Public education voice november 2011

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40 Brisbane Ave Barton ACT 2600 • P (02) 6272 7900 • F (02) 6273 1828 •

WIN an AEU T-Shirt and Cap! Be a well-dressed protestor at the next stop work rally! Simply complete the word puzzle below and email Mike Fitzgerald on the message contained within it. One successful entry will be drawn from the AEU cap at COB 30 November 2011. Good luck!

Across 1. The most common word in the English language (3) 2. Location of Canberra city (3) 3. Body responsible for legislating for a community (10) 4. International Students (abbrev.)(2) 5. Giving birth to a young goat or kid (7) 6. Intermediate Frequency (abbrev.)(2) 7. Information Technology (abbrev.)(2) 8. Verb, s/he has a thought; s/he ...( 6)

9. Irrational Theory (abbrev.)(2) 10. L ast testament for disposing of one’s possessions upon death (4) 11. Bachelor of Education (abbrev.)(2) 12. Voted into office again (8) 13. Idiotic Fool (abbrev.)(2) 14. Insidious Tragedy (abbrev.)(2) 15. Demolishes, razes, act of destruction (8) 16. Canberra Institute of Technology (abbrev.) (3)


Challenging Homphobia is Everyone’s Responsibility: Page 8


From the Secretary

Sub-Branch News


Enterprise Agreement Update


President’s Report


2011 Branch Council Meeting Dates


Superannuation Payouts for Teachers


Challenging Homophobia 8

is Everyone’s Responsibility

Indigenous News: Page 10

Indigenous News


Focus on ESOs


O H & S


TAFE Works


TAFE VP Report


Teaching: Growing Complexity Demands Greater Support and Recognition


2011 AEU Federal Women’s Conference


Member Profile


2011 AEU Federal Women’s Conference: Page 18

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 1



The last journal of the year provides an opportunity to take stock. Welcome to the last journal of what has been another hectic year! Since our last journal the main focus has been on Enterprise Agreement negotiations. During my 6 weeks’ leave for shoulder surgery, Glenn Fowler was Acting Secretary. His report below details the situation across the negotiating landscape:

I was very fortunate to be acting in the position of Branch Secretary at a time of inspiring member activism. On 1 September, around 2000 school teacher and principal members met at the AIS Arena to express their disgust at the failure of government to address salary injustice and the needs of the public school workforce. On 27 September, up to 2000 members packed Civic Square to remind the government that it doesn’t matter how many offers they make – it’s the quality of the offer that counts. The next offer, when it arrives, will need to be significantly better than those that came before it. It will need to provide comparable salaries to those in NSW for all school leaders and teachers including casual relief teachers, increases in the second and third years which recognise cost of living pressures in the ACT and maintain national competitiveness, a bold investment in school counsellors and a leading teaching model which doesn’t undermine collegiality. Members have adhered to a range of important work bans during this period,

demonstrating that we are so often the glue that binds the system.

absence, and thank everyone for their efforts.

Since late August, approximately 250 teachers have joined the AEU to stand alongside their colleagues, recognising that what we seek will benefit all.

The Gonski Review of Schools Funding will continue to be a focus in Term 4, with a National Day of Action set down for 15 November. More details about this activity are on pages 20-21.

Parents have remained resolute in their support of teachers in schools – they understand the link between proper remuneration and the ability to attract and retain the very best teachers here in the ACT. Our students perform very well by national standards, and it is not good enough that these students have teachers who are amongst the worst paid in Australia. As I write, there is more work to be done, and our school teacher members will need to stay strong. Details about the CIT EA negotiations (page 5), along with a report on deliberations for the future of CIT (pages 14-15), appear later in this journal. What I will say here is that CIT membership has grown over this period and there has been a successful AEC ballot with regards to industrial action. At the time of writing, we are confident that our CIT management will respond positively to the various positions put by the AEU at the bargaining table. Of course, our Education Support Staff (ESO) members reached in principle agreement some weeks ago, and this was a satisfactory outcome. I acknowledge the work of Glenn and the AEU Office, Executive and the membership generally in keeping the campaign running smoothly during my

I take this opportunity to note the absence from Presidential duties of Phil Rasmus, who has taken leave from that position while he deals with a recurrence of health issues. I know Phil is well-known and well-respected among our membership, and that all members would join with me in wishing him strength in the struggle he faces. While Phil is absent from the Presidential role, the duties continues to be undertaken as required by the Vice Presidents – Roger Amey, Lyndall Read and Tracey Dodimead. I take this opportunity to acknowledge their ongoing contribution and commitment to the ACT Branch. Finally, with the end of the year fast approaching, it only remains for me to thank everyone for their dedication and hard work during 2011, whether for the students we teach or for the AEU. Each member should be proud of your effort this year; without our unity and determination we would be unable to meet challenges as successfully as we have this year. I wish everyone a relaxing and well-deserved break when Term 4 ends, and look forward to working with you again in 2012.

Penny Gilmour Branch Secretary

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

MYSCHOOL UPDATE On the MySchool front, there is more cause for frustration. Parents will now have to wait until at least 2013 to get an accurate picture of the financial resources of schools. Until then, we will continue to be in the dark as to the profits being made by private schools, the assets they hold, the total income they receive, the balance of their bank accounts and what they have in foundations and trusts. Julia Gillard has acknowledged that it is only by looking at the total amount of funds a school has at its disposal that it is possible to understand the relationship between resources and educational outcomes. MySchool will be seriously compromised until full financial details for all schools are disclosed to the Australian public.




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


NEWS By Schools Organisers

Term 4 is notorious for a rise in stress levels due to completing programs, final assessments, concerts, school camps and portfolios to name a few. For many it will also mean packing up ready to move classrooms, offices or even schools. Keep an eye on the workload and try to monitor the impact on your health. Ask for assistance and additional time, in advance, if you feel that you will need it.

continuing positions before the end of the term.

reports or enter student results. Use your time to recover fully before you return.

The 2011 Transfer Round has now closed. This process has been challenging for many members, especially those transferring unexpectedly. The AEU requested that the Education and Training Directorate (ETD) provide transitional support for teachers experiencing stress or anxiety initiated through the transfer process and ETD has agreed. This may be particularly useful for those moving from one type of school to another (e.g. college to high school) after a lengthy placement. If you feel that you need this support , ETD should be contacted for further details. All staff are entitled to seek free counselling support through Davidson Trahaire at any time on 1300 360 364.

In the current EA, clause 49.19 (b) enables members to submit a statutory declaration, where the period of leave is not more than 3 consecutive days, with their leave form attesting to their ill health. The Stat Dec is a legal document and members are urged to use it as their final option and not the first. Some people are a bit nervous about them, both receiving and submitting. The AEU office sought legal advice last term to try to clarify what wording is most appropriate on the document. The advice is that anyone using a statutory declaration should be quite specific with the information they provide. Neither you nor the people receiving the document are doctors so you should simply describe the symptoms you or your family member (for whom you are caring on the day/s) are experiencing. We continue to recommend that you try to see your doctor as a first step and ask the receptionist to note that you did make that attempt before you go to the Stat Dec.

During the protected industrial action last term, some teachers in our system were requested to provide work for their students while absent from the workplace and attending stopwork meetings. This is an unreasonable request as teachers should in no way have to “make up” for tasks missed whilst they are exercising a legal entitlement to take action. Members should notify the AEU immediately if they feel any undue pressure to attend work or to provide work for relief or supervising staff during any possible further industrial action.

There were a number of teachers across the system who sought special consideration during this transfer round. It is important to remember that as a union member you are entitled to receive support for your special consideration request during the panel meetings. The transfer application form allows you to attach a letter of special consideration but it will not necessarily come to the attention of the AEU unless you specifically discuss the circumstances with an AEU Organiser beforehand. All teachers who have entered the Transfer Round will be notified of their new or

On a related matter, when you are home on personal leave you must not feel obliged to continue preparing lesson plans and activities to keep your classes running in your absence. If you can anticipate an absence because of some event such as recovery from surgery or a caring role then you may have a number of your classes prepared prior to your absence. But for those unexpected illnesses that afflict us all periodically: forget the stoicism and martyrdom! Don’t bow to any pressure, real or perceived, emanating from your workplace to provide the lessons, mark work, write

The AEU has recently welcomed more than 250 new members and is getting stronger every day. Our strength comes from the support of active members who are not afraid to stand up and declare their right to decent pay and conditions. The speakers at the last rally reflected the feelings of all staff present. The constant emails to MLAs and the Facebook comments have also reinforced members’ discontent with the ACT Government‘s inadequate response to our claims thus far. We thank members for their activism during the protected industrial action and encourage members to continue their support during the ongoing negotiations and campaign. Bill Book, Sue Amundsen and Glenn Fowler Schools Organisers

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


AGREEMENT UPDATE By Organisers Glenn Fowler (Schools) and Mike Fitzgerald (TAFE)

ETD Teachers Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiations are continuing and, with a new offer possible at a meeting to be held tohis week, we are conscious that information provided here is likely to be out of date by the time you read it!

s o as to attract and retain people into this essential role; and • I mplementation of the Teaching Leading classification must be standards-based and not promotionsbased, and must not undermine the collegiality of our profession. Members should note that there has been a high level of agreement thus far on matters such as teacher transfer, accelerated incremental progression, enhanced support for first year teachers, templates to monitor the workload impacts of new initiatives, and conditions for Literacy and Numeracy Field Officers.

Nevertheless, it is pertinent to clarify what AEU negotiators have been emphasising with the Minister and ETD negotiators as being the keys to a settlement. Note that detailed reports on negotiations have been provided to Branch Executive and Branch Council. The AEU has made it clear that:

CIT Teachers

• I n the first year, salary parity needs to be achieved for all teacher and school leader levels, including casual relief teachers;

The 2009-2011 CIT Teachers EA expired in June 2011 and negotiations for the next agreement commenced in December 2010. The AEU submitted a log of claims which focussed on issues to re-establish a healthy, secure workplace and provide for economic stability for families and workers.

• S econd and third year salary increases must be at least 3.5% to reflect cost of living pressures in the ACT and to maintain the national competitiveness of any new teacher salaries that are agreed;

The CIT offer included: • a radical reclassification of teaching positions;

• T here must be facility for the timely negotiation of a new model for principal classification, i.e. a better way to recognise school complexity; • T here must be agreement as to what “school autonomy” will look like over the life of the EA; • B lack Mountain School and The Woden School require a Pastoral Care SLC like all other high schools; • T here must be a bold investment in School Counsellor/Psychologist salaries

• a significant diminution of access to Paid Non Attendance; • l oss of Daylight Equivalent and a 20-hour reduction in Professional Development allocation (resulting in a 20- hour increase in teaching and DOTT workload); and • p ay increases of 3.5% in 2011 and 3% in July 2012 with an addition 1.5% conditional on AEU agreement to the entire teacher reclassification. The AEU claim was simplified to an

insistence on no loss of teaching conditions and the demand for the full 7% pay rise over the life of the agreement that the ACT government had provided to CIT for that purpose. CIT refused to discuss the AEU position and flatly rejected it over some six months of negotiation. The Union initiated two Protected Industrial Action (PIA) ballots of members in support of the AEU claim. The initial PIA ballot fell slightly short of the required 50% response. One consequence of the devastating attack on teaching conditions initiated by CIT’s bargaining position and behaviour was the slow but determined rise of teacher member anger and engagement in the EA negotiation process. The second PIA ballot (late September to mid-October) sent a strong message to CIT that the members were ready, if necessary, for a protracted industrial dispute in support of their pay and conditions. The AEU negotiators ceased to meet with CIT in late September in the face of CIT’s intransigence. Eventually, CIT revised its offer in mid-October to minimise the loss of teacher conditions and to offer the full, unconditional 7% salary increase over 2 years (or 3.5% in each year). At the time of writing, the AEU and CIT have been in negotiation for ten months and significant progress in the negotiations was made only in the past week. There remain some matters to be negotiated including, but not limited to, back-dating of the initial pay increase to 18 August 2011, in keeping with other ACT Public Sector arrangements, and the links between teaching qualifications and the pay incremental scale for Band 1 teachers.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 5

BY ROGER AMEY ACTING BRANCH PRESIDENT One of the reasons many of us belong to a union is for industrial protection. This protection doesn’t come from the fees we pay or from the people the union employs— it comes from our collective might. I have always been proud to be a member of the AEU, not just because we have always used our collective might to protect the industrial and professional rights of our members, but perhaps more so because we have used our collective conscience to promote the benefits of public education and more importantly to ensure the wellbeing of future generations. Today we face unprecedented attacks by our employers, not just on our industrial wellbeing but more importantly, in my opinion, on the rights of current and future generations of the country’s most important resource, it’s young. We have a Prime Minister who believes what you and I do every day in our schools can be simplified to sets of numbers which can be used to compare students, with no concept of the situations in which they might exist. She has publically stated she wants every child to be above the average. She thinks that education can be fixed with computers and bricks and mortar. Yet every piece of meaningful research into effective educational outcomes shows that the success of the job we do is determined primarily by two factors:

• The environment in which a child is raised and • The quality of the teacher/s they are exposed to It is vital that you and I fight to: • Protect the future of our young, nonvoting members of society and • Ensure all teachers are appropriately remunerated, have adequate resources and safe and productive learning environments.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS? • Act as a collective at all times. • Participate in a supportive manner in all actions of the Union. • Participate in the decision making bodies of the Union. • Recruit non-members so that they too can benefit from being a member of the collective. • Educate the community about the vital need for a strong and effective public education sector. Remember public education is the foundation of a strong community.

Roger Amey Acting Branch President

2011 BRANCH COUNCIL MEETING DATES: Branch Council meets on the following Saturdays in 2011 at J Block Theatre, Reid Campus CIT from 9:00am - 12 noon. Please arrive by 9:00am as a quorum must be present by 9:30am or the meeting lapses. Papers are available from 8:45am. Tea and coffee is also provided but please bring a mug. • 19 November For the information of new Councillors, Business Papers are forwarded through the Union’s maildrop via Sub-Branch Secretaries at least 1 week prior to the meeting. This is your chance to have your say!

CIL COUN ER ND REMI turday a S m 9a ember v o N 19 eid CIT R

Next Journal Deadline:

27 February. Contributions to the journal can be sent to:

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



Many people don’t give much thought to their superannuation – it’s just something for when you reach retirement age: the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But what happens if your rainy day comes earlier than expected?

monthly Income Protection payments (IP) of up to 75% of your superannuation salary for two years after a 90 day waiting period. You can be eligible for both the TPD lump sum and IP monthly payments.

Disability Support Pensions may be eligible to claim superannuation disability benefits from an old job, even if they haven’t worked for many years. You can have multiple TPD claims.

Injury or sickness

How do superannuation benefits affect Workers’ Compensation payments?

Unlike Workers’ Compensation, to be eligible for superannuation disability benefits, you can take into account all your health problems, including any chronic conditions which predate you joining the fund. Conditions such as cancer, mental illness, chronic fatigue, neurological and cardiovascular conditions can be used for a claim.

If you have to stop work because of a medical condition, you may be eligible to claim disability benefits through your super. Superannuation disability benefits If you stop work because of an injury or sickness, you may be eligible for superannuation disability benefits – whether pensions or lump sums, or both.

Superannuation disability benefits and Workers’ Compensation or Centrelink

Most ACT teachers will be members of CSS, PSS or the PSS Accumulation Plan (PSSAP). Under CSS or PSS, if you are permanently unfit to do your job as a teacher or other suitable work given your education, training or experience, you may be eligible for a Total and Permanent Invalidity (TPI) pension of a percentage of your superannuation salary for life, indexed annually. If you are partially unfit for work, you may be eligible for a partial invalidity pension benefit and you can get pre-assessment payments whilst a TPI pension claim is being assessed. Under PSSAP, if you are permanently unfit to do teaching or other suitable work given your education, training or experience, you may be eligible for a TPD insurance lump sum (as well as your accumulated contributions). The basic cover is up to $250,000. If you are currently unfit for your usual job as a teacher, you may be eligible for insurance

TPD insurance lump sums under PSSAP are not reduced by any Workers’ Compensation or Centrelink payments. However, IP monthly payments are usually reduced by Workers’ Compensation payments. TPI pensions under CSS or PSS are not reduced by any Workers’ Compensation or Centrelink payments. However if you return to work, the pension can be reduced depending on the income you earn. TPD lump sums count towards the Centrelink Assets Test and may reduce Centrelink pensions. However, you can roll over some or all of a superannuation lump sum to protect your Centrelink payments. TPI pensions and IP payments count towards the Centrelink Income Test and may reduce Centrelink benefits.

Comcare weekly payments are reduced if you receive superannuation IP or TPI pension payments under a formula set out in the Safety Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 1988. Similarly, a superannuation TPD lump sum will reduce Comcare weekly payments – although not by much. The same doesn’t apply to New South Wales or ACT Workers’ Compensation weekly payments.

Don't put up with continued neglect! • Email your elected representatives, politely expressing to them why the offer is inadequate. Go to • Join us on facebook. Search for Public Education: Our Students Deserve The Best. • Talk to community members about the need for proper investment in public schools and the workforce within them. What's good for teachers has to be good for our students!

Teachers who are on Workers’ Compensation payments or Centrelink

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


RESPONSIBILITY TITLE HERE Giam, consecte doloborpero deliquat. Landipit ad tismod delestin velisi endre core tiscinis atet eros EVERY STUDENT DESERVES TO BE SAFE AT SCHOOL/TAFE. nullupt atinit prat. Ut lore ming et vendrem nisi.


Did You Know?* • 1 0% of students identify themselves as being same sex attracted and gender questioning, also referred to as gay and lesbian. • 8 0% of bullying of gay and lesbian youth occurs on school grounds. • 6 1% of students experience verbal abuse from their peers and 18% are physically assaulted. • T he most frequent forms of abuse are tolerating homophobic language, social exclusion and humiliation. Less common forms are written abuse and graffiti. • H omophobic abuse is associated with students feeling unsafe, excessive drug use, self harm and suicide in young people. • H omophobic abuse results in students not being able to concentrate in class, missing classes, missing days at school and marks dropping. • A disturbing number of these students end up hiding at recess and lunch and/ or not using change rooms and toilets. Others drop out of sport or other activities, leave their school to go to another school and some leave school altogether. • 3 7% of young people surveyed described their school as homophobic or very homophobic overall. • S chools having specific policies against homophobic abuse (not just general anti-bullying and harassment policies) mean Students are less likely

to self harm. This demonstrates the importance of putting policy into practice. But YOU AND YOUR STAFF CAN DO SOMETHING to support gay and lesbian students: • R ecognise that there are diverse family structures and ensure you provide a welcoming environment for gay and lesbian students and their families. • P ut up posters around the school to show that the school values diversity, including gay and lesbian students. • I nclude items in the school newsletter to demonstrate inclusiveness. • Interrupt and challenge homophobic behaviour and comments when they occur. • Be inclusive in your teaching practices. • E nsure that there are identified members of staff who students can approach about concerns. • P rovide a ‘safe space’ at school for students to go to during recess and lunch-time. • T his safe space may evolve into a support group for gay and lesbian student. • A udit your school’s resource collection to ensure they promote inclusivity and diversity. Purchase resources if there are gaps in the collection. • D evelop and implement a school antibullying and harassment policy that is inclusive of people’s sexual orientation and gender identity (supporting students, staff, parents etc).

The AEU website has a new Equity and Diversity page [ member-groups/equity-and-diversity] which provides links to articles and a wide range of resources for school staff, students, parents and community members who wish to ensure gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students are supported. Want to network with other AEU members who are interested in ensuring schools and TAFEs are safe places for GLBTI students and staff? Come along to our Term 4 meeting, 4pm, Wednesday 23 November, Tilly’s Cafe, Corner of Brigalow & Wattle Streets, Lyneham Shops. * Writing Themselves In 3 Report (2010) - The third national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people aged 14-21. Studies have been conducted six years apart since 1998 and WTI3 is available at: au/ssay/assets/downloads/WritingThemselvesin3_web_ sml.pdf

Terminology: GLBTI: Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex. Gender questioning: Refers to the process whereby an individual comes to question the usefulness or validity of their current biological sex and/or assigned gender. This includes people who see the binary categories of male and female/masculine and feminine as meaningless or unduly restrictive, and those who feel that their gender does not align with the sex assigned to them at birth. Transgender: An umbrella term and, for some people, an identity term used to describe all kinds of people who sit outside the gender binary or whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. Transgender people may or may not feel the need to access hormone therapy and/or surgery. Intersex: A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male.

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

An example of posters that could be displayed around your school or TAFE Centre.

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

Second Term 2011 saw the beginning of the implementation of ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Community Partnership for Literacy Excellence Project. This project is a combined initiative of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), the ACT Education and Training Directorate (ETD) and the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation. The project values the importance of building strong and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families and Communities. Teachers Bea Hale and Daniel Greene have been directly involved in both the planning and implementation of an intensive literacy program with the Gugan Gulwan Aboriginal Youth Corporation and schools in the Tuggeranong Network. Background On 9 June 2011 the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010-2014 was released. This Action Plan outlined the agreement between the Prime Minster, Premiers and Chief Ministers through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to six ambitious targets regarding ‘Closing the Gap’ between Indigenous and nonIndigenous Australians. Two of these specific targets were: • T o halve the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade (by 2018) • A t least halve the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates by 2020. The “Closing the Gap” Tuggeranong

High Schools Literacy Project is a direct result of the Australian Government’s commitment to achieving these goals. This pilot project model was established based on a network of schools implementing a common approach to the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and the teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The strategies being implemented throughout the project are based on current research both in literacy and cultural competency. The main objectives for this project are: 1. T o determine literacy strategies which improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ reading and writing skills. 2. T o develop an intensive literacy program for students which aims to provide students with the successful acquisition of a range of reading strategies that can be used across a wide range of texts and learning areas. 3. I mportantly, to increase teacher capacity to inquire into their practice in ways which lead teachers to develop and sustain a high quality approach to teaching literacy across curriculum areas and embedding an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective within their teaching and school environments. The Project The “Closing the Gap” Tuggeranong High Schools Project will run till the end of 2012. Students referred to the program throughout the next five terms will be drawn from Namadgi School, Lanyon High School, Wanniassa School, Calwell High School and Caroline Chisholm

School respectively. Initially, the students referred to the project will be drawn from Years 7-9, with the end of 2011 seeing some students drawn from Year 6. The project specifically targets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who have varied challenges which inhibit their learning at school. This project provides them with opportunities to learn and utilise new literacy strategies in both the school and Gugan Gulwan settings. The majority of students involved in the project will be offered in-school support, which aims to provide individualised support for the students; as well as targeted coaching for their teachers. A small number of specifically selected students will be involved in an intensive literacy program which is being implemented at the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation site. This specific program runs for two days a week for a term and students are then supported in the transition process back into their home schools. Project staff and teachers further support the students to sustain and develop their literacy skills in their home schools. Currently... The first intake of students into the intensive literacy program at Gugan Gulwan has successfully completed an intensive term course. Students were introduced to the thinking behind the reading process and how to use a range of specific reading strategies using a variety of texts. They made connections between the reading and writing processes by using quality literature as a model for their own writing. Students have shown commitment to their learning and have indicated the positive gains they have made over the term. There has been

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an increase in students’ engagement, motivation and confidence levels as indicated through their survey responses and anecdotal observations by Gugan Gulwan staff. Their writing was published into a magazine called the Gugan Vibe which is a celebration of their work. Tuggeranong Network High Schools have been very positive towards this project and have been developing strategies and programs which will further support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in their schools. They are also sharing strategies which are successful within their school with other network schools. Where to next... The program will continue to develop and build over the next year. The reading and writing strategies being trialled in the intensive literacy program will be integrated into the Tuggeranong Schools’ literacy approaches. Resources, workshops and working with teachers will assist in further embedding support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students. A strong focus will be placed on developing and delivering curriculum which incorporates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

Photo: Project Information Family get together at Caroline Chisholm School Senior Campus.

A request for assistance: If you have a unit of work or topic that you have developed with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander perspective and are willing to share it, or if you know of quality subject specific curriculum programs, could you please contact Bea Hale at bea. Bea Hale Tuggeranong Region ‘Closing the Gap’ Literacy Project Officer Literacy and Numeracy Section, ETD

Photo: One of the Intensive Literacy classes at Gugan Gulwan Aboriginal Youth Corporation.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 11



Giam, consecte doloborpero deliquat. Landipit ad tismod delestin velisi endre core tiscinis atet eros A POSITIVE OUTCOME ACHIEVED nullupt atinit prat. Ut lore ming et vendrem FOR nisi. EDUCATION SUPPORT STAFF

Well, we are almost there. Negotiations with the Education and Training Directorate [ETD] have continued to progress and final adjustments to wording in some clauses are being made to prepare the proposed agreement for consideration by members. As you might expect not every objective in our claim has been achieved, but we have had a few significant successes with which members will be pleased. All Preschool Assistants will be provided adequate time and facilities during ordinary working hours to enable them to assist the teachers with planning and preparing the program, during their ordinary hours of work, thereby acknowledging the significant difference between their role and that of school assistants. Also, during the ordinary hours of work, all assistants must be provided time and facilities to access relevant IT resources for work related purposes. Assistants employed on long term contracts in Term 4 who are offered contracts for at least the first term in the following year before “designated payout date” will be entitled to pro rata annual leave, full payment of public holidays and stand down from the end of the designated holiday period. [The designated payout date is the date by

which the information required of the schools by Shared Services payroll to ensure the final pay roll is ready for payment on the last pay date of the year. It usually falls in early December.] Those who are not offered a contract before the designated payout date but do receive an offer of contract prior to January 26 for at least Term 1 will have their contracts commence on the first day following the end of the designated annual leave period. The issue of allowances was clarified and it has been agreed that there is no need to alter the wording in the description of either the Special Education Allowance or the First Aid Allowance. For the latter it was agreed that if an assistant who is not the designated First Aid Officer at the school but who has appropriate first aid qualifications and is asked to go on a school excursion as the first aid officer, the assistant will receive the allowance while on duty. If you fulfil the role you get the allowance. In regard to the Special Education Allowance, the rate paid is .85 of the ASO 4 rate as is the hourly rate for assistants. If all or the majority of your work is with high needs students in any of the units you will receive the allowance. If you are a casual teacher providing relief in an LSU, LSC, Autism Unit, EIU you will receive the allowance.

Assistants who have been contracted for 3 out of 4 years from 2008 but have not been offered permanent positions will be provided an opportunity to apply for Special Consideration for permanent appointment. The details of this option are still to be finalised but it is recognised as an important issue and a matter of equity. When the proposed agreement does arrive in your hands for your consideration, please take the time to read the sections that apply specifically to your working conditions and your income and allowances. There are other sections referring to incremental increases and common core conditions that you should also read and the organisers are available to attend your sub-branch to assist with any interpretation of material as and if required. Alternatively contact the AEU office for assistance with any questions generated by the proposed agreement. Just make certain that you and your colleagues are informed before you vote.

Bill Book Schools Organiser

For assistants seeking permanent appointment there is hope on the horizon. It has been agreed that following 2 years of continuous employment from the beginning of the 2011 school year a temporary employee will be appointed to a system position. It will be based on a contract assessment at the end of each year but will not require further merit selection.

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

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There are certain necessary steps you must take if you are injured at work. The first and fundamental step is the lodging of the Accident & Incident Report (AIR) with Shared Services and ETD Injury Management. Some reports may be regarding “near misses” and others you may consider to be of little consequence, but the Work Safety Act 2008 makes it your legal responsibility to report all accidents. Once you have lodged the AIR you are in a position to put in a Comcare claim form also. People assume that in order to lodge that claim you must be seriously injured and house-bound by the injuries. However, you may choose to put in a claim because your injury has caused you to use a few days of personal leave and involve some medical expenses. It’s an important consideration because if the claim is successful your leave should be restored and you should not end up out of pocket at all. You will be allocated a case manager from Injury Management and one from an approved Rehabilitation Provider. All parties work together to see you return to work as quickly as possible. Depending on the extent of your injuries you may return on a Graduated Return to Work (GRTW). But in that process it is important to note that you and your doctor do have a key voice in determining what that return will look like. The outcome is negotiated and agreed, not directed. You may also access the support of case managers to assist you in a GRTW following non- compensable accidents/ injuries but in such circumstances you

will rely on personal leave to see you through your recovery. Once that leave has been exhausted you will be on personal leave without pay. Ultimately what you should remember is that there are avenues you can access to secure assistance to help you make your return as manageable and rewarding as possible.

that a program you want to run includes elements that might place anyone at risk, conduct a risk assessment and determine the value of inclusion in the program. If that activity is absolutely essential, ensure that the risk is controlled, minimised and managed to meet the requirement of being as safe as reasonably practicable.

Members have continued to express some anxiety over the impending harmonised Work Safety legislation to take effect from 1 January 2012. The concerns expressed are based on uncertainties about implications for individual teachers arising from the removal of the “shield of the crown” (the protection from prosecution enjoyed by government departments). The matter has been addressed in previous journal articles but I hope this will clarify the situation for you.

If you are directed to undertake an activity that is in your estimation hazardous or unsafe for you or your students; work in an environment that you believe to be unsafe; or accept changes in the dynamics of your classroom resulting in an unsafe environment, then you are able to refuse and will be protected under the legislation. Your expectation that a risk assessment and management plan will be conducted and implemented before you undertake that activity is not unreasonable.

The private sector has not enjoyed the same protection ever but we don’t read about a continuous flow of teachers being dragged through the courts for breaches of one regulation or another. The fact is that you can already be charged as an individual for acts of negligence you may have committed. What the change indicates is that under the legislation all employers, persons in charge of a “business” and all employees have set responsibilities to ensure that their enterprise and operation is as safe as reasonably practicable, both physically and psychologically. What is required of all education employees is a commonsense approach to the organisation of work and activities at your workplace which is unchanged from your current approach. If you believe

In short, if you continue to apply the safety measures that you have been applying to date then you will not notice a difference in your personal circumstances.

Bill Book Schools Organiser

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 13

BY PETER MALONE - ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY (INDUSTRIAL) QUESTIONS REMAIN ABOUT PROPOSED CIT-UC MERGER The details on the CIT Enterprise Agreement negotiations are contained in a separate EA update provided by TAFE Organiser, Mike Fitzgerald. This month the TAFE Works column will concentrate on the other issue of vital importance to AEU members: the future of CIT. Joint Union Submission to Bradley Report The AEU, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) welcomed the opportunity to provide a submission as representatives of CIT staff on the Bradley Report findings regarding options for the future collaboration between CIT and UC. The overall purpose of the Joint Union submission was to: • R aise the serious questions that remain unanswered with regard to each option proposed in the Bradley Report; • S tress the vital significance of vocational education, in its own right, to the people of Canberra and the region; • C all for the necessary analysis and research to be completed prior to any government decision on a preferred option; • E mphasise that any change must only be made if it strengthens the delivery to and outcomes for vocational education students and thereby meets the needs of our community. The following are excerpts from the submission [the full document can be

accessed at]. These excerpts highlight the areas that require further and proper analysis before any government decision should be taken about CIT’s future.

Option 1: CIT and UC continue to adapt to the changing vet environment independently Research that is needed to consider this option further: • W hat legislative changes, other than those proposed for Option 2 or 3, could be made to enable CIT and UC to operate effectively for the ACT community within the changing VET/ Higher Education environment?

• H ow exactly will a more autonomous institution deliver better VET educational outcomes for ACT students? • W hat level of ACT Government funding is required to ensure the ongoing delivery of high quality VET by CIT to meet ACT community and industry needs? • H ow will the Government ensure that in a more autonomous CIT model: • There will be no job losses; • T he existing industrial conditions of all staff are maintained, including their employment under the Public Sector Management Act;

• W hat level of ACT government funding is required to ensure the ongoing delivery of high quality VET by CIT to meet ACT community and industry needs?

• I t will continue to be able to direct the new institution to implement measures to meet the evolving VET needs of the ACT community?

• T he Bradley Report has only focused on CIT and UC. Other questions that this premise raises are: How can CIT better collaborate with NSW TAFE in regards to VET programs in and for the region?

Option 3: A new institution

• W ill Options 2 and/or 3 force many ACT students and industry over the border into NSW TAFE and have counterproductive effects upon the ACT?

Option 2: More independence for CIT

Research that is needed to consider this option further: • H ow exactly will the new institution deliver better VET and Higher Education outcomes for ACT students? • W hat level of ACT government funding is required to ensure the ongoing delivery of high quality VET by the new institution to meet ACT community and industry needs?

Research that is needed to consider this option further:

• H ow will any proposed legislation address the following issues:

• W hat research is needed to identify the best practice model for a more autonomous CIT?

• T he purpose, values, goals and directions of the new institution community; Continued next page

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

• T he protection and enhancement of the delivery of Australian Quality Framework (AQF) Levels 1-4 programs; • T he protection of the industrial interests of all staff, including a restriction on the outsourcing of functions to external providers and a recognition that staff employed at CIT have expectations for security of tenure, security of working conditions and access to their current superannuation arrangements through to retirement. This is particularly important in areas where functions are currently duplicated in both institutions (e.g. delivery of AQF 5-7 courses, corporate and student services and librarians); • T he minimisation of the use of consultants/contractors/subcontractors and increasing the use of direct employment of workers. As part of this commitment currently outsourced services should be reviewed with the goal of returning these to direct provision by the new institution;

• A requirement that the existing industrial instruments for CIT teaching and general staff will continue to cover, apply to and bind those employees, new employees undertaking the same work and their new employer? • How will the Government ensure that: • There will be no job losses? • L ocal job creation is maximised by restricting the outsourcing of functions to external providers? • T he current CIT campuses will be maintained? • E mployees will receive a written statement setting out precisely what accrued entitlements they will “carry over” into any new institution?

• A requirement that where contractors/ sub-contractors are operating, industrial and legal mechanisms exist to protect their rights; • T he provision of adequate government funding to support all program delivery; • T he creation of a totally new institution, with a new name so that CIT and UC can forge a shared future identity with each being genuinely equal partners in the process. This includes a new governance and financial structure that ensures that there are no drivers that favour one sector over the other;

• A requirement that the employing authority of VET staff will remain the Australian Capital Territory, with appropriate reference to the Public Sector Management Act; and

• D ue diligence occurs with regards to the assets and liabilities of CIT and UC? • T he current services to students and industry will not be disrupted in any transition to a new institution?

• T he tensions between the two totally different systems of educational delivery, curriculum development, cultural environment, ICT management and financial management are satisfactorily resolved to the benefit of students and the ACT community? • W hat research is needed to identify a best practice model for an institution that delivers AQF Levels 1-10? • F urther evidence is needed to properly assess that Option 3 does actually: • G ive equal value to VET and Higher Education, reflecting the importance of each in the development of skills and knowledge and in its contribution to the ACT economy and community in any proposal for change; • A ssist the ACT to meet future skill needs and respond to demographic trends; • D eliver a healthy and flexible VET and Higher Education sector for the ACT; • Ensure that costs will not blow out; and • E nsure that the region will not haemorrhage social capital because of the lack of a skilled workforce and industry support.

• I t will continue to be able to direct the new institution to implement measures to meet the evolving VET needs of the ACT community? • C IT’s mission to provide public vocational education and access to education by socially disadvantaged members of the community will not be compromised?

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 15



By Stephen Hood, Classroom Teacher at UC High School Kaleen

Education and Training Minister Andrew Barr has stated his desire to attract the “best and brightest” teachers to the ACT. Aside from specific technical skill and altruistic passion for imparting knowledge, aspiring educators in evitably consider the attractiveness of the work environment and the practicalities of salary competition and cost of living in their preferred location. Of course, the culture of an organisation and its capacity to support them through ongoing professional and personal development is also a factor that is considered. I am one of a strange breed that has accepted a considerable pay cut as a “mature” teacher and I hope to strengthen public education by investing my years of professional and personal experience. In my case this has been in the hard-to-staff areas of mathematics, information technology and financial literacy. I bring to teaching seventeen years experience as a naval officer and five years as a senior IT manager in varied locations in Australia and abroad. I have deliberately challenged my perceptions of my own secondary education in the 1970s by choosing to teach at two of the smallest, most socially complex and challenging high schools in the ACT. In my seven years as a teacher, I have accepted a number of modest salary increases whilst seeing significant increases in the cost of utilities, services and housing in the ACT. In the past, Canberra’s affordability may have been attractive – not any more. Of the many Diploma of Education students I studied with in 2004, only one other student from both the mathematics and IT streams elected to work in ACT public schools (and another chose a private school). Many sought to teach in other states or

overseas. In my relatively short teaching career thus far, I have seen three teachers leave the public system and move to private schools. A number have also left the ACT to teach interstate or overseas or have left teaching altogether. Whilst the reasons for departure no doubt vary (there appears to be a lack of rigour in gathering informative exit data by the employer) one of the key issues facing teachers is the Education and Training Directorate (ETD) significantly adding to the level and complexity of teacher workload, without adequate consultation pertaining to major new initiatives. In the life of the current twoyear Enterprise Agreement, I have had to cope with eighteen major changes to my work practice and workload. Space precludes me listing all eighteen, but they are a combination of major externallyimposed initiatives (like NAPLAN testing and the Quality Teaching model), whole of school initiatives (like restorative practices and emergency IT support) and local mathematics faculty initiatives (like the integration of “Mathletics”, “Mathsonline” and Middle Years Mental Computation across the school). I perform my tasks as best I can, but none of them to the standard I would like. Like my lunch, I grab bites here and there until the next demand takes me away to another higher competing priority. This unsustainable situation primarily arises out of the employer “wanting it both ways”: it wants consistently high standards of delivery and student outcomes across all government schools, yet provides meagre system-level investment in teaching and learning so as to achieve this. ETD fosters competition between government schools whilst at the same time imposing governmental

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

initiatives in which schools have no real say, irrespective of the workload impacts of such initiatives. Sadly, the employer appears to have no effective mechanism for identifying the actual workload of its employees and leaves this to principals under pseudo-autonomy arrangements and an ultimately toothless workload committee at each school. Worse, it assumes that there are sufficient financial resources to implement such an enormous change agenda. Perhaps this is seen by policy-makers and education bureaucrats as an appropriate approach to “soften up” principals and teachers for full-blown devolution. The ideological push to implement so-called autonomy under a single budget line must be fought. Government schools are a social enterprise, not a business. They proudly take “all comers” and must differentiate for the most socially and intellectually disadvantaged within our community. Government schools should not be run like a private sector business in which principals are forced to compete for skilled and experienced labour in an open market. Rather, the central office functions must be better resourced to provide appropriate territory-wide capacity to ensure consistent outcomes for any educational initiative across all schools. Drawing upon my navy experience, school staffing autonomy is akin to one vessel’s commanding officer poaching staff from another vessel to plug a hole in capability left by the loss of key personnel. This is, of course, recognised as nonsense by the manpower and career planners in executing frontline operational capability for Defence and National Security. The same principle should apply in the frontline operational capability of public

education. Workforce planners must retain the overall responsibility for the total skills and depth of the workforce. Devolving this responsibility to school principals will not only pile considerable extra workload upon school leaders but it will draw these experienced educators further away from their role as professional leaders as they execute more business-oriented, administrative tasks. This must be stridently opposed.

Government schools are, after all, part of a public service through which citizens expect appropriate social outcomes. These social outcomes cost money, but in the long run they save us money. Currently, the Minister is seeking a champagne education system on a beer budget. I’d like to be part of a reenergised and appropriately resourced, supported and remunerated profession.

Should this critical investment not be made, we will see further alienation of an increasingly tired and cynical workforce, with clear implications for the loss of passionate, dedicated and creative staff. Canberra’s children will be the ones to suffer.

This article appeared in The Canberra Times on 28 October 2011.

This article by TAFE Organiser Mike Fitzgerald is in lieu of the TAFE Vice President’S Report.

This year, ABC radio and the Canberra Times reported on bullying and harassment claims by a number of CIT teachers. Chronicled in these reports was the plight of some members who endured for up to three years the draining Comcare claims process for workplace stress. Questions were asked as to whether a culture of bullying and harassment has existed at CIT. The only case that was heard in the Federal Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) found that CIT’s actions following student complaints about a CIT teacher were ‘....unreasonable, untoward, misleading and without procedural fairness...’ (Canberra Times 17 September 2011, derived from AAT Transcript No 2009/2774). Following this finding, Comcare conceded the remaining three Comcare claims from members within that particular CIT Centre. The AEU has provided support to these members over an extended period through both the Comcare process and the preparation of cases for the AAT. The AEU engages the services of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and they provided sound and wise counsel over the duration of these claims. They offered members a

‘no win, no fee’ service in the successful pursuit of their claims.

lodge their claims directly to ACT Work Safe for independent investigation.

In late 2010 the ACT Work Safety Commissioner, Mark McCabe, served CIT with three Improvement Notices based predominantly on the complaints to Work Safety from teaching staff at CIT. Significantly, it is believed that this is the first time such notices have been served on an ACT Government agency. The AEU understands that ACT Work Safety is completing an investigation into the allegations of bullying and harassment across various CIT Centres.

The AEU believes that working relationships within the sector are under stress as a consequence of the continuous, significant reduction of funding to CIT since 1997. These funding shortfalls have generated unrealistic expectations on teachers and their managers to maintain quality educational outcomes in the face of unreasonable increases in output. If this pressure is to be relieved the ACT and Federal governments must adequately fund and support affordable public TAFE and VET education in the ACT.

In the Canberra Times of 17 September 2011, the Chief Executive of CIT is quoted as rejecting the existence of a culture of bullying and harassment, stating that ‘[n] obody has made a formal complaint to us and we don’t have any formal complaints on record’. Whilst CIT has offered Respect, Equity and Diversity (RED) training for some staff in some areas, management continues to deny that the problem is widespread. Meanwhile, the AEU is aware of a number of other teaching staff who wish to formalise their outstanding, informal claims of bullying and harassment. Where appropriate, these members are being advised to

The AEU has consistently encouraged all members to undertake training in programs aimed at establishing and maintaining respectful workplaces and to raise issues of concern about unreasonable work expectations with the AEU. The Union assists and supports aggrieved members to raise their concerns both within and outside CIT, and seeks to ensure the application of appropriate administrative procedures. Every member stands to benefit from these efforts.

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



Another World is Possible, Another World is Necessary – the next 100 years

The theme of this year’s AEU Federal Women’s Conference was Another World is Possible, Another World is Necessary: the next 100 years, inspired by the Education International World Women’s Conference held in January. The conference took place on Saturday & Sunday, 8-9 October at the AEU Federal Office conference centre, Melbourne.

Stephanie Alexander, founder Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden program, was a guest panellist who discussed her vision, the outcomes and the process to extend her nation-wide program.

Women’s aspirations for a better life were far reaching at the turn of the century and indeed their commitment to action was revolutionary. With much progress in some areas, a significant challenge remains to ensure the human rights, freedoms, prosperity and gender justice for women globally. During the conference AEU women from all over Australia recognised that we are part of creating a future that is visionary and truly equitable.

• What world is possible?

The Conference panels and workshops took on specific challenges that exist in our workplaces. We explored the change we want to see and the mechanisms to effect change available to women unionists. Participants examined some developments that have occurred for women and girls globally and welcomed the vision for change locally regarding young people’s relationship to the environment, food and their health.

Carolyn Hannan, Associate Professor at University of Lund and ex-Director of the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, participated in the conference via a pre-recorded message then via Skype for questions. Carolyn discussed global issues in education for women and girls.

The five workshops for the conference were: • Domestic Violence Prevention • How to make change in your union? • N ational Bargaining Framework flexible work options • Creating Safe Schools

What has not been reported is that in the higher numeracy bands the male students are clearly performing much better than the female students. The problem is that students in these bands go on to pursue careers in Mathematics and Science, and this misinterpretation of the data means that the gender divide is not being bridged, as need is not being recognised. Ms Ofrgasz showed us data from the international sample tests TIMMS and PISA that also shows a clear gender divide in numeracy, again with males outperforming females to a statistically significant degree.

Three AEU women members nominated to attend conference and were endorsed by Branch Executive to accompany Cathy Smith, ACT Branch Women’s Officer. Ruth Edge (Erindale College), Jennifer Hurley (CIT and TAFE Women’s Committee) and Kim Edwards (CIT) provide their personal perspectives of the conference:

The data from a survey that Ms Ofrgasz conducted in Victoria produced similarly worrying results. People were asked a number of questions such as:

On Sunday, Associate Professor Helen Ofrgasz from the Faculty of Education, Monash University presented “Gender, Mathematics and NAPLAN.” Between 2008 and 2010, NAPLAN numeracy data show that using means, males consistently outperform females at every grade level. Yet, interestingly, the media used the data to report that girls are “blitzing” boys. This is because most of the NAPLAN data relate to literacy, where girls are outperforming boys. As well as this, when looking at the “at risk” numeracy groups which include students below the national benchmark, the girls are performing better than the boys.

• W ho are better at using computers: boys or girls?

• Who are better at Maths: boys or girls? • W ho are more suited to being scientists: boys or girls?

• W ho do parents think are better at Maths: boys or girls? • W ho do teachers think are better at Maths: boys or girls? People consistently selected “boys”, over the options of “girls”, “same” and “don’t know”. Even more worrying was that respondents under the age of 30 years gave more stereotyped responses than those over the age of 30. Ruth

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

The ACT delegation (L-R): Cathy Smith (Women’s Officer), Ruth Edge (Erindale College), Kim Edwards (Yurana Centre, TAFE), Penny Gilmour (Secretary), Jennifer Hurley (TAFE Women’s Committee rep). One of the main themes of this year’s AEU settings. Part of this commitment was Women’s Conference was “Creating Safe for delegates to begin developing a draft action plan in each workplace. My own Schools and TAFEs.” This was concerned observation is that homophobia is alive with all kinds of discrimination but and well in my workplace so I’m looking principally this year it addressed issues to being a part of policy and for Gay, Lesbian,Missing Bisexual, some Transgender text from forward contributers? Maybe action development for the AEU within and Intersex (GLBTI) and morestudents images? CIT. This would involve strategies and teachers. There is a strong need to explicitly locate GLBTI issues within a raft training to ensure a safe environment as well as protection of the rights of GLBTI of other discriminatory issues. students and staff. Delegates at the conference committed One of the areas of need with regard to discussions at work places to promote to GLBTI issues concerns the paucity interest and policy development within of resources available in Australia, so branches. There was also a sharing of AEU Branches are encouraged to share resources to assist in the development resources with other members through of Same Sex Attracted Friendly avenues such as websites and journals. Environments (SSAFE) places: in early childhood centres, schools and TAFE Finally, the Federal Office of the AEU, colleges, indeed, in all educational which is based in Melbourne, will

develop a survey of AEU GLBTI members to ascertain their experiences in the workplace to establish to what degree appropriate policies are being implemented within the workplace. This will include narrative research in order to construct ‘authentic voices’ that foster inclusivity, respect, celebration and significance. Jennifer Hurley The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s caucus meeting took place on Friday 7 October. The team was small but very proactive with a number of new representatives this year including myself. We were well guided by Darcel Russell from the AEU’s Federal Office and Penny Taylor from Queensland. Continued next page

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

This meeting gave us an opportunity to introduce ourselves and catch up on what is happening in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education matters in each of the states and territories. The ‘Closing the Gap’ policy in education across all jurisdictions is certainly having an impact but there are concerns that funding is going to be cut back in future budgets and this in turn will have an impact on the momentum and gains that have been made, particularly in the area of Early Childhood Education. Our discussion included the positives outcomes that we have seen in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, and as a result we decided to focus on the positives our collective strength has delivered. The first day of the Conference we were given a wonderful Welcome to Country by Aunty Di Kerr from the Wurundjeri Nation, Kulin Country, Victoria. A number of final recommendations from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Caucus were presented to the delegates and representatives on the final day on the 2011 AEU Federal Women’s Conference and were supported unanimously by all. The recommendations include: 1. T hat Women’s Conference delegates continue to lobby their branches and associated bodies to ensure that there is participation in the conference by at least one Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander delegate from each State and Territory. 2. T hat the Federal Women’s Officer meet with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Committees (ATSIECs) to discuss strategies to increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the AEU across all levels of the union. That the information is discussed between ATSIEC and Women’s committees and that a strategy is formulated for the endorsement of Federal Executive.

3. T hat the AEU continue to advocate for and support strategies which will ensure that there is an increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples employed in the public education sector, and an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with appropriate qualifications. 4. T hat the issues of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education funding and issues impacting on Indigenous peoples in the implementation of NAPLAN, and the implementation and design of the Australian Curriculum, be considered by the ATSIECS at their next meeting and integrated into the national campaign framework and strategy. I would like to thank Darcel Russell and my fellow sisters in action and in particular for making me feel welcome as it was my first time as part of the ATSIEC team. My heartfelt appreciation also must go to the AEU ACT Branch and my fellow team members – Cathy Smith, Jennifer Hurley and Ruth Edge. I enjoyed the opportunity and learned a great deal from this experience, and I look forward to participating actively in the future. Kim Edwards

SCHOOL FUNDING REVIEW Throughout Term 4, it is anticipated that the focus of members, particularly those in schools, will again turn to the federal sphere and the Gonski Review of Schools Funding. A National Day of Action will occur on 15 November, and we ask that you put that date in your diaries so that every member sends a brief, final message to the panel to say that public schools deserve a better deal. Throughout this term we will canvas member interest in a range of activities planned for February which are designed to remind the Government that profound change is needed in the area of school funding. It is expected that legislation will reach the federal parliament sometime between March and May 2012. This is not a time to relax! See poster opposite.

ember 13

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Send a e messag hy aboutsw ve r e e d e w betterg. fundin November 22

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On this day have your say on SCHOOLS FUNDING

The biggest review of school funding in over 30 years finishes in December. On Tuesday November 15 join parents, teachers, and principals across Australia in sending a final message to the head of the review about the importance of investing more in our public schools.

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PROFILE AEU officer Glenn Fowler recently interviewed Kate Penrose who teaches at Cranleigh School. Kate, why did you choose teaching? Teaching is a second career for me – my first career was as an agricultural research scientist. When I had my three daughters I decided to take a few years out of the full- time work force. I had always loved working with children and I did some family day care at home. I also started to volunteer at my children’s school and pre-school. I loved being at the school, I loved everything they did. I got some work as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) assisting children with learning difficulties and then later working to support a child with autism. Eventually I decided schools were where I wanted to be so I went back to university and did a Bachelor of Teaching. What are the best things about your current job at Cranleigh? Cranleigh School has a wonderful team spirit where we all support each other. Teachers, leaders and assistants are all part of the team and all make valuable contributions. Everyone in the school has knowledge and experience I can draw on to help me address the unique needs of my students. I enjoy working within a team in my classroom every day – I have two assistants working with me – and I can share ideas, successes and frustrations with them. I also love Cranleigh’s ethos of great respect and care for our students, as well as the ability to have fun with my class.

What are some of the particular challenges of working in a specialist school? For families of a child with a significant disability, life can be a real struggle. Sometimes the magnitude of what our students and their families are faced with feels daunting, and we staff members certainly empathise with them. Sometimes it can be emotionally draining. We need to balance valuing and accepting the students for who they are with not giving up on helping them achieve their full potential – sometimes I find that balance tricky. We sometimes need to be detectives because our students mostly can’t tell us what they are thinking or feeling. We may need to try many strategies before finding one that works. Another challenge is to adapt curriculum and teaching strategies to the needs of our students, although this is something I really enjoy doing. How could specialist schools and teachers be better supported? I feel really lucky to be working in a well resourced school. We have excellent facilities, appropriate professional learning,and great support from our management team. We also have some excellent inclusion programs happening

with local primary schools. Sometimes a student may present particularly challenging behaviour or additional needs and it can be more difficult than it should be to get some extra support for that student from the Directorate. Specialist schools also have a lot of expertise to offer the wider school community, which is not always understood. Specialist teachers would like to see their expertise valued; if we were seen as a valuable resource we may feel a bit less separate from the rest of the school system. What does AEU membership mean to you? I am an AEU member because it is important for teachers to stand together to promote the core values which underlie public education. I believe in respect for all students and their families, equity, opportunity and fairness, and I appreciate knowing that my union does as well. I need the union to advocate for my conditions because I’m not tough enough to do it on my own! I am also glad to know the union is around to support me if I ever need it. Why is the current Enterprise Agreement campaign important? Teaching is a caring profession and teachers are often willing to be undervalued because of their care for their students. I think this is especially so for teachers in specialist schools. Society wants children to receive an excellent education and to do so it’s important that teaching is an attractive profession with decent pay and conditions. Sadly, we can be taken for granted if we don’t stand up and fight.

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

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Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 19 PLEASE MAKE SURE PAYMENT DETAILS ARE COMPLETED OVER PAGE

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Bankcard 

Manager [insert name & address of financial institution]

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. I/We understand and acknowledge that: 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. 2. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion, at any time by notice in writing to me/us, terminate this Request as to future debits. 3. The User may, by prior arrangement and advice to me/us, vary the amount or frequency of future debits. 4. Any queries to be directed to the Debit User in the first instance. 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]

MasterCard 

Cardholder’s name

Customer Address

Card Number Expiry Date


Cardholder’s signature


Amount $

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

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Consider the applicable First State Super ABN 53 226 460 365 Product Disclosure Statement before deciding whether becoming a member or continuing your membership is right for you. To obtain a copy visit the website or call us. Issued by FSS Trustee Corporation ABN 11 118 202 672, AFSL 293340. October 2011. 1 SelectingSuper, a company of Rainmaker Information Pty Limited ABN 86 095 610 996, describes the best overall fees payable for super funds open to the public where overall fees are calculated for a member earning around $50,000 pa who has had $50,000 in their super fund’s default investment option. 2 Neither FSS Trustee Corporation nor First State Super is responsible for any advice given to you by Health Super Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 37 096 452 318 AFSL Number 240019 trading as FSS Financial Planning.


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