Public education voice march 2011

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ENt E rpris E Ag r E2011 Em EN t AEU to negotiate NEgotiAtioN three Enterprise Agreements ENtE rpris E

Ag r E E m E Nt HEADING THE SCHOOLS Lent wis endre feuisl ullaore



Lent wis endre tat aliqui te tem volorer FUNDING REVIEW feuisl ullaore tat sectem in vel ing aliqui te tem volor MY SCHOOL TIME TO ACT ea faccummod tate. Submission Deadline: 31 Marcheres sectem WEBSITE IMPROVED 40 Brisbane Ave Barton ACT 2600 P (02) 6272 7900 F (02) 6273 1828 40 Brisbane Ave Barton ACT 2600 • P (02) 6272 7900 • F (02) 6273 1828 •

2011 SHAPING UP TO BE A MIX OF CHALLENGES Enterprise Agreement negotiations – game on!

Teacher Quality Institute - a reality in 2011

The AEU served Claims on DET and CIT at the end of last year. The Claims for DET teachers, support staff and TAFE teachers were the subject of member consultation before being endorsed by Council last November. Some parts of the Claim were not finalised when it was served and these are currently being worked on, but in both sectors bargaining meetings have been scheduled and the talking has begun.

The ACT Teacher Quality Institute came into being on 1 January 2011, headed by Anne Ellis, formerly of DET. An Interim Board, which I sit on as the AEU representative, has been steering the TQI towards reality for the last year. The TQI is very much in set-up mode at present. No teachers working in the ACT need do anything about registration yet. When the TQI is ready to begin registering teachers it will contact you! Registration is likely to start with new teachers who commenced in 2011. Most teachers already working in the ACT at 1 January 2011 will be deemed registered and will not have to pay registration fees before June 2012 at the earliest. More information on the TQI and its role will be provided as the Institute comes to life.

Australian Curriculum - a year of exploration for the ACT The first elements of the Australian Curriculum [AC] were signed off by Ministers late last year, and have begun to be explored in schools across the country. The ACT’s recent review that resulted in the curriculum framework, Every Chance to Learn, has stood the Territory in good stead. The bridging document produced in late 2010 demonstrates that there are not too many gaps that need to be filled, although that is not saying there is no work required. ACT schools will spend 2011 familiarising themselves with the new curriculum and developing some materials to support its implementation. Ten lead schools have been identified and resourced with staffing points to enable them to develop units of work which can be trialled and shared across the system. No doubt there will be some need to engage in problemsolving and “tweaking” of the new curriculum. A pupil-free day designated for 16 August will focus specifically on assessment in the new AC.

National Professional Standards - a positive development The AEU has long supported the development of professional teaching standards and a model of professional pay which recognises and rewards excellent teaching. The release of the National Professional Standards for Teachers represents an opportunity to further assist in the preparation, ongoing professional development and the retention of teachers. The standards were developed and validated in consultation with the profession. There is a link between the release of the National Standards and Minister Barr’s commitment to a salary of $100,000 for a leading teacher in the ACT. The current Enterprise Agreement requires negotiation and agreement

between the Department and the AEU about details of implementation and timelines before the new classifications of Accomplished and/or Lead Teacher can be activated in the ACT. The AEU has written to the Minister reminding him of this obligation and seeking an undertaking that he will negotiate with the AEU before committing the ACT to an implementation process.

Schools Funding Review - your chance to make a difference It has been decades since the manner in which schools are funded in Australia was comprehensively reviewed. Such a review is underway right now. The AEU encourages all public schools to lodge a submission before 31 March and have your voice heard. More information can be found further in the journal. Your effort counts, so make the effort!

Sue Billington - leaving the AEU office after 31 years Finally, I would like to acknowledge the departure from the AEU of Sue Billington, our Executive Officer. Sue has worked for the AEU for 31 years; many of you will have experienced her commitment and efficiency over those years. Sue was the recipient of the 2010 AEU Public Education Award, and as she leaves the Union it will no doubt serve as a reminder of her many years in the service of teachers and public education. On behalf of all members I thank Sue, and wish her good luck for her future!

Penny Gilmour Branch Secretary

PAGE 2 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice


TIME TO ACT! By Glenn Fowler, ACT Branch Schools Funding Review Campaign Coordinator The Schools Funding Review deadline is nearing and the stakes are high. That is why it is important that every public school puts in a submission to the review by the 31 March deadline. We understand that the independent school associations are engaging high profile lobbyists and that other private school groups are employing accounting firms to write their submissions. Meanwhile, the AEU knows that our grassroots strategy of school, community and member engagement is having considerable traction. Thousands of submissions are coming in through the For Our Future website []. AEU officers have met with the six-person review panel and have presented the powerful case for a fairer funding model. Crucially, in it’s December 2010 Emerging Issues Paper, the panel has used a definition of equity that aligns with the OECD’s definition, namely that “a commitment to equity means that differences in educational outcomes should not be the result of differences in wealth, income, power and possessions.” [p.18] A model that reflects this definition surely needs to be better than the model we have now – a model based on historical entitlement, funding maintenance irrespective of need and the extension of privilege. The early signs are positive, but there is no room for complacency. What can you do? Contribute to your school’s submission By the time you read this, the 31 March submission deadline will be only a few

short weeks away. It is essential that members work together to make a submission on behalf of your school community. Find out who is your Schools Funding Review contact officer and ask if you can help. The task is not an overly laborious one and support materials and templates have been provided. If assistance is required, please call Glenn at the AEU office on 6272-7900, and he can meet with you at your workplace. The goal is a submission from each of Australia’s 7200 public schools, including the 84 in the ACT. At the time of writing there have been 1800 submissions nationally, including 24 from ACT public schools as well as a number from individuals and community activists. This is a once in a generation opportunity to outline the resources your school needs to maximise student learning opportunities and increase individual attention to ensure that all students can reach their full potential. Make your own submission Maybe you are a retired teacher or a pre-service teacher who feels strongly about the need to properly fund public schools. Jump on the For Our Future website and make your own submission – of any length. While you’re there, sign a petition and sign up for campaign email updates: Tell your local MP As the Commonwealth Government prepares to consider the review panel’s recommendations in the second half of 2011, Fraser’s Andrew Leigh and Canberra’s Gai Brodtmann need to hear loud and clear what we expect – that governments fulfil their primary obligation in funding public schools so they can set the standard for schooling

in this country. Send your local member an email or letter, or ask to meet with them. Visit Andrew Leigh at one of his “mobile office” locations in the electorate of Fraser: • Saturday 19 March - Jamison Shops 10:00am to 11:00am • Saturday 19 March - Lyneham Shops 11:30am to 12:30pm • Wednesday 30 March - Bus Interchange, Civic – 8:00am to 9:00am • Wednesday 6 April - Garema Place, Civic – 12:30pm to 1:30pm • Saturday 9 April - Gungahlin Marketplace – 10:00am to 11:00am • Saturday 9 March – Woolworths, Dickson – 11:30am to 12:30pm And attend his presentation and community forum: • Wednesday 16 March – Gungahlin Lakes Club – 6:30pm to 7:00pm: “Revenge of the Nerds: Improving Australia’s Education System” and 7:00pm to 8:30pm: Community Forum Send PM Gillard a postcard Your SFR contact has postcards at your workplace. Tick the boxes, return it to the SFR contact and he/she will pop it in the reply paid envelope and send it to the AEU. Ask for a few more postcards to give to friends, family and to parents at the “school gate”. AEU officers thank members for your continuing efforts in maintaining the momentum in this pivotal campaign.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 3

NEWS By Schools’ Organisers Welcome back! We hope you had a restful break. With the new Enterprise Agreements in negotiation, we encourage you to be ready to step up and be active in 2011. Organisers had an AEU table and a speaking spot at DET’s New Teacher Induction Day at the Centre for Teaching and Learning on Monday 31 January. It was fantastic that we recruited 120 new AEU members on the day. This is perhaps at least partially due to the importance of the Enterprise Agreement [EA] claim and Schools Funding Review campaigns that are taking place in this pivotal year for ACT public schools. We warmly welcome all new AEU members and know that you will be joined by many more in the first weeks of Term 1. All AEU members can build our union by encouraging everyone in your workplace who is eligible to be an AEU member to join the Union. Education support staff [assistants, youth workers, Indigenous Education Workers/Officers] can and should join the AEU as part of our renamed category, Education Support Officers [formerly SSOs]. Don’t assume that everyone who has been on staff for ages is a member or that new colleagues know how to join the AEU. There is no substitute for conversations with individuals being initiated by colleagues who they know well and work with every day. In pursuing a just outcome in EA bargaining, it is essential that teachers and education support staff are united under the Union banner. It is in the interests of all members to strengthen your own position through active recruitment. We suggest emphasising that AEU membership offers layers of protection [such as workplace

support, legal protection and journey cover insurance] as well as providing a powerful collective voice that can make a real impact [as it has during the campaign to prevent damaging school league tables]. AEU Organisers attended the Induction Day for our education support staff on 22 February and we added to our growing AEU membership. Find a membership form at the back of this journal or go to Workplace Sub-Branch lists have been posted to your worksites. Sub-Branch representatives can assist us by updating these records and returning them to the AEU office by fax: 6273-1828. Members commenced the school year in extreme temperatures and it is possible that the remainder of the year could bring very high or low temperatures. DET does not have a specific policy on this but the AEU provides guidelines under the Work Safety Act. The AEU policy on physical conditions in schools states that the minimum acceptable temperature is 17 degrees and the maximum is 30 degrees. Further, the policy states: Whenever physical conditions become distressing to students and intolerable to staff: (a) members should advise the OH&S Representative; (b) the OH&S Representative should immediately consult with the principal/ manager of the site and verify the actual temperature of the location; (c) the OH&S Representative, with the support of the AEU Sub-Branch, should request appropriate action be taken to rectify the situation. This action may

include implementing procedures for the relocation or cancellation of classes; (d) the OH&S Representative or the Sub-Branch may at any time seek the involvement of the AEU officers to assist in rectifying the situation. The implementation of the new Australian Curriculum has begun. The AEU supports the introduction of a national curriculum that will benefit teachers and students, but we will monitor associated issues such as workload, resourcing and implementation timelines carefully. Please notify AEU officers if you are experiencing any difficulties. It appears that PM Gillard, Minister Garrett and Minister Barr are determined to push forward with School Autonomy where principals may have increased responsibilities in regard to school budgets and the hiring of teachers. Results from the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment [PISA] 2009 showed that schools that had such control did not achieve better student outcomes. There were, however, indicators to show that principals who had more control over curriculum and student assessment did have significantly better results with student outcomes. The findings on school autonomy and student achievement are contained in a report published by the OECD titled PISA 2009 Results: What Makes a School Successful? – Resources, Policies and Practices (Volume IV). The AEU website also includes information on School Autonomy

Sue Amundsen, Bill Book & Glenn Fowler - Schools’ Organisers

PAGE 4 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice


RICHARD [DICK] LEE 17 April 1935 - 20 November 2010 Members were saddened to learn that Richard Roger Lee passed away in Canberra on November 20, 2010. Dick Lee was first President of our Union; he was elected President of the ACT Commonwealth Teachers Federation at the first general meeting of members at the then Canberra Workers Club in 1972 and he served until the end of 1974. As President, Dick was intimately involved in the broad range of complex negotiations which led to the remarkably progressive structures and conditions set up within the new Commonwealth Teaching Service [CTS] as well as the then revolutionary experiment in cooperative administration of education, the ACT Schools Authority. As well as managing these detailed discussions, Dick led policy development within the Union, and he chaired Executive, Council, Conferences and the occasional mass meeting. He was also instrumental in developing strategies to recruit members to the Union to ensure that it was the authoritative voice for ACT Government school teachers. Most of his work for the Union was carried out on a part-time basis; only in the last year was he released to work full time as President. Dick was the first representative of the ACT on the Executive of the Australian Teachers Federation [later AEU] and he participated in the 1974 Conference of the WCOTP [later Education International] in Singapore. While Dick was President, I served on the Federation Executive as a representative of the Secondary Teachers Association. I must confess that for some considerable time as a young, brash and inexperienced unionist I believed that Dick was one of the most irritating men I had ever met!

At a time when the union had very little income and therefore very few staff, Dick apparently had come to the conclusion that the most efficient way to record Executive meetings was for him, as Chair, to keep the minutes. Lawler, the young hothead, saw this as a monumental waste of time; Dick would go over and over each decision until he was sure the record reflected the true intent of the meeting. It should be remembered that Executive in those days met every Tuesday evening for up to six hours, and I believed that Dick’s minute taking technique prolonged the agony! It really did take me some time to appreciate how skillfully Dick guided these meetings to correctly and meticulously record decisions in a whole range of policy areas where policy had never been created before. One instance of the value of Dick’s record keeping really stands out in my mind: we were involved in intensive negotiations with the then acting CTS Commissioner, Jock Weedon, who had just made a definitive statement opposing our position. Opening his notebook, Dick said, “I don’t know how you can say that, Mr. Weedon. In a previous discussion six months ago you said, and I quote ...” Dick then demonstrated that the Commissioner had taken a contrary position at that time, and then the negotiations proceeded in a much more constructive manner. Of course Dick was involved in a wide range of career interests and other pursuits apart from his major contribution to the solid foundations of the Union. He taught in NSW schools before coming to Canberra, where he was in charge of Science at Woden Valley High School. After his term as President, he returned to teaching, and later he was

an Assistant Principal at Hawker College. He was promoted to a Principal level position in the Department responsible for system-wide staffing, where a new generation benefited from his concern for the interests and welfare of teachers, as well as from his meticulous records. Dick travelled widely, keeping detailed accounts of his travels of course, and he found great joy in the love and company of his wife and family. I am sure that all members, past and present, will join me in extending our deepest condolences to his wife Elizabeth and his children, and to his extended family, friends and colleagues. Dick’s contribution to the establishment of our Union as a strong and progressive voice for government education in the ACT will not be forgotten. Vale, Dick.

Keith Lawler, Life Member AEU - ACT Branch

ACT Teacher • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 5

Phil Rasmus - University of Canberra Senior Secondary College, Lake Ginninderra

Welcome back to what will undoubtedly be another challenging year for AEU members. Amongst this year’s highlights will be the negotiation of new industrial Agreements. My reading of the temperament of teachers is, to paraphrase the late Peter Finch, “as mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” I urge you to support your Union to achieve a successful outcome. In January I had the opportunity to attend the AEU Annual Conference in Melbourne. The Schools Funding Review took up much of our time and we heard from the Chair of the Review, David Gonski. I suspected that I would not enjoy his address knowing that Mr Gonski was the Chair of the Board at Sydney Grammar. However, I was surprised and reassured to hear that he seems to have adopted a fairly reasonable and equitable approach to the task. I urge you to read the Emerging Issues paper that the Review Committee released late last year. Peter Garrett, who spoke about the ALP’s plan for the future of education, was not particularly well received. Diane Ravitch, who seems to be one of the few people in the US talking sense about education, gave a very interesting commentary on efforts to combat the neo-liberal madness overtaking American schools. Lyndsay Connors, a cogent speaker in defence of public

education, gave her customary insightful observations, this time on the history of public education in Australia. Representatives from teacher unions across the globe, including New Zealand, Japan, Canada and the UK, spoke about issues in their countries, and you realise that our issues are their issues too. I’m always impressed most by the address given by students from public schools. This year, two students from Goulburn High School spoke very movingly about a trip they had taken into the wilds of Africa to meet and work with very disadvantaged students there. The accompanying video showed the conditions under which African students studied and their touching faith in the value of education as a key to their future. Equally inspiring was the (very young) teacher from Goulburn who’d organised the whole trip. Sue Billington, a long term stalwart in the Union office, has regrettably submitted her resignation. I have written in more detail elsewhere in the journal about how much we’ll miss her. Best wishes from all of us, Sue.

Phil Rasmus Telephone: 6205-7125

2011 BRANCH COUNCIL MEETING DATES: Branch Council meets on the following Saturdays in 2011 at J Block Theatre, Reid Campus CIT from 9:00am - 12 noon. A quorum must be present by 9:30am or the meeting lapses. Papers are available from 8:45am. Tea and coffee is also provided but please bring a mug. • 26 March [NOT 19 March as indicated on the Year Planner] • 14 May • 18 June • 13 August • 17 September • 22 October • 19 November For the information of new Councillors, Business Papers are forwarded through the Union’s maildrop via Sub-Branch Secretaries at least 1 week prior to the meeting.

Journal Deadlines: 23 May / 22 August / 24 October


turday a S m 9a rch 26 Ma eid CIT R

PAGE 6 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice



PROPER REMUNERATION IS CRUCIAL By Peter Malone & Glenn Fowler In 2009, AEU members found themselves in the unenviable position of bargaining at the height of the global financial crisis and a period of wage restraint in the ACT. Current economic conditions are reportedly vastly different, and members expect the ACT Government to find the money to once again make our salaries competitive with those across the border and with the ACT private sector.

G. That the face-to-face teaching hours within the preschool/primary sector be reduced to 18 hours per week for Level 1 teachers.

Some key elements of our Claim are:

TAFE Sector

School Sector

A. That all classifications [including casuals] be increased by 7% from 1 July 2011, 7% from 1 July 2012 and a further 7% from 1 July 2013.

A. That classroom teachers, SLCs and SLBs be paid the same salary as their equivalents in NSW from 1 July 2011.

Proper remuneration for teaching and support staff should be seen as a crucial investment in the Territory’s future prosperity, not a burden or drain on the public purse.

B. That a new principal [School Leader A] Salary structure be negotiated and agreed for implementation from 1 July 2011.

The AEU is buoyed by recent government media releases spruiking the health of the ACT economy, and members will be rightly sceptical of the tired line that there is no money available. A recent Canberra Times article mentioned an annual cost of living increase of 4.5% for the ACT, and the Government will need to take this into account along with all the other factors. Staff in our public schools have more than done their bit for the Territory’s bottom line. The time has come for investment in our human capital. As a Union, we need to insist upon it. To achieve this investment the AEU served Claims on DET and CIT at the end of last year. The Claims for DET teachers, support staff and TAFE teachers were the subject of member consultation before being endorsed by Branch Council and Branch Executive late last year. In both sectors bargaining meetings have been scheduled and the talking has begun.

However on 15 February 2011 the Hawke Review of the ACT public sector was released. Some of the recommendations of that review have direct implications on our enterprise bargaining. The AEU is seeking advice from Government about those implications, with a view to ensuring that our negotiations can proceed as smoothly as possible.

C. That the Casual Teacher Rate 1 be increased to $293.94 and the Casual Teacher Rate 2 be increased to $339.38 from 1 July 2011. D. That all classification rates [Classroom Teacher, School Leaders, Casual and Intern] be increased by 7% from 1 July 2012 and 7% from 1 July 2013. E. That the new classifications of Highly Accomplished Teacher and Lead Teacher be implemented from 1 July 2011, in a manner and at a salary level agreed between the AEU and DET, as per Clause 128 of the current Enterprise Agreement. This agreement must take into account appropriate relativities and not include any quotas being placed on the number of Accomplished and Lead Teacher positions in the system, so that all who reach these levels will be appropriately remunerated.

F. That the face-to-face teaching hours within the secondary sector be restored to 18 hours per week for Level 1 teachers.

B. That the arrangements for teacher education programs be improved. C. That the current Professional Development arrangements be changed to strengthen the role of teachers as professionals and to facilitate and simplify access to the PD funds by individuals.

Education Support Staff A. That the salary level of all classifications be increased by 7% from 1 July 2011, 7% 1 July 2012 and a further 7% from 1 July 2013. B. That an Education Support Staff Professional Learning Fund be created, based on 1.5% of the total salary and adjusted by the annual June Quarter ACT CPI increases. C. That all relevant conditions of employment applying to teachers also be applied to all Education Support Staff.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 7

Vicki Lucas of the Early Years Learning Sub-Branch, offers her professional views on new curriculum documents and how best to support children in the early years.

Along with all members, our colleagues in early childhood/primary school settings [be they in P-2, P-6 or P-10 settings] have a busy year ahead of them. Current Council of Australian Governments [COAG] developments have seen two new curriculum documents released at almost the same time. Our schools will be negotiating their way between the Australian Curriculum, the Early Years Learning Framework and our scoped and sequenced Every Chance to Learn Curriculum Framework [plus the bridging document] amongst the myriad of other duties other than teaching required of them. The reality of this is that for children it is business as usual; they will continue to be provided with the highest quality of learning in our public school system.

There are varying opinions about the merits or otherwise of the Australian Curriculum. Many members have been involved in the writing, consultation and trialling processes leading up to the version that has been presented to schools this year. Likewise, many members have been involved in parallel processes to develop the Early Years Learning Framework over the past few years and many have strong opinions about this document as well. I have a strong view about how the two documents co-exist, integrate and connect with students. Given that COAG has driven the creation of both documents, I have been surprised that there has been such little focus on aligning the two documents to support transition for very young children from one classroom to another. There has been insufficient support provided as to how we connect children’s learning experiences across a holiday period, from the preschool to the kindergarten year. Why is it that we change the focus from children’s belonging, being and becoming in the Early Years Learning Framework to the language of English, Science, History and Mathematics after a six week break?

The answer is perhaps hidden in the political minefield of where responsibility lies for early childhood education and care across the various jurisdictions around Australia. Not all States and Territories position the preschool year of schooling in the domain of education. In the ACT, we have been working hard for four years to connect the primary years and the preschool year to provide continuity of learning experiences and associated documentation since “amalgamation” was presented to us. For many early childhood educators, the separation of the preschool year from other years of schooling caused by the separation of curriculum is a return to old ways of thinking. For still some, this is sensible and comforting. For still others, this is a lost opportunity. There is a risk that schools will prioritise the implementation of the more publicised Australian Curriculum over the implementation of the Early Years Learning Framework this year. The temptation to make the preschool year of learning “pre-kindergarten” could be too strong for those without a genuine understanding of each document and

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BALANCING THE CURRICULUM CHANGES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD AND PRIMARY the purpose, intent and rationale behind them. To do so is to subscribe to the view that the four year old learner has less entitlement to a targeted curriculum, planning, implementation and evaluation than learners in other age groups in our schools. To do so is to say that the four year old learner does not have the same educational rights as other children in our schools. To do so goes against the decree from DET leaders that says “everyone matters”.

and nor should it. Any child starting in any ACT public school who has been in any form of early childhood education and/or care will have had their learning experiences planned through the document. To ignore the Early Years Learning Framework denies the learning and development of the child prior to formal schooling. It denies children the opportunity to belong, be and become; the central tenants of the Early Years Learning Framework document.

Prioritising one document over another may also create a false hierarchy in the teaching teams within schools. The early childhood team [formerly called the junior school team] in particular needs to be able to plan for transition from one document to the next. After all, the amalgamation process made preschools and primary schools one school. It is COAG that is separating the curriculum content. However, in all the reading I have done about the two documents I am yet to find COAG suggesting that we undo seamless transitions for children and young people and their families.

In thinking through the challenges associated with a world with several curriculum documents, I pose the following questions for the consideration of members:

The Early Years Learning Framework cannot be ignored. It is not going away

• Has your school staff had any professional dialogue about how to scope and sequence in this new multi-curriculum environment? • Have you read the Early Years Learning Framework? If not, why not? • How much do you know about the Early Years Learning Framework? How does it connect with Every Chance to Learn? How does it connect with the Australian Curriculum?

• How has your school or setting communicated the curriculum changes to your school community? • How has learning changed for the four year old learners in your school setting since the release of the Early Years Learning Framework? I am on this journey as well and I certainly do not have all the answers. Beginning a school year with a number of curriculum documents in one school has certainly provided me with a provocation; a challenge. My belief that young children have a right to be exposed to quality learning experiences regardless of their educational setting or the philosophical standpoint of government or executive means that it is my responsibility as an educator to continue thinking through the issues raised by multiple curricula. For more information about the Early Years Learning Framework, members should find the hard copies of the document in their school or visit the DEEWR website at

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 9

JOIN AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST CAMPAIGN TO IMPROVE INDIGENOUS HEALTH Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live substantially shorter lives than other Australians – up to 20 years less in some cases. Babies born to Aboriginal mothers die at twice the rate of other Australian babies. And they experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

• Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders' access to health services; • Addressing critical social issues such as poor housing, nutrition, employment and education; • Building Indigenous control and participation in the delivery of health and other services;

It’s a health crisis you’d associate with an impoverished nation, but it’s happening right here in our own backyard. Together we are changing this picture.

• Getting governments at State and national level to work in partnership with Indigenous communities, Indigenous health organisations and experts to develop and monitor a plan to tackle the Indigenous health crisis.

Oxfam Campaign

Achieving health equality

Oxfam is part of the Close the Gap coalition calling on governments to take action to achieve Indigenous health equality within 25 years by:

The Close the Gap campaign has attracted immense public support so far: • More than 135,000 Australians have signed the Close the Gap pledge;

• Thousands of Australians have written to the Federal Government demanding action; • Tens of thousands of Australians have taken part in National Close the Gap Day events held around Australia. This show of public support has contributed to a shift in political will to tackle the health crisis: • In February 2008 came the longawaited national apology to the Stolen Generations, a moment in time that re-energised Australians to right the wrongs of our past; • ln March 2008, the Close the Gap coalition drafted a plan to address the Indigenous health crisis: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed it, transforming this from a popular campaign to a force shaping government policy; • In November 2008, the Australian Government announced a $1.6 billion commitment to improve Indigenous health – the biggest ever injection of new funding for Indigenous health. Our challenge is to translate this public support, political will and historic mood into sustained improvements in Indigenous health to close the gap within a generation.

Photo: John Sones Copyright: OXFAM Aus printed with permission Rumbalara is a highly respected Aboriginal Medical Centre near Shepparton in central Victoria. This centre offers culturally sensitive health services as well as a range of programs designed for particular segments of the population including the youth and the elderly in the community.

National Close the Gap Day [NCTGD] is a way for all Australians to join together and remind our political leaders of their commitments to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. NCTGD will be held on 24 March 2011. The focus this year is on the need to build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

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Continued next page

NATIONAL CLOSE THE GAP DAY - THURSDAY 24 MARCH Show your support via www.oxfam. Sign the Close the Gap pledge; take online action; find tips and resources to host an event; order merchandise and free items [limited stock]; learn more about the campaign. Information courtesy of Oxfam

Further information: Australian Human Rights Commission au/social_justice/health/index.html

National Reconciliation Week: 27 May - 3 June 2010 Let’s Talk Recognition Each year National Reconciliation Week [NRW] celebrates the rich culture and history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is the ideal time for everyone to join the reconciliation conversation and to think about how we can help turn around the disadvantage experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. RECOGNITION: Think about how much you value it. When you are sincerely recognised for who you are and what you contribute, you feel proud, validated and connected. Being recognised is good for your self esteem. It energises you and encourages you to recognise the best in others. Recognition comes in all sorts of ways and means different things to different people but everyone likes it when they get it. In what ways do you recognise people around you and in what ways do they recognise you? For National Reconciliation Week 2011, Reconciliation Australia invites you to join a national conversation about the value of recognition.

Join the national conversation The theme for NRW 2011 is Let’s Talk Recognition. How you interpret it is entirely up to you. You might like to hold an event that recognises the important contributions that Indigenous Australians are making to your community. Or perhaps engage students, staff or friends more deeply in a conversation about the value of recognition and why it is of particular importance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. During NRW 2011 all Australians are asked to think about the value of recognition, what it means to you personally and its importance to the nation. For more information about National Reconciliation Week go to:

The significance of the NRW dates May 27 marks the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum in which more than 90 per cent of Australians voted to remove clauses from the Australian Constitution which discriminated against Indigenous Australians. The referendum also gave the Commonwealth Government the power to make laws on behalf of Aboriginal people. June 3 marks the anniversary of the High Court’s judgement in the 1992 Mabo case. The decision recognised the Native Title rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the original inhabitants of the continent and overturned the myth of terra nullius – the belief that the continent was an empty, un-owned land before the arrival of Europeans in 1788.

Australian Schools National Sorry Day, May 26 Australian Schools National Sorry Day is a wonderful initiative to celebrate the Historic Apology by the Prime Minister to the Stolen Generations and to commemorate with the Stolen Generations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia the enactment and resulting effects of the past policies of forced removals. Go to for ways to get involved, resources and detailed information.

2011 AEU - ACT Branch Reconciliation Awards - nominations now open! Do you know someone who is furthering Reconciliation in your public school or TAFE? Nominations are invited for the 2011 AEU Reconciliation Awards. The Awards acknowledge and foster the good work of AEU members and community members in furthering the aims of Reconciliation in public schools and TAFE. For further information and a nomination form, go to: www. or contact Cathy Smith on 6272-7900. Nominations close 4:00pm Tuesday 10 May 2011.

Information courtesty of Reconciliation Australia

ACT Teacher • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 11


SUPPORT OFFICERS NEW NAME BETTER REFLECTS SUPPORT ROLE SSOs now called ESOs! Last year we consulted with a number of our members in regard to the preferred name for the AEU sub-group representing assistants, youth workers and Indigenous education workers/officers. The “SSO” acronym, meaning School Services Officers, has always seemed a little awkward for some reason and members have had a lot of trouble identifying themselves as part of a wider group of “SSOs”. A name change was agreed upon by our members or their representatives and you are all now Education Support Officers [ESOs]. February 22 was a great day at the CTL for the DET Induction. This provided us with the opportunity to meet and greet a number of new ESOs. We had the opportunity to talk with the group and presented the AEU as a viable and truly worthwhile organisation for all assistants, youth workers, Indigenous Education Workers and Indigenous Education Officers to join. The AEU provides coverage for 185,000 education workers across the country, supporting ESOs and teachers alike. The services provided by the AEU include Journey Cover Insurance [includes cover for travel from home to work]; legal and financial services; eligibility to join Teachers Health, Teachers Credit Union and MeBank; discounted shopping through Union Shopper; discounted vehicles and computers; individual advocacy and assistance and of course, negotiation of your Enterprise Agreements. You can be assured of top level service in every situation. This is a bargaining year and your Agreement will expire on 30 June 2011. Now is the time

to join together to strengthen the voice of Education Support Officers so encourage your colleagues to join the AEU in the fight to secure better pay and conditions for all of you. Some workplace rights to remember: • A full-time School Assistant works 31 hours and 15 minutes per week or 6 hours 15 minutes per day plus 45 minutes for lunch. That break may be broken if the needs of the school require it but the minimum lunch break is 30 minutes and you should be consulted about any changes that will have an impact on your work arrangements. • You are required to participate in a total of 25 hours of professional learning [PL] each year. Part-Time assistants are required to complete a pro rata amount of PL. For all ESOs: • You accrue 18 days of paid personal leave annually [full-time] and that leave counts as service if you use it. • You may take 3 consecutive days of personal leave without a medical certificate or a total of 7 uncertificated days of personal leave in a year. You should ensure you keep a record of the leave you have taken and get a medical certificate wherever possible. Otherwise, expect to receive notification from DET/Shared Services advising you of an over-payment and their intention to recover the monies. • If you work in a short-term contract on either side of a stand-down period, you should be paid for the standdown period.

• If you have been sick during the recent recreation leave period and are able to present a medical certificate as evidence you will have your recreation leave re-credited and the leave will be recorded as personal leave. • You may access up to 5 days of compassionate leave on each occasion of the death of a member of your family/household and 2 days compassionate leave for life threatening illness or injury to yourself, family or household member in addition to personal leave. • After 12 months of service you are eligible for 18 weeks of paid maternity leave and that leave will count as service. For your full leave entitlements check Section F in your current DET Staff Agreement available to members on the AEU website [www.aeuact.asn. au/uploads/file/ACTDETStaffEA201011_000.pdf]. This is in addition to 18 weeks paid parental leave provided by the Federal Government. If you need assistance or encounter issues/questions you can’t answer through the Agreement don’t hesitate to contact the Organisers in the AEU office [6272-7900; bbook@aeuact.asn. au;;samundsen@] One final reminder, Union fees for ESOs recently went up as a result of the 2.5% pay increase awarded as part of the Agreement. No back adjustment of the fee was included. We’ll see you around the Sub-Branches!

Bill Book Schools’ Organiser

PAGE 12 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

CASE STUDY: ACTION ON MOULD AT FARRER PRIMARY In November 2010, members contacted the AEU as the spectre of mould resurfaced at Farrer Primary School.

teachers in the ACT. They were instructed by both Robson and Shared Services to wear masks while working in their rooms sorting through papers, children’s art works, books, fabrics, dress-ups and so on. The advice given was to discard anything that wasn’t laminated and washable because the mould had permeated through everything. By year’s end staff had sorted out their rooms and transferred “mountains” of resources into the corridor. Whatever could be salvaged was but there were a number of skips filled and despatched.

Weather conditions across Canberra were ripe for such a flourish of growth and some of the cultures spawned at the school were truly impressive. The AEU is aware this isn’t a new issue for Farrer. There are records of strategies and mechanisms introduced as counter measures to earlier mould problems over a number of years. Hopefully this time the solutions introduced will be effective and long-lasting. The AEU worked closely with the school and the Department through the School Network Leader, the Repairs and Maintenance Section and Shared Services-Injury Prevention, all of whom responded with a sense of urgency, purpose and concern. The teachers were stalwart in their resolve to finish the year on a positive note for the sake of their students, relocated to other sections in the school, and rallied to provide mutual support. The problem had impacted on an entire block to some extent but the mould was particularly bad in four rooms down one side of that block. Everyone was moved out of the block while awaiting the results of tests conducted by Robson Environmental, called in by DET to assist. Under the instructions of both Robson and Shared Services the block was declared a “no go” zone initially while fans were brought in to aid in the drying process, a risk assessment completed and strategies were worked out. Staff were allowed to return after a week to commence a clean-up, the scale of which has rarely been experienced by

The Department paid for additional cleaners who shifted the materials to the skips and washed a lot of the salvaged resources [blocks, some puzzles, laminated items] in vinegar solutions. The cleaning continued over the December/ January period along with other remedial works including the installation of additional under floor fans, and multiple ceiling exhaust fans. The new exhaust fans and improved air circulation system will hopefully see an end to the problem forever. The Department is to be commended for the support they continue to provide to the school as they oversee the completion of the works and monitor the complete recovery. It was surreal to visit the site and observe the teachers and cleaners behind “P2” masks [see photo] to minimise the risk of breathing in mould spores. There were teachers and assistants who had experienced respiratory ailments and lost time in the course of last year and in previous years. However, it takes time to develop a suspicion of any correlation between personal health and one’s work environment so calls for AEU assistance took place some time after the initial mould outbreak. Teachers and assistants

Photo: Jill Buscombe, Farrer Primary, wearing a protective mask.

were experiencing another bout of discomfort when they contacted the AEU office for assistance. Symptoms of mould allergy may include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, tearing and redness of the eyes, and skin irritation or rash. Asthma attacks may be caused by mould or mould spores in people who have asthma and are allergic to mould. Mould can irritate the eyes, skin, and airways. For example, the “black mould” Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mould, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can cause irritation of the skin and airways in susceptible individuals. Any AEU members who have worked in the Ellyard Block at Farrer Primary in the past 10 years are requested to please contact Bill Book at the AEU office [62727900 or]. For those who did experience health issues while in that environment it is not too late to lodge a Comcare claim.

Bill Book - Schools’ Organiser

ACT Teacher • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 13


CONFERENCE AEU TAFE AGM and Federal Conference were held in Melbourne, 13 & 18 January 2011 Delegates from each State and Territory attended to consider issues of importance to public education. The ACT Branch representatives for the Conference were Phil Rasmus, ACT Branch President; Peter Malone, Assistant to the Secretary [Industrial]; Vicki Lucas [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative]; and Glenn Fowler, Schools Organiser and Assistant to the Secretary [Industrial] (Observer) and for the TAFE AGM: Mike Fitzgerald, TAFE Organiser; Steve Darwin, TAFE representative; and Peter Malone [Observer]. The following report details the key matters discussed and resolutions agreed: SCHOOLS SECTOR: 1. Queensland delegates explained the impact of the floods on their members and all delegates agreed to request Branches to make a contribution to the QTU Natural Disaster Fund. 2. A Schools Funding Review Campaign resolution was adopted. This included a range of specific actions such as: • promoting the campaign using paid and unpaid advertising; • holding a national event in Canberra on Public Education Day, Thursday 26 May 2011; • arranging specific briefings for MPs at Parliament House. 3. A Professional Issues and Quality Teaching resolution was adopted which detailed the AEU’s concerns

with consultation and implementation of National Curriculum.

will consult and negotiate with the AEU – ACT Branch any proposed performance based bonus payment scheme prior to endorsing a COAG/MCEECDYA agreement on the issue;

4. A revised tax policy, Securing the Revenue Base for High Quality Public Services was adopted. This included the following actions:

• Distributing a kit prepared by AEU Federal Office to our representatives explaining our opposition to the ALP performance pay scheme and conduct membership training on the issue;

• Educating our members on these issues through Branch journal articles and promoting useful resources for members to access; • Encouraging our members to participate in progressive forums and activities which promote a fairer and equitable taxation system; • Collaborating with joint union/ACTU tax campaigns. 5. A report on Indigenous Education was adopted. This included the following actions:

• Improving the Federal Paid Parental leave scheme as part of EA negotiations. • Engaging with joint union/ACTU pay equity campaigns. 8. A Promote Social Justice and Human Rights resolution was adopted. This included the following actions: • Monitoring the implementation of the National Partnership Agreement on Low Socio-Economic Status School Communities and the National Indigenous Education Action Plan;

• Campaigning to ensure governments and education departments adhere to all six key principles of the National Indigenous Reform Agreement;

• Lobbying State/Territory Governments and education departments to ensure that health and human relationships education is improved within the “respectful relationships” part of the national curriculum;

• Supporting the creation of a National Indigenous Educators network and investigating ways to engage with and support more of our Indigenous members. 6. An International Resolution was adopted. This included promoting a range of internationally celebrated events throughout 2011. 7. A Protect and Enhance the Industrial Rights of Teachers and Education Workers resolution was adopted. This included the following actions: • Writing to the Education Ministers seeking an assurance that they

• Pursuing a clause that deals with family violence in EA negotiations. TAFE SECTOR: 1. A new TAFE Teacher Qualifications, Professional Development and Registration Policy was adopted. 2. The development of model clauses which deal with casualisation,

PAGE 14 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

security of employment, qualifications and workload regulation of online, workplace, institutional and third party delivery was authorised. 3. The development of a policy paper on national VET regulation was authorised. This policy will include industrial and professional issues associated with: • quality education, training and assessment; • requirements to consult with TAFE teachers over the implementation of national regulation and the development of standards; • the implications for professional development; • protection for teachers, including those who become whistleblowers; • duration of training [hours]; • partnership with industry, industry associations, other unions including NTEU, IEU, CSA, CPSU, PSA when appropriate; • employment and professional development of auditors; • accountability and transparency; • integrity of the process; • implications of compliance cultures.

their legislated initial entitlement of 510 hours of settlement English through the AMEP, which is delivered by qualified teachers; • ensure that adequate funding is provided to the public sector to deliver an effective, accessible and equitable service in the regions for which no private providers submit tenders. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Delegates were fortunate to hear from a wide range of national and international speakers including:

4. The development of a policy paper and structural framework describing the national tertiary education sector and the AEU’s response to the emerging national tertiary education sector was authorised. 5. It was agreed that an issue of The Australian TAFE Teacher will be devoted to “partnerships and pathways” between Higher Education and VET, and a national tertiary education sector.

• Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education, New York University • Peter Garrett, Federal Minister for Schools, Early Childhood and Youth • Lyndsay Connors, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education and Work, University of Sydney • Kate Gainsford, Post Primary Teachers Association, New Zealand • David Gonski, Chair, School Funding Review Expert Panel • Marie Brennan, Professor of Education, Victoria University. Gaining an understanding of where the education policies of our respective governments have come from, their ideological underpinnings and the experience of our international teaching

Photo: Ged Kearney, ACTU President

union colleagues with the implementation of similar policies is critical to enable the AEU to develop appropriate responses to our own national circumstances. On broader union movement issues, Ged Kearney, ACTU President, spoke of her desire to encourage Unions to campaign collaboratively together to help advance the interests of all workers in Australia. In particular her call for unions to push for greater job security across various industries was warmly received by delegates.

UnionsACT 2011

6. It was agreed to undertake a campaign to: • put an end to the tendering of the Adult Migrant English Program and a full restoration of recurrent funding to public providers; • maintain, particularly in NSW, the AME Service with a distinct identity delivering ESL programs to adult migrants and refugees; • ensure that eligible migrants receive

The Union holds 10 Delegate and 10 Alternate Delegate positions which are filled via election at 26 March Branch Council. Members wishing to nominate for any of the positions should send an expression of interest to priority1@aeuact. or fax: 6273-1828 to reach Penny Gilmour, Branch Secretary no later than 4:30pm on Thursday 24 March 2011. UnionsACT meets quarterly at 5:30pm [189 Flemington Road, Mitchell] on the first Wednesday of the month in March, June, September & December PLUS the AGM in November. For any information on the duties of the positions please contact Penny Gilmour on 6272-7900. Delegates will be elected at March Council and will take up positions from March 2011 to Mach 2012.

ACT Teacher • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 15

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE ACT Branch Committee of Management Statement

2009 $


2010 $


Members’ subscriptions


On 8/2/2011 the Committee of Management of the AEU - ACT Branch passed the following resolution in relation to the general purpose financial report [GPFR] of the reporting unit for the financial year ended 31 December 2010. The Committee of Management declares in relation to the GPFR that in its opinion:


Interest on investments



Other income



Rent Received






Affiliation fees & ITF subscriptions



Amortisation - leasehold buildings


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


Arbitration & campaign expenses



Audit & accounting costs


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


Bank fees & merchant fees



Provision for doubtful debts & bad debts






Computer services & database costs






Donations - general






Meeting & conference expenses



Membership services & training



Members Journey Insurance



Federal capitation fees


[c] the financial statements and notes give a true and fair view of the financial performance, financial position and cashflows of the reporting unit for the financial year to which they relate. [d] there are reasonable grounds to believe that the reporting unit will be able to pay its debts as and when they become due and payable. [e] during the financial year to which GPFR related and since the end of that year:


Newsletter expenses


[i] meetings of the Committee of Management were held in accordance with the rules of the organisation, including the rules of the Branch concerned; and





Office equipment & leases



Legal - annual retainer



Legislation reports & awards


[ii] the financial affairs of the reporting unit have been managed in accordance with the rules of the organisation, including the rules of the Branch concerned; and


Photocopying charges



Postage, staff recruitment & general expenses



Printing & stationery [including Year Planner]


[iii] the financial records of the reporting unit have been kept and maintained in accordance with the RAO Schedule and the RAO Regulations; and


Professional development & training



Provision for annual leave



Provision for long service leave



Rates, taxes and body corporate fees



Repairs, maintenance & replacements



Salaries - officers



Salaries - other employees



Superannuation - general staff



Superannuation - officers



Telephone & internet costs






Vehicle/car allowances expenses [including FBT]



Women’s budget






Operating surplus for year


[iv] reports done on a single reporting unit basis; and [v] there has been no requests by any member or the Registrar that required a report under Section 272 of the RAO Schedule; and [vi] no orders have been made by the Commission under section 273 of the RAO Schedule during the period. [vii] there were no recovery of wages activities during the financial year.

For Committee of Management Penny Gilmour, Branch Secretary

PAGE 16 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice



2010 $


Cash at bank



Cash on deposit



Sundry debtors and prepayments



Members’ welfare loans



Less: Provision for doubtful debts






Leasehold property, plant & equipment






Sundry creditors



Provision for staff entitlements - general staff



Provision for staff entitlements - officers



Subscriptions paid in advance






Provision for staff entitlements











Represented by: Members’ Funds 984,098

Balance as at 1 January 2010



Revaluation of Leasehold Land & Building Reserve



ADD - Surplus/[Deficit] for Year





Statement of Cash Flows for the year ended 31 December 2011 2009 $


2010 $


Receipts from members



Interest received



Receipts - other persons



Payments to suppliers & employees





Cash Flow from Investing & Financing Activities -

Funds from/to other reporting Entities



Payments for Assets






Net Increase/[Decrease] in Cash Held



Cash at beginning of year





TO VIEW THE AUDITED ACCOUNTS IN FULL ONLINE GO TO http://www.aeuact.asn. au/about-us-latest-news/news/?news=2 and click on the AUDITED ACCOUNTS link.

Statement of Financial Position as at 31 December AUDITOR’S REPORT I have audited the accounts of the Australian Education Union, ACT Branch in respect of the year ended 31 December 2010 and have received all the information and explanations I required for the purposes of my audit. Scope: The Executive Committee is responsible for the preparation and presentation of the financial reports and the information contained therein. I have conducted an independent audit of the financial reports in order to express an opinion on them to the members. My audit has been conducted in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards to provide reasonable assurance as to whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. My procedures included examination, on a test basis, of evidence supporting the amounts and other disclosures in the financial statements, and the evaluation of accounting policies and significant accounting estimates. These procedures have been undertaken to form an opinion as to whether, in all material respects, the financial statements are presented fairly in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards and Statutory Requirements so as to present a view of the Australian Education Union, ACT Branch which is consistent with my understanding of its financial position and the results of its operations. The audit opinion expressed in this report has been formed on the above basis. In my opinion: [1] there were kept by the Organisation in respect of the year satisfactory accounting records detailing the sources and nature of the income of the Organisation [including income from members] and the nature and purpose of expenditure; [2] the general purpose financial report is presented fairly in accordance with applicable Australian Accounting Standards and the requirements imposed by the Fair Work [Registered Organisations] Act 2009, or part 3 of Chapter 8 of the RAO Schedule, and [3] that the Branch has not been involved with recovery of wages activities during the year. Kim D Hanna FCA- Registered Company Auditor, McKay Gardens, Turner

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 17


EXECUTIVE OFFICER Executive accepts the resignation of Executive Officer, Sue Billington, with regret While many of you may not know Sue personally, each and every member has benefitted from Sue’s dedication and application in the many office positions she’s filled during thirty one years of outstanding service to the AEU and its predecessor the ACT Teachers Federation. Sue started in the Union in a temporary 6 week position as a receptionist in 1980 in our former premises in Weston. Thirty one years on, Sue has filled virtually every administrative role available, and filled them extraordinarily well. Over her years in the office, Sue has developed a broad range of skills and has willingly turned her hand to anything that will benefit the AEU and its members. She has adopted and adapted to many changes in technology and office procedures, keeping your Union up-to-date in these respects. Sue has capably led a small team in the complex organisation of AEU public events such as the Public Education Day functions and Stopwork Meetings at various venues around Canberra. She’s been almost single-handedly responsible for the publication of the Branch’s journal Public Education Voice. The quality of this publication alone provides ample evidence of Sue’s unstinting dedication to the support of the public education community. Fortunately for members and office staff, Sue is a tower of strength behind the scenes. She has been a walking encyclopaedia of the history of the Branch and, now that she’s decided to move on, the corporate memory in the office will suffer a serious blow. Sue has continually demonstrated expertise and commitment to each and every task, and

the smooth running of the Union office and its functions over many years is due in great measure to Sue’s commitment, not to mention her keen sense of humour.

Sue by Union members and staff over the years. Public Education and public school staff could not wish for a stronger supporter than Sue Billington.

Sue’s continued allegiance, friendship and support for the Union officers past and present have, in great measure, contributed to the successful running of the Branch Office and, by extension, the Branch itself.

I have no doubt at all that all who’ve benefitted from Sue’s devotion to her job will join me in expressing our wholehearted gratitude for her years of service, and wish her all the best in the next phase of her life.

Sue Billington’s extraordinary dedication and commitment to the work of the union and to public education have been formally recognised on a number of occasions. In 2003 she was awarded Honorary Membership of the AEU. In 2010 Sue was again honoured with the award of AEU – ACT Branch Public Education Award. Perhaps more obscure but no less deserved is her proudly held title of “Ms Special Conference 1983”. Long-standing members will recall that the Branch used to hold both Annual and Special Conferences, and this unique award acknowledged the administrative and organisational skills which Sue demonstrated throughout the Conference.

Phil Rasmus Branch President

I honestly cannot recall a time, in my own long association with the Union, when Sue Billington wasn’t around providing firm and sensible management. I can’t begin to imagine the extent of the adjustments that our Office staff will need to make in order to accommodate Sue’s departure. However, we all need to acknowledge that, with Sue’s changed circumstances, she feels a need to take a different direction in her life. Words can’t really express the extent of the debt owed to

PAGE 18 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

Celebrate the contribution of Sue Billington, AEU - ACT Branch Executive Officer Drinks and nibbles


Tuesday 22 March Hotel Kurrajong National Circuit, Barton Cost: $20 [includes a contribution for a gift] RSVP by midday Thursday 17 March 2011 Telephone the AEU office on 6272-7900 - payment must be made at the time of booking


CONFERENCE Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 October 2010, QTU Brisbane ACT delegates Tom Greenwell and Jane Barrett accompanied Schools Organiser Glenn Fowler to the AEU New Educators Conference at the Queensland Teachers Union offices in Brisbane. Close to 100 New Educator unionists from Australia and NZ gathered to participate in workshops, contribute to AEU policy and to hear a number of speakers. AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos spoke with his trademark passion about the My School working party, the Australian Curriculum and the crucial Schools Funding Review. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] Chief Executive Peter Hill raised numerous hackles with his summary of the implementation plan for the Australian Curriculum. The Australian’s Justine Ferrari displayed a disturbing lack of sophistication in her talk on “Public Discourses on Teaching and Public Education”. ACTU President Ged Kearney spoke engagingly about the importance of campaigning and recruiting around professional issues. Informal discussions ran throughout both days and, of course, during the evening functions on Friday and Saturday. I could report that our delegates benefitted greatly from the experience, but perhaps it is appropriate for me to hand over to them. Tom Greenwell, Dickson College: The 2010 AEU New Educator’s Conference was a busy but very rewarding weekend. Some of the country’s most prominent protagonists in education policy debates spoke to us and put their view on where we are heading. I enjoyed listening to ACARA’s Peter Hill talk about the National Curriculum, although he might not have felt the same way after some pretty tough questioning from AEU members!

It was interesting to hear Justine Ferrari, education writer for The Australian, even if her message was ultimately unconvincing. Despite professing her commitment to improved outcomes for disadvantaged kids, she rejected suggestions that a fairer funding system might help. That would just be throwing money at the problem, you see! On a more positive note, hearing ACTU President, Ged Kearney, and our very own AEU President, Angelo Gavrielatos talk about the importance of unionism was truly inspiring. As well as the various presentations, one of the best parts of the weekend was the opportunity to meet fellow teachers and unionists from all over the country and New Zealand. Hearing about the experiences of delegates from as far away as Weipa in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Walgett in North-West NSW really reinforced what a great profession teaching is – and also how important our Union is across the country. Likewise, it was great to share some ideas and great laughs with Jane and the other delegates. Thanks to Glenn for looking after us over the weekend and also to Teachers Health for supporting our attendance at the Conference. Jane Barrett, Lanyon High School The Inaugural National AEU New Educators Conference was action packed with guest speakers, lively debates and good old fashioned socialising. Peter Hill made a number of insightful comments

Photo: Jane Barrett, Glenn Fowler and Tom Greenwell

about how the National Curriculum can be implemented over the next few years. Yes years, not weeks as some delegates had previously been advised! The opportunity to engage with New Educators from many and varied schools was eye-opening. Whilst we are vastly separated in geographical terms, it was interesting to note that there are always important similarities between New Educators. The experiences we share and the battles we face are often paralleled across State and national borders. I had long conversations about the need for support within schools and how the union can assist with this process. On that note, I was again impressed with the work that the union movement undertakes across the country and the unique challenges and hard work of the ACT Branch. We may be small but we can achieve so much when we put our minds to it. Thanks to Glenn and Tom for sharing their ideas and jokes [however lame] with me over the weekend. I look forward to similar opportunities in 2011.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 19

CIT ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS HAVE COMMENCED Semester 1 sees CIT staff and students caught in the midst of the perfect political storm. This storm includes, but is not limited to: • failure of the main Information Technology instrument resulting in extensive delays in enrolments, the inability to enter teaching program information and inability for students and teachers to access online learning. • cuts to Centre-based funding to reduce CIT’s budget deficit. • recommended amalgamation with University of Canberra by the Hawke Review. • the Federal education privatisation agenda, including increased contestable funding of TAFE education programs and enhanced commercialisation. • escalated corporatisation. • ongoing bullying and harassment claims by teachers. • closer cooperation with school and college-based Vocational Education and Training programs. Teachers could be forgiven for feeling stressed and anxious about the security of their positions and the ever-increasing workload and responsibilities being asked of them. The initial teacher enthusiasm generated at the 2011 Developing Us forum seems to have dissipated quickly in many Centres once the problems with enrolments and data entry processes became evident in early February. Cuts to Centre-Based Funding The 2011 year commenced with the news that CIT has issued directives for variable

reductions in Centre-based funding. These cuts are as the result of reduced income from commercial activities [eg international student enrolments] and the ACT Government’s efficiency dividend requirements. Workplace measures have already been instituted or are under consideration in order to meet these funding shortfalls. Clearly, there is little room to make further cuts to operational costs within most Centres as they have already been subjected to a “slow death by a thousand cuts” since 1997. This leaves managers with little option but to cut teaching and/or administrative contracts and possibly reduce the range of courses on offer to students. Any such cuts will inevitably impact on the workloads of remaining Band 1, 2 and 3 teachers, overtime arrangements and the employment of casual and contract staff. These cuts will have a significant impact on students, industry, the wider community and TAFE staff. The AEU once again condemns the ACT and Federal Governments for their failure to adequately fund public TAFE education. These recent cuts represent another attack on TAFE provision in the ACT. The ACT Minister for Education and Training, the Treasurer and the Chief Minister have, to date, been silent on the perennial question of improved funding for TAFE and justification for these cuts. The AEU has needed to remind CIT of its obligation to properly negotiate with the Union prior to instituting any workplace changes affecting teacher work, especially changes which may impact on workload and health and safety considerations. The AEU has requested that CIT place a moratorium on all proposed changes until the completion of this consultation.

Enterprise Agreement Negotiations In the midst of this chaos the AEU has commenced negotiating an Enterprise Agreement for CIT teaching staff as the current Agreement expires 30 June 2011. Members will be kept informed of the progress of these negotiations and are encouraged to provide recommendations for amendments to your work conditions and pay to your TAFE Council representatives. These suggestions may include strategies to offset any undesirable workplace changes or deleterious impacts on the quality of education delivery to students. Get Involved in Your Union Members are encouraged to attend AEU Sub-Branch meetings whenever possible. You can request copies of minutes of TAFE Council from your TAFE Council representatives. These minutes detail the concerns and issues raised by the entire membership across the CIT and the steps that the AEU takes to address these. The nomination of CIT TAFE Council representatives will commence in late March. Each CIT member will receive a copy of the notice and nomination form. Nominations for CIT Centre Sub-Branch Representatives and TAFE Women’s Contact Officers have closed. But you can still nominate for these positions by sending in an email with your name and the position you are taking up to You are encouraged to consider taking on an active representative role this year. It is important that your colleagues’ input on issues and concerns is provided to your EA negotiators. It is also important that

PAGE 20 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

Continued next page

TAFE VP TRACEY DODIMEAD - TAFE Branch Vice President Welcome back to the new teaching year for 2011. It will not be of any surprise to members that there’s been an outpouring of frustration and anxiety around the failed rollout of Banner 8 [like DET’s MAZE program]. The very basic level of administration has led to a disorganised start to the semester with teaching requirements not able to be met by Banner 8’s complete shutdowns. Members have stated they could not process enrolments, print out class rosters, attach teaching loads or link students to CIT’s new e-learn – the online access to teaching information. In addition, the delays experienced in creating and/or attaching teachers’ CRNs [Course Reference Numbers] have individually taken in excess of 45 minutes to complete. Many teachers across CIT have twenty or more CRNs each semester and this arduous process has caused extreme anxiety and exhaustion for teaching staff. This problem has also deflected teachers from their main

the AEU office is kept updated with any changes to your representatives if they occur. Please call Mike Fitzgerald on 6272-7900 if you wish to discuss the representative roles in the AEU for 2011. All members are encouraged to actively recruit new members to our Union, particularly as this is an EA negotiation year, to ensure a strong voice in favour of improved pay and conditions. Membership forms are located on the AEU website and in the latter pages of this journal. Strength of the Union CIT has faced many crises in the past which have resulted in significant

work; preparation of learning materials and dealing with individual students. Members are asking the legitimate question, “Why was this system rolled out at the beginning of the semester without confirmation Banner 8 could work as intended?” As this goes to print, teachers still did not have class rosters or in fact even know which students have enrolled. The postponement of the March graduation was one of the many casualties of this faulty system. It is very clear that the cost cutting measures by CIT have significantly impacted on the teachers and students. Members have raised concerns with AEU officers which include: • Establishment of much larger class sizes, regardless of OH&S concerns and the unique needs of the student cohort; • A lack of adequate teaching and administrative resources;

changes to the workplace and members have survived these changes principally through providing strong mutual support for each other through difficult times. AEU membership and active Sub-Branch and/or TAFE Council representation are effective tools for providing this support and for ensuring your workplace rights are protected. Some workplace rights which are enshrined in the CIT Teachers Enterprise Agreement 2009-2011 [EA] include: • Minimum attendance at CIT for full time staff is 30 hours per week [prorata for part-time]. There is NO clause in the EA which states that teachers should attend CIT for a

• An expectation that teachers provide business opportunities without adequate administrative support to perform the many extra duties; • Expectations to develop e-learn courses and resources. Clearly, it is unreasonable to increase the impediments to teacher performance whilst expecting to maintain excellence in education outcomes. Many temporary members are now spending in excess of 50 hours a week undertaking all of their teaching requirements with the hope they will receive a long term contract or permanency in order to gain job security. The catch phrase of 2009-2010 of “WorkLife Balance” is no longer possible when there is no job security for teaching staff. Members should note that one definition of “harassment” is to wear out; exhaust. It is time to be very clear with CIT management that enough is enough.

Tracey Dodimead - 6207-3137

minimum of 36.75 hours/week. Such rumours are just that; rumours. • How teaching work and duties other than teaching are to be identified. • Teachers have the right to request that any teaching workload arrangements, agreed with supervisors, are provided in writing prior to the teacher completing the work. The AEU recommends such action in relation to teaching schedules and other roles involving overtime arrangements, teaching reduction for coordination or other work.

Mike Fitzgerald - CIT/VETiS Organiser

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 21

Despite the hard won gains we have made for women and girls over the years, discrimination on the basis of gender remains a major concern of teacher unions across the world, many of whom were represented at Education International’s First World Women’s Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, 19 – 23 January 2011. In the centenary year of International Women’s Day, 400 women from education unions representing 90 countries attended the Conference. The Australian delegation was wellrepresented and was headed by Susan Hopgood, EI President [and our first woman AEU Federal Secretary]. Ms Hopgood, speaking to the opening session, emphasised that “teacher trade unions believing in social justice and solidarity have a role to play to achieve gender equality”. She said that “engaging boys and men is essential to our progress,” and praised the “effectiveness of women’s networks.” We heard in plenary sessions and workshops of the contemporary reality for the world’s women and girls and the ways in which women and girls continue

to be treated as second class citizens in many countries. UN Reports outline that while women perform 70% of the world’s work, they only earn 10% of global income and own just 1% of the world’s property. Women represent two-thirds of all illiterate adults. Worldwide, over 200 million children are forced to work in fields, factories and as domestics, and are abused and exploited. Girls account for the majority of the 72 million children out of school. The global differences were stark with African women delegates talking about the tragedy of 11 year olds being the head of HIV-decimated families across their countries. Women from the old Soviet bloc countries spoke about the problem of population flow out of their economies and the terrible effects of trafficking of women and girls. The UN’s Global Monitoring Report for 2010 estimates that USD $16billion a year is needed to meet the goal of universal primary education for all by 2015. In more wealthy countries, the gender pay gap and the glass ceiling persists,

inhibiting women’s capacity to access top positions in the labour market. Female-dominated professions such as teaching and nursing still do not have pay equity with other professions that do comparable work, particularly those dominated by men. The gender pay gap is exacerbated when women take parental leave and are disadvantaged in seeking promotions. In Sweden, reports indicate positive educational achievements for girls but these seem to have come with a “mental health” cost as young women experience anxiety, lack of self esteem and depression. Such findings seem to mirror the Australian situation in many ways with young women experiencing additional pressures around their body which undermine their sense of self worth and can be manifested in body image disorders. This is one of a range of challenges as we work to improve the lives of many Australian young women. Violence against women remains a major problem across the world. Honour killings

PAGE 22 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

Continued next page

On the Move for Equality A World First for Education International Women! Cathy Smith, Branch Women’s Officer

trafficking of women, stalking and prostitution are common forms of physical, psychological and sexual violence. The delegates took part in the first world women’s EI Conference to share their experiences and discuss the state of progress towards equality for women. The outcomes of the women’s conference will inform EI’s work on gender in the years to come and provide a basis for discussion at EI’s 6th World Congress to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in July 2011. For more information and highlights, go to the Conference page on EI’s website: AEU Delegation Photo: L-R Back Row: Jan Eastman [EI Deputy General Secretary], Catherine Davis, Carolyn Clancy, Gillian Robertson, Mary Bluett, Darcel Russell, Susan Hopgood [EI President], Roselynne Anderson, Joan Lemaire, Bronwyn Croghan, Cassandra Brown, Leah Mertens, Correna Haythorpe. Front Row: Cathy Smith, Tish Champion, Meredith Peace, Anne Gisborne, Charmaine O’Sheades.

Centenary of International Women’s Day In 1911, International Women’s Day [IWD] was officially celebrated for the first time. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. International Women’s Day [IWD] is celebrated on 8 March each year. IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements, without regards for divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political. Make every day International Women’s Day and keep celebrations going throughout 2011! Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding. For information and resources go to:

ARE YOU A MUSIC TEACHER? Musical Director Wanted! Canberra Union Voices - “Singing for Justice”

The Canberra Union Voices [CUV] is a community choir, formed in 1994, which sings songs of justice and freedom at events in Canberra and surrounding districts. The current director is moving on after 16 years and so the choir is looking for a new musical director with the energy and commitment to take us to the next level. The position is casual for approximately 3-4 hours per week during school terms and some extra hours on weekends for performances. A full position description is available from Karen Cook or Andrew Blanckensee Inquiries: Karen 0410 663 895; Bronwyn 6258-8164; Julie 6249-6557; Tony 6291-1297 Please send your application to: or by COB Friday 25 March 2011.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 23


NAPLAN TESTING AEU member concerns over My School website vindicated by Senate Committee Report Late in 2010, an inquiry into the administration and reporting of NAPLAN testing by the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee concluded. Hundreds of individual AEU members and many schools made submissions. The Inquiry Report echoes many of the concerns expressed by AEU members about both NAPLAN and the My School website. The committee comprised three Liberal senators [Back, Cormann and Cash], two ALP senators [Marshall and Bilyk] and one Greens Senator [Hanson-Young]. The majority report accordingly reflected the position of the Liberal Senators. A minority report was produced by the two Labor Senators and one was also produced by Senator Hanson-Young for the Greens. Disturbingly, the majority report recommended an extension of NAPLAN testing to all years from 3-10. Needless to say, this will have significant impact on students and teachers if implemented and would make us one of the most tested nations in the world. The majority report strongly supports NAPLAN testing. It is, however, highly critical of the first iteration of the My School website, stating: On the weight of evidence received outlining numerous community concerns about the My School website, the committee majority cannot support the website in its current form. The problems outlined in this chapter are wide-ranging and a cause for serious concern. They

point to a substantial and justified lack of confidence in the website among the parent, teacher and wider community. The potential for this lack of confidence in My School to engulf the entire national literacy and numeracy assessment system, thereby compromising the benefits of NAPLAN tests themselves, is considerable. For this reason and in the interests of progressing the central aim of national literacy and numeracy testing – that is, improving educational outcomes for students – the committee majority concludes that the best way forward is to instigate, as a matter of priority, a comprehensive revision of the My School website. Other significant recommendations of the majority report include: • using NAPLAN as a trigger for assistance to schools performing below average • stopping the exclusion of special needs students • improving “like school” comparisons by using “student SES data” [ie parental education levels and income, rather than census districts] for all schools before the 2011 NAPLAN report

• that My School contain more contextual information about schools • that ACARA revise the My School test data to shift the focus from raw to value added measures of school performance. The majority report raises concerns that the My School website is leading users to draw mistaken conclusions about school and teacher performance. It also expresses concerns about the flawed nature of the ICSEA [Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage] measure, both the measure used in the first iteration of the site and the revised measure, about which it says there are still considerable concerns. The committee majority recognises the dangers of publication of “crudely designed schooling rankings by the media and other third parties” and supports submissions calling for “more rigorous protocols on reporting, accessing and using student data in order to prevent the media and other third parties from publishing league tables”. The minority report by the Labor Senators is perhaps more important as it is more likely to influence Government policy. Most significantly, the Labor minority report contains the following recommendation. Note that it refers to full disclosure of assets as well as income.

• that ACARA and Education Ministers through MCEECDYA examine ways “to mitigate the harm caused by simplistic and often distorted information published in newspaper league tables” • that ACARA identify ways in which to strengthen the relationship between NAPLAN and the National Curriculum

PAGE 23 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

Government senators recommend that in the interests of transparency, accountability and facilitating meaningful comparisons, the My School website capture full disclosure of financial assets. Those schools who do not agree to this requirement should not receive public funding.

Amongst other things the minority report also: • dissents from the majority recommendation to extend NAPLAN to Years 3-10 • otherwise more or less supports NAPLAN in its present form, including the use of NAPLAN to address disadvantage through the National Partnership Agreements • claims that NAPLAN is not a high stakes test, as it does not entail the same penalties to schools for poor performance

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• supports the use of NAPLAN by parents in a manner suggested by Gillard:

Photograph by Chhea Thao

Government Senators agree that apart from the uses at the system and school level, the information provided by NAPLAN via the My School website is acting as a useful tool for parents to engage directly in conversations with teachers and ask questions about what is happening in their school.


Sarah Hanson-Young for the Greens also produced her own minority report. It: • states that “The Australian Greens substantially agree with the findings and recommendations of the majority report”

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• also dissents with the majority recommendation of extending NAPLAN to years 3-10

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• otherwise supports NAPLAN - “The Australian Greens support the use of NAPLAN as a tool to identify the literacy and numeracy competency of students.”

The ACT Branch website has recently been revamped in order to be more user-friendly. The website still offers lots of useful information about AEU services, working conditions, salaries and AEU publications. We will continue to provide pages for particular members groups or issues such as Sub-Branch representatives, Women’s Focus, New Educators, Indigenous education issues and OH&S links.

• states that “The Greens remain sceptical about the value of the My School website”. The full report, including recommendations, is available at: www. naplan/report/report.pdf

Peter Job, AEU Federal Research Officer

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The home page more prominently displays a simplified Latest News section, AEU Campaigns and upcoming AEU Training. Two new features of the website are a search facility and a members-only section [under construction] which will enable us to place member-only information behind a secure wall of the site. Make us a “favourite”!

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 25


SAFE SCHOOLS Work has started to counteract homophobic abuse but more must be done At 2006 AEU Federal Conference, the Union created a national GLBTI policy. The AEU has since established a national GLBTI Working Party to progress the policy. From this, the AEU recently invited trainers from the National Education Association [one of the major education unions in the US] to run a training course for the working group and AEU officers on introducing a common approach to making schools safer for students who identify as GLBTI. Participants learned that a growing proportion of our students do not feel safe in our schools and that the education of these students is suffering. GLBTI: Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender & intersex.

In the last decade, work has started to counteract homophobic abuse in Australia including the training of teachers, the introduction in some States of inclusive policies in education, funding for community development projects, social support groups and alliances and the production of anti-homophobia resources. Despite these measures, new research has found that same sex attracted and gender questioning [SSAGQ] people still suffer high levels of verbal and physical homophobic abuse in the community and, in particular, at school. Dr Lynne Hillier of La Trobe University has released disturbing research into bullying of SSAGQ young people in Australia. Her research found that 61% of SSAGQ students she surveyed had experienced verbal abuse from their peers and 18% had been physically assaulted. SSAGQ: Same sex attracted and gender questioning. An umbrella term for the group of young people who responded to the survey.

Significantly, 80% of this abuse occurred on school grounds. Most of the young people surveyed said that there was no visible support for SSAGQ students at school. 69% of respondents reported other forms of homophobia. The most frequent forms of abuse were tolerating homophobic language [46%], social exclusion [39%] and humiliation [32%]. Less common forms were written abuse [14%] and graffiti [9%]. WTI3: The third national

La Trobe study on the sexual health University’s and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender research, questioning young people. Writing Studies have been conducted Themselves six years apart since 1998 and WTI3 is available In 3 [WTI3], at: the third au/ssay/assets/downloads/ WritingThemselvesin3_web_ such study sml.pdf conducted since 1998, found that it is more common for young men and gender-questioning young people to be the target of abuse than young women.

no support at school. Students hid at recess and lunch [18%] and/or did not use change rooms [16%] and toilets [9%]. Others dropped out of sport and other activities [13%] while 10% left their school to go to another school and some left school altogether [8%]. While a quarter of young people attended a school where they knew there was policy-based protection from homophobia and discrimination, almost a half of participants attended a school with no social or structural support features for sexual diversity. As many as 37% of young people described their school as homophobic or very homophobic overall. Disclosure, sex attracted: support and the Same An umbrella term key role of schools applied to young people to describe

The report found that homophobic abuse was associated with feeling unsafe, excessive drug use, self harm and suicide in young people. For more than half of the participants, homophobic abuse impacted on a range of aspects of schooling.

Most [97.5%] of individuals who the young people experience feelings of sexual attraction had disclosed to others of their own their same sex sex. This includes young people who are attractions to at exclusively homosexual least one person, in their orientation, a continuing trend bisexual, undecided to openness from young people, and heterosexual young previous Writing people who have these feelings at some time. Themselves In research in 1998 [82%] and 2004 [95%]. Support of family, friends and, to a lesser extent, professionals was shown to lessen the destructive impacts of homophobia.

Respondents Intersex: A general term reported not used for a variety of being able to conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or concentrate sexual anatomy that doesn’t in class [29%]; fit the typical definitions of female or male. missing classes [20%]; missing days at school [21%] and marks dropping [20%]. There is also a disturbingly severe impact on school career when young people felt they had

One in five respondents attended a school that they felt was, in the main, supportive or very supportive of their sexuality. A significant contribution to the mental health of SSAGQ young people was made by schools which had specific policies against homophobic abuse [not just antibullying and harassment policies], with students at these schools being generally less likely to self harm, demonstrating the importance of putting policy into practice.

Homophobic abuse impacts on health and schooling

PAGE 26 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

such as Victoria’s Supporting Sexual Diversity in Schools [DEECD, 2008] - schooling materials and teacher training programmes to address homophobic bullying, or Same-Sex Attracted Employees Policy [DEECD, 2010] [available at: default.htm]

Transgender: An umbrella term and, for some people, an identity term used to describe all kinds of people who sit outside the gender binary or whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. ransgender people may or may not feel the needs to access hormone therapy and/or surgery.

The report states that, “schools play an important role in the mental health of their students. If they do nothing, they will exacerbate mental ill health in their SSAGQ students by allowing homophobia to flourish. On the other hand, if they develop policies that protect students, advertise them to the school community, and put them into practice by supporting sexual diversity, they will improve the mental health of their SSAGQ students. No longer can schools argue that “letting things be” is a better option because “letting things be” is likely to mean that SSAGQ students’ rates of self harm and suicide attempts will increase. No school would want to have this as a legacy of its work.”

The ACT members of the GLBTI Working Party are currently developing an ACT Branch GLBTI Action Plan. As part of this, we hope to run workshops for members that will focus on creating safe schools for all students and staff, including those who identify as GLBTI, later in 2011. This may lead to the formation of a Safe Schools Coalition within our jurisdiction, similar to that created recently in Victoria. We are interested in your thoughts about the issues outlined in this article and are

Sexuality Education was not provided at all to 10% of participants, and when it was, only 15% found it useful. It was clear that quite conservative messages emphasising heterosexual sex and danger appear to be the norm in most Australian schools with a far smaller number providing messages inclusive of SSAGQ youth. This meant that the internet was the most important source of information. Young people were asked what they wanted from their school and the strongest theme [appearing in 40% of responses] was that they wanted changes made to the Sexuality Education delivered by their school so that it was more inclusive of same sex attraction and gender diversity.

The ACT Department of Education has policies on Countering Bullying, Harassment And Violence In ACT Public Schools [2007], Countering Sexual Harassment in ACT Public Schools [2007] and Providing Safe Schools P-12 [2007] and CIT has an Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy. Neither ACT DET nor CIT have any specific policies, guidelines or resources

seeking AEU members to assist in the development of the ACT Branch’s policies and actions. Please email Cathy Smith, Assistant to the Secretary - Professional or Luke Williams, teacher, Lyneham High. Addressing the harassment of GLBTI students and staff in schools creates safer and better schools for everyone.

Cathy Smith Luke Williams

Nominate as an AEU representative

Sexuality Education and Schools

Policies and Resources

Safe Schools Coalition Victoria: A partnership between Rainbow Network Victoria and the Foundation for Young Australians [FYA] as well as a coalition of schools and individuals dedicated to creating safer educational environments.

Here’s an opportunity for you to represent the views of AEU members on a committee, gain valuable experience and broaden your perspective of the ACT public education system.

• criteria for upgrading of status of school teachers within the service.

Vacancies exist on the following committees:

• adequacy and value of courses to meet such criteria.

Qualifications Committee [2 year appointment]

ACT School Sports Council [1 year appointment]

Chair: Michael Bateman, phone 62059202

Contact: Mark Sterland, phone 62059174

Meets on a needs basis outside of school hours.

Would suit those interested in PSSA or SSSA activities and school sports coordinators. Meets twice per term at 4.30pm on a Wednesday at Higgins Annex.

Note: This committee will be replaced by a sub-committee of the Teacher Quality Institute board when it is fully established. The purpose of the committee is to advise and make recommendations on the: • minimum school teacher qualifications requirement for entry into the Department. • validity of certain overseas school teacher qualifications. • status of qualifications awarded at the conclusion of school teacher training/ retraining courses. • consideration of previous work

experience as equivalent or relevant to teaching for incremental purposes.

The ACT Schools Sports Council is chartered by the ACT education providers to organise school sport on their behalf. ACT schools are divided into four zones in the Secondary Sector and seven in the Primary Sector, catering for 60,000 students across the ACT. For more information: www.schoolsportact.asn. au/index.html Applications including a brief CV [max 400 words] for any of the above positions should be sent to Cathy Smith or fax: 6273-1828 by COB Monday 28 March.

ACT Teacher • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 27


TIMOR-LESTE APHEDA - Union Aid Abroad is the overseas aide arm of the ACTU In 2001, soon after the nation had overwhelmingly voted for its independence, a small workshop in central Dili was buzzing with anticipation.

so huge. “But once we flew to Broome, I was more relaxed, because it was just a small workshop. [If] I am honest that before travelling to Broome, I don’t know how to use the lathe machine, but me and five of my colleagues learnt on it for three days”.

With funds from APHEDA donors, the Labour Advocacy Institute for East Timor [LAIFET] was holding some of its first carpentry training for unemployed and under-employed men in the area.

Returning to Timor-Leste, Clemente had only one goal in mind: “I started to think on how to develop my workshop and worked very hard for three years to purchase two big machines. I paid 50%, and with the help of Australian supporters, APHEDA covered the remaining costs for a heavy duty thicknesser and bandsaw.”

Clemente, now 43, was one of those men. Married with four daughters and a son, Clemente first heard about APHEDA through LAIFET. “I have learnt many things from APHEDA training projects which were funded through LAIFET”. He recalls his first order [five doors with frames, one window and four window frames] and where his first modest profits went: “I used the money to buy some power tools and daily needs”. These days, Clemente continues to run his successful and much expanded workshop, but also shares his skills working as LAIFET’s head trainer. So far, nearly 80 men have benefited from Clemente’s hard work – and the numbers continue to grow. Travelling to the districts, Clemente eats, sleeps and works with his colleagues, helping them to upgrade their skills and improve their incomes for themselves and their families. But he was never alone on his journey. Thanks to the efforts of a long-term APHEDA volunteer, the opportunity arose in 2004 for Clemente to join APHEDA on a Study Tour to Western Australian carpentry workshops. “I felt very shocked!” Clemente recalled. The workshops, the hardware stores and the equipment in Perth all seemed

I am so happy because APHEDA support us for the long term to increase our skill and capacity through training.” With the income he has earned, Clemente and his wife have built themselves a home, can now afford a motorbike for their children, and have sponsored Clemente’s youngest brother to finish his master’s degree in Indonesia. Clemente’s workshop currently hires three other men and creates quality products to order including furniture, Tais screens [room dividers made using the traditional Timorese weaving], doors, windows and computer desks. By Elisabeth de Araujo & Tanya Karilychuk

After a decade of working to develop his workshop and learn the finance and management skills needed in running his own business [programs taught through LAIFET and APHEDA], Clemente now receives orders from many different people and organisations [even other NGOs!]. “Recently, I got two orders from the government. The education department have asked me to make 200 school blackboards with the total payment of US$5,600, and the Finance Ministry has asked me to make 39 filing shelves, with the total payment of US$1,500. I am known as a good carpenter who can produce good quality pieces. My customers trust me 100%”. In a city where “everyone knows everyone”, it’s little wonder Clemente prizes his solid reputation as his greatest achievement.

BECOME A GLOBAL JUSTICE PARTNER: You can make a tax deductible monthly donation for as little as ten dollars a month or a one-off gift. Go to www. or contact 1800 888 674. Photo: An important part of Clementine’s training involves showing the men how to care for, and maintain, their equipment.

“It’s important that APHEDA continues to support people over the long term. I know that in the past other international aid agencies have set up carpenter’s workshops in the districts, but due to very short commitments, once they stop the support, the workshop also shuts down.

PAGE 28 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

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