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ACT EDUCATOR TERM 3

2017

PUBLIC EDUCATION AWARD WINNERS

MEET MEEGAN FITZHARRIS

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION?

Meet our award winners Karen, Anne, Irene, Judy & Cara

Glenn Fowler interviews the Minister for Higher Education, Training & Research about her plans for CIT

Roger Amey explores how the definition of education informs the discussion about the future of the ACT’s education system


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

INSIDE ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE | TERM 3 | 2017

ON THE COVER Congratulations to Karen Noble and Anne Brown who are the 2017 Public Education Award recipients.

OUR STORIES AEU ACT BRANCH EXECUTIVE 12 Find out who our new and re-elected Executive members are.

SUPER CHANGES 36 First State Super outlines the changes to superannuation from 1 July 2017 and what this means for you.

MEET THE MINISTER 14 Glenn Fowler interviews Minister Meegan Fitzharris about her vision for CIT. PAULINE, WE NEED TO TALK 18 Kellie Nissen grapples with Pauline Hanson’s comments about segregating children with autism. SUPER ON THE LINE 22 Vince McDevitt explains the two-tiered system for super in the ACT and why we need to get super into our agreements. PUBLIC EDUCATION AWARD WINNERS 26

DISCLAIMER:

Read about the achievements of Karen Noble, Anne Brown, Irene Lind, Judy Pettiford and Cara Shipp.

and do not necessarily represent the views of the AEU. We do, however, think that these issues are worthy of discussion in our union.

AEU ACT BRANCH

Lyndal Ryan recounts the fight of ACT Public School cleaners to protect and reinstate their workplace wages and conditions. YOU’RE AT RISK - DO THE RISKMAN 42 Jacqui Agius explains why reporting workplace risks and incidents is essential for protecting you and your colleagues.

THE REGULARS PRESIDENT’S REPORT 5 SECRETARY’S REPORT 6 UPCOMING EVENTS 8

The assertions and opinions expressed in articles reflect the views of the author(s)

OUR SCHOOL CLEANERS SUCCESS 38

HOW TO DEFINE EDUCATION 32 Roger Amey explores the definition of education and how this will inform the Future of Education discussion.

UPDATES 10 YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED 44


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PAULINE, WE NEED TO TALK 18

PUBLIC EDUCATION AWARD WINNERS 26

HOW TO DEFINE EDUCATION 32

OUR SCHOOL CLEANERS SUCCESS 38

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AEU ACT BRANCH

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE


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PRESIDENT’S REPORT

I

t was wonderful to see so many of you at our recent Public Education dinner. We host these occasions to acknowledge the contributions each one of us makes to public education while also celebrating the achievements of particular individ-

uals who our members have nominated for special recognition. When reflecting on the extraordinary contributions of our award winners, I began to ponder whether there is one word, or perhaps a couple of words, that epitomise public education. One word I keep returning to is gutsy. As public educators, I think we do the gutsy work. We believe in giving every student a fair go. Actually, more than a fair go. Public education is about giving everyone the best possible chance to succeed. The other words that come to mind as I seek to define public education are honesty and integrity. I think of these words as an employee. I am proud to work in a system that values me as an individual and where I can be true to who I am, knowing that I will not be discriminated against for my lack of religious beliefs or for my sexuality. Gutsy, honesty, integrity. My new tag line for public education. And I think those qualities perfectly characterise this year’s award winners. I extend my congratulations to Cara Shipp, Karen Noble, Anne Brown, Irene Lind and Judy Pettiford. You can read more about each of this year’s award recipients in this edition. I recently returned from the ACTU’s NexGen conference, attended by more than 1100 union organisers and grassroots activists. In Australia, just as is the case across the globe, we are at a crisis point in terms of inequality. The message you will hear is simple: change the rules, for the rules are broken. The problem is easy to understand when you consider that income inequality is greater than at any time in the last 76 years, when you consider that the top one per cent own more wealth than the bottom 70 per cent of Australians combined, when the Reserve Bank governor urges Australian workers to push for pay rises because profits are at 15 year highs, yet wage growth is the lowest on record. As we commence discussion about our next enterprise agreement, I look forward to engaging with you in conversations on which of our rules are broken and what rules need to change.

Angela Burroughs AEU ACT President AEU ACT BRANCH


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SECRETARY’S REPORT

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

Underlying our campaign is the shared expectation that there is no excuse for violence. Often, when excuses are used to wave away the severity or impact of violence, they are explicitly gendered. At some point, the refrain that boys will be boys turns into more sinister tropes. The most common is that the victim deserved the violence meted out to them. In domestic violence, it might be because the house isn’t clean, there’s not the right food in the fridge, the suggestion of infidelity. In sexual violence, it’s that she dressed provocatively, or she drank too much. In our schools, there is the whisper of a different set of excuses for physical violence and verbal abuse. I will not name and normalise them. Instead, let’s start a new conversation. Let’s talk about caring for ourselves and our colleagues. It’s the same advice we give to our students. In every pastoral care discussion we have, our number one priority is making sure the student is looking after themselves, and is equipped with the tools and resources to do this.

Our campaign against occupational violence recognises two truths. First, every worker has a right to come home safely. Second, every student should feel safe at school and be able to learn. The safety of educators and students are two sides of the same coin. Last year, when we began our campaign for change, we ran into the concern that it would create an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. Implicit was the assumption that we could not focus on our students’ education when we prioritised our safety. When we think it through, this is absurd. A safe workplace for an educator also creates the best learning environments. By taking swift action, we are also disrupting the harm done to children who are socialised to believe that violence is effective and acceptable. Three-quarters of our profession is female. Right now, we are standing alongside nurses, other health professionals and public servants who are campaigning for safe workplaces.

AEU ACT BRANCH

We have started with the hardest step; we have collectively organised and negotiated to address flaws in the system. By the end of this year, every educator will have the tools and resources in their workplace to prevent and respond to violence. We’re also advocating to change Riskman - the reporting mechanism for workplace safety - so that it’s suitable for an education environment. Now, let’s all take small steps in our workplace to support each other. When you experience violence, speak to your supervisor. If your in a leadership position, make sure your staff have the work time to report violence. After an incident, stay with your colleague and make sure they have medical care. In the following days, check in with them. Meet as a Sub-Branch and talk about how to address site-specific issues. Minimising our workplace rights will not lead to a better education for our students. Together, let’s make sure our workplaces are safe and thriving.

Glenn Fowler AEU ACT Secretary


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

2017 TERM 3 Upcoming Events RSVP at aeuact.org.au/events WEEK 2 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Tuesday, 25th July 5.30pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton

WEEK 3 CHANGES TO SUPER SEMINAR Wednesday, 2nd August 4.00pm - 5.00pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton BRANCH COUNCIL Saturday, 5th August 9.00am - 12.00pm J Block Theatre, CIT Reid

WEEK 4 RELIEF TEACHERS SUB-BRANCH Tuesday, 8th August 4.30pm - 5.30pm Tilley’s Cafe, Lyneham TAFE COUNCIL Friday, 11th August 1.30pm - 4.00pm Rooms E12 A & B, CIT Reid Learning Centre

WEEK 5 NATIONAL SUPPORT STAFF WEEK Monday 14th August - Friday 18th August

AEU ACT BRANCH

WEEK 5 CONT. SCHOOL ASSISTANT WORKSHOP Wednesday, 16th August 12.30pm - 4.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton (All school assistants are invited & eligible to take industrial leave to attend)

WEEK 6 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Tuesday, 22th August 5.30pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton

WEEK 7 WOMEN’S NETWORK MEETING Wednesday, 30th August 4.30pm - 5.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton BRANCH COUNCIL Saturday, 2nd September 9.00am - 12.00pm J Block Theatre, CIT Reid

WEEK 8 BIRRIGAI RETREAT Friday, 8th September - Sat., 9th September 9.00am Friday to 1.00pm Saturday Birrigai Outdoor School (All members are invited & eligible to take industrial leave to attend. Food & overnight accommodation provided.)

WEEK 9 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Tuesday, 12th September 5.30pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton TAFE COUNCIL Friday, 15th September 1.30pm - 4.00pm Rooms E12 A & B, CIT Reid Learning Centre


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AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

UPDATES BARGAINING FOR SCHOOL ASSISTANTS AND CIT TEACHERS

The first phase of negotiations with the ACT Government is to settle the common terms and conditions that will apply to all new ACT Government enterprise agreements. These common terms must be settled before we commence negotiations for School Assistant specific or CIT specific matters so that we have the context for those negotiations. Negotiations to progress the common terms and conditions have been frustrated and significantly delayed by the ACT Government’s insistence that they will not pay you back-pay to cover any gap between the expiry of the current agreement on 30

ACT GOVERNMENT BUDGET

In this year’s budget, the ACT Government has begun to deliver the commitments we won in the 2016 ACT Election and our Occupational Violence campaign. Four notable mentions are: • The teacher workload reduction resources we initially secured in our enterprise bargaining for two years has been extended for another four years. This funding is equivalent to almost 60 school assistants. • We will see the first 5 of 20 school psychologists commence work in our schools, as pledged by Labor. Each year we will get closer to our ultimate goal of one school psychologist for every 500

AEU ACT BRANCH

June 2017 and the commencement of the new agreement. Negotiations are continuing on this issue and we have now shifted the ACT Government to agree to back-pay from 1 October 2017. Their revised position still effectively imposes a pay freeze from 30 June 2017 to 1 October 2017. This means that you will not have a pay increase for 3 months. This is simply unreasonable and unacceptable. We will be organising meetings for our CIT and School Assistant members over the coming months and we encourage all members to come along, hear the latest news and have a say on your new agreements.

ACT public school students. • The Government has delivered resources to address Occupational Violence. Three new leadership positions in the Directorate’s expanded work safety team will assist in prioritising the protection of educators from violence while maintaining the educational needs of students. • There is funding to continue the Safe Schools program across ACT public schools, free from interference by the Turnbull Government. Congratulations to members on your contributions and support of our numerous campaigns that secured these outcomes.


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GONSKI NEEDS-BASED FUNDING

On the night of Thursday 22nd June, the Senate passed changes to school funding. There’s been a lot of spin and misunderstanding in the media over the past few weeks, but here are the key facts: • State and territory Gonski agreements will not be honoured. This is the worst part, because it means billions in vital funding that was to flow to schools in the next two years will not be delivered. Some schools will only get 10% of the money they need to ensure they can keep improving teaching and learning, and provide the oneon-one support children need. • Public and private school funding will be set at a fixed rate. Public schools everywhere except the NT will receive 20% of their required funding (set by a Schooling Resource Standard or SRS) and private schools will receive 80% from the Federal Government. These fixed proportions were never specified by the Gonski Review and give lie to the claim of the Government that it is delivering a “needs-based” funding system. Originally the Turnbull plan was to take 10 years to get schools to the 20% and 80% point but now it will take six years. The extra spending involved in reducing the timeframe is $4.9 billion over a decade. • State and territory governments will have to increase their funding. As part of the Gonski agreements, state and territory governments agreed to put one third of the funding needed to ensure public schools reached 95% of the SRS in 2019 (2022 in Victoria). The Turnbull plan announced last month involved no commitment from the state and territory governments but

this was changed in the Senate. Now states and territories will be forced to increase their spending to 75% of the SRS over six years and they face the loss of funding if they do not. Even if they do contribute their share, public schools will not reach the 95% point until 2023. • Schools will remain woefully underfunded for students with disability. The Federal Government will cut funding next year for students with disability to SA, WA, the ACT, Tasmania and the NT. This is completely unacceptable given the high levels of unmet need in this area. • Private schools received a last-minute $50 million special deal, despite the Minister consistently saying the problem with the current arrangement was that there were special deals. Our work helped shift the Government significantly but this new funding model is not good enough. Many public schools will have to wait at least six more years to get to the point where they have enough resources to ensure no child misses out. Schools across the country will also have to scale back the plans they have put in place for next year to continue the huge improvements they have made to teaching and learning with the first four years of Gonski funding. Already the ALP and the Greens, who have strongly supported public education and opposed the final Turnbull plan, have said that there needs to be a much greater investment in public schools. The campaign continues. We will not rest until every public school student in the country is funded at or above the SRS. If Malcolm Turnbull won’t get us there, the AEU will.

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

AEU ACT BRANCH EXECUTIVE Congratulations to our new and re-elected Executive members! They will serve a two year term and represent you in conducting our union’s strategic affairs. Later this year, we will seek nominations for the School Assistant member, the School Assistant alternate member and the TAFE member to round out the Executive. If you are interested or would like to find out more, contact Vince at Vince. McDevitt@aeuact.org.au.

Latham Primary School

Tania Blak

Red Hill Primary School

Emma Cox

Cherie Connors

GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE

GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE

GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE

Wanniassa School

Namadgi School

Lake Tuggeranong College

Holly Godfree

Ben Godwin

GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE

GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE

GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE

Peter Curtis

Shane Gorman

Dickson College

Wanniassa School

Kingsford Smith School

Katie Slater

Gillian Sinclair

GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE

GENERAL REPRESENTATIVE

TAFE ALTERNATE REPRESENTATIVE

AEU ACT BRANCH

CIT


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AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

MEET THE MINISTER ACT Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, Meegan Fitzharris, talks to Glenn Fowler about her plans for CIT.

Glenn: What is your vision for the future of CIT in the ACT? I’m not just talking about funding – I’m talking about CIT as a public educational institution that has a unique role in serving the entire community. Meegan: I am committed to ensuring that our vocational education and training system is producing the skills that our 21st century economy needs. CIT has a strong and enduring reputation as a high quality education provider in the ACT and the Government strongly supports this. The ACT Government has appointed a Board to lead and shape the CIT’s strategic direction, which is guided by its Strategic Compass 2020 – Evolving Together document launched last year and backed by more than $8m in government funding. This funding is assisting CIT to contemporarily transform through raising its ambitions to meet new expectations by implementing the following nine Strategic Compass projects: • CIT Australian Apprenticeships Skills Reform Project

AEU ACT BRANCH

• CIT Customer Experience Journey Project • Business Development and Industry Partnerships • Evolve Together Project • Product Innovation Fund • Innovative Learning Resources Project • Evolving Teaching Project • CIT Digitisation Project Some of the ways the CIT is working to meet emerging needs are through its renewable energy technology qualifications and training, including battery, solar and wind, and its newly developed Graduate Certificate in Cyber Networking and Security. CIT Bruce has also opened a state-of-the-art simulated hospital/work environment for nursing, aged care and disability courses. CIT is also an important part of our thriving higher education, training and research sector. CIT is doing a fantastic job working in close partnership with the school and higher


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education sector, as well as local employers to showcase how CIT can partner with them to ensure we have the workforce our city needs to prosper and provide meaningful jobs. G: CIT has exceptional support networks that are focused on keeping students at risk in education and completing their qualifications. CIT fully supports special needs students, teaches year 11 & 12 to students at risk of not completing high school, and the Yurana Centre provides support to indigenous students. How can we work together to highlight CIT’s social value? M: CIT is deeply ingrained in the fabric of Canberra. CIT enhances the community with essential skills and knowledge, and is at the heart of many local initiatives and events. CIT students have a variety of backgrounds, skills and needs, and CIT takes pride in its diversity, as it enriches our community. We know from our surveys that students have high levels of satisfaction (92 per cent) with the CIT because of its continued focus on high-quality teaching and relevant training, and also its support services for a diverse student profile. For example, last year the CIT had 906 self-identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, 929 international students from 80 countries and 163 Australian School-based Apprenticeships students. CIT students have also won ACT Chief Minister's Inclusion Awards. As a public vocational education and training provider, the CIT is committed to meeting the needs of its students, and its Customer Experience project is currently working to ensure it remains responsive to student expectations. I’m always interested to hear ideas about how we can keep promoting the CIT’s great work. This is already happening in many

ABOVE IMAGE:

Minister Meegan Fitzharris

ways; for example, I was thrilled when a CIT student was last year named Australia’s top apprentice! There’s also a great website with information about how to study at CIT – see https://cit.edu.au/study I continue to promote CIT as being integral to the social fabric of the ACT Community. Examples of this include: • CIT Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan launched October 2016 (focussed on Relationships, Respect and opportunities) • Women Returning to Work program, Support for ACT Refugees, Foundation skills, CITSA student support services, Study Canberra - International student ambassadors. G: At the ACT election, ACT Labor committed to guaranteeing a minimum of 70% of vocational education and training funding will go to CIT. How does the Government in-

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tend to ensure that this promise is delivered into the future? M: The ACT Government will continue to provide a minimum of 70 per cent of the total annual ACT Government funding for vocational education and training directly to the CIT – and while this is something I am proud to say is already happening here in the ACT, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Australian Education Union for supporting this important funding target for TAFEs nationally. In addition to CIT’s direct budget allocation, it continues to also access a significant amount of contestable ACT vocational education and training funding through the Australian Apprenticeships and Skilled Capital training initiatives. Last year (2016-17), this meant CIT received about 83.5 per cent of the total ACT vocational education and training budget. G: The Terms of Reference for the Future of Education are broad, and include education at all levels. What impact do you anticipate the Future of Education process will have on CIT? M: The Future of Education community conversation invites comment about how the ACT can build on its strengths in school education to tackle some emerging challenges – with a goal of achieving an education system that sets all children up for a good life. As the Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, I’ll be following this conversation closely. At the moment, I think it will have particular relevance for the CIT when it comes to looking at the skills ACT school leavers should have, and how they might best be prepared for the needs of employers, vocational and higher education. The first discussion paper has now been released for comment and more information is available at https://yoursay.act.gov.au/futureofeducation

AEU ACT BRANCH

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

G: Across the country, dodgy private providers have pocketed millions in public funds, all while they have course completion rates as low as 1%. Now the Federal Government has fiddled around the edges of their funding model but has not put in place substantial protections for students at risk. The worst excesses of private providers can be avoided here. What protections are in place in the ACT to ensure students gain a quality vocational education? M: The issues resulting from the Australian Government’s VET FEE-HELP program were not as prevalent in the ACT, due to the relatively low uptake of VET FEE-HELP loans generally. CIT was the main provider eligible to deliver government-subsidised VET FEEHELP qualifications in the ACT. The ACT Government has undertaken a range of reform activities to achieve a high quality VET sector in the Territory. This includes the establishment of the ACT Quality Framework, which ensures only RTOs that can demonstrate the provision of high quality training in accordance with a comprehensive quality and performance criteria can deliver government-subsidised training in the ACT. The ACT’s funded training initiatives also include a robust payment model, where providers only receive payment for successful completion of each unit of competency. Transparency on course fees must be provided, and reasonable fee bands are determined and enforced for each course. These measures help to ensure that providers cannot exploit government funds for training. The ACT Quality Framework complements the work of the Australian Skills Quality Authority, providing strengthened information and guidance to RTOs operating in the ACT, to promote quality training. The positive VET student outcomes achieved across both public and private registered training organisations in the ACT suggests our strong focus on quality implemented through the ACT Quality Framework is limiting poor provider behaviour and enabling quality outcomes for students.


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G: Hundreds of thousands of students who studied under these dodgy private providers have had their qualifications revoked. How worried are you about this impacting the ACT? M: The ACT has been very fortunate not to have experienced some of the terrible practices we’ve seen in other jurisdictions. But this has not been by accident. It can be attributed to the limited uptake of VET FEE-HELP qualifications in the ACT, the small number of approved VET FEE-HELP providers (outside of CIT), and the ACT Government’s strong quality framework which makes it difficult for unscrupulous providers to access the government-subsidised training market in the ACT. The quality measures in place in the ACT are expected to continue to limit any quality issues and effectively respond to any poor provider behaviour under the new VET Student Loans program. Although uptake of VET FEE-HELP was relatively low in the ACT (only 2,524 enrolments between 2009-15 across 21 providers), the ACT Government continues to ensure any quality and transparency implications for the ACT VET sector are considered and addressed, and works collaboratively with CIT in the provision of support to any displaced students (under a range of circumstances).

We will continue to do what we can to make sure our system is a high quality system. G: In difficult times for TAFE teachers across the country, how do we plan to retain all of our great teachers at CIT? M: CIT’s great results are thanks to its great teachers. The CIT works to attract and retain its teachers in many ways, including a comprehensive online induction, Staff Achievement Awards and learning and development opportunities including study assistance. Through Strategic Compass 2020 there are a number of funded projects to support teachers, including the Evolve Together project to equip staff with the skills to meet emerging training needs, and the Evolving Teacher Project, which recognises the importance of quality teaching by supporting teachers to increasingly meet the needs of learners in a contemporary training environment. With the fast changing VET teaching environment I recognise that there are challenges ahead, including digital disruption. CIT looks forward to working with teachers to support the transformation that is articulated in CIT’s Strategic Compass 2020 – Evolving Together.

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

PAULINE, WE NEED TO TALK Kellie Nissen - Primary School Teacher

A

s a parent of a child with You develop ways of deflect-

sume one has ‘heard it all’.

autism, you develop a

One of our political ‘leaders’ (and I use that term very loosely) has recently come to the conclusion that students with autism are holding mainstream children back and should all be put into special classes.

bit of a thick skin. You

become used to the ignorance of some people, or their insen-

ing and counteracting negative attitudes; all for the good of your child’s wellbeing. Being an advocate is a tough gig, but not one we resent for a moment. The rewards are amazing. Reflecting on the eight years

sitivity, or their dismissiveness. since my son was diagnosed

with Asperger’s Syndrome (now known as high-functioning autism), I thought I’d experienced the full range of attitudes. I’ve faced people with a total conviction that ‘autism’ is a thing made up to excuse poor parenting, through to people who ‘get it’. I’ve even come across people who are so supportive they are suffocating (in that they wish to wrap you and your child up in cotton wool because ‘how else could you possibly cope, you poor thing’). One should, however, never as-

AEU ACT BRANCH

In her speech to the Senate on June 21, Senator Hanson said, “These kids have a right to education, by all means. But if there is a number of them, these children should actually go into a special classroom, looked after and given that special attention. Because most of the time, the teacher spends so much time on them they forget about the child who wants to go ahead in leaps and bounds in their education but is held back by those, because the teachers spend time with them. And I’m not denying them. If it was one of my children I would love all the


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time given to them, to give them those opportunities. But is it at the loss of our other kids? So our education is very important, and I just feel that it needs to be handled correctly, and we need to get rid of these people because you want everyone to feel good about themselves. Let’s get some common sense back into our classrooms and what we do.” The worst thing about this statement is that Senator Hanson has tossed all children on the autism spectrum into the same basket. That, in itself, shows her complete lack of understanding as to what the ‘spectrum’ actually is. She does mention the term ‘other disabilities’ at some point, but there is no denying she has zoned in on autism. Pauline Hanson is well-known for her tendency to target minority groups with her less than inclusive views, but this is a new

low, even for her. She is targeting children!

proposed in any scenario, least of all this one.

What is not new, however, is her laying the blame and punishment on the victims — our children. Hanson is trying to cover this with emotion, implying ‘we want the best for everyone’, but her solution is to segregate the people she sees as causing the problem. I am amazed she didn’t use the word ‘institution’ at some point, so archaic are her ideas.

Many of the people who know me would have expected a huge outpouring of anger and contempt when Senator Hanson’s speech hit the media. This is exactly why I deliberately chose not to write anything in the heat of the moment.

The thing is this — not only does her speech show Hanson to be a person who does not understand autism (at all), but it also paints her as someone who is unable to problem solve, and who believes there is only one solution to fit all.

Staying silent (apart from a tiny outburst on Facebook) during the 24 hours after the speech afforded me the opportunity to wear both of my hats (parent and teacher) and read between the poorly worded lines spewed forth by the senator. In doing so, I realised this: she had a point, but as per her usual modus operandi, she had targeted the wrong group.

"Let’s remove the problem" would have to be the most simple, yet ineffective, solution ever

The point I would like to believe Senator Hanson was trying to make is that teachers require

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

more support to adequately meet the needs of all of their students. The groups she should have been targeting are the ‘powers that be’ who flatly refuse to supply adequate funding for teacher training in specialised areas (including strategies for working with children with autism) and full-time in-class support for teachers who have children with special needs in their classes.

thing else that took me away from the children who ‘wanted to go ahead in leaps and bounds’ — then I can safely estimate I would have about five children left in my class. My question to Senator Hanson is this: where will you find the extra teachers to take on all the children I should, according to your logic, be able to remove from my classroom?

My question to Senator Hanson is this: where will you find the extra teachers to take on all the children I should, according to your logic, be able to remove from my classroom? As the situation stands, teachers who have access to full-time support (by way of a ‘learning support assistant’) are as rare as hen’s teeth. Some of us are ‘lucky’ to have this support for one hour a day, often at a time when support is least needed. It is all part of an educational funding ‘juggling act’ which ultimately benefits nobody. As Hanson pointed out, a teacher’s time is often consumed supporting the children with special needs. But it is also spent dealing with behavioural issues, social and emotional issues and parent issues from students who do not have any diagnosis. I don’t see any call to have these children removed into a special class. At any given point of the year, if I was asked to remove all children with special needs from my class, along with those who weren’t behaving, or who had friendship problems — or any-

AEU ACT BRANCH

Sorry Pauline — am I taking your words ‘out of context’? Maybe I should believe it was not your intention to upset people and that you don’t ‘want to stop children from going into classrooms’. After all, you’ve given your support to the Gonski 2.0 reforms, in theory, ‘backing fairer funding arrangements for students with disability’. How could I doubt your intentions? The reality of the reforms you have generously leant your support to is vastly different though, isn’t it Pauline? Let’s not beat around the bush: you believe education is very important; you want to get common sense back into the classroom; you want all children to be given opportunities; and you believe teachers don’t have the resources and support to be able to adequately cater for the children with special needs as well as the children who ‘want to go ahead in leaps and bounds’. Your solution is to shove all the problematic chil-

dren into ‘special classes’ (because we can, of course, pull the funding for this out of our magic funding pot) and then you go on to support the Gonski 2.0 reforms which are, in reality, going to cut funding for disability education support and resources. I can hear you accusing me, now, of not being reasonable. The fact is, I am being no more unreasonable than the suggestion we can handle our current educational dilemma correctly by simply removing the perceived cause of the problem and locking it up in its own special box (even if we do let it out to play at lunchtime). I’m also being no more unreasonable than the insinuation that all children with autism be removed, because of course, they are all the same. Confucius said: Learning without thought is useless; thought without learning is dangerous. May I suggest to Senator Pauline Hanson (and to everyone who voted for her or agrees with her on this matter) that you first try allocating some of your time to ‘thought’ before you shoot off at the mouth about something you clearly know very little about. And, if that doesn’t float your boat, may I propose that we remove all people like you to your own special segregated box, because you are holding us back! Kellie is a teacher in a local primary school, proud parent of a son with Asperger’s syndrome and author of a blog documenting her family’s journey with Asperger's: https://inmyaspergersworld.wordpress.com


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

SUPER ON THE LINE IN NEW ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS Vince McDevitt - Lead Organiser

O

ur claim for secure and improved superannuation arrangements to

be included in new enterprise agreements is well-founded on long and bitter experience about what can happen to members' superannuation if it is not protected in their enterprise agreements.

AEU ACT BRANCH

Prior to 1 July 2006, all ACT Government employees received a minimum employer superannuation contribution of 15.4% of eligible superannuation salary paid into their respective public-sector superannuation schemes. As part of the budget process in 2006, the then Stanhope Labor Government dramatically cut the government’s superannuation contributions for all new ACT Public Service (ACTPS) employees joining the service from 1 July 2006 to just 9%. Given the broad acceptance by economists that a minimum contribution rate of 15% over many decades is required to secure most workers even a modest retirement income, the unilateral cuts imposed by the ACT Government have effectively set up all new ACTPS employees since 1 July 2006 for a deficient retirement.

The ACT Government was only able to ram through this poor public policy decision without any union consultation because superannuation was not protected in our enterprise agreements. The inequity of the arrangement now in place is also problematic because employees who are performing the same duties at the same classification level are receiving different employer superannuation contributions, dependent on their ACTPS commencement date. Another impact of the decision is that employees receiving the lower contribution rate can’t even join the Public-Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan (PSSap) scheme, because that scheme requires a minimum 15.4% employer contribution. Since the ACT Government’s decision to cut the employer con-


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tribution rate was implemented, unions have been working hard to improve the situation for affected members. In the last round of whole-of-government enterprise agreement negotiations in 2013, we again campaigned for improved superannuation arrangements to be included in enterprise agreements. At that time, the ACT Government’s steadfast position was that superannuation arrangements were outside the parameters of the enterprise agreement, and therefore could not be included in it. As the protracted negotiations wore on, it was eventually agreed that the ACT Government and unions would enter into separate Deeds of Agreement that would provide 0.5% increases to employer superannuation contributions for the duration of the current enterprise agreement. The last increase delivered

through the Deed of Agreement on 1 July 2016 increased the employer contribution rate for affected employees to 10.5%. Whilst the Deed of Agreement has been beneficial in the short term, it is not an appropriate industrial instrument to secure improved and protected superannuation arrangements over the years ahead. The current whole-of-government enterprise agreements expired on 30 June 2017 and we now need to ensure that the 0.5% annual increases continue, and that superannuation arrangements are enshrined in new enterprise agreements. This bargaining round - which includes CIT teachers and school assistants - will set the scene for the Education Directorate Teaching Staff Enterprise Agreement negotiations commencing early in 2018.

The ACT Government’s refusal to include superannuation in their enterprise agreements is in stark contrast to the Commonwealth Public Service, where the Federal Coalition Government has agreed to including a 15.4% minimum employer superannuation contribution in their enterprise agreements. The ACT Government’s form on superannuation makes it abundantly clear that we cannot trust or rely on the ACT Government of the day doing the right thing with members' superannuation. It’s just too important! We need to win this claim and see it delivered in all our new enterprise agreements, and to do that all members must be prepared to stand strong and united and see it through to the end.

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Friday 26 May

PUBLIC EDUCATION DINNER

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

Over 250 guests attended this year’s annual Public Education Dinner. Tom Ballard brought the laughs as MC, and Chris Sarra recounted the barriers and inspiration he encountered in becoming a teacher and school leader. A great night was had by all!

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ANNE BROWN & KAREN NOBLE PUBLIC EDUCATION AWARD WINNERS

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he Public Education Award is awarded each year to an AEU ACT

Branch member or members who have worked to promote public education within schools or TAFE, the wider community and in their personal lives.

Karen Noble and Anne Brown are long-standing and highly respected teachers and educational leaders within CIT. Anne and Karen understand that to be a public educator is to be a unionist — the two are synonymous, because both roles go hand in hand to demonstrably improve the lives of students. They have been two-pronged in their advocacy — campaigning for public vocational education and training, and for the working conditions of CIT teachers. The fight to protect public VET has been grueling. Karen and Anne are unstinting warriors for CIT at a time when the AEU’s TAFE membership across the country is feeling somewhat battered and bruised by poor public policy and persistent neglect. They will not give up until TAFE’s future is secure, and they take heart from some recent glimmers of hope.

LEFT IMAGE:

Karen Noble and Anne Brown at CIT Bruce Campus.

Late last year the ACT’s Labor-Green government committed to 70% of government funding being guaranteed for TAFE. At the budget reply speech in May, Federal Labor committed to a two-thirds guarantee of government funding going to TAFE. For years, Anne and Karen have campaigned for these outcomes. Already, on the back of these

wins, they have taken up the banner to work towards increasing the Federal funding for TAFE. Anne and Karen are as relentless in their advocacy for teachers’ workplace rights as they are in their fight for public education. They represent our union in consulting directly with CIT Executive about changes to teachers’ work practices. Recent discussions have included pushing for staff permanency, explaining the need for reasonable timing for work practices and raising serious concerns around the workload audit. Karen and Anne are also instrumental in our bargaining strategy and organising workers to achieve the best outcomes. Their work in public education campaigns and workplace advocacy has enriched our union. Through their long-term involvement in the AEU ACT’s Executive and in national positions, they have finessed the AEU’s political strategy to make the most impact. There is much work to do, but recent achievements give us hope, and they are in no small part due to teacher activists and committee leaders like Karen Noble and Anne Brown.

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

IRENE LIND & JUDY PETTIFORD FRIENDS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION AWARD WINNERS

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he Friend of Public Education Award is awarded each year to a person

or people who are not eligible for AEU membership, and who have promoted public education in their work, within the wider community and in their personal lives.

RIGHT IMAGE:

Yvette Berry, Judy Pettiford, Irene Lind and Jennie Murray at the Public Education Dinner.

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Irene Lind and Judy Pettiford have had distinguished careers in education spanning over 40 years. They have both been principals of ACT public schools, have actively promoted public education, mentored school leaders and teachers in our system, and worked with thousands of public school teachers to enhance the understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in their work. Prior to working in the Directorate, where they are no longer eligible to be AEU members, Irene and Judy were both active AEU members. Since 2008 Judy and Irene have worked part time in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Section of the Directorate. In this period, they have worked with schools to improve the outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, increase the capacity of schools to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander histories and cultures in the curriculum, and developed comprehensive transition strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from preschool through to college. They were central to the development of the Directorate’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Matters Strategic Plan 2010 – 2013, and worked on its subsequent promotion and implementation. Irene and Judy presented at school planning and PD days, staff meetings and professional association meetings to support schools in implementing the priorities and achieving the targets. A large focus of their work in the Directorate has been promoting and delivering training for staff. Judy and Irene initiated and developed the year-long intensive professional development program - Accepting the Challenge


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Action Inquiry program - which ran from 2010–2016. The program enabled schools to collect and analyse data, and research and develop plans to improve outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. They have worked with Aboriginal colleagues and guest presenters to develop and facilitate workshops that focused on our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to supplement the Cultural Competence Australia online course. Irene and Judy have implemented pilot programs that increase teacher

expertise in developing curriculum around Ngunnawal culture and history in schools. Judy and Irene have also worked on national initiatives. They organised and facilitated conferences for senior executive, principals and deputy principals to engage in the “Close the Gap” priorities. In 2010, they presented ACT public schools’ progress and strategies to achieve the COAG targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education at the Australian Education Ministers’

Biennial Forum. Judy and Irene continue their contribution to public education in a range of areas. In 2013, Irene was appointed Chair of the Taskforce into Students with Learning Difficulties in ACT public schools. Since 2012, Judy has continued to provide her expertise as a community member on a school board. Irene and Judy were also selected by Emeritus Professor Tony Shaddock to provide support to the 2015 Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviours in ACT Public Schools.

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CARA SHIPP

RECONCILIATION AWARD WINNER

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he AEU’s Reconciliation Award is awarded each year to an AEU ACT

Branch member or members who have worked to further the aims of Reconciliation in their work in education.

Cara is an Aboriginal/Welsh educator and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation from Dubbo, NSW. Cara worked at Wanniassa School, which has a significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student population, from 2011-2016 as an Executive Teacher. During her time at the school, Cara clearly articulated and delivered a vision to improve engagement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and thus improve their educational outcomes and future pathways. Cara achieved this through: • Collaboratively developing programs that meet students’ needs and are culturally sensitive; • Building a positive culture with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the school; • Developing a curriculum that values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture; • Leading whole-school professional development and coaching colleagues; and

LEFT IMAGE: Cara Shipp in the Ngunnawal Room at Campbell High School.

• Building positive connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in the school community.

working with young Indigenous people with low literacy levels and establishing high-expectations relationships with all students with whom she works. Cara’s commitment to enhancing the school experience and learning outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families has extended beyond the schools where she has worked. She maintains a blog about bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into education and regularly presents workshops on this topic, as well as delivering professional development on indigenous matters for the Education Directorate and nationally. Together with exemplary pedagogical practice and tireless, passionate commitment to equality for all, Cara’s leadership has ensured a positive school experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and families at Wanniassa School and now at her new school, Campbell High School. At the AEU’s federal conference in February, Cara was also awarded the AEU’s prestigious Arthur Hamilton Award for outstanding contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education.

Cara’s many strengths include

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

THE DEFINITION OF EDUCATION DECIDES ITS FUTURE Roger Amey - AEU ACT Vice President (Schools)

B

efore we decide on its future, we need to define what education is.

Without a common definition, it comes down to how we each define education. If these definitions are divergent or contradictory, momentum towards a shared future of education will grind to a halt.

life.

Even readily available definitions of education do not align, despite being spartan in their brevity. Below are some examples:

4. The result produced by instruction, training, or study: to show one’s education.

Education from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.” Education from dictionary.com “1. The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature

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2. The act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession. 3. A degree, level, or kind of schooling: a university education.

5. The science or art of teaching; pedagogics.” Education from the Oxford Dictionaries “The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university. ‘a course of education’.” Education from Cambridge Dictionary: “The process of teaching or learning, especially in a school or college, or the knowledge that


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you get from this.” If you have been following the education debate, you will note that governments have no transparent definition either. Instead, governments resort to simplified standardised tests to determine the quality of something they often do not properly understand. Sometimes, it appears our governments believe that the sole definition of education relates to developing a strict set of skills that they believe will make young people more employable. This anemic definition is not about our students becoming greater contributers, and consequently relegates this to the privileged. We need to find another way. If we are to talk about education’s future, we need to coalesce around a shared definition. Let’s start with the following

premise. We want every child to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential by: • Being able to question, synthesise and develop their own ideas; • The capacity to listen to others and allow their ideas to evolve as they acquire greater knowledge and more empathy for those around them; • Acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to make good decisions for themselves and their communities into the future; and • Leaving the classroom with an addiction to learning. Like you, I teach kids. They are incredibly complex beings who deserve to be respected and treated as the valuable commodity they are. They should not have a value placed on them by

numbers generated by very basic standardised tests. In reality, our kids are the most valuable resource the country. They must be invested in, and we cannot just rely on what they can afford, or where or with whom they live to determine their future opportunities. Every child must be given a valid pathway to develop their full potential. Research has shown for decades that a young person with the best possible education returns the cost of that education in spades to their community. As a side benefit they will generally have lower “on-costs” - they are healthier thus require lower health costs, they have greater earnings and so are able to contribute more tax revenue, they are able to deal more effectively with change in their employment circumstances, etc.

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The latest report from the ACT Auditor-General discusses how our public education system in the ACT is not performing up to scratch considering the investments made. I have trouble with this; it’s based purely on the results of a series of standardised tests and fails to look at outcomes once our students leave our system. But let’s leave that aside and acknowledge that we all need and want to be continually striving to improve outcomes for every one of our students. So what of the future? The future must ensure every student is given every opportunity to achieve their potential, whatever that may be. It might be becoming a doctor, or an electrician or a youth worker. We need to acknowledge that success is very different in each of these professions, but it is equally valuable to the individual and the communities they serve. To be able to do this, students must feel and be safe and happy, in both their home and school environments. Thus successful education becomes a partnership between home and school, with both requiring the resources that allow successful relationships to develop. Too many home environments lack the capacity to ensure this provision and it must be something our society addresses. At birth, children enter the first phase of their lifelong learning. It is in the first 5 to 7 years of life that a child acquires the vast knowledge and skills that provide the basis for the person they will become. It is in these years that play is the most vital component of the learning process.

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After these years we rapidly remove play from our pedagogy. In fact we see a push from some quarters to infiltrate the early years with less and less playbased education. This is one of the biggest errors of our modern education systems and we should move quickly to ensure

pace to achieve their best results. But what we do in front of a class is different. Yes, we can use technology as a tool, but I am yet to encounter a piece of technology that can effectively read body language and use an in-depth knowledge of the child to respond to the immediate

The future must ensure every student is given every opportunity to achieve their potential, whatever that may be ... We need to acknowledge that success is very different in each of these professions, but it is equally valuable to the individual and the communities they serve. play remains a structured part of every educational environment, no matter the age of the student. We see a continual move to the introduction of learning experiences via digital technology. Many proponents of these methods suggest this can replace much of what teachers currently do in front of the classroom. Is this feasible and what is the value of highly trained individuals in the classroom? Like all the good teachers I know, when I teach a class I am actually teaching a room of individuals, each with their own personality, skills and knowledge, each at a different place on the learning continuum, and each with their own set of complex needs. Under our tutelage, they all have different experiences throughout their education. It is implied by many that a good digital resource will allow students to work at their own

and long-term needs of the child according to the child’s learning plan. The future of education will involve technology, but it is not a magical solution. Instead, some areas that we need to look at are: • Access to and use of high quality tools and personnel that can assess the learning needs of students and thus allow schools and teachers to develop resources to address these needs; • Highly skilled and evolving teachers; • The appropriate support staff that keep schools and classrooms running so teachers can do their jobs; • Assessment methods designed to enhance the learning of the child rather than those that allow the bean counters to draw graphs; • Resources in the classroom that


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cover all the relevant sections of the curriculum and meet all the different needs of the individuals in the room; • Class sizes appropriate to the needs of the class members; • Technology that works as required; • Learning environments that are safe and healthy, including temperature; and • Support staff that can meet the needs of the students as required; e.g. a school psychologist to every school at a ratio of 1:500. It must also be acknowledged that no one school/program is able to meet the needs of every student. Schools and programs must be developed and fully resourced to meet the needs of all who exist in our communi-

ties, without fear or favour, on an equal basis. As an example, I have had the pleasure of working with many other dedicated staff in alternative programs for nearly 30 years. By the measures currently used by governments and others, many of these programs would have been designated as failures. In contrast, the reality is that the staff in these programs ensure the kids are safe and well: getting them somewhere safe to live, feeding them, nurturing them, ensuring they get the medical attention they need, bearing the brunt of the behaviour these kids express as a result of the traumas they experience. These teachers are highly successful. Surely keeping a kid alive and safe is more valuable than any grade or number? These are amazing achieve-

ments that are never measured or appreciated by those outside the education profession. Governments must move away from using teachers as scapegoats for the woes of and shortcomings of society, and ensure that teachers are highly valued as professionals. Such recognition will ensure that the profession is seen as one that is worth entering. It is time to stop allowing economists to assess education outcomes and instead focus on the intrinsic value of having individuals who are dedicated to creating and being part of safe, supportive and happy communities. In Term 3, the AEU ACT Branch will be consulting with members as to what the AEU’s submission to the ACT Government’s Future of Education process looks like.

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

OUR SCHOOL CLEANERS ARE FIGHTING FOR FAIR WAGES Lyndal Ryan - ACT Branch Secretary, United Voice

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e have been through These were the words of Unita lot together. But we never let go of

each other, even when things get really hard because we know together, in unity, we can fight for our rights.

ABOVE RIGHT IMAGE:

Htoo Ywai and fellow United Voice school cleaners outside the Federal Court, in their traditional dress.

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ed Voice member Htoo Ywai, a spokesperson for the school cleaners who took on an exploitative cleaning company, and won a major underpayment case in the Federal Court. The business in question was Phillips Cleaning Service, which had been contracted to provide cleaning services to the ACT Government and held a number of school cleaning contracts. The company’s history is littered with stories of wage theft, dangerous working conditions and sham contracting, and is a textbook example of how disreputable cleaning companies exploit working people of migrant backgrounds. Nineteen of the school cleaners who stood up to Phillips Cleaning Service are S’gaw Karen refugees from Myanmar and Thailand, who spent two decades

in refugee camps in Thailand before they were resettled here in Australia. It is clear that the company’s owners believed Htoo Ywai and his colleagues, with their limited English and refugee backgrounds, would remain silent on the exploitative practices of the business. However, as members of the cleaning union, United Voice, the school cleaners campaigned for justice and work entitlements. Alongside other union members, including members of the Australian Education Union, the school cleaners told their stories to the media, rallied outside the Education Directorate, and took their fight to the Federal Court. In April of this year, Htoo Ywai and his colleagues won. The judge ruled that the school cleaners had been pressured into contracts they didn’t understand and denied their legal


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rights at work by Phillips Cleaning Service. The list of the business’ contraventions was long. The judgement found that the disreputable cleaning business refused the cleaners work during the school holidays and paid their entire annual leave entitlements in December, regardless of whether or not they wanted to take annual leave. The judgement also stated that Phillips Cleaning Service denied the school cleaners essential training, exposed them to unsafe working conditions, rostered them ad hoc (both hours and location), and that there were no provisions for language skills. In total, the school cleaners are owed as much as $300,000 – penalties will be imposed and the maximum penalty is in the order of $383,888. It also revealed the Phillips Cleaning Service’s tax avoidance

scheme. By regularly liquidating companies and then employing the school cleaners under different entities but with similar

This decisive victory over Phillips Cleaning Services comes after a two year long battle, in which United Voice union members

By regularly liquidating companies and then employing the school cleaners under different entities but with similar names, the owners of the business avoided paying an enormous $1 million to the ATO. names, the owners of the business avoided paying an enormous one million dollars to the ATO. The judge ordered that the decision be forwarded to the Director-General of the ACT Education Directorate, declaring that “the amount of money involved is not a good measure of the importance of a claim of this kind”.

have been campaigning for the ACT Government to prevent the exploitation of migrant workers by forcing the Education and Training Directorate to employ its own school cleaners. During this campaign, the Australian Education Union recognised that it is only if teachers, school assistants, cleaners and other school staff stand together,

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that fair working and learning conditions in schools can be ensured. In recognition of this, the

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further legal proceedings taken against another school cleaning company have triggered

AEU Council passed a resolution that called on the “EDU to immediately terminate the contracts of Philips Cleaning for their litany of contractual breaches and the unfair pressure they have placed on school cleaners in ACT”. AEU Council passed a resolution that called on the “ETD to immediately terminate the contracts of Philips Cleaning for their litany of contractual breaches and the unfair pressure they have placed on school cleaners in ACT”. The Phillips Case and some

an entire review of the school contracting system. Under the stewardship of Minister Berry, the new school cleaning contracts will ensure both a more professional cleaning service and stronger protections for employees.

What actions can you take to show your solidarity? As simple as it sounds, reach out. Many school cleaners speak English as a second language, and some are from countries in which either there aren’t any unions, or it is unsafe to join one. So ask your school’s cleaners if they know about their union, United Voice, explain to them what a union is and why it’s important that they join one.

ABOVE IMAGE:

United Voice school cleaners stand with AEU members at a local public high school.

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

YOU’RE AT RISK - DO THE RISKMAN Jacqui Agius - Senior Industrial Officer

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ccupational Violence is a hazard in our workplaces. The first step

to addressing the risk occupational violence poses to educators is submitting Riskman reports.

A fundamental component of any risk prevention or minimisation of risk strategy is accurate and reliable reporting. If minor incidents, risks, hazards and near misses are reported and addressed appropriately, it gives your manager the opportunity to intervene and prevent a more serious injury to you. The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) (the Act) section 28(a) provides that every worker has a duty to “take reasonable care for his or her (their) own health and safety”. A worker could be in breach of this section of the Act if they fail to submit a Riskman report. Submitting Riskman reports also provides the employer with a clear picture of the types of occupational violence risks that educators are exposed to. They also provide evidence of the frequency of occupational violence in schools. This data is important. We know from our members

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that occupational violence is under-reported and that a culture of acceptance of occupational violence has developed in our profession. In order to begin to reverse the acceptance of occupational violence as part of the job, we need to be able to point to the frequency of incidents in our schools. In August 2016, the Canberra times reported that up to 31 July 2016 there were 8 reported incidents of verbal violence to a teacher/school leader by a student.* As an educator you are likely to scoff at this figure as you know that, at times, you experience 8 incidents of verbal violence in a single day. The figure quoted in the Canberra Times was sourced from the Education Directorate’s annual report. It is clearly not the whole story. This is why it is so important that we make sure the whole story gets told.


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Riskman reports can also be used as evidence if you need to make a claim for workers compensation because you receive a workplace injury. Riskman reports have been used as evidence for our members if they have sustained a compound psychological injury due to repetitive exposure to occupational violence. The AEU office receives many phone calls each week from members wanting advice on what to do when their health and safety is at risk. The first question we ask our members is: Have you submitted a Riskman report? The responses to this question are varied and include: 1. What’s a Riskman? Riskman is the Worksafe approved reporting system that is used by the ACT Government. It requires your manager to note what steps have been taken to minimise a risk to your health and safety. The controls that are put in place are directed at reducing the risk to your health and safety and they must be consistent with the Work Health and safety Regulation 2011. There is a mechanism in this form for your employer to advise Worksafe ACT of a notifiable incident. It is an offence under the Act not to notify Worksafe immediately if the injury is a notifiable incident. 2. Where do I find Riskman? You can log on to Riskman on Index. If you are unsure of where to find it, speak to your supervisor and ask them to show you how to fill in the form. 3. I’m discouraged from submit-

ting Riskman. Not only is it your right to submit a Riskman report, you have an obligation under the Act to take care of your own health and safety. Part of this obligation includes informing your supervisor of a risk to your health and safety. Riskman is the mechanism provided by your employer to report risks to your health and safety. Your employer also requires you to submit Riskman reports as it assists your employer to comply with their obligations under the Act. An individual can be prosecuted under the Act if they fail to take reasonable care for others. They must ensure that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. If a person discourages anyone else from submitting a Riskman report, it is possible that they may be in breach of this section in the Act. Managers should ensure that their team have access to and are encouraged to submit Riskman reports in order to ensure that they are complying with their obligations in the Act. 4. I’ve submitted Riskman reports in the past and I received no response. The AEU have been negotiating with EDU about Work, Health and Safety. As part of these negotiations, we have raised the issue that AEU members have advised us that nothing happens or that they receive no response from anyone when they submit Riskman reports. We have received confirmation from our members that this has changed and they are now receiving responses when they submit Riskman reports. The

process is not yet perfect but we believe things are on the right track. Section 47 of the Act provides that workers must be consulted about a risk to their health and safety. If you submit a Riskman, you should expect to be consulted about what is going to be done to ensure that measures are put into place to minimise a risk to your health and safety. It is a criminal offence not to consult with workers about risks to their health and safety. 5. Riskman is a waste of my time. We understand from our members that Riskman reports can be time consuming to submit and time-consuming for managers to respond to. We have raised this issue with EDU and will continue to work with EDU to develop better tools for Educators to use for risk management. Some changes will take time but in the meantime we need to use Riskman as it is the only reporting system available to address staff health and safety risks. 6. Riskman doesn’t stop the risk so what’s the point? Submitting a Riskman report will not stop the risk in itself but it is the first step to having the risk addressed. 7. I have submitted a Riskman report. That’s great. Now let’s look at the next steps. * Matthew Raggatt, Student Violence against ACT teachers doubles, Canberra Times, 14 August, 2016.

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

Your questions answered Our best advice for your concerns. This term, we’re answering your questions about performance management. For more detail, call our AEU ACT Office on 6272 7900.

Q A

My principal doesn’t like me and I feel like my job is in jeopardy. What is the process? There are processes under the Enterprise Agreement and the Fair Work Act that protect you from losing your job for any reason other than actual underperformance. You cannot simply be “gotten rid of”.

Q A

If my principal has decided that I am underperforming, what is the process?

If your principal has determined that there is an underperformance issue, he or she is obligated to have ongoing and documented professional discussions with you regarding your Pathways Plan. During these discussions, your principal is required to provide you with clear and constructive

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feedback and focus on building your strengths. This is a relatively informal process that takes place prior to any formal performance management.

Q A

What happens then?

It may be that by ongoing discussions and plans for improvement, any perceived issues with your performance are resolved. However, if your principal still considers that you are underperforming, he or she may initiate the Pathways to Improvement process. This is a four-step process.

going to be implemented. This is a formal notification. Second Step The next step is for you and your principal to negotiate a “Pathways to Improvement Plan”, which will supersede your current Professional Pathways Plan. This plan will include specific goals and timeframes within which to reach those goals. It will also identify what supports will be offered to assist you in reaching goals. Third Step

The third step is for you to have regular meetings with your principal to discuss how you are going with the plan and for conFirst Step structive feedback to be providThe first step is for your principal ed. You are given the opportunito notify you, the school network ty to make written comment on leader and the Human Resources this part of the process. During department that the process is these meetings, it may be appro-


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priate to amend your Pathways to Improvement Plan to ensure that the goals are achievable.

attention in writing and query the process.

Final Step

Q A

Is it possible to simply transfer to another school?

The final step in the process is a written assessment of your If you are subject to the performance completed by your Pathways to Improvement principal with a recommendation process, you cannot enter to the School Network Leadthe transfer round. However, if er and the Human Resources you wish to transfer to another Department as to what should school and are not subject to happen from there. performance management, you should raise it with your superviCan I stop the performance sor or your principal in your Anmanagement process from nual Professional Discussion. You happening? then need to enter the transfer In short, no. If your principal round. has determined that you are underperforming, the PathWhat can our union do to ways to Improvement process is support me in the process? the correct one. However, if you feel that you are being unfairly targeted and you can demonOur role is to ensure that strate recent prior Professional you are receiving your rights Pathway plans and Annual Proand entitlements and to fessional Discussions, you should hold the employer to account in draw those to your principal’s following the appropriate pro-

Q A

Q A

cess. We can offer advice to you in the initial stages of potential performance management. If the Pathways to Improvement process has begun or is about to begin, we may also offer a support person for you either through your sub-branch or our office staff, depending on your individual circumstances.

Q A

Who can I talk to about my concerns about performance management?

You can always contact the industrial team at the Australian Education Union office for assistance in understanding your rights and entitlements. We can be contacted on (02) 6272 7900 or email aeuact@ aeuact.org.au. We recommend that you contact us if you have received an email from your Principal inviting you to a meeting to discuss performance, expectations or any other matters of that nature.

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

WELCOME TO OUR NEW MEMBERS

Congratulations to everyone who joined or re-joined during Term 2. By joining our union, you’re helping us all win better pay and conditions, as well as ensuring our students have the learning conditions they deserve. CONGRATULATIONS AND WELCOME TO THE AEU!

Catherine Manners, Gabrielle Jackson, Jade Dillon, Maya Deneve, Peta-Jane Morris, Clare Newman, Tamara Player, Rachel Green, Matthew Nogrady, Emily Fletcher, Tessa Mues, Nicole McNaughton, Susan Smyth, Brendan Carswell, James Smith, Jessica Cooper-Roughley, Melinda Kyle, Clare Ferguson, Gabor Hajdu, Belinda Harding, Rebecca Naughton, Clare Reid, Joe Singleton Thorn, Alison Ireland, Emma Lang, Samantha Harris, Philippa Hoskin, Declan Welsh, Carolyn Minchin, Shane Newman, Christina Hill, Clemencia van Vuuren, Ruth Everett, Paul Howard, Paul Kinsella, Emily Buchanan, Michele Waters, Cindy Treverrow, Sarah Crittenden, Rourke O’Sullivan

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OUR AEU ACT OFFICE TEAM

GLENN FOWLER Branch Secretary

Glenn.Fowler@aeuact.org.au

GERARD DWYER CIT Organiser

Gerard.Dwyer@aeuact.org.au

Sean van der Heide North Organiser

Sean.vanderHeide@aeuact.org.au

LAUREN MCCARTHY Business Manager

VINCE MCDEVITT Lead Organiser

Vince.McDevitt@aeuact.org.au

NAOMI BROOKS Communications Officer

Jacqui.Aguis@aeuact.org.au

PATRICK JUDGE Industrial Officer

Naomi.Brooks@aeuact.org.au

Patrick.Judge@aeuact.org.au

Malisa Lengyel South Organiser

BETH MORRISROE Case Support Officer

Malisa.Lengyel@aeuact.org.au

Beth.Morrisroe@aeuact.org.au

MEAGAN PEARCE Membership Co-ordinator

LUCY BARRETT Administration Assistant

Lauren.McCarthy@aeuact.org.au

Meagan.Pearce@aeuact.org.au

MONIQUE MORTON Member Services Officer

DAWN NIXON Compliance Officer

Monique.Morton@aeuact.org.au

JACQUI AGIUS Senior Industrial Officer

Dawn.Nixon@aeuact.org.au

aeuact@aeuact.org.au

MAISIE BAIRNSDALE Term 3 Office Dog

Can be found cuddling someone

AEU ACT BRANCH


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AEU ACT BRANCH

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

2017 Term 3 ACT Educator  
2017 Term 3 ACT Educator  
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