Newspaper of the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union (vol 34 #1) February 2014
Print Post: 225007/0002 – ISSN: 0728-4845
Get active in 2014 p2
60 years of the IEU p8
Support for Band 3 teachers p11
Australian Curriculum no place for partisan politics While we are dealing with continuing aspects of the NSW Government’s GTIL, the Federal Government’s NPSI and the rollout of the Australian Curriculum in NSW, Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a ‘review’ of that Curriculum for little more than ideological reasons. Someone it seems has determined that aspects of the Curriculum lack rigour and that there is insufficient emphasis on conservative Prime Ministers and the role of business and entrepreneurs in the teaching of Australian history. Perhaps the Alan Bond Empire and the
James Hardie Company are to be included as instructive and compulsory studies. The Federal Government runs no schools and employs no teachers. They can and do influence schools and the work of teachers only by making their dictates a condition of school funding. IEU General Secretary John Quessy p3 Chief among many concerns is the time frame adopted. To assume wide consultation, redevelopment of syllabuses and planning can occur in 12 months is extraordinarily hopeful. Schools thrive
on certainty and the review potentially erodes this. The fact that some 150 academics have questioned the ‘review’ should send a cautionary signal to the Education Minister. If, as reported, the purpose of the ‘review’ is to “consider the robustness, independence and balance of the Australian Curriculum” the task is more than fine-tuning. It also has the capacity to accentuate the differences between the various states and territories that have charge of implementing curriculum in their respective jurisdictions. IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam p2
The Minister’s dismissive attitude towards the three years of concerted effort by the thousands of contributors in developing the syllabus is disappointing. The seeming indifference to the time and energy spent over the last 12 months in programming and resourcing for the 2014 implementation shows little appreciation for teachers and fuels diminishing respect for the profession. As Mr Pyne himself wrote recently, “Partisan politics is at its worst when dressed up as public concern”. Central Metropolitan Branch President Pat Devery p21
Pay and conditions claim for teachers in Catholic systemic schools CAMPAIGN CONTINUES p2
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Putting a price on GTIL be reflected in salaries. To disconnect significant change from remuneration is to devalue the teaching profession. The changes are considerable and when linked to the implementation of the Australian Curriculum they are magnified further.
Gloria Taylor Deputy Secretary As members return to schools they will no doubt reflect on the considerable changes Great Teaching Inspired Learning (GTIL) will bring about in NSW. If, as State Education Minister Adrian Piccoli asserts, GTIL is the most significant educational shift in 100 years, it must
Some of the changes coming your way include: • From 2014-15 all schools and systems will need to introduce teacher performance and development processes based on the Proficient level of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, including agreement between the Board of Studies, Teaching
and Educational Standards (BOSTES) and employing authorities around the incorporation of requirements for accreditation purposes.
• By late 2016 (secondary teachers) and 2017 (primary teachers), all pre-2004 teachers will be required to be accredited under the Institute of Teachers Act 2004. • From 2017 (secondary) and 2018 (primary), all teachers will be required to undergo a five-year cycle of maintenance of accreditation which will require evidence of completed professional development but
also evidence of meeting standards “including through the annual, integrated performance and development processes”.
To artificially limit salary increases to 2.27% or potentially 2.5% does not provide recognition of teachers’ work. To constrain industrial outcomes rather than negotiate beyond the cap is unproductive. Members should give thought to what action is appropriate to ensure Catholic systemic employers come to the table prepared to acknowledge significant change.
Pay and conditions claim in Catholic systemic schools Carol Matthews Assistant Secretary Teachers Catholic dioceses have paid teachers a 2.27% pay rise from the first pay period from 1 January 2014. Contrary to the impression given by some employers, this is not a settlement of the IEU claim. In a letter to the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, the representative of the dioceses, in late December, the Union stated:
The Union does not oppose an interim payment to teachers and principals in Catholic systemic schools. The Union will however press our full claim in relation to salaries and conditions and matters arising from GTIL vigorously and we seek a schedule of meetings in the New Year to discuss the IEU’s claim and other matters. These negotiations will be commencing shortly. In early February, the Union will be writing to all Chapters reminding members of our full claim and requesting that Chapters endorse the claim. Key elements of the claim include: • a total pay rise of 5% in 2014 • employer payment of any compulsory fees for the NSW Institute of Teachers and the Working With Children Check • release time for provisionally and
conditionally accredited teachers in line with the new DEC standard – that is two hours per week for the teacher and one hour for the supervisor/mentor in the first year and one hour per week in the second year for the beginning teacher and the mentor • agreement on processes for Teacher Performance and Development and performance management with all dioceses • VET teachers – compensation on a time in lieu basis (to be taken in half or full day blocks) for time spent outside normal school hours visiting workplaces to supervise students or for time spent outside normal school hours acquiring mandatory industry experience for accreditation • remuneration to compensate for any accreditation required beyond Institute
of Teachers requirement such as RE accreditation. Support and Maintenance and Outdoor Staff In October 2013 all Catholic dioceses agreed to pay an interim pay increase of 2.27% to support and maintenance and outdoor staff, backdated to July 2013. Catholic dioceses are however refusing to pay a full 2.5% pay rise to employees in Catholic schools. Although the NSW Industrial Relations Commission granted the 2.5% pay rise to NSW public service employees in late December, the Union understands the additional amount above 2.27% has still not been paid to government workers because of a further appeal by the NSW government. The Union is monitoring the situation closely.
Want to be more active in the IEU? This year the IEU starts a training program for members seeking to become more active in the Union, at chapter and branch level and through the various forums of the Union. There will be a residential program during the Easter break (13-15 April) at Leura in the Blue Mountains for 25 participants. The agenda will cover the role of trade unions in Australia, the place of the IEU in the wider union movement, IEU policy, its structure and representational forums. Member-based campaigning will also feature. To register or get further information contact your school’s Union organiser or Marilyn Jervis via email@example.com. 2
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Ready to tackle packed agenda John Quessy General Secretary There can be no doubt that the Union agenda for 2014 is both extensive and comprehensive. We will be making enterprise agreements in every sector of our membership. We have served a claim on Catholic employers for improved salaries and conditions for teachers in systemic schools in NSW. Following an initial discussion in preparation for negotiations, the employers have offered a pay increase equal to that made in the public sector from 1 January (2.27%). In accepting this as an interim payment, the IEU made it clear that we intend to pursue our full claim in respect of both salaries and conditions and are scheduling dates to advance these discussions. Members who have not done so will have the opportunity to endorse the claim early in Term 1.
A number of Catholic independent schools (those called List D) will be back at the negotiation table, as the one-year agreement finalised towards the end of last year was not approved by the FWC. At the end of 2013 the Union sought to bargain with Christian schools for new and substantive agreements covering both teachers and support staff. However little headway was made at that time. These consultations are now overdue. Agreements for the bulk of the independent sector need to be renegotiated during 2014 to have effect from January next year, so we will need to start work sooner rather than later. In the non-school sector (early childhood and ELICOS), Union officers will continue to bargain workplace by workplace to secure the best possible pay and conditions. Members employed in most CEO/CSO offices remain without the protection
and certainty of registered industrial agreements and further progress is vital. Each year brings a new tranche of often novel government education policy with significant impact. While we are dealing with continuing aspects of the NSW Government’s GTIL, the Federal Government’s NPSI and the rollout of the Australian Curriculum in NSW, the Federal Education Minister has announced a ‘review’ of the Curriculum for little more than ideological reasons. Someone, it seems, has determined that aspects of the Curriculum lack rigour and that there is insufficient emphasis on conservative Prime Ministers and the role of business and entrepreneurs in the teaching of Australian history. Perhaps the Alan Bond empire and the James Hardie Company are to be included as instructive and compulsory studies. There will be a review of the Australian Curriculum: teachers review all new curricula as they implement it. Review,
“There will be a review of the Australian Curriculum: teachers review all new curricula as they implement it.”
evaluation and refinement are what teachers do as part of their core work. The Federal Government should know this but as they run no schools and employ no teachers their ignorance on such matters can perhaps be understood. As a national government they can and do influence schools and the work of teachers only by making their dictates a condition of school funding. This year will also reveal an increasing suite of PD opportunities for members and new styles of Union training aimed at Chapter Representatives and union activists. The newest IEU PIP Work Hoarse brings to an even dozen the suite of two-hour accredited PD offerings. This is a much needed voice care workshop which I’m sure will be greatly appreciated. Our Executive and officers are also required to undertake specialised training as part of their responsibilities under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act, the legislation governing trade unions and a few employer organisations. All this alongside the day-to-day task of representing members in the scores of individual disputes that arise regularly, will make for a full 2014 agenda.
Curriculum review – fine tuning or more change? Mark Northam Assistant Secretary Teachers could well be mystified as to why a ‘review ‘ of the national curriculum is warranted. Three years of consultation and development have taken place in NSW to realign NSW syllabuses with the Australian Curriculum. Chief among many concerns is the time frame adopted. To assume wide consultation, redevelopment of syllabuses and planning can occur in 12 months is extraordinarily hopeful. Schools thrive on certainty and the review potentially erodes this. The fact that some 150 academics have questioned the ‘review’
should send a cautionary signal to the Education Minister. If, as reported, the purpose of the ‘review’ is to “consider the robustness, independence and balance of the Australian curriculum” the task is more than fine tuning. It also has the capacity to accentuate the differences between the various states and territories who have charge of implementing curriculum in their respective jurisdictions. The delivery of education in NSW is determined by the Education Act and the implementation of curriculum is determined by the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Education Standards (BOSTES). The IEU has a position on BOSTES and actively works to represent classroom teachers. The IEU also has many practicing teachers participating in a variety of syllabus committees. The above processes provide certainty and predictability. The IEU will engage with the ‘review’ but will do so based on the premise that the
‘review’ should not attempt to be a total dissection and realignment but rather a thoughtful process of oversight. Teachers will not be enamoured of wholesale change linked to a timeframe which is unachievable. Swamping a profession with ‘reviews’ can weaken its purpose. Universities and the practicum Catholic systemic schools have been asked to endorse the IEU’s position on the practicum adopted at last October’s Annual General Meeting. That is, the payment for supervision of trainee teachers must be increased from the current rate of $21.20 or in the case of one method in secondary schools - $12.45 to $39 per day. The IEU considers that the rates paid to supervising teachers should be increased in line with CPI movement since the practicum payments were last increased. The Union is recommending to members that they not accept student teachers on
the current rates after the commencement of Term 2, 2014. Members should advise teachers coordinating the practicum in their school to tell the universities that they want to be paid in accordance with the IEU claim. The IEU has advised universities of our claim. It is important to note that a new framework that sets out the expectations for high quality professional experience placements is under development. GTIL documentation indicates this will include clear expectations of all participants. It is also likely that employers will mandate online course developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership for teachers wishing to supervise the practicum. If the practicum is the central element of preservice teacher education it must be recognised appropriately.
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
The avant-garde of accreditation “I think the Institute was a bit shocked that we put in for it so quickly.” Sue Osborne Journalist
Michelle Gostan celebrates 10 years accreditation this year. The St Joseph’s Catholic College Gosford Drama and English Teacher was among the very first group of New Scheme Teachers to achieve professional competence in 2004.
“I think we were the test case or guinea pigs for the NSW Institute of Teachers bringing in accreditation,” she says. Michelle’s accreditation coordinator at the time was Jim Hall, now her IEU Organiser. Michelle has worked at St Joseph’s since graduation and says moving from university straight into the accreditation process was fairly smooth. “What we were doing was similar to the internship, so it continued on fairly nicely.
“Jim was keen for us to get on to it straight away. The Institute at the time wasn’t sure what they wanted and there was some back and forth, submitting evidence and being asked to come back with more reflections. “I think they were a bit shocked that we put in for it so quickly. I had a Drama and English Teacher who mentored me in my first year so that was really helpful. “We met weekly and I met with Jim every few weeks to make sure I was collecting the right evidence to meet every standard. “We had three years to complete it but we were able to get it done in a year. “At that time not many people knew much about it so few asked questions. Now that it looks like every teacher is going to have to do accreditation they are starting to ask me more questions.” Michelle says every teacher, no matter how long in the job, should be able to
achieve professional competence. “It’s things we do every day as professionals. It’s just about being a more reflective teacher and having that professional dialogue, and documenting everything you do.” Michelle’s says doing the accreditation has encouraged her to test herself throughout her career. “Needing to keep up the hours has meant that I’ve put my hands up for things I might not otherwise have done. I’ve been keen to do the HSC marking and record that. “Newcastle University came to our school to do teaching rounds, where four staff get together and go into each other’s classrooms and make sure we’re achieving quality standards. “I’ve enjoyed all the PD that I’ve done that I probably would have missed out on were it not for accreditation.”
Michelle recently expanded her horizons further by attending the IEU’s Women in Education forum at Gosford, hearing from inspirational teachers who have overcome adversity to continue their careers. Michelle has a three-year-old boy and currently job shares on a .6 load. She recently reconnected with Jim in his capacity as Union organiser, and says being able to get advice from the Union about maternity leave and job share entitlements was a great reason to be a member. “Knowing Jim as I did, it made it easier for me to ask questions. Being in the Union it’s reassuring to know there’s someone there who can give you advice about your role.” Michelle says when she returns to work full-time she will likely go for Professional Accomplishment accreditation.
Snap action to defend suspended NTEU rep The NTEU held a snap action late last year in support of Simon Wade, an IT worker at the University of Technology Sydney for 16 years who was suspended on 10 December for “serious misconduct”.
NTEU State Secretary Genevieve Kelly said the suspension was due to Mr Wade’s activities as Branch Secretary of the NTEU.
“We’ve been trying to get UTS management interested in enterprise bargaining and the Branch President is part of that team. He’s been having difficulties getting away from his AV desk to go to bargaining,” Ms Kelly said. The IEU was among a number of unions who took part in the action at UTS Tower 2. Following the rally, unionists gathered at the IEU’s Wattle St
building, just across the road from UTS, for coffee. Unions NSW is running a petition in support of Simon Wade and all union representatives being able to perform their duties free of management harassment. To support the petition visit www.nteu.org.au/curtin/blog/ view/blog/displayAuthorId/4553.
To update your detaenilchs:anging phone numbers
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
New style for Reps’ training This year we will be trialling a new format for Reps’ training. In Sydney we will be running both introductory and advanced courses. In regional areas the course will remain a combination of the two.
To date courses have been scheduled as follows: 14 Feb Tamworth 21 Feb Forbes 28 Feb Wattle St – Introductory 21 March Wattle St – Advanced 28 March Port Macquarie 16 May Orange 30 May Coffs Harbour Check the website at www.ieu.asn.au for details and registration.
en in Educ ation
The introductory course is for those Reps who are new to the role and/or those who have not previously attended training. Topics covered will include the role of the rep, history of unions in Australia, your agreement and your rights at work. The advanced course has been designed for more experienced Reps who have completed previous training and/or have many years in the role. Topics in the advanced course will include deregulation and what it means for working people, anatomy of a dispute, capacity building and workplace consultation. Both the Introductory and Advanced course will be of one day’s duration and both will include topical issues.
Regional courses will also run for a day and will include a combination of topics from the Sydney courses
International Women’s Day event
Expanding program for women Pam Smith Women's Convenor Building on successful gatherings last year, a lively program of women’s events is coming your way. Celebrate International Women’s Day with the IEU in March at Bathurst and at the Union’s Wattle Street office in Ultimo. Women’s network gatherings will be held in some regional areas, at Kiama on 10 April, Dubbo on 7 August and western Sydney on 19 November. Other regional events will be advertised through the year, linking in with other IEU activities where possible.
The Women’s Conference on 15 August has a proposed theme of Workplace Equity and Diversity: current and emerging issues in work, life and care. Keynote speakers will include Dr Muyesser Durer from Charles Sturt University’s Port Macquarie campus and Emma Maiden from Unions NSW, together with a panel session on contemporary experiences of work and family, plus a range of workshops. The contribution of IEU members to diocesan Workplace Gender Equity Committees is acknowledged and the Union will continue to engage with these committees to highlight issues such as
return to work after parental leave and access to the expanded ‘right to request’ flexible arrangements under the Fair Work Act. The IEU appreciates the opportunity to be involved with diocesan ‘staying in touch’ seminars for staff on parental leave or considering their return to work options. Such seminars have been previously held or planned in dioceses such as Sydney, Wollongong and Parramatta. Contact the IEU for further information about 2014 women and equity events or for advice in regard to workplace equity issues.
Members are warmly invited to celebrate International Women’s Day 2014 with the IEU. Our special guest speaker will be Sophie Cotsis, NSW Labor’s Shadow Minister for the Status of Women. This is the first IWD event the IEU has held in Sydney so come along and help make it a succes. Time: 4.30 – 6.30pm Date: March 7 Venue: Level 3, The Briscoe Building, 485-501 Wattle Street Ultimo. Refreshments will be provided. RSVP by 28 February to Savan Kovacevic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Enquiries to Ann-Maree McEwan email@example.com or Savan Kovacevic on 8202 8900. newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
The little things that count Sue Osborne Journalist Food Technology Assistant Julia O’Neill’s job title does little to explain the wide range of duties she performs. A stalwart at McCarthy Catholic College Tamworth for more than a decade, Julia is involved with all aspects of the school’s day-to-day functioning. Her basic role is to order and prepare the food for Food Technology classes. But on top of that she washes the linen from the technology classes, the canteen, the sick bay and the staff room. She has an in-school laundry where she also washes the jerseys for the school’s rugby union and league teams, as well as the soccer and touch kits. Once a year she drives 17 students and two teachers to the Agquip agricultural show at Gunnedah where the students man the Murray Grey stall, cooking and
serving thousands of steak sandwiches and tea and coffee. “That’s a huge three day event, getting all the food ready and driving out there. We leave at 7am and get back at 5pm every day. But it’s great experience for the
“One little boy told me he had no oven at home. So I thought ‘I’ll have to give him a bit of extra care’. “We’ve got all sort of children here and you can never assume anything. “I say to some kids ‘grab a tea towel’ and they don’t know what I mean [because] they have dishwashers. That’s our society, “It’s a great team here and I enjoy the kids and the staff. I always look forward to coming to work. “Support staff play a very important role in schools. I see the little things that no one else might see. It’s the little things that really count.” Julia has been an IEU member most of her career. “I joined so that if I ever had a problem with a student or parent I could get the right advice. “I would recommend all support staff have that support behind them.”
“Some children live on rural properties with only dam water so I wash their uniforms for them, otherwise they get pretty grotty.” kids,” Julia says. It’s the little things that she does that really make a difference to students’ lives. “Some children live on rural properties with only dam water so I wash their uniforms for them, otherwise they get pretty grotty. “If a little girl’s upset because she’s had an accident with her uniform or has got a torn uniform, they send her to me and I fix it up.
An investment in the future Verena Heron Assistant Secretary The IEUA submitted a comprehensive submission to the Productivity Inquiry into Early Childhood Education and Care. We emphasised that high quality early childhood education: • is an investment in the future as studies have shown that this leads to savings in grade retention, special education classes, welfare, juvenile justice etc • improves performance at school – children that attend quality early education programs demonstrate higher NAPLAN and international testing results in later years at school, and • is an importance form of invention for children most at risk of developmental delay – those with additional needs, those from low income families, those living in rural and remote areas and
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The submission says that an important determinant of quality is qualified teachers and the need to ensure that teachers’ pay and conditions are the same as teachers in schools. The government needs to increase investment in early childhood education and care by funding wages for early childhood teachers. There should be no watering down of the National Quality Framework or delay in the implementation. A copy of our full submission can be found on our website www.ieu.asn.au Pay equity The Pay Equity Case is before the Fair Work Commission again in early February with a round table for all parties involved. Discussions will examine what research
can be undertaken by the Pay Equity Unit with the Fair Work Commission and what has be done by unions and the employers. Although we are not sure how long the case will take we are hopeful that it will be finalised in the latter part of the year. The Union is looking for teachers and teacher directors to appear as witnesses on our behalf. If you are interested contact Verena Heron via firstname.lastname@example.org
Preservation of your pay rates Unless you have an agreement approved by the Fair Work Commission preserving your rates of pay and allowing for future increases after July 1 2014, the only legally enforceable pay rates will be those in the modern award. Modern award rates at the top of the scale are some $20,000 less than those currently applicable in NSW. In 2011 the IEU successfully varied the modern award to preserve the NAPSA
rates in NSW, however this variation is only applicable until July 2014, after which time the rates of pay fall to the modern award rates. The IEU has made an application to have the current provisions maintained until after the pay equity decision is handed down, but we do not know if we will be successful. If you do not have an agreement in place we would encourage you to get one as soon as possible. Members should be aware that letters of appointment and contracts of employment are much more difficult and costly to enforce than an agreement. Contact the IEU if you want assistance with your agreement.
Hate programming? Looking for resources? Just some of the new units added to the Edekit catalogue ready for you to use, modify and adapt include: Year 7 Science (new syllabus) • Working as a Scientist • Classification • The Earth in Space • Cells Year 7 and 9 Maths • A full range of new syllabus units Prelim English • The Poetry of John Keats • Othello Prelim Modern History: • 1916 Easter Rebellion • Decolonisation in Indo China. Programming has never been easier..... Edekit can develop specific programs on request for school and KLA subscribers. Drop us a line if you have any questions..... Sandy: email@example.com Patrick: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stop re-inventing the wheel...do yourself a favour and check out Edekit!! www.edekit.com.au 6
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Flying the flag for international students Tara de Boehmler Journalist
The English language sector is notoriously volatile and unions are vital for protecting pay and conditions, but Australian Pacific College Teacher and IEU Rep Louise Newey would like to see students get a better deal too.
Like most people teaching English as a second language, Louise says it was not part of her original career plan. “So many of us have trained in other areas, have travelled extensively or lived overseas and we come from a wide variety of backgrounds,” she says. Louise was an actor before her husband’s journalism career took them to Moscow when the Berlin Wall collapsed, then later to Brussels. During much of this time she taught English, but while in Russia she also landed a job in advertising. “I had no advertising experience but neither did anyone else at that stage,” she says of the heady days when the nation was starting anew. Two kids and seven winters later, Louise and her family returned to Australia. Soon after, she started teaching at Australian Pacific College. “I really enjoy my job, especially the teaching. It’s endlessly creative, my colleagues are an infinitely interesting bunch and the students are lovely,” she says. Louise was voted IEU Rep two years ago and is now involved in negotiations for a new agreement. “At first I was terrified but in fact the negotiations have been civilised and polite, with plenty of good will on both sides,” Louise says.
But while her own workplace is harmonious, with a number of long-term employees, Louise says the industry itself is volatile. “The main issue for the industry is that it is so casualised and nobody is indispensible,” she says. “We’re expected to have a degree plus a higher qualification and that’s a big ask for an industry that pays so poorly and offers almost no job security. “It’s like an export industry – like retail or tourism – where everything depends on the Australian dollar, the weather, or what’s happening in the students’ countries. We’re a disposable asset.” While Louise would like to see more security for English language teachers, she would also like to see the Federal Government improve conditions for international students. “I’d like the see international students treated the same as Australian students, and to have access to the same services,” she says. “International students are being used as cash cows to prop up universities yet they can’t get travel passes or accommodation assistance. “The majority do not come from wealthy families. Many live in appalling conditions and are deeply exploited by employers. They can legally work a maximum 40 hours a fortnight and if they are paid below award wages, after accommodation costs it’s not a lot to live on.” It can be “heartbreaking” to see what they go through “and yet they’re so excited to be in Australia”, Louise says. “With so much international competition for international students, if the Federal Government offered better conditions we would be a more attractive proposition.”
“It’s like an export industry – like retail or tourism – where everything depends on the Australian dollar, the weather, or what’s happening in the students’ countries.”
Present Tense ELICOS news definitions in the classifications scale. This agreement was unanimously approved by teachers in January, and has been lodged with the Fair Work Commission.
Kendall Warren Organiser
Welcome back to another year of Present Tense, your window into the international student college industry.
• Your Union has concluded negotiations with several colleges over the summer, with some great outcomes for members. At Embassy English, the college agreed to terms just before Christmas. Teachers on all step levels will receive significant salary increases of between 5% and 8% once the agreement is approved (the College wanted to standardise the differences between step levels), with further 2% increases in both 2015 and 2016. In addition, there will be a new allowance for EAP teachers, and broader
• In January, your Union agreed terms with SELC (who have colleges in both Bondi Junction and the city), with salary increases of 2%, 2.5% and 2.5%, with additional increases totaling 2% for casual teachers (who are the bulk of teachers there). At Australian Pacific College, salary increases of 1.5% per annum were agreed, with additional increases totaling 2% for casuals (again, the bulk of the teaching staff). These increases will ensure that these colleges remain among the higher paying English colleges in Australia. • Another school where negotiations were satisfactorily concluded was at Taylor’s College in Waterloo. Taylor’s operates a high school program as well as the Foundation Studies program for Sydney
University, primarily for the international student market. Your Union was able to achieve salary increases of 3%, 3.5% and 3.5%, an excellent result in an environment where 2.5% per annum has become the accepted benchmark.
• The IEU is continuing to negotiate at UNSW Foundation Studies, and at Navitas English Services, and we are hopeful that settlements will soon be reached at these centres too, maintaining salaries and conditions at levels far above those of the award. If you would like to know how this might work in your college, contact the IEU. • On 1 January, 2014, new legislation came into force regarding bullying and harassment. From now on, such matters can be heard at the Fair Work Commission, who will have the power to make rulings on such matters. The FWC will need to deal with an application within 14 days of lodgement, and the Commission will be able to make
whatever orders it considers necessary to stop the bullying. Any breach of these orders can see penalties imposed of up to $10,200 for individuals and $51,000 for organisations. These new provisions apply across the workplace, including employees, employers, contractors and labour hire personnel, and even customers may be liable. The Act also contains definitions of bullying, so that any repeated unreasonable behaviour that creates a risk to health and safety will come under its ambit.
• It remains to be seen just how effective these news laws will be (and no doubt the apocalyptic scenarios painted by employer groups will prove to be far off the mark), but nevertheless they do provide a framework for dealing with this widespread issue.
If there are any issues that you would like to see discussed in this column, please don’t hesitate to contact your Union via email@example.com. newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Marking a major milestone
“The Cardinal said if anyone joined the Union they would get rid of all the lay teachers.”
Clockwise from bottom left: Dennis Klein, Veronica Goodwin, Peter Chatfield and Anne Ting.
Sue Osborne Journalist
With 2014 marking the 60th anniversary of the IEU, what better time could there be to reflect on the huge gains the Union has made for teachers during the past decades.
The IEU recently hosted a gathering of retired members receiving their 30-year membership badges. In fact many have been members for more than 40 years. IEU General Secretary John Quessy, a former history teacher, told the retired members they have “terrific stories that are really worth telling and recording, warts and all”. Those stories include “knocking at the presbytery door on a Friday afternoon hoping a) father was there and b) that the collection had been good that week so you could get your wages,” John says. “An awful lot has improved since most of you started teaching,” he says. Veronica Goodwin, who started her career as one of only two lay teachers 8
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at Mater Maria Warriewood in 1964, remembers the Sister’s weekly comment: “She’d say ‘Oh, you want your pay cheque do you’ every time”. Veronica worked at Mater Maria in the mornings and Brigidine St Ives in the afternoon, and during the course of her career was told at one school she was being paid too much, so her pay was cut. Another time she and a colleague were told they had been receiving too much holiday pay by mistake, so they had to go through the whole six-week summer break with no pay. “I just used to take it. The Cardinal said if anyone joined the Union they would get rid of all the lay teachers. “I’ve been in the Union since 1966 and of course the changes in the pay have been enormous.” Anne Ting has been a member of the Union “since it started” and she joined while teaching at St Kevin’s Primary School Eastwood. She retired in 2012 and says being invited back to the Union’s new Wattle
St premises to receive her badge was “a lovely experience”. Anne has benefitted from Union membership in more ways than some as in 2000 she enjoyed an exchange to Canada. But more significant are the improvements in her rights. “There have been huge changes being a teacher,” Anne says. “We had no union, no rights, no anything compared to what we’ve got now. It’s just amazing. “What I really admire about the Union is how they’ve got new things for teachers without going on strike. “There were strikes later and I understood why, but the negotiating and delegating that they did achieved so much.” Peter Chatfield, a Teacher at St Ignatius Riverview, joined the Union in 1973 and has been an active contributor, being a Rep for 20 years and delegate in the Northern Suburbs Branch. “I’ve seen enormous growth of membership and professionalism of the Union,” Peter says.
“The Union has blossomed with the secretarial staff and then the ground staff joining, giving us more strength. “I’m happy to wear this badge with pride today and it’s lovely to come in and see this building and catch up with people I’ve met over the years through marking or being a sport convenor.” Denis Klein retired from Christian Brothers Burwood after 44 years service as a teacher and has clocked up 42 years as an IEU member. “It’s been pleasant today catching up with people I’ve known over the years. I even taught with John for a while.” Denis has served on the Union’s Executive and was president of the Inner Metropolitan branch for a few years. “I was interested in helping make the decisions that were going to influence teachers’ careers,” he says. “I was one of the ones who pushed for the Union to buy it’s own building, and this latest is certainly an upgrade so it’s great for me to come in and see it.”
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
2014 Calendar Term 1 13 Feb: PIP – An Indigenous Perspective, Tamworth 11 Mar: PIP – Dealing with Difficult People, Goulburn 19 Mar: TeachMeet – Environmental Sustainability, Ultimo 27 Mar: PIP – Teacher Development Processes, Port Macquarie 29 Mar: Starting Strong – preservice teacher event, Ultimo 7 Apr: ELICOS seminar, Ultimo
Term 2: 10 Jun: Teach, Survive, Thrive for beginning teachers, Ultimo 11 June: Teach, Survive, Thrive for beginning teachers, Fairfield
BEGINNING TEACHERS EVENT – CLASSROOM DYNAMICS Are you in your first 5 years of teaching? This is the PD session for you!
Experienced teachers develop a range of strategies for managing student behaviour and creating engaged and motivated classes. Building up a bank of these skills takes time but in this workshop Glen Pearsall explores how doing the little things well can make a big difference to your working life. Glen will explore practical strategies for getting students to play a more active role in your lessons, for taking responsibility for their work practice and for doing this without adding to your workload. GLEN PEARSALL, Educational Consultant and Teacher Coach. Glen is passionate about finding practical solutions to the everyday challenges of classroom teaching.
IEU Sydney or Office, Ultimo
This year the IEU is splitting its annual early career teachers’ conference into two events, in Sydney (10 June) and Fairfield (11 June). The free afternoon sessions are open to IEU teacher members in their first five years of teaching. In recent years, early career teachers have faced increased difficulties in attending whole day conferences. In response to members’ suggestions the IEU has developed these after-school events, located in two centres of the Sydney metropolitan region. The event will include a welcome to the teaching profession and IEU membership. The keynote speaker, Glen Pearsall, will deliver an interactive workshop on Behaviour Management and Student Engagement. Glen will explore practical strategies for getting students to have a more active role in your lessons, for taking responsibility for their work practice and for doing this without adding to your workload. His focus is on creating
engaged and motivated classes, thereby managing student behaviour. Glen has previously presented this workshop for members of the Victorian branch, VIEU, with great success. Glen was a Leading Teacher at Eltham High and now works throughout Australia as an educational consultant and teacher coach. He is passionate about finding practical solutions to the everyday challenges of classroom teaching. Glen is the author of the best-selling And Gladly Teach, a handbook of classroom strategies for graduate teachers and the co-author of Literature for Life and Work Right. He has a particular interest in the work of preservice teachers and has worked as a seminar leader and research fellow at the Centre for Youth Research. Classroom Dynamics, his latest book for graduate teachers, was published in 2012 by the TLN Press. To register, go to www.ieu.asn.au and follow the prompts to the PD and Training page.
TEACH SURVIVE THRIVE BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT & STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
Teach, Survive, Thrive’s fresh look
Fairfield RSL, Fairfield.
4.30pm - 6.30pm To register your participation please phone Kayla on 02 8202 8900 O email firstname.lastname@example.org O visit the IEU website at www.ieu.asn.au. Closing date: 1st June 2014 HURRY – this is a free event for IEU members only. Limited spaces available. This event is registered with the NSW BOSTES for 2 hours. NSW Standards – 4.2.4; 4.2.5; 5.2.5; 6.2.3 Australian Standards – 4.1.2; 3.3.2; 6.2.2; 7.4.2
STudeNT TeAcheR FORum
ARE YOU IN YOUR FINAL YEARS OF STUDYING TEACHING?
You are invited to a practical forum to assist you to: O Prepare for interviews O Get a job O Ease your concerns about NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) O Understand your rights and responsibilities as a teacher.
WORKSHOP A SURVIVING YOUR FIRST YEAR – learn about practical tips for surviving your first year of teaching, including where to go to receive help, workload/life balances, your health, dealing with difficult people and working in a school environment.
CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT – This session will look at how the Union can assist you with contracts of employment and your industrial agreement.
WORKSHOP C CYBER SAVVY – How can your online presence affect your career as a teacher? What are the dangers of social media for you as a teacher and your future students? This workshop will showcase preventative strategies you can employ to ensure your safety as a teacher. We will also address issues such as cyberbullying, sexting and online grooming.
DATE: SATURDAY 5, APRIL 2014 VENUE: IEU Sydney Office, The Briscoe Building, 485-501 Wattle St, Ultimo TIME: 9.30am 3.30pm
This is a FREE event for IEU student members. To book your place, send your name, university, IEU member number along with your workshop preference to Kayla at email@example.com by 28 March 2014. newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014
Talking about the conversation “Rather than have a model that came from above and was all about appraisal, it became a formal model of PD that was run by teachers.” Sue Osborne Journalist
A pilot project involving five schools in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese is looking at ways to encourage teachers to take ownership of their own PD.
The Professional Practice and Development Framework project is being run at St Joseph’s Merewether, Holy Family Merewether Beach, Holy Name at Forster, St Marys at Scone, St Paul’s Gateshead and San Clemente High School in Newcastle. The project is funded under the Federal Government’s Empowering Local Schools National Partnership, aimed at getting schools to better respond to their communities by making decisions at a local level. Holy Family Principal Mark Twohill and Assistant Principal Marg Rabbitt say each school was given the task of developing a framework by which a teacher could reach the required performance. Holy Family decided to use the Australian Standards
as its framework. Other pilot schools have used other formats. “Initially we wanted teachers to pick goals that would improve their practice,” Mark says. “But we realised trying to impose what we thought was needed on them wasn’t working. “Then we went to a PD day at University of NSW where we were advised to undergo a professional learning conversation with our teachers, and allow them to converse with each other before we looked at developing their capacity. “We got a format for professional conversations where we asked a couple of questions about ‘why you want to be a teacher,’ ‘what have you done well in the last week’ and ‘where do you see your professional practice going’?” Marg says asking teachers what motivates them was a conversation they enjoyed having. “Finding out what interests their colleagues and what they had in common
High drama Tara de Boehmler Journalist
When Penrith Christian School Drama Teacher Marnie O’Mara dishes out advice on learning lines, her students know she’s speaking from experience.
Marnie’s performance history goes back years. As one of five children, in her younger years Marnie and her siblings would regularly stage in-house productions and “entertain the grownups”. Then there were the school musicals and ballet school – all feeding into her passion. While drama remained Marnie’s passion, she originally trained as an English teacher, with Drama a sub-major. “Twenty years ago Drama was not a major subject,” she says. “It wasn’t even in the HSC.” But it was a major passion of Marnie’s, so when her friends set up a theatre company, Chalkdust, she was involved from the start - and she wasn’t the only 10
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and bringing their philosophies out into the open sparked a lot of talk,” Marg says. “From there we looked at some videos and got them to nominate where they thought they were in terms of the Standards and then we had a starting point to move from. “It wasn’t as simple as ‘you’re on a 12-month performance program and we want you to set goals’.” Mark says the conversations lead to people being re-engaged with why they became teachers and interested in their own PD, and ways they could improve it. “Rather than have a model that came from above and was all about appraisal, it became a formal model of PD that was run by teachers.” Marg says this way of thinking became part of the school culture, with time set aside in every staff meeting for a conversation about what was driving the teachers, their shared goals and interests. Mark says: “We’re involved with the concept of a professional learning
community where everyone works collaboratively. It’s not just about your classroom but the whole school community. Every child is the responsibility of every teacher. “The ‘deprivatisation’ of the classroom is a wonderful concept once people are comfortable that they aren’t being judged. “It’s about treating people as professionals and expecting them to operate at a professional level. “Employers and the executive have a responsibility to put money aside to allow teachers to build their capacity. “If you have a teacher that’s not performing well then you help that teacher become a better teacher and you help a good teacher become an excellent teacher. “This requires funding from governments and employers as it does take time and energy to work properly. “We were lucky that we were part of this project that provided that extra funding.”
Marnie, who has completed courses at NIDA, The Actors’ Centre and the Actors College of Theatre and Television. “In-servicing hones our skills and connects us with others. It’s great to immerse ourselves and to have the outside directing and involvement happening in addition to what we are doing in schools.” Earlier in the year Marnie was attending four nights of rehearsals a week and she says there is “always something on the boil” production-wise. She says part of her passion is selfish because she loves drama, theatre and creating “but without an audience there is no drama”. “In my current situation, working in western Sydney, sometimes these things can seem out of reach for students and for the community. So this is also about bringing it to them.” Many students go through a stage of wanting to be an actor, director or film-maker but Marnie says whether or not these are the careers they ultimately choose, there are numerous benefits to being exposed to Drama at school.
“They choose it because they love it but we also know it helps with speaking skills, presentation and confidence, and it provides an understanding of how people respond differently in different situations. “We always say Drama reflects real life, so it is allowing them to explore what is happening in the world. We can read something in class and explore all the influences and subtexts. Drama allows us to explore life in a safe way and prepares us for life.” Marnie says musical theatre sells well in Australia and sometimes there’s a perception that regular plays are elitist, “but there is always good theatre being generated with plenty of good playwrights, directors and high quality actors around”. “For Drama teachers, part of what we do is show students that there is more to Drama than just acting and more to productions than musical theatre,” she says. “It’s also about more than playing games and having fun. It is fun, but there is a lot of hard work as well and we do it because
“Drama allows us to explore in a safe way and prepares us for life.”
Drama teacher on board. “Because we had a theatre company it provided us with opportunities as teachers not only to perform on stage to practise what we preached.” Many students and their parents attend Marnie’s productions, with a few participating earlier this year in a production of The Taming of the Shrew. “Some of the students had to attend regular weekend and evening rehearsals and take direction from someone other than a teacher. “Having students attend these productions lends credibility to what they are learning. So when I say that it takes hours to learn the lines and you can’t just get up there and wing it, they know I’m speaking from experience.” Her students can be a tough crowd. “Students are the most critical, which keeps me honest. They know that I know how hard it really is.” Drama teachers commonly do a lot of in-servicing in addition to their teacher training and actor/director training, says
Support for Band 3 teachers
Clockwise from bottom left: Tammy Kumar, Catherine Morrissey, Jenny Chisholm and Lisa Tolley with Nikki Martel.
Sue Osborne Journalist
The IEU offers professional support for members at ‘Band 3’ schools attempting to achieve ‘experienced teacher’ status.
There are some 130 schools, mostly in the Sydney region, that are members of the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) and are covered by the standards (or three band) multy enterprise agreement. Teachers that reach Band 3 are paid at a higher salary rate under the agreement, so achieving the status is an industrial matter. IEU Professional Development and Accreditation Officer Elizabeth Finlay has for many years offered her services to individual members of the Union who require assistance with Band 3 accreditation. As well as assisting individual teachers, Elizabeth advocates with the AIS on behalf of teachers, making sure the Union and teachers are consulted about any proposed changes to the system. “The Union has developed a good relationship with the AIS, and this is important because we can negotiate on any changes that might affect members,” Elizabeth says. Last year was a learning curve for everyone, including Elizabeth, as the AIS moved to National rather than NSW Standards, and also went digital. “Teachers had to submit a digital portfolio last year, which turned out to be an advantage, as previously many teachers had to get several large portfolios bound and paginated. “The digital system provides templates that make the submission process easier.”
Having someone to bounce ideas off during her 10-month Band 3 accreditation process last year was a real boon for Nikki Martel.The Danebank Anglican School for Girls Science Teacher says the process probably took at least 500 hours, but Elizabeth's support was invaluable. “We have someone going through Band 3 accreditation at this school pretty much every year,” Nikki says. “One of the girls who had done it a previous year just raved about Elizabeth
and how helpful she had been, pointing out what was required and what was not. “At the start this was all very daunting for me and there were lots of words and language that were not immediately obvious. “I think I had my first meeting with Elizabeth at the beginning of Term 1. It was really helpful to have someone like her sit down and say ‘no that’s not what that means, they’re looking for this, this and this’. “We made a plan of how to make things happen and that was great.” During several visits that Elizabeth made to the school, monthly goals were set. “We’d plan what I needed to do and check what I’d done. Just lodging everything electronically, scanning it in and doing the annotations took several days. “You certainly get good support and value from the IEU, and I would recommend any independent school teacher join the Union. “I’m really grateful for all the support and help I got.”
and made me revisit certain things, like meeting the needs of my students. “You tend to get bogged down with the day-to-day things so doing the accreditation work reminded me of what we are giving to the students.”
Setting an example
Catherine Morrissey’s Band 3 portfolio impressed the assessors so much it will be used as an example for next year’s applicants. But the Kinocoppal Rose Bay Primary School Teacher admits she would have been “lost” navigating the process without Elizabeth’s help. “She worked around my timetable to come out and see me a number of times and spent a couple of hours with me each time,” Catherine says. “She was very thorough and went through each Standard in detail just in case there was any evidence missing. “I was able to email her any questions at any time and she was great at getting back to me.” Catherine says doing the Band 3 assessment was “a real challenge”. “As teachers we have all the evidence required, it’s just a matter of annotating it and collating it. It is good for you as teacher to get an overview of what you have. “I would definitely recommend to Elizabeth to anyone who is a member of the Union. She provides a superb service.”
“You certainly get good support and value from the IEU, and I would recommend any independent school teacher join the Union.”
While the Band 3 accreditation process was a time consuming one, it rekindled Danebank Anglican School for Girls TAS Teacher Lisa Tolley’s passion for teaching. Like Nikki, Lisa undertook the process last year, with help from Elizabeth. “I think I saw an email from the curriculum coordinator that said this help was available so I took the opportunity,” Lisa says. “I saw Elizabeth regularly and she guided me in addressing what was required for each standard. “She helped me tick off each component one-by-one and make sure I had enough evidence and it was annotated properly. “She wanted to make sure what I submitted would make sense to whoever assessed it and was good at motivating me and setting monthly goals. “I found it a rewarding experience. It made me more aware of how much I do
“I’ve been a member of the IEU since I began working at Georges River Grammar in 2010,” says Jenny Chisholm of Georges River Grammar School. “While I haven’t had to call upon the services of the IEU, I was pleased to find out that the Union offered assistance and advice to members completing the Experienced Teacher accreditation.
“This assistance not only meant I could contact my Union representative, Elizabeth Finlay, over the phone or via email whenever I had any questions, but she also visited my school to have face-toface meetings to review my work. “This was most helpful as I was completing my accreditation under the new process, using the National Standards and often needed another colleague, outside of school, to clarify that I had interpreted the standards correctly. “When comparing my colleagues’ paper portfolios from previous years, I felt the digital portfolio format made compiling the final presentation much easier. I could readily edit and locate my evidence and annotations related to each standard without it impacting on the whole portfolio. “Not only did I successfully achieve my accreditation but ISTAA [Independent School Teacher Accreditation] requested to use my digital evidence as an example to assist future candidates to understand the quality of work required as they felt my evidence was clearly presented and my annotations were succinctly written.”
“When I first saw a colleague’s Experienced Teacher paperwork I felt nervous about completing my own as it seemed like a lot of hard work. However, compared to the paper submissions, the digital portfolio was a lot easier to complete,” says Tammy Kumar of Malek Fahd. “This was mainly due to the fact that the digital portfolio was already prepared by the AIS. This year, the National Standards were incorporated into the Experienced Teacher Accreditation. I have found that I now have a greater understanding of the Standards. “I would like to thank the IEU for their continuous support and encouragement. I could not have completed my Accreditation without their help.”
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New roads to vocational success
Liam: I’m doing an apprenticeship in metals and engineering and my secondary is in electronics. I chose that as a fallback trade in case I ever want to move out of metals. It’s good to have options and I like both. It’s state of the art here, with new machinery, and our teacher gives us all different tasks to get the welding bays up and running. I’m also a school-based apprentice learning two trades because I make roll cages for drag cars and also learn how the engines run. I’ve gotten used to going to school Monday to Wednesday and working on Thursday and Friday while everything is fresh in my mind. When I leave school I want to become an officer in the army. Anthony: I’m doing automotive and metal is my second. I wanted to do automotive because I’ve been doing it since I was young, helping my Dad every time he fixed his truck or the car. It’s great here. It’s a nice place with all the latest equipment. I split my week, working Thursdays and Fridays and I learn lots of stuff there. I want to get into diesel mechanics and work on trucks for a big company.
Above: Michael Egan, Kevin Barrett and Debra Kay
Tara de Boehmler Journalist
For VET teachers fed up with juggling conflicting schedules, additional assessments and the relentless tangle of red tape, the approach being taken with a new trade training centre at La Salle Bankstown may make better sense.
The Saint Yon Trade Training Centre, which opened its doors to students for the first time last year, has been established by a cluster of five schools, LaSalle Catholic College at Bankstown, Casimir Catholic College Marrickville, De LaSalle Catholic College Revesby, Holy Spirit College Lakemba and Trinity Catholic College Auburn. Offering courses in Construction, Electrotechnology, Automotive and Metals and Engineering, LaSalle Catholic College Principal Michael Egan says the Centre was built in Bankstown because it was the largest of the schools and had the best transport corridors. In 2013 the centre catered for 62 students from nine schools and this year 170 Year 10-12 students from 16 schools will attend, including 20 with identified special needs. There are also a growing number of school-based apprentices. Michael says the structure of the Trade Training Centre is enabling the cluster to “meet the needs of students in ways we have not met their needs before”. At $7million – including $5million from the Federal Government - he says the approach has required “a big injection of capital but also real commitment to take forward”. “If we’re going to have students staying in schools until this age, then we need to 12
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have the courses and the people trained to deliver them in a safe and meaningful way,” Michael says. “This way, they are going to come out of it not just with a qualification but also useful and employable at the end of it all.” In 2013 the centre opened with five TAFE teachers but dropped back to four by the end of the year. This year the program will be taught by 10 TAFE teachers. There are four LaSalle staff members employed and none teach in other parts of the school. Eventually more teachers will be placed on staff for the Trade Training Centre, and they don’t expect to have trouble finding candidates. “There are plenty of people out there looking for work who have the background for it. Many of our schools already do Construction and we’d have a number of people already familiar with all the equipment who would also relish the opportunity to have a totally indoor environment like we’ve got here.” Once on staff, Michael says these teachers will not be required to run between regular classes to teach VET subjects, nor will they be faced with afternoon VET classes following a full teaching day. “That doesn’t happen here - no way,” he says. “No one would do it. It’s not sustainable.” He says one of the benefits of a dedicated centre is having a group of people in the VET area working together.
“In contrast, for many schools those working in VET are a minority on staff and the issues that concern them are not always at the forefront of thinking in the overall planning for the school,” he says. This year the trade floors will operate from 1.30pm to 5.30pm every afternoon, with IT, Business Services and Hospitality also placed on the Trade Training Centre timetable instead of the school timetable. English and Maths and Work Studies classrooms will run in the mornings. LaSalle Teacher and IEU member Debra Kay is passionate about the opportunities and experiences the Trade Training Centre provides. She says it is time VET got better recognition. “VET needs to get the recognition it deserves as an academic and vocational pathway that some of the other subjects such as Economics and Physics have traditionally got,” she says. “We all have different skills and gifts.” Debra says there are pathways to university by doing subjects such as electronics, or metals and engineering. “You can get on the pathway to your trade and also get success if you want an ATAR by doing these subjects.” The centre’s vocational education courses are dual accredited to meet National Standards and the HSC, with ATAR and non-ATAR options. Students can train towards Certificate II and Certificate III credentials, with apprentices
“We’re meeting the needs of students in ways we have not met their needs before.”
completing the training for the first year of their apprenticeship. Regarding compliance and the notoriously tough national vocational training regulator ASQA, La Salle Teacher and IEU member Kevin Barrett says the schools already expect to be “looked at with fine tooth comb and that’s what we’re preparing for”. He says challenges have less to do with compliance and more to do with the scope of the courses. For instance, the level of delivery for the metals training package has changed a number of times in the past year. “In terms of delivery, you need some surety about what the course is going to be for even a small period of time,” Kevin says. “But at the moment, with some of the frameworks it’s only three months between one set and the other. “People have to reprogram because the specs change. More often than not it’s simplifying the courses and lessening the qualifications. Every time they change it you’ve got to look at the whole scope of delivery again.” Michael says another challenge may be getting acknowledgement for kids’ attainment of skills as opposed to numbers from an exam. “In schools the benchmark for a long time has simply been HSC marks, whereas for a lot of the kids attracted to this style of learning it’s not about a number. It’s about a skill. “Hats off to the system for trying to go about things in new ways – and the Government for putting up the funding initially.”
Doorway to emotional wellbeing
Sue Osborne Journalist
A Swedish program devised in the 1970s to help adults deal with change is showing promise as an aid to schools wanting to address emotional issues and bullying.
The Four Rooms of Change Theory by Claes Janssen has only recently been introduced to Australia in the educational context. Michael Victory of the non-profit and union owned Teacher Learning Network has been introducing the program to Victorian schools since 2010, and in 2012 the TLN partnered with NSW-based Mike Cook to introduce it to NSW. Sacred Heart Primary School Cabramatta Principal Margaret Hogan is an early adopter. She began a trial at her school in 2012, and this year Years 3-6 will adopt the program. “I had some boys who had anger management issues,” Margaret says. “We had done some other programs but nothing seemed to be really helping. “I had read a report that said antibullying programs weren’t making much of a difference, so when I was sent something from the Teacher Learning Network about Four Rooms of Change I went to the presentation.
“Four Rooms of Change is a very different approach. It doesn’t even mention bullying.” Margaret says the trial across one or two grades in 2012 was successful so she organised training in December last year to introduce the program to every classroom this year. IEU Professional Development Officer Amy Cotton attended the two-day training session at the school to discover more about it. Margaret says: “It works because the students get to know what emotion they are feeling”. In the adult version of Four Rooms of Change, four psychological states - confusion and conflict, self-censorship and denial, contentment, and inspiration and renewal - are represented graphically and people identify which room they are in or moving to. At Sacred Heart, there will be a white board in each classroom and each student and teacher will have their own magnet. Every morning they will put their magnet
on the board to show what room their emotions are in. Mike Cook says the program is adapted for children to allow them to use their own words and language to describe their feelings. “It doesn’t actually teach kids anything new, it’s a model that helps kids learn from their own experiences,” Mike says. Margaret says a lot of preparation work is done with the students before they start using the magnets. “Our students are often very language deprived. When something happens and they are emotional they could just say ‘mad’ or ‘sad’. “We wanted them to be able to express their feelings more so we did lots of work building their vocabulary around emotions like jealousy, frustration and kindness. “The good thing is the students move their magnets to show how they are feeling and it helps them recognise their own emotions and the emotions of others too, encouraging them to build empathy. “We never had a huge bullying problem
“It helps them recognise their own emotions and the emotions of others too, encouraging them to build empathy.”
at this school, but there has been a noticeable change. “I did a survey of students after the trial and they said it helped. They said they could see when someone wasn’t feeling good and try and cheer them up. “I recently witnessed a dispute about handball with one of the boys who does have an anger management problem, so it didn’t stop his anger, but a group of other boys led him away from the situation and sat down him down and talked to him.” Margaret says the program does not create too much extra work for teachers, as it links with the health curriculum regarding relationships, and is part of language and vocabulary learning. “The feedback from the teachers in the trial is that it really helped with behaviour management because they could see how the children were feeling.” Mike says: “There’s no rules about how you use it, but the fact you acknowledge their emotions is very important. “It takes a lot of drama out of the classroom and allows kids to have a better experience of school.” For more details on cost and availability, contact Michael Victory, Teacher Learning Network via mvictory@ tln.org.au or (03) 9418 4992 or visit www.fourroomsofchangeinschools.com newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014
Songs of struggle and inspiration Tara de Boehmler Journalist New York-based labour and folk social activism singer George Mann has touched down on Australian shores and is coming to a venue (hopefully) near you. He says his years as a union organiser and how music lends strength to the struggle for justice. George gained an understanding of issues impacting teachers and support staff early on. His mother was a special education teacher and while at college he helped win union representation rights for the 3000 teaching and graduate assistants working there. As a former union organiser, he also has an intricate knowledge of the role unions play. George’s concerts are said to make you shout for joy, send chills down your spine or bring tears to your eyes in the same set. His music, which has been described as part sing-along, part history lesson is sure to inspire all members in their efforts to protect hard-won conditions and continue to make gains for teachers, support staff and principals. 7 Feb: Illawarra Folk Club, 8pm 8 Feb: Humph Hall, Allambie Heights, 7.30pm 9 Feb: Margaret Bradford’s House Concert, Engadine, 2pm 9 Feb: Stanwell Park Kiosk, 7pm 14 Feb: Merry Muse Folk Club, Canberra, 8pm 15 Feb: Loaded Dog Folk Club, Sydney, 8pm 16 Feb: Troubadour Folk Club, Woy Woy, 3pm 20 Feb: Sutherland Tradies, Gymea, 7pm 11 Feb: Hornsby Folk Club, 8pm 22 Feb: Trades Hall, Melbourne, 7.30pm w/Victorian Trade Union Choir 23 Feb: MUA Hall, Geelong, 7pm w/Geelong Trades Hall Choir
Where does your passion for unions come from? In my youth, I always seemed to side with the underdog, and enjoyed resisting authority. While I have worked as a union 14
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organiser, it is the music of struggle, and specifically the music of the industrial workers of the world, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Utah Phillips, that first moved me to become a ‘labour/folk’ singer. My experiences over the past 20 years, involved in union struggles, strikes and lockouts, have kindled that passion. I have seen workers rise up against oppressive wages and conditions, sometimes resulting in victory and sometimes in defeat - but even in defeat there is beauty and power. That is what has driven me to not only learn and sing the music of our labour history, but to write songs about it. What were your early union experiences? My mother was a teacher (special education) and my father was a truck driver. Although they were not very active in their unions, I knew about the value of having a union from my teen years on. In college, we waged an eightyear battle with the State University of New York (SUNY) system to win union representation rights for the 3000 teaching and graduate assistants working there. I was not a TA or GA, but was working on my masters’ degree in creative writing when I got involved in the struggle editing the statewide newsletter and graduate student newspaper at SUNY Stony Brook, where I studied. We won the court battle in 1992 and I was hired as an organiser for the statewide election, which we won with 85% of graduate employees voting for the union. After we won the election for the Graduate Student Employees Union, I was hired in 1993 by the American Federation of Musicians, Local 802, in New York City. I was the first organiser ever hired specifically for the purpose of organising new bargaining units, and I helped organise theatre groups, wedding and party bands, and music educators. I am proudest of the work I did with jazz musicians, helping to bring union representation and contracts, pension and health benefits to some of
the historically under-represented artists in New York City. In 1997, we organised the faculty of the jazz program at The New School - many of them legends in the jazz world, but all of them working as adjuncts with no job security, pension or health benefits. Following our victory, within three years, the United Autoworkers had organised the 2500 adjunct faculty teaching at The New School. I have also worked with the Communications Workers of America, first in the GSEU and later with the Newspaper Guild. What inspires you now as a musician? I perform for many veterans’ and nursing homes in New York State when I am not on the road (more than 60 at last count). This is difficult work, emotionally, because you get really close to some of these elders, and then one day you come back to the home after a month or two and they are gone. Veterans and their families have been under an incredible amount of stress in the US during the past 12 years of seemingly endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - record suicides, homelessness, unemployment, family problems. I find inspiration for songs in these people. At the same time, the labour movement is under attack (as always, but it is intensifying) by the right-wing Republican Party, which does the bidding of the big corporations that are smelling blood in the water. So-called ‘right-to-work’ laws, which prohibit unions from collecting mandatory dues from workers who receive the benefits of union contracts and representation, exist in 24 of the 50 states. Republican governors and legislatures have stripped public employees of their union rights in several states recently, and union organising is down because so many workers fear for their jobs in this economy. That ongoing struggle - and the realisation that music and the history in these songs can educate and motivate workers - inspires me to keep singing and writing new songs.
“The best labour songs can rebuild confidence, bring energy to a fatigued group of workers, and inspire others to get involved.”
What is the power of music in the struggle for social justice? There is a sort of magic created when voices are united in struggle - in a concert, at a rally or on a picket line. Songs stay with people, the melodies linger in their heads, and the words of our best labour songs - simple to remember, direct and to the point - keep people’s minds focused on the struggle and the enemy. It can rebuild confidence, bring energy to a fatigued group of workers, and inspire others to get involved. But even more than that, singing is good for the mind and soul. The power of united voices is becoming rarer in these days of manufactured/synthesised music, dance music and even rap music which can sometimes carry a progressive message, but is not easy to sing along to. These classic songs (and the best of the new songs being produced by labour/ folksingers) remind us of where we have come from, and remind us that what we are facing is no different than what our ancestors faced - corporate, capitalist power amassed against workers in order to maximise profit. What can an audience expect from a George Mann concert? Some history and stories of where these songs come from, as well as the songs themselves. I also enjoy bringing my songs to new audiences. I always sing a few classics, but I also bring songs of contemporary songwriters to my Australian friends - songwriters who you might never hear of if you did not come to my concerts. There are many wonderful artists in the US who will never gain international visibility, and if I can be a sort of ambassador for their songs, it is just another part of my work and responsibility to give back to the artists who have given so much to me.
The IEU continues to honour its loyal and long-serving members in workplaces all over NSW and the ACT with 30-year badges. newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014
Welfare Rights Centre:
Take our advice For NSW-based members seeking free legal assistance or advice on social security or Family Tax Benefit matters, the Welfare Rights Centre is an invaluable resource. The IEU supports the community legal centre, which can advocate directly to Centrelink on your behalf if necessary or represent you at the Social Security Appeals Tribunal or Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Avoiding debts A common problem that casual teachers have with Centrelink is declaring their income to Centrelink so that they can avoid incurring debts. Where a person is receiving a social security payment (eg Newstart Allowance) and is working as a casual teacher they are required to inform Centrelink of their gross earnings each fortnight, even if they have not received payment from their employer. Failure to do so may result in a debt. Another common problem is where the person is in receipt of Parenting Payment and FTB. The income test for Family Tax Benefit (FTB) and Parenting Payment is completely different.
Where a person is to receive FTB on a fortnightly basis Centrelink requires the person to estimate their income for the relevant financial year. At the end of the financial year Centrelink ‘reconciles’ the person’s income with their estimated income amount to work out if the person was underpaid or overpaid. However for Parenting Payment (or Newstart Allowance) Centrelink requires the person to advise of gross income received in the fortnight of their Centrelink payment, even if the salary has not yet been received. Where a person is receiving Parenting Payment or Newstart Allowance they are required to contact Centrelink each fortnight to ensure that Centrelink pays the correct amount for that fortnight. It is important for a person to understand the different reporting requirements to ensure that they avoid incurring a debt (see case study one). Leaving work Another common issue that the Centre is often contacted about by teachers is where the person is to leave the profession and is enquiring about any waiting periods they may be subject to before being eligible for social security. There are a
range of social security rules that a person must be aware of in this situation to ensure that they do not leave themselves in hardship. Where a person is no longer working they may be subject to an Income Maintenance Period (IMP). An IMP is applied where the person receives any annual leave, sick leave, redundancy payment or long service leave at the time they leave their job. If they do receive such payments this money is counted as income for the length of time covered by the payments. An IMP can extend for 12 months or more, depending on the period the leave payments represent. Often a person is not aware that they are subject to an IMP and spend their leave payments without realising the consequences, leaving themselves in hardship for the remainder of the IMP. An IMP may be reduced but only where a person has had reasonable or unavoidable expenditure (see case study two). A person may also be subject to a Liquid Assets Waiting Period (LAWP). A LAWP applies for a maximum of 13 weeks and generally starts on the day after a person becomes unemployed. Where a person is
single the LAWP applies if they have more than $5,000 in liquid assets. For each $500 in liquid assets the person has in excess of $5,000 they are subject to one week waiting period, up to the maximum of 13 weeks. Where the person is a member of a couple, or is single and has a dependent child, the LAWP applies if their liquid assets are greater than $10,000. In this case for each $1,000 in liquid assets the person has above $10,000 they are subject to one week of the waiting period, up to the maximum of 13 weeks. A LAWP may be waived where the person is in severe financial hardship. Income and assets test In addition to the various waiting periods nearly all social security payments have income and assets tests which may either prevent a person from receiving social security or FTB, or reduce the fortnightly rate of their payment. If you require advice or assistance with a social security or Family tax Benefit matter please call the Centre on 9211 5300 or 1800 226 028 if calling from outside the Sydney metropolitan area.
Case study An honest mistake Sarah is a casual school teacher and a single mother of two young children. To supplement her causal income from teaching she also receives Parenting Payment single and Family Tax Benefit. Sarah was going through very difficult period with her ex-husband and this was impacting on her mental health. She kept Centrelink informed of her income for FTB purposes but did not understand that there is a separate income test
for Parenting Payment and separate reporting requirements for this payment. Centrelink processed the information Sarah provided about her income for FTB but did not do so for Parenting Payment. This meant that Sarah incurred a Parenting Payment debt of $12,000. Centrelink referred the matter to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) for consideration of prosecution action.
The Welfare Rights Centre interviewed Sarah a number of times and obtained her file from Centrelink under Freedom of Information laws. The Centre identified that Sarah had told Centrelink about her income for FTB purposes and that Centrelink did not transfer that information to its Parenting Payment section. This resulted in Sarah incurring the debt. The Centre represented Sarah at the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT). The SSAT acknowledged
that Sarah made an honest mistake and that Centrelink had failed to act on the information that it had been given about her income. In addition Sarah’s health and difficult relationship with her ex-partner and the stress that was causing her was taken into account by the SSAT. The SSAT waived 50% of the debt meaning that Sarah only had to repay $6,000. Also the CDPP dropped prosecution action against Sarah.
by Centrelink for the period that they represented. As these payments were for a 12-week period they precluded Dave from receiving NSA or DSP for the 12 weeks directly after he stopped working. This is known as the Income Maintenance Period (IMP). The Centre advised Dave that should he incur reasonable or unavoidable costs
during the IMP then the IMP may be reduced. However as he had none he was required to serve the entire IMP.
Case study Assistance in retirement Dave is in his early 60s and was to be medically retired from teaching. He is single and contacted the Welfare Rights Centre wanting to know what payment, if any, he may be able to receive from Centrelink when he was no longer working. Dave was to receive annual leave and long service leave payment from his employer upon retirement.
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The Centre advised Dave that as he was below the age pension age his superannuation is not counted as an asset. He was advised that he should apply for Newstart Allowance (NSA) and Disability Support Pension (DSP). As Dave received both annual leave and long service leave payments, these payments would be treated as income
Labour Bites The IEU website (www.ieu.asn.au) carries regular updates of local and international news with a trade union flavour. IEU General Secretary John Quessy reproduces below some recent items
Industrial relations pendulum to swing again? Tara de Boehmler Journalist The Australian industrial relations landscape has been shifting since Federation, but in the 20 years since the Industrial Relations Reform Act (1993) the change has been constant. Late last year the annual Ron McCallum debate asked whether it was time for the IR pendulum to swing again. Representing the employers’ view, the Australian Industry Group’s National Workplace Relations Director Stephen Smith said history had shown that wide swings in the workplace relations system were “not a good idea”. He believed the pendulum had swung “quite widely” over the past seven years, with the Howard Government over-reaching with the WorkChoices legislation and the Rudd/Gillard Government overcorrecting with the Fair Work Act. “What is needed now is to return the IR pendulum to the sensible centre,” Mr Smith said. He then recommended a series of changes to boost productivity and flexibility and to ensure fairness for employers was an equal priority. The union movement had “never attacked increased productivity” but had promoted it, said Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary David Oliver. However some ways of increasing productivity were more effective and sustainable than others. For instance radical moves to individual contracts were not going to increase productivity and nor were the types of flexibility clauses that were “all about increasing profits at the expense of workers”. The current system operating under the Fair Work Act was encouraging employers to sit down and negotiate with employees
and their unions, Mr Oliver said. He added that collaboration in the workplace reduced stress and had a range of other benefits. “Relationships between employers and employees are inherently uneven, but what can help the balance is employment laws and trade unions,” he said. Shadow Employment Minister Brendan O’Connor said there was no support for changes such as a push to individual contracts or renewing the Building and Construction Commission and rejected the need for a Registered Organisations Commission (ROC). The Minister said productivity “did not rise during the last iteration of the ABCC nor did industrial disputes for that matter” but fatalities did. He added that the Bill extended powers “more towards a police state” such as might be seen “in times of war”. He said the conversation should not be about whether a pendulum should swing but, as a nation, we should be asking whether the system will improve safety and job satisfaction and whether it “affords the benefits of a strong economy to as many people as possible”. “Whatever you do, you should be trying to bring people with you.” Professor Ron McCallum said civilised debate and discussion was the “best way of coming up with solutions”. He added that any Productivity Commission inquiry into workplace relations should be broad, balanced and inclusive. It should “go beyond labour economists,” he said.
“As a nation we should be asking whether the system will improve safety and job satisfaction and whether it affords the benefits of a strong economy to as many people as possible.”
The Ron McCallum debate is held annually by the Australian Institute of Employment Rights. Details: www.aierights.com.au
OECD to monitor South Korea The Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (OECDTUAC) and International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) – the biggest labour union in the world – will visit South Korea to investigate the status of the Park Geun-hye Government‘s labour suppression, including misuse of its power to counter the recent Korail workers’ strike. The Park Government has disregarded recommendations and concerns expressed by several international organisations and refused to talk with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which visited South Korea early this month. OECD-TUAC General Secretary John Evans said: “We are strongly opposed to criminal punishment of workers and trade unions for what are deemed unlawful strikes. Otherwise the pressure for a new OECD Special Monitoring Process will increase”. (Source: The Hankyoreh)
Disabled workers fight Abbott Govt Legal firm Maurice Blackburn will file a Federal Court action in a bid to stop 10,000 intellectually disabled employees at sheltered workshops signing away their legal rights to sue the government for back pay. Some of the employees involved in the case are paid less than $1 an hour. The Abbott Government last week announced it would make a one-off payment in July to the underpaid employees. The amount was not specified, but those who agreed to the payment would waive rights to sue for potentially larger amounts. The payment proposal followed a court decision in 2012 that found workers at sheltered workshops had been underpaid for several years, in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act. Social Services Assistant Minister Mitch Fifield said that the one-off payment to sheltered workshop staff would “deliver certainty’’ for them and their families and carers, with minimal disruption. But Maurice Blackburn industrial relations head Josh Bornstein condemned the Government’s plan as immoral. (Source: The Age)
Eight for us and one for you In the UK the University and College Union (UCU) has called a series of weekly two-hour strikes in an escalation of their action over pay in higher education. General Secretary Sally Hunt has told members: “Your employers have decided to dig themselves in and refuse to move at all from the 1% pay offer they have now imposed on most staff in the sector. This is in spite of the fact we know they can afford to pay more than this. “In a recent survey we showed the university sector is in good financial shape and is projecting growth in surpluses and reserves over the net few years. This has been achieved by holding down your pay and making sure you and your families take the consequences. “Of course it’s one rule for us and quite another for those at the top, with the latest survey of vice chancellors’ and principals’ pay showing average increases of 8% while you are offered just 1%. “We’ve chosen two-hour stoppages because whatever action we take at this point must be targeted, it must be effective and above all, it must be sustainable.” (Source: Union-News. co.uk)
The month in labour history 11-01-1831 Dozens of workers are convicted of machine breaking during the agricultural workers’ rebellion commonly known as the Swing Riots (UK) 31-01-1912 A general strike begins in Brisbane in support of thousands of tram workers sacked for wearing union badges. (AUS) 17-01-1915 The song ‘Solidarity Forever’ by Ralph Chaplin is first sung, on a hunger march through Chicago organised by Lucy Parsons. (USA) 15-01-1929 Birth of civil rights activist and labor movement supporter Martin Luther King, Jr (USA) 1-01-1966 The Canada Pension Plan, long fought-for by unions, comes into effect. (CAN)
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Is your browser spying on you? IT Wizard
Daniel Long Journalist Recent reports published in the online tech media indicate popular browser extensions found in Chrome and Firefox have been found to contain spyware, malware and adware. A browser extension is a computer program that extends the functionality of a web browser in some way. This means your favourite browser extension may now be compiling statistics on your internet surfing habits. Which website you visit, how often and when is included in this data capture. Chief among the cyber spy threats include Hover Zoom (which has been downloaded millions of times), Eat My Cookies, an unofficial BBC app called News Reader, Autocopy and Bookmark Sentry. The use of hidden adware in online software is not new, but its appearance in popular, free browser extensions does mean that caution should be exercised when downloading extensions. Extensions can now be targeted to insert ads without warning. Always check the fine print on the extension homepage. And if in doubt, Google the extension before you add it. Chances are, others will have already written about their experiences. Spyware works its tentacles into your life by gathering information about you without 18
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your knowledge. Browser extensions, which start off free and gain popular momentum, are easily corrupted by big corporations keen to buy access to a treasure trove of demographic data. As teachers, your browsing habits are big business in the online world. Do you feel comfortable letting others know your personal web usage? Would you care if a third party sold your personal data? Privacy policies are little help either; when you download the extension, you may be agreeing (without your knowledge) to any hidden tracking code contained in the software. While this may not concern you now, it is worth paying attention given what we’ve learnt about the surveillance society we live in. The protection of individual online privacy is less about the ads big business may want to sell us today and more about the tools of the future, keeping tabs on our every move. Details: www.howtogeek.com/180175/ warning-your-browser-extensions-arespying-on-you/ To download or not to download To download or not to download, that is the question. Last month, Bell Shakespeare released an Aussie app called ‘Starting Shakespeare’, designed to appeal to Years 5 and 6 and provide students with a wealth of educational knowledge on the wonderful
world of William Shakespeare. The App has already won the highly ranked honour of being the ‘Best New App Feature’ in the Australian and US Apple App stores. Students are encouraged to learn about Shakespeare through two of his most iconic plays: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth. Students can create their own spells, as they toil and boil their way to learning about the Bard in a unique, interactive format. The app retails for a little over $5, and could be a handy download for primary school teachers. Details: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/ starting-shakespeare/id763440089?mt=8 Your favourite password might be your worst password Do you have a favourite password you like to use? And do you often use that password to access every site you visit? Oh dear, you may need some password revision. A list of 2013's worst passwords has been compiled by an online security firm with the hope of educating people on password etiquette. App maker SplashData analysed a hefty chunk of stolen passwords to declare which passwords were most likely to be easily hacked or forged. The chief offenders among the list include the classic ‘123456’. Old favourites such as ‹password›, ‘qwerty’ and ‘abc123’ continue be used by many and
a few strange ones such as ‘iloveyou’ and ‘trustno1’ appear on the list. Security experts are keen to point out that a password with up to 16 characters is the surest bet to thwarting hackers. A mix of numerical, punctuation and upper and lower case is also prudent. The easier way to create a long and difficult password is with a simply memory trick: take each letter of the first word in a sentence and put them together. Then add a number or two and some punctuation characters. For instance, 'She sells sea shells by the sea shore' is also known as 'SSSSBTSS'. With numbers and punctuation and lower case/ upper case characters, you could end up with sSSSbTSs21..! That's an obviously complex example, but you get the point. Take care with your passwords and update them regularly. Do not use the same password on every site you log in to. That is just asking for trouble if a hacker comprises the data of one site, and uses that to access all the others. Details: www.gmanetwork.com/news/ story/344753/scitech/technology/for-2013123456-unseats-password-as-worstpassword
Shorts Exceptional teachers, disadvantaged schools
A course that prepares preservice teachers to work in disadvantaged schools will be rolled out to eight universities over the next three years. Originally developed at Queensland University of Technology, the National Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged School program aims to produce teachers willing and able to work in schools where students experience educational disadvantage.
Churchill Fellowships available
The Churchill Fellowship provides support to people wishing to undertake overseas research that will benefit Australians. In 2014 Churchill Fellowships in Education include the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Churchill Fellowship for the study of early childhood and/
or primary education; and the Northern Districts Education Centre Fellowship for the study of a project in the field of school and/or preschool education. The closing date for applications is 19 February 2014. Details: www.churchilltrust.com.au
Helping students fit in
Barnardos Australia and OfficeMax are offering Max e Grants of $5000 to schools and preschools to support children experiencing disadvantage. Teachers, counsellors or administrators can apply for the grants which could be used for uniforms, books, equipment, tuition or excursions. Applications close on 24 March 2014. Details: www.bmaxe.com.au
Lack of rhythm debunks tired myth
Should schools start their classes later to ensure teens have a better chance at
academic success? A new study reveals that later start times are a big help for adolescents at the mercy of their circadian rhythms. In the study that appears in the latest Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, researchers noted that “Most teenagers undergo a biological shift to a later sleep-wake cycle, which can make early school start times particularly challenging”. The study concluded “daytime sleepiness, depressed mood and caffeine use were all significantly reduced after the delay in school start time”. Sleep, which in the past was often judged as a 'lazy' excuse for students’ poor education performance, is now being demonstrated in numerous peer-reviewed studies as having a far greater influence than educators previously suspected. Details: http://bit.ly/1f2PuOk
The Show is coming to town
The Royal Easter Show 10-23 April includes a schools program called Engaged, all about promoting agriculture. The Royal Agricultural Society of Australia website provides classroom resources about farm animals and produce for primary students and subject specific resources for secondary students. There are also itineries for teachers to make the most out of an excursion to the Show. Additionally students can get involved with competitions. Details: www.rasnsw. com.au/engaged
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Warm welcomes and fond farewells to exchange teachers
Welcome back to all our returned exchange teachers. Many of you would have returned home just a week or so ago and you will still be re-adjusting to life back here. We hope you have enjoyed your year away and look forward to hearing about travels. Thank you for your emails, postcards and website stories. Welcome to our 2014 exchange teachers from Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Wales. You certainly have come from exciting but ‘cold’ places! And what a ‘warm’ welcome you are having to NSW and the ACT. We look forward to meeting you at the Welcome Reception on the 14 February and at various exchange events held throughout the year. If there is an exchange teacher in your school, please make yourself known to them and help them settle into their new community. As overseas exchange teachers have reciprocal union membership for the year, you might like to invite them to your next Chapter meeting. Returned exchange teachers should also think about supporting the NSW 20
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Exchange Teachers League (ETL) now that your year is over. You will receive the next issue of the newsletter shortly, which includes a membership renewal. The ETL are a wonderful group who have been on exchange themselves and provide social activities and friendly support to the newly arrived exchangees. The ETL meets on the first Wednesday of every month during term time at the IEU’s offices in Wattle Street Ultimo at 5.30pm. It has lots of great activities planned through the coming year. If you want to become involved, call Exchange Coordinator Helen Gregory on 8202 8900. Your support would be much appreciated. It is not too late to apply for an exchange position for 2015. Details on available exchange positions to Canada, the UK, Colorado and international schools will be advertised in the next issue of Newsmonth and also posted on the IEU’s website. There will be some exciting exchange destinations and positions out there. Here is just one example to consider: Vancouver BC – Tracy is a Counsellor in a secondary school in Surrey in Vancouver BC. She is also qualified to teach PE.
Tracy is married to Scott who teaches Science (and or Maths) and they have a five-year old boy Finn. Tracy lost her exchange very late last year and she has been fortunate to carry over her air tickets and travel insurance until next year or even a September start this year (these exchanges are popular and work well). There would be lots of flexibility in the school for the incoming teacher. Another option would be that Scott applies for the exchange ie the incoming teacher would teach Science (and/or Maths). Again, there is flexibility for the incoming teacher. And this is why you should consider an exchange to Vancouver: “If anyone has been thinking about doing a teaching exchange, and I know there are a few of you out there . . . do it! The most common thing I heard when telling friends or colleagues about the year ahead was ‘I have always wanted to do that’. It is easy, go ahead and apply and one thing is certain, you will love it. “I enjoyed my first exchange to so much six years ago that I was keen to apply again. I was excited to hear that there was a chance to go to Vancouver in 2014. The
opportunity to live in another country and experience everything it has to offer was too good to miss. “At school, students and colleagues are keen to hear about how different things are in Australia... not too much, but apparently we have a ‘cool accent’. That’s one way to keep the students listening. “The weekends have provided a chance to embrace winter. . .snowshoeing and skiing in the mountains as well as cheering on the local ice hockey team. This is just the first month of what promises to be an exciting year with many more adventures ahead.” Fiona is on exchange from Oakhill College in Castle Hill to Frank Hurt Secondary School in Surrey, British Columbia. For those teachers who have already applied for next year, your applications are in the hands of the overseas co-ordinators and we are eagerly awaiting matches. All the best for the coming year!
Get involved this year Partisan politics before big issues Chris Wilkinson President We’ve started the year with sweltering temperatures and raging bushfires in many parts of the State. I hope that none of you have been affected by these terrible bushfires and that everyone enjoyed a relaxing break. It will be a busy year with changes to curriculum, the recently announced curriculum review and the ongoing funding debate. Our battle for wages, salaries and conditions will continue throughout the year. I extend a warm welcome to all of our newly arrived exchange teachers. I am sure
that your stay will be memorable and that you will marvel at this beautiful country, make new friends and of course enjoy the students and staff in your schools. I also welcome new members and firstyear teachers and hope the IEU can assist you. Visit our website, make yourself known to your organiser and attend chapter and branch meetings. To all of the valuable Chapter Reps, thank you in advance for taking on this position and for all the work that you do in our schools representing members. Without you it would make the IEU’s job more difficult. The IEU’s PD program will again be available and will cover many and varied topics, so make sure you attend some of these events. The full list of topics, venues and dates can be found on the website or in Newsmonth. I hope you all have a successful year and once again I look forward to working with you.
Support strategies needed
Michelle Omeros Vice President, Independent Schools I hope everyone had a restful and safe holiday break, ready for the beginning of another fruitful school year. A special mention must be made of the independent schools that performed exceptionally well in the 2013 HSC, dominating the top 200 performing schools list in NSW. We are proud of the student achievements by our many culturally diverse independent schools all around NSW. These students have worked closely with their teachers who in turn have worked tirelessly to get the best out of them. This includes support staff, the backbone of our schools. They ensure our days run smoothly.
The first year of the National Curriculum will bring many challenges for our teachers. I hope that the transition is smooth, backed by support from schools to aid the teaching and learning of these new courses. VET teachers in AIS schools are still undergoing training that required work being completed during the Christmas break. This is causing much stress as teachers are trying to complete both their VET assignments, portfolios and industry experience, as well as prepare themselves for the beginning of another busy year. Many of our independent schools will undergo Board of Studies inspections this year, which will create an added burden to their already hectic workload. Schools must put strategies into place to aid teachers cope with all this additional work, so the quality of our teaching and learning is not negatively affected. Best wishes for a good, yet busy year ahead.
Opportunity knocks Bernadette Baker Vice President, Systemic Schools Welcome to the New Year and the exciting world of education in NSW. Yes it is exciting… despite what some of you may be feeling. It will be interesting to see what Mr Pyne determines from his latest review. The implementation of the Australian Curriculum for various subjects is going to be a challenge, or even a roller coaster ride, but as professionals who know our craft we will manage and make it work for the best outcomes for our students. Treat it as an opportunity to explore different ways of presenting the
syllabus. Be aware of the demands of the implementation process in your particular school – make sure that management does not overload staff with expectations and timelines and there is significant support. Look out for each other and do not be afraid to speak up if it is not sitting well in your workplace. BOSTES will also provide challenges for graduate teachers and those teachers who are being caught up in the net of red tape. The IEU is continuing to offer excellent PD opportunities around NSW and the ACT. Refer to Newsmonth and the website and take a buddy with you when you participate. Branch meetings will start soon. Have a look at the dates and location for your branch and see if you can attend and add to the discussion. You do not have to be the Rep to attend, all members are welcome. Have a great first term.
Join the online conversation Join the IEU social group & keep up to date with us... www.ieu.asn.au
Pat Devery President, Central Metropolitan Branch As teachers return to the classroom it is concerning that the politics of education remain one of the biggest challenges awaiting us in 2014. Many words have, and will be, written about Christopher Pyne’s recent appointment of a former Liberal party staffer and a professor of public administration to review the Australian History Curriculum. Putting aside the illogical desire to review a curriculum which has yet to be implemented and ignoring the partisan politics, it is surprising that this issue is the most pressing concern for a government which came to power decrying the woeful state of education in Australia. One might expect Mr Pyne to concern himself with the fact that, in most states in Australia excepting NSW, the history syllabus will be delivered by teachers with little or no specialist training in the area. As for ongoing indecision surrounding the funding reforms, it appears that putting an end to uncertainty is only of a concern when it applies to the business community. Teachers and students, it seems, can just live with it.
The Minister’s dismissive attitude towards the three years of concerted effort by the thousands of contributors in developing the syllabus is disappointing. The seeming indifference to the time and energy spent over the last 12 months in programming and resourcing for the 2014 implementation shows little appreciation for teachers and fuels the diminishing respect the public has for the profession. As Mr Pyne himself wrote recently, “Partisan politics is at its worst when dressed up as public concern”. Closer to home, Mr Piccoli has just returned from a taxpayer funded study tour of Finnish schools, where he discovered that the key to their success was a highly trained, and presumably highly respected, teacher workforce. This might come as a shock to those who believe that high stakes testing of Year Three students and constantly revamping syllabuses is the key to success, but will hardly surprise teachers who have been saying this for years. As the school year commences teachers must continue the process of determining the future direction of our profession. Members are urged to support the current IEU claim we have with the universities to ensure the adequate resourcing of the practicum. Members should also remain active in ensuring that schools and systems are adequately supporting their professional development needs as they implement the new curriculum in the coming years.
Vale Chris Todhunter
The St Clare’s Taree and St Francis Xavier’s Hamilton communities were devastated by the sudden passing of Chris Todhunter on 12 December. Chris was the consummate teacher inspiring her students and many of her colleagues in Taree and Hamilton.
Officially Chris taught Ancient History and English but there were many other subjects she taught us all – how to bring out the best in people, how to slow cook silverside, how to be ‘true blue’, how to stage a play or coach a basketball team, how to cater for many. Chris even managed to instruct Mark Northam on how to teach English to Year 7! Recently Chris piloted and wrote the first programs for the HSC English Studies Course. Wayne, Chris’ husband and colleague on the staff of St Clare’s and SFX encouraged and supported her adventurous spirit. This partnership recently flourished with a Canadian exchange experience, grandparenthood and tramping around Europe. Last month Chris surprised everyone by riding her motorbike for six hours to Bathurst for HSC marking (after a cortisone injection to ease the pain in her knee). A week before her death Chris enjoyed a celebration of her 60th birthday with family and friends. The legacy of Chris Todhunter to all who had the privilege of knowing her lives on through her qualities of justice, generosity, lucidity, patience, empathy, veracity and prudence.
newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014
Boys living with cancer need male role models to help with their development and confidence at camps which involve everything from rolling in mud to laser tag.
CAN YOU HELP?
or know someone who can?
campquality.org.au/volunteer or 1300 662 267 22
newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014
Audit your super in 2014
Newsmonth Newsmonth is published eight times a year (two issues per term) by the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union. Executive Editor: John Quessy (General Secretary) for and on behalf of the IEU Executive and members. Managing Editor: Tara de Boehmler Journalists: Tara de Boehmler, Sue Osborne and Daniel Long. Graphic Design: Chris Ruddle
Bernard O’Connor NGS Super
Superannuation is often placed in the ‘too hard basket’ because of its complexity, the forms associated with it and the fact that it may not appear immediately relevant because of age.
However, it is prudent to look over and understand your Member Statement, material sent to you via NGS Super, as well as the information contained on the Fund’s website (www.ngssuper.com.au). We find there is an exponential increase in member interest starting from around age 50, but there is a strong argument in favour of an earlier consideration of your super status. By age 60 there is no doubt of the importance of superannuation, but if you are just starting to think about super at that age, you may have missed out on significant benefits available to you during earlier periods of employment. Here are some of the areas which should be considered as part of your personal superannuation audit: • Dead accounts: on average Australian workers have over two accounts per worker (estimated at over $18 billion dollars in lost super) resulting from various jobs. In most cases this is not intentional and many fund members are paying fees which are superfluous. It is quite simple to consolidate accounts into your fund of choice and reduce fees/wastage. • Investment choice: is the default option best for you? Your age and risk tolerance should be taken into account when choosing between ‘growth’ and ‘defensive’ investment vehicles. Do you have a strong preference for shares, property, bonds or cash? NGS Super will soon introduce a direct share platform for those who like to choose their own ASX 300 listed companies. Will this option suit your needs? Have you thought about your risk tolerance? • Insurance: Income Protection and Death/Total and Permanent Disability insurance are true member benefits which have helped thousands of NGS Super members over the years. There are a number of different options associated
with both types of insurance and it is wise to check whether the default option is correct for your insurance needs. For example, Income Protection has various waiting periods – 30, 60, 90 (default) and 180 days. Also, the level of salary should be considered as if your salary is greater than $80,000 per year and you have the default cover, you will not be covered for all of your salary. Similarly, it is prudent to check your level of Death/TPD insurance to ensure that it is adequate. You can apply for higher levels of IP and Death/TPD and the insurer will assess your eligibility. Income Protection also has automatic 'triggers' such as marriage, the birth of a child or a new mortgage over your home which allow you to increase your cover without an assessment based on medical information. • Adequacy: will you have enough super at retirement? You can check our calculator to obtain an estimate of what your retirement benefit will be based on certain assumptions. Are you maximising the tax concessions provided by the government (within the contribution thresholds) via salary sacrifice? Have you thought about how much you will need annually for a comfortable, dignified and secure retirement? Have you considered what effect a salary sacrifice top-up now may have on your total retirement benefit? Have you thought about organising an appointment with a licensed NGS financial planner to help you maximise your investments? • Estate Planning: as superannuation does not automatically form a part of your estate, it is not automatically subject to the laws of succession. Many members neglect to nominate a preferred beneficiary for their super and the Trustee must then determine (within the regulations) who should receive the benefit. If a member has made a valid ‘Binding Death Nomination’, the Trustee has no discretion and the benefit must be paid to the named beneficiary. Have you considered making a binding nomination to ensure your super is paid to your named beneficiary? Now is a good time to conduct a full audit of your superannuation account and to consider all of the options available to you. A little effort spent in organising your super may provide you with more peace of mind and certainty about your financial future.
(Important information: The information in this article is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a financial decision, please assess the appropriateness of the information to your individual circumstances, read the Product Disclosure Statement for any product you may be thinking of acquiring and consider seeking professional advice.)
Contributions and letters from members are welcome. These do not reflect endorsement if printed, and may be edited for size and style at the Editor's discretion. They should be forwarded to: Newsmonth 485-501 Wattle Street ULTIMO NSW 2007 GPO Box 116 SYDNEY NSW 2001 Tel: 8202 8900 Toll free: 1800 467 943 Fax: 9211 1455 Toll free fax: 1800 804 042 email: firstname.lastname@example.org On the net: www.ieu.asn.au
Advertising inquiries Chris Ruddle on 8202 8900. Such advertising is carried out to offset production costs to members and at commercial rates. It does not in any way reflect endorsement by the NSW/ACT IEU.
NSW/ACT IEU Executive John Quessy General Secretary Gloria Taylor Deputy General Secretary Carol Matthews Assistant Secretary Mark Northam Assistant Secretary Chris Wilkinson President St Joseph’s Catholic College East Gosford Michelle Omeros Vice President Non-Systemic St Euphemia College, Bankstown Bernadette Baker Vice President Systemic St Mary’s Cathedral College, Sydney Carolyn Collins Vice President Support Staff St Michael's Primary School, Nowra Gabrielle Connell Vice President ECS Albury Preschool Kindergarten Leah Godfrey Vice President, ACT St Jude’s Primary School, Holder Peter Moore Financial Officer De La Salle College, Cronulla Marie MacTavish Financial Officer St Joseph’s Primary School East Maitland
General Executive Members John O’Neill Carroll College, Broulee Ann Rogers ASPECT South Coast School, Corrimal Pat Devery St Mary’s Cathedral College, Sydney Marty Fitzpatrick St Francis Xavier’s Primary School Ballina Ralph Hunt The Armidale School, Armidale Denise McHugh McCarthy Catholic College, Tamworth Patricia Murnane Emmaus Catholic College, Kemps Creek Michael Hagan Mater Maria College, Warriewood Louise Glase St Patrick's College, Campbelltown James Jenkins-Flint St Brigid's Primary School Marrickville
Our Locations Sydney 485-501 Wattle Street, Ultimo NSW 2007 P (02) 8202 8900 Parramatta 12-14 Wentworth Street, Parramatta NSW 2150 P (02) 8202 8900 Newcastle 8-14 Telford Street, Newcastle East NSW 2302 P (02) 4926 9400 Lismore 4 Carrington Street, Lismore NSW 2480 P (02) 6623 4700 ACT Unit 8, 40 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2600 P (02) 6120 1500
newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014
Giveaway 1 Max Steel Rise of the Elementor Three DVDs to giveaway Freemantle Media Get ready for a cyclone of action and adventure as Max Steel takes on a powerful new enemy, the Ultimate Elementor, who is charged with the force of water, earth, fire and air. Ultimate Elementor plans to take over the world. Only Max can stop him.
Giveaway 2 The English Teacher (M rated) Three DVDs to giveaway Roadshow Entertainment
Giveaway 3 Paperclips An Anthology of Short Stories about Coming of Age in Australia. Compiling Editor: Yasar Duyal Published by Cambridge University Press Two copies to give away
Julianne Moore, Michael Angarano and Greg Kinnear star in this movie which tells the story of Michael (Angarano) who returns to his hometown after failing to make it as a playwright in New York. His former teacher Linda (Moore) plans to stage his play at her school, but before the curtain goes up repressed desires, forbidden longings and a public scandal are about to erupt backstage.
These short stories are by Australian teenagers about being a young adult in todayâ€™s society. Suitable for lower and middle secondary students of English, these lesson-sized stories cover a range of themes and styles that introduce students to writing techniques and the skills of critical literacy. The research and discussion questions get students talking about what they have read and encourage further research.
To enter one of these giveaways, write your name, membership number and address on the back of an envelope clearly marked with which giveaway you are entering by Monday, 3 March. Address it to Newsmonth, GPO Box 116, Sydney, NSW 2001.
years service: 1988-2013
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Personalised service with free seminars and learning tools
A strong understanding of the education sector with professional development scholarships available
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Compare us today by visiting www.ngssuper.com.au/compare-us
* Top quartile over ten years, APRA Superannuation Fund-level Rates of Return, June 2013 (issued 8 January 2014) NGS Super Pty Limited ABN 46 003 491 487
newsmonth - Vol 34 #1 2014