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The Independent Voice

August 2011

Journal Journal of of the the Independent Independent Education Education Union Union of of Australia Australia -- Queensland Queensland and and Northern Northern Territory Territory Branch Branch

February August 2011 2011

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Volume Volume 11 11 Number Number 15

School officers take next step in campaign

IEUA-QNT school officers have taken the opportunity to formally lodge requests for reclassification with their employers to ensure wage justice and appropriate recognition for their contribution to schools during School Officer Action Week at the end of August. Showing their support are All Hallows’ School school officers Cathy Clem, Flo Schulz, Maun Collins and Trish Sydes (above). For further information about the Recognise, Reclassify and Reward campaign, turn to pages 12,13.

Members called on to support Fijian workers’ rights Union members across Australia are being called upon to take action in support of unionists in Fiji following the latest attack on workers’ rights by the Fiji military regime. In the latest attack on workers’ rights the National Council of the Fiji Trades Union Congress was prevented from going ahead by police, who revoked a permit to hold the meeting. This came just hours after the FTUC met with a high-level delegation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which is investigating human and worker rights violations in Fiji. Union leaders have been arrested for holding a meeting with union members to prepare for collective bargaining with hotel management. This follows the brutal bashing and harassment of FTUC General Secretary Felix Anthony and Mohammed Khalil, President of the Ba Branch of the Fiji Sugar and General Workers Union earlier this year.

The harassment of trade unionists is a violation of ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The ILO has expressed grave concerns and has issued a letter to Commodore Bainimarama and warned of an international campaign to mobilise communities to condemn the actions of the Fiji regime. The Fiji military regime has a long consistent history of attacking workers’ rights. Last month it published a Decree that, if enacted, would violate international law and Fiji’s human rights obligations with the removal of freedom of speech through control of media. These Decrees give absolute powers to the Fijian regime with the rights and terms of employment of workers having been rendered meaningless. IEUA has a close relationship with the Council of Pacific Education (COPE) - the peak education union body in the region. Our colleague

unionists are under attack and it is appropriate to send a strong and unequivocal message that this is unacceptable. Co-ordinated rallies across Australia are being held on 2 September. IEUA members are being called upon to send messages of support in solidarity to our Fijian colleagues for the protection of their working rights, safety and well-being through a concerted campaign addressed to Prime Minister and Commodore of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Bainimarama. The crisis in Fiji: • The “Essential National Industries (Employment)” Decree removes all collective bargaining rights, curtails the right to strike, bans overtime payments and makes void existing collective bargaining agreements for workers in key sectors of the economy including sugar, aviation and tourism. • The Decree authorises employers in government designated enterprises to dictate working conditions while

What we can do IEUA members can express their concern for the human rights and working rights of our Fijian union colleagues by sending campaign postcards to Commodore Bainimarama, calling on him to: • Cease all arbitrary detention of critics and activists and immediately drop all charges against Mr Daniel Urai, President of Fiji Trade Union Congress; • Repeal the Public Emergency Regulation and allow for peaceful

assembly and freedom of expression; • Restore the industrial protections of the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007 to civil servants; and • Repeal the Essential National Industries Employment Decree and restore freedom of union association to workers in Fiji.

denying workers their right to a union.

• Further anti-democratic conduct eventuated with the unfair dismissal of Tevita Koroi, President of COPE, from his duties as Head Teacher, for speaking in favour of democracy at a union meeting.

• The Decree states that bargaining units must have at least 75 workers employed by the same employer; organisations with fewer employees can not form with a union. Few schools would meet this requirement. • A Proclamation of Public Emergency Regulations (PER) has been established, which outlaws meetings of more than four people without permits, curtailing trade unions meeting with members.

Download the postcard from our website www.qieu.asn.au

• A Pension and Retirement Allowance decree has also been established which removes pension allowances from any public servant, including teachers, deemed to speak against the regime.


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The Independent Voice

August 2011

CONTACTS The Independent Voice is the official publication of the Independent Education Union of Australia - Queensland and Northern Territory branch (IEUA-QNT) www.qieu.asn.au ISSN 1446-1919 IEUA-QNT Brisbane Office PH: 07 3839 7020 346 Turbot Street, Spring Hill Q 4000 PO Box 418 Fortitude Valley Q 4006 IEUA-QNT Townsville Office PH: 07 4772 6277 Level 1, 316 Sturt St Townsville Q 4810 PO Box 5783 Townsville West Q 4810 IEUA-QNT Bundaberg Office PH: 07 4132 8455 44 Maryborough St Bundaberg Q 4670 PO Box 1227 Bundaberg Q 4670 IEUA-QNT Darwin Office PH: 08 8981 1924 FAX: 08 8981 1935 38 Woods Street Darwin NT 0800 GPO Box 4166 Darwin NT 0801 Editorial/ Advertising enquiries to Fiona Stutz: Telephone: 07 3839 7020 Toll Free: 1800 177 937 Fax: 07 3839 7021 Email: fstutz@qieu.asn.au Editor Mr Terry Burke IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Publications Officer/Journalist Fiona Stutz Printing: Rural Press (07) 3826 8200 Disclaimer: Advertising is carried in The Independent Voice in order to minimise costs to members and is paid at commercial rates. Such advertising does not in any way reflect endorsement or otherwise of the advertised products and/or services by IEUA-QNT. Copyright All articles remain the copyright of IEUA-QNT. Permission must be obtained before reprinting. ABN: 74 662 601 045

QLD Catholic Collective Negotiations The current collective agreements covering the various Catholic sectors in Queensland will expire on 30 June 2012. A discussion document to inform the development of the log of claims will be forwarded to Chapters in the next few weeks and to members who have provided an email address.As well the discussion document and feedback facility will be available on our website www.qieu.asn.au

President’s Report Improving member density through an active membership Recently I attended a professional development day run by our union, presented and developed by organisers of our union, which was titled ‘ReUnion your Chapter for Collective Bargaining’. Members from Queensland Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and Grammar schools participated in this day; it was an excellent opportunity for members whose collective agreements are coming up for negotiation to get together and revisit successes and identify upcoming challenges. In discussing recruitment we were reminded about the importance of being active in recruiting new members as this is essential for the strength of our union. As identified in a Unions@Work report “...unions do not grow stronger, and improve living standards, by getting smaller. The leading unions are looking for ways to grow, to boost their influence, to involve greater numbers of women and young people ...” The membership density of any of our sectors can clearly be improved.

With the upcoming collective agreement negotiations it is important that we focus on improving our membership density. This enables you to have a more significant say in what is occurring at your school and across your sector. During the session guest presenter Dr Natalie Skinner from the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia delivered a presentation ‘Work-life balance: What makes a difference and what to do about it’. The presentation was a timely reminder of why we do what we do, not just to improve pay of our members but to improve the work conditions and lives of our members. Some of the key findings found that there was a high work life conflict across all industries but particularly higher in the education and training industry. Some of the consequences of high work-life conflict for the individual is burn out, depression, stress, general health problems such as cardiovascular disease, also family strain and dysfunction. For the organisation it means greater absenteeism and turnover,

and lower job satisfaction and productivity. Dr Skinner and her colleagues identified some priorities for policy and practice, including: • Support working carers to support their young children or elderly parents with initiatives such as access to short and long term leave and paid parental leave including paternity leave on a “use it or lose it basis”; • Limit long hours with setting upper limits of 38 weekly hours as standard, no more than 45 hours, and requiring manageable workloads as this equates to manageable hours; • Support access to flexible working arrangements by recognising different needs at different life stages, opportunity to reduce/increase hours as caring responsibilities change over the life course, part-time work, job sharing, short and longer term changes in duties/role; and • Address workload/work intensity and reduce barriers to healthier more sustainable work practices. We have successfully negotiated some of these initiatives to improve

work life balance through recent collective agreements; however, it is imperative that we continue to improve the working conditions of education workers. As we prepare for the upcoming negotiations of the various collective agreements it is essential that we are able to speak strongly with a united voice and with a clear purpose about the issues that are relevant at our schools, in our sector and across our profession. We can only do that if we have a high density of membership within each sector. Our membership is more than 15,000 strong, but we need to continue to improve our density and this is done by active members in a well organised chapter in each work site.

Kind regards, Andrew Elphinstone IEUA-QNT President

Branch Secretary’s Report Workers Rights are Universal Rights IEUA members can be left in no doubt that the military dictatorship in Fiji is not a benign regime. The regime has consistently adopted intimidation tactics to install fear and deny human rights and workers’ rights in particular. In its latest outrage and attack on workers’ rights, the military regime published on 29 July a Decree that, if enacted, would violate international law and Fiji’s human rights obligations. The ‘Essential National Industries (Employment)” Decree removes all collective bargaining rights, curtails the right to strike, bans overtime payments and makes void existing bargaining agreements for workers in key sectors of the economy. The Decree also authorises employers in government designated enterprises to dictate working conditions and denies workers their right to a union (see story page 1).

education union in the region – was dismissed as a Head Teacher for having the temerity to call for democracy in Fiji at a community meeting. The President, Tevita Koroi, was subsequently arrested earlier this year and held in custody for a period of time in an apparent attempt to intimidate him. Showing a great deal more good grace than the military regime, Tevita invited the arresting military officers into his home for a discussion – and some kava – before going off into custody. The regime has also sought to silence public servants, including teachers, by a decree which would remove pension allowances from those deemed to speak against the regime. There is no right of appeal.

Teachers and education workers have long been affected by the regime’s decrees which have attacked their working rights and attempted to silence their union leaders.

In a more recent attempt to intimidate unions and their members, an instruction has been issued by the regime that staff noticeboards are not to have union representations on them and those noticeboards are to have no reference to or information about unions.

The President of the Council of Pacific Education – the peak

The regime’s Minister of Education has also advised the two education

unions in the week that they can only participate in Joint Consultative Committee meetings where ‘issues of quality of education in general can be discussed’. The unions are forbidden from participating ‘in any staff board or forum where matters of terms of conditions of employment, grievances, discipline, promotion, leave etc is discussed’. No permits will be issued for any meetings and any officer of the two education unions has to tender their resignation as either a teacher or union official immediately. The General Secretary of COPE cannot even meet with representatives of the two unions at the same time. IEUA members might cast their mind to what all this would mean in their workplace and experience. As a union member you would be unable to bargain for improvements in working conditions, you couldn’t hold a Chapter meeting let alone a meeting with your union organiser. You couldn’t put any union correspondence on a noticeboard. Your union officials couldn’t meet with you on an individual or collective issue

and your union officials couldn’t even meet with each other. And if you speak out about this intolerable lack of rights you might be deemed to be speaking against the regime and you would lose all your superannuation without any right of appeal. The Fiji military regime is not a benign regime. I urge you to participate in the Australia wide and international campaign to send a message to the Fiji military regime that its behaviour is unacceptable and for you to stand in solidarity with our Fijian union colleagues in their campaign to restore universal human and workers’ rights. Terry Burke IEUA-QNT Secretary tburke@qieu.asn.au


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August 2011

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Recognising the importance of school funding to the non-government sector Ahead of the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling second Issues Paper the IEUA continues as a union to take steps to advocate for appropriate levels of funding in the non-government education sector. In a further initiative the IEUA has now sent a letter to federal ALP politicians, making a strong case for the ALP to continue its long -standing commitment to funding the non-government education sector. The ALP was the architect of a progressive policy on school funding in the 1970s that provided levels of non-government school funding that supported schools, their employees and their families. The IEUA has affirmed to ALP members of parliament that the ALP’s current platform appropriately recognises the importance and role of the non-government education sector as well as a clear and fundamental commitment to the government school system. The current ALP National Platform acknowledges the need for “…investing in lifting the quality of all schools no matter which

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stream or system” and “the right of families to choose non-government schooling should be supported by public funding that reflects need and is consistent with the creations of a diverse and inclusive society.” IEUA members will follow up the correspondence to ALP politicians with IEUA member delegations in September where members will lobby federal politicians on the need for a fairer funding system and real funding increases for all schools. Members will meet with senators and members of parliament to urge them to commit to increases to school funding in both the government and non-government sectors, to provide more targeted funding for special needs and disadvantaged schools and to support these principles in policy development conversations in the coming weeks and at the ALP National Conference in December. A clear, fair and transparent funding policy is needed, with reference to a national resources standard for schools along with rigorous accountability provisions for all schools.

By guaranteeing funding certainty this will also see the protection of jobs for employees working in non-government schools and will provide confidence for the students and parents in these communities. It is imperative that a commitment is made by the federal government to guarantee no school loses money if any new funding regime is implemented and that more resources are provided to all schools. The IEUA in its correspondence also notes that it is unfortunate that the ACTU position on school funding is in danger of drifting to one that may be seen as more consistent to the Greens view which would see the demise of nongovernment school funding. The Greens policy position would to take Australia back to the stateaid divisions between secular and religious-based schools which plagued the nation before a Whitlam ALP government placed the provision of quality education and opportunity for all children, regardless of which school or system they were enrolled in, as the cornerstone of Commonwealth funding to schools.

The attempt to depict our sector as “overfunded”, catering to “elites” or “non-inclusive” is offensive and absurd in the context of over 34 per cent of students and over 40 per cent of secondary students being enrolled in non-government schools. We should not go backwards as a result of the funding review but

continue to build on the strengths of all streams in our school education system. IEUA member delegations will thus be vitally important to ensure ALP parliamentarians continue to support the principles that recognise the role of the non-government education sector.

Timeline to the Review of School Funding • 15 April 2010: The former Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, announced that a review of school funding arrangements would commence in 2010 and conclude end of 2011. The federal government would then consult and have the new funding arrangements delivered in time for the next funding period from 2013. This is the first time since 1973 that funding arrangements for all schools have been reviewed so fundamentally. • March 2011: The IEUA made a submission in to the Review of School Funding; in addition, IEUA members across the country collectively wrote submissions on the nature of their school and the needs of their students and forwarded these to the Review Panel. The Review Panel will make its recommendations to Parliament in

the near term. • July 2011: The IEUA remains concerned that the ACTU are in danger of adopting Greens policy which ceases school funding in the non-government sector and disaffiliates from the ACTU. • September 2011: IEUA members will meet with federal politicians to ensure that legislation which governs school funding provides opportunities for all Australian families to access high quality and well-funded nongovernment education. • End 2011: Recommendations will be made by the Review of School Funding Panel, with changes to the legislation which provides federal funding to schools to be considered and debated by both house of federal Parliament.

Productivity Commission Draft Report into ECE workforce

The Productivity Commission draft report into the early childhood education workforce has pointed to a chronic and systematic deficiency in recruiting and retaining staff, pointing to the need for additional funding to provide wages and conditions which attract and retain an appropriately qualified workforce. The report considers the current and future demands on the ECE workforce, the skills employees will require to meet new regulations, the current and future supply of the workforce, and the necessity of professional development planning. A key issue for the ECE sector is the recruitment and retention of staff, as employees in the sector have long been affected by low wages and poor conditions. As a result, the report conveys that ECE workers shoulder a considerable administrative and regulatory burden without being given appropriate recognition for their work. If the sector is to attract and retain its workforce, providing

above the outdated minimum award wages is the only way to do so. Negotiating a contemporary federal agreement through collective bargaining is essential to ensure that wages and conditions are protected. Unfortunately, the report outlines that certain ECE providers will be unable to provide the above-award wages necessary to retain and attract qualified staff. The changing standards, including the guidelines surrounding staff qualifications and program duration, will mean that many kindergartens will be unable to increase wages without increasing fees. The increased demand for qualified ECE workers will also mean that a large amount of training will need to be delivered in a short amount of time. This issue highlights the need for professional development programs to help ECE staff meet the new standards. This is particularly pertinent to rural and remote areas that already have severe issues in attracting and retaining staff. The report also raises the question over the viability of the government’s 15 hour educational

program which must be delivered within community kindergartens. The report states that “achieving this goal will require a considerable increase in…attendance rates and the number of hours…offered.” Implementing the lengthened kindergarten program will also be complicated by the need for additional staff with higher average levels of qualification, meaning that the cost of kindergarten services will increase considerably. Workforce supply, in the short term at least, will be unable to meet with demand; it could take some time for appropriate adjustments to be made.

The report highlights yet again that employees in the ECE sector are undervalued for the extensive work that they perform. Further, the cost impact of government requirements has not been factored into the funding provided by governments. To expect parents to shoulder these additional costs will work against the goal of higher participation by children in kindergarten education.

action of appropriate funding. Visit our union website at www.qieu.asn.au to access a sample letter to the Queensland Minister for Education which calls for adequate funding.

IEUA-QNT members have called on the Queensland government to evidence their support for the value of ECE through the

The final report on the Early Childhood Development Workforce will be delivered in October.

Key findings from the report include: • In order to meet targets outlined within government reforms, additional ECE workers will be required; • The average level of worker qualifications will need to increase;

commensurate with those of primary school teachers; • It is likely that it will take some time before the sector can meet this employee demand and as a result some of the skill regulations under the new standards will need to be temporarily waived;

• The wages of workers within the sector are expected to rise as a result of the above factors;

• Government timelines for reform are potentially overambitious;

• In order to lure highly qualified employees, wages must be

• The sector has a systemic deficiency in recruiting and retaining staff;

The draft report is accessible via the Productivity Commission’s website at http://www.pc.gov. au/projects/study/educationworkforce/early-childhood/draft.

• Professional development training is essential to ensure ECE staff can meet with the changing qualification standards; • The costs arising from increased staff labour will be shared by governments, but will most notably be passed onto parents through higher fees; and • Parents already under financial pressure will likely reduce their children’s participation in ECE programs due to cost increases.


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The Independent Voice

August 2011

Members in Action Members take part in Re-Union your Chapter training IEUA-QNT members better understand the importance of being involved in collective negotiations with the support of their Chapters after attending recent ReUnion your Chapter for Collective Negotiations training.

officer Wendy Gibney from St Edward’s Primary School said she decided to take part in the training day to keep up with union developments and to be given the opportunity to pass on information to her colleagues.

Members from throughout south east Queensland, Rockhampton and Cairns attended the one-day workshops to examine membership, membership density, the guiding role of the Chapter Executive during collective negotiations and to educate members in regard to Fair Work Australia legislation.

Wendy said she learnt that when approaching potential new members at her school it was best to listen and remain empathetic to their needs and concerns.

IEUA-QNT organiser Susan O’Leary said with collective bargaining begun or about to occur in a number of schools and sectors, the course provided timely assistance to members to ensure effective structures are developed in their Chapters and the importance of being vitally involved in collective negotiations. “The training days gave an opportunity for members to revisit the bargaining process, how to fully engage your Chapter, and how to plan for successful bargaining at the Chapter, Branch and sector level,” Susan said. During the training, members: • Strategically reviewed how to improve membership; • Built on sustaining networks within Chapters and Chapter Executives; • Developed an understanding of an educated membership during collective negotiations; • Interpreted the effective use of Chapter briefings and fact sheets; • Better understood the benefits of building whole of Chapter activities through planned and deliberate activities during bargaining; and • Identified their own Chapter’s preparedness, weaknesses and strategies to improve the effectiveness of the Chapter before and during bargaining. IEUA-QNT member and school

The day also allowed her to learn more about the common issues other Chapters also face and “to remain informed on the evolving issues in education and the safety and benefits of union membership.” Teacher and staff representative at Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, Susan Wirth, said the course reinforced her understanding and appreciation of a school working together collectively as a united group to support their Chapter during negotiations.

ABOVE: Sara Bruhott and Teresa McFadden from Lourdes Hill College and Joy Clelland from Clairvaux MacKillop College speak with IEUA-QNT organiser Susan O’Leary (right) at the recent Re-Union your Chapter for Collective Bargaining training in Brisbane

“I think it is very important for members to attend training days to ensure they understand Fair Work Australia legislation as it pertains to collective bargaining. As we are about to commence collective negotiations it is essential that this information is disseminated to ensure all members have a clear understanding to facilitate an active, united involvement,” Susan said. Roland Kowitz from Emmaus College, Jimboomba, said he would now be able to properly update membership information and establish the foundations to develop a strong network for his school. “This will mean talking with as many people as I can to evoke the solidarity that is needed,” he said. “Without training like today’s you don’t realise how important the individual is to the collective or the high level of support or work that is done to support members.”

ABOVE and ABOVE RIGHT: members from Rockhampton schools discuss the importance of being involved in collective negotiations during ReUnion your Chapter for Collective Negotiations training in August

ABOVE: Presenting on work/life balance at the Brisbane training day was Dr Natalie Skinner, Research Fellow at the University of South Australia Centre for Work + Life

ABOVE: Roland Kowitz from Emmaus College and Alison Clark from St Thomas’ School workshop ideas during the day

ABOVE LEFT : IEUA-QNT organiser Craig Darlington (right) is on hand to help Rae Morgan from St Peter’s Lutheran College Springfield, John Roberts from St Francis College and Craig Hirst from Trinity College

Brisbane IEUA-QNT members taking part in the training day

ABOVE: Andrew Elphinstone and Brett Gillett from Marist College Ashgrove and Naomi Chan from St Peter’s Primary School role play member to member conversations during the training day


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August 2011

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Members in Action IEUA-QNT members more aware of duty of care issues after attending legal seminar Duty of care responsibilities were the focus of discussion at a recent Legal Issues Seminar in Brisbane. Education law specialist Andrew Knott from Macrossans Lawyers discussed with members that all school employees, including teachers and school officers, have an obligation and duty of care to provide a safe work environment to all people who attend their school. Mr Knott recommended strategies to members to ensure duty of care could be easily met and spoke on legislative changes around notification duties of suspected abuse or harm of children. IEUA-QNT organiser Susan O’Leary said members were also made aware of the legal obligations for school officers with additional duties.

“In the current Catholic sector collective agreement the provision on ‘Range of Duties for Support Staff’ has enabled school officers to be allocated duties that typically would have been done by teachers,” Susan said. “Whilst this is a good thing in terms of additional responsibilites, it has placed some school officers in unfamilar roles or contexts where they need to have a greater understanding of duty of care and where employers should offer additional training and professional development.” She said members were eager to find out more and ask questions relating to when did duty of care finish in terms of after hours and student risk, and high risk contexts such as practical classes like Manual Arts, Hospitality and coaching sporting teams.

expecting higher standards of care by school staff, legal protection is vital when working in a school environment, Susan said.

With society increasingly

“Members were clearly shown that

there are many benefits of being a member of IEUA-QNT, including access to legal advice regarding work and school matters, as well as Public Liability Professional Indemnity Insurance cover.”

ABOVE: IEUA-QNT members from Metropolitan, Bayside, North Metropolitan and Moreton Branches are now more aware about their duty of care responsibilities after attending a recent Legal Issues Seminar

Importance of Industrial Relations training highlighted to members Townsville and Cairns IEUA-QNT members now have a clearer understanding of the contemporary industrial environment and common workplace issues following recent Industrial Relations in the Workplace training. Members were given the practical skills and knowledge for collectively addressing

school issues through the process of effective communication, negotiation and problem solving during the two-day union training sessions. Training covered industrial and professional issues in the education sector, including the Australian Curriculum, specific sector matters in particular early childhood education and the Catholic sector,

and Continued Professional Development accredited courses for teachers. Members were also educated about conflict resolution procedures to resolve workplace grievances and employees’ rights when meeting with the Principal. Organiser Patrick Meikle said the course provides members with an opportunity to learn practical hands-on skills to carry out their role as Chapter members effectively. “Our members play a key role

in school level consultation, negotiations and grievance solutions; industrial relations training helps to assist members with the relevant information and practical strategies to address these roles,” Patrick said.

ABOVE: Townsville members during IR training in June with IEUA-QNT organsier Wendy Hutchinson (right)

LEFT: Members from Cairns take part in training

FNQ branch meeting in Cairns IEUA-QNT members from Cairns considered current education issues which affect their schools during a recent Far North Queensland branch meeting. Members were briefed on the school officers reclassification and federal school funding campaigns, the ramifications of the Australian Curriculum, and were kept upto-date on upcoming collective bargaining rounds in the Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran sectors.

IEUA-QNT organiser Patrick Meikle said Exemplary Teacher and Experienced Teacher 6 (ET6) provisions, the current PAR Review in the Catholic sector and Workplace Health & Safety issues were also discussed. “Cairns members are committed to supporting these on-going campaigns and will continue to remain informed and provide feedback on these issues by attending branch meetings in the future,” Patrick said.

ABOVE: Cairns IEUA-QNT members keep up-to-date on important education issues at the Far North Queensland Branch meeting in June


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The Independent Voice

August 2011

Assistant General Secretary’s Report Catholic PARs consider alternative Middle Leadership structure A Joint Working Party (JWP), comprising employer and employee representatives, is currently reviewing the Queensland Catholic schools PAR structure. An Interim Report (released 30 June) makes recommendations for a contemporary Middle Leadership model, which has attempted to address the many deficiencies of the current arrangements. The recommendations contained in the Interim Report are not a fait accompli. Member consultation - Making progress Our union has been conducting extensive PAR consultations across the state. Members have been briefed about key changes contemplated in the JWP’s Interim Report, those matters not yet agreed have been identified – and, most importantly, PAR members’ views on the practical implications of the alternative model have been sought. PAR member feedback so far has been invaluable in identifying issue with the draft criteria for accessing the various Middle Leadership tiers, as contained in Table 2 of the Interim Report. In many reported instances, the draft criteria in Table 2 of the Interim Report defining the number of hours a curriculum area is taught, number of students a pastoral leader may be responsible for or numbers involved in a program area may inadvertently result in a reduction of financial allowance to existing PAR 3 and PAR 4 holders. On the basis of these insights employee representatives will advocate changes in the draft criteria, on the basis of member advice. PAR members’ are broadly supportive of the remaining aspects of the alternative model proposed. Have your say We invite you to have your say by completing the Member Response Form at www.qieu.asn.au – read the Interim Report, chapter briefings and other papers here also. Once again, we stress that the JWP’s recommendations will be a matter of

negotiation in the upcoming collective bargaining round - and ultimately subject to a vote of employees as part of that process. Foundational difference A PAR schedule for Queensland Catholic schools was first established around 20 years ago. In these initial negotiations, a significant employer commitment was achieved to spend the same amount of money on their PAR structure as that expended in a similar sized state school. However, the two sectors are clearly very different. A quick comparison of the different sector structures is that Catholic schools typically have many PARs, each individually on small time release and financial allowance (or a little to a lot); while state schools have fewer formal PARs, each individually on larger time release and financial allowance (or a lot to a few). Comparative research Research conducted by our union in 2006 identified some drift between the employer resourcing commitment and the reality. The result was negotiated enhancements to PAR points, Senior Admin arrangements and the introduction of Curriculum Co-ordination time in primary schools over the last two collective agreements. By 2013, Queensland Catholic Diocesan schools will have achieved a resource allocation of ‘at least parity’ with Queensland state schools for each school enrolment size. Religious Institute schools have already achieved this in the current collective agreement. Given the implementation of a new Senior and Middle Leadership structure in the state sector in 2009, and different application of percentage increases to management positions in the current collective agreement, this comparative cost research was again conducted taking account of salaries as at 1 July 2011. A further increase of 1–9 PAR points for secondary schools of various enrolment sizes were identified. These enhancements are accepted by the JWP as the basis

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for any alternative Middle Leadership structure proposed. Key changes contemplated There are a number of key changes contemplated in the JWP’s Interim Report: • Shift in philosophy of the model from “task-orientated” to “leadership” roles; • Three categories of Middle Leadership position: Curriculum Leader, Pastoral Leader and Program Leader. Responsibilities, attributes and typical duties for each new type of Middle Leadership role proposed have also been drafted (Table 3, 4 and 5, pages 20 – 36 of the Interim Report); • New unit value $2,000 of annual allowance plus one hour of weekly release time. The minimum number of units proposed for each school enrolment size has been detailed (Table 1, page 8 of the Interim Report). Nothing prevents the employer from allocating more units than the minimum; • Five tier structure of weekly time release and annual allowance, increasing with each level of responsibility and complexity entailed (see table below); • Complexity loading of one unit ($2,000 plus one hour of weekly release time) may be recommended by the School Consultative Committee where a position falls in the upper end of the criteria described, there is a special character necessitating additional release or if the release time is otherwise considered inadequate; • Ten per cent of total resources available to schools would be quarantined, in order to provide extra release time at projected pressure points of the school year or regularly each week. School Consultative Committee to recommend allocation of extra hours and the timing of use; • Middle Leaders can opt to cash out up to 50 percent of their annual allowance to ‘buy’ more weekly release time, to assist those with caring responsibilities or transitioning to retirement; • Tenure arrangements likely to move to 3 years + 3 years + 3 years,

maintaining same connection to existing trienniums and providing comparable arrangements with Principals and Senior Administration; • School Consultative Committee process significantly clarified and elevated; • Except in exceptional circumstances, and by mutual agreement, teachers should not hold more than one Middle Leadership role due to inherent workload pressures; • Payment for acting in a Middle Leadership role for less than four weeks; • Professional development on leading and managing people and departments; and • The development of a practical user-guide and a series of jointly presented information sessions for Principals, Senior and Middle Leaders and members of School Consultative Committees are agreed, once any alternative model is resolved.

• P-12 schools (and other nonstandard compositions); and • Resources available to Middle Leadership – Is it enough? Although resource needs are infinite in most school settings, available resources are not. There are considerable challenges in developing an effective PAR structure which meets the contemporary needs of schools and provides for appropriate remuneration and release for those who occupy the various PAR positions.

Exemplar Appraisal process(es) would be included in this document to complement the principles underpinning review / appraisal that are currently contained in the collective agreement.

This Joint Working Party presents the first real opportunity in two decades to review the PAR provisions from top to bottom. As always, your considered advice and valuable insights are appreciated as we progress this important issue.

Further discussion needed There are a few remaining issues that are yet to be resolved, including: • Transitional arrangements; • Primary Middle Leadership structure;

Ros McLennan Assistant General Secretary rmclennan@qieu.asn.au

Queensland Catholic schools and state schools - Comparative salaries Queensland Catholic arrangements, as at July 2011

ET 4 $77,806 PAR 1 $81,458* + 48 minutes weekly release PAR 2 $84,208* + 1.6 hours weekly release PAR 3 $86,958 + 2.4 hours weekly release PAR 4 $89,708 + 3.2 hours weekly release

Proposed Middle Leadership Structure (Secondary)

Education Queensland salaries, as at July 2011

Middle Leader 1.1 $81,806 + 2 hours weekly release

HOD Secondary (1 & 2 yr) $93, 671 HOD (3 & 4 yr) $96,097 HOD (5 & 6 yr) $98,395

Middle Leader 1.2 $83,806 + 3 hours weekly release Middle Leader 2 $85,806 + 4 hours weekly release

HOC Primary (1 & 2 yr) $89,379 HOC (3 & 4 yr) $91,698 HOC (5 & 6 yr) $93, 671

Middle Leader 2 (complexity loading) $87,806 + 5 hours weekly release Middle Leader 3 $89,806 + 6 hours weekly release Middle Leader 3 (complexity loading) $91,806 + 7 hours weekly release Middle Leader 4 $93,806 + 8 hours weekly release Middle Leader 4 (complexity loading) $93,806 + 9.65 hours weekly release Middle Leader 5 $93,806+ 11.3 hours weekly release

Explanatory Notes: The above Catholic projected salaries assume ET 4 classification level of PAR * PAR 1 & 2 payment is often $84,420 in practice, where ET 6 status is applied for and achieved.

St Patrick’s College, Mackay CAIRNS

ROCKHAMPTON

TOWNSVILLE

BRISBANE


The Independent Voice

August 2011

7

Assistant General Secretary/Treasurer’s Report

Performance Pay versus Acknowledgement of Accomplished Teachers The lead article of the last The Independent Voice, (July 2011, Vol.11, No.4) entitled The Realities of Performance Pay outlined the serious defects in the federal government’s proposed performance pay for teachers. The federal government’s proposal of a quoted system aimed at rewarding (in 2014) the 25,000 ‘best’ teachers in Australia are based on the results of, amongst other things: • Lessons observations; • Students performance data (including such things as NAPLAN results); • Parental feedback; • Contribution to extra-curricular and student support; and • Professional development and qualifications. This proposal is seriously flawed. Such an approach fails to understand or promote good and effective teaching and good and effective teachers who number far more than 25,000 across Australia and who are not and cannot be identified by shallow and populist identification mechanisms. The application of a quota on the number of teachers who can receive the one-off government bonus immediately renders the vast majority of the teaching profession unable to receive the bonus. International evidence demonstrates that paying teachers based on student test scores does not work and is inimical to school harmony and effectiveness. The RAND Corporation, for example, a non-profit, nonpartisan institution that addresses policy and decision making across a wide range of subjects through research and analysis, recently released a press statement (18 July 2011) entitled New York City School-Based Financial Incentives Program Did Not Improve

Student Achievement or Affect Reported Teaching Practices. The press statement referred to a program conducted from 2007 to 2010 in which nearly 200 New York high-needs public schools participated in a Schoolwide Performance Bonus Program. This program was designed to improve student performance through school-based financial incentives for teachers.

by many teachers as more salient than financial rewards. Our union rejects the notion of rewarding teachers according to student outcomes and further rejects the practice of placing teachers in competition and rivalry with each other to achieve a reward. As education professionals we must reject the notion and practice of rewarding and ranking teachers based on popularity or student performance measures as they are divisive, subject to patronage and

The most effective schools create a collegial environment of shared expertise and support for colleagues. As stated previously, any model that takes away the incentive or creates a disincentive for teachers to support and assist each other, share experience and skillsinstead encouraging then to keep their resources and knowledge to themselves in a race to (demonstrate) superiority is counterproductive and demeaning to professional educators and the profession more generally.

and adversarial relationships amongst staff. A genuine commitment to recognising accomplished teachers by employers and governments requires a commitment to ongoing resourcing including funding of such a model. The success of such an initiative is dependent upon the support of all who will participate in and /or be affected by it including teachers and their union/s, employing authorities, administrators and the community.

The RAND Corporation review “International evidence demonstrates that Our union of the program paying teachers based on student test believes that the found that inter acknowledgement alia: scores does not work and is inimical to of accomplished • Overall, the school harmony and effectiveness.” teachers must be on All teachers are potentially program had no the basis of agreed accomplished teachers and all positive effects on student achievement at any lacking in anything but superficial criteria and the mechanism for teachers should be fully supported acknowledgement should be fair and encouraged by their employers grade level. Researcher analysis objectivity. and colleagues to become and impartial. of student achievement on the accomplished teachers. state’s accountability tests found no The IEUA-QNT has in the past positive effects overall for students and continues to support the Common sense would suggest and attending elementary, middle or recognition and acknowledgement international research demonstrates The mechanism for identifying K-8 schools in years one through of accomplished teachers in t h a t q u o t a s u n d e r m i n e t h e and acknowledging accomplished collegiality and the collaborative teachers should be valid, fair and three, and for high school students schools. approach which characterises the just. during the first two years of the We continue to argue for recognition work of teachers. program; Paul Giles • The program did not lead to arrangements that provide teachers Assistant General Secretary/ improvements on elementary, with opportunities for more varied, Competing with colleagues leads to Treasurer middle and high school progress fulfilling and better paid jobs, an unproductive work environment report scores. The study found increase collegial support no statistically significant differences between colleagues in schools between scores of Schoolwide and improve the educational Performance Bonus Program opportunities for students. treatment and control schools and between schools that participated Good and effective teachers, Aspiring Principals, Deputy Principals, HODs, Teachers in Schoolwide Performance good and effective education B o n u s P r o g r a m e a c h y e a r and good and effective schools ( r e g a r d l e s s o f r a n d o m exist where teachers and the assignment) and other eligible school community collegially and constructively work schools; FOR CRITERIA WRITING AND INTERVIEW • Researchers found no differences together and collaboratively are now available for purchase and immediate download between the reported teaching engage in regard to planning, practices, effort and attitudes preparation, delivery and Principals - $165 i Senior Managers - $135 of teachers in treatment schools assessment of students’ work Middle Managers - $135 i Teachers - $99 and those of the control group; and achievement. and For further details and to order please go to • Other accountability incentives Such shared activity lifts - such as receiving a high progress t h e p e r f o r m a n c e o f a l l report grade or achieving adequate s t u d e n t s w h o a r e t h e Tel 0411245415 i Email teachers-resumes@bigpond.com yearly progress targets- and direct beneficiaries of the Teachers’ Professional Résumés i ABN 40 833 718 673 intrinsic motivation were deemed collaborative environment.

Considering promotion? Seeking a teaching position?

ONLINE PACKAGES

www.teachers-resumes.com.au

Townsville Women Educators Union Conference Teachers and school officers working in non-government schools and early childhood education are being encouraged to attend the Women Educators Union Conference, to be held in Townsville on 11 October. Through a focus on ‘Education, Action and Equity’, the conference

provides an opportunity for women collaboratively to consider a wide range of contemporary professional and employment matters. Dr Cathy Day (Director, Townsville Catholic Education Office) will present the Keynote Address, sharing her leadership journey, mentors, influences and

opportunities for women in schools. A range of well credentialed, experienced education professionals will contribute to a lively panel discussion on the topic ‘Career paths in education: Are they always up?’ The conference also includes four workshop sessions, enabling participants to tailor professional learning to those matters most

relevant to their own classroom practice, professional interest or areas of highest need. Three distinct workshop streams include: • Professional – addressing current and ongoing challenges faced by school staff; • Leadership and Equity – advocating the removal of barriers to women’s access to opportunities

at work; and • Well-being – working to achieve supportive workplaces promoting women’s health and well-being. Download the Registration Form and Workshop Selection Form on our website www. qieu.asn.au and return them to IEUA-QNT by 16 September.


8

The Independent Voice

August 2011

Northern Territory News NT Professional Issues Conference 2011 The introduction of the Australian Curriculum was high on the agenda for members at the second annual Northern Territory Professional Issues Conference in August.

is the fact that we had really highly skilled professionals all in the one day, in the one place providing a snapshot on current educational perspectives.”

The Conference: • incorporated how the implementation of the Australian Curriculum will affect Northern Territory members; • discussed how ‘culture’ can be incorporated in the classroom; • provided practical skills to provide high quality early childhood education; • highlighted the new Australian Science Curriculum for F-10; and • offered strategies on how to respond positively in special needs education.

Rachael Muller from Nyangatjatjara College said the session she attended on culture had changed her perception and would have an impact on the way she would teach and implement the new Australian curriculum.

The Essington School teacher Kellie-Anne Hedifen said she found the Conference professionally rewarding. “It was good to have some clarity around the Australian Curriculum and what has been happening behind the scenes.” Sarah Sarmardin from Holy Family Primary School said “the best thing

IEUA-QNT organiser Camille Furtado said members were enthusiastic about the range of topics, with all sessions validating the good work teachers are already doing while provoking different perspectives and ideas on what they can further adopt in the classroom. All presentations have given Conference participants improved knowledge and better understanding to prepare for the challenges of the future. The Conference concluded with a dinner to celebrate a year of achievements.

Lon Wallis awarded Judith Cooper Award

TOP: IEUA-QNT members take part in a session during the Northern Territory Professional Issues Conference ABOVE: St Mary’s Primary School members Honor La’Porte, Rachel Butt, and Lynette Taylor with Edith Cowan Univeristy Associate Professor Bob Jackson

Collective bargaining update: Lutheran sector Positive negotiations for a replacement collective agreement continue for Lutheran sector employees. Numerous conditions have been agreed to in principle, including paid maternity leave of 14 weeks, the implementation of a school officer matrix based on the South Australian model, confirmation of the portability of long service and sick leave within Lutheran schools and primary release for schools under 200 students to increase to two hours and those greater than 200 students to 2.5 hours. During the recent Single Bargaining Unit the employer tabled a wages position which set out quantums paralleling teacher public sector wage levels but which were delayed in comparison to the public sector.

Employee representatives have also questioned the nature of the access mechanisms, noting no public sector equivalent requirements exist, the imposition of tenure, the use of the term ‘Leading Teacher’ when the criteria are essentially those of the existing AST, and the lack of apparent access to higher rates of pay for very experienced teachers to parallel the public sector. The employer also tabled a position which introduced concepts from the Modern National Award into existing Hours of Duty provisions. Employee representatives indicated that clarification was needed in an hours of duty provision around such matters as: workload cap; compensation for camp participation and

heavy time commitment co-curricular; the components of co-curricular; averaging of hours; contact/non-contact; the interaction of Modern National Award provisions and pre-existing provisions; and timeframes for site level determination of workplace agreement. Employer representatives have provided some clarifications for consideration and employee representatives will consider these as part of their development of a comprehensive further draft for negotiation. Both employee and employer representatives were hopeful to develop a proposed agreement to be considered for endorsement in the near future. A further SBU is scheduled for 7 September in Darwin.

Lon Wallis, Senior Vice President of the IEUA-QNT Branch Executive (top right), has been awarded the Judith Cooper Award for his outstanding contribution as a union activist. Presented with the award at the Northern Territory Professional Issues Conference Dinner by Judith Cooper (centre), former Branch Secretary for the Northern Territory Independent School Staff Association at the Northern Territory Professional Issues Conference, Lon was recognised with the award for working diligently and tirelessly to assist members, acting with integrity while promoting member education and networking at the Chapter level. Branch Executive member Nuala Cullen was also nominated for the award. The award was established in 2010 to honour the instrumental role Judith Cooper played in the establishment of a union in the Northern Territory.

IAL

OR ERT ADV

REAL TEACHING SOLUTIONS

Real Teaching Solutions is a new website offering help and advice for teachers in Training, Graduates, Beginning Teachers, Relief Teachers, Returning Teachers and Members of Administration who deal with these groups as they are integrated into schools. The four retired and semi-retired teachers contributing to the eBooks available on the site have a combined teaching experience of over 160 years. They felt that rather than fade away and allow their experience to be lost on the golf course or the bowling green, they should work to pass on their expertise to young teachers entering and continuing in the noble profession.

Titles are listed under the headings of Assessment; Classroom Practice; Mathematics; Teaching Strategies; Technology; The Relief Teacher; The Young, New or Trainee Teacher and Whole School. Available already under Classroom Practice, for example, are eBooks such as Classroom Management; Discipline Handbook; Guides for Teaching; The Absent Teacher and The Question Book. Other titles are under development. To access this invaluable experience from those who have been ‘at the chalk face’ visit realteachingsolutions. com

SUPPORT FOR YOUNG TEACHERS, RELIEF TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATION For practical advice in all classroom situations, go to:

realteachingsolutions.com


The Independent Voice

August 2011

9

Sector Matters Seventh Day Adventist schools Seventh Day Adventist members have sought a majority support determination from Fair Work Australia to compel the employer to negotiate a new collective agreement in good faith. SDA members are disappointed the employer is continuing to refuse to respect the wishes of employees by failing to renegotiate a replacement collective agreement; instead the employer claims that they “remain committed to the existing collective agreement” which is now expired. To show their support for this process employees have conducted

meetings, written to the employer about commencing negotiations and have sent signed petitions asking them to bargain. Attempts to start dialogue with management about this issue has been rejected. IEUA-QNT growth team organiser Nick Holliday said employees have no choice but to seek a majority support determination. “Provided 50 per cent of staff plus one person at a school site signs this petition then Fair Work Australia can legally compel the employer to negotiate with staff,” Nick said.

ELICOS sector Shafston International College Employees at Shafston International College have questioned the payment of their superannuation contributions following an investigation that suggested payments are not being made on time and that amounts paid may be incorrect. IEUA-QNT has conducted a time and wages inspection which is currently under audit to ensure that our members are receiving the correct entitlements. This dispute demonstrates yet again that employees in the ELICOS sector need to be vigilant about their conditions. Without the collective action of members within our union, this issue would not have undergone the necessary scrutiny. Our union is committed to ensuring that workplace conditions are elevated to a standard commensurate with the duties performed by our members.

“This means that each of the individual colleges can negotiate directly with the employer, provided that the majority of staff at the school would like to bargain. “Seeking a Majority Support Determination is the only way to advance the collective bargaining process to achieve parity of conditions at Seventh Day Adventist schools.” Without a replacement collective agreement, teachers in SDA schools are missing out on conditions that are a community standard across the education sector, such as: • 14 weeks paid maternity leave; • Two weeks paid paternity leave;

NAVITAS A log of claims has been prepared for endorsement by employees following the recent expiration of NAVITAS’ collective agreement. Once the employee log of claims is endorsed, a meeting with management will be sought to begin discussions for a replacement collective agreement. NAVITAS members are seeking enhanced workplace conditions in order to attract and retain the current level of highquality and dedicated staff. IES Negotiations have been finalised at IES following the collective action of members. Under the new agreement, wages have been increased, an enhanced paid parental leave initiative has been outlined, and a commitment has been made to developing a new Senior Teacher classification level. Members are now monitoring the implementation of the agreement through the consultative committee.

• commitments to limits on hours of duty; • commitments around taking into account the impact of class sizes on workload; • enhanced access to job share and part time employment; • release time for Positions of Responsibility; and • limits on the use of fixed-term contracts. Support staff at SDA schools are currently only covered by the Federal Award which provides the lowest conditions allowed by law. As such support staff in SDA schools are missing out on standard conditions such as: • Wage rates of up to $10,000 per

Browns Management at Browns sought to halt negotiations with staff following an initial meeting, on the basis that negotiations are costly and time consuming. However, members have passed a motion rejecting this stance and are seeking a further meeting. Our members have once again demonstrated the importance of a collective voice in developing workplace conditions and the necessity of implementing a collective agreement to maintain high standards. Embassy: Negotiations are continuing at Embassy after staff recently voted in an overwhelming majority against a proposed two per cent wage increase; agreeing to the increase would have halted any negotiations regarding other workplace conditions. Employees are seeking further discussions with the employer to bring about a new collective agreement that will provide a fairer outcome for all employees.

Students sign on as associate members

Rockhampton Girls Grammar School Members from Rockhampton Girls Grammar School will be able to access additional pay levels for experienced teachers to ensure parity with their non-government school colleagues, as an outcome of current negotitations for a new collective agreement. After more than two years of negotiations, the new experienced teacher classification will apply from 1 July 2011. Negotiations have also outlined other enhanced conditions for employees, including: • enhanced maternity leave provisions; • 17 per cent pay increase over the life of the agreement for all employees; and • annualisation of salaries for school officers.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Griffith University Gold Coast education students were given important information and advice on joining IEUA-QNT from union officers at recent market days. Of those students who attended the days and visited the IEUA-QNT information stall, 260 were recruited as associate members of our union. Lead organiser Nick Holliday said many of the students recognised our union and approached the growth

ABOVE and RIGHT: Students from the Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University Gold Coast sign on as associate members of IEUA-QNT with the help of IEUA-QNT growth team organisers Pauline Elphinstone (above left) and Neren Christie (far right)

annum above the Award; • A classification structure that recognises and rewards the work that support staff do; • Recognition of higher duties and higher qualifications; • Specialised Care Allowances for teacher aides providing assistance to high-needs students; • Special Project Allowances for support staff undertaking designated additional duties; • The ability for term-time support staff to bank hours to be paid during holidays; • Paid parental leave in parity with teaching staff (14 weeks/two weeks); and • Limits on the use of fixed term contracts, providing job security.

team organisers to sign up as associate members and to discuss the benefits of membership. “Some students were already associate members and showed a high level of engagement with our program, mentioning our previous presentations at the universities and our union publications such as the Associate Outlook newsletter. “Obviously our associate member program is reaching students and informing them about our work as a union in the sector,” Nick said.


10

The Independent Voice

August 2011

PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN EDUCATION

Implementing the Australian Curriculum F-10 Time allocations and entitlement Teachers and schools have been seeking clear advice about time allocations and learning area requirements in relation to implementing the Australian Curriculum.

(MCEECDYA) a draft of indicative time allocations, based on the assumption there are 1,000 hours of teaching time per year (25 hours per week over 40 weeks per year), has been accepted for use.

To date, all time allocations in the school program provided by ACARA have been referred to as indicative times for the use of the curriculum writers to give them some idea of the amount of content to include. These times were not to be translated into “timetable” times.

Needless to say, not all schools operate to these hours. The following table (below) shows the indicative times that curriculum writers at ACARA are working to.

From the outset, ACARA maintained that these indicative times show the relative emphasis of learning areas across the stages of schooling and that Australian curriculum should not exceed 80 per cent of the available teaching time in schools. Since the July meeting of the Ministerial Council for Education Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs

ACARA has always been clear that indicative times show the relative emphasis that should be placed on learning areas across the stages of schooling and that further decisions about time allocations should be made by school sectors and individual schools. Schools will need to start with basic number of weeks available and then take into consideration those things that take away from this time; such as public holidays, studentfree days and days for religious

celebrations, sports carnivals and so on, NAPLAN testing, and, in some schools, differing finishing times for different year levels. The table clearly shows that the discretionary or “unallocated” time will be a minimum of 20 per cent of total available teaching time. For some schools this may not be sufficient to meet the time demands for the variety of activities routinely undertaken and expected by parents and students. These are complex matters to be resolved. The Queensland Studies Authority has published a very informative paper on their website (www.qsa. qld.edu.au/9188.html) that comes to the following conclusion: The investigation of time allocation and the entitlement has identified the following key issues that should inform the development of advice for schools. • What constitutes a school year and, hence, the available teaching

time? • Does the amount of unallocated time realistically meet the time required for schools to continue to offer their curriculum (that is, using the QSA definition that curriculum is the sum total of the teaching and learning in classrooms and other learning environments)? • How can schools ensure balance across the curriculum and cover all components of the learning areas? • What is the advice is[sic] about entitlement?

Indicative times for writers (the Australian Curriculum should not exceed 80% of the available teaching time) Learning Area Subject Year K Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year9 Year 10 In Brief: English 27% 27% 27% 22% 22% 20% 20% 12% 12% 12% 12% • The indicative Mathematics 18% 18% 18% 18% 18% 16% 16% 12% 12% 12% 12% t i m e s a r e Science 4% 4% 4% 7% 7% 7% 7% 10% 10% 12% 12% History 2% 2% 2% 4% 4% 4% 4% 5% 5% 5% 5% p rov i d e d a s Humanities and Social Sciences Geography 2% 2% 2% 4% 4% 4% 4% 5% 5% 5%* 5%* percentages of Economics, 2% 2% 2% 2% 5%* 5%* total teaching Business Civics and 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2%* 2%* time and are Citizenship d e v e l o p e d The Arts 4% 4% 4% 5% 5% 5% 5% 8% 8% 8%* 8%* t o g u i d e Health & PE 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% The equivalent of 5% per year 8% 8% 8%* 8%* c u r r i c u l u m Languages Technologies Design 4%* 4%* writers only. Tech 2% 2% 2% 4% 4% 6% 6% 8% 8% • Decisions ICT 4%* 4%* 72% 72% 72% 79% 79% 79% 79% 80% 80% 49% 49% about the actual PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL organisation TIME ALLOCATED PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL and delivery TIME UNALLOCATED 28% 28% 28% 21% 21% 21% 21% 20% 20% 51% 51% of curriculum, including opportunities for integration learning more quickly and others • 1% equates to approximately 10 are best taken at the school level. needing more time. hours per year. • The time taken for individual students • The estimated percentages assume • * Indicates that the Australian to learn a body of knowledge, a total of 1000 hours of teaching time curriculum will be developed on the understanding and skill will vary each year (25 hours of teaching time assumption that the curriculum could signi icantly, with some students each week; 40 weeks/year). be taught as an elective.

What is increasingly clear for members of our union is that there is a long way to go before schools will be ready to implement the Phase One Australian Curriculum F-10. Members continue to report, in the vast majority of cases, that they are not aware of a coherent, documented plan for implementation and so are naturally reluctant to undertake the preparation of new units of work, given that they cannot be sure that these will fit into the ultimate scheme of things. This is further complicated by the fact

that the F-10 achievement standards will not be validated until the end of October this year, and are unlikely to be published before November. While it might be possible to dip the toe into these new curriculum waters, to go further at this stage seems to risk wasting valuable time if work produced now does not align well with achievement standards or if there is not sufficient time to deliver the work developed. It is also increasingly clear that each school will have to develop and implement its own individual plan. For this to be effective, a genuinely collaborative approach will be necessary with strong leadership from a curriculum team willing to work with teachers, guide them effectively through the provision of a clear, precise and detailed implementation plan. An implementation plan should include the provision of appropriate resources for professional development (where necessary) and time for collaborative planning, including cross-curricular and cross-year level coordination. As many collective agreements contain a clause relating to the development of a workload impact statement when considerable change is to be implemented in schools, this would seem to be the obvious place to start.

New funding to increase Indigenous teacher numbers The federal government’s announcement of additional funds to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers in Australian schools is a positive first step in supporting Indigenous educators. Our union supports all actions taken to encourage Indigenous people to pursue teaching careers

and strategies put in place to retain Indigenous people in education. IEUA policy has long argued for governments and school systems to commit resources to funding and supporting Indigenous educators to undertake teacher training. The IEUA also recognises that the embedding of professional development and training, along with an understanding of how to

develop and implement a culturally relevant and flexible learning program is required. IEUA policy urges that teacher education programs need to ensure that graduate teachers have: • Studied Indigenous history and cultures; • Recognised relevant issues for Indigenous students and school communities;

• Developed effective teaching and learning strategies to meet the needs of Indigenous students; and • Developed strategies for the full inclusion of Indigenous students in the educational life of schools. In relation to employment and staffing there is a need to ensure that industrial agreements provide working conditions attractive to Indigenous people. Governments

and employers need to ensure that family and cultural obligations of Indigenous staff are recognised and embraced, with a view to overcoming the cultural isolation of Indigenous staff. Additionally, governments and employers need to commit additional resources to recruit and retain classroom teachers and leaders working in geographically isolated Indigenous schools and communities.


The Independent Voice

August 2011

11

PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN EDUCATION Government rethinks plans for pre-registration testing

Final year education students Kate Ansell, Samantha Finch and Tami Lucas discuss concerns about the implementation of the QCT pre-registration test with IEUA-QNT organiser Patrick Meikle at the recent JCU Cairns campus Professional Experience Week

IEUA-QNT associate members have voiced their concerns about the implications of the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) plan for pre-registration testing for aspiring primary school teachers. As with many other government driven initiatives in education, this requirement was put in place before the apparatus to implement the test was in place. For students who were to graduate before the end of 2011, the initial plan and time frame meant that they could not apply for work until they had undertaken the test, which had been planned for November 2011 (at the earliest). These students had also been informed that it could take up to five weeks to process the results of the test. Furthermore, it became clear that the test might not be available in the regions, making it financially impossible for some graduates to sit the test due to travel and accommodation costs. However, the collective action to voice their concerns and to engage with their unions to bring these matters to the attention of the QCT and the

Minister of Education, Cameron Dick, has resulted in a sensible outcome for all concerned. At a State Government Estimates Committee hearing on 15 July, Minister Dick explained that the introduction of the test would be delayed by six months and that universities and centres of higher education had agreed to administer the test through the initial teacher training process. The QCT will remain responsible for the test content and access to the test will be assured for persons applying for teacher registration who are not Queensland higher education students. The Minister said the model of administering the test would be ‘rigorous and sustainable but also affordable’ and reiterated that he wanted to ensure that the test ‘is affordable for students.’ IEUA-QNT congratulates those students who stood together to address this issue that affected their livelihood. It is one of the best lessons that beginning teachers can learn: working with their union collective does bring results. Miriam Dunn IEUA-QNT Research Officer

On task: Teacher Education Implementation Taskforce The Queensland government has established the Teacher Education Implementation Taskforce (TEIT) to address the outcomes from the Review of Teacher Education and School Induction in Queensland conducted as part of the Flying Start for Queensland Children initiative. The review, conducted in 2010 and led by Professor Brian Caldwell and David Sutton, produced two reports to government. The reports made a total of 65 recommendations about content of preparation programs, the practical experience trainee teachers receive, the level and duration of pre-service programs, admissions requirements; school/teacher education institution partnerships; induction to the profession and peer mentoring; and evaluating the preparedness of graduates for professional practice. Many of these recommendations require action by key stakeholders. For implementation, they will need further consultation and negotiation between these parties. It is the role of the Taskforce to develop an implementation plan which is supported and able

to be progressed by relevant stakeholders and to monitor the implementation of recommendations supported by the government for immediate adoption. Many members of our union have expressed concerns about the nature of preservice education in our schools and the often unrealistic demands placed on teachers who undertake the important task of supervising and mentoring pre-service teacher students. Even though the work has just begun for this Taskforce, it is clear from the outset that appropriate resources need to be provided to teacher education institutions and schools to ensure that the benefits that the recommendations point to can be achieved. The Taskforce is made up of representatives from our union, the QTU, Queensland Catholic Education Commission, Independent Schools Queensland, Queensland College of Teachers, Education Queensland, Deans of Education Forum and Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Committee.

On the al Nation Front

What’s happening at AITSL?

With many teachers necessarily focusing their attention on the implementation of the Australian Curriculum, it may be that other agenda items on the national front are overlooked. However, it is important to keep up to date with developments concerning professional standards, national registration and the flow on to professional development requirements and possibilities that arise from this. The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) came into being on 1 January 2010. Its priorities are outlined in a “Letter of Expectation’ from the Commonwealth Minister for Education. AITLS has responsibility for “national professional standards, fostering and driving high quality professional development for teachers and school leaders and working collaboratively across jurisdictions and engaging with key professional bodies.” To date they have produced the National Professional Standards for Teachers, and more recently the National Professional Standards for Principals. The Teachers’ Standards describe professional capability at four career stages: Graduate (where provisional registration is applicable), Proficient (where one moves from provisional to full teacher registration) and two additional levels, Highly Accomplished and Lead. How these latter stages are to be attained by teachers has yet to be determined; however, AITSL has developed a Professional Learning Flagship Program: Leading Curriculum Change which aims to provide teachers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to plan for, support and lead curriculum change, including school level implementation of the Australian Curriculum. It would appear that this would support access to Lead Teacher status. Classroom teachers with curriculum change leadership responsibility in a school are the primary audience for this flagship program. Up to 2,000 teachers from all sectors, levels of schooling, and states and territories will be able to participate in the first round of the program. The program will be designed and delivered online to support all teachers, including those in rural and remote school communities. It will provide direct access to highly regarded national and international experts, academics, practitioners and literature.

It will also provide opportunities for national professional conversations through interactive online communities of practice. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to accrue credit for appropriate post graduate courses. AITSL and a team from the University of Queensland, led by the Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning, are working closely together to design and develop this program. All teachers who have a formal or informal responsibility for leading curriculum change in their schools are eligible for this program. For more information about this program, including the option to lodge an expression of interest in participating in the program, visit www.aitsl.edu.au/lcc . There is, as yet, no news on the process to achieve “national consistency in teacher registration.” What is clear is that the national standard is likely to be less rigorous in the demands it places on teachers in at least some areas than is currently the case in both Queensland and the Northern Territory. For example, in Queensland the requirement for 150 hours of professional learning over a five year period is substantially higher that the 100 hours that has been spoken of as a possible national requirement. If the desire is for a true national consistency, then the application of additional burdens on teachers in some jurisdictions is contrary to this goal. There is, too, the drive for a system of national accreditation of pre-service teacher education courses to ensure greater consistency of quality across the nation. While this work is in fairly early stages, it is yet again, a process that our union will continue to monitor closely. In particular the demands that are placed on teachers who supervise and mentor pre-service teachers need to be addressed so that this important work can be appropriately valued within the system, in particular, that appropriate time allocations are indicated for supervising teachers to engage with their pre-service teacher students in a professional and mutually profitable way. There is indeed a great deal happening in relation to the national education agenda and our union continues to monitor developments and advocate for appropriate outcomes for our members.


12

The Independent Voice

August 2011

The Independent Voice

August 2011

13

Recognise, Reclassify and Reward School Officers ISE

R E C O GSNS I F Y RECLAARD REW

School officer’s take next steps in campaign

er s

IEUA-QNT school officers have formally lodged requests for reclassification with their employers to ensure wage justice and appropriate recognition for their contribution to schools during School Officer Action Week at the end of August.

Sc hool Offic

During the action week, from 22 to 26 August, school officers collectively lodged formal requests for reclassification of their school officer positions, where their revised position description points to a higher level of responsibility, autonomy and complexity. Chapters also undertook a range of activities during the School Officer Action Week in support of their school officer members, including wearing campaign stickers, holding chapter meetings to ensure employers were aware of their responsibilities to correctly classify school officer positions and encouraging school officers to join IEUA-QNT as a member. By taking part in the action

Cam

week activities, all members let their employer know there is deep and widespread support for school officers and they need to recognise this, reclassify where appropriate and reward school officers for their skills and contributions.

‘Sign up Stand Up’ day, reclassification training and updating of position descriptions have all provided members with the opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with their colleagues to ensure they are recognised and rewarded through reclassification.

The Recognise, Reclassify and Reward campaign has so far equipped school officers with the knowledge to analyse their roles and develop position descriptions that best reflect the scope of their work in a contemporary school setting. Many school officers have attended union training sessions as part of the campaign and gained valuable insight into how accurate position descriptions are written. Armed with this knowledge school officers have acted to ensure their positions are reclassified accordingly and are recognised with remuneration reflecting their range of diverse skills, qualifications and experience. However, many employers have been inattentive to the developing nature of school officer positions

IEUA-QNT school officer members Steve Blacklow, Bernadette Murray, Angie Sims, JulieAnne Crosby and Ian Hughes reflect on why school officers should be recognised and the importance of the campaign.

ABOVE: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart school officer members Rosaline Fujii, Christine Benjamin, Jenny Kairupan-Vellis and Claire Thompson attend school officer training on Thursday Island in June

and have failed to ensure that position descriptions accurately reflect current roles. This can result in inadequate classification and thence inadequate remuneration for affected school officers. The onus now remains with the employer to recognise the work school officers do, reclassify where appropriate and ensure fair reward.

ABOVE: All Hallows’ School school officers Cathy Clem, Flo Schulz, Maun Collins and Trish Sydes look forward to celebrating the action week

or y paign hist

School Officer campaign in 2001 In 2001 a comprehensive sector-wide member campaign was endorsed by QIEU members to support school officers in their fight for fair and just working conditions. In the mid-1990s when industrial legislation diminished the role of awards, employing authorities refused to consider an Award variation and argued that collective bargaining was the appropriate process. However, they then promptly refused to negotiate the matter in bargaining negotiations. Union members and school officers in particular had had enough of the employer strategy to frustrate long-overdue revision of wages and classification structures. Union members had long recognised the inadequacies of the classification structure and

wage rates in the School Officers’ Award, established in 1994. The key concerns were: • A range of positions not reflected adequately in the Award Classification structure; • The structure did not provide a classification level for highly skilled and/or qualified employees’; • The wage levels were not comparable to those undertaking similar work, especially to those in the government sector; and • The level of skills and responsibility required by the employer had grown beyond what employees were appointed to do, which was also not reflected in a revised classification of the position. This then began a union-wide campaign, supported by union Chapters including teachers and school officer members, to recognise the value of school officers in schools. Members endorsed motions calling

IEUA-QNT school officers across the various sectors have overwhelmingly supported the ‘Recognise, Reclassify and Reward’ campaign to ensure school officers achieve a just and fair recognition and reward for their contribution in schools.

on the employer to enter into meaningful negotiations for an adequate classification structure.

where a rally of members let their voice be heard during the first day of hearings (see photo below).

Member action such as celebratory morning teas were held throughout schools to highlight the campaign in appreciation of the work school officers do.

The QIRC hearing heard evidence from nearly 30 school officers which underlined the need for a fair and just classification structure.

Branch meetings, coloured shirt wearing days and a state-wide petition was also launched to gather support. The school officer claim was then taken to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC),

However, the QIRC decided not to make a determination on a revised classification structure but rather ordered negotiations between our union and various employing authorities. This outcome meant members could now have the opportunity to negotiate

an acceptable outcome for school officers. The campaign continued in negotiations with the employing authorities; through member activism and support significant enhancements through negotiations were achieved, two years after the campaign began. Though the 2001 classification campaign differs from the current school officer campaign, the spirit and voice of our member’s claim to Recognise, Reclassify and Reward school officers still holds true.

Ian Hughes - Audio Visual Technician, Lourdes Hill College Why do you think it is important to recognise school officers? “School officers are now an integral part of any educational institution. With the introduction of more and more complex technology into schools, positions have been created in schools that did not exist 10 or 15 years ago. School officers are often professionals in their own fields and it is important to recognise and reward them as such. If school officers can further their careers away from the education sector, there needs to be a concerted effort to recognise them so that they remain in the sector and help improve the facilities and opportunities for students.” What are you hoping to achieve from this school officer campaign? “Since 2001, employers have very much taken over the reins in terms of deciding where a school officer position is classified. But because there isn’t a lot of incentive for employers to re-visit position descriptions on a regular basis, I have found that the individual school officer should monitor their tasks and ask for the PD to be updated regularly. I have gotten into the habit of looking at my own PD at the end of every year and when appropriate, asking for it to be revised. A revision in the PD does not mean necessarily a rise in the level, it is just maintaining accurate records of the work that I do. This can then assist both parties when it comes to re-evaluating the tasks and the level at which the position sits. I would hope that in the process of this campaign both new and existing school officer members are educated about the process of updating position descriptions and encouraged and supported to apply for reclassification where it is appropriate.” What do you remember about the 2001 school officer campaign? “I can clearly remember the rally in the city covered by the radio & TV stations, being a witness at the Industrial Relations Commission hearings, having fellow members rally outside the commission in support and the massive (both in physical size and number of signatures) petition presented to the employers. For me, one of the greatest things to come out of the 2001 campaign was the coming together of all staff (teaching and non-teaching) to support the school officers in their attempts to consolidate their profession. The upgrading of the School Officers’ Award gave both employers and employees a much clearer document and process with which to work when classifying positions. The 2001 campaign drove home the concept that it was the position that was classified and not the person in the position. It was the position that required certain skills, qualifications and responsibilities, and not the person doing the job at that time. I was reclassified after the conclusion of the campaign and indeed was one of the first to have to negotiate that reclassification.”

Steve Blacklow - Publications/Web Officer, Trinity Anglican School, Cairns Why do you think it is important to recognise school officers? “School officers are not just important to school communities, they are the backbone, and therefore critical to the day to day smooth running of a school. The teachers have a prime responsibility to teach, but school officers provide support for all teachers and students in their teaching and learning.” What are you hoping to achieve from this school officer campaign? “It’s important that school officers take the time to reflect what they do in the workplace with regards to their position description, as very often one’s workload intensifies over time, and the range of duties undertaken expands as the school officer becomes more versatile as their years of experience grow. If a school officer feels that their role has changed since their last position description was completed, I would urge them to consider how it has changed, and take the time to make notes on all the changes, prior to requesting that the employer review and update the position description so that it accurately reflects the present role of the officer.” Do you feel the roles of school officers have changed over the last decade? “I think school officer roles have grown in number and variety. As with everything technologically based it is inevitable that with each passing year more improved software and equipment have seen positions in administration, libraries and laboratories become more involved and more intense, and there seems to be more safety procedures and subsequent documentation to support and back-up many of a schools activities, which creates a lot more work for all staff.”

Bernadette Murray - Laboratory Technician, Lourdes Hill College Why do you think it is important to recognise school officers? “School officers play a big part in the smooth running of a school (but sometimes) they are often over looked as they are in the background. Teachers and students would be lost without their help and vast diversification of knowledge (and) education would be the loser if we didn’t have these talents within the system.Whether it be an aide, technician or office support, all enhance the education of our students.” What are you hoping to achieve from this school officer campaign? “To see that ALL school officers have current up-to-date job descriptions that reflect the work that they do. To have a strong voice we need as many support staff as possible to be members. Support staff consists of a varied and diverse membership and often are a one off in a school; as one person we don’t always get heard but as a union we are no longer one voice.” What do you remember about the 2001 school officer campaign and how have things changed as a result of the campaign? “My memories are: the battles to change the mind set of many, that school officers are people with careers and not as mums filling in while their children are at school; that qualifications are an advantage and that schools benefit from the knowledge and experience from people with these qualifications; that accurate job descriptions with appropriate levels are needed both for the school and the person in the position so that everyone knows what is expected of them and to what level of competency that position requires. The biggest positives of that campaign were: that all support staff positions should have an accurate job description with an accurate classification level based on the agreed matrix; there is a procedure in place to have a position looked at in regards to reclassification as the position evolves; it is the position that is classified not the person; the positive side of this is that it clearly states to what level of responsibility we are liable for in regard to our work and clearly what we should or shouldn’t be doing. (Due to the campaign) my position was reclassified from a level 3 to a level 4. My position was reclassified to a level 5 twelve months later (where) my role description was rewritten to reflect the level 5 position with added responsibilities.” Angie Sims - Marketing/Promotions Officer, St Joseph’s School, Stanthorpe Why do you think it is important to recognise school officers? “It’s important to recognise school officers because we do a lot of behind the scenes work. We provide support to the teaching staff and are a willing pair of hands when needed especially in busy times. I feel school officers are an important link in the chain and all links are important and required to be successful.” What are you hoping to achieve during this school officer campaign? “It would be nice to have full recognition for the work that school officers do. I believe that school officers are the quiet achievers who just get on with what needs to be done.” Have you ever been reclassified in your position, or are looking to be reclassified? “I was reclassified in the admin position about a year ago. I decided to speak up and went to see the principal at the time. He was very supportive and helped with the paper work. It was a frustrating few weeks but I wrote it all down to put my case regarding the jobs I actually did in that role. At the time I didn’t feel particularly valued but it was a good outcome in the end.” Julie-Anne Crosby - Library Assistant, Toowoomba Grammar School Why do you think it is important to recognise school officers? “I think the role has to be recognised and it has to be seen as that of the professional. I know when I first started in this role (it) was as a teacher aide so you were thought of as a limited assistant to teachers, but they’ve realised teacher aides can perform a lot of tasks and they can be very functional and helpful in the classroom and the library. The role of the teacher aide in the library system has grown but with that also the recognition for the growth in that role has to be equivalent to the way the role has developed; I think I am a very important part of how the library and the school runs and a very necessary part. I know I’m not the teacher, but still you should be recognised for what you give to your job, for your contribution, and certainly for your expertise, skills and knowledge. “Where you are given a responsibility and where you can perform those tasks the recognition, with being valued and also in a monetary way, is important but for me having the money is always nice but it’s to be valued and appreciated and recognised for the role that you do. … We are a very important para-professional to work alongside of the professionals.” What are you hoping to achieve from this school officer campaign? “There is a need to keep pace with… emerging technologies, and the mastering of these advanced skills should be reflected in position descriptions. As an individual school officer we have a very limited voice, but collectively as union members, this voice gains volume and momentum to achieve just outcomes.”


14

The Independent Voice

August 2011

Protect your current workplace health and safety rights IEUA-QNT members must protect their working rights by ensuring their workplace has an elected Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) representative and an active WH&S Committee. The federal government has undertaken a process to harmonise all state-based occupational health and safety legislation to make WH&S provisions consistent nationally, which will be implemented in 2012. This has caused trade-offs of some provisions across the states and territories and some new provisions

which could reduce employer liability and obligations, and undermine standards in current Queensland law. While many provisions proposed are similar to our current Act, the absolute obligations that exist to protect workplace health will no longer be present. Under the Model Act, there will be a weakening in the consultation obligations of an employer and this loss will potentially reduce the protection of employee’s health and safety at work.

Further, an onus of proof has also been redefined, meaning those who claim a breach have to prove the employer did not comply with the Act, rather than the employer proving they did comply.

representative is to promote, protect and represent employees in the area of WH&S. A WH&S representative cannot be appointed by an employer and must be elected by employees.

The most effective and practical way to protect what we have is to ensure we are making the most of the provisions that are available to us right now by ensuring every workplace has a functioning and effective WH&S Committee and ensuring every workplace has an elected WH&S representative.

WH&S representatives have particular entitlements under the Act and employers must give them training, certain information and assistance to carry out their role.

Committees are also empowered to offer information and recommendations to employers about WH&S issues, to encourage and maintain an active interest in WH&S, to seek adequate workplace health and safety training and education for employees and to help resolve workplace health and safety issues in the workplace.

The primary function of a WH&S Committee is to assist cooperation between employer and employees in developing and carrying out measures to ensure workplace health

A WH&S Committee must be formed if requested by an elected WH&S representative and Committees are required to meet at least once every three months.

The role of an elected WH&S

How to establish a WH&S Committee An employer has its discretion to establish a Workplace Health and Safety Committee under the Act. However, if an elected Workplace Health and Representative requests it, the employer must establish a Workplace Health and Safety Committee. If your school has not got a functioning committee, ask your elected Workplace Health and Safety Representative to make the request of the employer to establish a committee. If you do not have an elected Workplace Health and Safety Representative, take steps to embark on an election process and call for nominations. Workers are entitled to an elected representative and are entitled to seek union assistance to facilitate the election process. If you already have a committee, you need to be sure it is functional and effective.

Checklist for a WH&S committee: • Is the committee legally formed ie. does it have at least equal number of worker-elected representatives as management? • Is the committee meeting at least three-

monthly? • Is the membership balanced ie are all areas of the workplace represented? • Is senior management represented? • Do workers know who is on the committee? • Have committee members received training? • Are meetings held at the same time and place regularly and are held during working hours? • Do meetings start and stop on time? • Is meeting time used effectively? • Is an agenda developed for each meeting? • Are minutes agreed to and circulated around the workplace? • Who does the committee report to? • Do members have enough time to attend meetings and do the work required? •How many positive recommendations have the committee made and have been implemented? • If a recommendation is not implemented, are workers told why? Being active on matters of workplace health and safety not only protects your rights at work, but also those of your colleagues and anyone who enters your workplace. Discuss these issues within your Chapter and take action to ensure these entitlements are protected.

TAX CLAIMS FOR TEACHERS A tax claims check-list for teachers is provided free of charge, by:

Teachers Taxation Service pty. ltd. for a copy.....email : info@teacherstax.biz or telephone : 07 – 3821 1879

“I love teaching but...” I’d love it more if I could: N8…a8±a8†Xmma±aŒOa¼‰Ê´¼ÁXaŒ¼´ N,a8O|…X´È|È8Œ¼¼†a8±Œ Na8Ça¼|aFÁ±a8ÁO±8OÊFa|ŒX N Œ„ÊpaÉF†aȐ±…Œt|Á±´

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and safety in the workplace.

Steps to electing a WH&S rep in your workplace STEP 1: Chapter/staff meeting - discuss with co-workers the need for a WH&S representative, how many and the area/group of workers they will represent

STEP 2: Inform employer and enter into negotiation for these WH&S representatives for each area identified

STEP 3: Elect WH&S representatives. IEUA-QNT should be involved to facilitate the election process

STEP 4: Inform employer and IEUA-QNT of the outcome of the election

STEP 5: Arrange for the employer to facilitate the WH&S rep accredited training. The employer must meet all costs and release WH&S rep in work time to attend


The Independent Voice E ON UNIT @ ETY SAF K WOR

15

August 2011

A national response to violence in the workplace

We talk a lot about workplace harassment and workplace bullying as events that occur in our workplace that impact on our own health and safety. We do this because we see or experience this conduct a little too regularly in our workplaces for our liking. However, an escalation beyond this conduct is workplace violence. This tends to be a topic that we talk about less often, even though the risks to our health and safety are often greater and even though workplace violence in the education industry is a genuine issue for IEUA-QNT members. Recently, the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities across the country acknowledged workplace violence is a growing concern. These Authorities established a workgroup, led by WorkSafe Victoria, to develop a national position on workplace violence. This workgroup is developing a national draft guideline on “Preventing and Responding to Violence at Work” for all industries to provide comment on. The document is designed as a broadbased guide across sectors, but it recognises the specific occupations where workplace violence is more prevalent - community and emergency services personnel, nurses and educators. In their role as a participating authority, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland are now looking for our views on matters relating to workplace violence. What is the guide looking at? The guide will help employers develop work systems to prevent violence in the workplace, and also to respond to incidents if they occur. It will include information on the applicable workplace health and safety laws and provide advice on the definitions of workplace violence, risk management strategies, response mechanisms, policy development, case studies and other useful information. How does the draft guide define “workplace violence”? The draft guide defines violence at work as “any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.” Within this definition “abuse” means the ill treatment of

someone and/or insulting language, “threat” means declaring an intent to cause pain or loss to someone, and “assault” means an unlawful physical attack, including an attempt to do violence, to another. How do we reduce the risks in our sector? The intention of having a national position on workplace violence is to help reduce risks across industries. For our sector, first and foremost, we need to articulate the risks. Incidents of workplace violence involving our members commonly include direct verbal or physical attacks from students, direct verbal or physical attacks from parents and less commonly direct assaults or attacks from colleagues. The affects of workplace violence can also include the witnessing of any such attacks, causing psychological harm, in particular post traumatic stress disorders. Once the risks have been identified, measures need to be taken to work out how to reduce and control these risks. These measures must be under constant review to ensure their effectiveness is constantly monitored. The draft guide places significant emphasis on meaningful consultation with staff as a crucial component in minimising the risks of workplace violence. It asserts that this is essential both in making employees aware of what to do if faced with workplace violence, and in the early detection and prevention of risk. The Queensland and Northern Territory workplace health and safety legislation includes provisions for mechanisms such as workplace health and safety committees and elected employee representatives to assist with consultation. According to these legislative provisions, consultation should occur with all employees when hazards are identified and risks of violence assessed, when working out how to manage and prevent risks of violence, when decisions are made about providing information and training on violence prevention, when signs of violence affecting the health and safety of workers is observed and when any changes are made that may affect the health and safety of workers. If workplace health and safety committees and

elected representatives are in place and effective, this will assist significantly in managing risks of violence in the workplace. For employers in our sector, there are a number of tools and resources at their disposal through Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and NT WorkSafe to assist with helping them identify risks to their employees. Employers can also use activities in their workplace to assist in identifying risks such as assessment of hazard and incident reports, discussions with workplace health and safety representatives and committees, regular workplace inspections and analysis of workers’ compensation claims. What causes violence at work? The reasons for every violent outburst may not be easily identified, but there are some common factors that can apply to workplaces. Employers need to be aware that there is often a combination of personal and environmental factors influencing the situation. The guide identifies violent, abusive or threatening behaviour across sectors as occurring for different reasons. For our sector, random violence could occur with no clear intent, such as from a disturbed student or parent, or from someone under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. An event of intimidation could be used by colleagues or parents to achieve a desired end. It could also be the expression of uncontrolled irritation, such as dissatisfaction with the school or prolonged personal discomfort. Displaced anger from past or nonwork-related situations and applied unreasonably to the issue at hand, some form of criminal activity, or thrill-seeking or revenge are issues that can come into play. There are also other elements that may contribute such as cultural, religious or socio-economic differences in the community and the effects of these elements can be overt or subtle. How should matters of violence be handled? On the practical matters, the draft guide recognises that how employers respond to incidents will vary, depending on the nature

and severity of the events. In the least, employers need to have emergency and evacuation plans, staff supervision and debriefings, and access to support including first response support for the workers involved in the incident or involved in assisting. The response system should also include adequate reporting mechanisms, police contact and reporting, incident analysis and investigation, review and feedback to staff and required agencies. What can be done to prevent workplace violence?

established. Effective consultation mechanisms will reduce risk and assist with the early detection of workplace violence. Where to from here?

Employers need to have policies and procedures in place as part of their response system to minimise and prevent risk. These policies and procedures must address immediate safety, access to medical treatment, internal reporting requirements and processing of notifications to external agencies. Any policies and procedures must also: describe the circumstances in which they should be followed; describe the role of individuals and who is responsible for coordinating the response; include criteria for contacting the police and ensure contact numbers and easy access to phones are available; explain how to report the full range of incident types; provide, test and maintain communication and duress equipment; and include emergency drills. The emphasis placed on consultation as being crucial to preventing risk reinforces the need for employeeelected workplace health and safety representatives and functional and effective workplace health and safety committees. This is yet another reason why it is vital that our Chapters and members ensure that they have at least one employee-elected representative in their workplace and that they have a functional and effective workplace health and safety committee

It is very encouraging that such a workgroup has been formed nationally to look at the issue of workplace violence. The work of this group acknowledges that a consistent, coordinated approach to address workplace violence is required. The creation of a national position on workplace violence is the first step forward in trying to minimise and prevent risks. The workgroup is seeking feedback from stakeholders by 30 September. If you have any comments or suggestions that you would like to put forward for consideration please email IEUA-QNT Industrial Services Officer Danielle Wilson on dwilson@qieu.asn.au.

NEXT ISSUE: Strategies to Red

uce Workplace Injury

UNITE ON SAFETY@WOR

K


16

The Independent Voice

August 2011

Equity Matters: The links between cultural beliefs and gender and violence were explored at a recent conference conducted by the Association of Women Educators (AWE) in Brisbane. The “White Ribbon Day Every Day” conference asserted that violence perpetrated against women and girls is a complex and broad social problem that is associated with unequal gender and power relations, and the harmful constructions of masculinity that permeate our society. White Ribbon Day is held annually in November and as the only national violence prevention campaign in Australia, it gives us the opportunity to consider how women and girls around us are directly or indirectly affected by domestic violence. With anywhere from one-quarter to one-third, and even up to half of Australian women experiencing physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives, the annual economic cost of violence against women and girls currently stands at $13.5 billion, expected to rise to $15.6 billion by 2021. The implications of violence against women are well-documented with devastating social, health and economic effects. In fact, domestic violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness of women under 45. It also affects girls, with one in four girls witnessing violence against their mother in their homes. White Ribbon Day does go a long way to raise consciousness about violence against females; however, to really effect systematic and significant change, reflection on the very culture that perpetuates problematic attitudes and behaviours is warranted. Furthermore, the necessity to focus on teaching young Australians that bullying and violence are completely unacceptable is evident. The links between bullying, violence and gendered attitudes also point to a vital and achievable focus for those working in schools to take up the messages of White Ribbon Day – everyday. Bullying – a cultural norm From cat-calling politicians in the nation’s federal parliament to the range of social institutions and

How gender friendly is your school?

cultural forums that validate and reward the assertion of power, the consistent message absorbed by our youth is that domination of others is an effective means to an end. Those who work in schools are all too well aware of the extent of bullying behaviours. Both male and female students have honed their skills in this area only to have it wreak havoc on the health, esteem, safety and learning capacity of their peers. The National Safe Schools Framework points out that bullying is a particularly destructive form of aggression and the research of the last 25 years confirm its widespread nature where it is particularly common in groups from which the potential victim cannot escape – that is, schools. Bullying, masculinity and hetero norms The gendered type of bullying is well-known by those who work with our young people. Boys typically act in more physical, overt manners with girls using a more covert and insidious style. Whilst personal anecdotes or years of experience working in schools will have created your own wealth of knowledge about the nature and frequency of bullying, research presented in the National Safe Schools Framework alludes to the fact that boys bully more than girls and often engage more in the role of assisting or reinforcing those who are bullying. According to Dr Amanda Keddie author of Teaching Boys: Developing Classroom Practices that Work, discourses of power are linked to a sense of entitlement and particular constructions of masculinity. Weakness, passivity, compliance and dependency are unacceptable in terms of contemporary notions of masculinity. In fact, such is the reticence of boys to be seen through that lens, encouragement of and participation in homophobic bullying is seen as both the natural rejection of homosexuality and a way to further construct oneself as masculine, powerful and ‘normal’. The position of women within the discourses of successful masculinity as passive, sexualized and available, further reinforces problematic stereotypes.

Approaches to bullying and harassment • Focused professional development of all staff on bullying and harassment;

approached towards behavior management, sexual and racial harassment;

• Undertake audits to develop credible data on the incidence of bullying and harassment;

• Engage parents, carers and community members;

• Develop specific policy to counter bullying – and policy that integrates other relevant

• Integration of education about bullying, harassment, anger management, conflict resolution, prejudice and

How gender friendly is your school? Strategies and considerations… • Celebrate and welcome diversity • Focus on building healthy attitudes and relationships rather than a reactive response to bullying and violence • Ensure that anti-discrimination principles are evident in policies and procedures • Promote traditionally feminised genres or activities by giving them legitimacy and space within schools • Reflect on the excessively controlled, authoritarian approaches that can be reinscribing problematic gender discourses of power and entitlements within your own school, Administration or classroom – what is modeled and valued? • Commit to ongoing professional development of all teachers and support staff on challenging the culture that creates violence and alternatively, fosters well-being • Challenge the norms – how many Dads do tuckshop duty or support-a-reader? How many female teachers coach cricket? • Do your male colleagues avail themselves of their parental leave and carer’s leave entitlements? • Gain commitment from your school to have a Gender Equity Committee that is actively working to reflect on the culture, practices and behaviours at your school • Actively engage outside school providers to ensure that your school’s approach to bullying is contemporary and effective • Challenge stereotypes, negative behaviour and derogatory comments – from colleagues and students alike – expect respect! • Model inclusivity and take up opportunities in curriculum, resourcing and conversations to subvert gender stereotypes • Use White Ribbon Day and National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence as platforms to focus on the issues Furthermore, offering derogatory comments and conduct towards females can buy males power and credit in their search for credibility and position within the construct of ‘successful masculinity’. The playground politics of gender are no doubt an enormous challenge for our students. Many who feel the need to ’maintain masculinity’ as stressful for them as for those who are actively bullied for being ‘gay’. It seems the pressure to fit the norm has a price. According to Sticks and Stones: Report on Violence in Australian Schools, often homophobic name calling (how many times have your heard – that’s so gay?) can be dismissed as meaningless. However, research shows its significant relationship to the construction of boys’ and girls’ identities and aggressive masculinity. It matters little to those doing the harassing whether their targets are homosexual or not, rather this is a matter of demonstrating that they themselves are safely heterosexual. In the early years, homophobia operates in the sense of marking those boys and sometimes those girls who do not confirm to gender expectations as distinct, different, inferior or ‘other’. Positive insights Through the years, university discrimination within the curriculum; • Involvement of students – training them to operate as peer mediators or on relevant committees;

research and government programs at state and federal levels have offered insights and strategic platforms to address the issue of bullying and violence in schools. The degree to which programs have been systematically, thoroughly and even successfully taken up varies across the sector. Many schools have used programs such as “Respectful Relationships”, “Love BiTES”, “Bullying – No way!” and are incorporating a range of strategies from zero tolerance to focused development on pastoral education emphasising social and emotional health for all in schools – both targets and perpetrators. Many schools have done commendable work with their parents in terms of education programs about cyber-bullying, bullying and on relationship building with their own children. It is not however, a stretch to say that more needs to be done. The links between societal attitudes to gender and the resultant behaviours are bigger than schools. Whilst bullying is about power, the research makes clear links between gender, attitudes and violence. As pointed out in the National Safe Schools Framework, schools that do not address the problem of bullying can become breeding grounds for a process whereby the more levels or types of intervention from problem solving and mediation to the more punitive; and

• Promotion and recognition of positive behavior management;

• Focus on restoring the wellbeing of those who have been afflicted by bullying or harassment.

• Addressing bullying as it becomes apparent – be aware that bullying scenarios require different

From the National Safe Schools Framework – research summary

aggressive and powerful dominate the less powerful, a process that underpins violence. How gender friendly is your school? The challenge of dealing with bullying in your school can be a confronting challenge for students, teachers and administrators due to its pervading nature and that it is reinforced through a raft of unchallenged institutional, cultural, peer related and familial influences. However, sustained and positive focus should be directed towards the issue in order to create gender friendly, safe schools. Opportunities abound everyday in the class, playground, staffroom and office to create gender friendly, inclusive schools. However, commitment and resolve is needed at all levels to ensure that all who work and learn in schools are having safe, positive experiences every day. IEUA-QNT organiser and Equity Committee member Susan O’Leary

Resources and information National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their children www.fahcsia. gov.au/sa/women/progserv/ violence/nationalplan/Pages/ default.aspx National Safe Schools Framework www.mceecdya. edu.au/verve/_resources/ NSSFramework.pdf Bullying. No Way! www.bullyingnoway.com.au White Ribbon Day www.whiteribbonday.org.au


The Independent Voice

UR IN YO DS WOR OWN

August 2011

17

A day in a school in Helsinki

Over the past decade Finland has topped the world in the Programme for International Student Assessment, the PISA literacy tests in reading, mathematics and science. IEUA-QNT member Michael Moy took leave from his mathematics teacher job at All Hallows’ School in Brisbane to visit Helsinki for four days, where one day, thanks to arrangements made by a Finnish friend, was spent at Munkkiniemen High School, known as Munkka, for a teacher’s eye view of their successful system. English teacher Mervi Tiainen, Munkka’s coordinator of international affairs, arranged my schedule for the day, speaking with teachers and sitting in on mathematics and science classes. Despite not understanding Finnish, I was able to follow what was being taught based on what the teachers wrote on the electronic white boards: probability in one class, trigonometry in another, buoyancy in a third. If I ran into trouble I just had to ask the English speaking student helper assigned to me in each class. In general, the instruction was teacher centred and direct with the teacher checking problems with homework before covering theory and assigning problems. Students freely asked questions and had questions asked of them. The students were polite and industrious. School systems in Finland There are three school systems in Finland. Most schools, called city schools, are under the control of a city or municipality which manages expenditure and staffing but not the curriculum which is the same throughout Finland. The national government operates a small number of normal schools which provide for teacher training. There is also a private system but quite unlike the private system in Australia. Munkka is a private school set up by a foundation 75 years ago. It, like all schools in Finland, is completely funded by

the national government and, as such, charges no fees. When I asked Mervi what difference I would see if I visited a nearby city school, she said that the city school may have slightly fewer resources and the students may not achieve quite as well as Munkka students, but overall there is not much difference in either the operation or physical appearance of the two types of school. She said the private schools operate more efficiently than the city schools because of less bureaucracy. Munkka has about 1,000 students, 70 teachers, a principal, one deputy principal, two guidance counsellors, a nurse and a doctor in addition to office staff. What are the school like in Finland? Students in Finland start school at the age of seven. There are six years of primary school and six years of secondary school. Only the first three years of secondary school, Years 7, 8 and 9 are compulsory. All schools are co-ed and uniform free. Nutritious cafeteria lunches are provided at no cost to students and at a small cost to staff. The school year runs from the second week of August until mid June. Student competition for the best school One interesting aspect of the system is the competition amongst students for places at the upper secondary level. Towards the end of Year 9, students specify three preferred upper secondary schools. Schools then fill their available places from the student preference lists. A school with a very good academic reputation, such as Munkka, has more applicants than places so selects students based on academic performance to date. For example, a student in Year 9 at Munkka could list Munkka as their first preference and do well enough to be selected. Or, they could lose their place to a better performing student from another school. Because of this, at the end of Year 9 there is a flow of students

from private to city schools and vice versa. It should be noted that parents do not necessarily aspire to have their children receive a private school education. The high level of integration of the city and private systems over many years has created a large measure of equality of opportunity for the youth of Finland.

their government matriculation exam results. Universities are free. Students must submit a five year study plan when they enrol. Further study is free with the approval of the university. Initial enrolment at university is delayed six months for boys who must do military or community service.

the number of places restricted to approximate demand. High school teachers generally complete a four year masters program in their subject and a year of teacher training. It seems that the government of China has recently moved to improve the status of teaching by providing teachers with substantial salary increases.

Teaching loads Students’ choice The upper secondary years, Levels 1, 2 and 3, are divided into five seven week terms. Each term consists of six weeks of instruction followed by a week of testing. Students choose their courses each term. For example, there are thirteen physics courses. All students must do the first course, Introductory Physics. Eleven of the courses cover theory with occasional classroom demonstrations. The other two courses are almost entirely devoted to practical work. Students must submit six practical reports. Each course has a thin textbook covering the material for that term. Students in Level 3 finish classes in February to prepare for government matriculation exams held in March. Students are required to pass four subject exams in order to matriculate. Most of the students I spoke with at Munkka planned on sitting six or so subject exams. University entrance exams For university courses in which the number of applicants exceeds the number of places, e.g. medicine, law and primary school teaching, the universities set entrance exams. A student would have to do well in both the matriculation exams and the university entrance exams in order to gain a place in these faculties. Some university faculties, e.g. science and engineering, accept students on the basis of

Equality of education Teaching loads vary according to the subjects taught. Teachers of the native language, Finnish, are required to teach 15 courses during the year which equates to an average of about 15 hours per week. For teachers of foreign languages and history, it’s 17 courses per year; for physics chemistry and mathematics it’s 19; and for PE it’s 22. Teachers in the city schools may elect to teach an additional two courses over the year and be paid a higher salary. Teachers in private schools may elect to do even more.

No matter how rich or poor a family may be, there is equality of opportunity in education for their children. Across the country, city schools offer the same high quality of education as private schools. Significant resources are devoted to students with learning difficulties so no child is left behind. This egalitarianism extends to other aspects of Finnish society such as health and social services and is funded by a tax rate in the 35 to 40 per cent range.

Finland versus Shanghai

Decision-making for schools

In the last round of PISA testing Shanghai broke Finland’s winning streak, so I imagine the schools in Shanghai will now need to prepare for curious visitors like me. One can argue the worth or otherwise of the PISA ranking, and theories linking Finland’s success to a substantially monocultural society, phonetic spelling and other Finnish characteristics are accessible on the internet; however, it seems to me that the Finns have set things up very well in a number of areas.

The city school district system allows for local input and brings the decision making close to the school. Decisions about non-curriculum issues in isolated cities and towns are made there, not by a bureaucrat in far away Helsinki.

Te a c h e r s t r e a t e d w i t h respect

ABOVE: During his visit to Finland, IEUA-QNT member Michael Moy visited Munkkiniemen High School,

Teaching in Finland is considered a noble career and has been considered so for a very long time. It is well paid and respected. Competition to gain entry to university to become a primary school teacher is fierce with

We so called egalitarian Australians would do well to work towards some aspects of the Finnish system. Michael Moy IEUA-QNT member

to get a teacher’s eye view of their successful education system LEFT: The Munkkiniemen High School building


18

The Independent Voice

August 2011

Legal Briefs

Andrew Knott, Macrossans Lawyers

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL BULLYING CASE BROUGHT BY A STUDENT The Supreme Court of New South Wales by a judgment dated 13 April 2011 found that a former student of a private college in Sydney had established a breach of the school’s duty of care towards her, resulting an award of damages. The former student of the school claimed that she had been exposed to bullying and harassment by other pupils of the school between 2002 and 2005 and that the school had failed in its duty of care in relation to this bullying. The decision is 70 pages in length. It is only possible to indicate a number of the key points. Those interested can read the full judgment at http://www/caselaw.nsw.gov. au/action/PJUDG?jgmtid=151156 . The situation appears to have peaked when the student was in Year 9 in 2004. This case is of broad interest, not only in relation to bullying, but also in relation to duty of care generally, as it illustrates the importance of ensuring that policies and procedures are not only prepared and documented, but actually effectively implemented. Findings that they were not, were fundamental to the outcome of this case. For example, the Judge held: “While the college was active in its attempts to deal with what was recognised as a bullying problem amongst the school cohort, including in Ms Oyston’s year, its response proved to be ad hoc, rather than systematic. Its record keeping was haphazard. Instead of the types of records which the policies envisaged would be maintained, the college’s witnesses described ‘a paper trail’ intended to be maintained by documents placed on a student’s file. Ms Oyston’s file was not in evidence, although documents kept in that and other files were. From this material it became apparent that no clear record was maintained as to the course followed when complaints were received; what conclusions were drawn from any investigation conducted; and importantly, what was done by way of response, if bullying or other inappropriate behaviour towards the student was uncovered. “In Ms Oyston’s case, the record, such as it was, showed that the types of responses which the College’s policies envisaged would be implemented if complaints were received about bullying, did not result. “In my assessment of the evidence, the College’s response to the bullying problem which existed at the school by way of its implementation of its policies was inadequate, so far as Ms Oyston was concerned. Despite all of the work undertaken to develop policies and to train staff and students in what type of behaviour amounted to bullying and how to detect it and to deal with it, when confronted with persistent inappropriate behaviour and bullying, the College’s response was ineffective to ensure that it met its duty of care to Ms Oyston, even though it was apparent that real harm was resulting to her. The College certainly did not respond to what came to its notice as to what Ms Oyston

was being subjected….” There was an interesting acknowledgement later in the judgment of the need for teachers to have discretion in making judgments about managing student issues (though there is an important qualifier). The relevant passage reads: “Discretion, a very necessary part of any teacher’s role, cannot operate to the point where misbehaviour, including bullying, is dealt with inconsistently, or worse, arbitrarily or not at all.” There is an interesting comparison between the Judge’s findings about the school’s failure to respond to bullying complaints, as compared with its implementation of its uniform policy.

aims, the conduct policies being directed to misbehaviour which could result in a student’s physical or psychological injury. The ‘Uniform Policy’ to other matters, some of which were also directed to ensuring safety. The College’s failure to enforce its conduct policies in a similar way to its enforcement of its ‘Uniform Policy’, underlined its failure in the duty which it owed Ms Oyston. The evidence shows that the result of the College’s inadequate implementation of its own policies was that significant adverse consequences began flowing in 2004 for Ms Oyston.” The significance of school documentation is illustrated by the following judicial comment:

“(This case) illustrates the importance of ensuring that policies and procedures are not only prepared and documented, but actually effectively implemented.” “I accept the force of the submission that the different in approach which the College adopted to its ‘Uniform Policy’, reveals how it failed in relation to its other behaviour policies. The ‘Uniform Policy’ was also published in the College’s student diary. It dealt with a range of matters, including some which went to safety – the requirement that long hair be tied up, for example. Infractions of this policy led to a warning, a note being sent to the parents for repeated infractions and then a detention. This was a policy both clear and enforced at the College, including in relation to Ms Oyston, on the documents in evidence. What the various policies were dealing with was quite different, of course. Nevertheless, they each had important

“What also required careful consideration was that on the one hand, Ms Oyston’s evidence was that the bullying to which she was subjected over the years was relentless, to the point where it came to occur almost every day, with the result that she repeatedly complained to various members of staff, without receiving effective assistance. There was certainly documentary evidence of ongoing complaints, particularly in 2004, but not of such relentless bullying. In crossexamination, however, Ms Oyston also said that she did not like to complain about the bullying she was enduring and the effect it was having upon her and that she was even bullied in relation to receiving counselling and seeing Mrs Ibbett. That evidence also

accorded with aspects of the counselling records, although they were criticised as not being very illuminating, given the brevity of the account recorded of what Ms Oyston revealed to the counsellor.” In these cases, causation is often an important issue as questions arise as to whether the harmful effects of which the plaintiff gives evidence were in fact caused by the breach of duty of the school. In this case, the Judge made the following illuminating findings: “That Ms Oyston may have been particularly vulnerable to psychological injury from bullying at school may be accepted, but that is not a basis on which it may be concluded that causation has not been established. I am satisfied that the evidence did not show that the injury which she sustained, would have occurred in any event, had the bullying not occurred or had it been addressed. “Even if the injury which she suffered was disproportionate to what might be expected to have result from the bullying to which she was subjected at school, I am satisfied on the evidence that is not a basis for concluding that the College was not responsible for the harm which resulted from the bullying to which she was then subjected. I am satisfied on the evidence that the necessary causation has been established. But for the bullying to which she was subjected at school, she would not have suffered the injury which she sustained. The scope of the College’s liability extended to the harm which was caused.” This tragic case is of interest to educators in terms of illustrating a number of important issues in relation to bullying. These principles are equally relevant to face-to-face bullying and to cyber bullying.


The Independent Voice

August 2011

19

Nominations called for QIEU Excellence Awards Nominations are now being called for the 2011 QIEU Excellence Awards: the John (Max) MacDermott Award, the Ruth George School Officer Award and the Elizabeth McCall Award, presented in recognition of members’ outstanding contributions to their union. These awards recognise the outstanding efforts of individual activists and the efforts of school Chapters, Chapter Executives or networks. Nominations should be forwarded to the Branch Secretary, IEUA-QNT, PO Box 418, Fortitude Valley, Queensland 4006 by 6 October.

If you know of individual school officers who have made an outstanding contribution as unionists and union activists, we invite you to nominate them for the Ruth George School Officer Award for Outstanding Contribution as a Union Activist or the Ruth George School Officer Award for Outstanding Contribution as a Chapter, Chapter Executive or Network. Ruth George played a key role in re-establishing the universal Award covering nongovernment assistant mistresses in 1937 following The Depression era cutbacks. Ruth George and her colleagues took on the challenge of restoring their salaries despite opposition from their employers.

The John (Max) MacDermott Award Nominate individuals within your Chapter who have made an outstanding contribution as unionists and union activists for the John (Max) MacDermott Award for Outstanding Contribution as a Union Activist or the John (Max) MacDermott Award for Outstanding Contribution as a Chapter, Chapter Executive or Network.

The Ruth George School Officer Award

and courage. This award honours his memory and outstanding contribution as a unionist and union activist.

Her determination and commitment to this cause was crucial in overcoming the employers’ objections and opposition. This award honours her memory and outstanding contribution as an activist and union representative.

Award Criteria • Has worked diligently and tirelessly to assist members to address their issues;

If you know of individual school officers who have made outstanding contributions as unionists and union activists, we invite you to nominate them for the awards.

John (Max) MacDermott was a respected teacher at Mercy College, Mackay, who had a deep interest in union activities.

• Has acted with honesty, integrity and courage in the conduct of union affairs;

Award Criteria • Has made an outstanding contribution to the school Chapter or Branch and IEUAQNT through activism in a specific area;

As a chapter representative he worked tirelessly to represent the interests of staff.

• Has promoted member action and networking at the Chapter and/or Branch level; and

Union members were always confident in relying on him for advice because of his knowledge of union matters, his intelligence

• Has made an outstanding contribution to their Chapter and/or Branch and union through activism.

• Has worked diligently and tirelessly to represent the interests of school officers; and • Has acted with honesty, integrity and courage in the conduct of their union’s activities.

The Elizabeth McCall Award The Elizabeth McCall Award was established to honour inspirational union member Elizabeth McCall who died as a result of an accident outside her school in 2006. Elizabeth, a highly respected teacher at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School at Rochedale, was an extraordinary woman who made a remarkable contribution in all aspects of her life; including her union community to which she was dedicated.

For Elizabeth her union activism was very much part of her wider commitment to achieving social justice.

Award Criteria 1. Demonstrate a fundamental commitment to the principles of unionism by:

• Being educated about the issues impacting on her and her colleagues and what they can do about them.

The award will be for a woman who demonstrates a fundamental commitment to the principles of unionism and in particular gives expression to the pursuit of social justice issues. The award may be given to more than one woman in any given year.

• Actively building membership strength and a strong collective voice;

2. Actively encourage the expression of the voice of the collective in the pursuit of social justice issues by:

• Building a collective culture and supporting her colleagues in her workplace to achieve fair and just outcomes; and

• Working to bring social justice issues to the attention of her colleagues and seeking to inspire and educate others through their own example;

• Recognising the importance of educating for social justice and inspiring students in her care to investigate issues they care deeply about; • Taking action to promote justice and fairness by standing alongside like-minded colleagues; and • Recognising our union’s capacity to achieve social justice.

IEUA-QNT / QIEU Teacher Education Bursaries The IEUA-QNT / QIEU Teacher Education Bursaries are once again being offered to encourage eligible students who are studying for a teaching qualification. Each year four pre-service education students will be awarded general education bursaries of $1,000. The fifth bursary, the John Nash Bursary, will see $2,000 awarded to an outstanding applicant. In 2009, to celebrate our union’s 90th Anniversary, our union offered the bursaries for the first time. Those interested in applying for the bursaries in 2011 must abide by the eligibility criteria. Union Executive will consider all applicants and select successful candidates with consideration given to those in remote areas, of financial need and academic results. For those interested in applying please contact the Brisbane office on FREECALL 1800 177 937 by Friday 30 September 2011, or download a nomination form at www.qieu.asn.au

Applying for the bursaries: 1. Eligibility a) Applicants must be pre-service education students who are enrolled (or intend to enrol) in either, an undergraduate Education/Teaching Degree or a postgraduate Education Course, at a university in Queensland or the Northern Territory. b) Applicants must either, I. have a nominator who is a parent, partner, guardian, or grandparent who is or has retired as a financial member of IEUA-QNT/QIEU, or, II. be a financial member who is in the process of furthering their qualifications to enter the teaching profession. c) IEUA-QNT/QIEU staff, or those who have retired as part of union staff, are also able to be nominees if

they are a parent, partner, guardian or grandparent of the applicant. d) Successful applicants from one year may apply for the bursary in subsequent years. e) Successful applicants must be prepared to assist IEUAQNT/ QIEU via publicity in The Independent Voice or other union publications. f) All applicants must indicate a willingness to sign a statutory declaration indicating that the bursary will be used for education associated expenses; eg, HECS, books, computer technology. g) Applications by non-members must include the details of the parent, partner, guardian, or grandparent who is, or has retired as, a financial member of IEUA-QNT/QIEU. The application should be countersigned

by this person. 2. Selection process a) Executive will consider the applications and select the successful applicants; b) Criteria to be used to determine success will include: - Consideration of financial need, including any pressing personal circumstances; - Year 12 academic results of first year applicants and university results of second, third and fourth year applicants; - Consideration shall be given to at least one awardee: a. coming from remote or country areas distant from the institution at which the applicant is studying or intending to study; and, b. being in their first year of an undergraduate course.


20

The Independent Voice

August 2011

Obituary: Former Villanova College Principal Fr Mike Morahan Former Villanova College Principal Fr Michael David Morahan O.S.A. passed away unexpectingly in Cairns on 25 June 2011. Fr Mike was always a great advocate for fairness and treating all with respect and dignity. In so many ways his example and commitments set the tone for negotiations in the Catholic sector and at the school level matters were always dealt with in a procedural and fairminded way. Mike will be sorely missed and in the formal obituary from the Augustinian Provincial office something of a remarkable life well lived is set out. It reads: Born in Brisbane in 1952 Mike Morahan received his primary education from the Presentation Sisters at Norman Park Convent, moving to Villanova College for his secondary education completing Year 12 there in 1969. Michael was admitted as a candidate for the Order of St Augustine in February 1970, was ordained a priest in 1978. At the beginning of 1980, Michael joined the staff of Villanova

College and taught at both Junior and Senior levels; his special focus was in physics, computer science and religious studies. In 1986 Michael was appointed Academic and Administrative Assistant to the Principal of Villanova with a responsibility for curriculum matters and after a short stay on staff at St Augustine’s College, Brookvale, Sydney, in 1995 he was appointed to Villanova College and assumed the office of Principal. Michael remained in that role for 15 years, establishing him as Villanova’s longest serving principal. During this period the College attained its highest enrolment figures, a number of successive strategic plans were developed and adopted and the role of the College Council was enhanced. A system of restorative justice was introduced in school discipline and a collaborative executive leadership developed. Under Michael’s leadership a Schooling Project reconfigured Villanova as three “schools”, administratively and geographically, within the one college on one campus.

at the end of 2009, Michael was appointed to the position of Assistant Executive Director for Faith & Religious Education in the Diocese of Cairns. Michael was blessed with a most incisive mind and was a strategic thinker. He delighted in his role as teacher where his method was often to draw out insights from his students in the Socratic style. He excelled in making subjects like physics and religious knowledge clear and interesting to his students. Michael’s wisdom, friendship and uncompromising integrity have been a beacon for his Augustinian brothers and for all those whom he has served and led.

Upon leaving Villanova

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MEMBERS MEETING CALENDAR METRO/NORTH METRO/ BAYSIDE/MORETON/LOGAN: • North Metro ET6 training 31 August, 4pm Bracken Ridge Tavern • ET6 training 5 September, 4pm IEUA-QNT office, Spring Hill • School Officer training 6 September, 4:15pm IEUA-QNT office, Spring Hill • ET6 training 19 September, 2pm IEUA-QNT office, Spring Hill • North Metro ET6 training 8 September, 4pm Bracken Ridge Tavern • Branch meeting 13 October, 4pm, Venue tbc • Metro Branch meeting 26 October, Venue tbc CENTRAL QUEENSLAND: • Branch meeting 26 October, 4pm Pacific Hotel, Yeppoon WIDE BAY: • Fraser Coast Area meeting 31 August, 4pm White Lion Hotel,

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Maryborough • Wide Bay Branch meeting 20 October, 4pm QCU Bundaberg • Fraser Coast Area meeting 9 November, 4pm White Lion Hotel, Maryborough EMERALD: • Emerald Area meeting 2 November, 4pm Mayfair Motel SUNSHINE COAST: • ET6 training 1 September, 4:30pm Chancellors Tavern, Sippy Downs TOWNSVILLE: • Townsville Grammar School Collective Bargaining meeting 9 September, 4pm Centenary Hotel, Pimlico • Women Educators Union Conference 11 October, 8:30am (registration) Seagulls Resort, Townsville (includes post conference dinner 5pm-7pm)

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Poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians. Around the world more than a billion people are desperately poor. > Why not organise a display, stall or award? > Maybe a workshop, lecture or forum? > How about a fundraiser, fact sheet or petition? For information and ideas, visit the website, or email apw@antipovertyweek.org.au or call 1300 797 290


The Independent Voice

August 2011

21

EVENTS DIARY Teaching and Learning with Vision Conference The Teaching and Learning with Vision conference aims to provide two days of expert opinion, networking and sharing ideas about teaching and learning with vision. The conference will bring together practitioners and experts in the use of learning technologies for education

and training. The keynote and featured speakers will challenge and extend thinking. The case study speakers are real-life educators who are using these new technologies to engage and extend their learners in ways that are not possible with traditional methods. There is also a conference exhibition

ACSA Biennial Curriculum Conference

where participants will be able to investigate the latest technological innovations. The conference will be held from 2-4 November 2011 at the Radisson Resort Gold Coast, Palm Meadows Drive. For more information, please visit the conference website at http://tlvconf. wordpress.com/

Year 8 Laptop course and Incorporating Technology into Planning using OneNote (teachers other than Year 8 or 11 teachers) - these courses aim to provide teachers with a set of essential understandings and knowledge when it comes to planning and writing engaging

units of work which emphasise the use of ICT as part of daily classroom work. Differentiation of the Curriculum for Teachers - understanding of the individual differences that students bring to classroom learning and to gain practical experience in the development and use of instructional materials and techniques that can be used to cater for students’ individual learning needs. Differentiation in Practice presented by Annette Kazakoff

Queensland Education Resources Expo The Queensland Education Resources Expo (QUEDREX) will be held on 10 and 11 September at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 10am-3pm.

test, purchase and network with organisations providing innovative ideas, products and services, to enhance your career and workplace, save on your budget and build your professional development portfolio!

The free Expo will bring education professionals and decision makers together from early childcare, primary, middle and high schools and higher education, to discover,

The Expo provides the opportunity to equip, inspire and prepare Australian educators to operate in an ever-changing world and improve teaching quality. Visitors will have access to:

The sub themes for the conference focus on: • Leading and Learning • Leading and Pedagogy • Leading and Assessment for, as and of Learning. ACSA members receive a discounted registration rate. For more information visit http://www.acsa.edu.au/pages/page53.asp

Professional development courses for teachers Professional development courses are on offer in Term 3 and 4 for all education professionals at the Centre for Research, Innovation and Future Development at St Paul’s School, Bald Hills.

The Australian Curriculum Studies Association’s Biennial Curriculum Conference will be held from the 7-9 October 2011 at the Sydney Hilton. The conference theme, Leading Curriculum Change, will facilitate a dynamic conversation around the implementation of the new Australian Curriculum in Schools and will focus on approaches to curriculum change.

and Leisa Harper.

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Mentoring in Our School - to equip participants with a clear understanding about mentoring, the benefits of being involved, the phases in the mentoring relationship, how to clarify expectations and create outcomes and some introductory coaching skills. To find out more about these programs, please visit our website www.qieu.asn.au or contact Sue Norris at s.norris@stpauls.qld. edu.au

• A diverse and expansive group of suppliers showcasing the latest educational resources; • Seminars focusing on key issues for educators in 2011; • Special offers, competitions and great prizes; •A certificate of attendance, upon request, as a record of professional development; •Innovative ideas to adapt into your institution immediately. For registration visit www. edresourcesexpo.com.au.

Managed by

School Safety Conference

The School Safety Conference ‘Building Your School’s Safety Culture’ will be held on 10 and 11 October 2011. The conference is a useful and valuable vehicle for the promotion of OHS culture and the discussion of safety issues relevant to the education sector. For further registration details visit www.aisq.qld.edu.au

Cancer Council Queensland seminar School-based guidance officers, counsellors, nurses, chaplains and interested teachers are invited to attend a free professional development seminar designed to help educators guide children and young adults through a cancer diagnosis within a school setting. The free seminar, hosted by Cancer Council Queensland and the Queensland Children’s Cancer Centre, will be held at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane from 9am to 2pm on 6 September 2011. Videoconference technology will also be available to allow rural and regional staff the opportunity to actively participate in the seminar, engage with guest presenters and join in team discussions. The seminar aims to educate and support school-based educators and health professionals to help children, their families and their peers to cope with childhood cancer in both the primary and secondary school environments. This year’s seminar will take a closer look at supporting students who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis. For more than a decade, this seminar has given educators direct access to some of Queensland’s best health professionals in paediatric cancer care. For more information contact Angelene Kendall, Cancer Support Co-ordinator, Cancer Council Queensland, on 3634 5240 or angelenekendall@cancerqld.org.au.

Hands Across Australia Want a guest presenter to visit your school during National Water Week? Request a Water Week Ambassador to inspire your students about water. This year’s National Water Week will be held 16 – 22 October. National Water Week is an annual event that aims to raise awareness and improve knowledge of water issues. This year’s theme is ‘Healthy Catchments, Healthy Communities’ and the Australian Water Association is offering you a chance to have a guest speaker from the water industry to visit your class. Benefits of a visit from a water ambassador include: t t t

A chance for students to learn about local catchments from a water expert. An opportunity to participate in water activities linked to the Australian Curriculum. A way for students to ask water questions to their local water managers.

Don’t forget to organise your National Water Week event and register it on our website. This is a great way to promote your event for free. To request an ambassador and register your event visit www.nationalwaterweek.org.au

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School Competition GenerationOne and the Australian School of Performing Arts want your school to get involved in the Hands Across Australia School Competition. The national competition aims to raise awareness and get young Australians actively involved in the initiative to end Indigenous disparity in one generation – this generation. The competition is open to all schools, whether you have Indigenous students or not. The Hands Across Australia School Competition encourages schools to perform and film their own version of the GenerationOne theme song Hands Across Australia, or create their own song or rap which addresses their response to Indigenous disparity. Winners of each category will receive $15,000. Visit www.generationone.org.au. Entries close 23 September 2011.


22

The Independent Voice

August 2011

Global Issues Greece: Teachers plan new strikes Teachers and university professors in Greece are planning a new wave of strikes in September after seeing their pay and benefits cut by the equivalent of two months of pay a year. Hundreds of thousands of people, including teachers, have been demonstrating on the streets of Greece over the last few months, in opposition to the austerity measures which have been imposed to reduce the level of public debt. As the Greek government continues to enact demands from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU), young people in Greece – like those who precipitated the revolutions in Arabic speaking countries in

the Middle East and North Africa – have been especially vocal in expressing concerns about their future. Even highly qualified young people are unemployed or engaged in low paid and precarious work. The demonstrations which have taken place over July and August have been led by young people, known as the ‘aganaktismenoi’ or the ‘frustrated ones’. Teachers have also been in the forefront of this movement as investment in education – like other public services – has been cut. Investigations by Teachers Solidarity report that “more than 1,000 schools are scheduled for closure, teachers’ posts are being made redundant, and may eventually – if at all – be replaced by cheaper temporary staff, while in-service training is

E d u c a t i o n I n t e r n a t i o n a l Wo r l d Congress The World Congress, held every four years, is the supreme governing body of Education International (EI). The most recent Congress was held in Cape Town, South Africa, in July 2011 and provided an opportunity for representatives of all EI affiliates to meet and strengthen the bonds of solidarity between teachers and education workers throughout the world. Delegates considered the major contemporary issues affecting their organisations, the international teacher trade union movement, and the ongoing struggle to achieve quality public education for all. The theme for the 6th World Congress was “Building the Future through Quality Education” which provided the framework for the four subthemes: •Achieving Quality Education; •Inclusive quality education for an inclusive society; •Trade unions working together at national and international levels; and •Future of education beyond the economic crisis. During the Congress IEUA Federal Secretary Chris Watt addressed the delegates and applauded the EI Policy Paper on Education, in particular the commentary in the paper on Improving the Quality of Education and the associated work program outlined in Resolution 1.1.1. Mr Watt said that the IEUA “notes with concern the simplistic and wrong-headed approach by governments around the globe in believing that improving education quality is dependent on ranking teachers, and schools; on punitive teacher management programs; and continued implementation of repeatedly failed performance pay systems. “To cite but one recent piece of research: on Monday 18 July 2011...the US based RAND Education, in partnership with Vanderbilt University, released the findings of their recent research project with the media release headline: ‘New York City School-Based

Education International www.ei-ie.org

abolished and class sizes rise”. Even teaching materials have become unavailable. Ahead of the new school year, only five of the 1,200 textbook titles needed for the new term have been printed because the Greek organisation which publishes educational books has been abolished and there is no paper. Over the last few months Greek teachers have been involved in general strikes, demonstrations and occupations. In February, EI published a call from the Greek teaching unions for joint action in Europe. As governments all over the EU continue to attack education in an effort to shore up the crumbling economic system, this call can only become more urgent.

Financial Incentives Did Not Improve Student Achievement Or Affect Reported Teaching Practices.’

Botswana: Government takes away teachers’ right to strike The Government of Botswana has amended its laws in order to make it illegal for teachers to go on strike. The move comes as the government decided to re-classify teachers as ‘essential services’ and therefore making it illegal for teachers to withdraw their labour. Other workers included in the new laws are people working in the diamond industry and veterinary services. This decision comes after a period of strike action by teachers and

Egypt: Independent teachers’ union fights for rights

“These performance pay models do not work. However, we do know what does work. We know that a model of quality education that recognises, supports and adequately resources an holistic approach to teaching and learning can and does improve student outcomes and student learning.

The independent teachers’ union in Egypt is fighting for the enactment of legislation to ensure trade union rights. EI’s member, the Independent Teachers Union of Egypt – founded in July 2010 before the revolution – is part of the new Independent Trade Union Federation.

“Comrade van Leeuwen...spoke of the inextricable link between learning conditions and working conditions. In this context, a framework for quality education, teaching and learning, must at a minimum: •Build quality teacher capacity; •Deliver quality career pathways; •Enhance quality learning environments.

In May two supply teachers were arrested by the military who were brought in to break up a sit-in of teachers who were demanding permanent contracts. The peaceful sit-in was harassed by security forces who surrounded it and fired shots in their direction.

“Central to developing and sustaining quality teaching, and therefore quality learning, is the access to quality career pathways that acknowledge and support the complex nature of the work undertaken by the teaching profession.

Some of the supply teachers have been on temporary contracts for 20 years. Many teachers know that the use of contract teachers on low wages with no security of tenure is one of the main ways in which governments attempt to destroy teacher unions, save money and in the process undermine education.

“Essential are such factors as: •An integrated career pathway; •Attracting quality applicants; •Retaining experienced teachers; •Quality training and professional development; •A relevant and meaningful framework of standards; •Professional remuneration (including getting the base salary right and recognising accomplished teachers); and •Supporting and developing leadership. “High quality teaching is the responsibility not only of teachers individually and as a profession, but of schools, systems and governments. “The IEUA commends the EI Policy Paper on Education and Resolution 1.1.1.”

The Egyptian government has yet to enact a decree from March 2011 which said that teachers on temporary contracts should be made permanent once they have been in post for three years. EI’s member organisation is also advocating for a wage increase of 25 per cent. Ayman Albaili of the Independent Teachers Union of Egypt (ISTT) said: “A junior teacher currently receives the equivalent of 15 USD, 50 USD after five years of teaching. The previous regime considered education as a commodity which parents could afford or not. The

other civil servants has been suspended pending talks. The teachers had been on strike to demand a living wage – having had no pay increase for three years despite difficult economic conditions where inflation in Botswana is running at 27 per cent. Many commentators in Botswana fear for the future of democracy in the country as people’s basic freedoms are attacked. During the recent strike the government used the army and police personnel to replace teachers in some schools in contravention of the country’s industrial relations laws.

role of teachers was marginalised in the decision making process on education. Our union wants to reassert teachers in the education process and improve their status and rights.” The Independent Trade Union Federation is calling for international solidarity in its fight for basic labour rights, for example the decriminalisation of strikes and demonstrations. It is also calling for an end to foreign funding and interference. One of the founders of the federation, Kamal Abu Aita, of the tax authority union, said: “Sometimes when people talk about international solidarity they focus on trade unionists in countries like Egypt receiving training from colleagues in the developed world. I think that training can be useful, but I prefer to call it an exchange of experiences, rather than training. Solidarity is a conversation and we can all learn from each other.” EI supports this statement as model of global solidarity and aims for this in its work with members. EI convened a meeting of independent Arab country trade unions with the goal of furthering the call of independent and democratic trade unionism in the region. Delegates from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen came together at the conference. The inability of the Bahraini teachers’ union to take part – because their leaders are detained in jail – was deplored by delegates. Read the report at www.ei-ie.org/en/ news/news_details/1850

During his address to the Congress, EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, encouraged educators to become active and mobilised in order to confront the challenges the international teacher trade union movement faces.

For more information or to enlist your support for education workers worldwide, visit Education International’s website www.ei-ie.org.

To find out more about the Congress visit www.ei-ie.org

The IEUA is an affiliate of EI.


The Independent Voice

August 2011

23

Don’t have private health insurance? It could cost you... There are many reasons to take out private health insurance in Australia. Mostly, we are seeking peace of mind – the security of knowing we can get immediate access to the level of care and treatment we require, while being financially protected. Over the years the Federal Government has implemented measures to encourage Australians to take out private hospital cover. Among these measures are the Medicare Levy Surcharge and the Lifetime Health Cover loading, both of which could end up costing you money if you don’t have private hospital cover. What is the Medicare Levy Surcharge? The Medicare Levy is an additional 1% surcharge of taxable income imposed on people above certain income thresholds who are eligible for Medicare but who do not have an appropriate level of hospital insurance for themselves or a partner with a registered health fund. You will have to pay the 1% surcharge if you are: • A single person earning more than $80,000 (2011-12 financial year) • A couple or family earning more than $160,000 (2011-12 financial year) - this income threshold increases by

$1,500 for each dependent child after the first. What is the Lifetime Health Cover loading? It is another Federal Government initiative designed to encourage people to join a private health fund early in life and to maintain their cover. To avoid the Lifetime Health Cover loading, you need to take out hospital cover by 30 June following your 31st birthday. Otherwise, your premiums will increase by 2% each year you delay joining to a maximum of 70%. For more information visit www.tuh.com.au What type of hospital cover do I need to avoid paying the extra taxes? All of TUH’s hospital covers can give you the peace of mind of knowing that the additional Medicare Levy Surcharge and the Lifetime Health Cover loading* will not affect you from the date you join. So to start saving on your taxes contact TUH today on 1300 360 701 or enquiries@tuh.com.au. Depending on your age at time of joining.

Dear Maggie, I am concerned that some of my children’s friends appear to be consuming marijuana on a daily basis. Whilst my children deny they use it I am not so naïve to believe everything they tell me. I have heard that it can lead to psychotic behaviours and a diagnosis of schizophrenia. What behaviours would indicate to me that they are at risk? Signed, Up in Smoke Dear Up In Smoke It’s encouraging to hear that you have knowledge of your children’s friends and their behaviours. It shows you are interested and they are prepared to share some parts of their lives with you. You are wise to see that it is part of their growing up to have secrets and to experiment with things that others of their age group are trying. Parents see their primary role is to protect their children, and this responsibility is hard to relinquish. However, it is up to the adults to continue to keep the dialogue flowing, to be open to compromise and flexibility with ideas that young people express. It is not easy, but those parents and teenagers who manage to progress their relationship from one of a very distinct power base of adult over child, to one of equal adults; are the ones who are the luckiest.

*

While it is unclear whether marijuana can cause

schizophrenia, research suggests that it may trigger or worsen symptoms in those people who are predisposed to develop it. Schizophrenia is characterised by significant changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Initially, they may display increasing anxiety, irritability, mood swings, suspiciousness, poor memory or concentration, lack of motivation, agitation or inactivity, sleep or appetite changes, rapid or slowed speech. Then they may report unusual beliefs, ideas and/or seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling or tasting things that aren’t there. Such symptoms can have other causes so it is important that an assessment is made by a GP or a mental health professional as soon as possible. There are many other facets to these issues that space prohibits discussing in detail here. If you would like to discuss this matter or would like any further information or assistance, please call Teachers’ Union Health Supportline at any time of the day or night on 1800 655 302 to speak to counsellors who are also mental health professionals. Maggie Principal Clinician TUH Supportline

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The Independent Voice

August 2011

The only way is up... or maybe down! With speculation divided amongst even the most experienced economic forecasters as to which way interest rates will move, you can be forgiven for being a little confused about what to do with your mortgage and cash investments. If you are looking to refinance, one of the biggest questions you’re probably facing is whether to fix your home loan or go variable. Whilst everyone has their opinion on what is better, ultimately there is no right answer but understanding the differences can help you decide what option suits your circumstances. Fixed Rate Home Loans With a Fixed Rate Home Loan, the interest rate on your mortgage doesn’t change for an agreed period, usually 1-3 years, despite what happens to official interest rates. By fixing your interest rate, you will have control over your repayments for a specified period of time, which can help with budgeting and cash flow. However, most fixed loans offer limited flexibility in terms of redraw and other loan features.

that you can meet your mortgage repayments regardless of fluctuating economic conditions. However, it generally lacks flexibility. A variable loan can save you money in times of falling interest rates, but consideration also needs to be given to loan affordability if interest rates were to rise. A split rate home loan combines the benefits of both fixed and variable rate loans and although you won’t save as much when interest rates fall, if interest rates rise your repayments won’t increase as much compared to a 100% variable loan. Whilst the range of options available may seem confusing, a little expert advice can go a long way to ease the stress surrounding the decision. If you are considering refinancing your current home loan make sure you talk to your mortgage provider about all your options to make an educated decision. Warning: This article is no substitute for professional advice that is tailored to your particular needs – the information in it is generic in nature only.

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Va r i a b l e R a t e H o m e Loans With a Variable Rate Home Loan, the interest rate on your mortgage can change. If official interest rates go down, your interest rates go down too. However, if the Reserve Bank increases interest rates, your home loan rate will probably rise as well. A variable interest rate allows you to take immediate advantage of any drop in interest rates. It also gives you the flexibility to fix at any time if rates are on the rise. A variable rate loan can also generally offer greater flexibility in terms of additional loan features including redraw and offset. Split Rate Home Loans A Split Rate home loan combines elements of both the fixed rate and variable rate options. For example, you could have 80% of your home loan fixed, while the remaining 20% is variable. By splitting your loan you’re combining the flexibility of a variable loan with the control of a fixed loan. In summary, a fixed rate loan provides greater confidence

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