ACT Educator Term 1 2019

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ON THE COVER Congratulations to Lyneham Primary School Sub-branch on achieving 100% AEU membership amongst their teaching staff in 2018!



Nothing shows Australia's on going obsession with class privilege like schools funding policy, writes Ben Eltham.



Teacher Trina Cleary tells us why she wore her AEU shirt to work every day for an entire term.



Sub-branch elections will happen in term one. Find out which role would be best for you, and why you should take the opportunity to get involved!



Educational high achiever Singapore is the latest country to move away from standardised testing.



In Norway in 1940, teachers became symbols of what free Norwegians would do to resist the Nazis, writes Kevin Bates.



Unions are a powerful force for greater equality. Andrew Leigh looks at why egalitarianism and unionisation are inextricably linked.


We asked you to send us photos from your subbranch's Term 4 Solidarity events - check them out here!




We spoke to three amazing educators about their experiences in the Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers process.



We assess risks in our daily lives without ever thinking about it. Industrial Officer Patrick Judge tells us how we can apply that skill to create safe workplaces for educators and students.







CLARIFICATION The Your Questions Answered section of the Term 3 2018 ACT Educator magazine contains a section regarding suspension of staff during investigations (“I’ve been told that I have been stood down/suspended with pay. What does this mean?”). Members have contacted the AEU office noting that the section covers both:

DISCLAIMER: The assertions and opinions expressed in articles reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the AEU. We do, however, think that these issues are worthy of discussion in our union.


Suspension with pay (per the heading); and

Suspension without pay.

As such, there is the potential for confusion about the requirements. In particular, the second paragraph under this heading notes that suspensions must be reviewed every 30 days in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement. We note that it is only suspensions without pay that must be reviewed every 30 days in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement. There is no express requirement that a suspension be reviewed where it is a suspension with pay. Nonetheless, ACTPS guidance does suggest that all suspensions be reviewed regularly. We apologise for any confusion that may have been caused. As always, we note that information in the Educator magazine is not industrial advice, and encourage members to contact the AEU office if they require support.



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elcome to the start of a new school year! I hope it finds you rested, recharged and raring to get back into the classroom - and into your union.

At the beginning of 2018, I told you we were in for a big year. I wasn’t wrong. It was one of the busiest I can remember as an AEU member. There were countless opportunities for us to come together and show our commitment to causes that matter to us. Ours is one of the most active unions in the ACT, and whenever I attend a rally or a march where people have gathered to stand up for justice, fairness and equality, I’m always so proud to see all those red AEU shirts and flags in the crowd. 2018 was also a huge year of enterprise bargaining; we had three agreements to bargain at the same time. The agreement under which our school assistant members work has been completed and voted up, and we've secured some great wins for our members. The new CIT agreement has been agreed in principle, and we expect an employee ballot to take place in early 2019. There's also been much progress in the bargaining for the teaching staff agreement. Your negotiators are pushing hard for each of our 36 claims. Substantial progress has been made, and we are definitely at the pointy end of negotiations. Some of our claims, while incredibly important, put a financial burden on the government, and it's up to us to demonstrate that this is the sort of investment the government needs to make. Whilst the negotiators continue to do whatever they can to meet the requirements of our log, it is important to remember that you're part of this process. What can you do? Ensure your sub-branch is active and visible. It will be more important than ever to stay engaged with Council. This means making sure your sub-branch has a voice at Council and that your Councillors report back on Council’s deliberations. Of course, there is much more to being part of our union. Get together to build solidarity and friendships while pursuing the best for public education. Solidarity events featured large towards the end of 2018, let’s maintain that momentum. If you would like some fresh ideas, give our office a call and speak to your school's organiser. They are always willing to meet with your sub-branch and are happy to give an update on bargaining and answer any questions members might have. One of the most enjoyable parts of my role is welcoming new educators to our union during the start of year induction events. Our union family expands rapidly at this time. Our family is certainly large, quite often loud, and full of interesting characters. We are not uniform but we are unified. Our unity will definitely be on show during 2019. I look forward to connecting with you during the year.

Angela Burroughs AEU ACT President


2019 TERM 1 Upcoming Events RSVP at WEEK 1 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Wednesday 6 February 5.00pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton

WEEK 2 BRANCH COUNCIL Saturday 16 February 9.00am - 12.00pm J Block Theatre, CIT

WEEK 4 NEW EDUCATOR CONFERENCE Thursday 28 February & Friday 1 March Yarramundi Cultural Centre

WEEK 5 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY Friday 8 March TBA AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton


WEEK 6 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Wednesday 13 March 5.00pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton

WEEK 7 SCHOOL ASSISTANT NETWORK MEETING Wednesday 20 March TBA BRANCH COUNCIL Saturday 23 March 9.00am - 12.00pm J Block Theatre, CIT

WEEK 9 UNION INDUSTRIAL RETREAT Thursday 4 - Friday 5 April Fitzroy Falls, NSW

WEEK 10 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Wednesday 10 April 5.00pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton


SECRETARY’S REPORT The AEU is fiercely independent and is not affiliated to any political party. It is important that I restate this frequently, and it is especially important to restate this on the brink of a federal election. The election could be held in March, but most likely in May. The AEU is biased only in favour of good policy: policy that prioritises public education because it does the heavy lifting, that respects the collective wisdom of educators as represented through their union, and that recognises the contribution of working people to our society and economy. The AEU’s advice to you about your voting options is based not on blind allegiance but on a sober analysis of what each party has done and is promising to do. So far, the ALP has committed to $14 billion extra for public schools over the next decade, including the missing billions that the federal government ripped out of the original Gonski deals. Labor will comprehensively review NAPLAN and appoint teachers and principals to a panel to advise on how assessment and measures of student progress need to work. The Rudd/Gillard government did too many things to us – now the ALP is saying it wants to work with us. The Coalition took our union off the board of AITSL, and Labor is pledging to reinstate us. Labor will have an inquiry into the state of vocational education and has guaranteed that two-thirds of every public dollar will go to TAFE rather than private operators. The Greens, who are highly unlikely to govern in their own right, have promised to invest $20.5 billion into public schools over the next decade and have said that every public school will reach 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) by 2023. They will also tear up Prime Minister Morrison’s cynical special deal for private schools.


The Greens have also promised to include public schools in the Capital Grants Program (school infrastructure) and provide public schools with 80% of the $400 million per year. And they have pledged to direct ALL federal VET funding to TAFE and none to private operators. That brings me to the Liberal/National Coalition, currently under the leadership of Scott Morrison. The Coalition Government tore up the Gonski deals and is seeking to replace them with a plan that will see two-thirds of private schools funded ABOVE the SRS, while almost all public schools are funded BELOW the SRS. On top of this, they just bowed to private school pressure by providing these schools with an additional $4.6 billion without any genuine rationale. The Coalition has shown it has no interest in saving TAFE. It is currently silent about its industrial relations agenda, but it has presided over a five-year period of record inequality, record casualisation and wage stagnation whilst company profits and CEO salaries have skyrocketed. By all means, do your own research over the coming months and make your vote count. I just want every AEU member to appreciate exactly how important this election is for working Australians and all public educators.


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THE FUNDING WARS Nothing shows Australia’s ongoing obsession with class privilege like schools policy. While many disadvantaged schools get by on the smell of an oily rag, wealthy private schools are building rifle ranges and Olympic-sized swimming pools. Under successive Coalition governments, independent and religious schools have been winning, while the bulk of Australian students educated in government schools have been missing out. Australia has slowly slid down the international rankings, as the gap between our most advantaged and disadvantaged schools widens, mirroring the growing inequality in Australian society. Underlying this inequality is a perverted funding system that sees far greater federal funding flow to private and religious schools than to public schools, even though the majority of students are educated in the government system. Reforming this bizarre largesse has been one of the longest and most bitter struggles in Australian public policy. A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to see my mum’s retirement speech. After 51 years in education, at the age of nearly 70, she was finally handing in her teacher’s registration. Starting out as a student teacher in a one-classroom school in


Colac, she taught in Victoria, London and rural Queensland before finishing as a principal of a primary school in Ipswich. For someone about to begin teaching tertiary students myself, it was a special moment. My mum had never really talked to me about her views on pedagogy or her philosophy of schooling – but, from her, I had managed to absorb something pretty special: a passion for teaching. I learned another lesson from my mum in her final years as a primary school principal: the importance of funding. As Labor’s Gonski reforms started to roll out at the end of the Rudd-Gillard years, I once asked her whether she had noticed a difference. Yes. The Gonski money really did make a difference. For her school, in one of the most disadvantaged districts in Queensland, the extra needsbased funding was worth more than a million dollars extra annually. She was able to hire more special needs teachers and use the additional resources to address stubborn problems. Last year, Malcolm Turnbull’s education minister Simon Birmingham attempted to defuse Labor attacks on his party’s private school bias by announcing his “Gonski 2.0” deal, which ostensibly promised a

form of needs-based funding in line with Julia Gillard’s intentions for the original Gonski deal. Approximately $18 billion was promised over a decade, but most of that money was back-loaded in the years well beyond the life of the current government. The AEU – among others – was quick to criticise the deal as disingenuous. While it claimed to address the underfunding of public schools, Birmingham was actually subtracting billions from the level of funding that Labor had pledged back in 2011. Under the new plan, $1.9 billion would be cut from public school funding in 2018 and 2019. By 2023, only 13% of public schools will receive enough funding to reach the minimum Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). Turnbull subsequently struck a deal with private schools that delivered them an extra $1.7 billion in funding. Other backroom deals followed, undermining any claims Birmingham made to adopting a needs-based model. Even if the formula claimed to be needs-based, the quantum certainly was not. As it stands, many state schools around the country aren’t getting their full allocation of the supposedly needs-based SRS – and they still won’t, well into the next decade.

BEN ELTHAM examines how dodgy deals and desperate politicking from the private sector keep public schools behind in the battle for funding.

It wasn’t just public schools who were unhappy with the new deal, however. The Catholic sector protested as it was no longer allowed to use one of its favourite accounting tricks – the so-called “system weighted average”. The details are arcane, but they boil down to allowing the Catholic system to crosssubsidise in order to keep primary school fees low across the board, even in wealthy areas.

It may be no coincidence that, by September 2018, Australia had a new prime minister and a new education minister, both with strong religious backgrounds. Birmingham was out. Dan Tehan was in. Terrified at the prospect of a grassroots campaign against the Liberal base, Scott Morrison allegedly told Tehan to make the Catholic campaign go away.

By 2023, only 13% of public schools will receive enough funding to reach the minimum Schooling Resource Standard. What happened next perfectly encapsulates the persistence of the school funding wars. Faced with the possibility that some parents might have to pay higher fees, the Catholics launched a massive offensive. In Victoria, the Catholic sector funded a strident campaign against Birmingham, the Liberal government, and the Greens (who they blamed for voting for the deal in the Senate). Tens of thousands of anti-Greens phone calls were made in the Batman by-election in early 2018, and the Catholics signalled they were prepared to do the same against the Coalition in the upcoming federal election.

Tehan solved the problem with a tried and tested tactic: he threw money at it. In an extraordinary move that junked the principle of needs-based funding altogether, Tehan announced an extra $4.6 billion in funding, most of which would go to the Catholic system. Schools that are overfunded according to the Gonski 2.0 model will have extra time and extra money. The package contains a direct payment of at least $719 million for the Catholic sector.

students as the Catholic sector. The case for increasing public funding to public schools is clear. But, with a Coalition government in power, Catholic and the independent schools can count on having friends in high places. Why would they stop fighting for more when the odds are stacked in their favour? For schools like my mum’s old primary school in Ipswich, no such largesse is forthcoming. There is no extra money for the public system from Dan Tehan. Public schools remain substantially worse off than they would have been if Julia Gillard’s original Gonski arrangements were still in place. The stark reality – as governmental data obtained under freedom of information legislation demonstrated in September – is that government schools are still getting much less funding per student than Catholic or independent schools. With Labor promising an extra $14 billion for public schools if it wins the 2019 election, the battle lines are drawn.

Dan Tehan’s $4.6 billion handout shows why the school funding wars keep being waged with such intensity. Public schools educate the bulk of Australian students overall, including the vast majority of students with the highest needs. By the end of the decade, they are forecast to educate 23 times as many 11

50 DAYS OF RED Day 1: I love teaching, it's where my heart is. But I'm not sure how much longer I can hang in there for. If I last another term, it'll be because my union makes me strong. 50 days of wearing my AEU t-shirt to remind me I'm not alone.

The Facebook post above dates from Monday, week 1, term 3, 2018. The idea of wearing my union shirt to work every day was born of desperation to see more fairness for teachers and students in our public schools and the feeling that I'd been bashing my head against a brick wall for far too long. In the spirit of nonviolent resistance, I wanted to do something, however trivial, that would bolster myself and my colleagues as we struggled through another ten weeks of teaching. The plan: 50 days of red. Each day, I posted a photo with the evidence of me wearing red. On the first day, the overwhelming response from my teaching colleagues was, "Are you ok?" Teachers are a very caring bunch! On the second day, my long-term AEU colleague Fiona Stevenson was wearing her shirt in solidarity. That was indescribably cheering!

Day 4: Think I'm looking tired? Damn right, and I'm worried about already feeling so wrecked only four days in. I've found it interesting that not a single teacher has questioned why I'm doing this. They get it. They're tired too. Not just physically. We're tired of having to fight for public education to be well-resourced when it should be obvious. It is obvious to most people actually. Just not the people who are really running the economy! From there it snowballed, with many teachers ordering union shirts and wearing them in unity. Students quickly began referring to the red shirts as our "teacher shirts", and they became really excited about announcing to us that we were ‘matching’. Day 10: Check out the armload of t-shirt orders I've just collected from the AEU Office this morning. Can't wait to get them out to people and see more of my colleagues wearing red. I think we're already feeling stronger together. As the term went on, the red shirts triggered many conversations in our workplace and in the community. Amongst ourselves, it was instant recognition of solidarity and a sense that we could rely on each other for support when things were getting tough.


What might drive a teacher to wear their union shirt to work every day for an entire term? Teacher TRINA CLEARY tells us why she did it and what it meant to her and her colleagues.

To others who questioned our motivation for wearing them, our answers were varied and reflected our individual experiences. One colleague described the support she'd received from the AEU office in negotiating reasonable adjustments after being injured by a student. Another spoke about recognising each other easily and collectively building a stronger identity. I talked about needing to be part of a team and that I couldn't make as big a difference as an individual. Many attributed being a unionist and receiving support from the AEU office as being the reason they were still in teaching.

support takes a different form. With fabulous people like this around me, I feel like I'm a twig in Aesop's bundle of sticks; united we stand, divided we fall.

I feel like I'm a twig in Aesop's bundle of sticks; united we stand, divided we fall. Day 30: Clearing out the AEU t-shirt cupboard again and looking forward to seeing people wearing these!

Day 17: Lately I'm feeling more and more strongly that with my colleagues the sum is greater than the parts. Day 26: So, let's call this halfway and a sensible point for reflection. A good friend messaged me yesterday with the observation that posting every day on top of everything else must be stressful. Well, it is, but not as stressful as my crystalising understanding and frustration about just how much teachers are fixing for free. Wearing red makes me more conscious of the student needs in my school that are recognised but unfunded. And it’s making me angrier than ever. One colleague told me that seeing me wearing my AEU shirt reminded her of fairness. I liked that, but I was miserable that on that day I couldn't make things fairer for her! On the positive side (not that feeling angry is just has to lead somewhere) I've had some very supportive colleagues stand beside me over the last five weeks. Many are posted in photos here, but sometimes I miss the happy snap, or the 13

A good friend posted a comment: "Great to see teachers standing up for a better deal. As a society we should value teachers and public education, you guys are leading the way!" Her post reminded me that many people in our community trust teachers to get on with the job in the right way and are willing to support us when we ask for it.

Day 45: Wearing a red shirt to work does not change the world fast enough. I wish it did. But I know from experience that wishes are futile unless you act. A respected colleague asked me to reflect on my purpose this week, and although I had some answers ready for her, it did of course make me think. I appreciated the questioning. Why did I do this? Why do I continue doing it? Firstly, I did it to survive. I needed the solidarity of my colleagues. Secondly, I said I'd do it. Once I say I'll do something, I consider myself committed to the best of my ability. Thirdly, I hoped it would make a difference to other people. It has. We recognise each other. As the weeks have passed more meaning has accumulated. I feel more reliable because I'm stronger in myself, but that strength is coming from a community. My anger and frustration has grown, because from a place of desperation I have witnessed another term of the system's (and maybe society's) unreasonable demands that teachers fix things for free, but my hope that we will finally wise up and stand together to say we've had enough has grown too. I can't quite give up yet because I love the kids and I love my colleagues. But I demand better resourcing for what we do so well and with so little. Life isn't always fair, I know that, but in schools it should be.



BE A LEADER IN YOUR SUB-BRANCH IN 2019 Everyone has a different relationship with their union. Some members are deeply involved from the moment they join, while some might go their entire career without ever really diving in. And that’s understandable! Until you get involved, it might seem like ‘the union’ is some nebulous entity, far-removed from and only vaguely relevant to your day to day work. Your 'sub-branch' is the AEU at your work site. Each year, all the members of each sub-branch choose their representatives. Last year's sub-branch reps will call a meeting early in term 1 to conduct the election process. They will have nomination forms for the positions that need to be filled, and we'll send out all the information about how to run the election process. Maybe you've been to an AEU morning tea and briefly considered becoming active in your sub-branch but decided it seemed too daunting to take on. Maybe you’ve never considered it at all, figuring it was only for dyed-in-the-wool unionists - and that's just not you. But take a second to consider the answers to these questions: Are you passionate about public education? Do you care about the conditions under which you and your colleagues work and your students learn? 16

In your opinion, should public educators be respected and compensated fairly for their work? Are you committed to equality and fairness, and to making our education system and our wider community - the best it can be? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are an ideal candidate for a role representing your sub-branch!

SUB-BRANCH PRESIDENT The president is the captain of the sub-branch; they steer the ship and keep things on course. They have responsibility for arranging sub-branch events and meetings and engaging members in the activities of the union. The president is also the key liaison with the AEU office through their organiser.

It's true that being a subbranch rep will take up some of your time. Some roles take up more time than others. But this is time spent with likeminded, dedicated individuals, committed to our profession. It's your chance to be a real force for good in your workplace. Together, we really do make a difference.


And if you're worried you don't know how to be a sub-branch rep, we're always here to help!


During Term 1, we'll be holding our annual industrial retreat. You can join us for two days in the surrounds of beautiful Fitzroy Falls to learn ways to lead and strengthen your sub-branch. We provide transportation, accommodation, all your meals and you can take paid industrial leave to attend. Here's what's involved in each role:

The deputy president carries out the responsibilities of the president in their absence. The deputy president should also help the president support colleagues who encounter any issues in your workplace.

Are your organisational skills legendary in your workplace? Is your personal library alphabetised, and your stationery stash colour-coded? You're perfect for sub-branch secretary! The secretary will schedule sub-branch meetings, circulate any papers and talk to sub-branch members to ensure the meetings are capturing the interests of the sub-branch. The secretary also has the very important role of liaising with the AEU ACT office to ensure that the list of members in your sub-branch is up to date.

It might sound daunting, but being a sub-branch representative is an incredibly rewarding way of playing an active role in our union. If you have the drive to make positive change in your workplace, read about the roles to find out which might best suit you, and talk to your 2018 sub-branch leaders! Members of our Isabella Plains Early Childhood School Sub-Branch

COUNCILLORS Our Branch Council is our ultimate decision-making body. It’s made up of representatives from every sub-branch around the ACT, and it meets eight times a year. If you're ready to take a big bite out of the subbranch pie, this is the role for you. Councillors are ambassadors of their sub-branch at Council, representing the interests and concerns of your sub-branch and reporting back to the sub-branch about Council discussions and decisions. Your sub-branch will have a different number of Councillor positions depending on its size. If you like the idea of being a Councillor but you're not quite sure you can commit to the eight meetings, you might consider nominating as an Alternate Councillor, to fill in when needed.

NEW EDUCATOR CONTACT OFFICER Being a new educator is an exciting and often daunting time. The role of the New Educator Contact Officer is to ensure new educators know about (and receive) their entitlements and rights, including reduced face-toface hours and New Educator Support Days.

New Educator Contact Officers should also talk to new colleagues about joining our union and spread the word about the great opportunities to get involved and get support, like the New Educator Conference held in term 1, and the New Educator Network that meets throughout the year.


If you think you can be a supportive influence to your newest colleagues, this could be the role for you!

Essentially, the job is to monitor your workplace to ensure it is a safe environment - physically and mentally - and to pursue any issues that arise. HSRs are entitled to training to be able to perform their role effectively. Note that, although it's customary for the AEU to conduct elections for the HSR, the HSR does not have to be an AEU member.

WOMEN'S CONTACT OFFICER If you're passionate about promoting women's rights and issues that face our women members, you could be an amazing Women's Contact Officer in your sub-branch. The holder of this role also encourages the involvement of women in leading our union. Women's Contact Officers are supported through our Women's Network meetings, which are held throughout the year, and our AEU office Women's Officer, Malisa Lengyel.

WORKLOAD COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVE This position is the sub-branch's representative on the Workload Committee. They bring the sub-branch's suggestions to Committee and report back to the sub-branch on any discussions or decisions.

If you're naturally vigilant about the condition of your workplace and want to ensure you and your colleagues are working in the safest environment possible, you could be your workplace's new HSR!

If any of these roles spark your interest, why not have a chat to last year's rep from your subbranch to find out more? You can also get in touch with the AEU ACT office if you have any questions. Make 2019 the year you find your place in your union! Put your hand up for a role in your sub-branch, come along to our Industrial Retreat in Term 1, and make a real difference in your workplace.



act schools office

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Namadgi School FRANKLI N ECS


Hawker College FLorey Primary








Telopea Park School





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Campbell High fADDEN pRIMARY



Alfred Deakin High




Belconnen High


1. unity or agreement of feeling or actions, especially among

ndividuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.



Palmerston Primary



LEARNING AND LEADING We spoke to three of our members about their experiences in the Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers process.

What would you say to anyone who’s thinking of becoming an assessor, or certified as a Highly Accomplished or Lead teacher?

Kate Woods Assessor

Why did you want to become an assessor? I wanted to be an assessor in order to be the most effective and informed educational leader that I can be. Being trained as an assessor has had a significant impact on my day to day work. I now have an in depth knowledge of the teacher standards and the evidence sets required to demonstrate attainment of these standards at all levels. As a result, I am able to support my staff to further develop their proficiency across all standards for the benefit of children’s engagement and academic and social success. When I am called upon as an assessor, I am able to share my professional knowledge with my colleagues to assess evidence presented to recommend the appointment of the next lead and highly accomplished educators for our system. That in itself is a privilege. 20

What does the work involve? Each assessment that is undertaken is done by two trained assessors. As assessors we determine whether the applicant meets each stage of the certification requirements based on the evidence that we have collected throughout each stage and then collaboratively write a report with recommendations and provide this to TQI to make the final assessment. What’s the most rewarding part of the process? The most rewarding part of the process is seeing the educators doing their thing in the classroom. It can be hard for people to talk about their strengths, but when they are engaged in the teaching process their passion and strength as educators shine through. It is a joy to witness this moment and listen to the referees substantiate their claims and speak to their strengths. It’s like having a proud mummy moment for a complete stranger!

I would encourage everybody in a position of educational leadership to undertake the training to become an assessor. As coaches and mentors, having this depth of knowledge and automaticity with the recall of the teacher standards provides you with not only the credibility but the ability to support staff to reflect on practice and identify next steps for improvement. I have found it particularly helpful when providing explicit feedback and strengthening conversations during PLCs. On a side note, you’ve recently been appointed as the inaugural principal of Margaret Hendry School – congratulations! What excites you most about the move? I am very excited to be working alongside some fabulous educators to develop the vision and culture for our learning community. Prior to being appointed at Margaret Hendry School, I had been undertaking some research visits and literary research into innovative learning environments and alternate schooling models for increased personalisation of the learning. This role has provided me with the opportunity to work within the Futures of Education Strategy to implement innovative approaches to the personalisation of learning for each and every child.

Lisa Garner Lead Teacher

How has your practice changed since being certified as a Lead Teacher? Initially I attained my Lead certification while teaching/ managing the Big Picture program at Canberra College. Being in an alternate program in a mainstream college allowed me to evolve my practice to best suit the needs of my students while meeting BSSS requirements for a Year 12 certificate, along with a high level of pastoral care. Moving to the The Cottage (CAMHS Day program) brought new challenges, especially being the only teacher in an ACT Health based program. My practice as such probably hasn't changed all of that much as my values and educational pedagogy and philosophy underpin what I do wherever I am. All students have the right to learn, regardless of their circumstances and the many hurdles they face. While at Canberra College the Principal at the time, John Stenhouse, once said something along the lines of 'students aren't disenfranchised from school, schools disenfranchise students', and he supported many different programs there. That has stuck with me and summed up why I stay in the classroom. This is the area I want to use my expertise in, developing and working in programs that work with young people at a classroom level who have been disenfranchised from school.

Why did you decide to renew your certification? I have been teaching for about 27 years now and have taught through from kinder to year 12. I do my best work in the classroom, teaching and engaging students, designing programs around student needs and supporting students and their families. Leaders in schools don't just sit in the offices at the front of the school, they're in the classroom too and that's what I wanted to have recognised. Some people assume that because you aren't an SLC or SLB by this stage of your career that it's because you aren't a good teacher, 'so you're still teaching in the classroom?". We need experienced teachers in the classroom/ programs too and renewing my certification gives me some recognition for what I do at a classroom level. How does the renewal process work? While not quite as onerous a task as the initial application process was, it was still close to 10,000 words based on three examples of professional practice and three examples of professional learning and how you have implemented it - all at a Lead Teacher level then cross referenced against the standards and descriptors. I really hate writing about myself too, so I wouldn't let anyone read it!

TQI was very supportive, especially as I am teaching a program at ACT Health and some of the referees who could comment on aspects of my practice were Health employees, that made the success of my renewal a little sweeter, knowing I could still achieve this out of a mainstream school and in another directorate. What advice do you have for anyone considering applying to go through the HALT certification process? What helped me the most was having a mentor. I was lucky enough to catch up with Glenys Steward, another experienced classroom teacher who has renewed her Lead Teacher certification. Having an advocate, or cheerleader, in your corner to chat to about the process and how they went about it was invaluable - and on the days when you doubted that going through the rigour of the application was worth it (and I was ready to give it up a week before it was due), having a 'rockstar' HALT member remind you that you deserve recognition and that they believe in your practice was the difference for me.


What were the biggest challenges with the process? The biggest challenge is the time it takes to put together the portfolio. For anyone who is interested in going through the process, I recommend dedicating set times each week to chip away at it. This way, the workload is less overwhelming, and you also stay on top of actions that need to be taken at school in order for you to achieve your goals.

Tess Pennell

Highly Accomplished Why did you apply to undertake this process? As a teacher, I strive for continual growth. I knew that this process was going to push me to understand what practices are important and support me to set purposeful goals. I have always been a high achiever by nature and I decided that now, while I’m young and energetic, it was the perfect time to go through this process that I knew would have a positive impact on students.

What were the greatest rewards? One of the greatest rewards of this process is the fact that I now know the standards inside out, which means that I know everything I do as a professional is for a purpose, and if it’s not, I can stop doing it. It has been the best professional learning I could possibly have signed up for! How do you expect your practice will change? What do you envisage your school-wide role to be? I expect that I will continue to challenge myself to meet the standards by finding new ways to support colleagues, develop my own practice and increase the impact of learning practices across the school.

As Monash Primary has a strong focus on reflection and continual growth through their coaching and mentoring program, I envisage that I will continue to be an instructional leader in quality practice and support my mentee and my other colleagues through observations, professional conversations and feedback. What do you say to anybody thinking about undertaking this process? My advice is to find yourself a coach or mentor in your school who can support you in determining your current level of practice and give you feedback on which standards have achieved and not yet achieved. This way, you can set specific goals based on the Highly Accomplished standards, ensuring that your hard work is purposeful. If you are considering this process, it shows that you believe that striving to be the best teacher you can be will have a direct impact on the learning of students, so remember that your effort is valuable and worth it.

For more information about the HALT certification process, visit 22

We know the first few years of teaching can be overwhelming.

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New Educator Conference • Learn about your rights and obligations as a new educator • Hear tips on ways to manage your work and classroom and how to look after yourself at the same time • It’s totally free, you’re eligible to take paid industrial leave to attend and we’ll keep you well-fed on both days!

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SHIFTING STANDARDS Educational high achiever Singapore is the latest country to move away from standardised testing.

When the 2019 school year starts in Singapore, the testing landscape will look decidedly different. Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) is implementing a series of changes aimed at discouraging comparisons between student performance and encouraging individuals to concentrate on their own learning development. “Learning is not a competition,” said Singapore Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. It’s a significant shift for a country that has long been an educational high achiever, with rote learning and long hours of study the norm and exam results the measure of success. The changes will mean that, starting this year, exams and all weighted assessment for primary years 1 and 2 students will be abolished. Teachers will continue using bite-sized forms of assessments like quizzes to gauge their pupils' learning. Over the next few years, students in years above will also see a reduction in the number of assessments and exams. The MOE will set guidelines for schools so that there should be only one class test per subject per term that can be counted towards the year-end score.


Teachers will use assessment tools such as worksheets, class work and homework to gauge students' learning progress. In addition, report books will no longer show a student's position in relation to class or cohort, allowing each student to focus on their own learning progress and discouraging them from being overly concerned with comparisons. Research in 2016 suggested that “pedagogical practice in Singapore’s classrooms [had] remained largely traditional, directed towards curriculum content delivery and examination performance.” An emphasis on and encouragement of conformity meant “soft” skills like innovation, resilience and the ability to think unconventionally were unintentionally neglected. The shift will help equip students with skills for a changing economy in Singapore, as well as prepare them for the wider change in the future of jobs, which will see an increase in the importance of human-focused skills like critical thinking, leadership and complex problem-solving. Importantly, though, Ong Ye Kung also described the changes as a step forward in improving the balance between the joy of learning and the rigour of education, while allowing teachers to explore more 'optimal' ways of teaching.

"On the ground, teachers are on a high-speed train," he said. "Rushing, getting curriculum taught, and then do assessments, drills, and preparing the students for exams which is deemed as high-stakes. "I think it's time to take a pause." Of course, Singapore is not the first country to realise there are better ways to measure the progress of a student than having them face off through standardised tests so that they, their schools and their teachers can be ranked accordingly. At the end of 2017, the New Zealand government scrapped the country’s National Standards program in its schools. National Standards, introduced by the former NZ National Government in 2010, set out the levels that all children should reach in reading, writing and maths in each of their first eight years of school. Many teachers were opposed to the program. A 2016 survey by the NZ Council of Educational Research found that 69 per cent of primary and intermediate teachers agreed National Standards "have narrowed the curriculum I teach." There was also concern that the standards would end up creating league tables of school results and demotivating children judged to be below the standards.

If all of this sounds familiar, it's not surprising. The debate around National Standards was incredibly similar to that around NAPLAN in Australia. When the National Standards program was scrapped, The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) – the largest education union in the country – who had long-fought the program, said it was a “day for celebration”. “National Standards narrowed the curriculum, put undue pressure on children, increased teacher workload and weren't even an accurate measure of a child's progress," NZEI president Lynda Stuart said at the time. In summing up 2018, NZ Principals’ Federation president Whetu Cormick said:

“The highlight of 2018 was being able to again embrace our broad, rich New Zealand curriculum, freed from the punitive accountability forces that National Standards had brought to bear on the profession. Gone was the narrow curriculum focus; gone was the data obsession; gone were the league tables. The profession felt that their voice of reason had finally been heard and the shift away from an ideologically driven agenda of global reform, had begun.”

“Learning is not a competition,” said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

It took several years and a change of government to see National Standards scrapped. With the Australian Labor Party promising a review into NAPLAN should they win the upcoming federal election, could it be a sign of things to come closer to home?

We’ve made a promise. To be there for the educators, the inspirers and the nurturers. To care for you when you’re sick (and when you’re not). Because when you’re at your best, you can bring out the best in others too.

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AND THE TEACHERS ANSWERED "NO" On 9 April 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered the invasion of Norway. In a building high in the Akershus Fortress at the head of the Oslo Fjord, the Norwegians have created a poignant, moving exhibition to commemorate the resistance on the home front – a four year “battle for freedom”. While most of Norway was quickly occupied, battle raged across the country for all the years of World War II. The north of Norway never really succumbed, and throughout the war the Norwegian Underground was responsible for huge damage to German military infrastructure.


This included a major role in thwarting the efforts of the Nazis to procure heavy water for their nuclear weapons development program. While the whole exhibition was a powerful demonstration of human spirit and endurance in the face of great suffering, one part of the story will live with me forever: the role of teachers and students in the Norwegian resistance to Nazi occupation, a story that was unknown to me. From a very early stage, teachers and the clergy became symbols of what free Norwegians would do to resist the Nazis.

Teachers stood strong on the need to protect children. The collaborator government presented a long list of demands, including compulsory recruitment of children into the young Nazis and the teaching of propaganda lessons. The teachers answered “No”. In retaliation, schools were closed by the Nazis for weeks at a time to prevent teachers from working. Teachers were denied pay. In one infamous incident, one teacher in every 10 was arrested and imprisoned after refusing to teach what the Nazis demanded.

One thing about travel is that you often learn things that you didn't know you didn't know - things that may deeply resonate both personally and professionally, writes KEVIN BATES. In another, 500 teachers were arrested, loaded onto a ship and sent to labour camps in Kirkenes in far northern Norway, where the journey and harsh conditions took their toll.

The stoic resistance of the Norwegian teachers even made the news in Australia, with a report in the Sydney Daily Telegraph detailing the trials and deprivations they suffered.

the task of giving you children the knowledge and training for the thorough work which is necessary if every single one of you is to receive complete developments as a human being, so that you can fulfill your place in society to the benefit of others and yourself. I will not call upon you to do anything which I regard as wrong. Nor will I teach you anything which I regard as not conforming with the truth.

Then, as now, extreme political ideologies can grow out of massive economic and political inequality. We may learn much from trying to better understand why the teachers answered "No". Of the 14,000 or so teachers in Norway at the start of the war, between 1,000 and 2,000 were imprisoned in concentration camps by mid-1942. But still, the teachers answered “No”.

The United States government, on behalf of the Norwegian government-in-exile, printed a comprehensive pamphlet describing the struggles of the teachers. In the foreword to “Norway’s Teachers Stand Firm”, the United States Commissioner for Education, J.W. Studebaker, wrote: “Their stubborn defense of freedom to learn against those who would despoil the minds of youth will inspire in the teachers of the United States admiration for their Norwegian colleagues and a firm resolve and self-dedication to the achievement of victory over the pagan tyrants who seek to throttle civilization itself.”A prominent feature of the pamphlet is a letter written collectively by the teachers and designed to be read to every class. An extract from the letter reads: “We have been charged with

I will, as I have done heretofore, let my conscience be my guide and I am confident that I shall then be in step with the great majority of the people who have entrusted to me the duties of an educator.” (Norwegian Teachers’ Pledge to their Pupils, April 9, 1942.) Then, as now, extreme political ideologies can grow out of massive economic and political inequality. We may learn much from trying to better understand why the teachers answered “No”.

Kevin Bates is President of the Queensland Teachers Union.


WHY UNIONS ARE VITAL TO ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR In the late-1700s, one of the most dramatic transformations in world economic history took place. In previous centuries, economic growth had puttered along so slowly that shops would sometimes carve their prices in stone on the wall. Starting in Britain, the Industrial Revolution saw production move from hand work to mechanisation. Steampowered factories massively increased the output of textiles. With the industrial revolution, output per worker began to surge. Yet for the first half century after the Industrial Revolution began, most of the benefits did not flow to workers. Productivity rose, as workers used the new technology to produce more output. But real wages barely budged. There are various theories as to why this changed, but it is difficult to escape the conclusion that it had something to do with collective action. In 1833, six agricultural labourers in Dorset swore an oath to stand together against attempts to cut their pay from seven shillings a week to six. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were convicted of swearing a secret oath, and transported to Australia. After a mass public outcry, they were pardoned. From the factory to the farm, workers kept pushing for the right to organise and strike.

Eventually, workers began to get a fair share of the productivity gains, and the Industrial Revolution became a major driver of better living standards across the world. 184 years after the Tolpuddle Martyrs swore their oath, Margaret Peacock and her fellow workers went on strike. Margaret worked at Australian Paper, the nation’s largest envelope manufacturing plant. She earned $21 an hour. Their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, had gone to the Fair Work Commission three times. They were asking for a pay rise of 2.5 percent a year over three years – zero real wage growth. The company was offering a deal that averaged 1.6 percent – a real pay cut. Only after an eight week strike did

down from half the workforce in the early-1980s. Trade union membership is lowest among private sector workers (9 percent), 20-somethings (9 percent), recent migrants (5 percent), and people who have been working for less than a year (5 percent). My own long-run series in Battlers and Billionaires suggests that we have to go back to 1904 to find a time when the union membership rate was lower than it is today. Little wonder that the share of Australians who say that unions have too much power fell from 82 percent in 1979 to 47 percent in 2016, while the proportion who are concerned about the power of big business has risen. We tend to think of the United States as having a famously low union membership rate. But in 2017, the US union membership rate was 11 percent, only 2 percentage points below ours. Twelve US states have a higher union membership rate than Australia, so if you find yourself in California or New York, Connecticut or Hawaii, you’re more likely to bump into a union member than you are in Australia.

Across the world, unions are one of the most powerful forces for boosting equality.


Australian Paper agree to the workers’ pay claim. Over the past six years, real wage growth has all but ground to a halt. Just as in the first fifty years of the Industrial Revolution, productivity is growing at a solid rate. But employees’ share of the national pie has been shrinking. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that just 13 percent of Australian workers are in unions,

What caused union membership to fall? Part of the answer lies in changing laws. The abolition of closed shop laws in the early-1990s, the anti-union WorkChoices legislation of 2006, and a myriad of small tweaks

Unions aren’t merely the social force that brought Australia the eight-hour day, the weekend, annual leave and sick leave. They’re also a powerful force for greater equality, writes ANDREW LEIGH.

Photo: Leo Bild on Flickr

by conservative governments that made it harder for unions to organise. The structure of the economy has also tilted the scales against organised labour. Union membership is typically higher among full-time workers, in manufacturing and in the public sector. Analysis by Griffith University’s David Peetz suggests that changes in the economy explain a significant portion of the drop in union membership, especially during the early period of the decline. There is

also a feedback loop problem: workers appear less inclined to join a union in highly unequal workplaces. To see why this matters for Australia, it’s worth reviewing the achievements of the union movement. Sick leave in the 1920s. Annual leave in the 1930s. The eight hour day in the 1940s. Unfair dismissal protection in the 1970s. Banning asbestos in the 1980s. The weekend. Paid public holidays. Long service

leave. Unions have often found themselves on the right side of history. Maritime unions refused to load ‘pig iron’ onto Japanese ships in the late-1930s because they foresaw the risk that it would come back in bombs. If you’ve ever enjoyed Centennial Park and the Sydney Botanic Gardens, then you might thank the union members who stopped them being destroyed in the 1970s.


And that’s before we get to inequality. From 1975 to 2016, real wages rose by 74 percent for the top tenth, but just 24 percent for the bottom tenth. If low wage earners had enjoyed the same percentage gains as those at the top, they would be $16,000 a year better off. Since the early-1980s, household income inequality, wealth inequality, and top income inequality measures have all risen. The number of billionaires on the Australian Financial Review’s Rich 200 List grew from 60 to 76 last year, and the combined wealth of the top 200 rose by a whopping 21 percent. Across the world, unions are one of the most powerful forces for boosting equality. Unions have a long history of lending their strongest voice to their lowestpaid members; identifying those most in need, and making their case. We can think of raising earnings of the lowest-paid as ‘flow up’ economics – a theory that has a good deal more empirical support than the discredited notion of ‘trickle down’. Today, we take for granted that employers should not be legally allowed to pay people less because of their race or gender. But it took unions to fight for that change. Unions filed claims in the mid-1960s to remove racially discriminatory clauses from the Pastoral Industry and Station Hands Awards. It was the Australian Council of Trade Union’s Equal Pay Cases of 1969 and 1972 that led to the removal of institutionalised gender pay discrimination from industrial agreements.


Today, wage stagnation is hurting the economy. As the Reserve Bank’s most recent Statement on Monetary Policy observes, ‘Weak growth in household income has posed a risk to the consumption outlook for some time. Consumption could be particularly sensitive to unexpected weakness in income given the context of high household debt.’ Short-sighted businesses want low-paid workers and high-paid customers. Farsighted businesses recognise that workers and customers are the same people. If you want to boost retail sales, putting cash in the hands of the lowest-paid workers is the best strategy. You don’t need to march under the Eureka flag to see that there’s a problem. The Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane has noted that Britain has seen a growth in self-employment, temporary work, zero-hours contracts, and non-union jobs. Haldane argues that this makes work more ‘divisible’ than in the past, and has reduced workers’ bargaining power. One recent study finds that unions increase wages by 5-10 percent. That suggests that if Australia today had the same union membership rate as in the early-1980s, average wages could be up to 4 percent higher. Economist Saul Eslake contrasts the situation now with the economic circumstances Australia faced in the late1970s. Back then, real wages were accelerating faster than productivity. Economists dubbed the situation the ‘real wage overhang’. The solution was the Accord: an agreement that promised wage moderation in exchange for improvements in the social wage.

Now, the problem is reversed. Australia is experiencing a ‘real wage underhang’. Workers have failed to get their share of productivity growth. If unions are relegated to the margins, and the safety net is eroded, then not only will low-paid workers suffer, but so too will our economy as a whole. Part of the answer to boosting wages must lie in improving our industrial laws. Collective action has been behind many of the significant improvements in pay and conditions for Australian workers. Today, there are straightforward measures we can follow. Reversing the cut to Sunday penalty rates for 700,000 workers. Tackling sham contracting and dodgy phoenixing. Ending the oxymoron of ‘permanent casuals’. Preventing labour hire being used to erode earnings by legislating the simple principle: same job, same pay. Recognising that firms serve society as a whole isn’t just a more equitable, but more sustainable. And in the longrun, it’s likely to leave us less vulnerable to the boom-andbust cycle. Stronger unions, better wage growth, and fairer firms are the recipe for a more prosperous society. Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, and a former professor of economics at the Australian National University. He is the author of several books, including Battlers and Billionaires, Choosing Openness and Randomistas. This article draws upon a speech delivered at Per Capita in Melbourne.

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We assess risks in our daily lives without ever thinking about it. We encounter situations that need us to make a judgment. We assess the situation and decide to continue, or choose another course of action. I guarantee that you subconsciously assessed risk several times on the way to work.

I walk to work. When I cross a road, I stop to think about whether it is safe. If it isn’t safe, I wait. Some people will cross the road when others wouldn’t.




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People usually identify risks without thinking about it. Take the example of crossing the road. You look and listen for oncoming traffic to determine whether there is a risk of a collision. You do the same thing in your classroom. You might be on the lookout for unsettled or upset students. You pay particular attention to students who have a history of violent behaviour. The process is the same for a supervisor. Parents have to help their children to spot the risks when crossing the road. Likewise, new staff are not as good at spotting risks as their experienced colleagues.

If I’m more mobile than the person next to me, I would judge that it is safe for me to cross when they wouldn’t. If I’ve had a near-miss when crossing the road in the past, I would be more careful about crossing.

SERIOUSNESS Once you’ve identified a risk, the next thing to consider is seriousness. For example, if a car hit you at high speed, the harm would be very serious. Considering seriousness is important in deciding whether to accept a risk. Imagine that the intersection you’re crossing is very busy with pedestrian traffic. There are no oncoming vehicles, but there is a risk of bumping into somebody on the way across. The harm that is likely to result is very minor and would have little effect on your decision to cross the road. You think about seriousness when assessing risks in school, too. A student passing notes by throwing a ball of paper is annoying and inappropriate. But, it is not likely to cause serious harm. If the student is throwing something heavy or sharp, then the potential harm is more serious. You also take account of the characteristics of the people involved. Some people may be more vulnerable to harm from witnessing violent incidents. Others may be physically fragile. It’s important to consider the seriousness for the actual people involved.




Of course, even serious risks may be tolerable where they are very unlikely. Imagine that you see a truck approaching from a few hundred metres away. You could make it back and forth across the road many times before it gets to you. Nonetheless, it is still possible that things will go wrong and the truck will hit you. In this circumstance, it is very likely that you would decide to tolerate the risk. The risk is serious, but it is very unlikely. The same applies to education settings. Past tragedies show that any activity can lead to serious injury to participants. So long as we take steps to control those risks, we can tolerate them on the basis that they are very, very unlikely.

Education and safety are not competing goals Public schools provide an education to all students, appropriate to their needs. It is this moral imperative that separates us from our private sector counterparts. We do not turn our backs on the students who need our help the most. Sometimes, we hear that the goals of education and safety compete. Some argue that we must set the goal of education against staff safety and that one side or the other must lose. This view does not stand close scrutiny. A student will not usually be violent towards others if their education meets their needs. The mere fact of their violent behaviour indicates that the student requires support. If our goal is to engage every student in learning, then our goal is that no student is violent.

CONSULT It will be a rare occasion when you are the only person affected by the risk you are assessing. When the risk affects other staff, you have a duty to consult with them about its management. Before deciding on how you will handle the risk, you must seek the views of the other affected parties. There is no point assessing a risk and coming up with a plan that nobody else can implement. Most plans will rely on other people being confident and competent to put controls in place. It is very unlikely that the control will be effective if it relies on a teacher or LSA who has no confidence in it. Such a control will not meet your WHS duties.



The final step is to consider what action you should take. You might consider that the risks are already managed. If so, you will be happy to proceed with the activity. Sometimes, you will want to stop and think about whether it is safe to proceed. You might want to take some action to ensure that the activity is safe. For example, in crossing a road that is wet and slippery, you might take more care. These steps are sometimes referred to by WHS specialists as “controls”. Or you may consider the risks to be so serious and so likely that you would not proceed with the activity at all. If it was almost certain that a bus would hit you, you wouldn’t even consider crossing the road.

This is not to say that violent behaviour is the fault of schools for failing to meet student needs. Some needs, like a stable home life, are not within our power to meet. A small cohort of students may even be unavoidably violent.

The goal of our work on occupational violence is not only to keep staff safe. We are working to improve education delivery. Raising the unsafe behaviour of students is a step towards better resources and strategies. By treating violence seriously, we can get our students the help they need. 33

GLENN FOWLER Branch Secretary


PATRICK JUDGE Industrial Officer

SEAN van der HEIDE Northside Organiser

MONIQUE MORTON Member Services Officer


JACQUI AGIUS Senior Industrial Officer

JACOB DUNNE Case Support Officer

MALISA LENGYEL Southside Organiser


DAWN NIXON Business Manager


MEAGAN PEARCE Communications Officer

LUCY BARRETT Administration Assistant