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Independent Vo i c e OUR UNION OUR VOICE

March 2012

Volume 1 Number 1

School funding:

Gonski Report delivers for schools

Unions commemorate the centenary of the Brisbane General Strike

National consistency for the teaching profession: What does it mean to you?

BCE graduates sign up to IEUA-QNT March 2012

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WILL YOUR FUTURE BE

SUPER ENOUGH?

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The Independent Voice

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CONTACTS The Independent Voice is the official publication of the Independent Education Union of Australia - Queensland and Northern Territory branch (IEUA-QNT)

CONTENTS IEUA-QNT commemorates Centenary Brisbane’s General Strike

www.qieu.asn.au ISSN 1446-1919

IEUA-QNT Brisbane PH: 07 3839 7020 346 Turbot Street, Spring Hill Q 4000 PO Box 418 Fortitude Valley Q 4006

IEUA-QNT Darwin PH: 08 8981 1924 38 Woods Street Darwin NT 0800 GPO Box 4166 Darwin NT 0801

Editorial/ Advertising enquiries to Fiona Stutz: Phone: 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

p16,17 An IEUA-QNT member’s perspective on a teacher exchange

p28,29

UPFRONT President and Secretary Reports News

IN THE JOURNAL 4 8

Charter for Working Queenslanders

5

IEUA-QNT members meet with MPs

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School officers Ensuring your position description

FEATURES

is up to date

School funding campaign The next steps

Publications Officer/ Journalist: Fiona Stutz

Professional issues in education

Printing: APN Print

National consistency for the

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12

Northern Territory News

The importance of the Chapter Executive

13

Members in Action Benefits of union training

teaching profession 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 IEUAQNT. Copyright: All articles remain the copyright of IEUAQNT. Permission must be obtained before reprinting.

ABN: 74 662 601 045

Professional and industrial

22

Proud history of Labour Day

18

Celebrate in 2012

support Responding to allegations of poor

Cyberbullying

performance or misconduct

IEUA-QNT supports research

Unite on safety at work

24

Medical information: how much do

19 20

BCE induction day Graduates sign up to IEUA-QNT

you need to offer? Members meeting calendar Legal Briefs Statutory duty to notify suspected sexual abuse

27

Global issues Like us on Facebook

26 30

Follow us on Twitter @ieuaqnt March 2012

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EDITORIALS

Our Voice - Now even stronger Our journal has always reflected the nature of our union and it has evolved as we have evolved from an essentially professional association to a strong industrial and professional union in the nongovernment sector organising around the industrial and professional concerns of our members. Our journal is the voice of our membership and with this new edition, our voice is stronger and more vibrant. The new Independent Voice will provide timely and insightful articles on the industrial and professional issues of concern to members and will form an essential part of our comprehensive communication with members. Our journal will be complemented with sector newsletters, Chapter and member briefings and the web based communication. We trust you will enjoy the new Independent Voice and welcome your comments on further improvement. Terry Burke tburke@qieu.asn.au

Enjoy the Journey

A Year of Action The federal government has released the Gonski Report into the Review of Funding for Schooling and we need to be watchful regarding the impact on schools in any implementation. The recommendations in the report form a sound basis from which to create a more transparent funding framework. However, we are well aware that there is much work to be done, and negotiation to be had, before fully-formed replacement funding arrangements are agreed and decided. Among these is implementation being contingent upon an additional injection of over $5 billion to school funding, to reverse a perceived “slide” in Australia’s student performance in international comparisons such as PISA. The federal government has made it clear that it will not allow demands for additional expenditure to delay its timeline for bringing the budget back to surplus. State governments indicate they may be unwilling or unable to meet their share of increased funding. Without this extra funding, the support of the states and successful passage of legislation through Parliament, the funding review will slide into merely being an academic exercise. Our union can and will play a role in

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The Independent Voice

Effective unions have always understood that they must be dynamic and responsive to change if they are to prosper.

campaigning on both state and federal governments to get a better funding deal for schools. At a closer level the negotiation of a new collective agreement for Queensland Catholic schools has begun. These negotiations engage the second largest education employer in Queensland and represent the largest sector of our membership. Widespread consultation occurred last year to develop a log of claims and will continue during the negotiations. It is essential that members participate in the various networks and keep abreast of the key issues through chapter meetings and briefings. Quality outcomes from bargaining rely on members being educated about the issues and being prepared to take appropriate action to further support our claims. I look forward to working with you on these significant issues and know that our union can rely on the continued support of members to achieve the outcomes we all seek. Andrew Elphinestone President

In an environment of change our union continues to take considered and far-reaching steps to ensure that our union remains relevant to the concerns and aspirations of our members. The launch of this magazinestyle journal with this edition of the Independent Voice is a practical expression of our responsiveness to the needs and views expressed by our members. Timely and considered articles on professional and industrial issues will be the hallmark of our new-look journal. The new Independent Voice is, however, just one part of a wider communications strategy that will build on existing structures and publications with more sector specific newsletters, revamped Chapter Briefings and greater use of electronic communication. Members need background information if they are to respond to the changes which are all around but they also need skills and strategies if they are to influence in any meaningful way the changes that they experience on a daily basis. Member training will remain

a priority. However, members also need a ‘space’ to consider and reflect on those changes and give direction to our collective response as a union. To this end, Branch forums will be conducted regularly on topical industrial and professional issues and direction sought from members on how our union might engage effectively on these matters. With funding and collective bargaining and structural change and potential change of government, there is much we must deal with as a union. An engaged membership, well understanding the issues before us, is essential to our capacity to deal with these matters and any other which might arise. Enjoy the new journal and enjoy the journey we make as a union with our even stronger member voice.

Kind regards Terry Burke Branch Secretary tburke@qieu.asn.au


QUEENSLAND STATE ELECTION

Commitment to Charter by candidates important to Queensland state election Ahead of the Queensland state election in March IEUA-QNT and Queensland Council of Unions representatives presented the Charter for Working Queenslanders to state Members of Parliament to ensure candidates commit to policies contained in the Charter. Candidates were asked to commit to the objectives of the Charter, which included: • to ensure the voice of working Queenslanders is heard in government and industry; • endorse and enforce the principles of collective bargaining; and • protect and enhance the rights of workplace representatives. Delegations of IEUA-QNT members in the electorates of Maryborough, Barron River, Stretton and Mundingburra met with their local candidates to ensure their commitment to the Charter of a positive plan for the future of Queensland. IEUA-QNT members Steve Blacklow, Frances Jankowski and Chris Chapman met with Member for Barron River, Steve Wettenhall at the end of 2011, while IEUA-QNT member Denis Kettle met with Maryborough Independent MP Chris Foley in January. The Queensland Council of Unions sought answers from all state political parties on policy commitments that will benefit working people in the lead up to the election. While the ALP, The Greens and Katter’s Australian Party candidates were

Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall met with a IEUAQNT delegation members Steve Blacklow, Frances Jankowski and Chris Chapman at the end of 2011

prepared to commit to the Charter, the LNP has hid behind a weak set of commitments in a letter by the opposition spokesperson. This was highlighted in a meeting in February when local Ashgrove candidates were invited by education workers to commit to the Charter. The 100 education workers present were encouraged that in the midst of an election Ashgrove candidates Kate Jones, Sandra Bayley and Norman Wicks signed the pledge; however, they were disappointed that Campbell Newman had not bothered to attend nor respond to the invitation to support working Queenslanders. During the event education workers in turn signed a pledge to support the Charter. Overall QCU delegations visited state political candidates in 33 electorates

and have collated and compiled their answers to more than 40 policy questions. The questions covered areas such as occupational health and safety, commitment to skills training, housing for workers in rural and remote areas, reparation of the Stolen Wages and access to arbitration for public sector workers. The QCU Executive has reviewed the responses from parties and candidates and considered the parties’ past track record on issues affecting working Queenslanders. The information will be included on the Charter website www.charterforqld.com.au on 1 March to help voters decide which candidates support which policies that benefit working Queenslanders. The Charter will also serve as a checklist into the future to judge the ongoing performance of whichever party wins government.

Maryborough Independent MP Chris Foley commits to the Charter for Working Queenslanders when IEUA-QNT member and teacher Denis Kettle visited his electorate office in January

March 2012

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SCHOOL FUNDING CAMPAIGN

Gonski report delivers for s The Gonski Report into school funding has delivered on the four key campaign objectives of our union and recognised for the first time the legitimacy of the nongovernment school sector in the provision of education in Australia. IEUA-QNT welcomes the findings of the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling of an additional $5 billion investment in schools, with the onus now on the federal government to retain its commitment for a fairer funding system for government and non-government schools with the support of the states. The IEUA submissions sought four key outcomes from the Gonski review: 1. Establishment of a School Resource Standard with Base Level - The Report recommends the establishment of a transparent school resource standard for all Australian schools. Funding beyond a minimum base would be based on the resource needs of the school as reflected in student characteristics and outcomes; 2. Education Based Indexation - The Report has recommended the establishment of an index for increases in recurrent funding which is drawn from inflationary costs in education rather than the CPI; 3. Increased Funding for Disabled Students - The Report recommends significant

additional funding for disabled students. Significantly the Report also recommends that the funding follows the student wherever the student is enrolled; 4. Transition Arrangements - The Report acknowledges the need for transition arrangements to a new funding arrangement. This is especially significant for the number of current ‘funding maintained’ schools. Clearly there is still a lot of detail to be worked through to ensure the interests of students and their schools are protected under any new funding arrangement. Of greatest significance, however, is the unanswered question regarding the willingness of federal and state governments to commit to the additional $5 billion of funding which is needed to implement the Report’s recommendations. The Report itself notes the need for constructive engagement with state and federal governments to ensure the Report is actioned with the funding. Our union campaign now shifts its focus to the fundamental recommendation that both federal and state governments must increase significantly their contribution to education in Australia – both government and nongovernment.

What you need to know about the Gonski Report The Gonski Report warns that Australian children will continue to fall academically behind the rest of the world if a new school funding scheme is not introduced. To deal with this challenge, the report recommends introducing a Schooling Resource Standard, which would entail a set investment per student, plus additional top-up funding to target disadvantage. Under the model, every student who attended a private school would receive a minimum entitlement of 20-25 per cent of the school resource standard in government funding, plus the loadings for disadvantage. Governments would contribute the entire SRS funding for government schools. While the proposals provide insight into a funding system that would deliver appropriate resources for all schools, the report also acknowledges more work is needed to develop and test

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The Independent Voice

the different elements of the model before the federal government could guarantee it would deliver on its school funding goals. The federal government has stated that they will implement a school funding model if satisfied it will help Australia to achieve: • a higher achievement for all students; • deliver equity in access to high quality education and excellent teaching and learning outcomes; • support of school choice for a diverse range of schools; • provide fairness, transparency and accountability; • support continuous improvement and innovation in school performance; • deliver financial sustainability, to ensure that schools can be financed properly into the future; and • stability and certainty for schools about

their funding, ensuring that no school loses a dollar of funding per student as a result of any changes. The government has committed to the next stages in developing a new funding model for schools, including taking a set of funding principles to the next meeting of COAG for agreement and establishing a number of working groups under the COAG council system that will engage across sectors and with stakeholders in key areas to test specific elements of the recommended model, including additional funding to target disadvantage. A commitment of states and territories has also been asked for to work through the reform proposals and options for implementation. This will include detailed development and modeling of the elements of a new funding system, including costs and how they could work in practice. The government will also establish a Ministerial


SCHOOL FUNDING CAMPAIGN

schools

KEY POINTS •

Reference Group to ensure there is ongoing consultation and dialogue with key stakeholders and the public through this process. The report also makes a number of other key recommendations, including a new approach to capital funding, strategies for promoting philanthropic partnerships with schools and establishment of an independent National Schools Resourcing Body to set the level of investment needed to provide a high quality education. In working on these reforms, the federal government will carry out a nation-wide consultation process with Australian families, teachers, principals and the wider community. The report also recommends the federal government assume a greater role in funding public schools and the states and territories increase their role in funding non-government schools, which would effectively group all government funding for schools.

The Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling reports an additional $5 billion investment in schools is needed from the federal government The first comprehensive review of Australian school funding since 1973 details school funding should be tied to indexation with ‘transitional arrangements’ put in place while school finances were modelled. The Report recommends the establishment of a transparent school resource standard for all Australian schools. Funding beyond a minimum base would be based on the resource needs of the school as reflected in student characteristics and outcomes. The establishment of an index for increases in recurrent funding which is drawn from inflationary costs in education rather than the CPI. Significant additional funding for disabled students. Significantly the Report also recommends that the funding follows the student wherever the student is enrolled. The Report acknowledges the need for transition arrangements to a new funding arrangement. This is especially significant for the number of current ‘funding maintained’ schools.

Advertising campaign promotes school funding

The IEUA has initiated a national advertising campaign on buses and billboards, pointing to a website, developed and managed by the IEUA www.independentfacts.com.au . The site sets out important information about our sector and includes an animation explaining the facts surrounding the funding of schools in Australia.

March 2012

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NEWS

Further investment in ECE needed by Queensland government The recognition by the Queensland government of the inadequate levels of funding in its Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme has been welcomed by the IEUA-QNT. However, IEUA-QNT Senior Industrial Officer John Spriggs says the quantum of the announced increase is still inadequate to ensure that a quality kindergarten programme is offered to children in Queensland. The recently announced funding increase to community kindergartens will only cover about a quarter of the shortfall which will be experienced by centres. An additional $6.5 million will be provided to increasing the per child subsidy for services by $100. However, this increase will be ineffective in assisting kindergartens to attract and retain qualified and experienced staff.

kindergartens generally facing a shortfall in funding equal to $400 per child per year. Any increase in fees to cover this inadequacy would be beyond the financial means of some families. While the new subsidy will alleviate the burden for families by $100 per year, additional funds should be considered to further reduce the funding shortfall for each community kindergartens.

The previous Kindergarten Funding Scheme was inadequate with community

The government is also committing to increasing subsidies for low income

families to reduce the cost barrier to accessing kindergarten programs by increasing the Health Care Card subsidy for the most needy from $402 to $1,042 for families accessing kindergarten programs in long day care services and from $1,179 to up to $2,600 for families accessing a kindergarten service in 2012. In addition, the government is providing more funding to kindergarten services that operate in disadvantaged areas in the hope that more families will be able to afford kindergarten programme. More than one third of Queensland’s kindy-aged children live in low socioeconomic areas. The state government hopes that the extra funding will reduce parents’ out-of-pocket expenses

by up to $11 a day. The increase in funding was necessary if the government is to meet its target of increasing kindergarten participation for 2012 to 86 per cent. Only time will tell whether the 69 per cent achieved in 2011 will continue to increase in subsequent years. The total increase of $23 million in kindergarten funding is part of a joint Australian and Queensland government investment of $900 million over five years to make kindy more affordable. To find out more about what is happening in the Early Childhood education sector, including concerns regarding the implementation of the Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) Act 2011 recently passed by Queensland Parliament, visit our website at www.qieu.asn.au

A place for Jessica Thanks to local community campaigning and support, former union member and teacher Jessica Andrews will always be remembered with a park named in her honour. IEUA-QNT Assistant General Secretary Ros McLennan shares the good news. Christmas came early for union members working in Catholic schools on Brisbane’s inner southside when Brisbane City Council finally announced in December that Jessica Andrews Place would become a reality. The council playground on the corner of Lewisham Street and Ekibin Road in Annerley will now be called ‘Jessica Andrews Place’ and a sign will be erected. Who was Jess? Jessica Andrews was a respected, caring teacher at Our Lady’s College. She was a wife, mother of two sons, friend to many, a union member and my next-door neighbour for many years. Tragically, Jess died suddenly on 13 August 2010, leaving behind her beloved husband Mark (a local police officer), toddler Max and two-week old baby Tommy. She was just 32 years old. Jess’ legacy Until we embarked on this community campaign, what many people didn’t know about Jess was that she was part of a group of Annerley mums actively advocating

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The Independent Voice

for a local park upgrade, since it was first suggested to Cr Nicole Johnston about 18 months ago. Our local park at the corner of Ekibin Road and Lewisham Street in Annerley had a big make over in September, now sporting beautiful new play equipment (including a wooden fort) and is fully fenced to ensure the safety of our kids. Never one to blow her own trumpet, this was simply part and parcel of Jess’ contribution to community life. Sadly Jess didn’t live to see the park she helped lobby for finished and enjoyed by Annerley families, but many others felt it fitting that her legacy be publicly recognised. Jessica Andrews Place The community campaign to honour Jessica Andrews’ contribution to local families was initiated and coordinated through our union with overwhelming support from chapters and principals in local Catholic school workplaces and the employing authority. When the community petition was presented to Council, it carried more than 750 signatures – a terrific collective

Mark Andrews (with son Thomas) and Cr Nicole Johnston celebrate the announcement of Jessica Andrews Place playground in Annerley

effort! But it was certainly not all plain sailing. Unhelpful Council politicking meant that our community petition stalled at Committee stage, then was subject of vigorous debate when the matter was brought direct to Council by Cr Nicole Johnston, until it was eventually approved by a meeting of the Civic Cabinet. Clearly, one person acting alone would not have achieved this campaign win. People getting together and standing up for what is right has made the difference. There are many, many people deserving of thanks for their hard work in achieving this recognition for Jessica Andrews. However, Cr Nicole Johnston (Tennyson ward) must be acknowledged as an unwavering, passionate advocate for our park name change campaign which we are thankful for.


Cyber-bullying policy for Rockhampton Catholic Education Diocese The Catholic Education Diocese of Rockhampton has taken an important step in protecting the welfare of their employees with the implementation of a cyber-bullying policy. The policy, designed in collaboration with IEUA-QNT, teachers and parents, establishes clear methods of handling instances of cyberbullying towards staff members. The collaborative approach was integral to bringing about this policy which addresses one of the most important issues stemming from rising internet usage. IEUA-QNT Organiser Richard Pascoe said the policy introduction was an appropriate step and commended Catholic Education for consulting our union on the issue. “This policy will provide all employees with assurance in knowing that they will be protected should cyber-bullying become an issue at their school,” he said. Under the new policy, staff are encouraged not to take personal action should inappropriate comments or material be directed towards them online by students. Staff are instead instructed to note the details of any incident of cyber-bullying and report it to their supervisor/Principal who will then launch an appropriate investigation. This process is intended to remove pressure from staff who may think it is their responsibility to deal with cyberbullying, and instead creates an appropriate channel for these issues to be addressed. “The management of student’s online behaviour has consequently become a key issue in our schools.” Chapters are encouraged to consider implementing a similar framework in their schools for combating cyber-bullying towards staff. Contact your union organiser to find out more about implementing a cyber-bullying policy in your school.

NEWS ELICOS employees take part in Insecure Work Inquiry IEUA-QNT ELICOS members have told a national inquiry how insecure work arrangements have affected their personal and professional lives. Judith White and Arun Warszawski from Browns Language College were amongst numerous other Queensland workers who made submissions to the Independent Inquiry insecure Work Hearing in Brisbane in February. As an ESL teacher, Arun told the Inquiry that the combination of casual short term contracts and no sick or holiday pay plus relatively low pay rates meant that taking leave was not only financially risky, but by being casual, there was a risk of losing his job. “As a young teacher the possibility of embarking upon an ESL career is simply not feasible if I am to aim for a minimally comfortable family life in Australia,” he said. Experienced teacher Judith said observing the practices of the ESL industry had been a sobering experience. “Schools in the ESL industry appear to have little interest in staff development and improvement of their standards -

experienced teachers are simply not valued if the treatment of experienced teachers is any indication,” she said. The Inquiry, one of the most important investigations into the changing nature of Australian work, was commissioned by the ACTU to examine the impact of insecure jobs on the workplace and the community. The submissions heard in Brisbane were among 500 from across Australia. Public hearings will be the next important step in the inquiry, allowing workers, the unions who represent them and other organisations who have made a submission to paint a clear picture of the issue, its consequences and solutions. For more information visit www.securejobs.org.au .

IEUA Re-affiliates with ACTU The Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) has re-affiliated with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) following a period of disaffiliation since July 2011.

national goals and aspirations.

Our union’s re-affiliation with the ACTU comes with the understanding that any education policy matters addressed by the council will consider the interests of both non-government and government schools.

• the IEUA, in consultation with any other union with members in the sector, will take the lead in developing policy concerning the level of financial support provided by governments to non-government schools and the distribution of such support within the non-government school sector; • the IEUA will campaign to increase funding to non-government schools to meet needs identified by the IEUA relating to the job security, salaries and working conditions of IEUA members; and

The ACTU has acknowledged the diverse pattern of school education in Australia and the significant role played by IEUA members and the schools in which they work in meeting children’s needs and

In line with ACTU practice in respect of other industries and affiliates and consistent with ACTU policy, the ACTU recognises that:

• As a matter of principle, ACTU will be supportive of the industrial, organising and campaign activities of the IEUA. IEUA Federal President Dick Shearman said he was pleased with the outcome. “Our union now has key responsibility for developing funding policy for our sector. “We look forward to a new policy based on the statements emerging at the May ACTU congress,” Mr Shearman said. Our union looks forward to working with the peak union body in this country to further advocate the interests of our members.

March 2012

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SCHOOL OFFICERS

How to ensure your position description is up to date Position descriptions are the key ingredient to ensuring the work you do is rewarded with a fair salary.The aim of a position description is to clearly set out all aspects, no matter how trivial they may seem, of each task performed in the role so the position can be classified correctly at a classification level reflecting its complexities.

KEY POINTS •

• •

School officers deserve wages that appropriately value their professional skills. However, in order to receive those wages, school officers are urged to ensure their position descriptions are accurate and contemporary. If your position description is dated and does not accurately reflect the tasks you currently undertake, the chances are, you are not being remunerated fairly and you should be receiving a higher salary for the work you do. Classification is competency based and looks at job characteristics, qualifications and the level of supervision involved in the position The position is classified, not the employee It is essential to have a contemporary and accurate position description in order to ensure your position is correctly classified and your remuneration reflects the duties and responsibilites of your role Once a position description has been agreed upon with your employer, you can formally apply for reclassification

Many school officers find themselves, over time, acquiring more skills, taking on more complex responsibilities and becoming more involved with supervision duties. An accurate and contemporary position description is the foundation of any classification of a position. However, if your position description is dated and does not accurately reflect the tasks you currently undertake, the chances are, you are not being remunerated fairly. It is easy to underrate skills when analysing your role and developing a position description. Position descriptions need to clearly set out the tasks involved in your position. They should then go on to elaborate on what is involved in each of those tasks. Developing a position description A position pescription is a formalised statement of the duties, qualifications and/or experience, and responsibilities of a job, based on information obtained through an objective job analysis. Its purpose is to identify a specific position with clarity and precision and to describe its scope and content. It may include information on working conditions; tools; equipment used; knowledge and skills needed to do the job; and relationships with other people in various positions. It should be accurate, concise and complete. Before drafting a position description, it is important to analyse the position in terms of duties and necessary skills required in the position. When developing your position description you will need to consider: Duties • What duties must be performed regularly? List these in order of importance. • What other duties are performed periodically? List these in order of

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The Independent Voice

importance. • Describe these duties in terms of complexity and variety. Consider how duties are allocated, undertaken and overseen. Skills • Consider the list of duties. Describe the skills required to undertake these duties. Supervision • Consider the list of duties. Describe the aspects of the duty for which you are responsible. • Describe the reporting structures, personnel who are involved and the level of involvement. Describe the extent of supervision of the duty. • How are you notified of the required task/duty? Knowledge, Qualifications and Experience • Consider the list of duties. Describe the knowledge, qualification and experience necessary to undertake the duty. Resources • Consider the list of duties. Outline the necessary resources (eg Microsoft Word) and machinery used. • Describe the knowledge necessary to use these resources. What workplace health and safety knowledge is required by the task? • Are you responsible for ongoing maintenance and safe-keeping of equipment. Promote what you do When writing a position description it is essential not to minimise or sell short the skills and knowledge that you use to perform your duties, particularly by using broad terms such as ‘communication skills’ that cover a diverse and sophisticated range of skills. Broad and general terms such as ‘communication skills’ imply the skills required in the position are less than they actually are. Appropriate alternatives that are specific and pointed should be used,


such as, ‘advocate’, ‘negotiate’, ‘mediate’ or ‘interview’. The six rules for writing a position description are: • Avoid minimising; • Be specific when describing your skills and job tasks • Make sure you describe skills, not personality; • Recognise enterprise and industry knowledge; • Value responsibility accurately; and • Include all skills and job tasks. Key Tip: never use the terms ‘I just’ , ‘I only’ or ‘I do a bit of’. No matter how insignificant an activity may seem, these words should always be left out of your analysis of the position. Classification is competency based Classification is competency based and worked out in a tiered system. Classification is always of the position and not the person who holds it and is on the basis of the characteristic knowledge and skills required to successfully carry out the duties required of the position; the level of supervision required or carried out, and the qualifications that may be required to undertake the role. Each education sector’s classification system varies slightly. The qualifications and experience that are taken into account when classifying positions also differ slightly but the fundamental aspects are similar. In most sectors, school officer roles are classified on one of seven levels. Different levels of skills, qualifications, experience and supervision fit onto each level and determine the rates of pay for the person who holds the position. Being rewarded for what you do Many of the skills which employees use are

described as personality traits, personal attributes or talents. Workers will often discount the skills required to do a job task because these skills appear to ‘come naturally’ or because they are so proficient at a task that they appear to have a ‘gift’ for it. The trouble with these ways of talking about employees’ skills is that they don’t talk about what you do in the position except as the kind of ‘doing’ that is assumed to come naturally such as listening, paying attention, liking people/kids. Describing and categorising skills in these ways is a means of avoiding recognising and rewarding them. In short, under our present industrial relations system workers get rewarded for their skills, not their personalities. It is often claimed that while the employee carries out a particular task, the responsibility for this task lies with the supervisor. This is a way of ‘distilling’ the responsibility out of jobs and attributing it to someone else. For example, job tasks may be represented as routine or procedural with limited responsibility. Any tasks which

go beyond these boundaries are described as the responsibility of the supervisor and delegated to the employee. Also, watch out for terms which infer an employee ‘looks after’ a responsibility. The term ‘look after’ suggests that an area of responsibility does not require skill and can be done as an afterthought. It is important to refer to the specific and actual responsibilities. If you feel your role is incorrectly classified or you have been asked to take on duties with added responsibility or complexity, it is essential that you write a position description that accurately outlines the requirements of the position. Once a position description has been agreed upon with your employer, you can formally apply for reclassification. If you have any queries about your position or its level of classification, please contact our union office on enquires@qieu.asn.au or FREECALL 1800 777 937.

The Classification Process Employee reviews current certified agreement Employee reviews and updates current position description Employee submits updated position description to employer

If rejected, employee may request a review of classification through written application to employer.

If approved, or no response is given, employee can formally apply for reclassification

If a dispute still exists, matter is referred to Fair Work Australia

Employee is paid at new rate from date of application March 2012

11


NORTHERN TERRITORY NEWS

Tiwi College new SBU and Chapter Executive Committee and staff members consider the college’s log of claims in negotiations for their first collective agreement

The importance of the Chapter Executive highlighted in the Northern Territory The benefits of an engaged and active union membership has been realised in three remote schools in the Northern Territory with the establishment of Chapter Executive Committees. Tiwi College, Xavier Nguiu Secondary College and Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School have recently established effective committees comprising school employees who will act as a voice for members’ issues and concerns. Though the committees have only recently been formed, a lot has already been achieved collectively in the remote schools. Tiwi College teacher and staff representative Josh MacKenzie accepted nomination for the school’s Chapter Executive Committee as he saw the benefits of having an active discussion group to deal with issues particular to the school. Together with school officer staff representative Anthony Lyons, Collective Bargaining Coordinator Ailsa Macfie and Network Coordinator Ben Kelly, Josh and his colleagues form part of the Chapter Executive Committee and are now a vital link between the membership of their school and our union. The committee, which consists of two sub-groups of teaching and school officer staff, have already engaged in the collective bargaining process and oversaw staff endorsement of a log of claims for the first collective agreement at the college. Josh is optimistic that reasonable outcomes will be achieved to the benefit of staff and the college, and will bring more consistency for the students. “Ultimately, we work towards the improvement of standards at our College as well as the levels and quality of education we offer our students,” Josh said. At Xavier Nguiu Secondary College a new Chapter Executive Committee of Collective Bargaining Coordinator Rachelle Cox,

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The Independent Voice

Membership Coordinator Michael Joseph, Network Coordinator Ben McCasker and staff representatives Tahnee Gale and Lorenzo Siciliano has been formed. IEUAQNT organiser Jacques Retief said the remote school understood the benefits of a strong Chapter Executive Committee as it gave security to members and encouraged other staff to join. “Chapter Executive Committees play a central role in the operation of our union, especially when it comes to collective bargaining. Through developing their own union network at their school, members not only benefit from a stronger voice on the issues they face but are also better able to support colleagues in other schools tackling similar concerns,” Jacques said. Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School is another school on Bathurst Island with a newly formed and effective committee who has taken an active role in assisting members and working with them on any issue, either at the school or sector level, which may arise. “Staff realise that there is clearly value in having a body of members at the school, on the spot, ready to step in on a member’s behalf to negotiate an issue through to a conclusion,” Jacques said.

THE ROLE OF THE UNION CHAPTER The union Chapter, that is all the IEUA-QNT members at your school, is vital in the decision making process at the grassroots level. The stronger your union Chapter is in terms of numbers, the more central a role it can play in negotiating issues at the school level. Effective Chapters have a Chapter Executive where Executive members have a set of defined tasks, sharing the work of the Chapter. The positions of a Chapter Executive include: • Chapter / Staff Representative: has the responsibility of co-ordinating Chapter activities, such as acting as the point of contact for the IEUA-QNT office and organiser, distributing information to other Chapter members and handling minor member queries; • Membership Co-ordinator: will assist the Chapter Rep and has the responsibility of co-ordinating the recruitment of new members; • Collective Bargaining Coordinator: will assist the Chapter Rep and has the responsibility of co-ordinating member activity regarding collective bargaining and the implementation of the certified agreement; • Network Co-ordinator: will assist the Chapter Representative and has the responsibility of distributing information and co-ordinating communication networks amongst staff, with a special responsibility to school officers and services staff.

i College

use parents at Tiw

arding staff and ho

School officers, bo


MEMBERS IN ACTION

Benefits of IEUA-QNT training

Toowoomba members focus on campaigns at ROC meeting IEUA-QNT members from Toowoomba have gained valuable insight into current member-led campaigns and issues during a recent Regional Organising Committee (ROC) meeting. Members were eager to find out how they could support current campaigns such as the federal school funding campaign and collective bargaining processes in the Catholic and Lutheran education sectors. IEUA-QNT organiser Greg

McGhie said given the significance of federal funding for the viability of non-government schools and members’ jobs and conditions, it is essential members in regional areas, such as Toowoomba, understand the issues, what is at stake and how to get involved. “By attending ROC meetings with their colleagues members can ask questions and become better informed on the issues. A strong and united voice is always vital to ensure the future of our sector and our jobs

and working conditions are protected.” Greg said. During the meeting members also took part in branch and membership planning for graduate teachers and nonmembers, as well as celebrated the 100 year Brisbane general strike. Graham Faulkner, IEUA-QNT organiser Greg McGhie, Kim Nicolle-Layton, Les Johnston (front), with Noel McIntyre, Mark Holdsworth, Des McGovern, Tom Denham and Leo Dittman (back) attend the Toowoomba Regional Organising Committee meeting in February

IEUA-QNT members are better informed about the industrial and professional issues educators face when they attend union training. From locally-run Regional Organising Committee (ROC) meetings and industrial relations in the workplace training sessions, to sector specific training and Work Cover seminars; union training allows members to voice their concerns and to hear about the current issues in education. Training also allows members to collaborate with their colleagues throughout other schools and sectors. Member training is run throughout the year as a benefit for members. To find out more about taking part in union training and training dates visit our website www.qieu.asn.au

IEUA-QNT Moreton Branch members met with Federal Member for Oxley Bernie Ripoll to discuss the importance of the Review of Funding for Schooling at a branch meeting at the end of 2011. Mr Ripoll outlined to members the federal government’s commitment to develop a ‘fair and transparent’ school funding system. IEUA-QNT organiser Craig Darlington said the Member of Parliament stated that the government would not reduce funding to any school but, under questioning, could not guarantee that funding increases to non-government schools would be the same as, or better than, those provided by the current AGSRC measures. However, he did agree, that CPI indexation was not an

acceptable method to fund increases. “IEUA Federal Assistant Secretary Christine Cooper complemented Mr Ripoll’s involvement with the non-government schools in his electorate and his positive approach to the needs of students,” Craig said. “He has an excellent focus on special

needs students and every schools’ capacity to deliver a high standard of educational services.” Mr Ripoll said that he would take back to his colleagues IEUA’s concerns for the future funding of non-government schools.

March 2012

13


PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN EDUCATION

National consistency for the te Under the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Teacher Quality, which came into effect from 1 January 2009, all Australian states and territories committed to nationally consistent teacher registration, national consistency in certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers, and a national approach to the accreditation of initial teacher education programs. IEUA-QNT research officer Miriam Dunn reviews what are the next steps for the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, who is responsible for developing the various standards and details concerning national consistency in these various areas and in overseeing the implementation processes.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) has already produced the national professional standards for teachers, which were endorsed by the Ministerial Council for Education Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) in December 2010. These standards divide the profession into four categories: Graduate; Proficient; Highly Accomplished; and Lead Teacher. As it will be necessary to amend legislation before these standards can be implemented in Queensland, it is unlikely that they will come into effect before 2013. Within the Northern Territory, the Teacher Registration Board (TRB) will continue to base its work on the NT Standards of Professional Practice for Teachers until the National Professional Standards have been adopted and gazetted. The national standards will be formally used in 2013. IEUA-QNT have been told by a representative of the TRB that some initial work has been done to map NT Standards to national standards and that there is good alignment. Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers The draft of the detailed set of principles and processed for the certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers (HALT’s) has been received by our federal union, Independent Education Union, although this version is not as yet on the AITSL website. The main points include: • Jurisdictional certifying bodies will be responsible for implementing the process. These will be either registration authorities or employers or possibly both; • Complex process in stages: - Stage one - requires annotated evidence of teacher practice, a written statement

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addressing the standards, observation reports and referee comments. - Stage two – involves direct assessment of teacher practice onsite by external assessors which includes observation, discussion with principal/supervisor, discussion with other colleagues and discussion with applicant. • If certification is granted it lasts for five years – renewal requires re-assessment against all of the Standards through a written statement and feedback from referees. The document states that “This paper is not intended to address issues around industrial relations or existing awards and performance and development. The way in which certified teachers may be recognised or rewarded is an employment matter.” Clearly no improvement in remuneration is directly linked to certification. It is also apparent that this is a very expensive process. The draft document does not indicate how the cost of implementing the process will be met. It is unlikely that either teacher registration authorities or employers will be keen to meet this cost so it is possible that the burden will be placed on teachers who volunteer to undertake the accreditation process. The table below details what is currently the case in New South Wales where their Fee Fee for preliminary application Submission fee having done preliminary Submission fee without preliminary Annual fee (paid following a successful accreditation decision)

Institute of Teachers currently charges. In Queensland and the Northern Territory there will be little incentive to undergo this laborious and (possibly) costly process when most collective agreements currently have effective processes for rewarding accomplished teachers and, no doubt, will extend that process to lead teachers in the future. Indeed, should any cost be apportioned to members to achieve this recognition of the skills from which employers are able to market the quality of education in their schools, it would act as a significant disincentive to engage with the process. Our union will be putting these points very strongly in the consultation processes that occur in the very tight time line that has become the rule with AITSL processes. Nationally Consistent Teacher Registration A nationally consistent approach to teacher registration was endorsed by all Ministers for Education on 14 October 2011. However, it is important to note that no changes have been automatically effected to the current registration requirements or processes at this stage. In Queensland 2012 will be a transition year with the use of the national standards and associated registration processes to commence from 2013. Some minor legislative changes will

Professional Accomplishment

Professional Leadership

$65

$65

$540

$650

$605

$715

Currently $100

Currently $100


PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN EDUCATION

eaching profession: What does it mean to you? be necessary and the Queensland College of Teachers will have to reorient registration policies prior to being able to communicate detailed elements of the changes. Similarly, in the Northern Territory, processes will be put in place during 2012 to adapt current practices where necessary and teachers will be notified about the changes when there is greater clarity about what this will mean in fact. To view the general parameters outlined by AITSL go to their website www. aitsl.edu.au and from the drop down box under “Teachers” select “Registration.” National Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia The transition to the national processes will occur over an extended period of time as currently approved programs run their course. There will be a phasing in process most likely commencing from 2013 which will enable the components of the new regimen to be put in place. There will be more definite guidelines about standards for entrants to programs. For example, “it is expected that applicants’ levels of personal literacy and numeracy should be broadly equivalent to those of the top 30 per cent of the population” and a requirement that students “have a discipline-specific qualification, relevant to the Australian curriculum or other recognised areas of schooling provision” has

been mandated. Furthermore, “Students admitted to programs on the basis of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assessment … have attained an overall IELTS (or equivalent) score of 7.5 (with no score below 7 in any of the four skills areas, and a score of no less than 8 in speaking and listening), either on entry to or on graduation from the program.” (Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures, April 2011, accessed on 09-02-2012 at http://www.aitsl.edu. au/verve/_resources/Accreditation_of_initial_ teacher_education.pdf .) It is to be hoped that the implementation of these processes will eliminate the frequently reported problem of some beginning teachers not having the skills necessary for quality education to occur.

KEY POINTS •

• This year holds some significant developments for the teaching profession and your union will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to see sensible outcomes that benefit teachers and the students and communities they serve.

It is unlikely the National Professional Standards for Teachers will come in to effect in Queensland before 2012. No improvement in remuneration is directly linked to certification. The draft document does not indicate how the cost of implementing the process will be met. It is unlikely that either teacher registration authorities or employers will be keen to meet this cost so it is possible that the burden will be placed on teachers who volunteer to undertake the accreditation process. In Queensland 2012 will be a transition year with the use of the national standards and associated registration processes to commence from 2013. In the Northern Territory, processes will be put in place during 2012 to adapt current practices where necessary and teachers will be notified about the changes.

March 2012

15


UNION HISTORY

Centenary of Brisbane’s Tramway An IEUA-QNT delegation joined with hundreds of other Queensland unionists to rally in commemoration of the centenary of Black Friday on 2 February, a day that went down in history as one of the greatest union protests in our state. The rally in King George Square in Brisbane was held to celebrate the significant event and to honour those who fought for the right to be part of a union in 1912. The dispute in 1914 originated after workers were denied the right to wear badges representing their union membership to work. Members of the Australian Tramways Association, who instigated the dispute, fought to ensure their rights to be, and identify as a union member were protected. Support for their dispute gathered speed quickly because other unionists saw the situation as a threat to the right to organise as a union. One evening in mid-January those members and their supporters, about 10,000 people

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altogether, rallied in King George Square. The following day 25,000 people rallied. The strike came to a peak on 2 February 1912, now known as Black Friday. It was a day of violent clashes between strikers, who had been denied a permit to march, and police. The strike officially ended two months later on 6 March 1912 when the Employers Federation agreed there would be no victimisation of strikers. Organised by the QCU, the Centenary event not only commemorated the struggles and victories of the members of the Australian Tramways Association who instigated the original strike in 1912, but the contribution of women to the union movement. During the protest on Black Friday, a 72year-old female activist, Emma Miller, led a contingent of women in the strike parade. When the police commissioner ordered and then led a charge at the women,

Emma defended herself from the charge with her hat pin which struck the police commissioner’s horse. The police commissioner was thrown from the horse as it bucked. IEUA-QNT assistant secretary Paul Giles said the centenary was an incredibly important moment in our state’s history and one that unionists today could look back on with pride. “We were proud to be able to take part in a rally that honours our predecessors who fought for justice one hundred years ago. The men and women who took to the streets in the 1912 strikes defended rights that make up the foundations of the working rights we enjoy today,” he said. Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams pointed out that the issue that was the catayst for the strike in 1912 was just as relevant today, with building and construction workers, until just a few weeks ago, being prohibited at risk of criminal charge from wearing a union badge on


y and General Strike 1912 – 2012 a work site. “The only voice of working people in this country is the unions. It will always be a struggle to maintain a strong union movement … they set it up for us in the past, it’s our job to continue that,” Mr Battams said.

We honour those who fought for justice in the 1912 general strike for: • The right to be a union member • The right to wear a union badge • The right to take collective action • The right to protection from unfair dismissal

We must continue to protect these rights!

1912-2012 Tram and ers hold a morning tea to celebrate the St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School memb presentation to give context to the event ative inform an given were ers Memb General strike in Brisbane.

PHOTOS: Top left - IEUA-QNT growth team organisers Ruby Smith, Pauline Elphinstone, Aaron Watson and Caryl Davies Left - Uncle Bob Anderson and QCU president John Battams commemorate the cenentary of the significant and historic Black Friday protests Top right - Members from various Queensland unions take part in the commemoration of the protests

March 2012

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Proud History of Labour Day Why do education professionals march through the city streets carrying banners and placards on the first Monday in May? The annual Labour Day holiday and march are a celebration of the historical triumphs of workers, particularly the achievement of the eight-hour working day in the 19th Century. Labour Day enables workers from a wide range of unions and industry backgrounds to demonstrate solidarity in their ongoing quest to achieve better working conditions. Right across the world, members of trade unions and their supporters march in support of their fellow workers. Labour Day is a significant event steeped in history and its origins date back over 130 years. Labour Day is particularly significant in Queensland and Northern Territory are the only places in Australia where Labour Day involves a worker procession and celebration. In the Northern Territory the day is celebrated as May Day. Trade unions, and members of these unions, play a large part in ensuring the relevance and spirit of this celebration for workers worldwide continues well into the future. How it all began Labour day has its origins in the late nineteenth century when unions engaged in a general campaign for an eight-hour working day. Why May Day? In America the fight for an eight-hour day had gained considerable momentum by the late 19th century in the face of concerted resistance by employers. On 4 May 1884, unionists held a demonstration about unreasonable working hours in the Haymarket,

LABOUR DAY TIME LINE

Chicago. Police moved to disperse the rally and in the ensuing melee, a bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of at least four workers and the wounding of over 70 others. Alleged union agitators were tried unjustly with the prosecutors conceding that there was no evidence any of those on trial had thrown the bomb during the incident. Four of the eight ‘convicted’ were executed. The May Day Haymarket incident strengthened the resolve of workers to fight for basic working rights and the commemoration of the events of the day gave rise to our May Day. Solidarity in Queensland The battle for fairer hours and conditions continued in Queensland and although by 1888, 11 unions had won significant gains, working conditions for many people had deteriorated. A greater sense of union solidarity began to emerge at this time as workers in varying industries banded together in the common struggle. This solidarity resulted in the Labour Day march being opened to all workers for the first time in 1890. The initial linking in Queensland of Labour Day with May Day occurred in the outback Queensland town of Barcaldine on 1 May 1891 when striking bush workers marched through the streets. The Brisbane celebration was moved to May in 1893 and this date was sest aside for the annual event throughout Queensland. To download Labour Day resources you can use in the classroom, visit www.qieu.asn.au

Celebrate Labour Day in 2012 Over the past 100 years, Australians through their unions have sought a society based on the premise of

9 September 1857: 1st meeting for eighthour day took place in Brisbane. 18 January 1858: Stonemasons’ Union formed – first trade union in Queensland. March-April 1858: Stonemasons’ fight for and win eight-hour day (based on the principle, 8 hours work, 8 hours recreation, 8 hours rest. 16 March 1861: Brisbane Eight-Hour Committee inaugurated – the movement aimed to win the eight-hour day for all workers. 1 March 1865: First Labour Day or EightHour Day (as it was generally called) procession held in Brisbane. 1886: Trade Union Act passed by Parliament, making trade unions legal for the first time from October that year. 14 July 1889: International Labour Congress unanimously approved a motion that 1 May be recognised as a workers’ holiday – an international day of solidarity. 1889: Queensland Labour Party forms first Labour Government in the world – it lasted only nine days. January 1890: Labour Day march was broadened to include all union members, not just those already enjoying the eighthour day. 1 May 1890: Australia’s first May Day procession held in the western Queensland town Barcaldine by striking bush workers. March 1892: Brisbane workers agree to change Labour Day to first Monday in May. 1 May 1913: May Day meeting by Brisbane workers protests against militarism. May 1937: The Exhibition Grounds at Bowen Hills become the ‘home’ of Labour Day celebrations following the Brisbane procession. This remained until 1988 before returning in 2006.

fairness and opportunity. On Monday 7 May 2012 May Day or Labour Day is a time to unite and celebrate the achievements workers and unions have accomplished to ensure better working conditions for workers in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Members and their families are encouraged to unite to celebrate our union’s

1949: Australian Labour Day Celebrations Committee formed to take control of Labour Day procession – the ALP took control of the procession away from the Trades & Labour Council which traditionally organised the day. May 1951: Hundreds of police surround Trades Hall in Brisbane to prevent unionists supportive of the Trades and Labour Council holding a rival procession. May 1975: A scuffle occurs at Exhibition Grounds following the Brisbane procession protesters interrupt Miss Labour Day contest by changing “Women unite. We are not sex objects!”

achievements and proud history this Labour/May Day. For information on how you can be involved in any of the marches and celebrations taking place across the state and territory, visit our website www.qieu.asn.au

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May 1978: Over 8,000 people march in the procession as permission was granted to ‘left’ groups such as women’s liberationists and gay rights activists to march with unionists. May 2000: Labour Day march concludes at Musgrave Park in West End where hundreds join the calls for a great recognition of Aboriginal rights.


CYBERBULLYING

IEUA-QNT supports cyberbullying research Everyone in a school community has the right to safety and respect. We also have the responsibility to help guarantee these same rights for others. IEUA-QNT Assistant General Secretary/Treasurer Paul Giles reports that many of the characteristics and associated outcomes of harassment and bullying of and between students apply to adults in our education communities. Harassment and bullying in the workplace are acknowledged as significant occupational health and safety issues across workplaces in the Australian community and are a major source of stress, illness and poor morale. All harassment, bullying and violence is contrary to the duty of care to provide a safe framework for work and learning and can be addressed through Workplace Health and Safety legislation which obliges an employer to ensure the health and safety of all workers. While workplace bullying presents considerable cost to employers through time lost from the workplace and increased WorkCover premiums, the greatest personal cost is borne by those experiencing the bullying and their families. The adverse health impact of associated stress or other psychological injury will often present a considerable long-term burden for the affected member and their family. The Queensland government’s Prevention of Workplace Harassment Code of Practice 2004 states that a person is subject to workplace harassment if “the person is subjected to repeated behaviour, other than behaviour amounting to sexual harassment, by a person, including the person’s employer or a co-worker or group of co-workers of the person that: is unwelcome and unsolicited; the person considers to be offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening; a reasonable person would consider it to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening. This definition is intended to cover a wide range of behaviours that can have an adverse impact on the workplace health and safety of workers and other persons. Impact of workplace harassment Workplace harassment can have a serious adverse impact on work satisfaction and performance of employees targeted for harassment, their colleagues and for the workplace more generally. Often harassingg behaviour is perceived to be too trivial to warrant attention, or the person subjected to harassment may seem unaffected by the

behaviour. Experience has shown, however, wherever harassment occurs the cumulative effects may erode the well-being of the individual or group targeted, undermine and sour the work atmosphere and lower the overall performance of employees in that workplace. Impact On The Individual/Workplace A person exposed to harassment may feel angry, demoralised, confused, anxious and powerless. These feelings may manifest in physical and/or emotional responses such as depression, anxiety, nausea and sleeplessness. Harassment in the workplace may lead to: increasing absenteeism, staff turnover; erosion of staff commitment; an unsafe work environment; costs to the employer associated with counselling, mediation, recruitment and training of new staff, WorkCover claims and the potential rise in premiums and/or rehabilitation costs; costs to the employer from failure to meet legislative provisions, civil action and criminal action. Types of harassment Harassment in the workplace can take many forms. It can be overt or subtle, direct or indirect. Common forms of harassment include: verbal harassment, such as sexual or suggestive remarks, threats or insults; non-verbal harassment, such as suggestive looks; offensive graffiti; physical harassment; professional harassment, such as creating barriers to promotion by selection based on criteria other than merit. Technological harassment, misuse of social networking sites and cyberbullying are growing forms of harassment and includes such things as threatening or suggestive email and unacceptable and unwarranted fax material. Cyberbullying is an emerging and serious problem amongst student populations and is also a growing issue in the workplace amongst teachers. This form of bullying has been linked to anxiety and depression and is not only costly in economic terms but can also lead to suicide. There are many calls in society for laws against cyberbullying and

schools in particular are unclear of their rights and responsibilities under the existing law with regard to this phenomena. There is, however, scant research on the law and face-to-face bullying with even less on cyberbullying and the law. Prevention and intervention strategies for cyberbullying lack a solid evidence base and this is especially true of legal solutions. Schools are grappling with this issue as students (and perhaps staff) use modern technology in ways that the original designers did not envisage. Cyberbullying research and IEUA-QNT Our union and various stakeholders are supporting research being undertaken in regard to cyberbullying.This research project aims to address this knowledge gap by developing and testing the effectiveness of a legally-informed intervention to reduce the prevalence of cyberbullying among both students and staff. The specific aims of this project are: To explore: (i) Australian students’ and teachers’ knowledge of and attitudes towards: the law, sanctions and policies related to cyberbullying; and (ii) teachers’ legal knowledge about workplace bullying; To develop: specific resources based on the formative data collected from students and teachers (in aim 1) to support an intervention (aim 3): To trial: a randomised controlled, legally-informed intervention in schools, assessing its effectiveness in: (i) increasing knowledge and understanding (ii) changing attitudes and (iii) preventing and managing cyberbullying incidents. To identify: whether there is a need for reform of current laws, and if so what form any reform should take. This project represents a significant collaboration between researchers at the Queensland University of Technology, Edith Cowan University, University of South Australia, Flinders University and the Queensland Guidance and Counselling Association, Queensland Teachers’ Union, Macrossans Lawyers, Australian and New Zealand Education Law Association Queensland Chapter, Emil Ford & Co Lawyers and IEUA-QNT. Members interested in finding out more email pgiles@qieu.asn.au .

March 2012

19


BRISBANE CATHOLIC EDUCATION INDUCTION DAY

T N Q A U E I o t p u n Graduates sig New Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) graduate teachers realise the challenges first year teachers face and understand that they can protect their interests, minimise professional risks and stay informed by joining as an IEUA-QNT member. At the BCE Induction Day in February 94 graduate teachers joined as union members, becoming part of a union of education professionals that protects their interests, provides legal protection and builds their career. The induction involved graduate teachers as well as teachers from surrounding south east Queensland areas and were employed mid-2011 who may not have attended the induction last year.

St Michael’s College teacher Kyle Rodgers said being a part of our union meant you have the collective support of colleagues and access to advice about your entitlements and how to safeguard your interests. “Entering the profession takes a lot of personal effort but having a strong and effective union backing you makes all the difference to how I develop my career. That’s why I’m a union member,” Kyle said. During the induction day members received information to help in their first year, including fact sheets on duty of care and legal liability and salary rate comparisons.

ABOVE: Kyle Rodgers from St Michael’s College, Greg Farrell from St Peter Claver College and Wade Toms from St Mary’s Catholic College in Kingaroy join IEUA-QNT with the help of organiser Brad Hayes TOP: IEUA-QNT organiser Nicole Carlill signs up Rachel Smith from St Augustine’s College, Meg Reminis from St Joseph’s Primary School Nambour and Chloe O’Reilly from St Augustine’s College

“That’s why I’m a member!” “The ability to have power in numbers with representation during collective bargaining at the negotiation table.” Wade Toms, St Mary’s Catholic College, Kingaroy

“For the support; I hope I’ll never need it, but if I do it’s nice to know there is someone there I can call.” Chloe O’Reilly, St Augustine’s College

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GRADUATE TEACHER INFORMATION

GRADUATE TEACHERS:

A challenging and satisfying first year As a graduate teacher you will find support and advice from your professional colleagues and our union as you become part of a union of education professionals that protect your interests, provide legal protection and helps build your career. As a union we provide graduate colleagues every assistance and support as the complexity of the work of a teacher unfolds.

Protecting Your Interests Union members have been successful in winning significant gains in wages and conditions across the nongovernment schools sector. • First year teacher salaries in schools with a union negotiated agreement is up to 20 per cent more per year compared to schools without a union negotiated agreement. • Like salaries, employment conditions can vary between schools. However, the Award and union negotiated agreements generally provide for: - Fully cumulative paid sick leave; - Enhanced employer superannuation contributions; - Long service leave; - Paid school vacation breaks; - Maternity leave; - Family carers leave; - Job share opportunities; - Salary packaging arrangements.

website Visit our sn.au u.a www.qie of tips and n a ra ge in your to access on to help cluding ti a rm fo in g, in of teachin first year and information s resource ates session d

Minimising Your Risks

Expanding Role of a Teacher

An important aspect of work in schools is making certain that you have adequate legal protection. New laws and the expectation for schools to deal with a range of issues have created an increasingly complex legal situation for teachers.

Teachers are experiencing increased expectations arising out of curriculum change. The delivery of high quality, high equity teaching and learning further increases expectations around planning, collaboration with colleagues and curriculum development.

• All IEUA-QNT members are covered by comprehensive Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance as well as legal advice from IEUA-QNT lawyers. Such insurance protection and legal representation are invaluable in legal cases such as allegations against a teacher, liability for negligence for a student injury or defending a teacher against criminal or civil action. • The majority of nongovernment schools have no published policy or procedure detailing how complaints are to be dealt with. • You have the right for any complaint to be handled in a fair and transparent manner. Full details of the complaint should be provided and a reasonable opportunity to provide a response, with the right to seek advice from our union. If required to attend a meeting, seek to have a support person attend with you.

• Teachers are entitled to a fair balance between work demands and their personal lives. In what is an important first year of your teaching career, graduate teachers must ensure that their work/life balance is fair and reasonable. • While participation in the school community and giving your professional best is an important part of our work in schools, this must not be at the expense of your classroom teaching or personal health. • Your collective agreement includes provisions for: an honorary and voluntary nature of extra curricular activities, for the most part; base entitlement to preparation and correction time; a maximum number of hours of directed duty.

Building a Career IEUA-QNT provides a broad range of professional development opportunities. • The professional development sessions are free of charge to union members and details are regularly advertised in the journal and the IEUA-QNT website (www.qieu.asn.au). • Utilise professional development opportunities offered by the employer and our union. • Such sessions include: -Graduate teacher seminars to assist in your first year of teaching; -Legal liability issues for teachers; and -Workplace bullying and harassment. More information is available from your union representative at your school, our union website www.qieu.asn.au and our union office.

IEUA-QNT has a program of support for graduate teachers including a series of graduate seminars. Contact your Chapter Representative or union office for more information on FREECALL 1800 177 937. Taking an active role in the union Chapter at school can be a rewarding part of being a teacher and learning how collectively issues might be addressed in the workplace.

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PROFESSIONAL AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPORT

Responding to allegations of poor performance or misconduct Anyone who has ever found themselves the subject of allegations of poor work performance or misconduct knows how stressful this can be. While you can control your own actions, you cannot always predict or control the perceptions of others. For this reason, knowing what to do if you ever have allegations made against you is absolutely critical for all members to be aware of before it happens.

KEY POINTS •

If a formal allegation is made against you, contact our union immediately With IEUA-QNT’s assistance, all allegations contained in the employer’s letter that requires response should be identified IEUA-QNT advises that each specific allegation is listed under separate headings, addressing the following issues: Does the employer offer any specific details of concerns, and are the allegations factually correct? After you have constructed your response to each allegation contained in the employer’s letter you should share your draft document with IEUA-QNT for review and advice When the substance of your response to the allegations has been reviewed by IEUA-QNT, an introduction, statement of professional commitment (as appropriate) and a conclusion should be added If the Principal has requested that your response be supplied directly in a scheduled meeting, ensure that you have organised for your Staff Representative, other Chapter Executive member or IEUA-QNT Organiser to attend this meeting with you

Union members who receive a formal letter from their employer alleging inappropriate conduct or poor work performance are strongly advised to contact our union for advice immediately. In most circumstances, written allegations against you will require a written response to ensure an accurate and balanced account of the perceived inadequacy is maintained for the record. The person best placed to know whether the allegations are either accurate (in whole or in part) or completely unsubstantiated is you. For this reason, your consideration and preparation of a written response addressing all allegations made is an essential component of the professional support you would receive from IEUA-QNT.

What to do if formal allegations are made against you Step 1 - Contact a IEUA-QNT Member Services Officer or your Organiser to report that a formal letter has been received from the employer. Request a copy of IEUA-QNT’s step-by-step guide to assist in the initial draft of your written response. Step 2 - If the employer’s letter requests your response within the following two working days, this arguably constitutes an unreasonable expectation and the negotiation of an extended timeframe for response should occur by agreement with the employer. This action is appropriate as an unreasonable timeframe for response could prevent you from receiving industrial advice, in turn denying you basic natural justice in this process. IEUA-QNT can supply a model letter as to how this request should be framed. Step 3 - With IEUA-QNT’s assistance, all

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allegations contained in the employer’s letter that requires response should be identified for response. Where specific allegations have not been identified by the employer or where the allegations are vague a written request should be made to the employer for further information to enable you to construct a response. IEUA-QNT can supply a model letter as to how this request should be framed. Step 4 - Now that you have gathered all the necessary information to enable the preparation of a considered written response, the drafting process can begin. IEUA-QNT advises that each specific allegation is listed under separate headings. Your initial written response to each separate allegation in turn should then be drafted, addressing the following issues: Does the employer offer any specific details of concerns? If not, it is very difficult to develop a comprehensive response. Any vague or unsubstantiated allegations should be identified as such in your response. Are the allegations factually correct? It is important to acknowledge if any of the allegations are true in order to ensure an honest response and to move the focus from the problem to potential outcomes to resolve any legitimate concerns. If the allegations are correct, you may wish to include a statement regarding your motivation for making a particular judgement that is subject of complaint, if there was a sound pedagogical or other basis for making this decision. Step 5 - After you have constructed your response to each allegation contained in the employer’s letter you should share your


“The person best placed to know whether the allegations are either accurate (in whole or in part) or completely unsubstantiated is you.”

draft document with IEUA-QNT for review and advice. IEUA-QNT Officers would then advise you if any additional industrial and legal considerations should be included, or if the tone of your response requires some changes, in order to best protect your professional and personal interests. Step 6 - When the substance of your response to the allegations has been reviewed by IEUA-QNT, an introduction, statement of professional commitment (as appropriate) and a conclusion should be added. Examples of suitable text can be offered by IEUA-QNT. Step 7 - Your final letter, as developed with assistance from IEUA-QNT, should then be signed by you. Three copies of the letter should then be made: one for the Principal; one for your personal records; and one to be held by IEUA-QNT should it be required at some time in the future, and submitted to the Principal by the date agreed. If the Principal has requested that your response be supplied directly in a scheduled meeting, ensure that you have organised for your Staff Representative, other Chapter Executive member or IEUA-QNT Organiser to attend this meeting with you. Should any new issues be raised by the employer in this meeting, request that these new issues be

supplied in writing for your consideration and response. It is not in your interests to be drawn into debate with the employer on any new issues raised on the spot without notice. Step 8 - If your written response is accepted by the employer or no further action has been taken, seek written confirmation that the matter has been investigated to the employer’s satisfaction, there is no case to answer/no disciplinary action has been initiated and the matter is now closed. Examples of suitable text can be offered by IEUA-QNT. Step 9 - If your written response is not accepted, then the next stage of the formal process is likely to be initiated by the employer. This would involve the employer’s provision of written details including the deficiencies in your performance or conduct, specific standards or improvements to be achieved and a reasonable time frame for meeting these requirements. A date for a further meeting to review your performance or conduct against these specific expectations should also be set at this time.

Dealing with rumours In situations where management or other

staff are spreading rumours about your conduct or performance, this should also be addressed pro-actively in order for it to cease. In such cases, IEUA-QNT can advise you as to whether a letter to your employer may be drafted to draw out any matters into a formal process. This would effectively enable you fair opportunity to hear the matters of substance (should any exist), to provide your response and for the matter to then be finalised. Where a person outside the school is making untrue statements damaging to your professional reputation, the assistance of the IEUA-QNT solicitor in drafting a “cease and desist” letter to the individual perpetuating the rumours may be appropriate. This course of action would only be determined upon the industrial advice of a IEUA-QNT Officer and following consultation with the IEUA-QNT solicitor.

Expert help One of the many benefits of IEUA-QNT membership is expert advice and legal assistance. IEUA-QNT has produced a guide for members faced with allegations of poor work performance or misconduct. This comprehensive booklet is available to any member by phoning a IEUA-QNT Member Services Officer on FREECALL 1800 177 937.

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UNITE ON SAFETY AT WORK

n o i t a m r o f n i l a Medic ? r e ff o o t d e e n u o y o d How much IEUA-QNT regularly receive queries from members wanting to know what their obligations are in regard to the disclosure of medical information. Many of these queries come about from questions that members have been asked directly by their employers. Most often this is associated with an absence that is more than a short term absence but it can also be due to changes in policies and procedures or simply an employer snooping around. IEUA-QNT Industrial Officer Danielle Wilson reports there are various pieces of legislation that must be referred to when you start talking about how much information is required to be given to your employer in relation to any medical conditions or impairment that you may be suffering, whether it is temporary or permanent.

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 outlines some significant protections in terms of what an employer can ask both people in their employ and prospective employees. The Act prohibits employers from asking you for â&#x20AC;&#x153;unnecessary questionsâ&#x20AC;?, and in practice this prohibits them from asking specific and direct questions about any of the attributes outlined in the Act, including your medical circumstances. Having said that, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 provides that all people in a workplace, including employees, hold a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of themselves and all others in the

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The Independent Voice

workplace. In practice, this means that as an employee, you are obliged to manage this duty and at times this may mean the disclosure of necessary information to your employer to ensure this duty is met. This does not detract from your employerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s responsibility to manage this information in the strictest of confidence. The Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 outlines a benefit scheme for workers who suffer from work-related illnesses and injuries. In the case of a work-related injury, a doctor needs to issue you with a QComp Medical Certificate. The information on this

certificate is provided to the employer and includes the specific diagnosis, relevant dates of consultation and review, treatment recommendations, whether the employee is fit or unfit for duty, whether there is a need for any restrictions and the period of time that applies to unfitness and restrictions on duty. This is done because once a claim is lodged, they automatically become a party to the claim. But while employers gain access to this medical information, the Act prevents them from disclosing information gathered as part of a claim to any other parties. There is also a standard medical certificate


UNITE ON SAFETY AT WORK

issued by doctors that is far less prescriptive. This will be the type of medical certificate that most employees will have seen at one stage or another after seeing their doctor and being advised that they are unfit for duty. This is issued in cases of illness or injury that is not work-related. In these cases, there is no requirement for either you or your doctor to disclose the nature of the medical condition to an employer as it forms part of the doctor/patient privilege and is subject to your entitlement to privacy. It is standard practice for employers to require a medical certificate for an absence of more than two days. Some employers also require a medical certificate for absences either side of a weekend or a public holiday and indeed, there are circumstances where an employer can reasonably require a medical certificate for every absence. However, the information on that certificate does not need to indicate anything more than the declaration that the employee is unfit and how long they are likely to remain unfit. It is standard practice for a treating medical professional to simply indicate that the employee is suffering from “a medical condition”. There is no requirement for you to offer any further information to their employer. For absences due to illness which become extended, the employer does have a right to explore the situation. The Fair Work Act 2009 provides that an employer may seek to terminate an employee who has been absent due to ill-health for three months out of a twelve month period. The employer needs to have undertaken the appropriate investigations to satisfy themselves that the employee can no longer carry out the inherent duties of their role and this is the only option available to them in the circumstances. They must also

be mindful of other regulatory obligations they may have such as those under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 or the federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992, including demonstrating that reasonable adjustment has been afforded to the employee whether that be the provision of additional leave, making physical adjustments in the workplace or placing restrictions on duties. Having said this, if the illness or injury is the subject of an accepted workers compensation claim, the employee is protected from termination for at least 12 months under the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. If you are on extended sick leave, you do need to let your employer know how long you are likely to be away from work. While you are under no obligation to disclose information, if the employer is not provided with enough information to enable them to make genuine operational decisions, they could claim a frustration of the employment. Communication is the key to preserving your employment relationship if you should find yourself in this situation. If you have an ongoing condition or impairment, you do have to think about what impact this will have on your employment. You need to work out if there is anything that will prevent you from carrying out your duties and whether there adjustments that are needed in your employment so that you can do your job. In order to ask for this and enforce your employer to assist, you may need to provide medical evidence to support any requests for assistance. If you are concerned about anything your employer is asking of you, or worried about what you should tell your employer, contact our union for advice.

tried to exercise their curiosity through asking staff to make disclosures on medical information forms. Examples of the forms we have seen are based on the same forms requested of students. This is highly inappropriate as much of the information pertains to the unnecessary information provisions in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. There is no need for your employer to know anything about any illnesses, injuries or impairments unless it impacts on your ability to do your job or unless it impacts on your health and safety or the health and safety of those around you. The emergence of this is of significant concern to us and if your school is asking you to complete anything that requires a medical disclosure, please contact us and let us know.

KEY POINTS •

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 provides that all people in a workplace, including employees, hold a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of themselves and all others in the workplace. There is no need for your employer to know anything about any illnesses, injuries or impairments unless it impacts on your ability to do your job or unless it impacts on your health and safety or the health and safety of those around you. if an illness or injury is the subject of an accepted workers compensation claim, the employee is protected from termination for at least 12 months under the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

We have also noted some employers have

March 2012

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MEMBERS MEETING CALENDAR Catholic ET6 Training (Mackay) Wednesday 14 March 4pm - 5pm Shamrock Hotel, Nebo Rd, Mackay Brisbane (North Metro) Branch Meeting Wednesday 14 March 4:30pm - 5:30pm Bracken Ridge Tavern, Bracken Ridge

Graduate Teachers Seminar (Townsville) Thursday 22 March 4pm - 5pm QIEU Office, 316 Sturt St, Townsville Industrial Relations Training (Townsville) Thursday 17 May 8:30am - 3:30pm and Friday 18 May 8:30am - 3:30pm QIEU Office, 316 Sturt St, Townsville

Long Day Care Teacher Meeting (Mackay) Thursday 15 March 4pm - 5pm Kookaburra Steiner Kindy, 256 Bedford Rd, Andergrove

Metropolitan Branch Meeting Thursday 24 May 4:30pm - 5:30pm Hamilton Hotel

QCU Building, 41 Brisbane St, Mackay

Metropolitan Branch Meeting Thursday 22 March 4:30pm - 5:30pm Hamilton Hotel

Industrial Relations Training (Mackay) Thursday 24 May 8:30am - 3:30pm and Friday 25 May 8:30am - 3:30pm

Brisbane (North Metro) Branch Meeting Thursday 7 June 4:30pm - 5:30pm Bracken Ridge Tavern, Bracken Ridge

Industrial Relations Training (Metro and North Metro) Thursday 29 March 9am - 3pm and Friday 25 May 9am - 3pm Location to be advised Catholic ET6 Training (Bowen) Friday 16 March 4pm - 5pm North Australian Hotel, Corner Herbert and William St, Bowen Catholic ET6 Training (Ayr) Wednesday 21 March 4pm - 5pm Queens Hotel, 103 Queen St, Ayr

Brisbane Chapter Executivesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Networking Function Wednesday 28 March 4:30pm - 6:30pm. Everton Park Hotel. This event is open to those in the Brisbane Metro, Metro North and North Metro branches. Drinks and nibbles provided. For more information contact organisers Nicole Carlill ncarlill@qieu.asn.au or Susan Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Leary soleary@qieu.asn.au Brisbane Legal Information Session Wednesday 16 May 4:30pm - 5:30pm. Geebung-Zillmere RSL. This event is open to those in the Brisbane Metro, Metro North and North Metro branches. Drinks and nibbles provided. For more information contact organisers Nicole Carlill ncarlill@qieu asn.au or Susan Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Leary soleary@qieu.asn.au

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The Independent Voice


LEGAL BRIEFS

STATUTORY DUTY TO NOTIFY SUSPECTED SEXUAL ABUSE

A duty to notify to appropriate persons of knowledge or reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse of a student of a school may be imposed on teachers by the general duty of care or by an employer instruction or by a statute. Education legal expert Andrew Knott from Macrossans Lawyers reports that it remains important for educators to act in a manner which is consistent with the duty of care and also in accordance with employer instruction.

For about a decade, the Education (General Provisions) Act has imposed on staff members in non-state schools in Queensland under Section 366 an obligation to give notifications in accordance with the Act and the Regulation made under the Act when a staff member of a non-state school “reasonably suspects that a (student) has been sexually abused by another person who was an employee of the school”. This obligation in 366 has been widened and now applies where:“…a staff member of the non-state school reasonably suspects, in the course of the staff member’s employment at the school that …. (a student) … has been sexually abused by another person” [our underlining]. This is a significant widening of the obligation, as it is now not limited to known or suspected abuse by an employee of the school, but by any person. The significance

is, that a staff member of a non-state school who fails to discharge this obligation can be charged with this offence. A conviction of such an offence would of course be a very serious matter in the context of employer discipline, or teacher registration proceedings. In relation to principals, an important amendment has been made, which now imposes obligations on principals to give a written report about the abuse to a police officer. It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with these matters in more detail, but the details are important and staff members of non-state schools should seek appropriate advice if such circumstances arise. The Act also now contains a completely new provision, Section 366A, which imposes the obligation where the staff member “…reasonably suspects, in the course of the staff member’s employment at the school,

that (… a student…) is likely to be sexually abused by another person.” It appears that teachers cannot be charged with or convicted of an offence under Section 366A but as the Parliament is imposing the obligation, a failure to comply with it would obviously be very serious in employer discipline or teacher registration contexts. Again, teachers who believe that this obligation may have been triggered, may need to obtain appropriate advice to make sure they comply with their obligations and that the written report they provide meets the requirements of the Regulations under the Act. The practical consequences of failure to notify can be tragic. Whilst teachers need to notify to protect themselves, the real motivation should be the possibility of protecting the vulnerable from abuse, which may have life-long consequences.

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TEACHER EXCHANGE

A Family Perspective on a Teacher Exchange Having returned from a challenging and rewarding year of teacher exchange in Canada, The Southport School Outdoor Education teacher David Johnson reflects upon his and his family’s exchange year overseas. For us July 2010 to July 2011 was a real “book mark “ year, in which as a family we shared many new and exciting experiences. Of course there were many trials and tribulations along the way and we soon learned you have to let the minor issues slide to make the most of the amazing opportunities on offer. One thing that really struck us on arrival was the hospitality of the neighbours and local community. As we answered the door bleary eyed from the jet lag, they called “welcome wagon” (which I initially thought must be something out of a western), and within a week we had cakes and cookies delivered to us. Having travelled pretty light we were also very appreciative of the winter clothes and wide range of bikes, skates and skis which were offered to us for the duration of our stay. We arrived in the midst of the Canadian summer and decided to make the most of the holiday break. We embarked on a three week, 5,000 km road trip to the east coast of Canada, which included many National Parks and ice cream stops; Nova Scotia was our favourite destination. Next we then went down into America and across the top visiting several states before heading back to Ontario. We did it on a low budget and camped out in a tent most nights seeing a

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The Independent Voice

range of amazing places and meeting some great people. We cooked on our little gas burner and spent a few nights in KOA cabins to mix it up and avoid the worst weather. School began September 7th and it was a different experience to that which I was accustomed. I was in a pretty mid-range socio economic state school. Instead of the customary “good morning sir” I was used to, I got “what up dawg?” I wasn’t quite sure how to politely respond to this. No more ties and socks up, it was tattoos, midriff, piercings and mohawks. The police had a car park reserved out the front of the school and a couple of kids would arrive late because they had court appearances. Having said that, kids are kids, there were some good ones and some not so good, as long as you are genuine and doing your best they enjoyed the novelty of having an Aussie teacher. There is no doubt it was hard work and a little disconcerting teaching one hour 15 minute lessons. There was also a certain amount of bluff teaching ice hockey, football and lacrosse. The other staff I worked with were fantastic and always willing to come to my aid. It’s certainly different to an Australian school year with some really long stints and minimal breaks (September to December was a

killer). Several school policies also had me questioning how things are done both over there, and the way we do things here. It was great professional development and very refreshing to be completely immersed in another system, and observing from the coalface what does or does not work. My favorite school experiences were staff ice hockey on Friday afternoon, (I still have the puck I scored my first and only goal with!), trips to Buffalo to a NHL game, several staff golf games and seeing a CFL football game and the Blue Jays at the Rodgers Centre in Toronto. My second semester was quite stimulating, I taught a group of select students science, geography, outdoor and an environmental education course over the whole semester. I had the opportunity to go cross-country skiing, mountain biking, curling, speed skating, canoe tripping, snow camping, sleep in a Quincy and on an eight-day trip to Costa Rica. For that semester I had to work as hard as I ever have, trying to learn the material then deliver it with some competence, whilst also organising several trips out each week and doing all the marking and assessing. But what amazing results, with the students describing the semester as not only the best of their school life but an experience that challenged and changed their personal attitudes and


values. Hearing the students reflect on what an impact the semester had on them was one of the most satisfying and proud moments of my teaching career. Becoming involved in an exchange is of course different for all those who embark upon such a diverse experience. The support of CLEE (Canadian League of Exchange teachers) was very evident and we enjoyed mixing with both current exchange teachers and past exchange teachers at many of the well-organised events. This was an opportunity to compare and contrast experiences with fellow exchangees whilst exploring new and exciting places such as a Camp Wanakita, Niagara Falls, Toronto Zoo, and Montreal. What became evident is that having a positive attitude and outlook is key to having a successful year. All families experience the unexpected, and as well as the peak experiences there are moments when one yearns for the familiarity of home. In the big picture the experience is only 12 months and such a great opportunity to try so many new things that I would recommend it to any one who was that way inclined. One of the big benefits we didn’t forsee

was how good the experience would be for our children. They had such a great time meeting new friends trying new sports and experiencing a different culture. The gains they made in maturity and self-confidence where beyond our expectation and plant a strong seed for further discovery of all our global community has to offer. Speaking from a partners’ perspective (Dave’s wife) I’d say that getting involved in the local community really helped us settle into our Canadian year. The bus stop was a hub of social activity and the focal point for organising many get togethers. We were fortunate to be in a vibrant community

with lots of young families who were very outdoorsy which suited our family perfectly. We embraced every opportunity that came our way whether it was being invited to go for a bike ride, joining a ukelele band or having a weekend at a friend’s cottage. Having a cold, snowy winter (minus 38) was very exciting, it opened up opportunities and outdoor activities we’d never had back at home in Oz. Some of the neighbours found it incredible that we actually enjoyed the snow! During the exchange year we made many great friendships with several visits to Australia already planned.

Interstate Teacher Exchange to Western Australia The Western Australia Department of Education teacher exchange coordinator has advised that two teachers are interested in taking part in an interstate exchange for 2013. A mid year exchange is also a possibility. The first is a Year 7-12 home economics teacher positioned in Perth and the second is a primary school teacher located in Bunbury. Even though both are single exchangees, exchange accommodation is suitable for families. If you are interested in undertaking an interstate teacher exchange to Western Australia please contact Kay Holloway at kholloway@qieu.asn.au

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GLOBAL ISSUES Education pays a high price for low teacher pay A recent cross-country analysis of teacher pay and pupil performance conducted by the National Education Association (NEA), an Education Internatonal affiliate, has reported that better teacher pay leads to higher teaching quality and improved student performance. Economics professors at the University of London Peter Dolton and University of Málaga’s Oscar Marcanero-Gutierrez examined the enormous variation in teacher pay across 39 countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its significance for educational outcomes over the last 15 years. The study If You Pay Peanuts, Do You Get Monkeys? collects data from the OECD annual Education at a Glance reports, as well as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). This data has been analysed to determine the relationship between pay and student achievement. The report concluded “The report concluded that a 10 that a 10 per cent increase in teachers’ pay would produce a five to 10 per per cent increase in teachers’ pay cent increase in student performance. Additionally, the report identified two key would produce a five to 10 per cent increase in student performance.” factors that determine how professional pay enhances teacher quality: higher pay promotes more and better teaching applicants; and improving pay increases the ‘national status’ of the profession, again making it more attractive to potential recruits. Education unions stress the importance of creating the conditions required to make teaching a respected, well-supported profession, where teachers are viewed positively and compensated fairly. To read the report summary of the study If You Pay Peanuts, Do You Get Monkeys? visit http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/cp352.pdf

Articles and information provided by Education International. For more information or to enlist your support for education workers worldwide, visit EI’s website www.ei-ie.org The IEU is an affiliate of EI.

Dutch educators “tired” of working conditions Almost 22,000 Dutch secondary school teachers have rallied to oppose the latest government Bill imposing new additional classroom hours for students. The Bill, presented in Dutch parliament, only tackles the number of teaching hours, even though schools are not able to offer a higher number of teaching hours, because of the lack of teachers.

The teachers, however, are not just striking because of the Bill, but also because of their long-time frustration about their extensive workload. Educators also criticised the salary freeze implemented by the government, which has prevented salary increases for several years, and protested against severe cuts in the

budget dedicated to inclusive education. Many special education teachers will lose their jobs, and remaining teachers having to cope with larger numbers of students with learning difficulties and behavioural problems, without extra-training or support. Dutch education authorities have also proposed performance pay for educators.

Crazy Hair ay 4 kids Queensland schools and early childhood centres are encouraged to join in the fun of the Leukaemia Foundation’s 2012 World’s Greatest Shave by holding a Crazy Hair Day 4 Kids on Friday, 16 March with all proceeds to support leukaemia patients. Crazy Hair Day gives children the opportunity to participate in one of the nation’s largest fundraisers by colouring their hair with temporary colour spray for a gold coin donation. All funds raised from Crazy Hair Day will help the Leukaemia Foundation continue to provide free practical care and support for patients

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The Independent Voice

living with leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related blood disorders including accommodation and counselling, as well as fund exciting research into improved treatments and cures. World’s Greatest Shave is an annual event that is supported by up to 40,000 Queenslanders who bravely shave or colour their hair to help raise vital funds to continue the work of the Leukaemia Foundation. The Foundation hopes to raise $4 million through the 2012 World’s Greatest Shave.

SIGN UP NOW! 15-17 March 2012 worldsgreatestshave.com

1800 500 088


EVENTS DIARY C&K Early Childhood Annual Conference The C&K Early Childhood Annual Conference ‘Children’s right to childhood’ will be held from 25 to 27 May, 2012. To find out more, visit the C&K website www.candk.asn.au MYSA Travelling Scholar Workshop The Middle Years of Schooling Association (MYSA) invites teachers, school leaders and all those interested in understanding the minds of middle years students to a one day workshop. Facilitated by Dr Michael Nagel, the workshop will look at many aspects of neurological development including the power of emotion in learning, motivation in teenagers, gender differences in learning and the impact of technology on 21st century learners. Each session will be interactive and provide opportunities for questions and discussions. For a full list of workshop locations from March to May visit www.mysa.org.au DATE CLAIMER: IEUA-QNT / QTU Professional Issues Conference The Independent Education Union of AustraliaQueensland and Northern Territory (IEUA-QNT) and the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) invite education profesionals to the joint union

Professional Issues Conference, to be held on Friday 11 May at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Key note speakers and workshop topics are to be confirmed. For more information and to register to attend the Conference, visit our union’s website www.qieu.asn.au . QSA 2012 Conference ‘Shaping teaching and learning: The assessment factor’ is the Queensland Studies Authority 2012 conference aimed at all education professionals. The conference is an important professional development and networking opportunity, covering a broad range of current topics and themes across the early childhood years to Year 12. The Conference will be held on 26 - 27 April at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. The theme of this year’s conference recognises the power of assessment, its role in the teaching and learning process and as a vital element of teachers’ professional practice. Keynote speakers include co-founder of The International Curriculum Foundation Richard Gerver and Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, College of Education at the University of Oregon Yong Zhao. For more visit www.qsa.qld.edu.au

SUPPORT FOR YOUNG TEACHERS, RELIEF TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATION For practical advice in all classroom situations: realteachingsolutions.com

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/March_2012_web  

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