Official publication of the Australian Education Union (SA Branch)
Vol 40 I No.7
Education Counter-Revolution SSOs: Vital to our Schools
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FPERAT E SUI D RE N ST’S VIEW
Australian Education Union | SA Branch Telephone: 8272 1399 Facsimile:
Editor: Craig Greer
AEU Journal is published seven times annually by the South Australian Branch of the Australian Education Union.
Vital to students but facing cutbacks under funding model.
Graphic Designer: Jo Frost
Subscriptions: Free for AEU members. Nonmembers may subscribe for $33 per year. Print Post approved PP 531629/0025 ISSN 1440-2971 Printing: Finsbury Green Printing Cover: istockphoto Illustrations: Simon Kneebone
SSOs & schools to lose under new model
The wrong Julia
Pages 12 – 13 Hundreds of SSOs will be out of work if we don’t stop DECS’ proposed funding model.
page 8 ALP backbencher speaks out.
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L E T T E R S TO T H E E D I TO R
*Winner of TOP LETTER!
Marketing schools? Disregarding the contentious proposal of its director, Dr Linda Vining, to slash annual school holidays (The Advertiser, 14/10/08), why does the Centre for Marketing Schools even exist? Who funds it and why? An organisation to lobby for more (public) education funding would be fine, but to promote a system of winners and losers between competing schools is obscene. The purpose of schools is to help young people learn and develop, not to try to increase revenue by luring students (and funding) away from other schools. It may be appropriate for cashed-up private schools to waste big money in pursuit of the vast government riches first made available to them by Howard’s largesse, but now even struggling public schools have been drawn into this desperate cash grab for limited public education resources. Educators and education resources should be focussed on educating, not on marketing. Dr Vining speaks of a, “...business-oriented deputy principal...”, as if it was a good thing. I would much prefer my children to attend a
school with an education-oriented deputy principal. She also asks, “Who are schools for?”, then proceeds to give the clear impression that they are for parents...to help them better manage their lives, rather than to educate children. Concepts such as a, “...workshop on public relations for teachers...”, and requiring staff to, “...develop a customer service brochure...”, further illustrate just how far her organisation is removed from the process of actually educating children and how far down the path of quasi-privatisation education has moved in Australia – in the Howard era and beyond. An institution such as the Centre for Marketing Schools promotes yet another distraction for schools and educators and its existence is as ridiculous as a Centre for Marketing Police Stations would be! Guy Barnwell West Croydon
enhanced learning and teaching conditions. He was largely impervious to our message. Part of the trouble was that we got off to a bad start. From the outset he seemed obsessed with the idea of a union set-up with him as its victim. He kept referring to us as ‘you people from the AWU’. Presumably he had just had a spat with the Australian Workers’ Union over something. Or perhaps it was just that in his mind one union is just like another and it doesn’t really matter which particular one he is dealing with. Whatever the case, it was his hostile antiunion stance that dominated the mood of the meeting. Still, that was several years ago now and we have all had time to learn more about life and society since then. To be fair, the Christopher Pyne of that meeting may not be the same person as Christopher Pyne, the current Shadow Minister. Let’s hope he isn’t.
...continued over page 3
Bleak times So, Christopher Pyne is now Federal Opposition Minister for Education. Some years ago I was on an AEU delegation to his electorate office to help put the case for improved federal funding towards
The AEU Journal welcomes all letters. Top letter each issue WINS two bottles of wine.
. . . L E T T E R S TO T H E E D I TO R ( CO N T I N U E D ) And, given the backward educational noises currently being made by Rudd and Gillard, we do have to ask ourselves whether the Shadow Minister in office would be significantly worse than the current government. What a pity it has come to this. The new Federal Government is doing so well in
some policy areas. But not, alas, in ours. Politically, itâ€™s a bleak landscape at both federal and state level when it comes to education, thatâ€™s for sure.
MAYFIELD Teachersâ€™ Bowls
Terry Hewton Retired Teacher
The Mayfield Teachers Pairs consisting of three games of ten ends will be held at the URAIDLA
on Monday, 19 January 2009. The first
game will commence at 9:00am.
AEU executive and staff wish all members,
The entry fee of $17.00 per player will include morning tea at 9.00am, lunch, afternoon tea and a levy to cover incidental expenses. Nominations from practising and retired teachers (men and women) should be forwarded to:
Merry Christmas & a HappyNewYear!
Secretary Ron Krieg, 5 Hillside Ave, Highbury SA 5089 Phone: 8264 8522 or to President Bob Zoerner, 47 Flinders Rd, Hillcrest SA 5086 Phone: 8266
Have a peaceful, relaxing and safe holiday.
The AEU Office will close at 12 noon on Wednesday 24 December until 8.45am Monday 5 January.
years in 2008
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AEU A E U PRESIDENT’S P R E S I D E N T ’ SVIEW VIEW
E D U C AT I O N R E VO LU T I O N
Negotiations at a standstill but the fight goes on
Gillard should repudiate Klein’s skulduggery
We won’t give up 30 years of hard won rights
Adapted for the AEU Journal from Trevor Cobbold’s article on the website Save Our Schools.
Check out the full article at:
As we head into the thirteenth month without a pay rise and the eighth month without a new Enterprise Agreement, it is time to reflect on Enterprise Bargaining. AEU members in preschools, schools and TAFE set their Enterprise Bargaining targets this time last year. We put our position to the State Government at the beginning of this year and they stalled and stalled and stalled. When the Government finally did respond, it offered education workers 3.25 percent, much less than other states had been achieving and way below the rate of inflation at 4.6 percent. To add insult to injury, the Government decided to take away our industrially protected working conditions as part of their new Student Centred Resource Funding Model for schools. The Government also wanted our TAFE members to work Monday to Sunday, 7am to 10pm, without leave loadings and with a differential salary outcome from that offered to preschools and schools. For preschools, country members, special schools, leaders and non- teaching staff there was on offer, quite simply, very little. Still, we persisted with the negotiations for months. We met several times a week and occasionally we saw a Chief Executive, but rarely a Minister. We had to strike – not once but twice – before they would bargain, and when they did, what did they bargain with? Nothing less than our hard won working conditions that we have fought for over the past 30 years! They offered us another version of the funding model on the condition that we put it and all of our working conditions outside of the Enterprise Agreement. Minister Lomax-Smith touted the fact that the Government offered to reduce our contact time and reluctantly put in a paltry $15m to sweeten the deal. Simultaneously, DECS realised that it would cost at least $60m for the model and the reduced contact time as a package. To make the model work, the
Government appropriated Flexible Initiatives Resourcing (FIR) at around $30m. I think we can all work that out. $15m + $30m = $45m. The ‘package’ was at least $15m short and by our analysis that meant more than 350 schools would lose money, and some of them in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Where did that leave the School Service Officers? Out in the cold! If DECS takes away all of FIR in this way, then every SSO who is employed through FIR funding may lose hours or even their jobs. About two thirds of the SSO workforce is employed in casual or contract positions and are therefore extremely vulnerable under this model. When schools cannot manage their budgets, they will have to find the money from somewhere and our SSOs are most at risk. The only alternatives are much larger classes or significantly decreased leadership time. Everyone in schools stands to lose. Here is what Treasury said last year: “SA’s average student to teacher ratio (14.6) is comparable with the national average (14.4,) however, the average SA student to non-teaching staff ratio (37.2) is considerably better than the national average (44.0).” The game plan is obvious. Treasury thinks that our schools are overdrawn on SSO time, so this group has become a prime target. Frustratingly for AEU negotiators, the Government’s tactic in negotiations has been to remove from the table anyone who has authority to make a decision. This has slowed the process down and revealed their lack of understanding of the issues in Public Education; DECS negotiators are largely career public servants with no experience in education. After six weeks of mediation, our analysis remains the same. DECS has provided us with no information that convinces us that schools will not lose money under the proposed Student Centred Resource Funding Model. The AEU will not and cannot accept a package that defunds schools, offers inferior conditions, will put many members out of work and ensures we stay at the bottom of the national salary ladder. We deserve better and I call on all members to stand together in strength and unity until we achieve an offer that is fair and just for public educators, students and families in South Australia. I In solidarity, Correna Haythorpe, AEU President
Julia Gillard has invited New York Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein, to Australia to counter widespread criticism of the Rudd Government’s policy on reporting individual school performance. She wants Klein to help clear the ground for her to introduce school performance reports similar to those used in New York. She should know that the Klein reporting model is widely derided by educationalists, teachers and parents in New York. She should also know that Klein’s response to their criticisms involves much skullduggery, which she should repudiate. Klein has employed a huge public relations staff to ‘spin’ his policies in the media and counter criticism. He apparently has more PR staff than education policy advisors in his office. One of their key functions is to spread misinformation about the success of his policies. Of course, this is standard practice in government nowadays, and mostly people have become fairly immune to it. However, a more sordid feature of Klein’s administration of the New York school system has been to use taxpayers’ resources to silence dissent and intimidate critics. Last year it was revealed that New York City Education Department officials were compiling dossiers on its critics to besmirch and discredit them. Such a dossier was used to orchestrate an attack through the Murdoch press on one of the key critics of Klein’s policies – renowned US educationalist, Diane Ravitch, Professor of Education at New York University. Making their feelings on Klein known, the New York Public School Parents’ blog states: “Mayor Bloomberg and a handful of his millionaire/billionaire friends are actively recasting the City’s public school system in a corporatist image of their own devising. They seek no input beyond their own well-heeled coterie, brook no dissent, dismiss parents as ignorant or irrelevant, spend millions on misleading and self-congratulatory public relations campaigns funded by the same cronies, and now attack those who dare speak out. Public and private moneys intended to help the public schools are being diverted into a personal PR machine that simultaneously touts the Mayor’s purported ‘successes’ while stamping down dissent from any and every quarter.” Such bullying and anti-democratic behaviour is not welcome in Australia. Gillard should clearly repudiate it, along with Joel Klein’s airline ticket. I
M E SSAG E F R O M T H E E D I TO R
E B ’ 0 8 – E A R LY C H I L D H O O D
The State Government offer and gender equity
This issue of the AEU Journal is the last for 2008, however, the AEU will continue to update you on EB matters through our other communication channels, such as email, fax and newsletters.
It is crucial, particularly during enterprise bargaining, that we have your current work and personal email address in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest developments. Also, the AEU has been using text messaging to inform members of important events such as rallies and meetings. If you haven’t provided us with your current mobile number and email contact, I encourage you to call our membership section on 8272 1399 to update your details at your earliest convenience.
And finally, thankyou to our graphic designer Jo Frost for her high quality work and to Dale Thomson from Finsbury Green for his professional support. Have a great Christmas and New Year. I Craig Greer Editor, AEU Journal
new funding model proposed for schools in the government offers, provides no specific funding for SSOs and many would be out of work if the AEU had not rejected the offers. Approximately 95 percent of SSOs are women and only about one-third are appointed on a permanent basis. The offers also disadvantage women in that they fail to address appropriate arrangements for Principals to work part-time, they put at risk the ongoing employment of counsellors and teacher librarians in schools, and the incentives offered for hard to staff locations are targeted primarily at positions held by men. In summary, the offers are a sad reflection of the fact that, regardless of theoretical equal employment opportunity in the public sector, the key political decisions continue to be made largely by men in the interests of men. South Australia has never had a female premier, and despite the fact that women account for 70 percent of its workforce, DECS has never appointed a woman to the position of Chief Executive. The AEU has highlighted a host of gender issues and other equity concerns in the current EB process. We need the support and activism of every member in the battle to ensure that neither women nor men who work in early childhood settings are short-changed and that preschool education is accorded its rightful value and status. I
Anne Crawford AEU Vice President
I’d like to thank all members, AEU officers and others who have contributed to the Journal in 2008. Your letters, articles, photos, illustrations and ideas have been of a high standard and have helped to inform and educate the wider AEU membership.
The EB offers on 3 April and 10 June revealed a great deal about the way governments and bureaucrats view the work of women. In the vicinity of 98 percent of preschool directors are women. This has been the case for decades. Very few men consider careers in the area of early childhood. The reasons for this are complex, but one factor cited by men for working in other sectors of education is the greater range of leadership opportunities that schools and tertiary settings offer. Both EB offers render the position of Preschool Director vulnerable. For “combined” sites, it has become an option, rather than an integral part of a leadership structure that supports optimal learning outcomes for children. The government offer is predicated on the principal deciding, on a site by site basis, whether a preschool director is needed, or whether another leadership role would be more appropriate. There would be absolute incredulity in the education and broader community if the government were to suggest that individual preschool directors could determine whether or not the local school required a principal! In fact, such a notion would, with good reason, be universally scorned and ridiculed. The government offer very significantly devalues and undermines the one leadership position in DECS in which women have traditionally predominated. It is also skewed in terms of gender equity in many other ways. School Services Officers (SSOs) arguably constitute the group most at risk in relation to ongoing employment opportunities. The
For Info and updates see our EB Blog:
I’ve spoken to numerous members throughout the year who tell me they rely on the Journal for important information and updates. While we endeavour to inform members on recent union news, print and post time means that the Journal will not provide the very latest information on campaigns.
For Our Future The Australian Education Union has launched a new national campaign calling for parents and teachers to work together to get more federal government funding for public schools. As part of the campaign the union is rolling out a new television advertisement and website that will accompany local activities as teachers and the parents of Australia’s 2.2 million public school students join together to ensure the federal government invests more in public schools. The campaign launch comes as a national survey of public school principals shows lack of funding is compromising the quality of education in public schools.
Take Action: Join the campaign www.forourfuture.org.au Send a letter to Kevin Rudd and join the mailing list.
“With more resources we can improve education standards. Teachers and parents can together make a difference in this campaign.”
Distribute the website link far and wide! With One Click You Can Help Visit www.forourfuture.org.au today and show your support for the campaign.
STUDENT CENTRED RESOURCE FUNDING MODEL per 500 students is not enough when you’re looking at 45 percent of students requiring counselling intervention. I could spend an hour on the phone just speaking to one parent struggling with their child’s issues. I might spend a day following up a crisis or finding overnight accommodation for a child. Issues can range from a family crisis through to time management for Year 12s; student motivation and study support; or drug and alcohol abuse.” Under the Government proposal, teaching time could be increased to 0.5 for counsellors, at the discretion of school principals. “Our school principal is very supportive. She has reduced our teaching to one-and-ahalf lines over the year, but I know counsellors who teach 0.5 time. They are putting their own wellbeing at risk to support very real needs of adolescents and are often working long days without breaks in an attempt to keep up.”
Student counsellors want to be there for kids writes Renata Provenzano The State Government’s plan to introduce a Student Centred Resource Funding Model (SCRFM) would open the door to an increased expectation of face-to-face teaching time for librarians and student counsellors. AEU member school counsellors are outraged at the proposal, which would impact crucial services they currently provide to staff, students and the wider community. Brighton Secondary School counsellor Tony Mahar (pictured) has been working as a counsellor for more than two decades and says available counselling time is crucial for effective support of both students and teachers in an era where more and more students require assistance throughout their lives. At a meeting of 15 Southern Zones counsellors, attendees called for a scrapping of the proposal, which would reduce effective available counselling for school students. “We want the AEU to support the case for counsellors by rejecting the Government proposal,” Tony says. “It is also about guaranteeing designated counselling time of 0.8 is protected and not manipulated at the local level to cover other needs such as timetabling issues, relief work and stop gap issues which arise. As the demand to do these things has increased, available counselling time has decreased across many schools in the state.” With the current quota of one counsellor per 500 students, Brighton Secondary School has just two counsellors supporting 1300 students in addition to staff, parents and government services requiring mandatory monitoring and reporting of many social issues ranging from abuse to homelessness. “The government quota of one counsellor
Tony says it’s critical to maintain available counselling time to protect a growing population of vulnerable children. He says the State Government is also contradicting its own policies. “The Government has put in place the SMART program – the Strategy for Managing Abuse-Related Trauma. Counsellors not only have a role in dealing with affected students but also in skilling teachers in this area. DECS staff may not be aware or reading their own information about the State Government’s child protection policies. By reducing counselling time the Government is reducing its capacity to implement child protection policy and protect children.” Tony explained if counsellors are teaching and a student crisis occurs, it means more disruption to a class while an emergency replacement is found so a counsellor can attend to a student’s needs. “Sometimes we just have to leave the class and some of those crises may take a day to resolve. This is how having counsellors in front of class takes away from available counselling time.” “We need to be able to provide effective available counselling. We’re at the coalface providing a range of support, from finding emergency shelter, to mandatory notice of children of abuse, self-harm management, being available for grief counselling, daily management issues, the list goes on. If there’s nobody available to do that, where do the students go? Who will there be to care for them? If you took counsellors out of schools you would see a significant increase in social problems.” “We also need time to run preventative and developmental counselling not just for students but for teachers as well.”
SA L A R I E S
Are primary principals worth more than MPs? It doesn’t matter what your private view may be, the fact is, that back in 1987, they were! In March 1987, the basic salary for an SA MP was $41,387. The salary for a primary school principal was $42,012. The salaries began to really move apart in 1990-2 when MPs saw their pay increased from $53,289 to $65,387 in three successive movements, while primary principal salaries increased once, from $53,043 to $54,369. By March 1996, MPs were earning $78,250, well in advance of the $55,203 ‘enjoyed’ by primary principals. Today, 23 percent of primary principals are at the lowest classification, PC01 and earn what an MP earned in 1996, $78,576. PC03 is where most (155) primary principals sit, earning $88,908. And the MPs? They’ve moved slightly ahead on a mere $125,060 – not counting allowances and perks. Oh, and before the MPs tell us that we deserve to earn less than our colleagues in NSW because of the cost of living differences, NSW MPs out-earn ours by a mere $500! That’s right, our MPs are right up there with NSW, ahead of pollies in the ACT, NT, Tasmania, Victoria and Weste rn Australia. Mike Williss AEU Reasearch Officer
Master teacher warns of funding model danger
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hope. Hope leads to the demise of SCRUFFEM”. Image: Lamont Cranston
P R I Z E S F O R SC I E N CE
T RT A N D CO N T R AC T T E AC H E R S
AEU members awarded for excellence in science teaching Recently, the Prime Minister presented his prizes for science to five Australians, including two inspiring teachers and AEU members, one in primary education and one in secondary education.
$50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools:
Ms Bronwyn Mart Magill Primary School, Adelaide
$50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools:
Mr Clay Reid Clare High School, South Australia
Good reasons for members to get involved in the EB campaign writes Kelvin Jeanes to develop some form of mental illness • Workers who have high-demand but lowcontrol jobs that offer few rewards are at greater risk for depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse problems Contract and casually employed members have extremely good reason to get into it and campaign for EB – it might just save your life! Item 2.5.1 of the AEU Claim for a New Agreement, calls for a target of 95% permanent employment to be set and achieved for all employment categories in schools and preschools. Item 2.20 calls for improvements to, and industrial recognition of, the current five-year conversion to permanency process. New Canadian research suggests that workers who do not have job security will develop more physical and mental health problems compared to their full-time counterparts. Research conducted by Dr. Charles Muntaner, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto found that job insecurity can lead to anxiety and depression, which can then cause cardiovascular and other physical ailments. The findings are included in the World Health Organisation study Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health.
• Lower-status, non-permanent jobs expose employees to hazardous work conditions more often than permanent jobs of higher status • Work-related stress is linked with a 50 percent increased risk of heart disease Among other recommendations, the report suggests that governments “make full and fair employment and decent work a central goal of national and international social and economic policy-making.” In Aquatics, where I have worked as a casual for nearly eight years, there is a massive turnover of staff, which can be attributed to the lack of job security and difficulty in generating an adequate income. This casualisation sees staff competing with workmates in order to hold a spot. This is especially difficult for those at the bottom of the heap. Fearing the consequences, a casual or contract employee is far less likely to make a stand over employment conditions than a permanent employee.
• Mortality is higher among temporary workers compared to permanent workers
The AEU’s EB items on permanency are extremely important. Not only will they protect jobs from budget cuts and political whim, they serve to improve staff retention and health, safety and welfare outcomes.
• Workers with precarious employment status are three to four times more likely
Kelvin Jeanes Chairperson | OHS&W Standing Committee
The findings state:
Engaging techniques to cultivate scientific curiosity: He wanted to be a funeral director, but he wasn’t old enough. So, to fill in time, Clay Reid went to teacher college, and fell into a career he has made his own. After twenty years of secondary science teaching, he is highly respected as an inspirational teacher and leader, both in his rural community and in the wider science teaching community. Clay has been teaching at Clare High School in rural South Australia for the past eight years, and due to his efforts the popularity of science has increased dramatically over that time, as has the school’s overall academic results in science.
Is your casual/contract job killing you?
For EB2008 news and updates at:
Nurturing curiosity: Bronwyn Mart believes that science should have a central role in the primary school curriculum. “Children are born curious about the world around them. We need to nurture and harness that curiosity from the early years of school. That’s why science matters in primary school. Taught well, it engages students and can act as a vehicle for literacy, numeracy and critical thinking,” she says. “Primary science lays the foundations for scientifically literate children who are able to grow into secondary school science and are more likely to make career choices that embrace science.” Bronwyn has brought her passion for primary science not just to the five hundred students of Magill Primary School in Adelaide, but also to the wider primary teaching community in South Australia.
AC R O SS T H E N AT I O N
Labor’s education counter-revolution State and Territory Labor governments are pattern bargaining against the AEU and its associated state unions to remove education quality guarantees from industrial agreements.
Howard’s Workchoices proscribed staffing guarantees as unlawful; Minister Gillard recently announced that the new IR laws will proscribe matters which don’t pertain to employment. This breaks an ALP promise to allow free collective bargaining. Some of the quality guarantees in public education systems have stood for thirty years or more following union campaigns to reduce class sizes and workloads in order to improve the quality of public education. In a number of systems, these are now under threat from Labor governments.
When will they ever learn? Bitter industrial and community campaigns developed over the last year whenever education union collective agreements have come up for renewal because Labor governments decided to impose a 3.25% per year cap on pay rises, and to bargain out staffing guarantees as cost offsets. This is all about AAA ratings and neo-liberal state treasury policies. How do they look now in the light of the crisis enveloping the global economy? Commenting on the recent offer of a 6% interim pay rise by the incoming WA Liberal Government, Minister Gillard said it was acceptable providing it was accompanied by ‘productivity gains’. Read cuts to quality public education provision. The Rudd government faces the loss of teacher votes in a major way if this continues... but that’s only several hundred thousand voters, many in key marginal electorates, so why worry? Watch the fortunes of the Blair Government, which followed the same path.
foot and would remove protections on workload and class sizes which have been included in collective agreements for more than a decade.
Northern Territory The NT Henderson Labor government squeaked home in its election on August 9, also held during a bitter dispute with the NT Branch of the AEU which has involved repeated industrial action and work-to-rule campaigns. Since the election the arrogance remains with a successful application to suspend the bargaining rights of the branch to prevent protected industrial action. The provision the government used was inserted by the Howard Government, and the NT Labor government was the first employer to take action under the section! The suspension has since been successfully appealed by the AEU.
New South Wales In NSW a long-standing staffing agreement was suddenly renounced by Minister Della Bosca before his own demise earlier this year. The issue was then thrown into the context of salary negotiations for a new award to commence in 2009. The NSW Teachers’ Federation is conducting a major campaign of community and industrial action to defend the staffing agreement, which guarantees staff to all public schools in the state and regulates transfers and appointments. The
NSW government is hoping to devolve staffing arrangements to schools in much the way the Victorian Kennett Government did in the 1990s, to shift the blame for funding shortfalls on to school councils and principals.
South Australia The same ambition is evidently held by the South Australian government which wants to further devolve staffing arrangements to principals, while Treasury retains tight control over budget allocations. In so doing the government wants to scrap the machinery which they were forced to agree to when the AEU was granted a federal award in 2000. This involves a staffing allocation document, flexible initiatives resourcing and a personnel advisory committee at the school on which staff are represented. This has worked well but the government claims the unions have a “veto” over principals’ managerial prerogative. The AEU in SA has mounted a major community and industrial campaign and has strong community support to defend the quality provisions which date back more than three decades in one form or another. It has become evident that the government’s target is school services officers...non-teaching staff who are vulnerable because many of them are parttime and not permanent.
Victoria The AEU Victorian Branch won an agreement with the Brumby government in the schools sector earlier this year, again after a major community and industrial campaign. To reach agreement the government had to abandon its interstate Labor colleagues on the salary cap and improve other conditions. Victorian school teachers at top of scale are now the highest paid in Australia. But in the Victorian TAFE sector members are continuing to take industrial action because the government is pursuing cuts to conditions to offset the schools salary outcome. Rob Durbridge AEU Federal Industrial Officer
The WA Carpenter Labor government fell in September partly because of its failure to reach agreement with the SSTUWA prior to the election. The union mounted a major industrial and community campaign which won strong public support, but the dispute was unresolved at the time of the election. The Chief Executive of the WA IR Department told a Sydney conference in March that unless the SSTUWA agreed with the government it would file for an Enterprise Order to remove the award and collective agreement to strip out ‘managerial prerogative’ from regulation of teachers’ work. That application is still on
A E U I N F O R M AT I O N U N I T
A C L E A N STA RT
Q & A from the Workplace
A fair deal for cleaners Union calls for solidarity with cleaners as they negotiate for a wage increase.
7 AEU Legal and Information Officer Anne Walker answers your questions.
Do single long service leave days taken on a regular basis get credited as one day of long service leave?
Long Sevice Leave is debited in calendar days i.e. seven days in a week. Each single day will be debited as 1.4 days from your long service leave entitlement (i.e. 7/5 days = 1.4). This prevents advantage to employees who may chose to take their long service leave in this way.
A former student has asked to be my ‘friend’ on facebook. Is this appropriate?
AEU members should never put themselves in positions where they could be placed at risk. Allowing students or former students to be ‘friends’ on facebook would be one such situation. Don’t do it! Former students may include current students in their facebook contact list, which could expose you to situations which could lead to embarrassing consequences. There have also been many instances where students and teachers have been cyber-bullied and schools maligned on various internet sites such as facebook, MySpace, YouTube and individual blogs not to mention mobile phones with picture, music and mobile computing capability. It’s a growing concern and members would be well advised to discourage any communication with students and former students on these sites.
For all your questions contact the
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According to Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU) Assistant State Secretary Chris Field, the cleaners’ union has been developing a campaign called Clean Start – A fair deal for cleaners, and has recently won improvements from private sector property representatives. “They are starting to sign up to a collective agreement that includes a 43% wage increase for cleaners over five years, taking a permanent part-time cleaner’s wages from $14.77 per hour to $21.16 per hour.” “The new collective agreement also gives cleaners a minimum 4-hour shift.” However, the SA Government, which is one of the largest owners of commercial buildings in the city and suburbs, is being asked by cleaners to review its procurement policy in light of the progress made with the ‘Clean Start’ Collective Agreement between cleaning companies and the LHMU Cleaners Union. Cleaners in public schools are employed by contractors who negotiate directly with DECS. DECS pays the contractors who then pay the cleaners.
It is not unusual for cleaners to have personal connections with the schools they clean, either as members of the local community or as parents of present or former students. They can be quite stressed when they can’t do their job as well as they would like, given the impossible contracts negotiated between DECS and their contract employers. The first phase of implementation of the Clean Start Collective Agreement campaign is to have it apply to city buildings. Cleaners who clean city buildings have developed strong communication networks and are quick to identify any unfair practices such as increased workloads or cuts to hours at change of commercial contract. The next phase is to extend it to cover buildings in the suburbs and regions, including public schools. In early 2009, cleaners’ union organisers will be visiting cleaners in public schools to ensure they win a CLEAN START too. “Support for cleaners by AEU members will be much appreciated,” says Field, adding “LHMU members also wish to extend their support to AEU members in your struggle for a decent new Enterprise Agreement”. Mike Williss AEU Reasearch Officer
Education workers are being asked to spare a thought for school cleaners as they try to achieve a breakthrough in their own fight for a fair deal.
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“Cleaners in public schools are usually given a 2-hour shift between 3.30pm and 5.30pm, to keep schools clean,” Field told the AEU Journal. “It’s an impossible task, so what happens is that cleaners work in unpaid time to get the work done.”
VICE PRESIDENT’S OPINION
Aboriginal Employment Strategy
From the horse’s mouth
disproportionately on many Aboriginal schools and other schools with high numbers of Aboriginal students. It is impossible to reconcile the Government’s funding proposals with its claim to be committed to social inclusion, Reconciliation and improved outcomes for Aboriginal students and families. There is a huge gap between Government rhetoric and Government funding. Minister LomaxSmith launched the Aboriginal Employment Strategy with much fanfare in 2005, describing it as a key priority of the State Labor Government.
Sadly, the Minister’s rhetoric has not been matched by any significant allocation of resources. The strategy has now been operational for nearly three years, with very little change for Aboriginal educators or students.
In spite of this, the State Government has not provided one cent to establish teaching scholarships specifically for Aboriginal people. Nor has it allocated funds to promote teaching as a career of choice to Aboriginal secondary students. And it hasn’t provided any resourcing to enable current Aboriginal Community Education Officers (ACEOs) with release time to gain teaching qualifications, despite many ACEOs expressing interest in becoming teachers. To add insult to injury, during this round of enterprise bargaining, the Government and DECS negotiators are insisting that DECS is fulfilling its responsibilities in relation to the Aboriginal Employment Strategy. The reality is that since the strategy’s inception, the Government has failed to provide any funding to implement its key objectives. Teachers are not the only ones affected by this lack of resourcing, it has also impacted on ACEOs and a range of leadership programs. Arguably, the Government’s most shameful act in the current enterprise bargaining has been its attempt to impose a funding model that would result in funding cuts to at least one third of schools. These cuts would impact
In June this year, DECS at last took action to address this situation. District Directors were informed through a DECS Circular of their responsibility to “ensure the appropriate allocation of ACEO resources to schools”. The AEU is pleased that the pressure we have applied, in conjunction with many Aboriginal members, has finally resulted in improved accountabilities which will lead to increased employment for ACEOs and more support for Aboriginal students and families. In addition, the South Australian Centre for Leaders in Education (SACLE) has recently funded release time for three Aboriginal teachers to be appointed as Coordinators in schools for Term 4 of this year. The AEU has been advocating for this type of leadership development program for some time. Although we believe that longer-term leadership opportunities would have been more effective, SACLE’s initiative is a step in the right direction. Those improvements are long overdue, but they do illustrate that victories can be won with determination, perseverance and people of goodwill refusing to give up. I have every confidence that, in working together, we will achieve many more victories, both in terms of the Aboriginal Employment Strategy and our quest for an enterprise bargaining outcome that recognises and respects Aboriginal educators. Anne Crawford AEU Vice President
The next day, both he and J-Lo were stating that “senior teachers” – not just principals – were earning over $100,000 pa.
Get a load of this The Hon. K.O. FOLEY: “Oh! All right, okay, I'll get it. You're saying that I had a contingency for $15 million for wages or employee entitlements. I will find out exactly what that was. How is this coming from that lot? Every time a trade union goes out there saying that they want a wage rise from government, what does this mob of commos over here do? Give them what they want. Socialism! You embrace socialism. What the collective want, you give. That is not this government. We have taken a very strong position on public sector wages. But you cannot have any morality in the argument, any morality or credibility, if you are coming in here saying that we spent more on employee entitlements than we should have, because if you were up to it you would have caved in on the teachers.” “The member for Unley is up there saying, “Give the teachers what they want”. What does that give us? Where is Paul Caica? A couple of billion to the bottom line. ‘Pay the teachers what they're asking for’, says Pisoni from Unley. ‘Give them what they want.’ When it came to doctors, the member for Bragg—what’s her answer? ‘Give the doctors what they want.’ It is just lunacy. The wages policy of the Liberal Party harks back to the days of collective agreements of socialism where the government of the day simply said to the trade unions, “Comrade, what do you want me to pay? You can have it.” “Not this modern Labor Party. Not this modern government. We have realised the error of our policies in the past. We have reformed our policies and we will pay a fair wage and a fair outcome. It took this government to stand up to trade union bullies in the public sector, trade unions that wanted to get big wage rises out of us. We have stood up to them and at some political pain but that is what good government is all about. We fixed WorkCover with a lot of political pain but that is what good government is all about…”
DECS employs more than twenty thousand staff. The number of Aboriginal teachers remains appallingly low, in the vicinity of eighty. There were more Aboriginal teachers in South Australian schools and preschools in 1990 than there are at present.
Recently, he was at it again, taunting the Opposition for wanting to “give the teachers what they ask for – $2.5 bn”.
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The AEU applauded this initiative and we were hopeful that the Minister’s public commitment would be followed by real improvements in terms of Aboriginal employment and educational outcomes for Aboriginal students.
On a brighter note, after years of lobbying on the part of the AEU and its Aboriginal members, DECS has finally conceded that, under local management, much of the money provided for the employment of ACEOs has been used on other programs. Since Partnerships 21 was introduced by the former Liberal Government and then rebadged as local management by the current Labor Government, accountability mechanisms for resources allocated to Aboriginal students and the employment of Aboriginal people as ACEOs have been totally inadequate. Even by conservative estimates, the losses in funding for ACEO employment amount to approximately one million dollars annually.
Ministers Lomax-Smith and Foley have distinguished themselves in Parliament in relation to our wages claim. In September, Mr Foley launched a diatribe against the Opposition, accusing them of being “commos” for wanting to give in to “trade union bullies” and boasted that he hadn’t “caved in” to the teachers!
COV E R | SS O S A N D SC R U F F E M istockphoto
Jobs set to go in school funding chaos writes AEU Vice President Anne Crawford
‘SCRUFFEM’ spells disaster for schools, SSOs.
or the schooling sector, the major obstacle in the current enterprise bargaining negotiations has been SCRFM, the new funding model that underpins the government offer.
Minister Lomax-Smith has consistently portrayed SCRFM in a glowing light, focussing on the notion that it is ‘studentcentred’ and therefore somehow good for schools. She has also made misleading statements to the effect that Labor governments would not propose a funding model that cuts funds to disadvantaged or Aboriginal schools and just recently claimed that some teachers were earning in excess of $100,000 annually. The reality is very different from the fantasy promulgated by Lomax-Smith. The current funding mechanism, based around the Staffing Allocation Document, is ‘student-
“SCRFM brings no joy for anyone employed in a school. At best it is a lottery, with a few winners and far more losers.” centred’ in the sense that it is calculated primarily on the number of students and to a lesser extent, the profile of students with regard to disability, English as a second language, Aboriginality and other similar factors. It is almost impossible to imagine any funding model that would not be ‘student-centred’ in that the number of students enrolled must inevitably be the key factor in determining a school’s budget.
SCRFM is, in fact, an ideal model for any government seeking to reduce spending on education. By allocating a specific amount of money per student, rather than guaranteeing basic levels of staffing, SCRFM allows a government to cut funding to schools with the greatest of ease. All that needs to be done is to adjust the amount per student and the following year schools with no decrease in enrolments will face a dramatic decrease in their budgets. This is a perfect model for governments with an inclination to defund public education to accommodate other priorities. The most frightening characteristic of SCRFM, from an industrial perspective, is that it totally deregulates funding and does not replace it with any real workload protections or guarantees. Schools can no longer count on guaranteed staffing levels. They
SS O S A N D SC R U F F E M | COV E R istockphoto
“Everyone stands to lose, but SSOs are undoubtedly the group most at risk. SCRFM makes SSOs an endangered species.” will be allocated a bucket of money, which will be unpredictable and could vary greatly from year to year, even with stable enrolments. In addition, no allowance has been made for salary increases or the erosion of funds through inflation. We know from experience that previous governments have used this mechanism to effect cuts to education in real terms.
Everyone stands to lose, but SSOs are undoubtedly the group most at risk. SCRFM makes SSOs an endangered species.
According to DECS’ own 2007 Annual Report, 5,326 SSOs were employed, with 3,336 appointed on a temporary or casual basis. This equates to a permanency rate of 37 percent, placing SSOs at great risk under SCRFM. Eighty-six percent of temporary or casual SSOs were women, many of whom bear the sole responsibility of providing for themselves and their families. With such high levels of temporary and casual employment, SSOs are extremely vulnerable. Clearly, schools will be unable to operate without minimal levels of SSO employment in areas such as reception and finance. However, classroom support could well become a luxury, resulting in job losses for SSOs, heavier workloads for teachers and minimal or no support for students with learning difficulties, behavioural disorders and a myriad of disabilities. The workloads and daily conditions of SSOs, teachers, AEWs and school leaders are inextricably interwoven. A loss for one group is a diminution for all. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee.” In the battle to put an end to SCRFM in its current form and replace it with funding arrangements that are fair and workable, members must remain united and steadfast as never before. Victory belongs to the brave and brave we will be!
DECS web documents prove it wanted to absorb all Flexible Initiatives Resource (FIR) allocations in a futile attempt to make its new funding model work. Every SSO, every extra staff member employed using FIR would be at risk of losing hours, or even their jobs, in the name of a new funding model. This is not scaremongering. If DECS gets away with its attempt to absorb all of FIR as it intends, then the consequences must be obvious. There won’t be money to use the way we use it now, and those things will go. It must be so. DECS are underfunding contact time. Schools will lose money if they attempt to meet their obligations under the current staff agreement and implement the new funding and contact time.
DECS planned two escape paths. The first was to attack secondary practical classes and primary continuous admission. Neither would have been funded as they are now. Class sizes would increase. The second attacked teachers’ work. Despite long standing departmental policy, in spite of Regulation 69 which specifies the length of the school day, DECS wanted to narrowly redefine contact to mean SACE or SACSA courses, accredited and assessed. Pastoral care, home group, work experience, study supervision and a host of other things that make up teachers work would have been dismissed. We were supposed to reduce our contact time by refusing to count those things that make up important parts of our regular duties.
Two thirds of SSO’s are employed on casual contracts. They can be dismissed simply by refusing to renew their contracts. Short funding schools and abolishing FIR would make this an unfortunate certainty for many long serving casual SSO’s.
What is so different under SCRFM? Firstly, the annual base allocation completely disappears. This means that permanent employment becomes increasingly elusive for any SSO who is in a contract or casual position. With no assured base, schools will be very nervous about committing funds to permanent positions.
AEU school leaders have also raised their concerns on the issue of FIR. They know as well as anyone that schoold rely on this funding. Leaders are under considerable pressure to adequately staff their sites and neither the axing of FIR in the SCRFM model will only make matters worse for all.
Secondly, SCRFM makes no nexus between teacher numbers and SSO hours. This hurts
John Gregory Former AEU President
Why is this so? Schools are currently given a small, but totally assured, number of SSO hours as a base allocation. In addition, each teacher attracts a fixed number of SSO hours per week. Flexible Initiatives Resourcing (FIR) funding is also used in most schools to purchase additional SSO hours. If all else fails, schools can apply to the Resource Allocation Adjustment Panel (RAAP) for top-up funding, particularly in circumstances pertaining to students with significant disabilities.
Finally, the Government and DECS negotiators have been coy regarding contingency funding. They have been consistently unable to clarify what happens to RAAP or any other mechanism to provide emergency funding. Hardly surprising in one sense, given that the whole of SCRFM is a kind of contingency funding, with no guarantees, no safeguards and no industrial foundation.
For EB 2008 news and updates go to:
SCRFM brings no joy for anyone employed in a school. At best it is a lottery, with a few winners and far more losers. Furthermore, in the event of adjustments to the annual amount allocated per student, all schools could be losers in a very short space of time. Given the low priority accorded to public education by the current State Government, this could well be sooner rather than later.
Thirdly, FIR no longer exists under SCRFM. The $30 million in FIR funding that schools rely on consistently to top up leadership time, create smaller classes and employ additional SSOs, has been poured into the general bucket to prop SCRFM up and make it appear viable. The loss of FIR entails, as its inevitable consequence, the loss of many SSO jobs.
Schools, SSOs will lose if FIR goes
n analysis of the limited data provided by the government negotiators indicates that more than 350 schools would immediately be unable to maintain current staffing levels. This means that principals and PACs would be faced with the unpalatable prospect of making cuts to leadership time, the number of teachers or the number of SSOs. For schools faced with losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, the decision may well include all three. This is hardly a promising outlook for harmony or workload protection!
both teachers and SSOs. Teachers will be faced with more and more administrative tasks, lessening their capacity to focus on the core objective of fostering student learning. SSO hours will be jeopardised by being purchased in competition with teacher allocation and leadership time.
FLEXIBLE INITIATIVES RESOURCE
A B O R I G I N A L & TO R R E S ST R A I T I S L A N D E R P E O P L E S
‘Cool Calm Kids’
What’s happened in 2008
by Amelia Suckling and Carla Temple Resource to help Prep to year 2 students find better ways to deal with conflict and bossy peers.
2008 has been a busy and very active year for Aboriginal Educators Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee
2008 ACER Press
As you reflect on the following events, I must ask: where were you at the time of the Apology? What were you doing? Did it have an impact on you? For many, it was an historical moment. The first parliamentary sitting for the current Federal Government was on February 13 where Prime Minister Rudd addressed the nation and made the Apology to the Stolen Generations. This was a significant time for all of our First Nations people. It was also one that stopped a nation. Other significant events for AEU Aboriginal Educators in 2008: • Danny Ellis became the Aboriginal members representative on Branch Executive • Margie Goodwin, Preschool Director, Christie Downs Kindy & Larry Higgins, Aboriginal Education Community Manager won the Public Education Awards for their outstanding contribution in Aboriginal Education, Early Childhood, union activism and in promoting improved working conditions for Aboriginal Educators • Aboriginal Educator membership has increased to 210 • Aboriginal Members Conference: a great success with 40 attendees • The SA Government has not offered anything for Aboriginal educators to date.
J A M E S U N A I PO N AWA R D S 2 0 0 8
The Man, the Award James Unaipon was known as James Ngunatponi and was the first Aboriginal teacher to work in a school setting in South Australia. He commenced teaching at Raukkan on 27 February 1865 and was associated with the school for over 20 years. He was also the father of David Unaipon. The James Unaipon Award was established by the AEU South Australian Branch in 1993. It is an annual award which recognises a branch member’s achievement in
Aboriginal Education. It is decided by a judging panel comprising members of the AEU Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee and a nominee of the Branch Secretary. The award provides a benefit equivalent to a maximum of $3,000 for a study tour or development activity that allows the recipient to further their interest in Aboriginal education. Judging criteria are based on an effective and original approach, effectiveness in meeting Aboriginal children’s needs, breadth of impact, long term value and relevance to the cultural environment.
Nominations close 21 November 2008. For further information contact:
Nola Foster T: 8272 1399 E: email@example.com
Teaching students resilience, supporting them to manage conflict, developing safe and supportive classroom and school environments and building relationships and connectedness is a high priority in the minds of all teachers and parents. There are a variety of resources available to assist teachers in planning meaningful and effective social and emotional skills programs. One such resource which could easily complement existing programs within schools is ‘Cool Calm Kids.’ This resource outlines snapshots of child social development from four to seven years old and offers ideas for developing Support Plans for students. It offers practical tips for the teacher to create calm classrooms and to the parents on ways they can support their child/children. Nine carefully constructed lessons in this book take teachers and their students on a journey where they will build social skills, understandings and common language. Students are given opportunities to identify their feelings and what it means to be a great mate and a cool kid. Each lesson ends with a short prompt language slogan. By students repeating this slogan and having it displayed in the classroom they will be reminded daily of the message portrayed by the lesson and the skills taught. The writers of the resource have made an interesting decision not to use the terms bully or bullying. They have used the terms bossy peers and bossy behaviour. They clearly explain their intention with this decision in working with students in the early years. They don’t discount the existence of bullying behaviours, however there are occasions where a situation is a one-off and doesn’t necessarily constitute bullying. These “one-off ” situations can also be addressed through the strategies outlined in “Cool Calm Kids”. This is a useful resource for teachers of young students and Professor Ken Rigby, Uni SA, in the foreword of the book describes that there is real hope that books and programs such as this will assist children’s social and emotional development and will help them develop into responsive and responsible adults. To teachers of the early years, this is well worth exploring for its practical application to classroom discussion and activity. Roberta Spreadbury Linden Park Junior Primary School
The commitment of the Consultative Committee members and observers has shown strength, courage, dedication and strong activism. Throughout the year the Committee involved itself in: • The EB negotiations regarding Aboriginal Educators • Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2005 – 2010: on the targets related to Early Childhood Workers, AEW hours and permanency, Aboriginal Teachers and Aboriginal Leadership • Local news and successes regarding student learning at their work sites • Decisions on members attending the World Indigenous People’s Conference: Education to represent the AEU in Melbourne in December 7 – 11 in 2008 • Attending rallies and EB meetings • Making decisions on the new structures and employment of Aboriginal Educators across the Regional boundaries • Informing the wider education community on a range of topics related to Aboriginal education. A big thank-you to the AECC for your solidarity in your dedication and support, and to all Aboriginal members for showing their solidarity at the rallies and having the courage to speak to the media on Aboriginal Education, Leadership and Early Childhood. You are the Stars! Nola Foster Organiser | Aboriginal Education.
Online News & Info for AEWs:
E B ’ 0 8 U P DAT E
Where are we now? The Government’s tactics have made it near impossible to negotiate properly For most of this year, the AEU has been in negotiations with government officers in an attempt to negotiate a new enterprise agreement. Prior to entering mediation, there had been limited progress on key items such as salary, class size, workload, country incentives, leadership, non-teaching staff and much more. We had been able to progress some matters such as paid maternity leave and special leave and we made some progress on the 37.5 hours professional development. The tactics used by the government negotiators have been designed to frustrate and hamper progress. Ultimately, it is this approach that has led Executive to ballot members on taking further industrial action.
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While the Fair Work Act 1994 commits those involved in enterprise bargaining to engage in ‘best endeavours bargaining’, the AEU believes that this has not occurred and the government negotiators have made a conscious choice not to bargain in good faith. This is not particular to our dispute; it has also played out in other public sector negotiations.
• The State Government has not shifted from it’s initial offer that provided a paltry 3.25 percent salary increase
Indeed, there were some occasions when they could not agree to their own proposals, which we subsequently put back to them! On other items, such as allowances for travel, they could not even discuss the matter as they did not understand the current provisions in education or what was contained within the Commissioner’s Standards. While their lack of knowledge and understanding might seem an advantage – we managed to easily win arguments at the bargaining table – it has effectively been a major barrier to progress. To reach agreement, we rely on the government negotiators to accurately convey the AEU position to the Minister and to put up sensible recommendations. They should be able to not only negotiate an agreement, but convince government of the appropriate course of action to resolve the dispute. The government offer was so poor that it would never have been agreed to by educa-
tors, particularly when it was based on a very flimsy industrial argument. The government’s refusal to even negotiate or improve on key elements of its offer was no doubt designed to create a dispute that would ultimately lead to arbitration.
The loss of workload protections in schools
• They have stripped and attacked employee’s conditions
• The government offer will not deliver any funding increases until 2010 • Key elements of the AEU claim were ignored and not discussed; we are still waiting for them to get back to us on numerous letters, and matters raised in negotiations
• The employer’s flagship item, SCRFM, would not start until 2010, thus they have not seen any reason to properly discuss matters with us Further, the government negotiators in attendance had such limited knowledge of the education system, current industrial provisions, and even their own proposals that we could not work through items to arrive at a solution. Many clauses just could not be negotiated. Every proposal had to be taken away so that they could seek advice
model it has been removed. Up until now, FIR has been provided to address teacher workload. The removal of this funding will do exactly the opposite.
Examples of Labor’s attack on education workers include: PAC The Government offer deliberately
underpins human resource allocation to schools is removed and industrial protection is lost.
attacks the role of the PAC by proposing a whole-scale change in composition and function. DECS wants the PAC to be a toothless tiger. To make matters worse no DECS negotiator has ever been on a PAC or even undertaken PAC training.
FIR While reading the government offer you would think that FIR is still maintained but in order to prop up an underfunded funding
Contingency Fund The ‘risk fund’ is protected in the enterprise agreement. They want to remove any commitment to maintain this fund. SAD The Staffing Allocation Document that
Commitments given and published in Appendix A of the Enterprise Agreement are removed. Non-instruction time is removed and a teacher will not be guaranteed time to undertake preparation and correction. Face-to-face teaching will be capped, but at a level much higher than interstate, and the definition excludes key aspects of workload such as pastoral care and relief lessons.
• Discussions on items in the government offer, such as funding and leadership, were hampered by the tabling of incomplete proposals
At the time of entering into mediation, the AEU was very concerned that the government offer did not provide workload protections and deliberately stripped away current entitlements. Ironically, the Rann Labor Government position is worse than that put to us by the previous Liberal Government and its Chief Executive, Geoff Spring. Not even in the darkest moments of the Liberal Government did they so systematically undermine conditions.
For Info and updates see our EB Blog:
We have formed this view for the following reasons:
and workout what was going on.
TVEI CE AC HPERRE SHI O DE UN S TI N S GV I E W
T H E E D U C AT I O N R E VO LU T I O N
Rental crisis averted in Whyalla
While addressing Federal Parliament in Canberra recently, an ALP politician named Julia said, “We may speak of an education revolution, but we are a long way from bringing true equity, excellence and social inclusion into our education system.”
A potential crisis on the rental costs for teacher housing in Whyalla has been averted for 2009. Rents for government employees will increase, on average, by 18 percent in 2009, based on market value. However, in response to AEU lobbying and representation, the government concession will increase from 15 to 25 percent for Whyalla teachers in preschools, schools and TAFE in order to counteract the significant increase. Full recruitment of teachers would have been improbable had the State Government not responded to the AEU’s request to lift the concession rate for Whyalla teachers. Housing affordability and suitability, along with a comprehensive country incentives package, are paramount in the attraction and retention of quality teachers to country areas. The increase in concession comes on the back of an increase in subsidy for Roxby Downs teachers in government employee housing from 20 to 50 percent, brought in this year. The AEU continues to monitor market rent increase in all country regions.
Marcus Knill AEU Vice President
ATTENTION TEACHERS! Renewal of Teacher Registration If your registration expires in January 2009 you must lodge your application to renew your registration by 31 December 2008. An application to renew your registration will be posted to you in mid-October 2008. Please contact the Teachers Registration Board if you have not received your application to renew your registration by early November. Non receipt of your application is not an excuse for failing to renew your registration by the due date.
Change of Name and/or Address Remember to notify the Board in writing of any change of name or address. Level 6, 70 Pirie Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Tel: (08) 8226 2666 Fax: (08) 8226 2667 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.trb.sa.edu.au
Unfortunately, for those of us who know what is good for the future of Public Education, these words came from the mouth of the wrong Julia. Nonetheless, it was good to finally hear a Labor politician publically criticise the sham that is the ‘education revolution’. Speaking in response to a government bill which would cement the current socioeconomic status (SES) funding arrangement for a further four years – securing around $28B in taxpayer funds for private schools – Federal Member for Fowler, Julia Irwin, (inset)
Kevin, you’ve got the wrong Julia Rudd’s education revolution may well be in the wrong hands writes Craig Greer unleashed a scathing critique of her Party’s flawed education policy. “It seems to me that the national reform agenda has been put on hold for four years and the real education revolution is a long, long way off,” she said. “There is nothing, nothing, in this legislation which would redress that imbalance and indeed there is no guarantee that the funding gap will not widen over the next four years for which the Howard government’s program is to be locked in,” Mrs Irwin told parliament. Julia Irwin is an ALP backbencher and a former union official. Her local electorate takes in a largely working class area around southwestern Sydney, which includes the suburbs of Cabramatta West and other low socio-economic communities. Not surprisingly, she is unhappy at her Party’s failure to ditch a funding model that discriminates based on class, thereby increasing the divide that favours private over public schooling. “We will have to wait four more years before we make a start on addressing the issue of equity in all Australian schools”, she said. It’s not only the SES model that concerns Julia Irwin. She is also critical of the governments plan to publish league tables. “The prime minister added his own suggestion that if some schools are not performing this encourages parents to, as he colourfully puts it, and I quote, ‘walk with their feet’, that’s exactly what the system is designed to do”. Given the Rudd/Gillard line that “we must
“If some schools are not performing this encourages parents to ‘walk with their feet’.”
move beyond the outdated divisions between … public and private provision”, one wonders if in four years from now things will actually be any different. The Minister for Education seems more interested in appeasing the private schools than she is in properly resourcing the public system. This was never more evident than during Public Education Week this year when she failed to make a single comment about Public Education. Predictably, the poor performance of the ALP in representing the interests of working class Australians is not going unnoticed. A state election defeat, multiple by-election failures and an array of lengthy industrial stand-offs with unions around the country already have some people doubting Federal Labor’s ability to hold office come the next election. And while the election may be a long way off, Labor can ill-afford division in its ranks, particularly when it calls into question the validity of its flagship policies. We can only hope that the courageous actions of the Member for Fowler rub off on her counterparts right around the country.
2 0 0 8 C L I M AT E CO N F E R E N CE
1 Elise Harris UniSA student
1 Dave Kerin
1 Dr Mark Diesendorf 1 David Spratt
Deputy Dir. Institute Environmental Studies, UniNSW
CarbonEquity Researcher & Author
1 John Rice TAFE member & CLEAN steering Committee
No more business as usual
writes John Rice
AEU hosts climate change conference
1 Robyn Francis Permaculture International
1 Prof Barry Brook Research Inst. for Climate Change & Sustainability, Adelaide Uni
Climate Emergency Action Network
C LE A N meets every second Wednesday of the month
@ 7.00pm South West Community Centre 171 Sturt Street, Adelaide Details of all sessions and their presenters are on the CLEAN website see right 3 necessity. • This conference resolves to establish the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN), which will assist in coordinating and supporting local groups to publicise, inform, lobby and organise on matters of climate change. • Organisations and individuals are welcome to join and actively participate.” CLEAN aims to quickly capitalise on this level of community energy and meets at 7 pm every second Wednesday of the month at the South West Community Centre, 171 Sturt Street in the city. Details of all sessions and their presenters are on the CLEAN website (right). In the next few weeks audio and video of all major sessions will be available for download, as will the powerpoint presentations. CLEAN will develop the site as a one-stopshop for teachers looking for classroomfriendly packages on the climate change issue. Text, graphic, and audio-visual material will be available. CLEAN will also be establishing an Educational Liaison Group, to work on the site and develop links and materials for use in schools, TAFEs and universities. Clearly, the education community and the wider community is energised and motivated on this issue of human survival. A strong feeling is circulating through networks, manifesting in a spirit and momentum rarely seen at a conference. John Rice Lecturer TAFE SA English Language Service
permaculture can provide a way forward for us all – as it has on a national scale in Cuba; and David Spratt, author of Climate Code Red, on why we have a climate emergency and how we need to mobilise communities to resolve it. Personally, it was one of the most successful days in over 25 years of my community activism – especially the Saturday. The buzz between people started at about 8.45am as people came to register, and it kept going all day as more rolled in, and as people mingled through the 18 workshops and three plenaries on the menu. Apart from the conference informing people about the latest science, offering ways forward, and providing techniques and resources for classrooms across this wide brown state, this buzz created and cemented new and old community networks and personal contacts – perhaps the most enriching and long-lasting outcome of the day. Teachers met scientists, who mingled with permaculturalists, who chatted with political activists. At the end of the day the plenary unanimously passed the following resolution: • “In the light of the climate emergency that is becoming more apparent week by week, a state-wide community-based climate action network is an immediate
Climate Emergency Action Group (CLEAN) go to:
There’s something in the air, and it’s not going away. In fact there’s more of it, every day. We’re at 387 parts per million of it, and the whole of Antarctica could steadily melt at 500ppm. Small amounts of warming, mounting evidence suggests, lead to feedback mechanisms that amplify temperature increases. We could indeed be headed for 5 to 6 degrees of warming by century’s end – a scenario that would rival the Permian mass extinction of 250 million years ago. That was just a tad of what 200 people on Friday 10 October, and 170 people all day Saturday heard at the “Climate Emergency: No More Business as Usual” conference, held at the UniSA and AEU offices. But it wasn’t all ‘alert and alarm-ism’. All of the speakers and presenters agreed we have the means to avert this gargantuan crisis. Many outlined the directions we could take to roll out renewables, rework our cities and adopt more sustainable business and domestic practices. So it was far from all doom and gloom, and people seemed, universally, to leave with a sense of clarity, inspiration and clearer orientation. Key plenary speakers were Professor Barry Brook from Adelaide University on the latest climate science; Dr Mark Diesendorf from the University of NSW on how we could roll out renewables; Robyn Francis on how
V I CE P R E S I D E N T ’ S V I E W
Testing first, kids second DECS’ NAPLaN pilot project not helping students or teachers 98.0% for Year 7 students and 97.8% for Year 9 students. Hardly alarming statistics!
As a result of NAPLaN, attainment in literacy and numeracy is now assessed by computers and based on children sitting exams in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9. Parents are told what level of attainment their child has achieved in literacy and numeracy based on these exams, without any reference to teacher professional judgment. One of the major objections the AEU has to this testing regime is the kick in the guts to many of our students who are the learning battlers. Fortunately, principals can exercise their professional judgment and exempt students with disabilities and learning difficulties if they believe they will need significant support with the exams. The AEU attended a briefing with DECS officers – which wasn’t provided to all teachers across the state – the week before the 2008 NAPLaN was released. According to DECS, South Australia needs to lift its game when it comes to the rate of exemptions. However, the AEU contends that the exemption rate ought to be higher. The participation rate for Year 3 students in South Australia in 2008 was 96.9%, 97.4% for Year 5 students,
The AEU was therefore appalled to learn of the DECS 2008 NAPLaN Pilot Project whereby Principals in two Districts were requested to “administer (under modified conditions) the 2008 NAPLaN Reading and Numeracy tests to students who were exempted from the 2008 NAPLaN tests, in order to gather additional diagnostic information”. Clearly, the tests are not diagnostic. More importantly, the AEU views this as an attempt to undermine the authority of principals who made the determination to exempt students in their best interests. Principals do not make a decision to exempt a student from the NAPLaN tests lightly, and do so only for students who need significant individual support. A half-day TRT is supplied for each student as part of the Pilot who “has a reasonable attempt at completing both the reading and numeracy tests”. This has enabled the supervision of the tests for these students who require the significant support. However, there appears to be no consideration from DECS on the workload demands placed on the school principal. As part of the administration of the 2008 NAPLaN Pilot Project, principals were asked to: • Ensure the tests are administered between 13 October to 31 October • Request centrally to DECS that an individualised student report be printed for Aboriginal students who were absent from the NAPLaN test
• Consult with teachers and parents to identify which exempted students should be tested • Complete the individual student report giving reasons why certain students are not tested. • Organise test books and times/dates for testing • Organise support and materials • Finalise the administration guidelines • Mark students’ answers • Complete student report and comments and report on the information the retest provides • Photocopy each report • Use the report as a school reference and to discuss with student(s) and parents • Send a copy of each report to the District Director • Arrange for a standard letter to be sent home to parents from the school principal. The AEU views this Pilot Project as an attempt to undermine professional decisions by principals to exempt students. It unduly adds to workloads and is an unnecessary cost that would be better utilised in supporting exempted students with their learning. Accordingly, the AEU wrote to DECS Chief Executive on 25 September with a request to repeal the Pilot Project. The AEU also asked for: a copy of the risk assessment that was undertaken, confirmation as to whether the Pilot was optional, details of the total budget and where the funds were derived from, and for their to be a provision for consultation outlining plans for 2009. At the time of writing on 22 October, a reply from Chris Robinson to the AEU had not been received. Marcus Knill AEU Vice president
Keeping you up-to-date
we need your preferred
email address Email to: email@example.com or call Rhonda on: 8272 1399
WOMEN’S CONFERENCE REPORT
AEU Women’s Officer, Tish Champion
Maternity/adoption leave and the Training and Professional Support Strategy which would finally see this discriminatory practise cease. The AEU forwarded a letter to Chris Robinson the Chief Executive of DECS and the Minister for Education Jane Lomax-Smith requesting that they rectify this discrepancy as of 2008, in line with the EB agreement.
If you are expecting to be on maternity/ adoption leave during 2008, Term 4 and you have completed all or part of the required hours of Training and Development, you are now able to apply through your principal to extend your paid maternity/adoption leave to incorporate any entitlements you have accrued under this training scheme. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or either the issues below, please do not hesitate to contact me. (my contact details are below)
Contact us @ the AEU! Paid Maternity Leave and Casual Employees
Casual Employees - Paid maternity leave and your contract date. Unbelievably, women who take paid maternity leave towards the end of their contract date, run the risk of not being paid their entire Paid Maternity Leave entitlement. Women who are expecting their child
Pregnant contract teachers therefore, must carefully calculate when they need to begin their maternity leave in order to receive their entire entitlement. If a contract teacher receives a new contract for the start of the following school year/term, the remainder of the paid maternity leave can and will be paid out. If no new contract is offered, the teacher forfeits the remaining unpaid maternity leave. We feel that this policy is outdated and discriminatory.
We are looking to pursue these matters through the Equal Opportunity Commission. If any of the above issues affect you, please contact:
Tish Champion T: 8272 1399 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal Women’s Conference 2008 The annual Federal Women’s Conference was held on 4 – 5 October. South Australia took a delegation of eight women to the conference, with total voting rights of six. The Federal Women’s Conference is an opportunity for delegates from around Australia, together with women from the Federal Office of the AEU, to debate and discuss the significant issues for women in society, for women in our union and for women and girls in the education system. The conference theme for this year was Let the Games Begin! The general focus within this theme was the need for the AEU to take advantage of the new political climate to progress the issues identified by the 2008 What Women Want Survey – workload/girls’ body image, eating disorders, self-esteem and self harm, professional learning, work/ care balance, workplace bullying. These issues formed the basis of the four workshops held on the Saturday and from which the conference will make recommendations to Federal Executive.
Special thanks to all who participated in this years RECLAIM
Keep an eye out for the next Women’s Contact newsletter for updates on women’s issues and for a report on this great event.
Just because DECS tells you that you have casual employment does not mean this is the case. Many casual employees work on a regular and systemic basis which may actually not fit the definition of casual employment at all. Therefore, if you are a casual employee, you may actually be eligible for paid maternity leave.
towards the end of a casual employment contract need to be aware that paid maternity leave will not be paid beyond the date of their contract. “Teachers employed on limited tenure and contract teachers are eligible for maternity leave within the life of their current contract.”
included (from left) Jenni Devereaux (Federal AEU Research Officer), Michelle Coulthard, Correna Haythorpe (AEU-SA President), Gedda Dale-Little (Status of Women Consultative Committee member), Lyndal Govey, Tish Champion (AEU-SA Women’s Officer)and Di Cocks, (absent from photo) Anne Crawford (AEU-SA Vice President) and Jennie Marie Gorman.
Women’s Focus and online info go to:
There has finally been a positive development in the maternity/ adoption leave situation involving the Training and Professional Support Strategy. Previously, a woman on maternity leave during term 4 who had completed any of the required hours of Training and Development for the Training and Professional Support Strategy would simply forfeit these hours. Maternity and adoption leave would not be extended or interrupted to incorporate this week of accrued leave. This practice was not consistent, as those on all other forms of leave during week 10 term 4, were still able to access any TOIL they had accrued. An ‘in principle’ agreement has already been reached between the AEU and DECS during the current Enterprise Negotiations
We have now received a letter from Mr. Robinson confirming that DECS is prepared to extend an employee’s period of paid maternity/adoption leave by any entitlement that has been accrued under this Strategy during 2008. DECS will implement this arrangement immediately via administrative arrangements.
1 SA women attending this year’s conference
I N T E R N AT I O N A L
Protest as theatre in France and Spain The most striking thing about contemporary European union protest is its theatricality Or so it seemed to my wife Julie and myself while holidaying earlier this year. At a time when we are gearing up for some more industrial action, members may be interested in a glimpse at how similar union protest is occurring along the northwestern shoreline of the sparkling Mediterranean. The first and most dramatic example we encountered was in the south of France when our train was stopped by angry fisherman fed up with the ruinous effect of high fuel prices on their lives. To make their point, they had stopped the train by lighting a fire on the tracks in the vicinity of the French border town of Frontignan.
It meant a long delay in our journey. But for old lefties such as ourselves it was an interesting and instructive delay well worth the experience. Periodically throughout the stoppage, the train conductor harangued the passengers in explanation of the delay. In so doing he was broadly sympathetic to the fisherman. Mostly the passengers seemed to accept the hold-up. A mildly festive atmosphere developed. The beginning of a camaraderie among the passengers began to emerge. It was a fine spring day and many got off the train and walked up and down the platform chatting and smoking cigarettes. Not all the passengers were acquiescent, however. Some got stroppy. It was up to the conductor to calm them down. I could see him arguing with a small cluster of them further down the train corridor. Later he confided in me that he wondered whether the fisherman hadn’t gone a bit too far. There hadn’t been much by way of union activism in France in recent times he said. Nothing like it was at the time of the Popular Front in May 1968. Having direct action like this all of a sudden was, he said, a bit of a shock. At this time – it was late May – France was commemorating May 1968. (Mature AEU members will recall the heady days of the
Popular Front in France in that month when it was thought French workers, peasants and intellectuals, in a concerted effort, were going to overthrow the establishment in order to usher in a truly fair and just society.) The conductor spoke in flawless English to me and addressed the train passengers in French. I was able to follow the latter because, as a former French teacher, Julie was able to provide me with a translation. In Spain – in Barcelona – it was three local union protest actions that caught our eye: one in a main railway station; one outside a government office opposite a museum; and another in the city centre. These, too, were strongly theatrical. All involved the strategic and very deliberate use of sound as a harassing technique. As members we are very familiar with the use of whistles in open-air protest. In the three Spanish ones what was distinctive was that the whistles, while sometimes blown randomly, were by-and-large sounded in a disciplined, orchestrated kind of way. They were often blown to a beat or rhythm and often accompanied a voice chant. A hand-operated horn with a sound in the lower register operated as a sort of counterpoint to the higher pitch of the whistles. It was very effective. Of the three it was the one opposite the museum that adopted the most aggressive harassing tactics. A nervous security guard was letting people in and out of the building at his discretion. Whenever a significant figure approached the door demonstrators drew attention to this by blowing their whistles and chanting with extra vigour. At other times, the whole group did a noisy advance and retreat on the office. Not to the point of confrontation. But as an unnerving manoeuvre for those inside. A variation on this theme was a march away from the target office and then a march immediately back again. The city centre protest was less provocative, and wisely so. It had a security presence in the form of about a dozen armed and helmeted policemen in black uniform. So, can we learn anything from the way French and Spanish workers go about it? Maybe. We already do it well, as this year’s demonstrations so far indicate. It’s a matter of ensuring that they are reported in the media in a way that projects our cause positively and constructively. It may well be that some of these European demonstration techniques could be adapted by us for that purpose. Certainly, the more strategically theatrical we can be, the better our protest will look to the masses. Terry Hewton Retired Teacher
N O M I N AT I O N S F O R A E U CO M M I T T E E S
Nominations are called to fill vacancies on the following AEU Committees:
Country Conditions: The Committee monitors country working conditions and makes recommendations to Branch Executive on appropriate policy and action.
Consultative Committees provide advice to Branch Executive on matters affecting their membership sector. All positions are for a term of office ending December 2009.
One male position for 2 years ending December 2010. Two female positions for 2 years ending December 2010.
The Committee is chaired by the Treasurer, prepares the AEU budget and reviews expenditure on a quarterly basis.
One female position for 2 years ending December 2010. Two male positions for 2 years ending December 2010.
Occupational Health, Safety & Welfare: The Committee monitors OHS&W issues and advises on matters relating to the working environment and health of members and students.
One male position for 2 years ending December 2010. Two female positions for 2 years ending December 2010.
Early Childhood | up to 15 positions, (a majority of whom shall be Children’s Services Act employees). Members working in Early Childhood Education.
School Services Officers 9 positions School Services Officers in DECS.
Contract and TRT | 9 positions Unemployed, Contract and TRT members.
Special Education | 9 positions Teachers and School Services Officers involved in Special Education.
Closing Date Nominations for these Committee vacancies must reach the:
Returning Officer, 163 Greenhill Road, Parkside SA 5063, no later than Wednesday, 19 November 2008. A nomination form is available at:
Status of Women | 9 positions
Women members from all membership sectors and classifications.
and from the AEU. Nominations may be accompanied by a supporting statement of not more than 200 words.
Principals Consultative Committee | 9 positions School leader members in all sectors of schooling.
Aboriginal Education | 9 positions Indigenous members from all membership sectors and classifications.
Election Procedure Ballots for contested positions will be conducted at Branch Council on
Saturday, 22 November 2008. Peter Norman Returning Officer
Australian Education Union | SA Branch
New Educators National Survey:
WORTH FIGHTING FOR Inside the ‘YOUR RIGHTS AT WORK’ campaign
by Kathie Muir An extraordinary political campaign celebrates first anniversary.
The AEU National New Educators Survey will be run for four weeks from Thursday 6th November to
9781921410772, UNSW Press, 256pp, PB, November 2008, $34.95
When Labour won the 2007 election it was widely accepted that the campaign run by the union movement against the Coalition government’s Work Choices legislation was vital to the victory. There have been few campaigns as well-resourced and extended as the Your Rights at Work campaign in which the ACTU invested $30 million. It set new benchmarks in the scale and sophistication of its advertising, the extent of activist mobilisation and a triumphant political strategy. The Your Rights at Work campaign attracted a wide range of people as active supporters. Many had never been active in union campaigns, some were retired or were not union members, and others who had changed voting habits of a lifetime because they themselves were sacked unjustly with no protection from unfair dismissal legislation. This book is the first to examine the details
of this campaign. Kathie Muir was on the road with the campaign and provides a lively account of its strategies and outcomes, based on over 60 interviews with key union leaders, rank and file members and non-union community supporters. Her insights, observations and interviews reveal the challenges, triumphs and hard slog of the thousands of people involved. Worth Fighting For is a compelling narrative of the largest, most expensive and sophisticated political campaign ever mounted in Australia. Kathie Muir (pictured) is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Science at the University of Adelaide. She has worked with the labour movement as an artist and in administrative roles. She has a long-standing research interest in the ways social and political movements campaign to promote their causes and how mainstream media report such campaigns.
Friday 5th December 2008. It will collect similar data to previous surveys to assist our ongoing public education campaign. The survey will also ask specific questions to address pre-service education and practicum issues currently being addressed by Minister Gillard. Go to:
www.aeufederal.org.au and look under “What’s New” to complete the survey.
In doing so you will be helping the AEU fight for better conditions for New Educators.
Have a question on the survey? Contact AEU New Educator Organiser,
Sam Lisle-Menzel, T: 8272 1399 E: email@example.com 21
N OT I CE B OA R D
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SAIT Conveyancers We offer AEU members: • Free advice on real estate queries. • 25% off the Statutory or Land Brokers Society recommended fee structure.
“INDIGENOUS EDUCATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY – RESPECTING TRADITION, SHAPING THE FUTURE”. VICTORIAN ABORIGINAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION INC. INVITE ALL TO TAKE PART IN A GLOBAL INDIGENOUS EDUCATION EXPERIENCE
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For further information visit our website If you are buying or selling or are involved in any real estate matter, either through a land agent or privately, consult us.
w w w.wipce2008.com
Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc.
Contact Anne Walker or Simon Willcox Phone: (08) 8410 6788 Fax: (08) 8410 6799 Located at SATISFAC •151 South Terrace • Adelaide SA 5000
If a cancellation is received prior to 7 November 2008, a refund equal to 50% of the total amount paid will be maintained. If a cancellation is received after 7 November 2008, no refunds will be made.
N OT I CE B OA R D ABSOLUTE SEAFRONT HOUSE
FOR SALE: Mercedes Benz
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Retiring teachers, SSOs and par tners
Join the Retired Teachers Association
Walking Group Increasing numbers of retiring teachers and their partners will be looking for opportunities to maintain or improve their fitness when they retire as well as develop new friendships. We believe that the Retired Teachers Association Walking Group has an important role to play in helping teachers, SSOs and their partners to find a social/fitness and support network beyond teaching. Our group is hoping to attract newly retired teachers and their partners as members in 2009. The RTAWG caters for a wide range of fitness levels â€“ from experienced hikers to those who wish to improve their fitness levels at a less demanding level.
For further info or to join contact David Tassell Phone: 8293 4320 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hundreds of SSOs will be out of work if we don’t stop DECS’ proposed funding model. Vital to students but facing cutbacks under funding mode...