if we accept the immediate removal of 12 clauses from the current Agreement. These clauses include conditions relating to “Types of Employment”, “Notice of Engagement”, “Notice of Termination”, “Probation” and “Promotion after Acting”. They also sought our commitment to remove a range of other vital conditions in the future such as Discipline,
Underperformance and Internal Reviews and Appeals. The AEU, together with the other Unions, found the position of the ACT Government to be completely unacceptable. Not only were they prepared to cut salaries to below Consumer Price Index increases but they wanted to take away fundamental employment protections. A series of Joint Union meetings were arranged in April where members strongly rejected the offer and supported the Unions seeking the assistance of Fair Work Australia and, if necessary, to arrange for protected industrial action ballots to occur. Since then two conferences within Fair Work Australia have occurred and the joint Unions have pressured the ACT government to change their position. As a result of these efforts the ACT Government has now provided a new offer as follows: • A one-off sign-on bonus of $650 for each employee, excluding casuals, short term contract employees and staff who have been on 6 months or more LWOP at the date of registration of the Agreement.
• Updating current clauses to reflect any agreed improved conditions [eg maternity leave to 18 weeks etc]. • Withdrawal by Unions of any proposed industrial action. • Withdrawal of all other Union claims that have a cost implication, both in the Part 1 Common Core and the Part 2 Agency Agreements. • A recommitment to a review of all ACTPS classifications. Although the joint Unions appreciate that this new offer is a positive step forward by the Government, there remain some significant concerns. In particular feedback from our SSO members has made it clear they do not want to see any of their conditions removed from the Enterprise Agreement. Other changes that are being sought include the extension of the sign-on bonus to casual and part-time employees and more detail about the classification review. At the time of writing, the SBU has requested that further negotiation occur with government on these issues. Members should contact Schools’ Organiser, Bill Book at the AEU office on 6272-7900 for further details.
• A 2.5% salary increase payable from 1 July 2010 and an expiry date of 30 June 2011.
Peter Malone Assistant to the Secretary [Industrial]
• Acceptance by the Unions of any recommendations that may be made by Commissioner Deegan of Fair Work Australia to remove any of the 12 clauses sought by the Government to be deleted from the Agreement.
JOIN THE AEU! Go to www.aeuact. asn.au and click on the Membership link
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 7
The introduction of the Quality Teaching model [QTm] has potential to deliver profound change and rejuvenation of pedagogy in ACT schools. The AEU believes that a key impediment to teachers engaging with the model is time constraints which lead to increased workload pressure when trying to accommodate the requirements of QTm in an already-busy schedule. Part of the QTm process involves lesson observation and discussion. The AEU supports this aspect as an active PD opportunity which requires a high degree of professionalism – both from the teacher whose lesson is the subject of the observation/discussio, and from the colleague who is undertaking the observation and participating in the subsequent debrief. It is a professionally demanding and challenging activity and one that has the potential to provide significant reward in terms of improved pedagogy and improved professional dialogue between teaching colleagues. Such active engagement with one’s own
professional practice is very desirable; personally relevant and dynamic PD is also much preferred by many teachers to less-actively engaging PD offerings. The AEU is advised by members engaged in the QTm lesson observation/ follow-up discussion cycle that each round takes a minimum of 3 hours to complete: from pre-observation discussion, to observation, through to post-observation debrief. This represents a significant impost on time in an already overcrowded school day. There is no capacity to undertake the lesson observation aspect of this work outside of school timetable hours; the pre- and post-observation discussions will necessarily defer other work that would have been completed in that time and will most likely be completed out of hours and probably away from the worksite. The AEU believes that teachers would benefit from recognition of the additional requirements of the QTm and an incentive to undertake the extra work that participation in the observation cycle requires. Recognising the pressure on resources in
the system, in November 2009 the AEU raised with DET a proposal to provide support for the classroom teaching observation component of the QTm that we believe would: [a] support the on-going implementation of the QTm; [b] not create an additional cost to the system; and [c] demonstrate to teachers, system recognition and valuing of their effort in implementing the QTm. The proposal: The AEU proposed that the system could provide a cost-neutral support to teachers to assist in their engagement with QTm by trading one of the PD days required under Clause 150.1 of the ACT DET Teaching Staff Enterprise Agreement 2009-2011 against the time required to undertake two class observations per year. Such a substitution would acknowledge the additional time that teachers will spend/are spending implementing the lesson observation aspect of QTm. The proposal provides an incentive to engage with the observation aspect of the QTm by allocating time equivalent
PAGE 8 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
QUALITY TEACHING MODEL [QTm] DET rejects AEU proposal to support classroom observation BY PENNY GILMOUR - BRANCH SECRETARY
to one PD day to be negotiated between the principal and the staff for the express purpose of completing QTm lesson observation/discussion cycles. This proposal assumes that each teacher would undertake two observation cycles per year. There would still be a requirement for each teacher to complete four other PD days per year. The principal would be required to sign-off that the teacher has completed the QTm observation cycles for which the PD day trade-off is provided. DET response: The AEU initially received no response from DET to this proposal. Listing the matter at the formal consultation meeting in March 2010, the AEU was surprised that DET’s response to this proposal was unequivocal rejection. Among the reasons stated for rejection, the CEO stated [a] that no principal has made such a request – as if the AEU’s advancement of such a proposal on behalf of all members [including principals] was somehow not relevant, [b] that such a variation of the Enterprise Agreement requirements was not possible while the Agreement was in force – a completely spurious assertion, and [c] that DET provided other support to the QTm, which the CEO indicated would be articulated. Where does this leave us? The AEU hopes DET will re-consider its position. However, in the meantime DET’s response on this issue is worth examining,
highlighting as it does a number of examples of a significant gap between spruiking and substance. 1: Implied lack of principal support for the proposal There was no evidence offered to prove that DET had even asked principals what they thought of this proposal. The AEU, on the other hand, had actually discussed this idea with principals and received interested comment about the flexibility it provided for the principal to recognise the workload associated with QTm and to make decisions at the school level to address it. So, how is DET’s response consistent with its much-spruiked commitment to greater principal autonomy? 2: Assertion that the EA precluded consideration of the proposal The current flexibility around the use of one PD day as a bank of hours rather than a full day was negotiated between the AEU and DET while the previous EBA was in force. The EA provides a minimum – the employer can determine a more generous interpretation and if there is a need to formalise it then the Special Employment Arrangements at Clause 121 provide the appropriate vehicle. 3: Other support is provided for the QTm by DET The AEU is still waiting for this support
to be articulated by DET. We remain convinced that there is no direct support to teachers of the kind envisaged in the AEU’s proposal. 4: Recognition of the QTm’s workload implications At the Consultation meeting there has never been any serious argument put that the majority of teachers do not meet their PD obligations, nor has there been any argument that the QTm is not additional work for teachers. DET frequently refers to its commitment to supporting teachers and reducing workload, but rather than embracing this opportunity to do just that DET has chosen to reject a proposal that had no cost, provided a direct benefit, and would have generated significant goodwill. It seems that there is still a substantial gap between rhetoric and reality. In the light of this situation, what does the AEU recommend? The AEU recommends that members decline to participate in the QTm, especially the observation cycle, until such time as adequate support is provided; if such support is not forthcoming earlier, the AEU will seek to negotiate this support as part of the next EA.
Penny Gilmour - Branch Secretary
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 9
MANAGERS AND THE PREVENTION OF BULLYING Principal members have a difficult circumstance when they are faced with allegations of bullying/ harassment by members of their staff. Some express feelings of being isolated and question the role of the AEU in such situations. Others recognise that role and make effective use of the AEU Organisers and Union office to assist them. The Organisers have done a lot of work assisting a few members who have presented as victims of bullying behaviours with allegations usually, but not always, against their supervisors or principals/managers. All members should be aware that such allegations are not taken immediately as “fact” at the first presentation of information.
• performance management procedures • transferring a worker to a different section • providing constructive feedback • deciding not to select a worker for promotion. • rostering/allocating working hours • setting performance goals, standards, and deadlines. [Preventing and Responding to Bullying at Work, ACT Work Safety Commissioner 2010]
• informing a worker about inappropriate behaviour
None of the above “instructions/ directions” listed is excluded entirely from the realm of bullying behaviours. Variables such as tone and body language have to be considered. Over the past couple of years it has become evident that as workload pressures build on all of us at all levels, people react differently to tonal change, aggressive stances and even constructive feedback depending on how it is presented. But equally important is the fact that as the demands on principals/managers increases and the workload stresses increase exponentially, managers can communicate differently. What begins as a standard meeting with a teacher about their behaviour, performance or a change can end up as a Comcare claim and possible grievance procedures. It may have been unintended but the stress levels experienced by members may have been building over time and the result is the same – a long term claim and often slow recovery for everyone involved.
• introducing/implementing organisational changes
Does the AEU work with the principals in such situations? Yes, and we will provide
It is important that the circumstances underpinning each case are considered very carefully and we do endeavour to place things in context. An individual’s perceptions play a big part in determining whether the individual has been bullied/ harassed and we take time to ensure that members are aware of the responsibilities of principals and the potential difference between this and bullying. For instance the following actions do not normally constitute bullying: • informing a worker about unsatisfactory work performance
advice and assistance as requested to help you through difficult and stressful situations. The ideal situation is to see everyone working together again without ill-feelings and with the common goal of sharing a difficult workload in a happy workplace. We do not generally encourage members to pursue a path of lodging formal grievances to achieve resolution because unfortunately the grievance process doesn’t seem to provide satisfaction for all parties – a “nobody wins/gains” situation. It is always the option of last resort but it is an option. We encourage members to take time to go to Employee Assistance Program/ Manager Assist provided by Davidson Trahaire Corpsych [PH 1300 360 364] and also to refer to the ACT Work Safety website for information, guidance and support – www.worksafety.act.gov.au In the ACT Work Safety Commissioner’s document Preventing and Responding to Bullying at Work there is a useful employer checklist that every principal/ manager should consider completing with your Work Safety Representative [formerly OHS Representative]. There are a few simple steps recommended that could be implemented with no additional cost to assist the development and maintenance of happy working environments.
Bill Book Schools’s Organisers
PAGE 10 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
POLICE CITIZENS YOUTH CLUBS
A NEW LOOK
Canberra Police Citizens Youth Clubs Inc [CPCYC] was established to provide the community with a place to engage with each other and the police in a safe, fun and positive environment. CPCYC is moving with the times.
The Australian Police Rotary Boys Club was formed in 1937. In 1957 a Canberra based committee of the Australian Police Rotary Boys club was formed and 3 years later the first centre of the Canberra Police Boys Club was opened. The CPCYC has always been a valuable institution within the Canberra community and provides a safe area for young people to be engaged in positive pastimes and sport and recreation activities. The Crime Prevention portfolio of the Australian Federal Police identified a rising need for early intervention programs and for the CPCYC to take up this challenge. In 2008 AFP ACT Policing recognised a further need to adapt to changing dynamics and environments; they conducted research and in May 2009 appointed the first non-sworn person as President of CPCYC. In July a CEO with a Business, Marketing and HR background was appointed to take CPCYC through the transition period, tasked with providing a range of programs and services. Today ACT Policing have removed themselves from a managerial and operational role of Canberra PCYC. This 2nd Generation PCYC is now in the process of becoming a service and system-focused, dynamic part of the community, through independent [Board] direction, strategic focus and effective management, with a broader more
holistic scope and wide ranging opportunities.
A new vibrant “look” and corporate identity was created, the logo then morphed into “icons” allowing stakeholders to become more engaged with CPCYC and provides a base for promotional sales items.
CPCYC’s purpose is to address issues that affect young people in today’s global environment and through this, to reduce the occurrence of youth crime. By providing the police with a positive link to the community, they are able to encourage strong police and community relationships via activity centre’s, Youth at Risk [YAR] programs and are developing a range of new interventions. In addition to its community based sport and recreation activities, the Canberra PCYC runs outreach programs to address proactive prevention and to provide support and positive pathways to at-risk youth.
In addition to its main objective, the CPCYC provides the community with a centre for sport and recreation activities at a reduced cost. Sports such as: boxing, martial arts, indoor rock climbing and weights, are provided by volunteer coaches for the community and through a facility with AFP and Government subsidies. The activity centre brings the community together and provides support for those in need. Through its outreach programs, CPCYC has a demonstrated level of high achievement. Intervention programs such as Switchback Mountain Biking, Go Karting, Cadenza [see page 25] etc have an unequalled ability to engage young people at their level and encourage them to re-engage with their community through opportunities provided by the CPCYC. The Youth Crime Diversion Strategy is believed to be the only one of its kind in the country. It could become the underpinning plank of a future ACT Youth Diversion Strategy. It aligns with the ACT Policing Crime Prevention Plan and the ACT Youth Plan. Currently there are 245 Youth at Risk [YAR] involved in 24 diverse programs, 87 of those are also engaged in other sports programs with CPCYC. There are 16 outreach programs which have participants from North and South regions. Activities include: Futsal, Touch Football, Indoor Cricket, CIT Link Up, Ted Noff’s Foundation/Gym/Circuit program, Bimberi sport active program, Hip Hop, Boxing, Tots and Parents Outreach and Blue Light Disco. Continued on page 25
ACT Teacher • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 11
NAIDOC WEEK: 4 - 11 July 2010 Unsung Heroes - Closing the Gap by Leading Their Way AEU members are reminded that this is a great opportunity to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Celebrations at schools could take place in the week prior to NAIDOC Week as it falls in the ACT school holidays. [www.naidoc.org.au]
2010 AEU and DET Awards The recipient of the 2010 AEU Reconciliation Award Birrigai Outdoor School. The DET Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Collaboration Award recipient for 2010 is Sharon Roberts, LSA at Jervis Bay School. Majura Primary School hosted the awards presentation which took place on 2 June, during Reconciliation Week. Aunty Agnes Shea gave the Welcome to Country. Phil Rasmus, AEU Branch President presented the AEU award. Dr Jim Watterston presented the DET award [see page 15 for photos]. The annual AEU Reconciliation Awards, now in their eighth year, acknowledge and foster the good work of AEU members and friends of public education in furthering the aim of Reconciliation through their involvement in ACT public schools and TAFE. In particular, the award recipients actively promote the five steps to Reconciliation: • Understanding and accepting the history of our shared experience between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider community. • Respecting Indigenous cultures and identity. • Recognising that past injustices continue to give rise to present
injustices for Indigenous Australians. • Identifying what more needs to be done and making changes within Australian society. • Revaluing citizenship so that Australians can live together in unity and harmony.
Launch of DET Reconciliation Action Plan Reconciliation Matters The ACT Department of Education and Training commenced the development of their central office Reconciliation Action Plan [RAP] at the beginning of 2009. Extensive consultation occurred within the Department during 2009 to provide the basis for the draft document. In January 2010, the draft document was reviewed and rewritten and further internal and external consultation was undertaken. The RAP is a statement about how the Department and employees within the organisation values reconciliation. The RAP outlines the practical actions that can be taken to effectively move forward Reconciliation. The actions have measurable targets which will be monitored and reviewed annually. All are welcome to attend the launch of the ACT DET RAP during NAIDOC week, 6 July 2010, Birrigai Outdoor School between 12noon-3:00pm. Buses will leave from CTL at 11:30am and travel to Birrigai and they will return at 3:00pm. There will be food and live entertainment provided. Please come along and show your support! For further information please contact Kelly Dundon on telephone 6205-8531.
Changing Terminology The use of the word Indigenous has long been misused and often confused, particularly when Aboriginal is used in the same sentence to describe the same group of people. Indigenous means people belonging naturally to a place, whilst Aboriginal means people of the race that has existed in a land from the earliest times. In the past, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been termed Indigenous, which groups two distinct cultures together. In reality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture, traditions, language and geographical connections are extremely diverse and deserve to be defined using the appropriate words. As columnist Don Allan wrote recently, “Even if there are only a few Aboriginals left in the world, Australia should be proud of those who live here. We should be hailing them as a unique race not diminishing them by referring to them as Indigenous.” [Reconciliation News, May 2010] Government and non-government organisations throughout Australia are recognising this change in terminology and even altering agency and section names. Out of respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people DET has changed the section name from the Indigenous Education and Student Support Section to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Student Support Section. Provided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Section and Student Support Section, DET. The ACT Branch is currently reviewing its terminology – Editor.
PAGE 12 • Official Journal of theAEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
SECRETARYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S COLUMN ..... from page 2...... In the meeting with DET, the AEU was advised that the Ministerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s statement on staffing changes included reference to the changes needing to comply with EA requirements, so perhaps weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on the same page for the moment. However, what was clear from the discussion with DET is that there is no clarity at the moment about what â&#x20AC;&#x153;greater principal autonomyâ&#x20AC;? actually means from a staffing perspective. ACT principals already have very significant involvement in staff selection, being able to read applications for transfer to their schools and submit â&#x20AC;&#x153;wish listsâ&#x20AC;?. While acknowledging that some choices may not be met when more than one principal would like the same candidate, such practical realities donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t negate principal involvement in the process. It is unclear what change to current process is envisaged in the Ministerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s comments. The AEU will continue to pursue the exact proposal and its intent, and we will keep members briefed on the issue. In relation to the SBM Review recommendations themselves, it seems clear that it will be critical for the profession to understand EXACTLY what is to be implemented and the implications of each change before any changes are made to current practice. In an era when the ACT Government knows that it has failed to make adequate provision for public education in its forward estimates (no money for programs and woefully insufficient funds for the next round of salary increases) it is an attractive option to push as much of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;managerial responsibilityâ&#x20AC;? onto individual schools so that Government can wash its hands of its responsibility for adequate resources to maintain quality public education provision. The AEU and its principal members will need to examine the proposals carefully and fully understand their extent and ramifications to ensure that principals are not left carrying this particular can.
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PUBLIC EDUCATION WEEK: 24 - 28 May The AEU - ACT Branch thanks its sponsors who proudly support Public Education Week and the Public Education Awards: â&#x20AC;˘ First State Super
â&#x20AC;˘ Teachers Health Fund
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Public Education Voice â&#x20AC;˘ Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch â&#x20AC;˘ PAGE 13
Forrest Primary Bucket Band
Campbell High Big Band
PUBLIC ED WEEK It is difficult to refer to Public Education Day anymore when we all know that it has expanded to five days of musical performances and a month of art exhibitions in the libraries and hospitals. This year the exhibition at the Civic Library was the venue for the launch of the exhibitions across the ACT. The works provided by public schools gave the place a real lift and a burst of life, appreciated by the library staff and the general public. The standard of work from primary through to colleges was fantastic! The library space has been booked already for next year’s exhibition. Put it into your school’s calendar and plan to be involved next May.
Voices of Latham Primary Choir
North Ainslie Primary/NIEC
The week of musical performances in City Walk were really entertaining and provided fantastic publicity for the strong music programs that are obviously widespread across the public system. This is the first year that we cancelled any of the performances but the rain normally held off until the last piece or two. The prize performance though has to go to North Ainslie Primary/Intensive English Centre teachers and students. They refused to accept their performances were cancelled due to inclement weather and performed their concert on Tuesday 25 May anyway! “The show must go on”, they said. Calwell High Band
Voices of Ainslie Junior Choir
Art & ceramic displays at Civic Library from Campbell High and Dickson College
The choirs from Ainslie School, Kingsford Smith School [also singing in the misty rain] and Latham were all real troupers too, most of whom were making their first public performance. On Public Education Day itself [Thursday 28 May] the big band sounds from Calwell High, Campbell High and the Instrumental Music Program brought people to their office windows and provided great entertainment for the impromptu audience that gathered from 10:00am and stayed until 2:30pm. The Forrest Primary Bucket Band was a crowd pleaser and provided a new dimension to rhythm and legitmate noise! The week was rounded off on Friday with the performances of the Stromlo High Jazz Band and the Lyneham Primary Choir. I would like to thank all of the performers and their teachers for their enthusiastic participation in the event. It is a lot of work organising the excursion part of the performance to get the students to the city but the amount of work everyone puts in to ensure the students are in good voice and the bands are finely tuned is evident by the high quality of the performances we enjoyed. BILL BOOK - SCHOOLS’ ORGANISER
PAGE 14 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
DUCATION K 2010 Public Education Day at CIT changed in format from previous years. This year the launch focused on the sustainability in education at CIT and the sustainability infrastructure located on the Bruce Campus. This event was a great success thanks to the sterling efforts of the AEU PED organising committee of Andrew Blanckensee, Annette Sharma and Skye Blomfield who devoted many voluntary hours to ensure the success of the event. Our thanks also go to the Q&A panel members Caroline Le Couteur, MLA; Anne Brown, Q&A panel facilitator; Judith Dorrell, CIT Green Coordinator; Ivan Radic, CIT Facilities; Jane Cottee, Horticulture; Doug Lang, Engineering and Jennifer Martiniello, Indigenous representative. A special thanks to CITSA staff for their assistance in providing sustenance to those enjoying the event.
Winners of the AEU 2010 Reconciliation Award - Birrigai Outdoor School
Sharon Roberts, recipient of the DET ATSI Education Collaboration Award
Certificate of Appreciation awarded to retired member Robyn Craig [R]
The 2010 AEU and DET Public Education Awards were presented at a function held at The Hyatt Hotel on Friday 28 May. The recipient of the AEU award was Sue Billington, for her extraordinary dedication to the work of the AEU and to public education since 1980. The recipient of the DET Outstanding Principal award was Grace Dunlop of Kaleen Primary School or her innovation and creating a culture of excellence. The DET School Hero award was presented to Sharon Roberts, an Indigenous Education Officer at Jervis Bay School, for leading her school’s cultural awareness program and fostering a spirit of cooperation and respect. Laurie Fiddian of Cranleigh School received the Outstanding Education Support award for her tireless work with students with a disability. Zac Hain was awarded Outstanding Teacher of Amaroo School, particularly for his work on a before-school breakfast club and lunchtime maths tutoring.
OUR THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS: First State Super Teachers Credit Union Teachers Health Fund Maurice Blackburn MetaDesign Studio
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 15
This TAFE column reports on the Campaign for Increased Investment in TAFE, Bullying & Harassment at CIT, AST, CIT Staff Survey, Sub-Branch Meetings and Streamlining.
WELCOME NEW CEO The AEU welcomes Adrian Marron as the new Chief Executive Officer of CIT. AEU Senior Officers met with Adrian and noted his extensive experience in public education and, specifically, the TAFE sector. Adrian elaborated on his long term membership of the AEU and affirmed his respect for the Union and the principles espoused. The AEU looks forward to respectful dialogue with Adrian and CIT management. This is an interesting time in the history of TAFE in the ACT, as the CIT negotiates the current and future political assaults on structure and funding of TAFE and VET. CAMPAIGN FOR INCREASED INVESTMENT IN TAFE The massive increases in education and training delivery required to meet Gillard’s qualifications targets for the Australia population will fall primarily on the VET sector. The funding for this increase in qualifications is mainly through Productivity Places Program [PPP] funds. This appears to have substantially undercut TAFE nominal hours funding, required to maintain quality education and training in the TAFE system, especially in some key skill shortage trades. This begs the question, does the Federal Government truly want quality education and training for the community? On a conservative estimate, an extra $200 million each year will be required in TAFE to meet the ambitious targets of COAG to raise the qualifications of the Australian population. TAFE cannot be expected to continue to deliver these increased qualifications without the resources to do so. In addition, a recent AEU survey noted that thousands of
students are being turned away from TAFEs each year due to funding shortfalls for TAFE. The Federal AEU has launched the national campaign “Invest in Quality, Invest in TAFE”. Members are encouraged to join the campaign at www.aeufederal.org.au/Tafe/InvQal.html and write letters to Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan and your local member highlighting the need for increased investment in TAFE. Contact Mike Fitzgerald on 6272-7900 for further information.
have been relayed to CIT and the Union is seeking further member input as to the questions that should be included in any future surveys. OUTSTANDING ISSUES TAFE Council was also informed of concerns of members in relation to the Subject Guide Template, Student Services Hub services to staff and some Capital Works at CIT. The Union is requesting member input about, and possible solutions, to these matters.
BULLYING & HARRASSMENT AT CIT
Concerns of bullying and harassment at CIT were raised in the March edition of Public Education Voice. The AEU is aware of a number of allegations and claims of inappropriate management practices causing unnecessary workplace stress at CIT over a number of years. The Commissioner for OH&S, Mark McCabe, together with Kylie Edwards, delivered training to managers at CIT in April. This is believed to be the commencement of CIT acknowledgment and focusing on prevention and reconciling of such behaviour in the workplace. If members have concerns about lack of respectful relationships within their workplace, feel free to call Mike Fitzgerald, AEU Organiser, on 6272-7900 to discuss these concerns.
Whilst at the time of writing the AST Review process has not been finalised, AST members were notified of the proposed changes to the AST reapplication process. Responses received by the Union were strongly in support of these changes to the reapplication process. The Union thanks the membership for their support and advice during this AST application review process.
CIT STAFF SURVEY Representatives at the May TAFE Council expressed concerns about the relevance of the 2010 CIT Staff Survey to the teaching profession and education delivery at CIT. Member concerns about the triviality of this survey and their lack of confidence in the results of the survey
SUB-BRANCH MEETINGS TAFE Council recommended to the AEU Organiser that invitations be sent to all AEU members on the same campus[es] notifying them of future AEU Sub-Branch meetings which are co-located on the campus[es]. This would provide the opportunity for members to attend SubBranch meetings that are convenient to them, albeit sometimes not their own Sub-Branch, to discuss matters of general concern to the membership. Members can therefore expect an invitation to attend Sub-Branch meetings in future
PAGE 16 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
Continued next page
NATIONAL TAFE COUNCIL SAYS NO TO “REVISED”
CERTIFICATE IV At its meeting in March, National TAFE Council resolved to reject the revised Certificate IV [the Certificate IV in Training and Education] proposed by Innovation and Business Skills Australia.
This position has received widespread support in the vocational sector, as well as being endorsed by the ACTU who spoke against endorsement at the National Quality Council.
a common position around skilling a professional TAFE teacher workforce of the future, not merely a token effort preoccupied with workplace training.
TAFE WORKS ......
A new approach to TAFE teacher education must recognise these critical principles [amongst many others]:
The new Certificate IV offers more of the same, disregarding the interests and needs of 85% of the sector which focuses on teaching in TAFE contexts and indulging yet again the minority, workplace based trainers working in commercial RTOs. To add insult to injury, the title is one of the few elements to change, offering merely a token concession that is not adequately reflected in the package design.
(a) that vocational teachers in institutional contexts have fundamentally different learning and situational needs to workplace trainers;
This issue for the AEU is critical as all those with a previous BSZ Certificate IV will be deemed as having lapsed competence and will be required to undertake yet another recognition process against competencies that are largely foreign to the TAFE context. Moreover, there is now indisputable evidence that the introduction of a minimalist, workplace trainer-training focused Certificate IV level qualification a decade ago has produced a clear reduction in the capability of teachers who previously were engaged in institutionally focused teacher education. The renewed challenges facing TAFE necessitate a fresh approach to capability development. And this is precisely what the AEU has resolved to do, working in partnership with renowned educators in the Australian College of Educators and TAFE Directors Australia to develop
(b) that ongoing accredited professional education, including the opportunities for mentored practice and discipline engagement, is essential to the TAFE teacher of the future; (c) teacher education must include integrated formal off-the-job and informal on-the-job dimensions, to allow teachers time to critically reflect on their practice; and (d) teaching qualifications should have embedded standards [agreed with the profession] which are the aims of the qualification. The AEU’s full draft policy statement on teacher qualifications is available at www.aeufederal.org.au/Tafe/frame.pdf
Stephen Darwin ACT Branch National TAFE Council Representative
and should feel free to attend and meet colleagues from different Sub-Branches.
The AEU has been approached by some members who are experiencing difficulty in accessing streamlining provisions as outlined in clauses 20 and 21 of the CIT Teachers’ Enterprise Agreement 2009-2011 [EA]. The Union is aware that some members have been successfully streamlined in recent months/years but others have stated that their streamlining attempts have been thwarted. While CIT management has affirmed ACT government and CIT commitment to promoting secure and permanent employment for teachers within the Institute the AEU has been informed that some streamlining applications often do not reach the Centre for Organisational Capacity as they may be “shut down” within Centres. Consequently, the AEU and CIT management are unaware of the true number of teachers who are eligible for streamlining and who are interested in being streamlined. The AEU wishes to review the application of the streamlining process across the CIT and is seeking input from members who have experienced rejection of their streamlining applications by their managers and/or CIT Organisational Capacity, for whatever reason. Member responses will remain anonymous unless the AEU has written permission from you to use your name. Members should contact Mike Fitzgerald or email email@example.com
Mike Fitzgerald CIT/VETiS Organiser
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 17
CLOSER TO PAY EQUITY FOR
AUSTRALIAN WOMEN By Catherine Davis, AEU Federal Women’s Officer
A recent parliamentary inquiry into gender pay equity and the Australian Services Union’s [ASU] decision to be first to run a pay equity case to test the pay equity provisions in the Fair Work Act has again elevated the issue of women’s pay. The AEU is not only supportive of legislative changes recommended by the inquiry but is also a party to and strong supporter of the ASU pay equity test case. Information on pay equity and the campaign can be found at the AEU Federal website www.aeufederal.org. au/Women/index2.html “Equal pay” addresses situations in which men and women do the same work, and now must receive the same pay. In Australia this principle was legally established in 1969. “Pay equity” is equal pay for work of equal or comparable value, and is less well understood. Pay equity also assesses disparity in conditions based on the undervaluation of, or discriminatory practices within, female employment.
men and women] can best be achieved where cases can be run in industrial settings and where re-evaluation is argued extensively to prove that the skill levels are comparable but valued differently. Australia’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Pay Equity Throughout 2008 and 2009 the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment and Workplace Relations had been conducting an inquiry into pay equity and associated issues related to increasing women’s participation in the workforce. The Committee’s Making it Fair report, released on Monday 23 November 2009, recommends a series of significant legislative and structural changes which have the potential to fundamentally improve women’s policy approaches and consequently economic positions. It is notable that around the same time, the Senate had been inquiring into the strength and functions of the Sex Discrimination Act and KMPG had just begun an inquiry into the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act [EOWWA] on behalf of the Office for Women.
Pay equity requires employers to pay female jobs at least the same as male jobs if they are of comparable value. In reassessing the value placed on jobs stereotyped toward a particular gender, a fairer assessment of value is based on the levels of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions involved in doing the work.
The resulting recommendations from the Pay Equity Inquiry did take up matters from these complementary inquiries and appears to be one vehicle to deliver some key reforms mostly to the Fair Work Act and Sex Discrimination Act [should the Government decide to implement them, which so far they have not committed to.]
It is argued that pay equity, [and therefore truer wage justice between
The Equal Pay Alliance [www. equalpayday.com.au] includes over 150
Campaigns for Pay Equity
community organisations that support the aims of pay equity and the ASU’s test case. Another campaign website [www.payup. org.au] calls for Government action on pay equity inviting activists to send Julia Gillard a kiss and to tell her not to pay lip service to pay equity. Importantly for the AEU Victorian Branch their members working in the disability sector will benefit from the outcome of the case which demonstrates how pay equity is a campaign for teachers. Appropriately Education International [EI] also launched its global campaign “Pay Equity Now,” www.ei-ie.org/ayequitynow on International Women’s Day this year. EI’s campaign acknowledges that as a “feminised profession” teacher organisations should affirm the right of all workers to equitable wages, and aims to help education unions overcome gender discrimination in employment. The EI Pay Equity Now Campaign aims to encourage teacher organisations and their members worldwide to collect solid evidence, adopt union policies, and network for well-coordinated lobbying to get governments to commit to implementing pay equity, also in times of economic crisis. Where to next for Pay Equity- a government response? Despite the November 2009 release of the parliamentary committee’s report and recommendations, there appears to be no firm timeline for a Government response. However, in their welcoming media
PAGE 18 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
Continued on page 24
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Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 19
LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN! A FAIR SCHOOL
The following is an adaptation of an article by Queensland Teachers Union Organiser Barry Welch.
A small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world - indeed that is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
Before the 2007 election, now-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated that: “The Commonwealth has a prime oligation to adequately and properly fund government schools”. This statement begs the question, is this currently happening and why does it need to happen? The why is encapsulated in the words of Geoffrey Robertson QC: “A real revolution in education will only come when a government ensures that its state schools set the standard of excellence. Then, and only then, will we have equity.” In short, every community must have the choice of a high quality public school. Currently, the Rudd government is continuing with the Howard Government’s inequitable Socio-Economic Status [SES] funding model, which reduced the public school proportion of federal funding from 43% in 1996 to 35% in 2007. The Howard government did review the SES funding model, but the report, concluded in December 2006, was kept secret. This report made it clear that the SES model was neither consistent nor equitable. The Rudd Government, to its credit, has provided one-off funding to public schools through the Building
the Education Revolution capital works program and through national partnership agreement funds. This however does not address the long-term issue of inadequate recurrent funding. So, where to now? The Federal Government has commenced a review into the way in which schools receive recurrent funding in the long term, and during the latter half of 2010 into 2011 will determine the future of public education in this country. Funding models are being produced that will serve public schools better, though it is disappointing that Deputy Prime Minister Gillard appears to have pre-empted the findings of the review by stating that no school in Australia will lose money. If schools are truly to receive what they need, it appears that the size of the pie will need to be dramatically increased. It is up to the public school community to influence the school funding review, to make sure that politicians have an understanding of the values and value of public education, what public education contributes to the individual, to building the community and to building the nation in the future. If a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world then surely the public education community in this country can change the school funding system. So let’s: • promote an awareness of the value and values of public education in our local state schools; • engage school communities in celebrating local school achievement;
• decide what we at the local level consider a consistent and equitable funding model; a model that would ensure the Commonwealth fulfils its primary obligation to “adequately and properly fund public schools”. Then what needs to happen? If public school communities are to have a voice, if they are “to change the world” of the school funding model, they must speak out. They must talk to their local MP in the lead-up to the election, but they must also go further. The “real voice” of Australia can only be heard if every public school community Australia-wide presents a submission to the school funding review. The call for funding to ensure high quality public schools in every community must not be a mumble - it must be a roar. Teachers are asked to begin the conversation about submission writing in every school community. Talk to your school communities about adequate funding, work with parents and the AEU to construct a submission and then make sure that submission is presented to the review. Each one of us can be a thoughtful, committed person who changed the world, the world of students today and tomorrow – let’s do it! Barry Welch - Organiser Queensland Teachers’ Union
PAGE 20 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
Continued next page ....
THE NIGHTMARE CONTINUES
An article by Glenn Fowler, AEU - ACT Branch Schools Organiser
The Australian Building and Construction Commission [ABCC] was put in place by the Howard Government and, despite speaking against it whilst in opposition, the Labor Government has seen fit to continue it.
legal representation. The ABCC has coercive powers possessed by no other body in Australia – not even the police. Construction workers have fewer rights than terrorism suspects.
Construction workers can be called before the Commission at any time. They do not have the right to silence in a hearing. They cannot tell anybody – not even a spouse – what happens at a Commission hearing. They have no guarantee to
Julia Gillard has said it is important to retain “a tough cop on the beat”. It appears, however, that this “tough cop” is only interested in prosecuting workers, as employers have been left alone. The number of deaths and serious injuries
An Adelaide construction worker, Ark Tribe, is currently facing six months imprisonment for refusing to attend a Commission hearing. For more on his story, go to
has risen since the establishment of the ABCC. In 2004, before the ABCC and construction laws took effect, 3.14 per 100,000 construction workers were killed. In 2007, 4.48 construction workers were killed and a further 4.27 per 100,000 construction workers were killed in 2008. The ABCC is bad for safety and bad for the rights of workers. The AEU – ACT Branch and other affiliates of UnionsACT stand alongside the CFMEU in opposition to this unfair, dangerous and retrograde legislation. AEU members are encouraged to express their dissatisfaction by emailing the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or their local MP.
DID YOU KNOW? An article by Glenn Fowler, AEU - ACT Branch Schools Organiser • In the 5 years to June 2013, the money going to schools is $82 billion. Only $35 billion will go to the two-thirds of the nation’s students in public schools. The one third in private schools will receive $47 billion of the $82 billion. The decline in the public school share since 1996 cannot be explained by enrolment shift, nor justified on educational or equity grounds. • Some private schools are projected to have a 33% decline in enrolments over the funding period, yet their funding will increase by up to 225%. • Each private school student is funded to the tune of $15,000 per year, and each public school student $11,000. • Schools currently receive Federal money based on the postcode of the student, not the income of the family – thus, wealthier kids in poorer postcodes attract bigger funding for their private schools. • Public schools have the vast majority of “harder to educate” students. • Jane Caro and Chris Bonnor [Authors of The Stupid Country] say that to obtain a teacher at a large metropolitan private school, the school needs to have 10.1 students, whilst in a large, metropolitan public school, the school needs 14.8 students. A large metropolitan private school needs 21 students to be given a support staff member, whereas a similarly sized public school requires a staggering 84.4 students to be given a support staff member. • In a recent AEU-commissioned phone poll of 1000 people, demographically similar to the general population, the top priorities for federal government attention are investing more in teachers [93%], investing more in public schools [90%] and upgrading public school facilities [86%]. This contrasts with some of the federal government’s apparent priorities, which are publishing online data to compare schools [34%], investing more in private schools [26%] and upgrading private school facilities [18%]. It appears that the public cares a great deal about what the government has thus far neglected! For us, the task is not so much shifting anyone’s priorities – we just need to activate people and tell the government those priorities. • Even 91% of private school parents think the Government should prioritise investment in public schools!
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 21
Schools Organiser Glenn Fowler recently interviewed Cherie Lutton Principal of Aranda Primary School.
Cherie, what attracted you to teaching? I attended a Central School in Uralla NSW and loved every minute of my school days. I always wanted to continue this love through my career. I had two teachers that influenced my decision to go into education. One of the teachers inspired me every day to be the best I could and on a daily basis created an excitement around learning. The other was a sarcastic, mean-spirited person who always gave the impression she didn’t want to be there. I made a decision very early in my life to be a teacher and to model my practice around the passion of the first teacher and ensure that I never allowed the traits of the second teacher to infect my approach and my work. What do you like most about your work? My first love has always been working with children in the classroom, learning together. I don’t get the opportunity to do this very often now. However, in my position as principal I am able to continue the enthusiasm I have for learning by working with the whole school community, endeavouring to achieve the best outcomes for the students. I thoroughly enjoy working with staff members and I am always highly motivated when sharing in their successes - whether it is at the classroom, school or system level. Tell us about Aranda Primary Aranda Primary School opened in 1969. The suburbs of Aranda, Bruce, and Cook are the current priority enrolment areas. Our enrolments continue to grow, with 480 students K-6 and 75 in
the pre-school. In addition to strong community commitment and support, the school has a reputation for its academic achievements, strong arts focus, environmental awareness and strength in personal development. Over the last 18 months, Aranda Primary has worked with DET to facilitate a very attractive and functional upgrade of the school. We all feel very privileged to be working in a school that is so aesthetically pleasing, and we are looking forward to the completion of the new library at the end of the year which has been funded through the BER initiative. What do you like about the ACT public education system? The system is quite small and personal, and gives one the opportunity to work closely with DET personnel and to have close contact with the AEU-ACT Branch. Our school based management allows greater flexibility to be creative and visionary, and one receives great support from the Principals Association. System strengths include the staffing process, including the recruitment and transfer rounds, and the new Network Leadership model. The ACT public education system creates many leadership opportunities on a number of levels, and there are so many inspiring public schools out there.
practice models. The system could better recognise the contribution of staff upon retirement. I should say that the possibility of extended placements under the transfer entitlement clause has been a great improvement and I would not like to see that change. How important is it for a principal to identify as an AEU member? What does AEU membership mean to you? I acknowledge the work of the AEU over many years to create better conditions and benefits for members, and I believe the union is very important to our teaching system. AEU membership is a great equaliser, bringing all educators together. The union strives for fairness on behalf of all of its members. Union membership allows the freedom for members to have discussions around the Enterprise Agreement or any other matters with which staff may need guidance.
How do you think teachers’ and school leaders’ professional lives could be improved? We all need fewer administrative tasks so that we can concentrate on being teachers and educational leaders. This would give us time to establish more networks for classroom teachers, and to perhaps visit schools in other jurisdictions and other countries to examine best
PAGE 22 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
June Branch Council Reminder The next meeting will be held on Saturday 11 June 2010 in J Block Theatre, CIT Reid Campus, Reid. The meeting commences at 9:00am and papers are available from 8:45am. A quorum must be present by 9:30am or the meeting lapses. Business papers will be forwarded to Councillors prior to the meeting via the Union’s mail drop in schools Friday 11 June 2010.
U R ONLINE!
Learning Technologies team, Information Services ACT Department of Education and Training
“Technology” is no longer innovative. True innovation comes from the way it is used.
available online, or that your personal details have been saved from attending an educational conference or that your Facebook page has an open profile.
Not surprisingly, new technologies and new uses of technologies create new risks potentially exposing others and ourselves to danger. We are all aware of internet scams and no-one would knowingly give out their banking PIN number, but what are the risks new technologies bring to you in your personal and professional life; what are the risks that our students face?
The ACT DET Human Resources Branch provided advice to employees on using social networking sites in March 2009 [https://index.det.act.gov.au/resources/ hr_advice.html]. The first rule of thumb is not to assume “privacy”. In specific reference to social networking sites all information you post to the web should be considered insecure and available to anyone. Even if you delete it from your profile or page, it may be still available somewhere.
Collaborative technologies [social networking, blogs and wikis] are appealing for both educational and social purposes. There are some ethical and safety considerations when using technologies. This is not to scare or discourage you from using technology but to inform you personally and professionally about its use.
What you say or publish on social networking sites can affect your employment. There are numerous examples in Australia and overseas where employees have been dismissed
for photos and comments published on social networking sites. Teachers should also be aware that permitting a student to access their social networking site might contravene the Teachers’ Code of Professional Practice and result in disciplinary action. This is not to discourage you from using social networking sites but to be aware of what information about you is publicly available. Being aware of the implications and consequences of inappropriate material placed online assists you to be a better teaching professional. Our students and how we can educate them… You probably have a number of students walking into your classroom with access Continued on page ????
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Let’s start with you… Are you still considered an employee when you’re online? On Facebook? On Twitter? Have you considered that your friends may post photos and videos of you online that are open for the public to view? Are you aware of what your digital footprint is? And what are the implications of this on you, as a teacher? Many teachers and support staff are unaware of exactly what information can be placed online. From time to time, search your name in Google by typing “first name surname” [eg “John Smith”]. This search will return any listed sites where your full name appears. You may be surprised to realise that your Thursday night soccer team draw is
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Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 23
CLOSER TO PAY EQUITY FOR
AUSTRALIAN WOMEN Article by Catherine Davis, AEU Federal Women’s Officer ..... continued from page 18
release a number of the recommendations were cited which may indicate the areas the Government may be keen to pursue, which focused around: • the Fair Work Act’s definition of equal remuneration; • the processes of award modernisation and determining pay equity principles; • the operation of a Pay Equity Unit including its education, research and enforcement roles; • punitive measures against repeat discriminators on the basis of pregnancy or carers’ responsibilities; and • removing the exemption for the payment of superannuation to those earning less than $450 per month. The Government must also respond to the EOWWA review and the recommendations following the Senate inquiry into the Sex Discrimination Act, as an opportunity to consider these important gender issues further. Catherine Davis “signing” a postcard for the Pay Equity campaign
CYBER-SAFETY: U R ONLINE From page 23 ....... to the internet, a digital camera [photos and video] and a library of movies, music and games – all conveniently located in their pocket! Many mobile phones and mp3 players have all of these features [and sometimes more]. Students are surrounded by technology so it is important that as teachers we ensure that students are using ICT ethically and safely. Every Chance to Learn [Curriculum Framework for ACT schools P-10] describes ethical and safe use of ICT as students having the opportunities to apply the codes of practice that promote intellectual and physical safety, responsibility and respect for using ICT. It aims to develop students’ ability to interact with audiences and information sources in local and global
contexts and apply preventative strategies to protect personal information. It is essential for students to understand how their use of ICT can affect their digital profiles. Students of today will grow up to have universities and employers conduct online background checks. Educating them now will assist them in the future. Students also need to be aware how their use of ICT affects others. Too often, the media reports cyber-bullying incidents or inappropriate use of social networking as if it’s technology itself to blame instead of the person using it. Integrating ICTs as an integral component of learning affords educators the opportunity to teach explicitly the many exciting possibilities collaborative technologies offer but also the real risk
PAGE 24 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
POLICE UNION LOBBIES FOR BETTER CITIZENS YOUTH CLUBS
INVESTMENT YOUR RIGHTS AT WORK? Article by Rob Durbridge, AEU Federal Industrial Officer from page 3 ......
the unions under the threat of funds to education systems being cut for breach of performance of National Partnership Agreements on Transparency & Reporting. The origins of much of the “Fair Work” legislation do not lie in ALP or ACTU policy. They are the result of meetings between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard in August 2007 and major employer groups which resulted in the “Policy Implementation Plan” to manipulate ALP policy adopted at the ALP National Conference only months before. These meetings with employers including the Mining Council and the Australian Industry Group saw Julia Gillard declare there would continue to be a “strong cop on the beat” in the building industry and over the whole workforce. Work Choices restrictions on employment rights would continue. This occurred behind unions’ backs while they were flat out organising the “Your Rights at Work” Campaign in workplaces and communities, a campaign acknowledged as one of the main reasons for the defeat of the Howard Government. Rudd and Gillard agreed that Work Choices changes to the constitutional powers of the Industrial Relations Commission would be continued so that arbitration on the merits to prevent and settle industrial disputes would not be possible by the new Fair Work Australia [FWA] tribunal. The rights and obligations of corporations and their employees became the basis of the jurisdiction. The legislation on which the new tribunal operates to deal with industrial disputes does not give discretion or take into account public interest. Section 418 simply says that FWA “must make an order that the industrial action stop” if industrial action is “happening, threatened, impending or probable or
is being organised” during the life of an Agreement. There is no discretion, no rights for time to prepare a case, no allowance for expert evidence, no legal scope is given to show that something is dangerous or against the public interest. It must all be done quickly so work resumes on the employer’s terms. If it hasn’t been decided in two days, then the tribunal is required to make an interim order to stop industrial action. This was what faced members of the tribunal and in the NAPLAN cases the Court often showed considerable understanding and even sympathy on the professional issues. But it’s not about the settlement of disputes on just terms, it’s about the interests and rights of the corporation. The NAPLAN moratorium cases are living examples of how the “master and servant” laws of the 19th century returned under Howard’s Work Choices and Gillard’s Fair Work Act. There were some improvements in the Fair Work Act, notably in the area of statutory individual contracts, but the result is still worse than the Reith legislation prior to Howard’s rush of blood in 2006 when the Coalition gained control of the Senate. It is history that this mistake cost Howard the 2007 election and it reminds unions that a lot is still to be done to achieve the objectives of the “Your Rights at Work” campaign. The ALP needs to learn in an election year that the defeat of UK Labour had a lot to do with the loss of support from traditional constituencies like teachers who were treated with arrogance by the Blair and Brown Governments. Unions need to remind the ALP that the defeat of the Howard Government had a lot to do with the campaign to win rights at work, a goal which is yet to be achieved.
From page 11 ..... YAR Programs include: Anger Management: in-school or after-school program designed to teach participants to “stop, think and problem solve” through the use of role play, sports, group activities and crafts. Parents also participate in three short seminars to gain an understanding of the coping skills the children are being taught. This allows the parent to encourage their son or daughter to use these strategies at home and at school, which ideally would help develop appropriate skills within the family unit. Cadenza: a program designed to challenge, develop, involve and empower young people through a range of sport and recreation activities. The activities vary across the board from more traditional based sports such as touch football or soccer to more alternative activities such as graffiti artwork or skateboarding. Intertwined within these sessions, are three compulsory sessions that progressively develop team cohesion, individual initiative and peer trust. The activity sessions are chosen by the young people to encourage ownership, and in turn, participation. Although not all the activities may be the exact ones each individual would like, the negotiation process is used to maximise engagement in weekly sessions. Thump: this program provides a training system of multiple level courses to guide people in utilizing boxing as a form of exercise. The program is designed around aerobic circuit and free weights regimes, teaches mutual respect and self-discipline strategies, is fun and active and covers nutrition, health and fitness, a good program for building self-esteem. Contact for referrals and YAR program enquires: AFP Snr Constable Glenda Lomas, now PCYC Program’s Manager. MOB: 0422 428 351 PCYC Office Direct: PH: 6175-8106 E: email@example.com
Bob McAlister, CEO Canberra PCYC
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 25
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 www.aeuact.asn.au
Given Names Home address Postcode
O Teacher O Assistant O Youth Worker O Indigenous HSLO O Other (please specify)_____________
O I wish to be identified as an Indigenous Member EMPLOYMENT DETAILS Workplace Current level and salary step [Go to www.aeuact.asn.au/join-us 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.
O CASUAL (TAFE) – Average hours per week [tick ONE] O 0-6 O 7-14 O 15-20
Public Education Works
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.
3. The User may, by prior arrangement and advice to me/us, vary the amount or frequency of future debits.
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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]
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(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
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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. asn.au/membership/index.html].
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