PUBLIC EDUCATION VOICE JOURNAL OF THE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION UNION - ACT BRANCH • November 2012
Promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literacy
40 Brisbane Ave Barton ACT 2600 • P (02) 6272 7900 • F (02) 6273 1828 • www.aeuact.asn.au
ACT Principal’s Conference
New Legal Firm
From the Acting Secretary
Indigenous News: Page 6
Aboriginal and Torres
A View from the UK
Strait Islander News
2012 AEU Federal Women’s Conference 10
2012 AEU Federal Women’s Conference: Page 10
Focus on ESOs 40 Brisbane Avenue Barton ACT 2600 PO Box 3042 Manuka ACT 2603 Telephone: 02 6272-7900 Fax: 02 6273-1828 Email: email@example.com Website: www.aeuact.asn.au
Work Safety Member Profile
FROM THE ACTING BRANCH
REPORT FROM GLENN FOWLER
In the recent ACT election, the ACT Greens determined which major party governs the Territory for the next four years. Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury has reached an agreement with ACT Labor. Included in the agreement is a shared commitment to implement the recommendations of the Gonski review of education funding. The AEU did not envisage having to spend so much time talking about funding for public and private schools during this election period. The die was cast by the Canberra Liberals who joined their federal colleagues in defying the national momentum and refusing to back the Gonski recommendation to fund students based on need. They announced a plan to boost funding for private schools, including those already making multi-million dollar annual profits and having no appetite to reduce student fees, by $48 million over four years. Their pledges for public education were dwarfed by those of ACT Labor, which made significant announcements regarding capital upgrades, new facilities, specialist teachers and teacher support. For those who prioritise public education when they enter the polling booth, this election presented a clear choice. The year 2012 has provided numerous examples of what we can achieve collectively through our union. Early in the year we saw the fruits of our bargaining efforts in 2011. For teachers at CIT and assistants in schools we saw the implementation of Enterprise Agreements which protected the working conditions of members and retained key clauses that had been threatened. Teachers in schools enjoyed the largest salary increases in more than a decade and are seeing the roll-out of measures that improve the working lives of teachers – first year teacher support, better school counsellor provision, and more. Soon we will have Executive Teachers (Professional Practice) in our schools and accelerated incremental
progression for teachers not yet at the top of the scale. As the result of the recently completed principal structure review, we hope to see the complexity of schools and the work of principals better recognised. This is long overdue. To date, our schools funding campaign has been an enormous success. Courtesy of David Gonski’s historic report, and thanks in part to AEU members who gave him the evidence he needed, public school champions like the AEU should no longer be required to make the case that our current school funding arrangements are broken, with the outcomes being both unfair and unwise. The national interest is suffering, and the Gonski Report gives us a blueprint for the future. The logic of Gonski’s model is impenetrable and the national government has thrown its weight behind it. Now we need the states and territories to commit and, as we have done so before, we will ask every one of our members to do something small to make this happen. Stay tuned and stay active because Australia’s children depend on us. It has been a challenging year for a number of our preschool teachers and assistants with the phasing in of the National Quality Framework. Together, we managed to see off the practice of “unannounced visits” to classrooms, a phenomenon which no other teacher is expected to encounter. This win is an excellent example of union members working together to identify a problem and determine a strategy to solve it. The persistence of members has also been seen in teacher-librarian (TL) members working collectively and strategically to increase understanding of their crucial role in schools. After meeting with AEU officers to set goals and match them to strategies, we have seen TLs lobbying politicians, speaking to large groups of principals and having an opinion piece in The Canberra Times. Appreciation of their
role has increased and, as a direct result, ACT Labor went to the election with a policy designed to retain TLs in schools. Similar action has also been taken by school counsellors in recent times, and we are seeing other interest groups like EALD teachers and school leaders agitating for positive change. At the beginning of this year, the future of CIT was looking alarmingly unclear. A merger with UC had thankfully been rejected by the Government’s Steering Committee, but the proposal to create a third institution in “UCIT” remained on the table. In the public realm and behind closed doors, the AEU fiercely questioned the idea that the proposed benefits would outweigh the significant risks to CIT. By May, the proposal had been abandoned. Of course, that was not the only threat to the TAFE sector. Across the country, TAFE colleges and campuses are fighting for their very survival under cost-slashing state governments and a Federal Government that appears rather too unmoved by the looming carnage. TAFEs, including the CIT, will need the AEU as much as the AEU needs TAFE. In 2013, we must work together once again to build our TAFE membership (within permanent and casual ranks), increase our activism and fight hard for the future prosperity of our lighthouse public VET provider. I would like to register my appreciation for the significant contribution made by outgoing Branch Secretary Penny Gilmour to the AEU, both locally and nationally, over many years. The AEU wishes Penny well in the future. Finally, I wish all members the best for the next few busy weeks and over the Christmas period.
Glenn Fowler Acting Branch Secretary
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 1
NOVEMBER BRANCH COUNCIL BY PHIL RASMUS
The ACT election turned out to be very close - 8 ALP seats, 8 Liberal seats and the balance of power was with 1 Green, who made an agreement with ACT Labor. At the time of writing, it is unknown who the Education Minister will be. Rest assured that AEU officers will make the best of whatever the outcome might be and work with the new ACT government in the best interests of all members. You will be aware that the states, in conjunction with the federal government, are yet to all commit to funding the recommendations of the Gonski Review. The latest action in which members were invited to participate is the Do Your Block for Gonski activity, a painless exercise in which you could lobby your local neighbourhood about the appropriate funding of public education. I hope you participated in this valuable exercise in community action which took place in the week 10-17 November. You will be aware that there are several vacancies on the AEU-ACT Branch Executive. I encourage you to consider nominating for this opportunity to get involved in the management of your Union. I occasionally hear members grumbling the way the Union operates in some aspects and I often need to point out that, within the budgetary and staffing constraints under which the Union operates, all things are not necessarily possible. As a democratic organisation, the Union welcomes the opinions of members on a wide range of issues but runs with the views backed by the majority of members. This can
cause dissatisfaction amongst some individuals. If this has happened to you, consider nominating for Executive, which provides a forum for you to influence directly the policies of the Branch. Nominations close on 22 November. The nomination form is available at: www.aeuact.asn.au/ news/?news=162 It was with deep regret that Executive recently accepted the resignation of Penny Gilmour from the position of Branch Secretary. Many of you will know that Penny has been on leave for some time, recovering from a workplace injury. I hope as many of you as possible were able to join us on Thursday 15 November to farewell Penny to acknowledge the tremendous contribution she has made in the various positions she has held in the ACT Branch of the AEU, and prior to that in the NSW Teachers Federation.
November Branch Council: Saturday 24 November Reid CIT, J Block Theatre 9 -12pm It is essential that this meeting is quorate as the AEU-ACT 2013 Branch Budget must be debated and endorsed. Please arrive before 9am to ensure the meeting can commence on time. 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. This is your chance to have your say!
I hope that you will pace yourself through the very busy time between now and the end of the school year. Don’t forget to contact your Union Organisers if you feel that the workload expectations placed upon you are unreasonable. I wish you all the best for a safe and restful summer break when that finally comes around.
Phil Rasmus Branch President
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DATES FOR 2013! Public Education Day: Thursday 23 May Branch Council: March 23 May 25 June 22 August 17 September 21 October 26 November 23 TAFE Council: February 8 March 8 May 10 June 14 August 9 September 13 October 18 November 15 December 6 Journal Deadlines: February 25 May 27 August 19 October 28 The 2013 AEU Year Planner will be delivered to all workplaces by Friday 7 December 2012.
By Schools Organisers bill book and sascha colley
The Classroom Teacher Transfer Round has been an interesting experience for many this time as it was in two waves with the 23 ‘empowered’ schools leading off in August and the rest following in the ‘traditional’ round a month later. The AEU has been contacted by some aggrieved parties in the latter group alleging disadvantage caused by the division of the groups. However, generally the process seems to have functioned much as it always has with one or two glitches to address before all members have completed the shuffle.
an outcome that will work for both your workplace and yourself. It’s worth noting that all full time public sector workers who return to work after accessing maternity leave, primary caregiver leave or parental leave are entitled to work on a part time basis for a period of up to three years from the birth, adoption of a child or granting of parental responsibility of a foster child. If you believe the AEU office may be able to assist, read the relevant sections in the EA and contact us at 6272 7900 or by email through firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Those AEU members who submitted applications requesting Special Consideration in the Classroom Teacher Transfer Round (and who provided a copy to the AEU) may rest assured that Organisers advocated strongly on behalf of every one of you. At the time of writing we are unaware of the outcome of our efforts but we did receive a positive hearing from the panels.
Leave entitlements can often be a source of confusion for members as there can be myths that are perpetuated in workplaces. Recently questions have been asked about taking leave immediately before and/or after Stand Down (school holidays during the year) and whether an employee is paid over that period. Some people have been advised incorrectly by colleagues that they won’t be paid. If you take personal leave on both the last day of a term and the first day of the next term, you will be paid as long as you can provide the certificates to confirm the illness/es or injury/ies. If you experience the same continuing illness/ injury and have a medical certificate for the whole period including the Stand Down you will be paid out of your personal leave (as long as you have enough days in your personal leave balance). If you take leave on the last day of a term for one illness/ injury and then experience a different illness/injury on the first day of the next term and have two separate medical certificates then you will be paid normally for the stand-down period as you were
Any employees who wish to go part time should familiarise yourselves with the relevant Enterprise Agreement [go to www.aeuact.asn.au/working-conditions for the Schools Teaching Staff EA, CIT EA or ETD Public Service EA and find: “part time”]. Part time work arrangements are negotiated between the principal/manager and the employee. You cannot assume that you will succeed in achieving the specific work arrangement of your dreams any more than your principal/manager is able to deny you the opportunity to work part time because of the perceived inconvenience such new arrangements might cause. You negotiate the arrangements to achieve
‘fit for duty’. Personal leave will only be deducted for those days you were unwell. If you have no accrued personal leave left and you are ill on both the last day of one term and the first day of the following term then you will be recorded as being on personal leave without pay. Remember that Stand Down is NOT recreation/annual leave and that you could be called in to work during any Stand Down period if needed (but this is unlikely). It’s time to commence planning for Public Education Day 2013 so please add Thursday May 23, 2013 to your calendars. The public education events surrounding that date will be a part of the ACT Centenary Celebrations and we want to ensure that the community and the nation are made well aware of the wonderful role you and your colleagues fulfil on a daily basis. The music performances in the city will run as usual but there is room for many more schools to participate during that week so start preparing your choirs and bands now in anticipation. We also want your students’ art works from preschool to college and TAFE including ceramics, textiles, woodwork, photography, sketches and painting so please set aside the work that is being done now and throughout Term 1. Those works will become part of a month-long installation in the public libraries and elsewhere. Bill Book and Sascha Colley Schools’ Organisers
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 3
AEU PRINCIPALS’ CONFERENCE SHANE GORMAN
With the support of the AEU-ACT Branch, I was proud to attend the AEU Principals’ Conference in Melbourne in August. The one presentation that resonated most with me was presented by Bryan Goodwin, Vice President of communications, marketing and new business at Mid-continent Regional Education Laboratory (McREL) in Colorado, United States. Goodwin provided many inspiring take-home messages that were supported with evidence from the extensive research base of McREL: • Goodwin outlined a research project they conducted called ‘The Rapid Risers’. A group of students were identified as Rapid Risers through a Harvard test. Teachers were alerted to the presence of these students in their classrooms and asked to cater for them with extra extension and support. These students really grew academically at the suggested accelerated rate. It was then revealed that in fact there was no Harvard test! • Research revealed the importance of enhancing teacher quality as some studies show that the very best teachers can assist students in progressing the equivalent of 18 months in a school year. • To maximise engagement and lifelong learning we need to praise the effort as opposed to the intelligence. • Every teacher has turned a student around. We need to get them to share their strategies that led to success and name their next challenge. This will benefit students through the sharing of successful strategies, celebrating teacher achievements and building a culture of never giving up on any of our students. • The most powerful parts of a lesson are the goal setting (identifying the goal/ individual learning intention and the
success criteria) and the reflection time at the end of the lesson. We need to refocus on this because they tend to be the first things that drop off under time constraints. • H igh Expectations – Intrinsic motivation is way more powerful than extrinsic motivation. Goodwin outlined the work of Alfie Kohn (who writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting). Kohn draws upon hundreds of studies which he says “demonstrates that people actually do inferior work when they are enticed with money, grades, or other incentives. Programs that use rewards to change people’s behaviour are similarly ineffective over the long run. Promising goodies to children for good behaviour can never produce anything more than temporary obedience. In fact, the more we use artificial inducements to motivate people, the more they lose interest in what we’re bribing them to do. Rewards turn play into work, and work into drudgery”.
I would like to thank the AEU for providing me with this opportunity and commend particularly Bryan Goodwin as an excellent educational presenter.
Shane Gorman AEU-ACT Branch Representative – AEU National Principals’ Committee
There may be some profound lessons in this for our profession when we consider some of the bonus pay schemes being proposed for teachers! Colin Pidd (Director of BLTi - organisational transformation consulting, strategy implementation, leadership development and training and development) also presented. The take-away points from Pidd’s presentation were: • C ulture eats strategy for breakfast (you still need strategy BUT must have culture) • Leaders talk to people, not jobs • W e need to make the core business compelling with the story that gives us the reason to move towards the vision.
PAGE 4 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
Existing clients of Maurice Blackburn Recently the Union negotiated a new legal arrangement with the law firm Slater and Gordon. The details of this are provided in another article. However any member who has an existing arrangement with our previous lawyers Maurice Blackburn can continue it, if they wish. For example: • i f you have your Will kept by Maurice Blackburn they will continue to do so unless you request otherwise • i f you have negotiated a “No win- No fee” or some other arrangement with Maurice Blackburn for a particular case then that will remain in place unless you choose to cancel it. On the other hand, should a member wish to transfer an existing arrangement from Maurice Blackburn to Slater & Gordon, please contact the Union office on 6272 7900 and request a new legal referral.
NEW LEGAL FIRM The AEU-ACT Branch annually reviews its legal service agreement. After much deliberation, Branch Executive recently endorsed a new agreement with Slater & Gordon, a national law firm with an office in Canberra. This brings to a close a long and positive relationship with Maurice Blackburn (formerly Pamela Coward and Associates).
Rachael James from Slater & Gordon Lawyers explains the legal services that AEU members may access. Slater & Gordon is a national law firm committed to solving AEU members’ legal problems. Our wide range of services is designed to help you quickly access the right legal advice when you need it. Slater & Gordon’s lawyers have been helping people with their legal needs for 75 years and have acted in some of the most complex litigation in Australian legal history. Our reputation has been built around striving for the best outcome for each of our individual clients. The results we achieve are made possible by the depth of expertise offered by our team of more than 1000 staff across Australia. Our people are experts in all areas of negotiation and litigation. Many of our lawyers are recognised as Accredited Specialists. How do I access Legal Services? If you need legal assistance please contact the AEU-ACT Branch on 6272 7900 for a referral to one of our experienced lawyers. Slater & Gordon offers AEU members legal services in the following areas: Personal Injury Workers’ Compensation If you have been injured at work or developed a physical or psychological condition which has been caused or aggravated by work you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. All ACT Government employees are covered by the Commonwealth’s no fault statutory workers’ compensation scheme, often called the Comcare scheme. The Comcare scheme is complex and our Comcare lawyers understand the complexities of the scheme and, importantly,
are committed to exploring every avenue necessary to make sure you have the best chance of securing maximum benefits for your work injury claim. The best way to maximise your workers’ compensation claim benefits is to speak with one of our Comcare lawyers once you have a decision from Comcare indicating whether your claim has been accepted or denied. Our experienced team of lawyers is committed to achieving the best possible outcomes on behalf of AEU members. We will work with you to assess the circumstances of your claim and advise you of the legal options available to you. Motor vehicle accidents If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident you may be entitled to a range of compensation benefits. Early investigation and gathering of information is critical to the success of your claim. Slater & Gordon’s motor vehicle injury lawyers will ensure you get the best advice and service. This service is over and above the ACT Branch’s journey cover insurance for all members to cover work-related travel. Asbestos claims Slater & Gordon has a proud history of fighting for asbestos victims and winning. Our asbestos lawyers’ record of achievement for asbestos victims is unsurpassed. No other law firm can match our commitment to asbestos victims and our achievements won on their behalf over decades. Public liability If you have been injured as a result of another person’s negligence or wrong doing, our lawyers can advise you of your rights. Some of the most common types of claims handled by our public liability practice include recreational or sporting accidents, defective products, food poisoning and accidents in other public or private buildings and places. Superannuation & disability insurance claims If you are unable to work because of
illness or injury, you may be entitled to claim continuing benefits or a lump sum amount from an income protection or insurance policy. Many superannuation policies contain total and permanent disability cover insurance. These claims can be made in addition to other compensation rights you may have. Further legal services Commercial litigation & advisory Our lawyers can assist you in a range of areas including commercial dispute litigation, professional negligence, building and business disputes, financial services, franchising disputes, property law, shareholder rights and other general litigation. Employment & industrial law Our lawyers can assist with employment related issues in regards to claims for breach of contract, wrongful termination, unfair dismissal, unfair contracts, unpaid employer entitlements and discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Our employment and industrial team also has extensive experience in all types of legal and strategic matters, such as industrial disputes and litigation award, certified agreement negotiation and enforcement internal rules issues. Wills, probate & estate litigation Slater & Gordon’s wills, probate and estate litigation team has extensive expertise to advise you on wills and enduring powers of attorney, applications for probate, administration of deceased estates, including superannuation and death benefits and will disputes.
Conveyancing Slater & Gordon can assist if you are buying or selling a house, land or commercial premises.
AEU members wishing to discuss any matter of a legal nature should contact the AEU office on 6272 7900 to speak with an Organiser. A referral to Slater & Gordon may be arranged on your behalf.
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 5
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER
INDIGENOUS LITERACY DAY, 5 SEPTEMBER in the National Indigenous Times, 12 September, 2012).
L to R: Matthew Doyle, Larry Brandy and National Indigenous Times Editor Stephen Hagan
To celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day on 5 September, the Closing the Gap Literacy Excellence Project team coordinated a day at Tidbinbilla for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their friends from Namadgi School, Caroline Chisholm High School, Lanyon High School, Calwell High School and Wanniassa School. A number of prominent local and national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people shared their stories and experiences with the students on the day. These stories were about overcoming adversity, staying at school and demonstrating the profound life-long benefits which a love of reading and learning can instil. ACT Minister for Education and proud Kamilaroi man Dr Chris Bourke
generously gave of his time to share some stories from his family. He shared a story of his Aunt who endured horrid racism to complete High School in Wangaratta, Victoria. She went on to Geelong Teachers College in 1953 and was the first member of Dr Bourke’s family to achieve a tertiary education. It was her actions which inspired Dr Bourke’s father Colin, who became one of Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school principals. Minister Bourke recounted how a love of reading was impressed upon him from an early age. He said to the children present, “My message to you all here today is to appreciate the pleasures of reading and the inspiration you’ll get from the authors’ words.” (as reported
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Another prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who addressed students and facilitated a writer’s workshop was National Indigenous Times Editor Stephen Hagan. Stephen took up writing in 2004 and has had several works published, including: The N Word - One Man’s Stand (Magabala, 2005), Australia’s Blackest Sporting Moments - The Top 100 (Ngalga Warrulu, 2006) and Melly and the Bilby (co-authored with Susan Zela Bissett, Ngalga Warralu 2006). Stephen was awarded a “Deadly” in 2005 for The N Word, was 2006 NAIDOC Person of the Year and has been a recipient of numerous awards for the 2007 documentary Nigger Lovers which he co-wrote and produced (cited from Yarning Strong’s Ngalga Mathematics by Stephen Hagan, About the Author, 2011). Despite Stephen Hagan’s stellar career with many and varied achievements it was a humble message which he carried to the students of Tuggeranong: “I don’t consider myself special or smart but someone who fell in love with reading and of course writing. If I can do it as a child born on a fringe camp, so can you.” (National Indigenous Times, 12 September, 2012). Also present to help celebrate the day were cultural performers Matthew Doyle and Larry Brandy. Larry is well known to many in the local community and currently works supporting students and programs at the Tjabal Centre at the ANU. Students were also provided the opportunity to gain insight into the historical and traditional significance of Tidbinbilla from ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rangers. The
Literacy Excellence Project Team also presented resources to Gugan-Gulwan’s young mums and bubs group to be read and enjoyed by old and young alike. Celebrating Indigenous Literacy Day as a whole cluster of schools was a very positive experience for all involved and a first in the ACT. The calibre of Aboriginal presenters helped to ensure it was a memorable day for all students, teachers, parents and community members present. Reflecting on the day, Project Manager Bea Hale said, “This was the first time we’ve run activities for our Indigenous students on Indigenous Literacy Day and the positive responses we’ve received from those who participated. I am confident in saying it won’t be our last time”. (National Indigenous Times, 12 September, 2012). Bea Hale, Jenny Dries and Daniel Greene
ETD Closing the Gap Literacy Excellence Project Team
Larry Brandy from ANU’s Tjabal Centre with students
AEU 2012 Arthur Hamilton Award – nominations close Friday 23 November This award is about recognising and rewarding those AEU members who demonstrate a particular commitment to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have the right to high quality public education throughout their lives. If you know an AEU member who deserves recognition, you are encouraged to nominate them for the AEU’s Annual Arthur Hamilton Award! The AEU is dedicated to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have local access to a free, publicly funded education system, which affirms cultural identity, and enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to contribute to,
and participate in, their own, and broader society. The Arthur Hamilton Award is one way of recognising the excellent work of AEU members in this area. Nominations for the 2012 Arthur Hamilton Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education close on Friday 23 November 2012. The nomination form is available at www. aeufederal.org.au/Atsi/2012AHnomform.pdf or contact the AEU Federal Office on phone (03) 9693 1800, fax (03) 9693 1805 or email email@example.com.
pressing the tab button on the keyboard to move to the correct field. All AEU members are encouraged to nominate a worthy recipient of this award and circulate information to others. The winner will be awarded a certificate and $1,000 prize at the AEU Annual Federal Conference, in Melbourne, in February 2013. For more information about past winners of the award, visit the AEU website www.aeufederal.org.au/Atsi/ahamilton.html
The nomination form can be completed electronically, by saving the document, and
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 7
A VIEW FROM
THE UK BY ROBERT CROSBY
Robert Crosby is an active trade unionist, campaigner and Labour Party member who lives in Nottingham, United Kingdom. Robert describes the current political landscape in the UK, particularly focusing on the market-driven, autonomous approach to education, much of which will sound familiar to AEU members. But as Robert explains, a community-based campaign is taking up the fight. Fraternal greetings to AEU members in the ACT! I am currently working towards completion of some postgraduate research work concerned with trade union law in the UK and elsewhere. The most revealing discovery has been the extent to which the legislation introduced under Tony Blair was influenced by what went on in Australia during the ALP premierships of Messers Hawke and Keating. During the Labour years, much of the talk in our politics was about the importance of ‘The Third Way’. Academics argue that ‘The Third Way’ has been all about attempts by political parties of the centre-left to combine their traditional values of social justice with more emphasis on personal responsibility and economic competence. Sadly, it seems that the Blair government considered what they believe most Labour supporters thought about things, and then considered the position of people within the (right-wing) Conservative Party and big business before then cosily taking up a position somewhere roughly in the middle. With Labour’s defeat in 2010 and the accession of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition pursuing a wrecking agenda in education and other
public services, the state of our domestic politics now is in a new phase. You will find very few who believe that the ‘Third Way’ disciples have anything to offer embattled public sector workers and other groups facing an onslaught from a “slash and burn” administration glorying in its austerity agenda. Public amenities, including our schools, are under attack. Private profit-seekers sit waiting like vultures to pick over our services for their own gain. I am especially interested in education. My dad taught for many years in the UK, but he also had a short spell in Sydney (at Macquarie Boys High School) in the mid-1960s. Trade unionism, education and Australia (I’ve visited three times) have all been recurring themes in my life. Ultimately, I decided against going into teaching, largely because of the ever-increasing and irrational pressure that politicians and some parents have sought to exert on teachers. However, I have continued to support teachers as best I can, both as a school governor and a campaigner. Conservative politicians in the UK have made concerted attempts to undermine and de-stabilise state schools over decades. The strength of our local authority model has been that local councils, democratically accountable to local voters, have been able to coordinate and plan a range of services to benefit all of the community. The Thatcher government reduced the role of local government in our schools and discouraged co-operation between schools. Ministers were determined that competition and the free market should reign supreme and the next step was to
introduce SATs tests (similar to NAPLAN tests) simply to offer a simplistic and often unfair measure of schools’ so-called academic success ratings. One of the saddest things has been that so many in the Labour Party have also had their heads turned by the business lobby and focus groups to the point where they have, over time, embraced the Thatcherite agenda. You may already be aware that Prime Minister David Cameron’s government is now visiting a completely nonsensical and ideologically-driven “re-organisation” of schools here. This essentially involves the removal of public schools from local council control, often with real (or imagined) short-term financial inducements. This is sometimes done through the inexplicable use of the law to enforce the whims and cravings of Michael Gove (Cameron’s confrontational and dogmatic Education Secretary) and always with specious arguments. Politicians of both main parties have conspired to promote (or at least not challenge) a league table mentality amongst headmasters, governing bodies and parents. Heads’ careers and schools’ reputations seem to be increasingly founded on examination performance to the exclusion of everything else. Schools have been set against each other and the market has begun to take hold in our state schools. Gove’s largely autonomous academies are designed to further fragment our school system, reduce accountability through the severance of links with local councils and undermine national pay and conditions agreements. They do not have to follow the National Curriculum and they are being encouraged to employ non-qualified
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teachers. They also involve the handover of millions of pounds worth of land and buildings to trusts and entrepreneurs after a quick buck (showing that they haven’t learned any lessons in economic management following the global financial crash). It is proving to be a lucrative business for directors of private providers who realise that they can make huge profits for their companies and draw big salaries for themselves, all at the expense of schools. Thankfully, we have a network of local groups that together have formed the Anti-Academies Alliance, a campaign with membership drawn from unions, parents, pupils, teachers, local councillors and some (almost exclusively Labour) Members of Parliament. The Alliance opposes the creation of academies for all AEU Plastic Cards 1314.indd 1 of the reasons outlined above, presses for the removal of market ideals from state education and argues instead for ‘a good school for every child’. We are already beginning to discover examples of The AEU will 4be sending out new 2 ndd financial impropriety in some academies. 131 .i Cards c ti s membership cards to all members Pla AEU There is evidence that some directors before the end of 2012. These will be of academy groups have been using delivered to Sub-Branch Secretaries or, management fees that they draw from in the absence of a Sub-Branch rep, the school budgets to fund expensive global AEU Contact Person at your workplace. air travel. There have also been examples Look out for either a box or yellow of headmasters being suspended and envelope delivered via the union mail sacked for offences including misuse drop to your front office. of budgets to purchase personal items and employment of family members on Will you need to change your details spurious grounds. It wasn’t difficult to in 2013? foresee. • Different workplace or home If current Australian polling proves to address? be reliable then the fight will certainly be on to ensure that we maintain • Going part-time or increasing public education to the standard that to full-time? communities in both Australia and the UK • Being promoted? deserve.
9/08/12 1:44 P M
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• R eturning to work after being on Leave Without Pay? • I ncreasing the number of casual relief days per week that you will work? The AEU Office won’t know unless you tell us! Unless you are paying your membership dues at the correct rate, you may not be a financial member and therefore not covered for all AEU services. Go to: www.aeuact.asn.au/ membership/change-of-details.html for a quick and easy way to update your membership details or phone Michelle or Tracey on 6272 7900.
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 9
2012 AEU FEDERAL WOMEN’S
L-R: Julia Chere-Masopha, Jennifer Hurley, Ella Hungerford-Sheaves, Fiona McKinnon, Alison Moore, Cathy Smith This year’s conference theme, Activism and Leadership: it is our future, prompted participants to think about how we can maximise women’s career opportunities in education and increase their participation in our union. The 2012 Federal Women’s Conference was held on Saturday/Sunday, 6 & 7 October at the AEU Federal Office conference centre in Melbourne. ACT Branch Executive endorsed the attendance of Julia Chere-Masopha (Melba-Copland Secondary School), Ella Hungerford-Sheaves (Red Hill Primary School), Alison Moore (Turner Preschool) and Fiona McKinnon (School Counselors Sub-Branch). Women’s Officer Cathy Smith and TAFE Women’s Committee representative Jennifer Hurley also attended the conference. The Conference workshops built the skills necessary to continue women’s participation at all levels of the AEU and encouraged women into leadership positions in education.
The four workshops were: 1. Organising – activism and leadership 2. Women in Leadership Development 3. Recruitment, Engagement and Mentoring New Activists 4. C ourage and Persistence – Federal Campaigns There were three inspiring panels throughout the weekend conference: one on Supporting Women’s Activism and Leadership, one on Domestic Violence Prevention and the final one on Future Feminist Leadership. Professor Suzanne Franzway, Women’s Studies, University of SA, discussed her book Making Feminist Politics and the 2012 Rosemary Richards Scholarship recipient Terri Quinlan, NSW TAFE teacher, presented her activities to Conference. Each ACT delegate reports on a particular aspect of the conference which resonated with them.
A Newcomer’s Perspective Julia Chere-Masopha, Melba-Copland Secondary School The 2012 AEU Federal Conference for Women in Melbourne was quite enlightening for someone who has never attended such forums before. The conference did not fall short of my expectations. It addressed issues confronting women in the modern workplace, particularly in the educational setting. First the conference brought to participants’ attention how discrimination against women in the modern workplace could be camouflaged in many ways, including paying low wages and salaries for jobs in the sectors which are mainly dominated by women workers; undermining women who are in leadership roles and deeming them incompetent; and discriminating against women on the basis of their cultural background ethnicity, disability, or sexuality. The conference highlighted the role of the union in tackling such issues and promoting social justice for women. It also pointed out a need to use effective strategies in recruiting women as new activists and training those who aspire to leadership roles in the union. There were also guests from other unions who presented some of their successful campaigning stories. In particular, I found the talk on “Making Feminist Politics” by Professor Franzway (Women’s Studies, University of South Australia) interesting. Overall, this was a well-organised, very informative and enlightening conference for newcomers in the Union. Women in Leadership Development Fiona McKinnon, School Counsellors Sub-Branch Attending the AEU Women’s “Activism and Leadership: it’s our future” conference was an amazing experience. I had always appreciated the democratic processes of each Branch Council. Seeing the finely tuned processes in a bigger forum confirmed that the Union truly is representative of its members. I attended the Women in Leadership Development (WILD) workshop, a relatively new initiative by the Union. WILD’s purpose is to “improve
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the skills and knowledge of active women members in the AEU to confidently take on leadership roles within the AEU”. Four face-toface training days, mentoring and shadowing are the basis of the program. The value from the workshops attended by a diverse range of professionals within education (psychologists, principals, teachers) provided opportunities for women to be supported (funds for release, travel, accommodation etc from the South Australian and West Australian Branches, where the program currently runs), have follow-up interactive learning on Skype and the establishment of an online learning community on Moodle. Overall, a majority of the participants rated different aspects of the program higher than average. WILD is a worthwhile program that could be of value to ACT women who do not have the difficulties of distance as SA and WA colleagues experience. I recommend nominating for future AEU Women’s Conferences. Recruitment, Engagement and New Activists Alison Moore, Turner School Early Childhood Centre I attended a workshop on activism and how we as a union can get members interested in promoting and working on issues. All of the members at the workshop had been motivated by targeted training or issues that affected them (pay and conditions, site specific OH&S issues). Much of the discussion looked at what assisted or inhibited us from being more active in the union or accessing union training. Many of us brought up time constraints, family or cultural issues as reasons why they were more or less active at different times throughout their careers. The need for more women-only training, particularly training that develops mentoring, leadership and activism skills, was discussed and ways of addressing some of the inhibitors found. As a group we agreed on the need for more flexible training options and discussed whether the provision of child care for meetings and training would enable more women to attend. We also encouraged each
other to assess where and when we held meetings and how this affected members’ attendance. Overall there was consensus that as union members we need to support, encourage and promote voices from all areas of the union. Gender Injustice is Still Prevalent Ella Hungerford Sheaves, Red Hill Primary School ‘Destroy the Joint!’, ‘I’m pissed!’, ‘Feminism by stealth’, ‘Health in every size.’ These four phrases resounded with me long after I walked out the doors of the 2012 AEU Federal Women’s conference. Equity is a popular discourse in our society, yet gender injustice is still prevalent. So what do we do about it? March under a feminist banner; get ‘pissed’ off; and ‘destroy the joint’ (thank you Alan Jones, what an empowering phrase, search for this phrase on facebook). If that doesn’t work there’s always ‘feminism by stealth’, a subtle reframing of your desired purpose intended to lobby the reactionary type of person into your way of thinking. If you hear the word ‘feminist’ and don’t feel empowered you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to, or meeting: Karen Pickering (organiser of SlutWalk Melbourne and creator/host Cherchez La Femme); Khadija Gbla (feminist, inspirational speaker, cross cultural advocate and Young Australian of the Year Finalist); Lydia Jade Turner (Clinical Director and feminist activist at BodyMatters Australasia) or our very own Catherine Davis (AEU Federal Women’s Officer). These young women inspire, empower and are generating a new wave of feminism in order to effect change and bring about social justice. So what does the term ‘feminism’ mean to you and what are you going to do about it? Courage and Persistence Jennifer Hurley, TAFE Women’s Committee Rep The recent and successful Equal Pay campaign and case taught the Australian Services Union, another female dominated union, that their
members and activists had to show “courage” and “perseverance” to win. Current AEU campaigns critically need strong, active women and the enduring need for courage and persistence is now stronger than ever. Firstly there is the “I Give a Gonski” Campaign. The recent Gonski review of education recommended a $5 billion a year injection of funding into schools that most need it. Another campaign is the “Invest in Quality, Invest in TAFE” campaign. A new National Partnership will lock future generations of Australian students into debt through Income Contingent Loans, and will facilitate state governments privatising their TAFE systems in the same way as Victoria. This will shift VET funding away from governments and onto individuals. A third campaign is the Indigenous Education campaign where education is valued as the key instrument for creating an informed community with intellectual and technological skills which are in harmony with Aboriginal and Torres Strait cultural values and identity. The three campaigns highlight substantial and different areas of concern for women members to become active in support of their own learning and career opportunities, as well as opportunities for the next generation of women educators and leaders.
AEU Women’s Network Meeting Thursday 22 November, 4-5.30pm Level 2, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton Drinks and nibbles served RSVP: ph. 6272 7900
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FOCUS By Cathy Smith, Assistant to the Secretary – Professional b) S taff in the Directorate or access to other services that can help us to resolve issues; and c) I nformation – via phone, the AEU ACT website, the Public Education Voice and regular email updates that are distributed to members.
L-R: Sascha Colley (AEU Schools Organiser), Lana Read (Principal, Macgregor PS), Michelle Maier (School Leader C, Chapman PS), Wendy Cave (Principal, Macquarie PS), Diane Joseph (ETD Director General), Olivia Neilson and Cathy Smith at the AEU Women In Leadership Forum.
2012 Anna Stewart Program Olivia Neilson is the Teacher Librarian and AEU Sub-Branch Secretary at Campbell Primary School. She has been a member of the AEU since she started teaching 14 years ago. Olivia describes her experience as the 2012 Anna Stewart Program Officer. In September I spent a week in the AEU office as the Anna Stewart Officer. I applied for this program as I wanted to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the AEU-ACT office. While I have been a member of the AEU and held Sub-Branch Executive positions since I started teaching in 1999, I haven’t really felt I’ve had a proper handle on exactly how the AEU officers go about their daily work or how the AEU fits into the bigger picture of union action nationally.
A critical understanding I’ve now gained through the Anna Stewart Program is that unions and their staff are not here to solve our problems for us; they are here to help us solve our own problems. In essence, they do for us what we do for students every day – provide scaffolding to empower people to become independent. In the case of union members, this relates to members’ ability to independently deal with workplace challenges. AEU staff support members by providing information, advice, support and guidance to assist us to tackle issues that arise in our workplaces. They provide critical links for members, connecting us with: a) O ther members experiencing similar issues (and facilitating action around these matters);
I think that we in schools and at CIT need to be more aware of how we can improve the functioning of our Sub-Branches to better support one another. I think it’s we can become complacent about the important role that we as individual members can play in furthering the interest of educators as a collective. We are extremely busy people, worn by the demands placed on us from so many stakeholders – our students, their parents, the needs of the school as a whole and initiatives imposed at a system and federal level. Not to mention balancing all of this with our own needs and those of our families! We invest so much of ourselves in the work that we do, it is easy for us to feel overwhelmed when we’re asked to do or even just monitor one more thing. But by sharing the load and supporting each other, things become that much easier. Reflecting on our own Sub-Branch operations, we can ask ourselves questions such as: • D o you inform the AEU office to keep them in the loop about what is happening at your Sub-Branch so that they can monitor concerns across workplaces? • D o Sub-Branch Executive members regularly touch base with all members to see how people are travelling? • D o you have Sub-Branch meetings when common issues become apparent, to discuss what is happening and develop a plan of action? • I s your Sub-Branch represented at Branch Council meetings and do Councilors report back to the Sub-Branch membership to share what was discussed?
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• Are you actively promoting the work of your union to help recruit new members? Being a member of a union is more than expecting that everyone else will “do it for us”. We all have a role to play in supporting one another and in effecting change when we see something happening at work that isn’t working or that we feel is wrong. Luckily for us we can be secure in the knowledge that we have the expertise of the AEU officers at hand should we need a little help along the way.
Olivia Neilson 2012 Anna Stewart Program Officer The AEU-ACT Branch Anna Stewart Program aims to: • facilitate the greater involvement of women in the AEU and to encourage women to stand for representative positions or to seek jobs within the AEU • support and encourage women’s participation in all aspects of the AEU’s structures • promote greater awareness within the AEU of the needs of female members and the important contribution women can make to the development and growth of the AEU • promote women’s understanding of the day-to-day operations of the AEU and further their knowledge of the work of the union • facilitate a greater understanding of the industrial and professional issues confronting women in the AEU. AEU women are encouraged to apply for next year’s program, which has been expanded to enable two women members to benefit from this week-long work-shadowing experience. Casual relief costs are funded by the union. The AEU Anna Stewart Program will be advertised in Term 2, 2013.
Provisions for Nursing Mothers The AEU Federal Women Working in Education Policy states that:
The AEU is supportive of the ability for employees to continue to breastfeed once back at work following the birth of a child. There are clear health reasons why breastfeeding should be supported and encouraged for working mothers. Breastfeeding is encouraged for as long as possible as this benefits both the child and mother. Though breastfeeding new-born babies is time-consuming, involving 8-12 hours feeding time for each 24 hours, the number and duration of feeds tends to reduce at around 2 months.
AEU Policy outlines expectations for lactation facilities: Employees should be able to access Lactation Breaks and appropriate Lactation Facilities which include:
• A clean, private, lockable area that is safe from hazardous waste and chemicals with comfortable seating and power points. • F acilities for washing hands and equipment and storage of equipment. • A refrigerator for storage of breast milk. • I nformation is made available in the workplace and provided to all employees who apply for maternity leave.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) recommends that each workplace develop, implement and communicate All Enterprise Agreements state: a simple Breastfeeding Policy which • E mployees who are breastfeeding will be outlines the rationale and procedures for meeting the needs of breastfeeding provided with the facilities and support employees (including time, facilities, necessary to enable such employees support and information). The ABA can to combine a continuation of such provide guidance to managers/principals breastfeeding with the employee’s about how to develop and implement such employment. a policy that is specific to your workplace. • W here practicable the employer [ETD or More information can be found at: CIT] will establish and maintain a room for www.breastfeedingfriendly.com.au nursing mothers. Where there is no room available another appropriate space may be used. • U p to one hour per day paid lactation breaks will be available for nursing mothers. This one hour break may be taken in one session or broken up into two (or more) sessions. Nursing mothers may breastfeed on-site and must be provided with a clean, private place to do this or mothers may leave the worksite to go to the child (at child care, for example).
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ACHIEVEMENTS UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA HIGH SCHOOL KALEEN learning and/or positive vocational pathways. Other Beacon Foundation initiatives focus on teaching networking techniques and building employability skills.
UC Kaleen High School students at a Beacon Signing Ceremony. Every public school and TAFE centre implements great programs for the benefit of all students. In this edition of Public Education Voice, we feature the diverse range of programs, including those linked with the University of Canberra, which are on offer at UC High School Kaleen. At University of Canberra High School Kaleen (UC High School Kaleen), our values are “Respect, Diligence and Commitment”. We are committed to building positive relationships, delivering quality programs and fostering a pride in our school. UC High School Kaleen enjoys unique links to the University of Canberra that provide a wide range of educational opportunities for all members of the school community. The High School is an inclusive school incorporating a Learning Support Unit and a Learning Support (Autism) unit and offering a broad educational program to students from Kaleen, Giralang, McKellar and neighbouring suburbs in North Canberra. The school’s mission is to cater for the needs of individual students in a safe and supportive environment that focuses on improving educational and personal outcomes. Our diverse pedagogy supports programs to help students identify and move toward pathways which will underpin their future success. The core values of the school are exemplified in the UC High School Kaleen’s use of restorative justice methodologies in the management of
students. The school’s vision is to establish itself as a centre of excellence in North Canberra for the teaching of the Japanese language, as well as a hub for the performing arts. Our broad curriculum caters for the differing needs of students through the provision of a core schedule of English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education and Studies of Society and the Environment. The elective curriculum provides for student choice in the areas of Performing Arts, Japanese, Agriculture, Visual Arts, Industrial Design and Outdoor Education. A unique feature of the school is that it works closely with the wider community. UC High School Kaleen forms partnerships with a diverse range of community organisations to support the schools commitment to student academic and vocational pathways. Individualised WEX programs (work experience) come about with great support from local businesses, and the community-run Model Railway Club operating within the school premises involves a core group of very dedicated students. The Beacon Foundation has become an important and iconoclastic part of school culture, creating a Future Directions Charter at UC High School with Year 10 students annually signing a contract in front of the broader school community, in which they commit themselves to engaging in continued
Of particular note is the enrichment program, Link to Experts, which extends students with particular interests by linking them to experts in the community. This program makes strong use of the school’s institutional links to experts at the University of Canberra. Our partnerships with the University of Canberra and the University of Canberra Senior Secondary College Lake Ginninderra allow us to offer our students programs, opportunities and recognised pathways to further learning that are unique to the ACT system. Our collaboration with the University of Canberra has created an opportunity for both institutions to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship through initiatives such as UC Study for Success - teaching useful study skills, an Aspirations Program designed to inform students that tertiary study is not just for the elite, and in particular an Undergraduate Mentoring Program which currently provides Pre-Service teachers to work one-on-one with UC High School Kaleen students on a Reading Program. Children identified as benefitting from further support are recommended for the UCAN Reading Program which dovetails with in-class support in the High School. This is the first of many Mentoring Programs we hope to run in conjunction with the University, providing our students with some valuable opportunities as well as giving the University students unique opportunities to put their Undergraduate learning in to practise. Literacy and numeracy are particular focuses for the school. In an Australian first, University of Canberra High School uses the unique strategy of ‘Writers’ Notebook’ to enhance the students’ literacy improvement and skills in writing. The ‘Writers’ Notebook’ Program helps to engage students with writing; exposing them to many different text types, improving their writing process and organising their thoughts for writing. Attitudinal surveys already show how successful this program has
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WISDOM Dr Dylan Wiliam been in strengthening students’ writing and literacy skills across the board. Importantly, students report an increase in confidence in their reading and writing – no small feat. The school tracks student progress through a database which captures the results from regular diagnostic testing. This data is used to inform and improve teaching practices at the school. The school has modified its timetable to specially target literacy with all staff teaching literacy for three half hour lessons each week. Kinaesthetic and practical learning is also emphasised at the school. Students are provided with opportunities to work in the community garden and to work at the school’s sustainable farm which operates successfully on a business model; both of these having been designed to enhance accessibility for all students. UC High School Kaleen is a safe and supportive school community that provides students with a high level of support in nurturing them on their pathways to future success, vocationally and academically. The school links with many community groups to support the emotional wellbeing of all students. All UC High School Kaleen staff are involved in the school’s inclusive Pastoral Care Program. The school has a strong focus on all stakeholders being a “community of learners”. We have a strong commitment to personalised learning and our educational planning is accessible and supportive of all students. UC High School Kaleen fosters community cohesion and increased participation in community life by bringing people together for meetings, sports events, services and activities. We are committed to inclusivity, creating a positive environment of mutual respect. UC High School Kaleen provides a safe, individualised and dynamic learning environment.
On 29 October I was pleased to join principals in the audience for Dr Dylan Wiliam, a Brit who started his professional life as a teacher and is now an internationally-renowned educational consultant. Many practical strategies were shared regarding “Embedding Formative Assessment with Teacher Learning Communities” and there is little doubt that you will hear more about these strategies from your principal. The day was very affirming for the AEU and the direction of our policies and campaigns. Dr Wiliam provided much evidence as to what does not work when it comes to improving student outcomes: • O nce socio-economic factors are accounted for, private fee-charging schools provide no educational benefit to students. • C ash bonuses for teachers achieve no discernible positive outcomes and may actually be harmful. As Wiliam said, it is farcical to think that a teacher might hold out for a bonus before using an especially effective teaching technique. • C urriculum is not the main game: pedagogy is. • T echnology can be a useful tool, but is not required for great learning to occur.
The African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ truly reflects our shared philosophy.
• G overnance is of peripheral importance. “Free schools”, detached from system, are not the solution, nor are American-style vouchers. He didn’t even mention the word ‘autonomy’.
Denis Dickinson and Staff UC High School Kaleen
Wiliam says countries like Australia are not doing enough to make use of the raw
potential of students, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and this is costing the nation dearly. (David Gonski’s panel agrees.) If we improved by 25 points on the PISA sample tests for 15 year olds, it would be worth $2.5 trillion to the Australian economy. Think of all the good things we could do with that extra revenue. So, how can we get there? In a brief discussion Dr Wiliam and I found much common ground. 1. P rovide attractive salaries and working conditions so that the people who are suited to teaching aren’t forced to choose something else. Wiliam told me that a 10% salary increase would produce a 10 point PISA bounce, and this will improve national prosperity. 2. C reate teacher learning communities in which teachers have the time and space to learn from each other and work meaningfully to enhance teaching practice. Teaching is impossibly hard, but we should share our wisdom and strengths with others. Not at the end of a six-lesson day, but at structured, embedded times during our working week. We have this for new teachers, now we need it for all teachers. 3. B etter target student need. (Hello Gonski!) For the students with higher needs, we need smaller class sizes, better support and more specialist teachers (without losing the capacity to cater for our high-flying students). It was a great privilege to attend this event and I thank ETD, and particularly SNL Linda Baird, for the opportunity. By Glenn Fowler Acting Branch Secretary
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By PETER MLONE, ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY - INDUSTRIAL
School Teachers This year has been one of implementing the new enterprise agreement. While much has gone smoothly, the incorporation of talk about potential transfer within the annual professional discussions has caused concern for some members. The enterprise agreement states:
“R3.1 T he annual professional discussion between individual classroom teachers and their principal and/ or supervisor affirms and draws together practices that support and recognise teacher development and promote a capable and sustainable teaching workforce. These practices include:
a) P rofessional Pathways and Pathways to Improvement
b) Career planning;
c) Teacher transfer; and
d) C lassroom teacher incremental progression.
R3.4 T he principal plans with the teacher the optimum time for them to transfer, with regard to the teacher’s career plans and the needs of the school to sustain and renew educational programs.” The discussions are also meant to be conducted in accordance with the agreed Annual Professional Discussion Guidelines. Unfortunately processes have occurred in some schools this year which do not seem to meet these requirements, so much so that it is questionable whether natural justice has been given to members.
The Union is currently supporting two members through Fair Work Australia, who are challenging the decision of the Directorate to force them to transfer from their school.
Education Support Officers (ESOs) It is important to understand that the AEU-ACT Branch is not allowed to industrially represent all workers in schools. In particular Building Service Officers, Business Managers, Front Office staff and other clerical staff cannot join the AEU. However we are entitled to represent the following classifications, which the AEU refers collectively as Education Support Officers: Home Science Assistant, Preschool Assistant, Technology Assistant, Information Communication Technology Assistant, Library Assistant, Defence Transition Mentor, Defence School Transition Aide, Learning Support Assistant, Laboratory Assistant, Vision Support Assistant, Hearing Support Assistant, Bilingual Assistant, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Worker, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Officer and Youth Support Workers. The current EA, which covers all the above classifications under the banner of “School Assistants”, expires on 30 June 2013. As a result, the Union is developing a new industrial claim in consultation with ESO members, which will be finalised by the end of Term 4 2012. On this occasion we have invited ESO members and any person eligible to join the AEU to provide feedback through an online survey on the issues they would like raised. We, of course, highly value the work performed by BSOs, Business Managers, Front Office
staff and all other clerical staff with the Directorate but, unfortunately, we are not able to represent these groups of people industrially.
Canberra Institute of Technology In April 2012 the Commissioner for Work Safety, Mark McCabe, issued an Improvement Notice on the CIT, due to its lack of adequate policies and procedures to promote a workplace free from bullying and harassment. At the same time, the Minister for Education gave his own directives to CIT and requested the Commissioner for Public Administration to investigate complaints of bullying. These investigations are ongoing at the time of writing this report. The AEU has been actively involved in both these processes, with a view to promoting long-term cultural change within CIT. As part of this the AEU has been attending fortnightly meetings of the CIT Workplace Improvement Consultation Group. This group has been advising CIT senior management on how best to change internal policies and procedures to ensure that healthy workplaces are promoted across all CIT campuses. The enterprise agreement that covers teachers at CIT is also expiring on 30 June 2013. Members are invited to provide your views about what you would like to see negotiated as part of the next agreement. This is being done initially through discussions at TAFE Council and Sub-branch meetings and will then be followed up with an online survey. Now is the time for members to speak up so that we can ensure that the issues that matter to you most are raised around the bargaining table early next year.
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OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AEU By sascha colley
Farewell At the end of this year I will be retiring from my current position with the AEU. I first started working for public education unions in 1992 when I was employed as an Industrial Advocate for the State School Teacher’s Union of WA. I moved to this Branch of the AEU in 1996 where, apart from a five year break working for Unions ACT and the NSW TLC, I have remained. However, to all there comes a point when it is time to move on and I have now reached mine. It has been a great privilege to support public education over this extended period of time and it is with great heart that I thank the Union for many wonderful experiences and incredible support throughout my career.
Calling all Casual Relief Teachers! Relief Teachers’ Sub-Branch Meeting 4:15pm, Monday 19 November AEU Office, Ground Floor 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton Free 2-hour parking available on street. Come along to discuss: - Access to PD - T he new Working With Vulnerable People Checks - Working conditions - Having a voice in our union Refreshments will be provided. All casual relief members employed by the Education and Training Directorate are welcome. Non-members may attend and can join on the day.
On the weekend of 17 – 18 November, Schools Organiser Sascha Colley will accompany two funded AEU New Educator delegates, Ciaran Griffin (Latham Primary School) and Angela Cleland (Canberra High School), to the Federal New Educator’s Conference in Melbourne. This conference is for early career teachers (particularly those new to the union) to enable them to engage in discussions on key national issues and also help formulate and consolidate the union’s recruitment, support and engagement strategies. Delegates will have the opportunity to attend a number of workshops on topics ranging from national curriculum; national professional standards and teacher education; the Gonski Review and campaign; Union campaigning; behaviour management and career planning. Every year the AEU provides our New Educator members with a range of opportunities to engage in union activism and gain knowledge to specifically support members early in their career. The AEU also takes a delegation to the New South Wales Teachers Federation Beginning Teachers conference in March each year. We encourage all new educators to get involved in your SubBranch Executive and Council and watch out for the upcoming opportunities to apply to attend AEU conferences in 2013.
New Educator Entitlements Over the last several Teaching Staff Enterprise Agreements, the AEU has negotiated improved working conditions for new educators. The AEU worked hard to negotiate a reduction in face-to-face teaching hours for first year teachers. Teachers in their first year of teaching (following graduation from university)
now teach a maximum of 20 hours per week in preschools and primary schools, and a maximum of 18 hours per week in high schools and colleges. However, this reduced teaching load may look different for each individual teacher and should be the subject of a negotiation between the first year teacher and their supervisor/principal. Instead of reduced weekly face-to-face teaching hours, some schools and teachers may agree to allocate time for fortnightly or monthly planned purposes or concentrate the time to enable the teacher involved to observe other teachers or attend relevant professional development. The reduction in this face-to-face teaching represents a time allocation per first year teacher of 60 hours in preschools and primary schools and 40 hours in high schools and colleges. These hours are in addition to the 15 new educator support days (per teacher in their first three years of teaching in the ACT). Negotiated as part of the 2004-2006 Enterprise Agreement, new educators continue to benefit from the entitlement of 6 days support in their first year of teaching, 5 days in their second year and 4 days in their third year. This support may be provided as additional release time for observations, coaching and mentoring, co-planning, evaluation and reflection or attendance at professional learning. If new educators would like further advice on the use and allocation of the support you are entitled to, please call AEU Schools Organiser Sascha Colley on 6272 7900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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WORKS By mike fitzgerald, tafe organiser
Firstly, I wish to sincerely thank Mark Hemmingsen for his sterling efforts meeting the needs of the TAFE membership during Term 3, 2012. The membership was well served and supported in my absence, thanks Mark.
Enterprise Agreement The current ACT Public Service CIT (Teaching Staff) Enterprise Agreement, 2011-2013(EA) concludes in June 2013 and negotiations on a new EA will commence around February next year. Prior to this the AEU will serve CIT with a log of claims. To assist in developing a log of claims for the new EA you are invited to contact me on phone 6272 7900. Also speak to your Sub-Branch representatives (listed below) concerning issues and make recommendations as to how the new EA could work better for you, your colleagues and your students. The log of claims will be subject to endorsement by TAFE Council. Please engage in these discussions between now and December to ensure your concerns are addressed. Your Sub-Branch representatives include: Gavin Holmes (Building & Environment); Piers Douglas, Paul Murray and Rachel Bowak (Creative Industries); Karen Noble (Health etc); Graeme Lawson (ICT); Mark Hemmingsen (Fyshwick TS); Moir Holmes and Anne Brown (Science etc); Stuart Gilmore, Andrew Blanckensee, Fiona Honeyman, Janet Harris, Ian Miller (Vocational College). These Reps are also listed at: www.aeuact.asn.au/ interest-groups/sub-branch-representatives/ and click on Sub-Branch Executive and Council Records.
Raising and Resolving Workplace Issues within the AEU The method of progressing and resolving workplace issue through the Union is outlined as follows.
1. C ontact your local Sub-Branch Rep and the TAFE Organiser on 6272 7900 to discuss the matter. An immediate resolution may be possible, especially if all SubBranch members work together to find a solution. 2. U nresolved issues may be discussed within your Sub-Branch and a motion may be developed in order to seek a resolution to the issue. 3. T his Sub-Branch motion could be forwarded to TAFE Council, the body which is composed of Sub-Branch representatives from across the CIT. TAFE Council will discuss the issue and may support the motion to resolve the issue. 4. T his TAFE Council motion will be tabled at AEU Executive or go to Branch Council - the bodies consisting of representatives from the entire AEU membership in the ACT (some 3300 members). This body will deliberate the TAFE Council motion and recommend any actions. 5. T hese actions could include strategies to address the issue locally, at CIT senior management level, involve the CIT CEO, Fair Work Australia, the Commissioner for Work Safety, the Commissioner for Public Administration, the relevant Minister for Education or, indeed, to progress the issue to the national AEU body which regularly lobbies the Minister for Education and Prime Minister.
WorkSafe ACT Improvement Notice Compliance 12 October marked 6 months since the date of serving the Improvement Notice on CIT by the Commissioner for Work Safety in regard to bullying and harassment issues. CIT is due to be assessed regarding the establishment of appropriate policies, guidelines and workplace strategies to comply with the directives and to ensure that CIT is a healthy workplace now and in the future.
As part of this process and with the assistance of Ms Meg Brighton from the Cabinet and Chief Minister’s Directorate, CIT has surveyed all staff to identify workplaces requiring improvements to attain appropriate levels of safety and respect. The AEU has negotiated and provided input into these processes through engagement with the CIT Workplace Improvement Consultative Group. Any issues which have been identified through these surveys are currently being discussed within the relevant workplace/ Centre, with the goal of staff agreeing on appropriate short and long term action to improve the workplace. Staff trust in any reforms by CIT in relation to stemming bullying and harassment is paramount in establishing confidence in future workplace safety at CIT. The AEU would be pleased to hear from members who may wish to make comment on the discussions occurring within your Centre in general and specifically on the following ACT WorkSafe directive: “The inspector directs [CIT] to… take active steps [in addition to reviewing policies and procedures] to build confidence in the policies and procedures in relation to the prevention and management of bullying and harassment of staff.” Please pass on your views to Mike Fitzgerald, TAFE Organiser, phone 6272 7900 or email: email@example.com. The Commissioner for Public Administration recently published The State of the Service Report 2012 which included a progress report into the status of investigations into some 57 claims of bullying and harassment, predominantly submitted by CIT staff. This report can be accessed on the following webpage and the CIT specific report can be found on pages 104-111. www.cmd.act.gov. au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/353727/ stateofservice2012.pdf The Commissioner applauded the courage of those who have come forward with
PAGE 18 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
REPORT By Mark Hemmingsen, Acting Chair, TAFE Council
complaints despite the reluctance of many public servants to raise complaints. He noted that the investigations were ongoing, that there were common concerns raised amongst the complainants and that it would be premature to publish the status of individual matters. In addition, the report identified the ACT Public Sector Code of Conduct and Public Sector Management Standards to be deficient in some regards and would need to be amended in future. Hence, the consequences of the efforts of the complainants will likely have broad reaching impacts on the entire ACT Public Sector, ensuring that behaviours of employees “...embody principles of decency, courtesy, professionalism and fairness and exemplifying ways of working and a workplace culture that the ACTPS will strive to foster and promote.” The AEU congratulates the members who have taken the courageous steps to seek personal justice and healthy CIT workplaces. Under direction and advice from the Chief Minister’s Department, and in compliance with the ACT Work Safe directives, CIT has reviewed its policies in relation to addressing the inadequate existing policies including Bullying and Harassment, Complaints, OH&S and other related policies. It has surveyed all staff to identify workplaces requiring improvements to attain appropriate levels of safety and respect. The AEU has negotiated and has provided input into these processes through engagement with the CIT Workplace Improvement Consultative Group. One cannot help but consider the connection between the troubles that have beset CIT and the funding withdrawals and efficiency dividends which have effectively reduced CIT funding by more than 35% in real terms over the last 15 years. The ACT Government and the Gillard Government have the ability to relieve this stress by appropriately investing in CIT in order to ensure the provision of quality public VET and further education in the ACT.
Firstly I have to admit that I am a bit of a technology buff. As a member of generation X and having grown up with computers, I find that I am fairly proficient with technology. This is further augmented (or perhaps vice versa) by my electrical trades background. So I would like to dispel any negative bias that some might perceive as I discuss my experiences with online delivery. When I first started teaching I thought that the idea of a fully autonomous, selfpaced learning system was a great idea. A student could fully research and absorb information and then regurgitate what they have “learnt” to prove their ability to perform in the workplace. Unfortunately, with the exception of a minority of the population this method simply doesn’t work. The fact of the matter is that people learn best from other people. Also, the best method for learning how to interact, collaborate, manage or service another person is to actively engage in these activities. It is reasonably well accepted, at least in the teaching fraternity, that although you can’t replace a teacher with technology you can greatly support their effectiveness with online and computer based learning systems are powerful learning tools. Some great examples I have seen include self-paced electrical trainers, where the student physically connects circuits which are connected to a computer for analysis and assessment, or a welding trainer that gets the learner to practice a type of weld until it is perfected. Online and flexible delivery is great if you can get the students to participate and some forms of online assessment not only save the teacher time by marking assessment tasks but also provide instant feedback.
ease of use and flexibility for the student) then a higher degree of complexity is required behind the scenes. This is primarily evident in the sophistication of today’s machines, but also in the human systems supporting online learning. In Australia we have been doing this remarkably well over a considerable period of time with the school of the air. Most relevant to online training is the technological support in place to ensure successful classes. In the same way that most radio stations have a producer supporting a DJ, online learning (especially when delivered live) should have a technical support officer in place to deal with problems as they arise. This leaves the teacher to teach. In regard to establishing resources, the perception seems to be that by uploading lesson notes and assessment onto the internet is enough but from my own experience this is simply not the case. To fully assess someone as competent, both knowledge and skills must be assessed, the latter of which can’t be checked by a quiz or online exam. There are tools on the internet that can address this, like the welding trainer or ‘flickr’ for images, but authenticity is still an issue. Ultimately, as educators we have to assess the validity of the system and have the support network in place to ensure validity. The bottom line is that yes, online and blended learning are great for flexible, student-focused learning, but this comes at a cost. A properly supported blended course needs technical support, time, money and a reliable network. Remove any one of these and the remainder just adds up to a poor attempt to save money, cut teacher time and pass the responsibility for learning onto the student.
But this all comes at a cost. Edward deBono stated that for a system to be simple in its operation (in this case for the
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 19
ESOs by bill book, schools organiser
As outlined in the Industrial Report (page 16) the AEU is entitled to represent the following classifications, referred to collectively as Education Support Officers [ESOs]: Home Science Assistant, Preschool Assistant, Technology Assistant, Information Communication Technology Assistant, Library Assistant, Defence Transition Mentor, Defence School Transition Aide, Learning Support Assistant, Laboratory Assistant, Vision Support Assistant, Hearing Support Assistant, Bilingual Assistant, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Worker, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Officer and Youth Support Workers. A survey of ESOs - to help develop the log of claims for the next School Assistants’ Enterprise Agreement (the current one expires 30 June 2013) - was sent out in October to current and potential members. Thank you to all who participated in the survey. Members will be advised of the results by e-bulletin in the coming weeks. Feedback from the survey will go towards the development of a Log of Claims and the AEU will begin negotiating the next EA in early 2013. It is not too late to contribute to discussion about your next Enterprise Agreement. Union Organisers would really like to meet with ESOs at your workplaces to discuss the claim and your current circumstances, before the end of the year. Due to the hours you work it is difficult to catch you in your work groups. Please contact us to arrange a meeting at a time that suits you at your workplace, during the day if possible or after work. The meetings will be short and focussed on further
developing your claim and improving your working conditions. Contact Bill or Sascha [phone 6272 7900] to arrange a time and day to meet. A side effect of the survey process was the reaction from some administrative staff working in front offices. A few were offended by their omission from the list of participants identified in the survey; others were bemused and contacted the AEU office seeking a way to participate anyway. To clarify, the AEU is able to cover all teachers and education support staff who work directly with students and teachers in an educational capacity. The AEU cannot provide coverage for building managers, bursars, office administrative assistants, BSOs or cleaners as they are covered only by the CPSU or United Voice. The AEU is requesting input from ESO [school assistants] members on contract to get a clearer picture of the impact contract employment has on your lives both in and outside the workplace. Send a brief comment/dot points to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com so we can pursue improvements in your circumstances. Please include the average amount of unpaid overtime you may be/are working, if any, and the reasons you continue/have continued in the job over many years/ contracts. There appears to be an increasing demand for assistants in every classification in response to the corresponding increase in the numbers of students requiring special assistance. Be sure to access relevant PD to assist you to work safely and confidently as you fulfil your role.
The AEU South Australian Branch is currently running a campaign for their assistant members. The campaign is focused simply on bringing about a change in how the assistants are paid over the Christmas/New Year period. Currently they receive their annual loading in the final pay of the year and then wait until the pays recommence in the new school year. They want to have the choice of spreading their pay across the full year. Therefore, permanent full-time ESOs here in the ACT are enjoying better pay arrangements than your counterparts interstate. Looking across the jurisdictions there are a number of interesting statistics concerning ESOs. Your work is important and the support you provide to teachers and the system is invaluable. According to Victorian figures, more than half of ESOs in schools are working on contracts of varying lengths; the average length of service is 10.6 years; about half of you are over 50; and a large majority find it difficult to manage from pay to pay. The issues for ESOs are generic across the country but foremost on the list is the insecure work tied to contracts. The AEU encourages all ESO members to take a more active role in the operations of your Sub-Branch. You are all able to nominate for any Executive role in 2013 as well as the roles of Councillor, Alternate Councillor, Health and Safety Rep/Deputy Rep or Women’s Contact Officer. Branch Council would welcome your input and members’ would benefit from hearing the issues and concerns that ESOs face on a regular basis.
Bill Book Schools’ Organiser
PAGE 20 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
SAFETY Health and Safety Representatives [HSR] were elected to positions early in the year. Many have accessed the Health and Safety Rep 5-day Training course for Reps. It is important to note that if you are an untrained Rep or Deputy Rep, you should request training through your principal/manager and you may choose the training provider as well. It is an impost on a school’s budget but it is possible to halve the cost if you shop around. Contact Work Watch, the UnionsACT training arm for further information on phone 6249 1099 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Their current charge for the 5 day training course is $750 and the training can be tailored to meet your specific needs and circumstances. There have been recent reports to the AEU office about processes used at some schools to report/record accidents and incidents. There may be a pattern developing wherein members record incidents ‘internally’ but do not complete an ACT Government Accident/ Incident Report [AIR]. AIRs are to be forwarded to Injury Management, Shared Services and other relevant authorities depending on the seriousness of the accident/incident. Any incident recorded internally should be recorded on the official AIR form as well and forwarded to the relevant external authorities. For example, victims of assault by a student must report it as a serious and “notifiable incident” to WorkSafe ACT as soon as possible after the event, followed by a written report within 48 hours of the incident. Forward it electronically to as many locations as legally required. It is important that you include your Health and Safety representative in the group of
recipients to assist them to work with the members of the work group to address any hazards, risks and dangers identified. You will not receive the assistance of an Injury Management/Shared Services case manager if you do not report the incidents. If sometime down the track you must access personal leave due to the accrued impact of incidents that have occurred ‘to’ you over the years, lodging a Comcare claim is more manageable with an official paper trail of the experiences you have endured over the preceding years. The ACTU Work Safety Forum [Sydney, 4-7 September] was addressed by delegates from a number of unions highlighting issues confronting workers in specific industries but also demonstrating the common ground of health and safety across industries. The recent moves by conservative governments interstate to cut Health and Safety budgets, pushing the responsibility back onto businesses/ industries, is an issue of concern. Self regulation is not an option that should ever be relied upon as the issue of workplace safety is far too important to be regarded as too expensive for governments to maintain. The Victorian Government cut external funding of Health and Safety support from September 1 this year so that schools must now find the total cost of training their reps from within their budgets. That has potential implications for Health and Safety in schools but it also highlights the importance of ensuring highly unionised workplaces as the evidence is clear nationally that unionised workplaces are safer workplaces.
health and safety. There is growing evidence that in many industries casuals compromise their personal health and safety because they can’t afford to stay home to recuperate from illness or injury. If there are casuals in your Sub-Branch who are in that situation please have them contact the AEU office on 6272 7900 for assistance or advice. It is important that the HSRs and SubBranch Executives share the responsibility for safety at your workplace. Raise health and safety profile by adding a report by the HSR to the agenda as a standing item. Pass information concerning issues and/or incidents through the AEU office to other SubBranches or if they are sector specific to relevant Sub-Branches you already have links with. For example, since workload is a significant health and safety issue for teachers and assistants in every sector, collaboration within and between Sub-Branches with established workload committees would contribute widely felt benefits. Your collaborative approach across the system will assist you to develop a best practice approach to ensure safe working environments through shared experiences, risk management plans and successful strategies implemented to address safety issues and incidents.
Bill Book Schools’ Organiser
One session at the forum focused on casual and contracted workers and
Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 21
PROFILE GEOFF MCNAMARA, Science Coordinator melrose high school What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your work? Kids are living in a society where the exponential growth in science and technology is dominating their lives. Without a deep and rational understanding of basic scientific concepts, and more importantly a habitual critical attitude, they risk making poor decisions that may have global implications. The most challenging thing therefore is to teach them to think carefully and critically.
Eureka this year primarily for my work on ACE Science. It recognises what we can do for the kids given enough effort, time and resources. The response from academia and industry has been very positive, with tremendous endorsement coming from a number of professors and high profile academic managers.
As well as the educational programmes I’ve set up, there is also infrastructure. We have a small, dedicated ACE Lab for the kids to do medium-term projects in; a seismometer, which was the first in Australia as part of The Academic Curriculum Extension (ACE) the Australian Seismometers in Schools Science program I run for our higher programme, currently being used by students achieving students is important and to study local and international seismic events; rewarding work. The goal is to connect a weather station is about to be installed for students with practising scientists and their meteorological and micro-climate studies, working environments. ACE Science takes this which will begin next year; and we are building further by providing routine Science Seminars a simple radio telescope for radio astronomy, presented by researchers across a wide range also planned to come on line next year. of disciplines; Science Tours to the universities I have been a member of the AEU since I and industry to see first-hand what goes on Geoff McNamara is the Science started teaching in the ACT in 2001, and before there; and Science Work Experience where Coordinator at Melrose High School and that was a member of the NSWTF for a couple students spend a week working with a an AEU member. He recently won the of decades. It is important that we have the scientist or engineer. Eureka Award for Science Teaching. protection and representation of the union in The single biggest challenge is how to do this industrial and administrative matters as an with minimal resources. I work long hours What drew you to teaching independent body. The goal, of course, is to (~70 hpw minimum) and much of the work is provide the highest possible standards and in your subject area (Maths/ done during the term and semester breaks. Science)? opportunities for the kids. After 13 years I am now seeing the results. I fell into teaching Science after 13 years of Several students I have worked with are now teaching Optics in TAFE NSW. I wanted to either studying or are graduates in science, relocate to the ACT and yet stay in teaching. engineering, medicine or teaching. I am I’ve had an on-going love affair with science constantly asking myself what I would like since childhood and had been a part time science writer for years. So, after retraining as the kids I work with to be like when they have a high school teacher (a different degree from grown up. Adult Education) I moved to Canberra in 2001 and took up a position teaching Science and You recently won a Eureka Award Technology at Campbell High School. I had for Science or Mathematics the good fortune of working under a beaut Teaching. Could you tell our Level 2, Niels Hider, who encouraged me in members more about this award SEARCH FOR my new teaching area (younger kids, high and your achievements? PUBLIC EDUCATION: school Science) and from there I simply fell in OUR STUDENTS DESERVE THE BEST love with teaching Science. These days being The Eureka Award for Science or Mathematics a Science teacher is not so much a job I do; it Teaching in Secondary Schools is one of the SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION highest profile awards in Australia. I won the is what I am. www.aeuact.asn.au
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PAGE 22 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice
AEU Membership Application
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Public Education Voice •ARE Official Journal of the AEU - ACT PAGE Branch • PAGE 19 PLEASE MAKE SURE PAYMENT DETAILS COMPLETED OVER
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