Public Education Voice Spring 2012

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



President’s Report


Sub-Branch News


ACT Election


Indigenous News


From the Acting Secretary

Indigenous News: Page 8

Preschool Teachers Stand United


School Autonomy Feature



Get on with Gonski


TAFE Works


Keep TAFE Public


Health and Safety

School Autonomy: Page 9

Focus on ESOs


Equity and Diversity

Get on with Gonski: Page 17


Member Profile


Membership Form




I am conscious that things are moving so fast in education at the moment that much of what I write could be obsolete before you read it! The longer the Gillard Government waits to legislate Gonski’s recommendations, the greater the vacuum that can be filled by scaremongering, “leaked documents” and misinformation. It is crucial that politicians act in the interests of public schools NOW. The alternative to Gonski is the status quo, which would see public schools further marginalised and children suffer. Public schools would lose the financial equivalent of 7000 teachers by 2015-16. Gonski’s model is impenetrable and I know members will continue to support the campaign to bring it into law and then bulletproof it in 2013 before the vandals can get to it. We have waited so long for a needs-based funding model and we must grab it with both hands. Currently 120,000 of our AEU colleagues in the three most populous states are at war with state Liberal governments. In NSW we see Barry O’Farrell attempting to roll out a radical devolution agenda which will casualise teachers and remove the guarantee of leadership positions in schools. The only positions guaranteed in a school would be principal and classroom teacher. In Victoria we have seen $300 million ripped out of TAFE to the point where many TAFE colleges face total collapse. Further, the Baillieu Government has removed $200 million from schools, broken its election promise to pay teachers properly and moved towards a crude bonus pay scheme. The polls aren’t good for Baillieu and there are signs that the campaigns being waged by our interstate colleagues are having a profound effect. In Queensland, Campbell Newman appears to

share the obligatory neo-liberal obsession with devolution by proposing dozens of “Independent Public Schools”, along with a three-year pay freeze for new educators. And in WA, we hear of “underperforming” schools being punished by having their staff PD allocation removed. Federally, we see federal government inaction on Gonski offset by radical Coalition plans to sack one-seventh of the nation’s teachers. Christopher Pyne’s comments that a student’s socio-economic background is irrelevant, that Australia doesn’t have an equity problem and that Gonski’s report is a failed one place him on the very fringe of education debate. Tony Abbott recently told independent schools that they are getting a raw deal and our under-resourced (by 15%) public schools are somehow on a good wicket – perhaps even too good! It should be also noted that our colleagues in Tasmanian schools recently settled with the state Labor government for annual pay increases of 2%. If we look for greener pastures, I’m not sure we’ll find them! So, at this crucial time for the nation, it is pertinent to ask: Who will stand up for our public schools and TAFE colleges? The answer is, as always, the AEU. But the second question is: Who will join us? The three major parties have been given the opportunity to sell their wares at August Branch Council and in this edition of Public Education Voice, (see pages 4 and 5). Detailed election commitments of the three major parties will be provided in detail to Sub-Branch Reps via email. In summary though, the ACT Greens strongly support Gonski; the protection of frontline staff from “efficiency savings”; the presentation of evidence that school autonomy works for students; permanency in the workplace; the maintenance of

nationally competitive salaries; appropriate resourcing for early childhood; more teacher-librarians, school counsellors and EALD student funding, and a strong, “properly resourced” CIT. The Canberra Liberals support Gonski in general terms but are worried about some government and non-government schools losing out; they support an end to “efficiency savings”; they also support school autonomy; teacher salaries as “a priority”; more teacher-librarians and school counsellors; the restoration of the second EALD SLC position abolished in 2011; the maintenance of “the latest ICT”; and “sincere and genuine” consultation with the AEU. They recognise and support the continuing role CIT plays as the primary provider of vocational education in the ACT. To date, ACT Labor has not responded to our questionnaire, but they assure us we can look forward to specific electoral commitments in coming weeks. I encourage all AEU members to think carefully about their vote in the upcoming ACT election and to consider the needs of our public education system. It has been invigorating to see and read about innumerable success stories from public education institutions across the Territory. The flag for public education continues to fly high, and all members are to be congratulated for the spirit and expertise they exhibit in continuing to deliver world-class student outcomes.

Glenn Fowler Acting Branch Secretary

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


You will be aware from the media that one of the Union’s biggest concerns at the moment is to obtain a satisfactory resolution from the federal government of the funding implications of the Gonski Report. Recently, the AEU organised a spectacular display of “Gonski hands” from schools across Australia on the lawns of Parliament House. Prime Minister Gillard attended, but unfortunately that same morning delivered an address to an Independent Schools conference promising them all more federal money – with no mention of need. I urge you to take every opportunity to let your local members know of the necessity for equitable funding of our public schools by the various levels of government. The time for more talking is past. The time for action is now. Remember, this is an ACT election year, and a federal election is due before the end of 2013. Exercise your democratic rights and lobby the various sitting members and candidates on this and any other education issue. August Council was fortunate to welcome the Education Minister Chris Bourke, Steve Doszpot, the Liberals’ Education spokesman, and the Greens’ Meredith Hunter, all candidates in October’s ACT government elections. Councillors had the opportunity to question the various candidates on their education policies after each of the three had addressed Council. The quaintly named Empowered Schools are currently the cause of much concern amongst members. Despite unconvincing denials from the Directorate, it seems clear that the funding model accompanying

this initiative is wholly inadequate. In particular, it looks like schools will no longer be able to select staff whom they feel will best deliver their educational program. Rather, they will be forced to employ those staff who fit inside their restricted budget. This should be an issue of utmost concern to all members, as it appears to compromise our employment opportunities. The AEU succeeded in having the results of an extensive survey of staff opinion on these matters publicised in the local media, and it was pleasing to see that scepticism expressed by our members in the survey was publicly supported by the P & C Council. Make sure you read the coverage of this issue elsewhere in this edition, and familiarise yourself with the issues involved.

“The time for action [on the Gonski Report] is now” I urge you to contact one of the Schools’ Organisers in the AEU Office if you have any industrial issues with which you need support and advice.

Phil Rasmus Branch President

2012 BRANCH COUNCIL MEETING DATES: Branch Council meets on the following Saturdays in 2012 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. • 22 September • 27 October • 24 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!


turday a S m 9a ember t p e S 22 eid CIT R

Next Journal Deadline:

Tell us about a great program or event at your school or CIT Centre.

Monday 29 October. Contributions to the journal can be sent to:

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



By Schools Organisers bill book and sascha colley Schools have now completed their Annual Professional Discussions for 2012 and teachers who are transferring will have submitted on-line applications and special consideration forms on the intranet. Applications for Empowered Schools (eACTs) closed August 20 and nonEmpowered Schools (non-eACTs) will close on 24 September. Unfilled positions at eACT schools will be advertised on the Jobs ACT website the week ending September 14. Remember when completing your on-line application to only tick subject areas you would comfortably teach full-time. Do not feel that you must tick a large variety of subjects to be selected by a school because your selection of subject areas will determine your selection by a school. If you aren’t trained or experienced in a subject, don’t tick it! We are available to support members with their applications for Special Consideration. If you do request special consideration, please cc the AEU when you send it in to HR/Staffing to enable us to advocate on your behalf. In a win for AEU members, new educators in their first year are now entitled to a reduced face-to-face teaching load [20 hours Primary, 18 hours Secondary per week]. The additional time is for development of the individual teacher and may be used either weekly or accumulated over a period and used in bulk by negotiation with the principal. The AEU has run a couple of wellattended training sessions recently, one on the role of Health and Safety

Representatives [HSRs] and another on workload committees. These AEU training opportunities are run for the benefit of members and in some cases members of other unions apply and are able to attend. The registration process is pretty straight forward with a phone call to the AEU office [6272 7900] and is important to us for planning and catering. We remind you that if you haven’t registered, it is not appropriate to simply turn up on the day. If you are not an AEU member or a member of another union who has registered, regardless of the role you fill at your Sub-Branch, you cannot attend AEU training. You can always join our excellent union to take advantage of the training opportunities available.

try to accelerate the process of gathering applications from all employees at the site.

The Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Bill that was introduced earlier this year is set to impact on all Education and Training Directorate employees. While similar legislation has been in place in NSW and Queensland for a number of years it is new to us. It will be administered by the Office of Regulatory Services [ORS] and every employee will have to be registered by November 8, 2013. The application/registration fee [$71.00] will be paid by the employee and will provide cover for 3 years. The registration will involve a police check currently undertaken for all new employees and previously covered by the employer. From November this year the check will cover all existing employees. It is up to each individual employee to apply for registration, as is the case with the TQI, but there is also the possibility of having the ORS attend a work site to

Employees will be required to carry their registration cards at all times and if you are not registered by November 2013 you will be unable to continue in your position until you complete your registration. There will/may be a period of grace for late runners. The legislation applies also to volunteers in the schools [parents].

The ORS will issue 3 classes of registration: general, conditional and role-based. General registration will indicate that the employee is able to continue in their position with no conditions attached. Conditional registration attaches conditions based on the individual’s record. Examples of conditions that could be placed on one’s registration include driving restrictions if there are significant offences on your driving record, no unsupervised contact with a vulnerable person, or inability to supervise another registered person. The role-based registration is intended to cover those who have only tangential interaction with vulnerable people such as contractors, cleaners and perhaps BSOs.

We continue our efforts to visit every Sub-Branch before the end of term and have managed to cover half to this point. If your Sub-Branch hasn’t had a visit by an organiser or union officer to date, contact the AEU office and book us in. [62727900] Bill Book and Sascha Colley Schools’ Organisers

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

ACT ELECTION In the lead-up to the upcoming ACT election on 20 October 2012, the three major parties have provided the following statements:

Australian Labor Party Since coming to Government in 2001 ACT Labor has presided over real increases to public school and vocational education funding.

This year’s ACT Government budget will bring total investment in public education by the Territory to more than $900 million. It continues the ACT Labor tradition of investing in public education at a level not seen anywhere else in Australia. Just compare the real wage increases delivered to teachers, while other states cut education staff and freeze teachers’ wages. On a per capita basis, an ACT public school student receives a level of funding more than 12% - higher than anywhere else in Australia, other than the Northern Territory. A student at CIT receives a level of average per-capita funding 25% higher than elsewhere in Australia, with the ACT spending more, proportionally, on public VET than any Australian state. Testing shows that the ACT continues to come out on top in terms of literacy and numeracy, as well as scientific and digital literacy. We have the historically high levels of funding to thank for this, in addition to the quality of teaching provided by our public school teachers and school leaders. Education reform is a process of continual improvement and we recognise, however, that there is more work to do. Accordingly, a re-elected Gallagher Labor Government will work to: • raise the professional status and continue to improve the pay and conditions of teachers; • cater to student growth in new areas and improve service levels in established suburbs,

• s upport vulnerable students and those at risk of disengaging from education; • c lose the Indigenous achievement gap; and • f urther improve maths and science outcomes. Most importantly, a re-elected Gallagher Labor Government will continue to lead the way on national funding reform to help ensure that Australians everywhere “Give a Gonski” like ACT Labor and the AEU do. Dr Chris Bourke Minister for Education, Gallagher Labor

ACT Greens The ACT Greens believe everyone should have equitable access to an education that meets their needs and aspirations and gives them the skills and capacity to participate in society, and that it is the responsibility of government to ensure the provision of high-quality, well-resourced and safe learning environments that are open to all students. I am proud of the achievements of the Greens in the Assembly to support the education system and the community over the past four years, and look forward to announcing our full range of new policy initiatives that will continue this work. We have amended the Education Act to increase community consultation regarding school closures, successfully called for the inquiry into the educational achievement gap in the ACT, which highlighted the growing disadvantage some students face in the Territory, and as part of the Parliamentary Agreement, we secured a review of disability education, which was then complemented by the important Shaddock report. We want to maintain and further develop the career opportunities of all ACT education professionals to increase the

recruitment and retention of a high-quality teaching force. The ACT Greens are supportive of the findings of the Gonski review of school funding, and we are fully committed to implementation of the recommendations as soon as practicable. After the release of the review, the Greens were the first party to call for the necessary injection of $7 billion dollars into education, and the first party to call for new legislation to create a fair, transparent and logical funding system. The Greens want an end to the gap in academic achievement associated with students’ socioeconomic status and cultural background, and we will work collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure we have a vibrant and properly funded public education system that attains world-class standards of excellence and is built on an innovative curriculum. Meredith Hunter Education Spokesperson, Green

Canberra Liberals standing up for public education In 2008, I made a commitment to visit every school in the ACT. Four years later I have achieved 95% of my goal. There is much we can be proud of in ACT education – we have good schools and committed teachers. But there is much that is not in the best interests of Canberra’s schools, teachers and students and when I have found inequities I have fought to correct them. I have always supported quality educational outcomes and enjoy a good working relationship with the AEU ACT. Our record in Opposition fighting for a better deal for ACT education: • fi ghting efficiency dividend cuts to protect the hearing and visually impaired, counsellors, childhood support , ESL and disability support teachers

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• maintained strong support for special needs issues

Canberra Union Voices has been part of Canberra life for nearly twenty years. It’s a four part community choir directed by Daniel Brinsmead, an international awardwinning honours graduate of the ANU School of Music. The choir is now seeking new members.

• i nitiated a Bill to introduce 15 days suspension • U C/CIT merger – a merger with no financial basis and lack of consultation • C hallenged the arrogance of the former Education Minister who wanted to replace teachers with technology; who dismissed the concerns of 1600 teachers who objected to a new attendance record regime; who dragged out pay negotiations that forced teachers to strike and feel even less valued • Fought cutbacks to teacher librarians • M oved a motion in the Assembly to stop cutbacks to ESL support • H ighlighted bullying at CIT that was ignored for years until we forced the Minister to act

The choir is open, welcoming members with all levels of choral experience. Weekly rehearsals, along with occasional workshops with leading choral directors, develop singing and performance skills.

• a nnounced a better deal for Canberra’s ageing school infrastructure • a nnounced installation of safer school zones for every school The Canberra Liberals support quality education for all Canberra families. We want our schools to be the best in the country and we want our Principals and Teachers to know they are valued and appreciated. Steve Doszpot MLA Shadow Minister for Education



The central themes of its music are social justice, solidarity and the environment – to make a difference, as well as give audiences pleasure and singers the exhilaration of performance. Canberra Union Voices sings beautiful and meaningful (and sometimes humorous) songs at formal and informal occasions, folk festivals, and community and union events. Each year the choir sings at the ILO-recognised International Day of Mourning for those killed or injured at work. The repertoire includes songs from Timor Leste, sung at commemorative occasions and fund-raising events.

As part of a network of union choirs, choir members have many opportunities for collaborative work around the country and internationally. Union choirs performed every day at this year’s National Folk Festival, including a performance by a 200strong combined choir. Several Canberra Union Voices members were part of an n Changed your workplace or home address? n Gone part-time or increased to full-time? n Been promoted? n R eturned to work after being on Leave Without Pay? n I ncreased the number of casual relief days per week that you work?

Australian union choir that performed at the fabulous Festival Internacional de Coros (International Choral Festival) in Santiago de Cuba, the historic ‘cultural capital’ of Cuba, in November 2009, and an application to participate at the 2013 festival is underway. Members from different union choirs often get together for workshops and informal performances, and one such performance in Sydney’s Everleigh Workshops was featured in the first series of the TV comedy, Laid. Choir members have participated in residential choral workshops such as Rachel Hore’s ‘Big Sing in the Desert’ involving Central Australian Indigenous choirs and other singers from around Australia, ‘Wintersong’ in the Blue Mountains, and ‘Singing in Paradise’ in Fiji, at which singers from around the world join with local Fijian choirs. The choir rehearses from 7.30 to 9.30 on Thursday evenings during school term, at UnionsACT, 189 Flemington Road, Mitchell. For more information, contact Andrew Blanckensee (CIT) Email: or ph. 62491205, or Barbara Preston (Associate member) Email: or ph. 0439 478919. Get some friends together and come along to rehearsals!

Barbara Preston The AEU Office won’t know unless you tell us! Unless you are paying your membership dues at the correct rate, you may not be a financial member and therefore not covered for all AEU services. Go to: change-of-details.html for a quick and easy way to update your membership details.

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

AEU-ACT Branch Reconciliation Action Plan is being developed Greene (ETD Schools Office), Sascha Colley (AEU Organiser), Cathy Smith (AEU Asst Sec Professional), Michelle Kirby (AEU Office). The group plans to meet monthly and hopes the draft RAP will be ready for Reconciliation Australia’s endorsement by March 2013. Once this important stage is complete the AEU-ACT Branch aims to launch the RAP during Reconciliation Week 2013 (end of May). Contact: Cathy Smith, Assistant to the Secretary – Professional, ph. 6272 7900 or

Has your school or CIT centre developed a RAP?

Branch President Phil Rasmus (left) signed a Statement of Commitment, with Dr. Chris Bourke, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

The AEU-ACT Branch is committed to reconciliation between Indigenous Australians and other Australians. For example, our union already has policies on Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education issues. Union meetings (Council and Executive) always commence with a Welcome/ Acknowledgment of Country. We raise the profile of Indigenous education and social justice issues through these pages in the journal, on our website and via email updates to members. Our union is also represented on various Directorate and CIT committees, where we have the opportunity to raise issues regarding equity and diversity. Recently, our Branch committed to go further by deciding to develop an AEU-ACT

Branch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). President Phil Rasmus signed a Statement of Commitment at Branch Council on Saturday 18 August and was congratulated by Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Dr. Chris Bourke (pictured). A Working Group has been established and has already met once to discuss what Reconciliation means to each working group member. The group represents a cross-section of AEU staff, officers and members, and includes: Trish McEwan (Canberra HS), Narelle Tait (Gilmore PS), Theresa Carroll (Caroline Chisholm P – 10 School), Peter Curtis (Namadgi School), Kim Edwards (CIT), Beth Craddy (ETD Schools Office), Daniel

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The AEU, like Reconciliation Australia, encourages members in each educational setting to develop a RAP as a great way to progress Reconciliation in your particular community. Reconciliation Australia is a wonderful resource which can help get your community started. Find out what a RAP is, how to develop one and what support and resources are available at On the above website, you can also access RAPs from various organisations including schools in the ACT. Congratulations to Ainslie School, Giralang Primary School, Narrabundah Early Childhood School, Richardson Primary School, Stromlo cluster, Southern Cross Early Childhood School and Wanniassa School, who have all submitted a RAP to Reconciliation Australia. These RAPs are a good place start, as they give an idea of the sorts actions each school plans to take to progress Reconciliation locally.

The resource was developed by You Me Unity as part of the campaign to build understanding and public awareness about constitutional recognition.

The Education and Training Directorate has a RAP, Reconciliation Matters, pdf_file/0016/141046/Reconciliation_ Matters_-_Action_Plan_2010-2011.pdf CIT launched its RAP on 30 August and is expected to be publically available on the CIT’s website. Also, go to the AEU-ACT Branch website ( indigenous-news/) for a recent article published in this journal by Vicki Lucas, AEU member, who challenges all of us for ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to bringing Reconciliation to life in our workplaces and daily lives.

Mick Gooda Gives a Gonski! Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has spoken out in support of the Gonski Report’s school funding recommendations. In a video posted to the I Give a Gonski facebook page, Commissioner Gooda talks about how implementing the recommendations would benefit not only Indigenous students but all those who are educated in public schools. To view the video, go to: videos#!/photo.php?v=433971396648265

Students explore Constitutional Recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples A new school resource has been rolled out across the nation to give students the opportunity to explore the issues involved in recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.

The complete resource is available to download at Souce: you me unity media alert.

You Me Unity Campaign Director, Tim Gartrell said this resource would help teachers and students to understand the historical context and current discussion about recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, in the context of a possible referendum. “If we have a national referendum about constitutional recognition, it will be essential that Australia’s young people, particularly those that will be voting for the first time, have the information at hand to make an informed choice,” said Gartrell.

You Me Unity developed the schools kit with assistance from high school teachers and students, including Tweed River High School Aboriginal Studies teacher, Ms Janet Ryan. Ms Ryan said the resource had provided the students with the information to have an active and relevant debate about this national issue. “It is fundamental that today’s students can have an educated and informed say about Australia’s future, so teachers and students should take the opportunity to explore this important topic.” The resource, Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution: School Learning Guide, is aimed at secondary students in years 10 to 12 and fits within the new Australian Curriculum. A sample of this guide has been sent to all secondary schools in Australia.

On Tuesday 3rd July, the AEU launched the Australia’s First Peoples Educators’ Network (AFPEN). The AFPEN is an online network which will provide a space for discussion and the dissemination of information relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education. The network will comprise of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the AEU who elect to join. The AFPEN is exclusively for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the AEU. To register for AFPEN, go to: AFPEN members will receive updates, newsletters, a closed facebook page, conference notifications, research and much, much more! You will also be able to hook in with other Indigenous educators to share your interests and share your concerns.

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



In 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a partnership to establish a National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. The National Quality Standard (NQS), part of this Framework, sets national benchmarks for the quality of education and care services. As part of this new process, all preschools are required to be assessed and rated against seven key Quality Areas that form the NQS. As with any new initiative, the implementation of the NQS hasn’t been perfect. ACT preschool members found themselves with significant increases in their workload, confused and stressed about the changes they were managing, and highly anxious about ‘unannounced’ visits by assessors to determine their level of compliance against the NQS. These ‘unannounced’ visits were identified by preschool teacher members as the most immediate concern. These visits involved an NQS assessor arriving at the preschool, at any time of the school day, on any day, to observe the class in progress as well as the preschool environment and then provide the school and teacher with an assessment against the seven key areas. The intent was to provide support, and as a union we recognise this, however a number of teachers felt this process was more intimidating than supportive. Variations to working conditions must be negotiated between the Education Directorate and the AEU on behalf of our members. After receiving many calls from distressed preschool teachers who were nervous about having an unannounced assessment or who already experienced visits that they had an adverse effect, preschool teachers were encouraged

by AEU Officers to meet and discuss their concerns. Thirty-eight preschool members attended a meeting at the AEU office and identified a number of key issues they hoped to have addressed. As a group they requested the AEU support them to gather information in regard to issues with the implementation process and to present these concerns to ETD.

Congratulations to all of those AEU members who demonstrated that positive outcomes CAN be achieved when union members work together to change our working conditions.

A survey developed by AEU officers was distributed and completed by 98 preschool teachers. The survey results provided a clear indication that: • i mplementing the NQS was increasing preschool teacher’s workload significantly, 50% indicated their workload had increased by more than 5 hours per week • 6 3% indicated that unannounced visits were not supportive, interrupted children’s learning and caused extreme levels of anxiety. • 6 1% were affected negatively by implementing the NQS and experienced higher stress levels. This information was reported to Branch Council, ETD and the Education Minister. Shortly after sharing the results of the survey, the AEU office was notified that ‘unannounced’ visits would cease and the ETD would consider a variety of different approaches to provide support for teachers in public preschools in regard to the National Quality Standards. Supportive visits from ETD staff trained in NQS assessment are available for schools who request this assistance. As professional educators and union members, we have strength when we stand together and say “this is not right”.

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STAY INVOLVED Early Years Learning Sub-Branch This sub-branch consists of most members in preschools. Some preschool members have elected to be part of their Primary School subbranch but may attend the EYL Sub-Branch meetings as an observer.

President – Marion Huho, Kaleen Preschool Secretary (joint) – Virginia Fanning, Wanniassa Preschool Secretary (joint) – Debbie McIntyre-Hall, Gowrie Preschool Communication for the EYL Sub-Branch (meeting notices, minutes, etc) is coordinated by the AEU Office via email.Contact: Sascha Colley, AEU Schools Organiser.

Narrabundah Early Childhood School Sub-Branch President – Nina Leuning Secretary - Bernadette Hayes

Southern Cross Early Childhood School has requested to form a sub-branch. This process is in train. Members will be notified of the outcome soon.


SPECIAL FEATURE AEU-ACT Branch “School Empowerment” Survey: The results are in

A “School Empowerment” survey was completed by almost two hundred teachers and school leaders across the 23 eACT (“Empowered”) schools. The rationale for increased autonomy for schools, despite almost two decades-worth of international and national evidence to the contrary, has been that it will improve student results. Less than one in five (19%) teaching staff in the autonomy trial schools agree. Members in so-called Empowered schools are telling us that increased autonomy brings with it significant threats. More than half (52%) believe autonomy has a negative impact on a school’s financial management, while only 15% believe financial management is improving. Almost six in ten (57%) believe autonomy has a negative effect on staff morale, while only 13% believe the impact is positive. The Education and Training Directorate (ETD) has been trialling over 18 months an average cost budget model, whereby schools are assigned a budget according to the average “cost” of a teacher. Schools with a more experienced staff are now seen as being “over budget” and will need to address this by cost-cutting decisions which potentially have little to do with the educational needs of students. Almost two thirds (64%) of the staff in these schools say this way of calculating a school’s staffing budget has a negative impact on a school’s ability to pay teacher salaries and relief teacher costs. Less than 6% think it is a good idea. Furthermore, 54% believe the average cost budget model has a negative impact on the ability of a school to select the right mix of teachers to meet student need. This rationale was one of autonomy’s major selling points. Teachers aren’t sold. Every year teachers are asked to do more and they have to battle to stay focused on their students. 54% see teacher workloads increasing, while only 8% see them decreasing. A significant number believe autonomy increases workload with regard to

financial management (50%), general administration (53%), human resource management (53%) and compliance processes (48%). The last figure gives weight to suspicions that autonomy simply gives schools and principals the “freedom to obey”. A tiny number of respondents believe autonomy decreases workload.

our school leaders, the average cost budget model has been an unmitigated disaster. 69% of principals and 75% of deputies say it has a negative impact on their school.

73% believe school principal workloads will increase. Is this the “freedom to work harder”?

All but one principal and all but one deputy see an increase in workload in human resource management.

Victorian schools have been “autonomous” the longest. They are now the most poorly funded schools in the country. A massive 71% of members believe autonomy will reduce government funding to schools over time. Less than 11% believe schools will see better funding under autonomy.

88% of principals and 88% of deputies say autonomy increases compliance processes. Is this just “the freedom to obey”?

Almost two thirds (63%) believe that under autonomy they receive less support from the Directorate.

Every minute spent performing administrative tasks, managing the books or meeting compliance requirements is a minute in which our educational leaders are not performing the educational leadership which our students need.

More than half believe principal and teacher permanency is under threat. Education is already the most casualised profession in Australia. Almost two thirds (63%) can see a negative impact with regard to equity across the system. The Gonski Report into School Funding recently highlighted Australia’s lack of educational equity as requiring urgent attention. Is autonomy the way to do it?

All but one principal and all but two deputies in these schools say autonomy increases workload in financial management.

77% of principals and 88% of deputy principals see administrative workloads increasing.

82% of principals believe autonomy will increase their workload and a whopping 81% of deputy principals believe the workload of their principal colleagues will SIGNIFICANTLY increase.

Too often in recent years the profession has been ignored with respect to education reform. It is time for governments to start to listen to those who are in schools about what is good for schools.

Almost half of the principals (47%) and two thirds (67%) of deputy principals surveyed believe autonomy has a negative impact on a schools’ financial management. 59% of principals and 81% of deputy principals believe that funding to schools will be reduced over time under autonomy. Most school leaders believe they will receive less support from the Directorate.


56% of deputy principals describe a negative impact on staff morale.

The survey was completed by 17 of the 23 principals and 16 deputy principals across the 23 eACT schools.

69% of deputy principals believe autonomy will harm equity across our system. In other words, there will be winners and losers.

School leaders are, in the main supportive of the balance that has been struck between the Union and ETD with regard to the transfer rights of existing staff and the capacity to select teachers locally.

It may be appropriate to have winners and losers in business, real estate or sport, but having losers in our schools is both unfair and unwise. This nation will be more cohesive, prosperous and productive if all students are given what they need to succeed.

But according to those best placed to know,

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 9

NSW PRINCIPALS GET A TASTE AND ARE NOT IMPRESSED Mark McConville, the principal of Toronto High School, appeared on ABC TV’s Four Corners earlier this year as a strong supporter of the devolving of power to principals, saying that the autonomy pilot showed that the Education Department could “actually trust its principals to manage, and do the right thing and make a difference.” Now he has recanted, saying in May: “We don’t want to be saddled with the staffing budget, with the potential for cost-shifting and cost-cutting [from the Department to schools]. And we don’t want to go from making educational decisions to making financial decisions.” According to an article by Andrew Stevenson in the Sydney Morning Herald [29 May 2012,]; Mr McConville “is worried more that his time will be consumed by management tasks, eating into his role as an educational leader.” He said: “As part of the 47-school pilot [across NSW] what allowed us to do things differently was additional investment.” Across the country, financial incentives (usually about $50,000 per school) are being provided to early-adopting or trial schools to embrace the autonomy agenda. The problem is that the financial incentives soon dry up as soon as a government decides it has other priorities, and schools are forced to accept the increased workload and responsibility with the same resources as before, or even fewer. In New York, for example, schools have lost 13.7 per cent of their funding since its system was devolved in 2007. Another NSW principal, Villawood East Public School’s Kathy Deacon, said in March: “When I went for my interview as a principal I had to argue very strongly my credentials as an educational leader ... I didn’t sign up to become a cost-cutting arm of government.” WHO WOULD WANT TO BE A PRINCIPAL IN VICTORIA? Reports are coming out of Victoria of a principal shortage. People are being deterred from applying for leadership roles due to, among other things, a lack of support from the Education Department, punishing 60+ hour working weeks and insufficient pay. Three prestigious public schools in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs – Laburnum Primary in Blackburn, Camberwell South Primary and Auburn South Primary – have, in recent weeks, not been able to fill their principal position as there were so few applicants. An article in The Age [9 July 2012] says that “a 2004 report found 80 per cent of Victorian principals had high stress levels, compared with 44 per cent of the general workforce ... and [n]early half had a medical condition linked to work.” Victorian schools have been operating with a relatively high degree of autonomy since it was introduced by former Premier Jeff Kennett in 1993. Since that time, Victorian schools have become the most poorly funded in the country, with Victorian schools spending less per child on education than occurs in any other state. More than 94% of the education dollar goes directly to schools, and 90% of that is on staff salaries. This means that productivity savings can only mean job cuts and higher class sizes. Since Kennett’s “Schools of the Future” were created in 1993, the outcomes of Victorian students

have not improved and, on average, remain markedly below those of students in the ACT. On 1 July this year, Victorian principals lost 69 regional network leader (RNL) positions. RNLs were responsible for resource-sharing to improve student learning in their networks, and they supported principals on issues involving difficult students and families, staffing, and legal, OHS, maintenance and budget problems. The Department’s own website states that RNLs play a “critical role”. Now principals will be on their own. Principals have described the Government’s decision as “very depressing” and “an absolute disaster”. One asks: “Who will principals go to for support and advice with difficult student and family issues, and legal subpoenas? Sure, you can find another principal for a shoulder to cry on, but they are very busy too; they’ve got their own issues and often won’t have the answers.” DID YOU KNOW? AUTONOMOUS SCHOOLS ARE CASUALISED SCHOOLS In Victoria, according to the recent report by former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe into insecure work, 58 per cent of teachers in their first five years of teaching are on contract and not permanently employed. In Western Australia, as at September 2011, 47 per cent of teachers in their so-called “Independent Public Schools” (IPS) were employed on fixed term contracts compared with 39 per cent in traditional public schools. (Also IPS schools have fewer school assistants.) (Education Review, March 2012) Most workers prefer the security of permanent employment rather than the uncertainty of contract employment, yet teachers in states with high levels of school autonomy are increasingly becoming temporary, dispensable workers. WHAT DO ACT PARENTS THINK? On 24 July, the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations passed the following motions:

The ACT Council of P&C Associations believes that the Education and Training Directorate (ETD) should stop any further action to introduce school autonomy until issues are fully addressed. (Such issues include the lack of presentation of any evidence by ETD or the Government that autonomy actually works.) We call on the Minister and ETD to ... consider that the $550million being spent nationally [on “Empowering Local Schools”] could be better targeted to areas of disadvantage as outlined in the Gonski Report. Since these motions were passed the P&C has publicly demanded an independent review into the model.

WHAT DOES THE INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE TELL US ABOUT THE IMPACT ON STUDENT LEARNING? Devolution has been occurring across Western nations for more than two decades, so there is much evidence to draw upon. Here is a sample: Bullock and Thomas (1994 and 1997) on devolution in the UK: “What remains clear-cut evidence of [local management] leading to direct benefits on learning, an essential component if we are to conclude that it is contributing to higher levels of efficiency.” Bullock and Thomas also noted that the majority of UK head teachers (principals) making a positive assessment concerning learning improvements were in schools which had experienced an increase in funding as a result of greater local schools management. Elmore (1993) on the introduction of school-based management [SBM] in the United States: “...there is little or no evidence that [site-based management] has any direct or predictable relationship in changes in instruction and students’ learning. In fact, the evidence suggests that the implementation of SBM reforms has a more or less random relationship to changes in curriculum, teaching, and students’ learning.” Summers and Johnson (1996) in their meta–analysis of 70 studies on the impact of school-based management: “...there is little evidence to support the notion that SBM is effective in increasing student performance. There are very few quantitative studies, the studies are not statistically rigorous and the evidence of positive results is either weak or nonexistent.” Cathy Wylie (1997) on Tomorrow’s Schools in New Zealand: “The reforms have been less successful in improving educational opportunities for disadvantaged groups ... resource gaps remain evident, particularly for schools serving low income and/or Maori children.” Leithwood and Menzies (1998) in their meta-analysis of 83 empirical studies of devolution and the effects of each variant on students and others involved in New Zealand, Canada, Britain, Spain and Wales: “Both positive and negative effects on students, teachers, and people in other relevant roles are reported. The review finds little evidence of positive effects on students.” Whitty, Power and Halpin, Devolution and Choice in Education. The School, The State and The Market (ACER 1998) examines devolution and choice policies in education in England and Wales, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden and the actual impact of these policies on school managers, teachers, students and local communities, including equity issues in systems of education where increased responsibility is delegated to the level of the school.

They conclude that there is no strong evidence to support the educational benefits claimed by advocates for such policies but rather that: “...the devolution of decision-making to the school level has shown no necessary consequences for enhancing teacher autonomy and professionalism and appears to be making little difference to the outcome of student learning ...Case studies celebrating the success of individual self-managing schools overlook the impact of their success on neighbouring schools...recent research suggests that the fragmentation of bureaucratic systems of education is leading to a polarisation of provision, with “good” schools being rewarded and able to choose their students – usually those who are academically and socially advantaged – while “failing” schools are thrown into a cycle of decline from which they, and their students – usually the least socially advantaged – find it difficult to recover... If equity is to remain an important consideration in education policy, new ways have to be found of avoiding the divisive effects of choice and devolution.” Devolution supporter Brian Caldwell (1998), following a comprehensive international survey: “There is no doubt that, while factors underpinning the movement to self-managing schools are many and varied, there has always been an expectation that they will make a contribution to improved outcomes for students. There is also no doubt that evidence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship between self-management and improved outcomes is minimal.” The UK National Audit Office October 2011 report into financial management in local authority maintained schools highlights the impact of Government funding cuts on schools and local authorities and confirms that cost-cutting remains at the heart of local school management in the UK. John Bangs, the visiting professor at the University of London’s Institute of Education and senior consultant for Education International, wrote in 2011: “The Government’s expectation that schools can achieve savings of £1 billion through reducing procurement and back-office costs has been exposed for the unjustified assumption that it is. Schools will be forced instead ... to cut spending on staff – their most valuable resource. ...These attacks on our schools come at a time when we need to invest in high quality education to restore economic growth. The National Audit Office also confirms that local authorities are reducing their capacity to monitor and support schools due to insufficient resources. This will inevitably have a detrimental impact on schools and, ultimately, the standard of education children and young people receive.”



Read the studies...

Victoria Prominent academic Stephen Lamb has examined a large body of research on the relationship between market-driven reforms and achievement and concludes that: “The school reforms driving the growing diversity in schools over the last decade have intensified the gaps between schools serving the rich and those serving the poor, gaps marked by growing differences in school size, student intake, resources and achievement.”

New Zealand – no overall improvement; Charter schools – mixed evidence; some better, some worse and some with no change. The major national studies show no overall improvement. The CREDO national charter school study is the gold standard study on charter schools. Available at: research-reports.html#. See also a new study at www.sciencedirect. com/science/article/pii/S0272775711001452 Free schools – mixed evidence; summary article at or UK Foundation schools – no improvement; UK Academies – mixed evidence: pro study at ; con study at preview OECD research has found that in the vast majority of countries participating in PISA 2009, including in Australia, there was no significant difference between student achievement in schools with a high degree of autonomy in hiring teachers and over the school budget and in schools with lower autonomy. pisa2009resultswhatmakesaschoolsuccessfulvolumeiv.htm It should be noted that in support of its claims, the Federal Government cites statistical analysis by the OECD which shows that combining school autonomy with the publication of individual school results increases student achievement. However, the impact is trivial. Students in higher autonomy schools achieve only 2.6 points higher on the PISA scale than those in an average autonomy school, which amounts to less than 10% of a learning year. A review of the research evidence published in the Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy found that the outcomes from school autonomy are “mixed”, “generally small”, “not greatly encouraging” and “have disappointed”. See Plank & Smith article in Ladd & Fiske 2008:

Western Australia The Barnett-led WA Government has created more than 100 “Independent Public Schools” (IPS). An independent study in July 2011 by the Curtin University Graduate School of Business found that the drive behind IPS is primarily financial and there is little evidence that it will benefit school students. It also found that: • I PS threatens standards of service delivery as well as terms and conditions of employment of staff within the public education system. • F inancial inducements to move into the system disappear once established which reinforces existing inequalities between schools. • S chool staff have increased workloads with principals increasingly required to be managers rather than educators. • T he IPS process shifts risk and responsibility away from education departments to individuals and school communities and reinforces inequality and social disadvantage. New South Wales The O’Farrell Government’s “Local Schools, Local Decisions” is highly contentious and has attracted criticism from the New South Wales Secondary Principals’ Council: “The NSWSPC holds research and information from other OECD nations to show there is, at best, a variable relationship between School-Based Management and the results achieved by students in PISA results. International school improvement and improved student outcome cannot be attributed to SBM.”

IT IS NOT ONLY TEACHERS, PRINCIPALS AND UNIONS WHO ARE CONCERNED: A RANGE OF VOICES CAN BE HEARD. OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009 cross-country correlation analysis found that education systems which provide schools with greater autonomy with regard to staffing and school budgets do not achieve higher results in reading. It concluded emphatically that “greater responsibility in managing resources appears to be unrelated to a school system’s overall performance” and that “school autonomy in resource allocation is not related to performance at the system level.” The analysis found that school governance factors incorporating local autonomy, competition between schools and the presence of private schools account for only one per cent of the variation in student performance between schools across all OECD countries. Productivity Commission Schools Workforce Research Report: “[A]llowing schools greater autonomy has the potential to exacerbate inequalities unless all schools are adequately resourced.” Dr Ben Levin, Canada Research Chair in Education Leadership and Policy on decentralisation and school based decision making: “Simply saying that we are going to turn everything over to individual schools, as has happened in England and New Zealand, will result in what you got in England and New Zealand … which is no real improvement across the whole system. Some schools get better; some schools get worse. The system as a whole doesn’t change. So these drivers [of school improvement] are the wrong ones …” Education International’s Background Paper for the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, New York, March 2012: “School systems cannot be successful if principals are given total autonomy to make all the decisions affecting their schools. Schools need external support and to work with each other and their communities. Public education systems publically provided are the best way of both providing support and engaging communities in education.” This summit was organised by the US Department of Education, the OECD and Education International. It was attended by education ministers from 23 of the most educationally successful countries in the world. The Australian Government did not send a representative. John Bangs was at the summit. He wrote: “In contrast [to other OECD countries], the complete autonomy given to academies and free schools [by the UK government] was exactly where the other countries at the summit did not want to be.” And even the Grattan Institute’s Ben Jensen has major doubts! On issues associated with transferring more power over staffing and budgets to school principals in a bid to lift student performance, Jensen recently wrote:

“Well I think if you look at Victoria and around the world actually, there’s not a huge amount of evidence that says school autonomy has a great impact on student learning because it’s really not the end game. ... Overall what we see is that it’s very hard to identify the connection between autonomy and student performance.” SO WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? Making Treasuries happy? Giving principals and teachers the FREEDOM TO OBEY?! The University of Nottingham’s Pat Thomson has written: “Devolution and delegation have given principals in England more power than ever to run their schools as they see fit, and yet league tables, high stakes testing, a national curriculum and school inspections mean they have never been more constrained.” In Australia today, we have a national curriculum, national testing and five letters of the alphabet (A to E) with which to assess children as young as six. Yet the research tells us there is benefit in increased teacher autonomy over curriculum and assessment, and also tells us that autonomy over staffing and budgets does little or nothing at all for our children! Do we have it the wrong way round? In the very popular book Finnish Lessons, Finnish Education expert Pasi Sahlberg wrote: In simple terms, the current acolytes of principal power and devolution are peddling a giant con. On ABC TV’s Lateline he said: “...the most important thing in this school autonomy in Finland is that all the schools are both responsible and also free to design their own curriculum as they wish, based on the quite loose national curriculum framework. So financing and managing the school is one thing, but I think... using teachers’ knowledge and skills that we have in our system to design how they want teaching and learning to take place is the most important thing ... [and] frankly speaking, one of the keys also to this favourable situation that we have internationally.” Queensland Government Submission to the Gonski Review into School Funding: “Research indicates that teaching quality and school leadership drive student outcomes far more than adjusting structural or governance arrangements in delivering education ... While the PISA report found that overall there is no clear relationship between the degree of autonomy in allocating resources and a school system’s overall performance, it did find that school autonomy over design of curricula and assessment is a key characteristic of successful school systems.” WANT MORE? There is a 20-page report entitled Devolution and Education prepared by the AEU Federal Office, and available at au/Publications/2012/Devandeducation.pdf.


n Qualified teachers who are given the time to learn from each other n A mix of new and experienced teachers who are secure in their employment n Specialist teachers who know their subject area n Literacy and numeracy experts n P rincipals, deputy principals and executive teachers whose primary role is to provide educational leadership and support to classroom teachers n S chool assistants and administrative staff in appropriate numbers to enable teachers to focus on teaching n A qualified teacher-librarian n A qualified school counsellor/psychologist n T argeted second-language support by an appropriately qualified teacher if they are assessed as needing it n Special needs and/or disability support as required n Reasonable class sizes so that they receive individual attention n A well-resourced, well-maintained 21st Century learning environment n Protection from cuts in real terms to school budgets


SAFETY The AEU’s annual Work Safety Forum took place on 8 August and it was time well spent according to the participants. ACT Work Safe Commissioner Mark McCabe addressed the group and answered questions for close to two hours. He clarified a lot of issues and confusion for participants in regard to the duties, obligations and powers of Health and Safety Representatives [HSR] and the Person in Control of Premises [PCP, that is, Principals in educational settings] and the relationship between the two. The HSR is elected by colleagues and the primary role is to represent the H&S interests of workers. The consultative arrangements between the HSR and the PCP may well begin with the former’s request to access the 5 days of training for HSRs or in some cases the 1 day refresher training. If you were trained more than 5 years ago you probably do need the full 5 days to catch up with the raft of changes that have occurred. It is not an option for the PCP to deny the request to attend training for any reason and as a strict liability offence under the Work Safety Act the PCP, would leave him/hers open to a significant personal fine. All workplaces should have trained HSRs. The HSR may request access to documents and reports of relevance to the workplace, accompany work safety inspectors/investigators on visits to the workplace and participate in risk assessments and investigations. They liaise with the PCP to seek remedies to hazards identified, incidents and to present Hazard Alerts, Provisional Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices. Of course the latter are used only when other options have been

tried and failed, leaving the work place no other options. It is not the duty of the HSR to conduct the annual Safety Checks or to plan the evacuation [fire or lockdown] drills. This is ultimately the responsibility of school leaders to arrange such activities in consultation with staff. HSRs are also reminded that workers have the right to refuse to work in a particular environment if there is either a known or perceived unacceptable level of risk associated with the work required or the specific environment. It is not a refusal to work but it is an expression of the right to work in a safe environment. A solution may be to either relocate to a safe environment to do the same work or for employees to be reassigned to different tasks. The right to refuse unsafe work is protected under the Act. The Work Safe Commissioner acknowledges excessive workloads as a HS issue. The matter of addressing that effectively remains difficult as it is obviously a subjective assessment that leads one to a perception of excessive workload so it is a grey area. However, discussion at the HS forum led us to the importance of ensuring that there is a functioning workload committee at every workplace to review the demands made on each school by governments, the community and the ETD and how those are filtered down to the individual level. If you consider your workload to be unmanageable, request a review of your circumstances by the Workload Committee at your Sub-Branch. It is important that every member has their workload and personal circumstances assessed to determine equity of load across the Sub-Branch. While it is essential that each individual’s privacy

is respected, it is necessary to show the distribution of load for the entire SubBranch as clearly and openly as possible. Members are encouraged to think laterally and if there is any way to achieve an outcome without having another meeting to talk about it then share that information widely! As a result of a couple of recent expressions of concern raised by members in some Sub-Branches about paint fumes, both with ETD Injury Prevention and the AEU office, the ETD has determined that from now on there will no longer be any use of enamel paints indoors and there will be no winter painting in future as the fumes have induced ill-health in some members (migraines and nausea) and there are other paint products available for inside work. The ETD intends to have guidelines available for schools by next stand down. The AEU raised the issue of diabetes management in schools at the Injury Prevention and Management Policy Committee [IPMPC] meeting in March this year. This led to a review of the current ETD First Aid policy. That update is in draft form at present and should be finalised by the next IPMPC meeting in early September. Finally, keep lodging your Accident & Incident Reports for everything from near misses to notifiable incidents. It is a requirement of the Work Safety legislation and the ‘paper trail’ is often the necessary forerunner to supportive action. Stay safe!

Bill Book Schools’ Organiser

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

GET ON WITH GONSKI The “I Give a Gonski” campaign for a fairer school funding model intensified this term, firstly with National Gonski Day on Tuesday 24 July. Members across the country held a Gonski morning tea and many photos were uploaded on to the I Give a Gonski facebook page. Another major event involved all public schools signing a “Gonski Hand”. These hands became part of a big display outside Parliament House on 20 August to demonstrate the support within public school communities for action on the Gonski Report. Prime Minister Gillard and Federal Minister for Education Peter Garrett had a tour of the 6700 green Gonski hands. Principal representatives from all over Australia spoke to the Prime Minister about the significant difference National Partnership funds have made to learning outcomes for students in their schools. Our own Bonython Primary School’s SRC and Principal Shane Gorman also met the Prime Minister and shared with her what they value about their public school. The Australian Greens and Independent MPs are firmly on board. ACT Education Minister Chris Bourke has publicly backed the immediate implementation of Gonski’s recommendations for a needsbased funding model that better reflects the unique role that public schools play. And more and more ALP Members of Parliament have called for GONSKI NOW! Gai Brodtmann, Member for Canberra, at the ALP ACT Conference on 28 July said: “We have every intention of introducing legislation before the end of this year. And I strongly support meeting that timetable.” Andrew Leigh, Member for Fraser, on 7 August said: “A great education is the

best antipoverty vaccine around, and I’m passionately committed to making sure all Australian children get access to quality schooling. I support the Gonski proposals because I believe they’re a step towards a fairer and more inclusive education system.” Videos of support for the Gonski recommendations have come from all quarters and are available to view on the facebook page. These include The Honourable Michael Kirby; TV presenters Julia Zemiro and Mike Whitney; AFL coach David Parkin; Head of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience Jack Manning Bancroft; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda; representatives from parent groups; numerous Labor MPs; and Independent MPs Rob Oakshott, Andew Wilkie and Tony Windsor.

Facts about the Gonski Review Q. What is so important about the Gonski Review? A. Set up by the Federal Government in 2010, the Gonski Review was the most comprehensive review of the way schools are funded in Australia in almost 40 years. It was conducted by an expert panel headed by senior businessman David Gonski. The final report was released in February 2012. The review examined the adequacy of the way schools are funded and what was required to ensure Australia has a school system which is among the best in the world for quality and equity. Its recommendations give us a once in a generation opportunity to ensure all students are receiving a high quality education.

Q. What are the key findings and recommendations of Gonski? A. The Gonski Review found Australia is investing far too little in education and, in particular, in public schools. As a consequence, too many students are missing out on the resources they need and there are growing gaps in the performance of students from different backgrounds. It recommended an urgent shift to a funding system that better targets funding to meet the needs of students and a substantial increase in the total amount spent on schools. Q. What would implementing the recommendations of Gonski mean for local public schools? A. Local public schools across Australia would benefit from more resources. Increases in funding would vary based on a school’s location, size and the needs of the students. The average increase would be around $1,500 a student a year. That money would be invested in ways that we know help students learn such as:

• Smaller class sizes; • E xtra specialist teachers in areas such as literacy and numeracy; • G reater support for students with higher needs such as those with • disabilities; • A dditional training and classroom support for teachers. If you haven’t taken thirty seconds to give a Gonski, it’s never too late!

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

AEU-ACT Branch staff and helpers.

Bonython Primary School.

Principals speak to Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Garrett.

Minister Bourke with Sharon Craft of Macgregor Primary School.

Richardson Primary School.

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


WORKS By Acting TAFE/VET in Schools Organiser Mark Hemmingsen

CIT and its predecessors have been a part of my life since my father worked on Bruce campus in my youth. I also remember the years of wandering through the Careers Expo when Bruce campus was the regular venue. Later, whilst in high school I attended a secondary level engineering course there and eventually I completed my Electrical apprenticeship at the Belconnen campus (now the AFP Winchester Centre). So, with all of the time I had already spent at CIT and a passion for teaching (I had been tutoring music since I was 15), it was only natural that I was attracted to the prospect of teaching at what I considered a fine institution. I commenced casual teaching in 2001 and completed the Certificate IV - Training and Assessment which in turn convinced me to do the Advanced Diploma – Adult Vocational Education at South Side where I gained permanency. In 2010 I took up the role of Fyshwick Trades Skill Centre AEU representative on TAFE Council. Like many in the Canberra region, CIT has provided me with not only a vocational education to support myself and eventually my family, but also recreational knowledge. CIT has also provided many opportunities since I have been employed as a teacher such as promotional prospects, industry networking and educational research. The AEU isn’t the first organisation where I have had an active role representing a union. Whilst working on the Lanyon High School, I was the delegate for Electrical Trades Union. Over the period of my delegation, being the only union represented on that site, I assumed the role of OHS inspector. Once I finish the acting role of TAFE Organiser for the AEU, I will take over acting in the Vice President’s role until the end of the year. I have also toyed with the idea of doing a Recruitment & Staff Selection course for the ACTPS so that I can add to the considerably small list of staff that can represent the union in Joint Selection Committees. I would like to encourage all AEU members to take up

the training and ease the burden on the few qualified staff on the list.

Online Delivery

It seems to be that whenever the issue of teacher workload comes up at CIT someone (usually management) brings up the idea that once everything has been “uploaded” to eLearn, workload will decrease. Is this statement being touted by CIT without any real investigation into the workload effects of the set-up, delivery and routine maintenance/ continuous improvement stages? When I started at CIT, I jumped at the opportunity to develop and deliver online and as a result I constructed a WebCT course for the delivery of some of the Electrotechnology – Telecommunication subjects. These subjects were chosen as an ‘easy win’ for the department as most of the material is covered in other subjects and this subject, even though it is scheduled for the 3rd year of the apprenticeship, is of a 1st year calibre. The material for this subject is covered in other previous subjects and the new learning is relatively easy. The exception here is the Standards and Regulations portion of this subject which can be more difficult for some due to the introduction of new rule books and a tough assessment criteria set up by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Onerous set-up work load In my experience, the first issue with online delivery is the onerous workload involved in setting up the course in the first place. With a little time allocated to me by CIT, I found that the quickest that I could prepare content and formulative assessment (in the form off quizzes) was approximately a semester’s work for a 4 hours per week semester subject. This time doesn’t include research for subject material since most of the content was transferred from workbooks for the subjects. Once the online resources were developed, the workload is then shifted to revision and improvement. At this stage all documents,

power points and the like that need editing have to be uploaded to the system again. This process is generally time consuming but more so is the task of editing quizzes and activities. These tend to be internet-based with drop down menus and list boxes that make it hard to input data in the form of a single Word file.

Asynchronous delivery and assessment ≥ high withdrawal rate Not all students are self motivated, especially in my experience of teaching apprentices, some of whom have a “school” mentality and are only attending classes because “they have to”. At first, an online option may appear attractive to these students, but the reality is that for many this form of asynchronous delivery where students can “attend” class and perform assessments in their own time is too big a task. A more suitable online model should still look like a class, where students are engaged using a suite of teaching methods. Another issue in the implementation of online delivery is the assumption that many (young) students are computer literate. This is even more evident in the trades where apprentices have sometimes chosen a trade path to escape IT. Even if students do have IT skills, there are access and equity issues that need to be dealt with before a blanket roll-out of online education. Examples of this include financial restraints, equipment type and choice of brands, the age of the equipment (new can be almost as difficult to get software for as old) and the quality of access to the internet.

Enterprise Agreement provisions for Online Delivery Our current Enterprise Agreement requires teachers delivering in online mode to receive hour for hour recognition towards their annual load (Clause 23). If any members are having trouble receiving this recognition please contact me on 62727900.

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



“Thousands of TAFE teachers and students have reached parliament as they rally against state government funding cuts. [AEU Victoria President] Mary Bluett said TAFEs lost $40 million in funding last year in addition to $300 million they are expected to lose by the beginning of next year.” Source: The Age

What’s the issue? The federal government is forcing public TAFEs to compete with private providers. The consequences of this for TAFEs around the country are potentially disastrous. The effect in Victoria has been shocking. Figures from the research organisation NCVER show the distribution of students: ACT



TAFE -1.2% -9.2%


-9.2% -6.2% -2.8%

Private 5.2%



31.7% 7.2% -9.7% 111.9% -6.0% 56.4%















-0.4% -4.3% 14.8% 1.1%


We can see that the TAFE share of students dropped in 6 out of 8 states and territories. Much market share has gone to private providers. The Victorian figures are worst, but Queensland and NSW show a 9% decline in TAFE student numbers, almost 32% growth in student numbers in private providers, but insignificant growth in total student numbers in that state, which means that private providers are effectively directly taking students from TAFE. In the ACT? On a recent visit to the hospitality school in CIT we were told there were few classes in CIT this semester. Businesses and private providers are delivering the training. We can see from the table above that while publicly funded TAFE courses have fallen by 1.2%, private VET providers’ delivery has risen by 5.2%. Their programs are directly in competition with TAFE. A student in my English class who was working in Aged Care was offered the chance to do a Cert 4 in Aged Care, for a $3000 fee. So her workplace got government funding for delivering the training, (which consisted of one workbook to work through on her own), while she was supplying them with her labour. No teaching, few resources, minimal input from the organisation delivering the course. The Chief Minister recently referred to the need for support for students in public institutions like CIT. Our union has been lobbying for public TAFEs, to bring the issue of declining funds for public VET to the attention of federal politicians. Keep TAFE public!

NCVER Australian vocational education and training statistics: students and courses 2011. % change in student numbers 2010-2011.

Lobbying MPs to protect TAFE: Janet Harris (TAFE Vice President), Mark Hemmingsen (Acting TAFE Organiser), Gai Brodtmann (Member for Canberra), Stuart Gilmore (CIT Vocational College) and Andrew Leigh (Member for Fraser).

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


ESOs Start thinking about your next Agreement

The good news for preschool assistants is that you are now entitled to adequate time to assist the teacher with preparation and programming related to educational outcomes for students during your ordinary hours of work [Clause N1.4, p. 98 of your agreement]. If you are not being provided that time then you and your teacher colleague should raise the issue you’re your school Executive to arrive at a solution. While the amount of time is negotiated and may vary from site to site, the short answer is that this entitlement has been agreed the AEU and the Directorate and you must be provided that time. Please notify the AEU office if you are not being allocated adequate time. More good news is that the ‘Contract Assessment’ forms referred to in your agreement [R 4.1 – 2, p. 107] have been finalised and those of you seeking permanent positions with the Directorate are many steps closer to realising that goal. All principals have been notified of this and you should have assessments completed at the end of Term 3 and again at the end of Term 4. You would be well advised to have a discussion with your principal to determine what is included in the assessment and note any areas in which you may be lacking experience. At the end of this year, those of you who have completed 2 years of continuous work as a school assistant [2011 and 2012] and have received positive contract assessments should be offered permanent positions in the system. Those positions will be determined to some extent by the needs of the schools and the movement of students from one site to the next so you may not be at your same location but that is another reason to discuss these things with your principals.

You work with students who present challenging behaviours and many of you experience physical and verbal assaults by your students on a regular basis. While you may have stoically accepted this as a part of the job, you should maintain a record of the incidents and lodge Accident & Incident Reports for every incident as this is a requirement under the Work Safety Act [2012]. You can send the forms in electronically to Shared Services, Injury Prevention with the incidents included as an attachment every couple of days or even once a week. The actual form does not take a lot of time to complete. If you are injured and have to take time off work please contact the AEU office to discuss the process of completing a Comcare claim as any personal leave you take to recover from such incidents will be restored if the claim is accepted. Don’t be a martyr; work smarter! You may be shocked when you realise that it is time to begin thinking again about your next Enterprise Agreement and what improvements to your working conditions you would like to see in the next round of negotiations. The expiry date of the current agreement is 30 June 2013. We as a union have to develop a log of claims and lodge this by the end of this year or early next. There are some issues that we believe should be addressed but we would really like to hear from you what you would like to achieve next time. As conversation starters, preschool assistants are required to upgrade their qualifications to achieve a Cert III Children Services but they cannot break through the barrier to become School Assistants 2/3. Library Assistants are in a similar situation and cannot break through to either the SA 2/3 or SA 3 classification. Teachers are required to work for a year on probation

before they are confirmed in a permanent position with the Directorate; they can be made an offer of permanency up front when they commence work and their probationary year is their first year. Assistants are required to work for 2 years continuously before an offer of permanancy can be made and then they will be on probation for their third year. Is that equitable? Chat amongst yourselves and invite the AEU Organisers out to visit you in your Sub-Branch to chat with you to begin focussing on your future. Call us on 62727900.

Bill Book Schools’ Organiser



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



DIVERSITY By Cathy Smith, Assistant to the Secretary – Professional

White Ribbon’s Breaking the Silence in Schools Program began in 2009 and is now applied in 60 schools throughout the Sydney Region. Due to the program’s success, White Ribbon is now working on expanding this program nationally. The program: •W orks to inspire principals to strengthen the culture of respect in their schools that is ageappropriate for their students and engages all parts of the school community; • Builds on the knowledge and skills already existing in schools as evident in, for example, personal development, resilience and anti-bullying programs; • Involves training school leadership, principals and other Executives, and is based around male leadership, primary prevention and gender and power. School leaders become partners in the prevention of violence against women. Principals and subsequently teachers are provided with the resources and strengthened skills to implement and broaden programs that work to create a culture of respect across the school community. This site includes case studies from schools participating in the Breaking the Silence in Schools Program. These are intended to give you some useful ideas of how you can apply the program in your own school. If you would like your school to participate in the Breaking the Silence in Schools Program, please contact White Ribbon Day is marked on 25 November each year. AEU members can get involved in the campaign to eliminate violence against women and girls. Go to:

AEU calls for specific policies to prevent and address homophobia In early 2011, the AEU outlined within these pages, via email to Sub-Branches and on the AEU website, the disturbing findings of a comprehensive national study conducted by La Trobe University (the third of its kind, called Writing Themselves In 3) on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people. This research highlighted the fact that, despite some good measures to address homophobia, 61% of same-sex attracted young people experienced verbal and physical abuse. An astounding 80% of these young people experienced this abuse on school grounds. It would be reasonable to extrapolate that similar issues may arise in TAFE colleges. The February 2011 AEU article Sexuality, Gender and Safe Schools summarised the report’s findings and is available at: www.aeuact.asn. au/member-groups/equity-and-diversity. Despite raising these issues at every opportunity, the AEU recently formally wrote to the Chief Executives of ETD and CIT stating that one key way that educational settings could make a positive difference is to develop and promote a specific policy that promotes diversity and effectively addresses homophobic bullying, harassment and discrimination. The implementation and promotion of such policies within educational settings, in addition to general Anti-Bullying and Harassment policies, are an important part of making schools and TAFE colleges safer places for all. A second area that the AEU asked ETD and CIT to consider, in order to better support gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (GLBTI) youth and staff, is a review of curriculum content, teaching materials and approaches. As the La Trobe study found, educational programs (particularly Sexuality Education programs) currently tend to emphasise heterosexuality as the norm and are not inclusive of same-sex attracted or gender questioning people. The AEU

encourages all principals and teachers to review their approaches, assumptions and language when discussing relationships to ensure they are inclusive and sensitive to diverse relationships and family structures. Pridentity Kit – Resource for inclusive sexuality education The AEU commends and endorses the Pridentity Kit as an important resource for teachers to help address issues of diversity among young people in our schools. This innovative, inclusive program has been developed by students for students and endeavours to highlight issues faced by same-sex attracted and gender diverse youth along with providing information about how parents, teachers and students can act to increase acceptance and social inclusion in our communities. The ground-breaking “Writing Themselves In” research has shown that schools are the most common site of homophobia, with 80% of all abuse occurring there. This has a deep and broad impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals, and eventually our society. Teachers and school communities are in a key position to provide the tools to prevent homophobia and to lead towards respectful and safe learning environments for all. The AEU believes the Pridentity program is an innovative contribution to addressing inclusive sexuality and plays a key role in equipping educators to work with diverse students in fun and engaging ways, offering a clear rationale, lesson plans and resources. Through robust and creative resources such as Pridentity, big steps can be taken towards schools forging innovative approaches in sexuality education and strong wellbeing for all. The Pridentity Kit is a teaching resource that will help teachers deal with what can be a complex issue in schools. The Pridentity Kit is available online at the AEU website:

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


PROFILE KATHRYN DRUCE – ELECTRICAL TRADES TEACHER AT CANBERRA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (CIT) What are the most rewarding aspects of teaching in Vocational Education? I like that VET is all about helping students to gain skills in a profession that they are working in. I enjoy helping students to learn their trade. Most of the students that I teach, want to learn. I think that being an electrician is a great vocation, with lots of opportunities and career pathways.

What advice would you give to other women who are beginning to teach in male-dominated industry areas? Why did you choose teaching as a career?

In the electro-technology industry you have to first do a 4 year apprenticeship and gain your trade, then work in the industry for I didn’t directly choose to be a teacher. I did a while before you can teach the trade. I my Certificate 3 trade in electrical, as I was enjoy working in a male-dominated industry. interested in being a licensed Electrician. It is a great industry to be in with lots of Some of my teachers noticed that I helped opportunities (why should these opportunities other students in the class and commented only be available to men?). Once you gain that I would make a good teacher. I was your trade and are working in the industry asked to help out in the electrical tutorials at there are many pathways available to women. CIT and I enjoyed the work. I was employed as Teaching the trade is one of them. It works an apprentice by a group training organisation in well with having a family and the other and the coordinator was always keen on teachers are helpful and supportive. me becoming a teacher when they opened I am now doing an Advanced Diploma in their trade school in Canberra. I was on VET and am really enjoying it. I like looking maternity leave from work when I was asked into new ways of engaging students, new to teach a class for 4 weeks. I had a lot of technologies and teaching theories and support and found that I enjoyed the work. trying new things in the classroom. But one Working casually as a teacher, with a small of the best parts is talking to other teachers family, suited me as well. When a position in different fields and gaining new ideas and became available at CIT, there were a lot of knowledge from them. teachers still there that remembered me and recommended me. They contacted me and I What does your AEU membership ended up working there full time. mean to you?

Describe your career pathway? When I finished high school, I went to the ANU and studied science. I have a Bachelor of Science, but decided that I wanted to retrain as a Sparky. I liked the idea of doing something practical and hands-on.

I have been a union member for a long time. The union is there for me when there is a problem. They fight for me. They are the experts that are on my side. I like knowing that they are there to help if I ever need them.

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

Upcoming AEU Training Women’s Network Meeting Women in Leadership Panel Thursday 13 September, 4.30 – 6.00pm, 40 Brisbane Avenue, Barton (Level 2 Boardroom) A great opportunity for women members to hear women educational leaders share the journey of their education careers and gain tips and inspiration. Panel: Diane Joseph, ETD Chief Executive; Lana Read, Principal Macgregor PS; Michelle Maier, SLC Chapman PS; Wendy Cave, Principal, Macquarie PS. Also hear from the 2012 Anna Stewart Officer about her week of work-shadowing experience with the AEU and other unions. All women members, especially Women’s Contact Officers, are encouraged to attend this informative, fun session. Retirement Planning Seminar – for CSS and PSS members Wednesday 5 September, 4.15 – 5.30pm, Meeting Room 10, HBCTL. For those 45 and over who are actively considering retirement. Partners welcome. Growing Your Money by Investing Wednesday 12 September, 4.15 – 5.30pm, Meeting Room 10, HBCTL. Find out how you could increase your investment dollar by between 24% to 38%! Partners welcome. Making the Most of Your Money Wednesday 19 September, 4.15 – 5.30pm, Meeting Room 10, HBCTL. You work hard for your money! Find out how to build your earnings through savings and interest, setting up a budget and effectively managing debt. Partners welcome. Please register for all AEU training and events with or call 62727900.

AEU Membership Application

ACT Branch Application for Membership 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 /about-us/ 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.

PERSONAL DETAILS (Please complete all sections) Surname



CIT Centre & Campus

Given Names Home address Postcode

Home phone

Current level Gross Salary [Go to for the salary steps]

Mobile number Work Email

 I wish to be identified as an Indigenous Member

SECTOR  Primary  Preschool  Secondary  TAFE  Associate* (Retired/Student Teachers) * Associate Members need only sign, date, attach payment or complete credit card details. Go straight to signature box.


 Permanent OR Contract   Permanent OR Contract  Load


 CASUAL (Schools) – Average days per week [tick ONE]  0-1  2-3  3+  CASUAL (TAFE) – Average hours per week [tick ONE]  0-6  7-14  15-20

CLASSIFICATION  Teacher  Assistant  Youth Worker  Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education Officer  Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education Worker  Other (please specify)_____________ I hereby authorise the Australian Education Union (ACT Branch) to access my salary and other employment details from the Education and Training Directorate for the purpose of updating AEU Membership records. Signature Date of application

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

AEU Membership Application


 Monthly Direct Debit [Bank/Credit Union]

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 and a copy is available from the AEU Office on request.

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 Request for debiting amounts to accounts by the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS)

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

Fortnightly Payroll Deduction

(not available to Casual/Relief Teachers) I authorise the AEU to contact ETD to commence fortnightly deductions at the appropriate rate as soon as possible. Name Signature AGS No

OR Monthly Credit Card

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Bankcard 

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]

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CSC: Turn over your credit card and look for the number printed on the signature panel. You are required to enter the last three digits.

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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


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