Public education voice november 2010

Page 1

PUBLIC EDUCATION VOICE JOURNAL OF THE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION UNION - ACT BRANCH • Nov 2010

e r o m t s e v in o t n The best reaso

V O R R K F V F L O E LQ RXU SX

10

great reasons why public education matters

*

EDUCATION CUTS

DON’T HEAL

40 Brisbane Ave Barton ACT 2600 • P (02) 6272 7900 • F (02) 6273 1828 • www.aeuact.asn.au


State of our Territory ... Teachers withering on the vine? The AEU conducts an annual national survey of teachers and principals to ascertain the State of our Schools. Through this survey we have gathered consistent data about conditions in public schools, issues for teachers and career intentions. As usual, the 2010 survey data is illuminating. It reveals a greater-thanever reliance on fundraising to support basic provisions in our public schools, increasing workloads for teachers, and some worrying trends for future teacher supply. While the ACT data reflects national information, its implications should be of concern to all in the public education community. 90% of ACT public school respondents engaged in fundraising in the last year – no surprises there! However, 69% of respondents reported fundraising as “very important” and 85% reported that the funds raised were used for items such as classroom equipment and/or library resources/textbooks. 69% used fundraising for sporting or play equipment and 54% for ICT hardware or software. These are fundamental requirements in the provision of quality education; remember when fundraising was about the extras, the extensions, the icing on the cake? These days it seems to be about the basic provisions and that’s a poor reflection on funding provision. Workforce data is equally concerning. 88% of ACT respondents thought schools as a whole had difficulty retaining teachers. Of those with less than 4 year’s experience, 41% of respondents saw themselves teaching for 10 years

or less; 22% of these saw themselves teaching for 5 years or less. Among the more experienced cohort the data is equally stark: 50% of respondents with more than 3 year’s service reported that they planned to leave teaching prior to retirement [19%] or that this was a possibility [31%]. This is greater than the national result, where 43% of respondents either planned to leave teaching prior to retirement or saw it as a possibility. Asked what would assist most to improve student outcomes, 51% of ACT respondents nominated smaller class sizes as their first [34%] or second [17%] preference. Extra support for students with disabilities [23%] or behavioural issues [25%] ran a close second with 48% of ACT respondents nominating this as their first or second preference for measures that would most assist to improve student outcomes. In terms of measures that would most help to retain teachers, the data might surprise some. Reduced workload was the key issue nominated by ACT respondents, with 44% support. Next on the list for ACT respondents were fewer student management issues [27%] and higher pay for advanced competence [14%]. Cash bonuses for higherperforming teachers was nominated by only 1% of ACT respondents – an outcome consistent with the national picture where every jurisdiction nominated measures other than pay as being most likely to help retain teachers. While pay is a matter of concern and competitive salaries are vital, it is clear that teachers need other forms of support to encourage them to remain

in the profession. Both of these issues are raised in the AEU’s Draft Enterprise Agreement Claim. The funding debate ... Don’t expect support from the Minister or the CEO One might think that the Minister and the CEO of DET would be staunch advocates for public education and acknowledge the resource issues inherent in the current funding arrangements. Apparently not! The Minister has recently become fond of opining that the public versus private debate is dead. The CEO of DET has jumped on the bandwagon, sometimes parroting the Minister and on other occasions declaiming that one of his goals is to kill off the publicprivate debate. It is unfortunate that neither is prepared to acknowledge the truth: the publicprivate debate will only be dead when private schools are required to accept all enrolments as do their public school colleagues and when public schools can draw on the same financial resources as private schools to provide education. Saying this does not preclude the possibility of public and private schools exploring opportunities for collaboration – this has not been unknown in the past and is not unheard of now. It is even likely to continue to occur in the future! What is regrettable is that the Minister and the most senior bureaucrat in ACT public education are unwilling or unable to acknowledge the reality and advocate a better deal for public schools.

Penny Gilmour Branch Secretary

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


EFFICIENCY DIVIDEND ... EQUALS

BUDGET CUTS By Penny Gilmour, Branch Secretary The recent announcements of DET’s implementation of the 1% Efficiency Dividend imposed by the ACT Government as part of the 2010 ACT Budget have caused great consternation among the public education community. While DET’s decision to quarantine schools from finding savings to contribute to the $4m cut is laudable, the reality of the cuts in Central Office will be real impacts on students and teachers, both directly and indirectly. Any implication that either the AEU or CPSU “signed off” or otherwise agreed to the process is untrue; both unions were simply advised of DET’s proposed implementation. So how did the situation unfold? In late August DET met with the AEU and CPSU to advise that, while the staffing freeze had been lifted from 30 June, the Efficiency Dividend was required to be implemented 1 July. Following the development of business plans and budgets for each Directorate, Executive Directors were required to provide advice about their capacity to absorb or create efficiencies. DET acknowledged that savings were unlikely to come from simply shedding jobs and re-allocating work to existing employees and stated a clear understanding that the same work could not be performed by fewer staff. In early September, DET again met with the AEU and CPSU. This time a key message was that implementation of the Efficiency Dividend was not about shedding but about moving people around inside the organisation.

With a staff attrition rate of 11% in DET [compared to 8-10% pa across the ACTPS], the idea was to relocate people rather than move them out. DET described a 3-stage process: (a) a consultation paper to be released on 23 September which would outline the way forward for each Branch and the impact on service delivery of proposed changes, (b) a 2-week feedback period for individual/group submissions, (c) release of a final paper on 7 October with consultation from that date about the staffing implications of the decisions. The AEU was advised then that the CTL was the site of largest impact and that teaching position vacancies would need to be held against the needs of redeployed staff. As has always been the case in these situations, the AEU agreed that teaching position vacancies should be held until it was clear what the need for positions would be. On 22 September, the AEU and CPSU were briefed on the proposals to be released on 23 September. The unions were not allowed to copy or retain the document and were advised that the briefing was confidential. The CTL Resource Centre was an issue even then, with advice that it was to close at the end of the 2010 school year but that DET was looking at options and looking for a new home for the collection. Issues about the loss of expertise and support represented in the proposals were briefly canvassed. Concerns about the timeframe for consultation and feedback were raised but the AEU was also cognisant that teachers whose jobs were to be cut needed to have the greatest possible options for placement and with

the staffing process due to start Week 1 Term 4, there was little time to provide a lengthy feedback period. The reaction of the education community to the insufficiency of the consultation process and to the substance of the proposals seems to have come as a surprise in some quarters. It is hard to understand why! Given the recent history of changes being announced with little or no consultation and the timing of an announcement on the eve of school holidays, it is hardly surprising that the overwhelming reaction was suspicion and then dismay. It is good that DET provided an extension to the original timeframe for consultation; it is good that so much feedback was provided by the education community; it is good that DET took some of that feedback on board and revised some of the original proposals. Despite this, the fact remains: however the situation is viewed there are now $4m fewer dollars in the DET budget for the provision of services and support to students and teachers in public schools than before the Efficiency Dividend was implemented. No-one would dispute the need to review practice and provision to ensure the most effective use of financial resources but the euphemistic reference to an “Efficiency Dividend” should cease: this is a budget cut. While the operational implementation was DET’s decision, the imposition of a budget cut while public school enrolments are growing was a political decision of the ACT Government for which they stand condemned. Continued page 6

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


NEWS By Schools’ Organisers We welcome Sue Amundsen as 0.4 Part-Time Schools’ Organiser working 2 days a week on Mondays and Fridays. Sue has already had experience in the role of Organiser and we appreciate her contribution to the AEU office. Peter Malone, Assistant to the Secretary [Industrial] has recently gone 0.6 part-time, now working on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Glenn Fowler is working Mondays and Fridays as Assistant to the Secretary [Industrial] and continues as Schools’ Organiser on Tuesdays – Thursdays each week. The last few weeks have been troubling times with many cuts being proposed through the Efficiency Dividend Review [EDR]. There was an overwhelming response from AEU members and the community to the proposed slashing of positions and the proposed closure of the valuable resource centre at CTL. Sub-Branches were quick to respond and challenge the lack of consultation, short timeframe and lack of educational insight into the needs of students and teachers. As one member stated: “These cuts will only further disadvantage the already disadvantaged”. Please refer to the AEU Submission to DET Efficiency Dividend Review [EDR] at www.aeuact. asn.au which provides more detail on our response to the controversial proposals. Members who join our Union are part of a collective voice that can bring about positive changes for our public education system. Our Union is only as strong as its members. The response to the EDR showed just how in-tune and responsive members can be. Your voice is important and Council meetings are an excellent venue to be informed and to debate

educational issues. Your activism will be especially important in the Schools Funding Review Campaign and the Enterprise Agreement Claim Campaign over the next few months. The Classroom Teacher Transfer Round is in process and all applications for transfer and special consideration have been submitted. The panel will do its utmost to place you in one of your nominated sites or in a suitable position. AEU Organisers have attended meetings with the panel to advocate on behalf of members who have applied through the special consideration process. Applicants will be notified of the results of the Transfer Round in early December. If you have any concerns regarding the process please contact an Organiser at the AEU office on 6272-7900. Public school teachers in the ACT can gain access to 18 weeks paid maternity leave as set out in the Enterprise Agreement. Good news for new parents: the Federal Government has delivered its Paid Parental Leave scheme and you may be entitled to access this in addition to the current entitlement from January 2011. Applications can be submitted from 1 October 2010. If you require information on this scheme contact the Family Assistance Office [www.familyassist. gov.au]. As members you are entitled to access a range of services including membership of the Teachers Health Fund. This fund is a not-for-profit fund. It is specifically tailored to teachers and their families and can be accessed at www.teachershealth. com.au. ACTU Member Connect is 100% union-owned and aims to save members money by providing access

to special members-only discounted rates. The service includes Insurance, AUS Fund, Discount New Cars, Union Shopper, Financial Planning, Virtual Communities, Members Equity Bank, ME Investment Funds, IRIS Pensions, Movie Vouchers and Merchandise. Call 1300 362 223 or go to www. memberconnect.com.au There will be a number of you transferring to new sites at the end of this year or simply retiring to different lives. Please make sure that you copy any personal documents you have saved on your H drive onto a memory stick and then delete those documents. Be aware that any items saved on H drive that relate to the school [lesson plans, curriculum], the Department or more generically to public education belong to DET and the school. In December 2010 new membership cards for 2011-2012 will be sent to members in their workplaces via the Sub-Branch Secretary. Sub-Branch Secretaries should distribute them as soon as they arrive and members are asked to make sure they keep them handy as the member number will be important in 2011 to access the new Members’ Only page on the ACT Branch website. As we approach the end of the school year, the Organisers would like to take the opportunity to wish all members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope that everyone has a relaxed and enjoyable holiday.

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

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


GOVERNMENT CHANGES TO

DETENTION POLICY AEU welcomes changes to detention of vulnerable children & families The AEU recently congratulated the Federal Government on its announcement of changes to Australia’s Immigration Detention Policy regarding vulnerable children and families. The Government’s plan to move children, including unaccompanied minors and families, out of immigration detention centres into community-based accommodation is a welcome move. The ongoing detention of increasing numbers of children and consequent potential for serious negative impacts on their development and mental health, has been a cause of concern and we applaud these moves towards a more decent and humane immigration detention policy, consistent with the human rights standards which Australia has developed and endorsed. Access to education is a fundamental human right of all children so we particularly welcome Minister Bowen’s announcement that children will be required to go to school under the new arrangements. Australia’s policies toward asylum seekers and refugees should at all times reflect respect, decency and traditional Australian generosity to those in need and advance Australia’s international standing and national interests. Consistent with this, the AEU calls on the Government to ensure that these new arrangements will be accompanied by adequate resourcing and funding to ensure that the education, health and developmental needs of all asylum seeker and refugee children, many of whom have suffered physical and mental trauma, are met.

The AEU has a longstanding commitment to ensuring that public schools guarantee support and education to asylum seeker and refugee children, including the opportunity to learn English, in local educational settings. Schools in which asylum seeker and refugee children are enrolling must be provided with increased human and physical resources to overcome any educational barriers experienced by these children. This includes the provision of supplementary staffing to support their special needs and must include additional ESL and school counsellor time and in-servicing of staff on the special needs of traumatised asylum seeker and refugee children. ADELAIDE HILLS Despite many Adelaide Hills residents opposing a government plan to house 400 asylum seekers at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills, AEU members in South Australia have shown their support for children and families in detention. In a public forum the principal at Oakbank Area School made clear that refugee children would be welcomed with open arms. AEU – ACT Branch Council on Saturday 23 October carried two motions, one offering congratulations to our colleagues in South Australia for their stand in support of refugee children and their access to education and the community, and another stating, The AEU – ACT Branch believes that the welfare of all children in the ACT, Australia and around the world is the primary responsibility of government and communities. We welcome the children of refugees in our schools and commit to providing the best possible education experiences for these children.

INCREASE IN MEMBERSHIP FEES FOR DECEMBER 2010 & WORKPLACE CHANGES FOR 2011 Branch Council on 21 November 2009 endorsed a schedule for adjustment of AEU membership fees for teachers in the schools sector in line with the EA salary increases. The last of these adjustments will be made on 11 December 2010 to cover the remaining 1.5% increase in January 2011. NB: As no adjustment for back fees applied for the period 1 July - 10 December 2009 Council allowed the AEU to introduce the fee increase slightly earlier to coincide with the issuing of statements. CIT members had their final 2.5% increase on 11 June 2010 and fees adjusted accordingly at that time. Members are reminded that if you know you will be transferring to another DET/ CIT workplace in 2011 could they please email Michelle at member1@aeuact. asn.au or Sue at sbillington@aeuact. asn.au and provide the new workplace so that our membership database can be updated prior to the Sub-Branch nomination process early in Term 1 2011.

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


EFFICIENCY DIVIDEND... Phil Rasmus - Branch President Lake Ginninderra College

As we approach the end of the school year, I’m sure that, like me, you’re looking forward to a well-deserved break. Be assured that 2011 will be a very busy year industrially. The AEU is launching a massive national Schools Funding Review Campaign to influence the way the Commonwealth funds school education across Australia. There’s already been a knee-jerk reaction by the private school lobby, crying poor and claiming that we want to take money off them. Politically, this will not happen in my lifetime, or even yours. We need to focus our collective efforts on ensuring that public education receives adequate funding in order to provide top quality education to all Australia’s kids, particularly in areas of clear need. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking funds away from anyone – maybe it means increasing the size of the cake so we can get our share. I know your valuable time is scarce, but I urge you, in your Sub-Branches, to get involved in this very rare opportunity to influence the future funding of public education in this country. 2011 is a year in which we seek a new Enterprise Agreement in schools, TAFE and for support staff. The overwhelming mood of my colleagues is that enough is enough

– both in terms of excessive workload and inadequate salaries. The Draft Enterprise Agreement Claim is in every workplace. I urge you to actively participate in whatever actions are necessary in 2011 in order to secure a decent outcome for you and your colleagues. As the end of the year approaches, we are facing Branch elections for both the Branch Secretary and the Branch President. Early in 2011 we will advertise vacancies on the Branch Executive. Think seriously, in what will be a challenging but exciting year, about the contribution you could make in these positions, or in positions of responsibility in your own Sub-Branch. To all members retiring at the end of 2010, I say – with some jealousy – have a safe and enjoyable retirement and thanks for the work you have done for kids in public education. To those not yet at that stage, have a relaxing break in order to prepare for the challenges of 2011.

Phil Rasmus Telephone: 6205-7125 phil.rasmus@ed.act.edu.au PS: I hope you celebrated World Teachers Day and your contribution to the profession on 29 October 2010. Thank you for your efforts in support of students and our community.

from page 3 Let no-one be under any illusion. At a time when public education’s need for resources is growing through factors such as increased enrolments and political decisions that have increased teacher employment and introduced other programs, this 1% cut is the first of 3; there is another 1% cut to come in 2011 and a final 0.5% cut scheduled for 2012. In total, based on 2010 figures, that’s $10m less in public education by 2013 than would otherwise have been the case. As yet there are still no answers to the questions of what services/tasks will no longer be provided and how the revised service delivery models will provide support on the ground. Schools and teachers need certainty about their resource allocation and provisions; students and parents need certainty about how the system provides support to deliver on the promise that “everyone matters”. It’s time for DET and the ACT Government to put their resources where their rhetoric is and deliver on that commitment.

Penny Gilmour Branch Secretary

CIL N U O C NDER I M E R

turday a S m 9a ember v o N 20 eid CIT R

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


TIME FOR THE PROFESSION TO BE HEARD By Peter Malone For some years now the AEU – ACT Branch has been advising the ACT Government of the investment that needs to be made in public education for both schools and TAFE, in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students. In particular, our claim for the last Schools and TAFE Enterprise Agreements and recent Budget submissions have detailed the specific initiatives required to recruit and retain teachers, make their workload more manageable and provide a public education system that meets the diverse needs of students within ACT public schools.

30 June 2011. This means that it is now time to start preparing our claim for these new rounds of negotiations. The 2009 Enterprise Agreement Claim proposed a range of issues for staged implementation over some years. It is proposed that the new Claim focuses on only the priority matters that need immediate attention. However, those initiatives which continue to be of longer term importance and require further action by government will continue to

be advocated for over time by the Union membership and officers. The full details of the Draft Claim have been endorsed by Branch Council for distribution to members. It is vital that members provide feedback about the claim through their AEU Sub-Branch to the Union office prior to the next Branch Council meeting on 20 November. It is at that meeting that a formal decision will be made to finalise the new claim. Continued page 8

Salary Comparison ACT v NSW public sector

The Government response has largely been to ignore the advice of the teaching profession and instead, embark on a series of underfunded reforms, with little research-based evidence or genuine consultation to support the validity of those changes. The students of the ACT and across the nation have become the guinea pigs for the educational experiments of the ACT and Federal Labor governments.

ACT Salary Step

ACT DET 1 July 2009

ACT DET 1 Jan 2011

NSW DET 1 Jan 2011

Step 1 [3YT]

$48219

$51178

$51246

Step 2 [4YT]

$52128

$55327

$58829

Step 3

$54375

$58094

$59752

Step 4

$57341

$60860

$62684

Step 5

59948

$63627

$65614

Step 6

$63204

$67082

$68540

Step 7

$66463

$70541

$71469

Step 8

$69722

$74000

$74394

Step 9

$74279

$78837

$77327 $84759

Most recently, the Government has sought to make significant cuts to programs and services provided to students and teachers in public schools through an efficiency dividend. Regardless of any government position, the teaching profession will not resile from its responsibility towards the students in its care. We will speak out and promote the professional and industrial policies which, through our day to day experience, we know will help maintain and improve public education. The three current Enterprise Agreements covering all of our members in the DET and CIT expire at the same time next year:

SLC

$86463

$91769

$97543

SLB

$92407

$98077

$113889

SLA - Cat 2

$98254

$104283

$113889

SLA - Cat 3

$102739

$109043

Not

SLA - Cat 3+

$107224

$113804

included

SLA - Cat 4

$111707

$118562

as direct

SLA - Cat 4+

$116192

$123322

comparison

SLA- Cat 4++

$120676

$128081

is not

SLA - Cat 5

$120676

$128081

possible

SLA - Cat 5+

$132841

SLA - Cat 5++

$137602

SLA - Cat 5+++

$142362

$145675

Casual Rate 1

$262

$278

$293.94

Casual Rate 2

$286

$304

$339.38

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


SCHOOLS FUNDING REVIEW

CAMPAIGN ONE CHANCE IN A GENERATION By Glenn Fowler Federal Labor’s Schools Funding Review is an historic opportunity to replace a Commonwealth schools funding model which all political parties have said is deeply flawed.

In our campaign, the AEU is focussing on what our public schools need in order to set the standard of schooling. Only then can true equity exist. Governments across the country share a primary obligation to public schools and the local public school is the only guarantee a child has of an education.

The current model is mystifying in its complexity but what we do know about the Socio-Economic Status funding model, introduced by the Howard Government, is that it provides only one-third of Commonwealth money to the two-thirds of students who attend public schools. Need is a peripheral concept in the model: it simply extends privilege, leading to the most obscene profits by some of the most elite private schools whilst cash-strapped State and Territory governments seek to deprive the public system of essentials. [Think “Efficiency Dividend”!] The AEU argues that there must be full disclosure of all the resources at the disposal of all schools and this includes assets, trusts and other sources of wealth. Much is disputed by the powerful private school lobby but the fact that trumps all is this one: taking into account all sources of funding, both public and private, the average non-government school student has several thousands of dollars more per year spent on their education than the average government school student. This is despite the fact that public schools do the “heavy lifting” by educating the overwhelming majority of Indigenous students, students with disabilities and special needs, students with language backgrounds other than English, new arrivals, students from remote and very remote areas and students “at risk”. There is no justification for this level of inequity.

In July and August, the AEU and its various Branches met with the expert panel charged with making recommendations on schools funding. The ACT launch of the Schools Funding Review Campaign took place at Branch Council on 23 October, and the national launch occurred the following day. Three different television advertisements will appear on commercial networks for a four-week period [and can also be viewed at www.forourfuture.org.au]. Throughout Term 4, the AEU – ACT Branch office will coordinate regional community forums, as well as meetings with stakeholder groups and Canberra-based politicians from both levels of government. The real focus of our campaign is the written submissions to the panel. To complement the Federal and Branch

submissions which look at the “big picture”, we aim to have a submission from every single one of the 10,000 public schools in Australia, including of course our 84 public schools here in the ACT. Our non-school based Sub-Branches will also be encouraged to make a submission. Tell the panel what you would be able to do if you had more money. As the journal gets delivered to workplaces, AEU officers are in the middle of their four-week blitz visiting all Sub-Branches. We are recruiting potential members, encouraging people to sign up to www.forourfuture.org.au referring members to resources that appear on our AEU – ACT Branch website, talking people through the powerpoint presentation that we ask members to present to school boards and/or parent groups; talking to our principal members; encouraging the placing of an item in th school newsletter; nominating a Schools Funding Review contact person who will coordinate the submission; walking members through our campaign kit and submission process; and distributing thousands of postcards which will go to the Prime Minister.

INDUSTRIAL REPORT .... from page 7 A priority issue is, without doubt, the need for the ACT Government to provide competitive salaries for all our members. The table on page 7 shows just how far behind the ACT is when compared with the NSW public sector [NB: The NSW DET Agreement does not expire until 31 December 2011.] The Government cannot say that it has not been warned of the impact of such appalling differentials as this. And it cannot expect AEU members to accept its lack of support of the teaching profession any longer. ACT education support staff, teachers and leaders in both DET and CIT are tired of being ignored – it is time for the profession to be heard! NB: From 18 October 2010 the role of Assistant Secretary [Industrial] will be shared between Peter Malone [Tuesday-Thursday] and Glenn Fowler [Monday and Friday].

PAGE 8 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice


Our

. l o o Sch OurFuture. The biggest review of school funding in over 30 years is now underway.

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Further information:

This is a unique chance members cannot afford to miss.

Public Schools – for our future!

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30


AEU ARTHUR HAMILTON AWARD Do you work with a colleague or team that provide high quality education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students? If so, now is the time to nominate them for the AEU Arthur Hamilton Award for Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education. This Award is named in honour of Arthur Hamilton, a proud Palawa man, educator and union activist. Arthur passed away in 2004 leaving behind a legacy of a strong consciousness for equity and social justice, cross-cultural awareness, recognition of Indigenous peoples and the elimination of racism within the Australian Education Union and in schools. The Award aims to recognise AEU members who are committed to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have the right to high quality education throughout their lives. 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.

[b] Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; [c] Improving the engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and members of the broader community in school decision-making processes; and [d] Developing and implementing an innovative product or program relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education. Further details and nomination forms can be obtained from the AEU at www. aeufederal.org.au/Atsi/2010AHnomform. pdf or email samg@aeufederal.org.au The closing date for nominations is Friday 26 November 2010. The winner will receive a $1000 prize and will be flown to Melbourne to accept the Award at the Annual Federal Conference of the AEU in January 2011. All nominees will receive a certificate from the AEU. For further information contact Darcel Russell, Deputy Federal Secretary, telephone [03] 9693 1800 or visit www.aeufederal.org.au Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Symposium 2010

The Award will be presented to an educator or group of educators who demonstrate a commitment to the provision of high quality education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in one or more of the following ways:

The AEU is holding a national symposium in November to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education leaders, the leaders of the AEU, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the AEU, and key policy makers at national and State and Territory levels in a conversation about a rights-based approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education.

[a] Implementing a whole school/TAFE Institute approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education;

The symposium will open with an address by the AEU Federal President, Angelo Gavrielatos and a report by the AEU on

Award Criteria

the “State of Indigenous Education” survey. This will be followed by a keynote speaker or a panel of speakers and a facilitated plenary session to establish recommendations. The AEU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Committee [ATSIEC] and TAFE ATSIEC meeting will be held the day before the symposium to maximise the number of committee members who can participate in the symposium. Outcomes from the symposium will be reported in a future journal. Congratulations Beth! Beth Craddy, AEU – ACT Branch member and ACT ATSIEC representative, has recently won the position of Federal AEU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Project Officer. She will be based in the Federal AEU office in Melbourne but will occasionally be working from the ACT Branch office. Commissioner Congratulates First Indigenous member of the House of Representatives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has congratulated the member for Hasluck, Mr Ken Wyatt on being the first Indigenous person elected to the House of Representatives. “I congratulate Ken Wyatt on being the first Indigenous member elected to the House of Representatives and acknowledge the valuable contribution and perspective Mr Wyatt will bring to the business of Government in Australia,” Commissioner Gooda said. “Having an Indigenous member in the House of Representatives will help to

PAGE 10 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

Continued next page


TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR WORKLOAD The release of the DET proposal to achieve the Efficiency Dividend at the end of Term 3 generated significant levels of stress across the system and within school communities. It gave the impression of mismanagement and reflected an unfortunate level of communication. There was reportedly a serious attempt to discuss the options with those DET central office staff immediately effected [those in the “threatened” positions proposed for re-location]. However, DET senior officials overlooked the fact that schools and families would feel the impact too, possibly just as severely as the staff in the targeted positions. The AEU continues to discuss the options confronting members as well as the potential impact on program and service delivery. We are providing advice to teachers and members of the community who have contacted us with their stressrelated concerns. The positive aspect arising from the ashes of the Efficiency Dividend Review is that it should refocus all of our attention on the ethereal “work-life balance” encapsulated in our current Agreements [Schools: Section K, Clause 34; Section CC, Clause 146.9 or CIT: Part IV, Section I, Clauses 49-52] as something we must monitor and strive to achieve. Principals/ Centre Directors are encouraged to accommodate the family needs of their staff and we encourage members to negotiate part-time hours with their principals when it is needed. We advise members, “Yes, part-time hours are possible for you – on your return to

work/at this stage in your career/to help you manage your workload.” The reality is that staffing is so tight at present that “operational requirements” appear to block access to part-time work as an option for staff as it can be seen as too difficult to manage the “vacancy” of the remaining portion of your fulltime load. Pressure for “continuity” can be brought to bear on staff by parents, colleagues, students and senior executives. It is good to see that DET has released “Facilitating part-time work arrangements: A guide to part-time work arrangements for principals/managers and employees”. The AEU provided feedback to DET when this guide was in its draft form. To find the guide, go to: Index/HR tab and click on “Pay Information and Forms” on the drop down menu. Regardless of whether you are working in DET or CIT, it is time to take stock of your individual circumstances. If you have colleagues or an executive team working excessive hours, this reflects on their work-life choices, not yours, and you should not let that influence your own work-life balance. Consider the hours you have set aside to share with your family and friends and if there is a real imbalance evident, then you are encouraged to do a risk assessment and subsequently develop a personal risk management plan. We all have jobs to do, priorities to set and deadlines to meet. There seems to be an increase again in top-down expectations directed at you. If you are prepared to accept those then make sure you ask your supervisor to identify the tasks they believe you can drop off [“what would you like me to give

up in order to include the new task in my duties?”] because you cannot do everything and you should not accept additional work. You are only human, working in an environment that is grossly under-resourced in terms of both personnel and equipment. Do what you can to provide your students with a high quality, balanced education. Set them a strong example as one of their significant role models by demonstrating a work-life balance, so that they too will be able to control their workload. Now, I say only half tongue-in-cheek, go to the nearest open window, lean out into the fresh air and shout, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” then commence a risk assessment on your work-life balance.

Bill Book - Schools’ Organisers

from previous page ensure that the impact of policy and legislation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is brought to the forefront in debates and deliberations in the House. “This is a truly exciting time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and represents another positive step on the country’s journey towards reconciliation,” Commissioner Gooda said. Commissioner Gooda also endorsed the importance of today’s Welcome to Country and reiterated his support for acknowledging Traditional Owners at the beginning of each Parliamentary sitting.

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


SCHOOL

SERVICES OFFICERS I hope you realise how important you are as an individual in the scheme of things. As education support staff you do an amazing and vital job.

Even though the DET Staff Enterprise Agreement [EA] has just been voted on by members, the AEU is already seeking your input into the next EA claim. This will enable us to present the Draft Claim to the next Branch Council meeting on November 20 for endorsement. The current EA is due to expire at the end of June 2011, coinciding with the end of the CIT and Teachers’ Agreements. Therefore, all three Agreements will be negotiated during the same period of time. The AEU – ACT Branch recently hosted a celebration to acknowledge the contributions made by the many SSOs in our public schools across the ACT. The “SSO Day” event was held on November 10 at Weston Creek Community Centre. This was an important inaugural event for all of us in the AEU and it coincided with celebrations in schools as well. AEU members and non-members who are Assistants, Youth Workers and Indigenous Education Workers/Officers gathered together to be lauded for their contributions to public education and to healthier, safer workplaces. An afternoon tea was provided and everyone took the opportunity to network and “compare notes” on the issues they confront on a daily basis. We then discussed the proposals in the Draft Claim and received some valuable input. There is still a bit of time for more feedback if there are working conditions you believe should be included in the next Agreement. Send your feedback to Bill at bbook@aeuact. asn.au or Peter at pmalone@aeuact.asn. au as a matter of high importance before

Council on 20 November. Following endorsement of the Claim, the AEU will lodge it with the Department of Education and Training in December. I attended a national meeting of AEU SSO Organisers in Melbourne recently. It is always an enlightening experience as there are always more good ideas than one can absorb let alone implement. Most other AEU Branches have been covering all education workers for years and their membership numbers demonstrate that fact. The meeting discussed the issue of duty of care and under common law you do have duty of care as an adult working with children in the community. However, at your school the requirement that you must maintain a “line of sight” with a teacher clearly limits that duty. The Enterprise Agreement finally reached in South Australia came at the end of a gruelling dispute that ran over 2 full years. They endured strikes, rallies,

NATIONAL RECYCLING WEEK

PLANET ARK

8-14 NOVEMBER

mediation and finally arbitration before they got a result in February this year. While we are hoping that our ACT Government and DET will be more rational in their approach to negotiations on the Enterprise Agreement, we anticipate that it will be a battle from start to finish. We are stronger together so we urge you to get your colleagues signed up to the AEU because negotiations will commence early in 2011. We have had calls from members wondering how they will be able to improve their chances of gaining permanency because while they enjoy the work they still need the security provided by having a permanent position. We are making enquiries on behalf of some of you and DET audits the staff annually now to make sure that contracts are kept to a minimum and offers of permanency are made each year.

Bill Book Schools’s Organisers Planet Ark is encouraging individuals to set aside time during National Recycling Week to de-clutter their filing cabinets to raise paper recycling rates. They are also encouraging the Big Aussie Swap. If you don’t want it, swap it! Giving preloved goods another life saves resources and reduces carbon emissions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE BIG AUSSIE SWAP AND FRIDAY FILE FLING VISIT http://RecyclingWeek.PlanetArk.org or contact Planet Ark’s media team on [02] 8484-7200 or pr@planetark.org

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


10

great reasons why public education matters

*


For over 150 years public education has been a critically important part of Australian society. Our public schools not only deliver a high quality education to millions of young people each year but they help strengthen communities and our nation. Author John Ralston Saul “That a private system may be able to offer to a limited number of students the finest education in the world is irrelevant. Highly sophisticated élites are the easiest and least original thing a society can produce. The most difficult and the most valuable is a well-educated populace.”

NSW Governor Marie Bashir “I have no doubt that the future of Australia … can only be assured with confidence through unswerving commitment to public education of the highest quality.” Geoffrey Robertson QC “A real revolution in education will only come when a government ensures that its state schools set the standard of excellence. Then and only then will we have equity.”

*


Here are ten great reasons why public education matters. 01 Providing opportunity for all Only through public education can we ensure that every child gets the education they deserve.

02 Delivering quality education Australia’s public schools and their teachers are recognised as being among the best in the world.

03 Meeting every need Public schools do not turn children away. They educate all children whatever their learning needs.

Australian Educator

64 Summer 2009

04 Promoting equity Strong public schools are the key to addressing inequality in our society. They give young people and families the chance to overcome social and economic disadvantage.

05 Strengthening our society Public schools help build mutual understanding between people of different ethnic, religious, vocational and socioeconomic backgrounds. They promote tolerance and inclusion and build respect for diversity and difference.

06 Driving prosperity The key to Australia’s ongoing prosperity is a highly skilled and educated workforce. Only through strong public schools can we achieve this goal.

07 Helping local communities Public schools are at the heart of local communities, bringing children and families together to share in the common goals of educating children and keeping communities inclusive and strong.

08 Strengthening our democracy An educated population is the cornerstone of democracy. Our country’s wellbeing depends on the decisions of all its educated, informed citizens.

09 Securing our future Children are our nation’s future. With strong public schools we can be confident of the education and development of the next generation.

10 Providing a voice Through public school governing bodies and parent organisations people with children at public schools can have an active involvement in their child’s education, their local school and their community.


Show your support. If you support public education join teachers and parents in a national campaign to get more resources for our public schools. Sign up today at www.forourfuture.org.au

*

Authorised by Angelo Gavrielatos Federal President Australian Education Union, 120 Clarendon Street, Southbank, Melbourne 3006

Former High Court judge Justice Michael Kirby “A large part of the success story of Australia as a modern nation can be traced to the establishment of public schools across our continental country. The time has come for all citizens to make it clear that they demand an end to the underfunding of public education: where the future of the nation is chiefly written.�


MEMBER

PROFILE

Schools’ Organiser, Glenn Fowler recently interviewed AEU member Paul Burnett. Paul teaches at Hawker College and has been teaching for just over one year.

Paul, what roles do you perform at Hawker College? For the past year I have performed the role of Graphic/Art Design and Digital Photography teacher at Hawker College. Being in such a useful and dynamic position has allowed me to forge strong relationships with many staff, departments and the greater school community. I have been involved with designing and photographing events such as drama performances and sporting events, creating connections between school businesses and my students to produce websites, and a variety of tasks associated with students’ work being displayed and exhibited. What attracted you to teaching? When I left my secondary schooling, I had no intention of becoming a teacher. After further study, international travel and time spent in Scandinavia, I returned to Australia. I applied for a Bachelor of Education at the University of South Australia. To my surprise, the curriculum sparked both an interest and an outlet for long held beliefs in developing learning environments that promote equity for all learners and a passionate desire to assist students to explore their own creativity. What do you see as the rewards of teaching, particularly in the college environment? The college environment is an interesting opportunity for students to explore subject areas of their choice and prepare for their own learning pathway. The challenge is to make my curriculum flexible, relevant and useful. I have

achieved this by creating and developing links between real-world clients/ business partners and the students. These relationships give the students’ work greater value and make the outcomes for the learners more rich and meaningful. What levels of support have you received as a new educator? What extra support would you appreciate, notably from government? In the past year, I have faced a few more challenges than the average new educator. I arrived in Canberra in late 2009 from Adelaide. My first days of teaching entailed not only learning about a new school but also discovering the similarities and differences between the two education frameworks. This steep learning curve was made so much easier with the gentle guidance and support of wonderful mentors, executive teachers and talented support staff. A key area of my concern is how the support staff and other technology staff are being undervalued. The disparity between their wage, experience/ knowledge and working conditions is distressing and causing many to leave the Department to find employment with remuneration that better reflects what they are worth. With so many teachers transferring around the system, it is often the support staff members who are the people with the greatest experience and understanding of the schools, their history and their community. As a new teacher the thought of losing this valuable resource of knowledge is completely inconceivable.

What does being an AEU member mean to you? Being a member of the AEU is extremely important to me as it is the key unifying body for public school educators in Australia. The hard-won reforms created by generations of educators are eternally under threat of dilution or repeal. We need to stand together as our forebears have in the past. We must focus on attaining fair wages and working conditions for all, so together we can create a strong school environment and produce educated and healthy Australians. What would you say to the minority of new educators who feel they may not need the Union? The challenge of teaching is to keep up-to-date with the ever-changing expectations, policies and demands from our key stakeholders. As new educators, the pressures of the teaching profession are greatly increased by our lack of experience. No matter what school sector you teach in, the Union is the only body that is dedicated to aiding and defending us from being overwhelmed by the multitude of conflicting agendas. The Union’s aim is to help us reach our full potential as the best teachers that we can be.

Glenn Fowler Schools’ Organiser gfowler@aeuact.asn.au

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


CIT ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS TO COMMENCE ENTERRISE AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS The CIT Teachers Enterprise Agreement 2009-2011 expires in June 2011 and the AEU has requested that negotiations for the next Agreement commence in December 2010. Consequently we are now seeking member input into a draft log of claims which has been forwarded to members as part of the consultation process. Forward your amendments to Mike Fitzgerald on 6272-7900 or mfitzgerald@aeuact.asn. au. A final version of the Log of Claims will be ratified at TAFE Council on 12 November and put to Branch Council for endorsement on 20 November. The CIT and the AEU can then commence negotiations around the new Agreement. Members should note that AEU negotiators will seek ongoing advice from TAFE Council throughout the negotiations so it is recommended that you also provide any feedback to your TAFE Councillors and/or Sub-Branch representatives to ensure that it is included in Council’s recommendations to the negotiators. Members of the Tourism and Hotel Management Sub-Branch are engaging in a workload survey this term. Information from this survey will help inform the AEU’s Claim around workload management in the next Agreement. The survey may be extended to the broader membership if TAFE Council believes this to be beneficial to the claim. RESPECTFUL WORKPLACES Comcare has recently accepted 4 claims based on bullying and harassment within one CIT Centre. Despite CIT Management contesting these claims over a number of years the individual members persisted in asserting their rights to a respectful

and just workplace and to ensure that their colleagues did not suffer similar irregularities in the future. The tenacity of these members is to be applauded. One claimant pursued a Comcare claim for 2½ years which eventually progressed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The resultant decision from the Tribunal was reported in The Canberra Times to be quite damning of past CIT management processes. A number of other members have similarly pursued Comcare claims successfully in relation to establishing a safe workplace. Some members have also forwarded their complaints in relation to these matters to ACT Work Safety. The AEU has provided support and legal representation for these members throughout the protracted claim processes. Union officers wish to publicly acknowledge and commend the courage and commitment of those members who have chosen to fight for their workplace rights and those of their colleagues. Members will be aware of the recent recommendations by the AEU for all CIT staff to attend training in “Respectful Workplaces”. This will assist in ensuring that the workplaces are more respectful and healthy. A more pragmatic aim is to minimise potential litigations in the future and to promote the good name of the Institute as a fair and respectful employer. This is particularly so given impending changes to the ACT OHS laws as part of the Federal harmonisation of OHS legislation. The “shield of the crown” is a long standing arrangement in law that has protected government agencies from prosecution by other government agencies. The proposed national “harmonised” OHS legislation, which has been agreed to by the ACT Government and most States and the

NT [other than NSW], does not include any reference to the shield of the crown. The consequences of this legislation would effectively mean that government agencies will be subject to the same legislation as private sector companies and individuals. The timetable for the introduction of this harmonised OHS legislation is for commencement in January 2012 after the Bill has been ratified in the ACT Legislative Assembly during 2011. NATIONAL TAFE ISSUES TAFE, as a name, now no longer exists in Tasmania or the Northern Territory while many TAFE institutions in Victoria and Western Australia have also been subsumed into dual-sector arrangements. Our Victorian colleagues report that most of the VET funding is now contested and this is the model that seems to be encouraged across the country. Indeed, in Victoria, the cost of VET education has shifted markedly from government to the client resulting in massive fees and the instigation of VET fee help to offset the immediate financial burden on students. This situation has significantly diminished the enrolments in Victorian TAFEs resulting in redundancies in these institutions. Casualisation across the TAFE sector has increased to 55-60% in NSW and is similar in other jurisdictions. This is an abhorrent situation where the national levels of casualisation across all job sectors in Australia are approaching 50% which is an embarrassment as compared to other OECD countries. The AEU is working tirelessly in the Federal and State jurisdictions to ensure

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

Continued next page


TAFE VP TRACEY DODIMEAD - TAFE Branch Vice President As we near the end of the year, now is a good time to reflect on how the year has progressed and start the conversations with your Branch representatives on some of the changes necessary to support a progressive teaching future at CIT. The AEU has had discussions with CIT around concerns from some members that particularly relate to allegations of bullying and harassment in the workplace. It was then with elevated optimism that emails were received by all CIT staff encouraging participation in What is Bullying and Harassment? and Bullying Prevention Workshops. There will also be ongoing Respectful Workplace Training in some Centres. This reflects the willingness by CIT to recognise the issues at hand and take positive steps to support a safe workplace. The AEU has worked tirelessly to promote the rights of all members to a safe environment, free from bullying and harassment. The

AEU strongly encourages all members to actively participate in these workshops.

that adequate funding is provided to all TAFEs [or the equivalent where TAFE no longer exists] to provide high quality VET delivery which affords students skills at the appropriate national standards. The new AQTF standards support lifelong learning, not simply “just in time” training solutions.

of speakers discuss the national, international and ideal perspectives on VET and TAFE teaching. Key issues discussed included the analysis of recent research into the nature and level of teacher qualifications for VET and TAFE teachers. The AEU is vigorously promoting enhancement of VET and TAFE teacher qualifications and debating the issues of teacher registration to promote high quality education and training within CIT.

The National AEU TAFE Executive meeting in October noted that the new AQTF classifications have enhanced the Union’s arguments for the establishment of a broad educational base for students within the VET sector. WHAT’S HAPPENED TO TAFE & VET TEACHERS?: A FORUM Some ACT members attended a recent forum in Melbourne and heard a variety

Members should be aware that negotiations for the next CIT Enterprise Agreement [EA] commence in December. It is important that members actively engage in developing the Draft Log of Claims which is in workplaces now. It is important that all members support the development of the Claim to ensure our teaching conditions reach the standards required to provide optimal outcomes for teachers and therefore students and the ACT community. Read the Draft Log of Claims, discuss it in a Sub-Branch meeting and provide feedback to TAFE Council before 20 November. An AEU teacher workload survey will be distributed in Term 1 2011 to accurately identify teachers’ weekly commitments. The AEU recognises your already arduous workload however the collection of this

STREAMLINING Members will be aware that the AEU has been running a campaign promoting the creation of permanent positions for long term contract staff eligible for streamlining. The good news is the streamlining applications of five Vocational College applicants were

data is crucial to ensure negotiations reflect your workload in the truest sense. If you have any concerns, contact Mike Fitzgerald or myself to discuss further. It was a pleasure to meet with Adrian Marron recently to discuss the opportunity of CIT’s involvement in a workplace giving scheme with particular emphasis on APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad. This scheme provides a way for employees to donate to this charity and receive an immediate tax benefit from their wage. I will keep you updated on this progress. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a safe and joyful holiday season with your family and friends and I look forward to further representing AEU members in the New Year.

Tracey Dodimead - 6207-3137 tracey.dodimead@cit.act.edu.au

recently approved. The AEU thanks CIT management for their support of these applications. The AEU will continue to promote streamlining across the Institute. AEU NOTICEBOARDS Each CIT campus has an AEU noticeboard which is located: near the canteens at Bruce and Southside, in the A Block stairwell at Reid and on the ground floor in C Block at Fyshwick. Members are asked to use these to promote membership of the AEU, industrial and professional issues. Speak to Mike Fitzgerald if you wish to include notices on the boards and are able to assist in maintaining the currency of material displayed on the notice boards.

Mike Fitzgerald - CIT/VETiS Organiser

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


Trish Keller, Giralang Primary School Attendance at an AEU Federal Women’s Conference was a first for me. I was joined by ACT Branch Women’s Officer, Cathy Smith and fellow delegates Sharon Skinner and Jennifer Hurley. The Conference, which had the theme: Making a World of Difference, was opened by Federal Women’s Officer, Catherine Davis who set the political scene following the Federal election. She provided us with a political analysis and outline of the future campaign focus for the Union. An impressive list of panel members and guest speakers gave all delegates much food for thought on major policy areas we hope to see Government taking action on such as pay equity, gender, relationships and educational pathways. Workshops had us all engaged in discussions on topics such as Lobbying; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People in Education; Recruitment – broadening the AEU membership base; and further discussion on the 5 year plan – a stocktake of what the future holds in

relation to leadership by women in our Union. The AEU Federal Women’s Conference aims to be a feminist, consensus-based and direction-setting body within the AEU Federal structure. Recommendations from the workshops were caucused in State and Territory groups prior to the plenary session on the last day and those recommendations which emerged reflected the agreed views of the Conference delegates. They will go forward to the AEU Federal Executive to be enacted through the Branches and Associated Bodies. All recommendations were carried by consensus. We were delighted Ged Kearney [the relatively new ACTU President] was able to speak to us about her new role and our roles as women union delegates. She discussed how union campaigns must be relevant to social issues because people want to hear about issues that relate specifically to them. I also had the pleasure of meeting Frances Nelson, President of New Zealand Educational Institute. She gave us a very enlightening overview of how things are for teachers in NZ. I must say I’m rather glad I work on this side of the ditch!

There was some time for rest and fun including a wander up to the South Melbourne markets for lunch and shopping. We had more fun over dinner trying to create captions for newspaper photos. Author and entertainer Catherine Deveney was dinner guest speaker and she regaled us with many hilarious tales. There was also a serious side to her presentation providing us with some food for thought. Thanks AEU – ACT Branch! I found being a delegate at the AEU Federal Women’s Conference a most pleasant, educational and interesting experience. Jennifer Hurley, TAFE Women’s Committee I was privileged to attend the two days of the AEU TAFE Women’s Committee meeting followed by the AEU Women’s Conference. The meeting and Conference showcased supportive women sharing ideas and strategies that worked for themselves and for successful learners’ outcomes. Positive relationships among educators can benefit clients through shared planning, goals and

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


MAKING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE AEU Federal Women’s Conference, Melbourne 2 and 3 October 2010 complementary course structures. This is especially effective with particular groups of students, as shown in the Women in Plumbing Project developed by the Plumbers’ Union in Queensland and the TAFE SA Vocational Preparation and Equity Strategic Leadership Group’s [VPESLG] work in Foundation Skills. These conferences give us the opportunity to re-examine our attitudes and roles within the workplace and keep us abreast of what is possible and relevant in the 21st century. The TAFE Women’s Committee is made up of a small group of very supportive women from the VET sector. In places where TAFE continues, it is often the very areas that women value that are under threat such as foundation skills. I came away feeling that we shouldn’t be complacent as women are under-represented in most of the trade areas and thereby under threat in the TAFE system.

It is therefore necessary to adequately address any discriminatory practice by the school community and the community at large, of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexism and monosexism, as these are infringements of individual rights. Both heterosexism, the assumption of heterosexuality which is embedded in law, language and community consciousness, and monosexism, the belief that bisexuality cannot exist because all people are attracted to only one gender, need to be explored,

challenged and eliminated. The goal is to promote and improve safety, wellbeing and engagement in learning in an inclusive school environment [search the national report on sexual health and well-being of same sex attracted young people in Australia, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne]. The AEU’s policy is to work with governments and schools to “promote the general welfare, personal, civil, industrial and curriculum rights of GLBTI people”.

Sharon Skinner, Lanyon High School The Need for Understanding in Community and School: Same Sex Attracted People I emerged from the workshop on Sexual Diversity at the AEU Women’s Conference, presented by Jami Jones from Geelong Adolescent Sexuality Project [GASP], Geelong Council, with a spirit of embracing and endorsing sexual difference in our youth. There are considerable numbers of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex students and teachers [GLBTI].

Photo: [L-R] Trish Keller, Sharon Skinner, Cathy Smith, Jennifer Hurley

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


VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN &

WHITE RIBBON DAY By Glenn Fowler In Australia, one in three women will be assaulted or abused in her lifetime. These women are our mothers, our girlfriends, our wives, our daughters, our colleagues and our friends. How have we allowed this to occur? Not only is it unacceptable for this violence to take place, it is unacceptable that we allow certain behaviours and attitudes to go unchallenged. Some of us experience violence first hand. Others hear stories of violence against women. Others observe it or look on from afar. The worst part? We remain silent. If we are to move our society forward and prevent violence against women from occurring, we must speak out. We must take action to challenge attitudes and behaviours. We must not remain silent. The White Ribbon Campaign is the only national violence prevention campaign, and it is unique in that it aims to raise awareness among Australian men and boys about the roles they can play to prevent violence against women. The campaign calls for men across Australia to speak out and take an oath swearing never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. The campaign culminates on White Ribbon Day [25 November] each year, when men and women across Australia are called to wear a white ribbon or wristband as a visual symbol of their commitment and oath. In swearing and wearing a white ribbon, men and boys can act as positive role

models and advocates for change by challenging behaviours and attitudes that have allowed violence against women to occur. The White Ribbon Campaign in Australia is led by more than 1000 White Ribbon Ambassadors. Ambassadors are men who are leaders in their careers, sporting code or communities and who actively support the White Ribbon Campaign, and encourage other men and boys to become aware and engaged in the campaign. Women also support and expand the campaign through their networks, workplaces and community organisations, as White Ribbon Champions. Male AEU members, what can you do? We ask you to consider doing one or more of the following: • Sign the oath at www.myoath.com.au. It takes less than a minute and you’ll join a bevy of prominent Australian men as signatories.

Through www.whiteribbonday.org.au: • Join Glenn Fowler and Peter Malone, AEU officers, as a White Ribbon Day Ambassador • Make a donation to the White Ribbon Foundation • Buy a White Ribbon and wear it on Thursday 25 November • Order White Ribbons and sell them to staff in your workplace and beyond • Order free promotional materials (posters, adhesive tattoos, ‘I swear’ cards) and distribute them • Send a virtual White Ribbon • Hold a White Ribbon Day morning or afternoon tea • Print and distribute Fact Sheets. Even one of these actions will make the public statement that you reject violence against women.

2011 YEAR PLANNERS & 2011/2012 MEMBERSHIP CARDS: The AEU will distribute to Sub-Branch Secretaries enough 2011 Year Planners to provide one per member in the Union mail drop in workplaces on Friday 3 December. Included in this mail drop will be 2011/2012 membership cards for every financial member of the Sub-Branch. Sub-Branch Secretaries are asked to distribute them before the end of the school year as some members may be transferring to other workplaces. Members not in a school, ie relief members and associate members will have a card posted to their home address. CIT & DET Central Office members will receive their card through the normal drop.

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


SO MINISTER, TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK! Members may be interested in the Minister’s reply to an email in regard to the closure of the CTL Resource Centre, provided to the AEU by the recipient with permission to reprint. Subject: RE: CTL Library Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2010 22:17:18 +1100 From: BARR@act.gov.au Dear ...... Thank you for your input in to the efficiency dividend (ED) consultation process. I note that you have copied your email to the Department. I have read your email and feel it important to address some obvious misconceptions. Firstly, the Education Department did not “announce review outcomes” last month. It released a draft options paper for discussion. The fact that we are having this conversation is evidence of that. Secondly, to suggest that releasing an options paper is “underhanded” and an

“appalling act of betrayal” is a bit over the top. It would appear that there is never a good time to discuss efficiency dividends. From the tone of your email I doubt it would matter whether the substantive issue was discussed during term time. Had it been released earlier or later the charge would have been that teachers were too busy teaching to consider the issues. Thirdly, as an IT professional you would surely understand that professional material is moving online at a rapid rate. The ACT Government has invested massively in schools IT infrastructure. We are light years ahead of other school systems in our use of technology. It is 2010 not 1950. The world is changing. Old fashioned 1950s “libraries” are, frankly, a thing of the past. Finally, Government must always strive to deliver services efficiently. We have limited resources - we must put them to their most efficient use.

My priority is to maximise resources to those areas of education that really need the assistance. For example, providing additional funding for those students and schools not meeting minimum national standards. I appreciate that the Department’s ED options will concern some. It is simply not possible to restructure service delivery without upsetting someone. That is life. However, the consultation period has been extended to allow further input and it may well be that alternative options will be taken up. What is certain though is that the Department will meet the ED. The Legislative Assembly has appropriated a budget of $932,417,000 for the Department of Education and Training. We are required to stay within that Budget. Thank you again for your email and I trust this information is of assistance. Andrew Barr Minister for Education and Training

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


AUSTRALIAN CURRICULULUM

COALITION

Letter to Minister Garrett about concerns with the Australian Curriculum As part of the Australian Curriculum Coalition, the AEU and other stakeholders have written to Minister Garrett about the Australian Curriculum, expressing concerns about the process of development, work to date, conceptual framework and structural issues of the first drafts, assessment and reporting issues, and implementation issues. Dear Minister The Australian Curriculum Coalition represents a forum of Presidents, Executive Officers and Executive Directors of National Education Organisations. The Organisations represent members who are teachers, principals, school leaders, academics and education researchers. Collectively the Organisations have cooperated for a number of years in supporting the development of a high quality, 21st century national curriculum agenda. The Organisations individually believe that Australian schools, their teachers and students, deserve the highest quality national curriculum. It is in this context that the organisations have cooperated as the Australian Curriculum Coalition [formerly CSCNEPA] to contribute positively and dynamically to the development phases of the Australian Government’s National Curriculum. The Coalition shares a number of similar concerns about the process of development, work to date, conceptual framework and structural issues of the first drafts, assessment and reporting issues and finally, implementation issues. These concerns were evident in the individual responses of members of the Coalition and the attached paper* represents a summary of their views. The paper sets out matters of concern, recommendations for further activity and engagement by ACARA, and underpinning principles for a way forward. The Coalition has had the opportunity to meet with senior ACARA personnel and we are pleased that this opportunity is scheduled to continue. We believe that it is important that the considered and common views of peak national education associations are made explicit to Ministers to ensure that the National Curriculum is delivered in the highest quality form as possible. Signed on the 22nd October 2010

Secretariat of ACC PO Box 1891 Penrith BC 2751 New South Wales

*The ”attached paper” which outlines all the concerns of the Australian Curriculum Coalition can be found at www.aeuact.asn.au.

PAGE 24 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice


AEU Membership Application ACT Branch PERSONAL DETAILS (Please complete all sections) Surname

Mr/Ms/Miss/Mrs

I hereby apply for membership of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union and if admitted agree to abide by the Rules of the Union. AEU Rules can be found at www.aeuact.asn.au

Given Names Home address Postcode

Home phone

CLASSIFICATION

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

Work Email

O I wish to be identified as an Indigenous Member EMPLOYMENT DETAILS Workplace Current level and salary step [Go to www.aeuact.asn.au/join-us for the fee schedule]

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

SECTOR

O TAFE O Preschool

Application for membership

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

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

STATUS

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

Signature

Date of application

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

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

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

Public Education Works


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

I/We understand and acknowledge that:

O Fortnightly Payroll Deduction

1. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion, determine the order of priority of payment by it of any moneys pursuant to this Request or any authority or mandate.

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

2. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion, at any time by notice in writing to me/us, terminate this Request as to future debits.

Name Signature

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

AGS No

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

O Monthly Credit Card

11th of each month or next business day

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

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

Card Number Expiry Date /

Amount $

Customer Address

Cardholder’s signature The Schedule

O Monthly Direct Debit [Bank/Credit Union]

11th of each month or next business day

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

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

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

O Quarterly Statement I enclose Cheque/Money Order for $

I/We [Insert your name in full] [Surname or Company/Business Name] [Given Names or ACN/ARBN] request you, until further notice by me in writing, to debit my/our account described in the schedule below, any amounts which the Australian Education Union – ACT Branch [User ID No. 066127] may debit or charge me/us through the Bulk Electronic Clearing System. Continued next column

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


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