newsmonth newspaper of the nsw/act independent education union [vol 31 #7] november Newspaper of the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union (vol 32 #4) July 2012
Print Post: 225007/0002 â€“ ISSN: 0728-4845
A leader in Indigenous education P13
Progress for New Scheme Teachers P8-9
Time bomb P15
Fight for Workers Comp goes on
Legislation was due to pass through the NSW Parliament at Newsmonth press time that would seriously erode workersâ€™ rights. Changes to Workers Compensation would mean workers would lose the right to make claims for injuries sustained
on journeys to and from work, cover for medical costs would cease one year after the initial claim and most workers payments would cease after two and a half years. Last week, about 2000 unionists and members of the public braved heavy
rain to attend for a rally protesting the changes. A vocal IEU contingent joined the umbrella and banner wielding crowds outside Parliament House to hear a moving speech by young nurse Emily Orchard, who has struggled with injury
since a CPR mishap in her first year of work. She described her five-year battle with insurers since the injury, and said things would have been even harder without Workers Comp. IEU Senior Industrial Officer Stan Koulouris Continued page 4
Dick moves on to new frontiers On behalf of our 30,000 current members and the tens of thousands of others over the years, we'd like to thank Dick for devoting his working life to our union and its members, and to pay tribute to his leadership and the strategic direction he has set for us. For more coverage see pages 2-3.
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
A life devoted to the trade union movement John Quessy General Secretary Dick Shearman has been an officer of our Union for 28 years, and for 23 of those, he has been the General Secretary, longer perhaps than any other union secretary in the union movement. Dick came to NSW as Assistant to the General Secretary Michael Raper, from our sister Union in Queensland where he was an organiser and a past President. He has devoted his working life to the trade union movement and to the members the Union represents. For most of that working life, Dick has been in leadership positions, not seeking corporate or political positions for which he was eminently qualified and capable. His stewardship has seen our Union transition from the ITA to the IEU, from a teachers’ union to an industry-wide body. At a time when union membership has been in decline nationally, we have grown from 13,000 members to over 30,000; from a staff of 27 to over 70;
from a single office to working from five locations throughout NSW and the ACT. Growth in the IEU has been no accident. We have developed a reputation for integrity, tenacity and strategy. We have grown in maturity and confidence and developed an enviable model of consensus decision-making. These things say a lot about character and about leadership. As General Secretary, Dick has presided over remarkable improvements to wages and conditions for members. We were one of the first private sector unions in NSW to win paid maternity leave and to improve long service leave beyond the state minimum. His tenure has seen significant improvement in teachers’ working
lives, particularly in the Catholic sector, through the introduction of Work Practices Agreements, increased promotion opportunities and greater equity. Whatever the achievement however, Dick has seen it as a collective success and not a personal trophy. He has always had tremendous faith in the capacity of the membership. Over 23 years, Dick has worked hard to build positive relationships which would deliver results for members; relationships with employers and with the wider trade union movement; with Unions NSW and with the ACTU. We have won the respect of our union colleagues in those forums where we have participated. But there is unfinished business.
“We have developed a reputation for integrity, tenacity and strategy.”
The legitimacy of our members’ work and the places they perform this work remains a contested policy area in some sections of the wider union movement and it should not. Dick Shearman will continue to work for the Union and on behalf of its members addressing this and other important policy areas in his role as Federal President of the Independent Education Union of Australia. On behalf of our 30,000 current members and the tens of thousands of others over the years, I’d like to thank Dick for devoting his working life to our union and its members, and to pay tribute to his leadership and the strategic direction he has set for us. On a personal note, I thank him for his friendship and guidance and for the strong position he leaves our Branch. Onward to new frontiers and achievements!
New child protection bill Carol Matthews IEU Assistant Secretary The NSW Government has just introduced a bill into Parliament that will reform child protection legislation in NSW, by providing a new system for screening employees and volunteers in childrelated work. The new system will require all employees and volunteers who apply for child-related work to have a clearance or to have applied for clearance. The clearance will be issued by CCYP and will be subject to a criminal record check and the checking of the database. Each clearance will be valid for five years. If the employee is not cleared then they are barred. However the CCYP may also determine that it is likely there is a risk to the safety of children and impose an interim bar, pending an investigation.
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Current employees will not be immediately caught up in the new system provided they remain with their current employer. The provisions will be progressively implemented over five years to different groups of employees. The bill will replace the current system of notification of reportable conduct to the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) and the requirement that the preferred applicant for a job must be fully screened each time they are employed in a new job. The Union understands from consultation with the CCYP in 2011 that the legislation is intended to mean that minor matters will not be taken into account in screening. It is intended that only relevant criminal records, sexual misconduct and serious physical assault will be considered.
Union concerns The Union has not been consulted about the detail of the new bill, although we met with the CCYP last year to discuss the general proposal. One problem is that employees need to pay $80 for the clearance, which will then be valid for five years. It also seems that applicants for a clearance will need to go to a motor registry to verify their identity. The new system is also black and white, in that an employee is either cleared or barred. Being barred will be catastrophic although an employee can appeal a bar to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (in most but not all cases). Although it is intended that only serious matters will result in a barring, the bill does not contain for example a
definition of ‘serious physical assault’ which would result in a bar. There is also a provision permitting the Ombudsman to refer serious matters, which would not otherwise be considered, to the CCYP. What this encompasses will only be defined in the regulations, which will not be available for some time. A separate problem is the capacity for the CCYP to impose an interim bar. There is no guidance in the bill as to what level of risk will result in an interim bar and there is no appeal for a period of six months if an the interim bar is imposed. The IEU has called for a meeting with the Government to discuss our concerns. Members will be kept informed of the progress of negotiations.
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
A resignation, a new secretary and a new leadership team Dick Shearman IEUA Federal President
Dick and John at Dick's final council meeting, Dick at his last executive meeting, and Dick with Bob Carr at the 1989 AGM. It has been a privilege to have been Secretary of the NSW/ACT Branch of our Union. However, after 23 years in this role it is time to take on differing responsibilities within the organisation. IEU Council has accepted my resignation and appointed John Quessy to be the new General Secretary. I thank both the Executive and Council for providing me with the opportunity to continue working for the Union in my role as Independent Education Union of Australia Federal President. I look forward to working, in a fulltime capacity, with the IEUA federal officials and the new leadership of the NSW/ACT Branch on progressing the
national industrial, education and school funding agendas. I take this opportunity to thank school chapter representatives and members for welcoming me into their schools and supporting the Union’s campaigns over the years. It has also been a privilege to work with John Quessy, Deputy Secretary Gloria Taylor and Assistant Secretary Carol Matthews, IEU President Chris Wilkinson and the IEU Executive. A great team With Mark Northam, Pam Smith and Liam Griffiths joining the new, expanded leadership, it’s an equally great team going forward.
Council Resolution 1. Council notes the resignation of Dick Shearman as General Secretary from today and confirms the May Executive decision that he continue to be employed by the Union on the same terms and conditions whilst in the office of Federal President of the IEUA until the expiry of his current term as President in April 2014. 2. Council endorses the May Executive recommendation to Council that John Quessy be appointed to fill the casual vacancy in the office of General Secretary from today. 3. Council endorses the May Executive recommendation to Council that Mark Northam be appointed to fill the
resulting casual vacancy in the office of Assistant Secretary from today, following the appointment of John to the position of General Secretary. 4. Council notes the discussion paper prepared by Gloria Taylor on the growth of the Union in the last decade and for the reasons set out in the paper endorses the creation of two additional Assistant Secretary positions who would not at this stage be voting members of the Executive. Council endorses the Executive recommendation that Pam Smith and Liam Griffiths be appointed to fill these positions from Monday 18 June 2012. Council notes that Executive has undertaken to review the role and status of these positions in early 2013.
Chair of NGS Super Gloria Taylor IEU Deputy Secretary Dick Shearman was elected unanimously as Chair of NGS Super at a Board meeting of the Fund on 29 May. Dick joins Kevin Phillips and myself as the Fund Directors representing the NSW/ACT IEU. He replaced John Quessy, a long standing Director who has made a significant contribution on behalf of members, particularly in his role on the NGS Investment Committee. Dick has been a strong advocate of superannuation rights for members throughout his years with the Union.
Early in his career with the IEU he fought for better super and contributed to the campaign to seize an early opportunity arising out of the Hawke Government’s productivity opportunity to provide superannuation for all. The Union was a principal party in the establishment of NGS Super as the industry fund for those working in nongovernment schools. Over the years Dick has continued to represent the Union in meetings of the principal parties over constitutional matters or other issues relating to the Fund.
Given the demands of the role of General Secretary, Dick has not taken up the role of Fund Director until this time. He has filled the function of alternative director, however, and in recent years has been a Director of the Financial Services company at NGS that provides financial advice to super members. The role of Fund Chair attracts sitting fees and these will be paid directly to the IEU. Our policy has always specified that any sitting fees for IEU officials taking up directorships on super funds or other relevant bodies be paid to the Union.
No IEU officer gains financially from work on NGS Super. Directors’ fees form part of the income in the Union budget and in Dick’s case, this income will contribute to his continuing work with the Union at the federal and state level. The Union congratulates Dick on his election as NGS Chair and we are confident that he will apply his outstanding leadership skills in working to protect and enhance the retirement incomes for fund members and their dependents.
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Chaplaincy decision The High Court ruled last week that the national school chaplaincy program is constitutionally invalid because it exceeds the Commonwealth's funding powers, IEUAssistant Secretary Carol Matthews writes. In a landmark decision that could cast doubt on other areas of Commonwealth funding, the Court upheld a challenge to the scheme by an individual in Queensland. The Howard Government introduced the scheme in 2007, offering schools up to $20,000 a year to introduce or extend chaplaincy services. There are approximately 2500 school chaplains around Australia. The IEU is unsure at this stage how of many of these chaplains are employed in NSW nongovernment schools, or what the immediate consequences of the decision will be. Any members affected should immediately contact the Union.
Casual work trend spells trouble for students A new ACTU campaign provides resources that teachers can use to help prepare their students, as casual workforce trends prompt changes to the way young people secure work. The casual workforce has grown to become 40% of the entire Australian working population or roughly equal to 4 million people. In an independent inquiry into insecure work investigated on behalf of the ACTU, the inquiry's terms of reference set out to grasp the extent of the casual work movement, including the loss of traditional working rights that we as unions have fought hardest for, including: sick pay, predictable hours of work, annual leave and penalty rates. According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than half of Australia’s casual workers would prefer to have a permanent job. For teachers, we advise that you check out the relevant ACTU and Fair Work Australia websites and the ‘Secure Jobs’ campaign site, each of which provide detailed resources into your working rights. IEU Senior Industrial Officer Stan Koulouris warned that student teachers should “genuinely consider the long term disadvantages associated with such arrangements. "Exclusionary industrial practices,such as casual, fixed term, labour-hire and socalled independent contracting arrangements are dramatically isolating scores of Australian workers from each other and their industries at large.” For more information, visit the IEU website.
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Continued from page 1
Fight for Workers Comp goes on slammed the reform changes, saying the new system would leave workers much worse off financially. “Injured Australians should not be seen as an economic burden on the country,” he said, referring to the thousands of workers who would essentially earn less than the Federal minimum wage, as opposed to workers being eligible for
80% of their regular wage in the current system. “These are people who have families, pay mortgages and bills and who have the same difficulties that we all have on a daily basis.” Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said: “This is cruel, retrospective legislation that pulls the rug from under
sick and injured workers.” “We know of specific cases where grieving widows who were set to seek compensation for nervous shock will now be denied the right to even make a claim.” IEU encourages members to keep fighting these changes. Visit http:// nswforall.org.au/ or the Unions NSW website to see what action you can take.
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Safety Rep role a natural fit
IEU Organisers at the rally.
Bronwyn and fellow IEU member groundsperson André Van der Velde. Walking, talking, listening and learning takes time and understanding, especially when you are overseeing health and safety within a large, heritage school. All Saints College Maitland IEU and WHS Rep Bronwyn Rayner and Principal Elizabeth Cornwall share the keys to an effective system. Whether your workplace chooses the representative or the committee model for fulfilling new Work Health and Safety responsibilities, Bronwyn and Elizabeth’s approach is likely to inspire. At the end of 2011, Elizabeth approached Bronwyn about taking on the role of WHS Representative. This was proposed to the staff and, as a result, Bronwyn was elected to the position. “We were looking around for someone with some passion, understanding and commitment,” Elizabeth says. “As Bronwyn was on the Committee she had already completed some training in this area. She is also very approachable and we knew she was passionate.” Elizabeth says the school comes with plenty of WHS challenges so it was always going to be a role needing the full support of the school’s leadership, and the time to do it justice. “This is a school of about 800 with old - often heritage – buildings, slate steps and heritage garden edges. “Health and safety here can’t just be about compliance. It’s about feeling safe and focusing on prevention through control and elimination measures.
“If something has a high cost or complexity factor we ask Bronwyn to do a risk assessment or to speak with the Catholic Schools Office.” With all this in mind, Elizabeth puts aside regular meeting times with Bronwyn and provides a time allowance of two hours per week for the WHS Rep to carry out her duties, which Bronwyn says is crucial. “It means I can plan everything in and it gives me time for walking, talking, listening and learning. “To me, the key is walking around and meeting with people, including the groundspeople, tech staff, maintenance staff, library staff and sometimes students. “You ask if there are any issues and they might at first say ‘no’ but within five minutes you find out what the issues are. “People need to be heard and have their concerns recognised. It’s about being inclusive.” Elizabeth says this approach is part of “making people realise that health and safety needs to be owned by everyone”. Bronwyn adds that teamwork is required between the WHS Rep and Principal. “It’s another key. We’re on the same team.” Elizabeth agrees: “This role requires broad and inclusive teamwork because it can be a position of power within a school. It can’t be ‘them versus us’. “If you get the right person in the role, who can support a principal regarding WHS, it can be a great asset to the school and the community.”
“Health and safety here can’t just be about compliance. It’s about feeling safe and focusing on prevention through control and elimination measures.”
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Space invader a challenging case “I had made it clear to my colleague that I only wanted to have a professional relationship.” No one is immune from schoolbased conflict as many members will attest, and the types of behavior that constitute conflict are broad and varied. One IEU support staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous, shares her experience of workplace conflict and what she did about it. I worked alone with a colleague in an area a bit separate from the main part of the school. The conflict I experienced had occurred previously and I became involved through circumstance. I had made it clear to my colleague that I only wanted to have a professional relationship but she called my home, invaded my privacy and kept invading my personal space – she was always in my face. If I told her I wasn’t comfortable talking about something she just kept on asking. Sometimes she was abusive. Half of the time she probably didn’t even know what she was doing. She was trying to befriend me but I felt intimidated, harassed, bullied and that I was being discriminated against on the basis of my religion. The conflict continued for three years and WorkCover became involved. We went through two lots of mediation. It just seemed to make things worse and even during mediation she was touching my arm and holding my hand. I approached my solicitors but they didn’t want to become involved either.
They said workplace conflict was such a hard situation to prove, especially as we worked alone. I felt like I was put in the too hard basket – as though the school was just waiting for me to leave. I didn’t want to go as I thought that was the easy way out and I loved my job. Eventually I walked out and that’s when I approached the Union. My IEU Organiser did everything for me, including making sure I went to a doctor and supplying me with a solicitor. She pointed me in all the right directions. I can honestly say, I was never a Union person but my Organiser and the solicitor she put me in touch with were the only people that understood me. She helped me get a job in another school and I couldn’t be happier. Schools need to get their acts together regarding conflict and bullying, and not sweep it under the carpet. IEU member, name withheld The August issue of IE will contain a feature on school-based conflict, including case studies, resolution techniques and advice. If you are experiencing conflict in your workplace and require support, your IEU organiser is just a phonecall away.
Interim increase claim for support staff School support staff in Catholic systemic schools and maintenance and outdoor staff in Catholic systemic and Catholic independent schools received a 2.5% interim increase in salaries in July 2011, pending the finalisation of the ongoing pay and conditions claim. That 2.5% was in line with the interim increase received by support staff and general assistants employed in government schools. The difficulty facing public sector employees is the O’Farrell Government legislation to prevent the NSW
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Industrial Relations Commission from awarding increases in excess of its own wages policy, which it sets without consultation or negotiation. The Government also legislated to remove the right to take industrial action in the course of bargaining. The Public Service Association (PSA), the Union representing support staff and general assistants in government schools, has challenged the validity of this limitation and the case is awaiting determination by the High Court of Australia. The PSA has made application for a further interim increase of 2.5% which it expects to be awarded, as it is consistent
with the policy limitation that it seeks to challenge. In anticipation of this further interim increase being awarded in government schools, IEU Executive recently resolved to lodge a claim for a further interim increase of 2.5% from 1 July 2012 for support staff in systemic schools and maintenance and outdoor staff in systemic and Catholic independent schools, while reserving the right to pursue additional increases. Work continues to develop a single, comprehensive enterprise agreement that will cover most non-teaching staff in Catholic schools. This follows a model
of agreement coverage that has been successfully implemented across NSW in non-Catholic independent schools. The benefits this approach are greater security for members, greater bargaining power and improved equity of entitlements. While there may still be a fight for the 2.5% interim increase, the important message for members is that this is not necessarily the end of the matter, and that the work of creating a comprehensive agreement for support and operational staff continues and will deliver greater benefits in the long run for all employees in Catholic schools.
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Are you being watched? Taking action acts on IT monitoring concerns
Penrith/Blue Mountains Branch was alerted to concerns of teachers’ personal computer devices being remotely monitored for internet usage by the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP). A Branch motion to the employer seeking clarification received a prompt response, confirming that the Diocese provides a standard operating environment for all desktop/laptop devices, which, by default, has the ability to allow remote monitoring and support. The Diocese said this was to allow the Help Desk to assist in faultfinding problems. The user enables the remote access to their device by accepting the connection request. The Union was assured that CEDP does not store or maintain log files of individual usage on any device, and that no Spyware or malicious software
is installed. However CEDP said that internet usage is monitored to ensure no inappropriate sites are accessed on the education network. Branch considered and accepted the response, but asked that the employer be reminded of the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005, which requires any workplace monitoring to be overt. Subsequently, CEDP have added a new policy on Responsible Use of ICT and Social Media to their staff intranet which explicitly advises that authorised personnel may monitor and audit contents and usage of ICT, including emails, sites and content that you visit, the length of time that you spend using the internet both during and outside business hours. Branch was appreciative that the policy gives explicit permission for reasonable personal use, and a detailed list of 'Do’s
and Don’ts' to provide a clear message of what is meant by “appropriate use” of the internet. The policy reads: Do use social networking tools to: • be professionally accessible to students • share presentations and notes with students • answer questions from students - within hours negotiated with students and supervisors • share photos or videos of your students’ work - with their knowledge and consent • find other teachers to exchange ideas, best practice tips, professionally useful information • actively participate in educational groups, and • create a learning environment which is interactive, student-centered, authentic, collaborative, on-demand.
Don’t use social media networking tools to: • model behaviour you would not encourage in students • have an unprofessional profile picture • play non-educational games • engage in inappropriate online contact with students • comment on students’ non-school related posts • share personal information that you wouldn’t share in class - don’t upload pictures of you drinking at a barbecue or in a bathing suit • discuss anything that is not education related • denigrate or vilify others online, and • allow students under the age of 13 to access social networking sites.
2012 IEU WOMEN’S CONFERENCE
Women at work Supporting Strengthening Sustaining
Friday, 17 August, 2012 Mercure Hotel, 818 – 820 George Street, Sydney 9.00am - 3.30pm $50 members, $130 non members Please contact Betty Tan at the IEU on 9779 3200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
to register or Pam Smith email@example.com for further information.
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
“I got a lot out of last year’s conference and I wanted to be more involved with the Union.”
Keynote speaker Stephen Hughes (top left), the Indigenous panel (top right), New Scheme Teacher Commitee Member Simone Shannessy, IEU General Secretary John Quessy (bottom left) and speech pathologist Judith Rough (bottom right).
Survival tips for new teachers More than 100 early career teachers enjoyed a diverse selection of presentations and workshops at the IEU’s recent Teach Survive Thrive Conference. The Conference kicked off with an innovative Acknowledgement of Country. Indigenous students from OLSH Kensington and Marist College Pagewood, along with Marist College Indigenous Teacher Mark Heiss and Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer Emma Peel, spoke of their experience of being Indigenous at school. The students explained what makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom, and Mark took questions from the audience, providing a rich learning experience. Keynote speaker Stephen Hughes, a Lecturer in Diversity and Inclusion in 8
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the Education Faculty at the University of Southern Queensland, drew on his many years as a guidance counsellor and teacher in the bush to encourage teachers to embrace diversity in the classroom. “Diversity is part of the fabric of our ecology,” he said. Stephen is an advocate of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a US program which explores using new technologies to provide better educational experiences to students with disabilities. His subsequent workshops about applying UDL in the classroom were well attended. Another popular workshop provided by Speech Pathologist Judith Rough had participants on their feet making strange noises and performing weird exercises while they learnt how to protect their voice from injury.
Members could also attend workshops on Scootle, Indigenous perspectives, WHS and other themes. Alongside Conference Convenor Sandra White, the IEU’s Early Career Teachers’ Committee worked hard to ensure the Conference ran smoothly. Matt Kocher, a Teacher at Aspect South Coast, joined the Committee last year after enjoying the 2011 Conference. “I got a lot out of last year’s conference and I wanted to be more involved with the Union,” Matt said. “Joining the Committee seemed like a good starting point. “I want all the basic things from the Union, having someone on your side when you need them, but having the Union’s support to navigate the New Scheme Teacher process has been helpful.” Simone Shannessy, a Teacher at
Rissalah College, Lakemba, joined after last year’s conference too. She is now the Rep at Rissalah. “I got a lot of useful information from last year’s conference and I decided to see how the Committee and Union helps teachers. “We need to highlight to teachers that there is support available from the Union when they are undergoing the accreditation process, as it can be difficult.” The Conference wound up with NSW Institute of Teachers Chief Executive Patrick Lee providing teachers with a chance to ask questions about issues around accreditation and its challenges.
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Results in view for NST accreditation before NSW Parliament later this year, The IEU campaign to improve the Institute has proposed a name change teacher accreditation processes for the term 'New Scheme Teachers'. A in NSW has started to see some more suitable term, such as ‘accredited results, IEU Organiser Sandra teacher’ will replace the ‘New Scheme’ White writes. label that many teachers have said is First, the Quality Teaching Council has offensive. endorsed a revision of the NSW Institute Policy for Maintenance of Accreditation Survey update at Professional Competence. One As of early June, 460 responses had amendment affects the way that the 100 been submitted to the IEU Survey hours of Professional Development over on issues of concern to New Scheme five years can be completed. Teachers Teachers still need to IEU Pedagogy The survey is extended complete 100 hours of until the end of June due PD over five years, with in the Pub to early access problems at least 50 hours being workshops can in some schools, which Institute registered PD. now fixed. Go to However the remaining be brought free are http://tiny.cc/nstsurvey 50 hours can be either to members to a to participate. Institute registered or Responses have been teacher identified PD. location near to indicating that the most This will help teachers you by contacting serious issues to address who work at a school which has registered Amy Cotton at are the time spent on assembling evidence and its PD, or who live in the IEU office annotating it against the areas with easy access to registered PD events. The (firstname.lastname@example.org). standards; improving access to registered PD, Union is well aware that especially for casual and many teachers are not so part-time teachers, as well as regional and fortunate in gaining access to registered rural teachers; making improvements to PD, and again we remind you that the the maintenance of accreditation report IEU Pedagogy in the Pub workshops can to avoid repetition; and improving the be brought free to members to a location Institute website. near to you by contacting Amy Cotton at Many of the comments posted the IEU office (email@example.com). are highly critical of current NSW The NSWIT has advised that their accreditation processes, and call for website will be updated to accommodate change. this change, but that this may not be If you haven’t had your say, grab a finished until the end of the year. Until then, teachers should contact the Institute coffee and head to your computer. It will only take a few minutes of your time now, to have their excess Institute registered with the intent to make a difference to PD hours manually added to their teacher accreditation processes in the individual account. future. Secondly, in a set of amendments to the Institute of Teachers Act that will go
IEU Council motion re School Based PD Government funding for building teacher quality has led to an increase in school and system-wide school-based PD projects. Projects such as the ‘Learning Communities’ strategy and Reading and Maths Program (RAMP), focusing on numeracy, literacy programs and so on, are being implemented at school level. The IEU has been contacted by members in schools with concerns that organised school-based PD has intensified workload.
2. Conforms with the current meeting time practice within the school or provides additional release time specifically for this purpose. That is, additional meetings for school-based PD must not be added to the current workload.
IEU position The IEU supports effective schoolbased PD in which teachers choose to engage. However, organised school-based PD should not further intensify teacher’s workload.
Action The Union directs members in schools where there are concerns about organised school-based PD (such as Learning Communities or others) to meet as a chapter and endorse the following motion: Following endorsement, the motion should be provided to the school principal so that discussions may commence about meeting the IEU standards. School Reps can contact their local IEU Organiser for support in addressing this issue.
The IEU supports school-based PD where it meets the following standards:
Indigenous Teacher Mark Heiss (top) and IEU Organiser Sandra White.
1. Respects and preserves teacher’s individual preparation and administration time. That is, teachers must not be directed to attend school based PD during their allocated RFF time.
3. Registered with the NSWIT or ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) for the purposes of maintenance of accreditation regarding Institute Registered PD.
This motion was passed at IEU Council on 16 June. newsmonth - Vol 32 #4 2012
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
The IEU websites (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. Home of democracy threatens vote
Misuse of NAPLAN data – the fiasco continues. When the My School website was announced, those responsible were warned that if NAPLAN test results were included, the data would be mined to profit various print and online publications to the detriment of schools and students. The warnings were dismissed by politicians of the day, IEU Organiser Sandra White writes. As expected, when My School went live and on the first release of NAPLAN data the inevitable happened. Across Australia the print media published league tables and online websites appeared with ranking lists based on the results of NAPLAN tests regardless of size, location, socioeconomic status, or any of the other genuine variances that exist between schools, that make such comparisons plain wrong. Eventually, emphatic complaints from Unions, principals, professional associations, parents and school administrators (everyone!) forced ACARA to agree to take steps to protect the data that schools are mandated to provide to them. ACARA added a set of ‘Terms and Conditions’, and a technical security measure to the front end of the website which requires any visitor to ‘click to agree’ to abide by the Terms should they proceed to enter the My School website. The Terms clearly states that “all content on this site is subject of copyright and may be the subject of trademark, and/or other intellectual property rights”. The Terms permit use of data for “non commercial or educational use” and state that any other use of the content must have the “written consent” of the “Intellectual Property Officer” of ACARA. All good, but have these warnings made any difference? Sadly…No. For example, with the release of NAPLAN data in 2012 the SMH produced 10
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an utterly extraordinary league table with the headline “How your School Rates” (Wednesday, 29 February 2012) where they gave every NSW school – primary and secondary a ranking based on adding up all the NAPLAN scores across all five areas and dividing by five to get the average. Surely you don’t have to be a teacher to realise how meaningless a score like that is. Similar stories were replicated in other states. Why does this keep happening without consequence to the infringers? Isn’t it obvious to everyone (including the media) that ACARA is reluctant to assert its rights under copyright law? Perhaps it would not assist their purposes if it turned out they have no control against the misuse of the NAPLAN data. To his credit, NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli understands the potential for harm caused by ranking of schools based on single measures and he has persevered in his attempts to prevent the media from publishing lists that mislead and cause damage. At the most recent meeting of the Australian Education Ministers Standing Council in April 2012. Minister Piccoli’s actions resulted in new reassurances from ACARA that it would: • increase pressure on media outlets to stop league tables based on My School Data and • assess unintended impacts that result from NAPLAN testing such as excessive test preparation and narrowing of curriculum. That is good. But the truth is that the only way that the media will be stopped is for ACARA to be prepared to act on the copyright and/or intellectual property rights that it claims. That’s what is needed to stop the annual ranking fiasco that continues to undermine the good work happening in Australian schools.
The crucial Greek national election, which could determine whether the debt-crippled country continues to use the euro, was nearly derailed by a strike of the municipal employees who run most of the ballot process. The POE-OTA Union says its members are paid far less for doing elections-related work than other government employees. A spokesman says that municipal employees were paid €60 ($75) for their work in the last election — which he said was a fraction of what other public servants got. “We asked for dignified pay,” he said. A government official said late Thursday that the caretaker administration will take “all necessary action” to ensure the elections are not disrupted. (Source: Washington Post) Off the buses
Freedom of speech trumps privacy laws
The Canadian province of Alberta has had its privacy laws ruled unconstitutional by the Court of Appeal. The case dates back to 2006, when unionised workers at the Palace Casino in Edmonton went on strike. The union videotaped the picket line and threatened to publish video of people crossing the picket at www.CasinoScabs. ca. People who were videotaped crossing the picket line complained to the privacy commissioner’s office. The commissioner ruled their privacy had been compromised. The union appealed. Court of Appeal Justice Frans Slatter said Alberta’s privacy laws cause “significant stifling of expression,” which is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He said preventing the union from using the pictures was a “serious infringement on free expression” and that “holding people accountable for what they do or do not do in public is a component of the right to free expression.” (Source: The Edmonton Journal) Unemployed used as jubilee stewards
Thousands of London bus workers have voted to go on strike during the Olympics if they do not receive a bonus of £500. Members of the Unite union are seeking the bonus for the 20,000 bus workers it represents, claiming that other transport workers have been paid a premium for working during the event. At least 800,000 extra passengers are predicted to use London’s buses during the Olympics. Unite official Peter Kavanagh said “Our members are only asking for an extra £17 a day which will just about buy you a pint of beer and a portion of fish and chips at the Olympics. Our members want the Games to be a success but their patience has run out”. “We have given Transport for London and the bus operators almost a year to resolve this issue. Every transport worker in London will receive a reward to recognise their major contribution to this historic occasion except for London’s bus workers,” he said. (Source: The Guardian)
A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bused into London to work as unpaid stewards during the diamond jubilee celebrations and told to sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant as part of the government’s Work Program. Two participants claim they had to change into security gear in public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames. The company (Close Protection UK) confirmed that it was using up to 30 unpaid staff and 50 apprentices, who were paid £2.80 an hour, for the threeday event in London. A spokesman said the unpaid work was a trial for paid roles at the Olympics, which it had also won a contract to staff. (Source: The Guardian)
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Framework needs fairness built in The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership has released the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework aimed to introduce mandatory requirements for annual appraisal of all teachers in Australia, writes IEU Organiser and Forum Convenor Sandra White. The Union knew this was too important to let pass unexamined, so despite the impossible timeframe, teachers representing Catholic systemic, independent and Catholic independent schools and covering the career stages of principals, experienced, early career and casual teachers met in Sydney on 28 May to examine what was proposed. Members of the forum identified early that there is a critical disconnect in the current Framework structure and indeed fundamentally conflicting expectations within the draft Framework. They were unanimous in calling for a de-coupling of the teacher development processes from the teacher performance management purposes. Fundamental to the capacity of teachers to participate openly, frankly and positively in a development process is the need for trust, a supportive school structure and no fear that the process can
be used in a punitive fashion for other purposes. The current Framework structure improperly makes it clear that unsuccessful development processes could - indeed would be expected to – lead to grievance procedures. The IEU rejects this proposition and further suggests that it is improper and unfair to all parties to wait for an annual review, as suggested in the draft, for difficulties or lack of capacity in a teacher’s performance to be identified, confronted, supported and resolved. The forum felt that the draft Framework failed to address or resolve the two competing strands relating to teacher performance. For example, should we be seeking to measure and reward teacher performance through testing measures such as NAPLAN and other testing regimes or should we focus on improving student learning by recognising and refining existing practice (through formative appraisal and peer coaching and feedback). Accordingly the IEU has written to AITSL calling on them to fundamentally review the draft Framework to develop separate frameworks for teacher development and teacher performance management.
The draft Framework documentation acknowledges that improving teacher quality leads to improved student learning and therefore student development, of which student outcomes is an important but single element. The IEU believes that a revised Framework should be based on the following elements.
individual teacher, school and systems needs and capacities noting that one size does not fit all. IEU members believe that a revised Framework also needs to make clear recommendations about the resources required to properly support the teacher development processes. It is not sufficient or acceptable to say that the resourcing needs are the responsibility of governments or systems or individual schools to fund either adequately or as able. The revised Framework has a responsibility to the teaching profession to clearly articulate the resourcing implications of a quality developmental program. There are clear indicators from other programs in other countries that can be used as the starting point for minimum requirements to ensure that an appraisal process can operate as expected. The Union thanks Michael Turner, Phil Jirman, Greg Bond, Lyne Witenden, Sue Fern, Wayne Marshall, Peter O’Rance, Peter Moore, Ola Issa, Larry Grumley, Alexander Wharton, Michael Davis and Dianne Lefebvre for sharing their wisdom and experience in support of the profession.
Elements of a Model that will assist teacher development and build teacher capacity: • Must be teacher focused and classroom focused • Must be based on professional, collegial and collaborative conversations including opportunities for classroom visits, team teaching and observation • Must have quality input through professional learning • Must be teacher-centred, providing teacher direction and a sense of choice and control to promote professional trust and the development of a culture of ongoing professional learning • Must be a shared whole staff process, including both formal and informal processes • Must be affirming and developmental in focus, not a deficit model, and • Must provide for flexibility to meet
Present Tense ELICOS News Kendall Warren IEU Organiser Salary rates on the industry award, the Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2010, will be increased from 1 July, in line with the minimum wage increase. This increase will be 2.9% on all wages levels within the award, lifting the annual salary on the top of the scale for teachers to over $54,000 (precise rates are yet to be published by Fair Work Australia). This increase should see the modern award rates and the transitional rates (from the old State Award, which paid higher rates) come close to being in alignment, and so all teachers should see consistent mandated pay rises from next year, in addition to those increases stemming from progressing through the step system. The increases, which will see those reliant on award wages slip further behind average wages, were below those
sought by the ACTU. However they still represent a real wage increase for the low paid, including teachers and staff at private colleges, with inflation currently running at around 2.2% per annum. Of course, the only way for those employed at private colleges to achieve higher salary increase is to band together to push their employer to negotiate an enterprise agreement. There are provisions in the Fair Work Act to make this happen – contact the IEU if you would like any further information. In May, the ACTU held its triennial congress. The centerpiece of this conference was the release of the ACTU’s report into insecure work. The report, conducted by Brian Howe, former deputy Prime Minister under Paul Keating, found that various kinds of insecure work are endemic in parts of the Australian
workforce, with around 40% of workers engaged via arrangements including casual work, fixed term work, contracting or labour hire. Of course, in ELICOS and other private colleges the figure is far higher, and I’m sure that we have all worked at many colleges where the entire workforce is employed on casual contracts. Permanent contracts have become even harder to come by in recent years, with plunging student numbers making colleges even less likely to offer anything but casual contracts. Insecure work offers few benefits for employees apart from the 25% casual loading, which helps bump up salaries from the pitiful to the barely adequate. However, to receive this ‘benefit’, those in insecure work get generally lower pay, fewer rights and benefits, no job security, less career development, reduced
representation rights and higher risks of workplace injuries. The culture of casual contracts has been entrenched in ELICOS for some years, and it has only been through the efforts of the Union and members that it has been addressed at some individual colleges. Consequently, it will take some time to fix this problem, but with effort on all sides, greater job security can be achieved. This column will look at how this can be done later in the year. In the meantime, take a look at the ACTU web page at www. securejobs.org.au.
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How much is enough?
Better salaries – better early childhood education Better salaries are urgently needed to maintain standards in the early childhood sector, representatives from the Independent Education Union, said at an Early Childhood Summit called by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard. “We welcome the Summit. It was a real opportunity for the different interest groups to get together to express their views directly to the Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education Kate Ellis,” NSW/ACT IEU Assistant Secretary Carol Matthews said.
“We are calling for professional rates of pay for early childhood teachers. At present rates in many services are tens of thousands of dollars below the rate paid to teachers with the same qualifications employed in schools. This must be fixed in order to attract and retain quality staff.” “It is our submission that subsidies should be paid directly to centres in order to better support quality education. “We will continue dialogue with the Prime Minister in order to resolve the crisis in early childhood education.”
IEU Members from Gloucester, Wingham, Taree, Forster – Tuncurry area at the IEU ECS seminar held in Wingham. Grappling with the National Quality Framework (NQF) and Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs) were the core concerns of IEU ECS members at an IEU seminar held in Wingham recently, newly elected Assistant Secretary Mark Northam writes. Members gathered to unpack the requirements and make sense of what constitutes a reasonable response in terms of policy development and managing staff. The search for appropriate benchmarks emerged as discussion progressed. It was thought that deeply
ACTU Congress spotlights Teachers Are Teachers campaign The IEU’s Teachers Are Teachers campaign took centre stage at ACTU Congress on Tuesday 15 May when Organiser Lisa James detailed the Union’s push for pay equity for early childhood teachers. Delivering a moving speech and playing a campaign video by IEU Journalist Suzanne Kowalski-Roth, Lisa shared her personal experience of the inequity between teachers in schools and early childhood services. Highlights of Lisa’s Congress speech follows: “When we hear the word ‘teachers’ many of us automatically think about primary school teachers and high school teachers. “Some of us might even think about TAFE teachers but early childhood teachers are very often thought of as being in a different category altogether. “Indeed years ago when I was working as a special needs teacher in a childcare centre, a little girl came in one day and told me that her mother had said that I was not a real teacher because I didn’t work in a school. “I found this very disappointing because many early childhood teachers, including myself, have undertaken four years of university training and are qualified to teach in childcare centres, preschools and primary schools upon graduation. “The NSW/ ACT Branch of the Independent Education Union has coverage of early childhood teachers. These are the teachers that educate our youngest children in non-government preschools and childcare centres across NSW. “Despite our qualifications, experience and dedication, non-government preschool teachers in 12
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NSW earn up to $20,000 less per year than those who graduate and choose to teach in a Department of Education preschool or primary school. “It comes as no surprise then that the vast majority of early childhood students indicate their intention is to work in a primary school, rather than a preschool or childcare centre. “For some reason new graduates faced with the choice of earning $46,000 per year as a first year out preschool teacher or $58,000 per year in a school, prefer the higher amount. “Unfortunately this discrepancy increases throughout their careers, with teachers in their ninth year of teaching in preschools earning $66,000 and those in primary schools earning $86,000. That is a $20,000 per year difference. “The Teachers are Teachers campaign was launched in 2010 and we are campaigning to get early childhood teachers equal pay with their primary school counterparts. “The campaign is somewhat unique because it is not directed at employers but at the NSW State Government. “We need the Government to increase their funding to funded early childhood services so they can afford to increase the wages of the teachers they employ. “For-profit services would then be forced to match these higher rates in order to attract and retain teachers. “Has the campaign been won? Not yet. So far we have seen no increase in funding directed towards teachers’ wages. “However, we are determined and passionate about this issue and we won’t go away until we succeed.”
embedded ECS pedagogy should be explicit in programming to assist with meeting NQF requirements. Seeking parent feedback was viewed as particularly challenging. A solution to this was a section on the back of the weekly newsletter requesting input. “You have to be an advocate for the child and for quality care as well as positive work relationships,” Kindilan Child Care Centre, Tuncurry Director Dianne Miller said. Dianne said establishing a climate in a centre which was respectful of all workers and defending salaries and conditions was vital.
Principal Patrick Ellis with his students at school and on excursions in Sydney
A leader in Indigenous education New Principal Patrick Ellis has instigated huge changes at St Therese’s Community School in remote Wilcannia, going beyond the call to make sure students have every opportunity to learn, writes IEU Journalist Sue Osborne. St Therese’s is an infants’ school of 33 Aboriginal students in a region identified by COAG as needing extra support. Unemployment, domestic violence, overcrowding and community loss and grief are some of the issues affecting students’ learning. Patrick and his staff have taken a holistic approach to teaching. They work in partnership with a wide range of agencies to support the community. They provide a nutritional program, a tooth-brushing program's, speech and occupational therapy and a visiting psychologist and more. The school has partnered with Save the Children to deliver playgroups twice a week to engage families with younger children. The school focuses on the individual learner, with staff meetings to discuss their needs, abilities and interests. If a child comes to school distressed, tired or needing some one-on-one attention, there is a staff member to care for them.
“One size doesn’t fit all. We’ve done a lot of professional development with staff and got in experts to look at what we were doing and how we could do it better,” Patrick says. “I’ll do whatever I can to ensure these kids have an opportunity to experience everything they possibly can. “If it means taking them to Sydney, sourcing funding to provide engaging resources, purchasing more technology , extra playground equipment or organising Skype lessons with other schools, then that’s what we’ll do.
When Newsmonth caught up with Patrick he was in the middle of Sydney with 15 Year One and Two students, most of whom were seeing a city for the first time. St Lucy’s Primary in Wahroonga, is another partner to St Therese’s. Two teachers from St Lucy’s did a sponsored bike ride from Wahroonga to Wilcannia and raised $10,000 to allow the St Therese students to enjoy the trip of a lifetime. “We went to the beach today and one little boy was asking me why the water
“I’ll do whatever I can to ensure these kids have an opportunity to experience everything they possibly can.” “If washing machines are needed, school uniforms, shoes, we will support our families to access services to help them ensure all students are attending school.” In May St Therese’s was the only nongovernment school invited to present at the Principals Australia Institute Dare to Lead conference in Canberra. Patrick spoke about how the school now enjoys the highest attendance rates in its history, and has increased its results in literacy and numeracy.
was salty, and who put the salt in the water,” Patrick says. “They don’ t say much but their facial expressions tell the story.” Patrick is from Penrith, and after doing his degree at the University of Western Sydney, spent three years teaching at St Therese’s, where he met another new teacher, coincidentally also from Penrith, who was to become his wife. In 2006 the couple shared their wedding day with the Wilcannia community.
They returned to teach in the Parramatta diocese for a few years, but “Wilcannia had a special place in our hearts”. “The people of Wilcannia looked after us so much in our early teaching years we wanted to share something with them.” The couple moved back to Wilcannia in 2010 and Patrick began his role as Principal, aged 29. “I could see the potential of the school, and I had a passion to throw everything at it. “I’ve been fortunate with leadership opportunities. I was a stage coordinator and REC in the Parramatta Diocese and the Wilcannia/Forbes Diocese has given me this opportunity to be Principal.” Patrick says IEU membership has provided him with increased opportunities for professional development. “It’s a network I can contact to support me in my role. I encourage all my staff to join, as the IEU has worked hard over the years to ensure educators have the support, conditions and entitlements we enjoy today.”
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Leaders of leadership Teachers from as far away as Melbourne joined colleagues from the Sydney region at the first ever Leader in Me Expo at St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School, Gwynneville, near Wollongong writes Newsmonth Journalist Sue Osborne. Along with Burwood Public School and Masada College at St Ives, St Brigid’s was one of the first schools to introduce the Leader in Me program in Australia. The Leader in Me program is based on the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey. Its principles can be applied to all walks of life. Professional consultants FranklinCovey promote the program globally. The first school to undertake its practice was AB Coombs Elementary in North Carolina. Now more than 700 schools worldwide follow the program. St Brigid’s Principal Jennie Werakso said the school staff decided to make a change about three years ago, and began researching what was available. “We found the Leader in Me and thought ‘this is us’,” Jennie says. “We visited AB Coombs in America and decided that although we are a small Catholic school, we could do it. “It develops strength of character and leadership skills which will allow our children to not only survive but thrive in the 21st century. “Every child can be a leader and it encourages children to develop their strengths and areas of interest.” Jennie says the program is aimed at everyone: staff, students, parents and the wider community.
“In our first year the staff needed to take on board the seven habits so they could be authentic, and we needed to integrate the program with the curriculum. “It’s not about doing extra work, its just about doing things differently. It’s a far more effective way of doing things.” In the second year the emphasis was on students, and now in its third year, the aim is to introduce parents and the wider community to the program, hence the Expo. As well as teachers, CEO staff, Wollongong University academics and IEU Organisers Pam Smith and Les Porter attended the Expo. The program is in evidence throughout the small school, with a large leadership tree picture greeting visitors to the playground, and every area of the school named after some aspect of the program. St Brigid’s students participated in the Expo, and spoke confidently in front of the guests about the different aspects of the program. “It provides quality tools which staff can use in everyday interactions with students and in their own planning,” Jennie says. Pam says Jennie is an active member of the South Coast Branch. “The program has helped me to relate to different people with diverse opinions, and its gives me the confidence to say my piece and be proactive, so it helps me with things like the Union, as well as everything else,” Jennie says. For more on the program: www.theleaderinme.org
“Every child can be a leader and it encourages children to develop their strengths and areas of interest.”
Jennie with students at the Expo. The leadership tree. Students at the Expo.
Tough life for Tibetan refugees
“There are about 20,000 Tibetan refugees living in numerous refugee camps in Nepal.” IEU Organiser Michael Davis has recently returned from a six-month stay in Nepal where he taught English as a volunteer to Tibetan refugee children. There are about 20,000 Tibetan refugees living in numerous refugee camps in Nepal. The students are the children and grandchildren of Tibetans who have fled over the Himalayas during the last half-century.
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Some Tibetans have lived in their camps for the entire half-century. Life is difficult for refugees, as they are denied Nepali citizenship, passports, the right to own property, access to government jobs, along with various other restrictions. Many are surviving on as little as $2 per day. Michael has had a long-term relationship with SOS Kinderdorf International, an NGO based in Austria, which builds and funds children’s
villages and schools for orphans and needy children in developing countries. The Hermann Gmeiner School in Pokhara, which is 200kms west of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, is 25 years old this year. There are eight Hermann Gmeiner schools in Nepal, but it is the Pokhara school that is specifically for Tibetan children. The teachers at the school are both Nepali and Tibetan. Michael’s work in Nepal is to continue later this
year when he returns to teach during the second semester of the Nepali school year, from November to March. One of the needs at the school is to have newer and better books to teach English, a need that Michael is focusing on in the hope that he can raise the $2,500 required to purchase and transport 80 new English books to the Tibetan school.
what’s the fallout when we work longer and harder?
What happens when we try to do the best by our children, look after our elderly and be involved in the community as well as reduce our carbon footprint? Newsmonth Journalist Suzanne Kowolski-Roth caught up with author Barbara Pocock (see Giveaways, page 24) to find more about modern lives and the challenge of doing it all. Suzanne: Why did you call the book Time Bomb? Barbara: We didn’t start out with a book about time. We started out with a lot of conversations with Australians from many places talking about their jobs and their lives. Time jumped out of the interviews and ambushed us. People are putting together all kinds of time regimes which run against each other and in contradiction with each other - the clock of work and the clock of care, for example - and these especially affect working parents, and mothers most commonly. But there are many aspects of time that people want to talk about: finding time for a holiday, to recycle and meet the challenge of climate change, to avoid long hours and have enough time to be in a good enough state to parent well or call in and see an aging parent. Suzanne: You’ve been working in this area for a long time now, what are the most significant changes you’ve noticed over the past decade when it comes to work/life issues?
Barbara: Things are not getting easier. More people are joining the group of people who have always juggled things: households with two earners, women with a job and kids, professional workers and managers. Theses are all growing in number in our society - and it doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much money you have - putting the demands of working life alongside staying fit and healthy, raising a family and having good
the mortgage) and care of children, for example. People on lower incomes are often especially negatively affected by poor urban planning, poor public transport, and a lack of services (retail, health, education) near where they live. We can do much better on this front as some well planned urban settlements show us. Suzanne: What changes do you think workplaces most need to make to align themselves with ‘care time’?
“We do not go to our graves wishing we had worked harder. We go to our graves thinking about the quality of our relationships - and time is their key ingredient.” friends is a tough juggle for many. Having money helps - but it is no guarantee that you can buy your way out of the time bomb. Single mothers have long known about these time troubles - but there are lot more of them now, and a lot more couple households who share conflicting and excessive demands on their time Suzanne: What impact is poor urban planning having on our lives? Barbara: A great deal. Finding affordable housing by reaching out to the edges of our large cities lengthens the leash that many women face - tethered both to a job in the city (essential to meet
Barbara: They need to listen to what workers want, see what needs to change to accommodate it, and be suspicious of practices that live on in workplaces way past their ‘use-by’ date. Many examples of inflexibility reflect ‘the way we have always done it around here’ - like full-time hours. Workers value flexibility, a boss who listens and responds, and they are likely to stay longer in a workplace where they have a responsive, thoughtful supervisor, and senior managers who ‘walk the talk’. Suzanne: Any good anecdotes about a place that may have made changes successfully?
Barbara: Many. Some banks. Some small companies. Many public sector agencies - but far from all. The fact that many do well on this front and are still efficient workplaces with low turnover, shows that this is doable. Not doing it often speaks about inflexible habit and culture. Suzanne: What impact is the under representation of mothers in public institutions having on our country? Any good examples of a country where it’s better? Barbara: Norway has 40% of its boards now made up of women - and it did it through quotas for women. Without women and mothers in the leadership of our public and private institutions we have perverted leadership. It is that simple. We need to fix it. The world will be a better place. Not because all women and all mothers are saints (we know they are not). But because what they bring makes leadership more knowledgeable about key human experiences. Suzanne: Any thoughts about the fallout when work wins over care for our society? Barbara: We think out some of the best aspects of ourselves and our society. We lack the time to be good colleagues, daughters and sons, parents and friends. We do not go to our graves wishing we had worked harder. We go to our graves thinking about the quality of our relationships - and time is their key ingredient. newsmonth - Vol 32 #4 2012
Cuts to NSW sustainability education
Now on DVD
The IEU Sustainability Guide For Schools and Centres Practical tips for a better tomorrow Have you ever considered using rainwater tanks? Solar power? Recycled paper? Banning plastic bottles? In this informative educational resource guide, environmentalist and Planet Ark co-founder Jon Dee, in collaboration with the Independent Education Union, will help prepare your school or center for a greener, cleaner and healthier future. Find out how others have made the move towards sustainability and are already saving thousands of dollars a year and explore the benefits of becoming more sustainable through the use of practical, smart and easy-toimplement ideas that compliment the environment.
The IEU has written to the NSW Minister for Education to strongly object to the axing of sustainability education services in NSW (see below). The Sustainable Schools team has provided significant support to nongovernment schools across NSW including advice, resources and the establishment of support networks. We ask for your help in the campaign to continue this vital service. Members can find out more about these cuts and their implications by visiting the website of the Australian Association for Environmental Education on www. aaeensw.org.au. The website also provides contact details to enable you to email or send letters to politicians. You can also sign the petition on www. communityrun.org/petitions/savesustainability-education. Thank you for your assistance with this important campaign. The Hon Adrian Piccoli MP NSW Minister for Education Dear Minister
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to order your free copy
Re: Sustainability Education in NSW The Sustainable Schools team has provided significant support to nongovernment schools across NSW including advice, resources and the establishment of support networks. We ask for your help in the campaign to continue this vital service. Members can find out more about these cuts and their implications by visiting the website of the Australian Association for Environmental Education on www. aaeensw.org.au. The website also provides contact details to enable you to email or send letters to politicians. You can also sign the petition on www. communityrun.org/petitions/savesustainability-education. The Union is writing in response to the announcement of the NSW Department of Education and Communities that support for sustainability education was being removed at the State level. The IEU is greatly concerned about this decision, particularly given the significant support
Shorts • Even primary school students are using technology to access pornographic images which range from explicit sex to material involving fetishes. SBS’s Insight program examined the issue recently and its impact on sexual behavior. Also discussed is where responsibility should stop when it comes to educating children about sex and pornography. Watch the program online. http://www.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/ watchonline/473/Generation-XXX • If Bob Hawke belting out Solidarity Forever at the recent ACTU congress stirred more than a touch of nostalgia or even awakened a latent interest in the rich history of union song you may want to check out http://unionsong.com/ Here you’ll find the lyrics to more than 700 songs and poems including Solidarity Forever. Here’s a snippet: ‘When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run; There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun; Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one, But the union makes us strong.’ • Did you know there are 575,550 Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia? But in 16
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parliament the community is not represented as fully as it should be. The recent National Indigenous Youth Parliament was an attempt to address the imbalance in the long term. Details: http://bit.ly/KGRO0W • Have you seen the RSPCA approved products available at supermarkets and butchers? Eggs and meat approved by the RSPCA scheme have been produced humanely. http://www.rspca.org.au/ shophumane/ • What’s kept 6000 handsets and 8000 batteries out of landfill? Mobile Muster. It’s Australia’s largest schools recycling program and it’s open to primary and secondary schools who want to educate and engage students about product stewardship. “This year we have revamped the challenge and it provides teachers new and innovative ways to engage students in environmental topics like product stewardship and recycling,” says Rose Read, Recycling Manager of MobileMuster.
that this program provides to schools across the sectors of education in NSW. As you may be aware, the NSW/ACT IEU has 30,000 members mainly in Catholic and independent schools and early childhood centres across NSW. In recent years the IEU has increased our provision of professional development through conferences and workshops. All of these professional activities have been registered with the NSW Institute of Teachers for maintenance of accreditation. The Union has held two major conferences in the area of environmental education and a number of twilight workshops. In 2009 the NSW Department of the Environment, Climate Change and Water provided a grant and professional support to ensure the success of this very well-attended event. Late last year we held a second large conference and again members of the Sustainable Schools team provided advice and participation. More importantly, nongovernment schools across NSW have had the benefit of support from Sustainable Schools as well as the opportunity to participate in school networks. This is a critical time for sustainability education. The introduction of the sustainability cross curriculum theme in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum will require support for teachers coordinated at the state level. The Union has a commitment to the development of sustainable communities and recognises the importance of meeting the NSW 2021 Plan targets. Education is key to meeting these important goals. The IEU asks for reconsideration of the decision to remove support from sustainability education in NSW. We believe that such programs are vital to our students’ education and their future. Yours sincerely Gloria Taylor Deputy Secretary Convenor of the IEU Environment Committee
Wizard of IT – Daniel Long
CODE YOUR WORLD
QR codes or ‘Quick Response Codes’ for those who are still new to the smartphone barcode-hybrid craze of recent times - have begun to appear just about everywhere lately. They function like a barcode, but can do much more than display simple pricing data. For instance, I spotted an anti-tobacco campaign poster on a nearby bus stop a few months ago and out of technological curiosity, decided to scan the QR code plastered on the bottom of the image with my smartphone. The QR code scanner comes default with most Android based smartphones and as a downloadable app for Apple iPhone and iPad users. Almost instantly, the code sent me in the direction of the Government’s campaign website, firing up my smartphone browser and directing me to the spot where more videos and additional material was awaiting. Utilising the wealth of information in the cloud, information is now better connected that ever, without the need to splash around a giant URL on the back of boxes, posters, etc. In other words, pictures can and do say a thousand words when it comes to QR codes.
First Wikipedia town in the world My views on QR codes suddenly morphed from skepticism to intrigue, when I came across a story of Monmouth, a small nondescript town in Wales that decided to do something different to attract tourist and cyber savvy spotters. Their answer: QR Codes. Lots and lots of them. Monmouth went so far as to create thousands of codes, each linked to a different entry in the Monmouth town listing on Wikipedia. For example, a QR code scanned at the local library would link to a specific listing in Wikipedia detailing how the library was built, when it was built and historical photographs of
the library. Thanks to QR codes, the town just recently (May 19th) became the world’s first Wikipedia town and it only took six months of work to make it happen. As a result of the QR code success, the town has now started to provide free WiFi access to all local residents, in a first for Wales. Now, as tourists flood the town to scan the codes (which are attractively mounted in ceramic plaques to protect from the elements), Monmouth has demonstrated a desirable, active use for the code that stretches beyond a marketing gimmick.
QR Codes in your school environment Monmouth’s QR success got me thinking more about the potential teaching and educational applications of the codes, as they pop up in most unlikely places. For instance, could you imagine QR codes going out on school newsletters (linked to the school’s website, latest videos and other useful details)? Or on the side of school backpacks (linking to a child’s details)? Or stitched into a child’s sweater, providing teachers and concerned parents with a way could to scan the tag and find out who it belonged to. This is not just a smarter way to fix old problems, but a new way to present current, up-to-date information. Teachers embrace the QR code in the classroom Teachers, if you haven’t done so already you can help your students make their own QR codes or create your own Monmouth in your school community as a classroom project. Codes are easy to create using free QR code generators. And any PC with a webcam can easily read the codes - you don’t even need a phone to scan it.
Codes can be fun to make and by using free QR code reader software, students can be encouraged to learn how to create simple, but useful multimedia connections using printed pieces of paper. In fact, if you can print on it - you can get a QR code on it too. Here’s a quick list of useful ideas for QR codes in the classroom:
• Advertise school events to distribute to parents and/or other staff • Add to handouts instead of having to numerous links. • QR codes for wireless networks at school. Hand out codes to students or visitors who need to use WiFi in your school. • Enhance information in textbooks to add multimedia /website info to class topics. Link analogue paper pages to digital webpages. • Create a school virtual tour. Plaster the QR codes around your school and link to your school’s Wikipedia entry or website pages. • Make student displays more interactive by linking to video and interactive diagrams. • Link directly to Google maps. • Add your school's contacts, including website, address, contact details to a QR code and allow parents to scan directly, without having to type separately. Potential problems with QR codes There are certainly some innovative applications available to the QR code user, but for them to effective, more people need to know they exist. The technology, which has been around for years in Asia is only just beginning to show up locally, so it’s still too early to gauge popularity. The plastering of QR codes in strange out-of-the-way places is not likely to draw new fans either. There are stories of QR codes in the US being attached to highway
billboards in a complete defiance of logic, considering few people have any chance of scanning the code safely while driving from a distance. Then you have the QR code information itself. Much of it is not optimised to work visually in a mobile/smartphone environment. It’s not good enough to throw out chunks of data that only display correctly on a full size 15inch monitor, when most will search and scan QR codes with their phones. QR codes need to motivate, drive and demonstrate need. They can be educational, functional and informative and fortunately, they don’t need to cost you a cent. For now, explore, experiment and get creative. These types of technologies are only limited by your imagination…and your time.
Useful QR links: QR code creator: Delivr.com, kaywa.com, beetag.com QR code reader: Mac/PC: Quickmark.cn World’s first QR Town: www. blog.wikimedia.ogr/2012/05/16/ monmuthpedia_day/ Google: ‘QR Codes’ - for loads of useful links and up to date information. Best QR reader apps (search within your phone’s app stores): Android: QR Droid iPhone: Scan/Quickmark newsmonth - Vol 32 #4 2012
Women share experiences
Guests enjoy the Newcastle Women in Education forum.. More than 100 women celebrated diversity at the recent writes IEU Women in Education Forum in Newcastle, IEU Organiser Therese Fitzgibbon writes. Sister Diana Santleben of Penola House Josephite Refugee Support Network, shared stories of new arrivals to Newcastle. She spoke of the ongoing battle with authorities over appropriate housing, and her experience in trying to gain appropriate education for newly arrived children. Sister Di indicated that “the schools are doing a brilliant job”. Sister Di was instrumental in drawing media and Federal Government attention to Newcastle refugees paying exorbitant rents for slum housing.
This led to a Federal Government investigation into appropriate housing, resulting in local settlement services being overhauled. Sister Diana is the recipient of the Prime Ministerial People of Australia Ambassador Award for her contribution to the community and for her advocacy and support of refugees. She is a dynamic and fascinating speaker and we thank her for sharing her knowledge and experiences. IEU Deputy General Secretary Gloria Taylor proposed a collection to assist Sister Di in her work at Penola House and we were delighted that this spontaneous act raised over $1000. Thank you to all in attendance for your generosity.
Gleny Rae, a local teacher and musician, spoke of her extraordinary adventure in the SBS documentary 'Go Back To Where You Came From' where she followed the journey of asylum seekers in reverse travelling finally to Jordan and Iraq. Gleny’s images and stories were confronting as the audience contemplated the horror that many refugees experience prior to arriving in Australia. Gleny brings a positive approach to the issue and encourages both Australians and the Australian Government to be more compassionate and humane when responding to the needs of refugees. “A lack of knowledge and education around the plight of asylum seekers” is responsible for the negative light in which
boat people are often portrayed, according to Gleny. Both Gleny and Sister Di emphasised the role that schools can play in undoing this image. As always we thank IEU Women in Education Convenor Pam Smith for providing participants with an overview of legislation and practice pertaining to women in the workplace. Information provided by Pam is always well received. Thank you also to IEU President Chris Wilkinson for opening the forum. To all those who attended, and enjoyed a great opportunity to examine this important social justice issue, we thank you and look forward to seeing you at our forum in 2013.
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newsmonth - Vol 32 #3 2012
IEU Term 3 PD and Training Calendar Wk 2: 23 Jul – 27 Jul 23 Jul: My Cyber Safety, Bathurst 23 Jul: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Bathurst 25 Jul: My Cyber Safety, Orange 25 Jul: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Orange 26 Jul: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Tamworth 27 Jul: IEU Reps Training Day Independent and Systemic Reps, Dubbo Wk 3: 30 Jul – 3 Aug 2 Aug: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Port Macquarie Wk 4: 6 Aug – 10 Aug 6 Aug: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Coffs Harbour 8 Aug: PIP – Work Health Safety, Dee Why 9 Aug: PIP – Cyber Savvy, Young 10 Aug: IEU Reps Training Day, Independent and Systemic Reps, Ballina
Wk 6: 20 Aug – 24 Aug 21 Aug: PIP – Work Health Safety, Gymea 22 Aug: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Lismore 23 Aug: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Tweed Heads 24 Aug: IEU Reps Training, Systemic Reps, Sydney Wk 7: 27 Aug – 31 Aug 27 Aug: PIP – Cyber Savvy, Tamworth 29 Aug: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Newcastle 30 Aug: PIP – Cyber Savvy, Newcastle 31 Aug: IEU Reps Training Day, Independent and Systemic Reps, Dapto Wk 8: 3 Sept – 7 Sept 3 Sept: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Bega 4 Sept: PIP – Cyber Savvy, Pambula 5 Sept – PIP – Cyber Savvy, Cooma
Wk 5: 13 Aug – 17 Aug 15 Aug: PIP – Camps and Excursions, Castle Hill 16 Aug: AEW Seminar, Sydney 17 Aug: Women’s Conference, Mercure Hotel, Sydney
Wk 9: 10 Sept – 14 Sept 11 Sept: PIP – Work Health Safety, Revesby Heights 12 Sept: PIP – Maintenance of Accreditation, Armidale 14 Sept: IEU Reps Training Day, Independent Reps, Sydney
Secure your spot:
Italics denotes a NSW Teachers Institute registered course PIP = Pedagogy in the Pub WHS (OHS) Seminars: Work Health and Safety Regulations and Codes of Practice for NSW/ACT Non-Government Schools. WHS for ECS Seminar: You, Your Centre & WHS. IEU Reps Training Day: New and experienced IEU Reps can develop their knowledge
• You must register for all IEU courses.
Note: Funding for WHS training provided by WorkCover NSW through the WorkCover Assist Program.
Michelle Omeros Vice President, Non-Systemic Schools The Award requirement of a maximum 20 hours face-to-face teaching time per week does not appear in the Independent Schools Multi-Enterprise Agreement. However, most schools do follow the Catholic system and adhere to the maximum 20 hours face-to-face teaching time per week and a specified number of extras per term. It is important that schools realise that ethically, there should be equity between the working hours of all teachers across systems, otherwise work overload issues arise that can be detrimental to Work Health Safety. Many schools are aware that a teacher’s day is quite complex - preparing and teaching lessons, consulting with students, answering parent requests, completing paperwork, etc. Teachers at these schools are free to use their preparation time towards providing educational benefits for the students in their care, rather than carry
out work that is counter-productive and in no way beneficial to the students’ education. New Scheme Teachers and their mentors need to be allowed to have the appropriate release time to carry out the necessary meetings, observations and paperwork that is required by the NSW Institute of Teachers. Teachers involved in writing programs for Board of Studies inspections, compliance audits and submissions for funding should be given the necessary time release, to complete such time-consuming tasks. Teaching has become more complex in recent years. Schools need to understand and provide support to their teachers, otherwise many factors will be affected, namely, lesson quality, health and family life. If your time at work is taken over by unnecessary tasks and you are forced to complete more work at home, then your Work Health and Safety is at risk.
• Please contact Kayla Skorupan on 02 9779 3200 (1800 467 943) to register and to get updated information on venues and dates. • Can’t find a PIP near you? Contact your organiser and ask about the possibility of a PIP coming to a place near you! • The IEU is a NSW Institute of Teachers’ endorsed provider of Institute Registered professional development for the Professional Teaching Standards of Elements 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 at Professional Competence. • The dates included in this calendar may change for unforeseeable reasons.
Stuck by the scanner Patricia Murnane Penrith/Blue Mountains Branch President At the 16 May meeting delegates discussed issues workloads and the increasing complexity of work for teachers and support staff. The ability to digitalise information seems to mean that staff are now asked to scan and store many pieces of information for historical record as evidence of quality teaching and learning. Members report this as a joyless task that eats into personal time and impacts on relationships and stress levels. Both support staff and teachers are pressed for time and energy to meet the demands of ‘paperwork’ requirements. Members are becoming exhausted. Teachers want to ‘teach’ and support staff want to be given realistic and fair workloads for which they have been trained. An interesting and lively discussion occurred around the provision of improvements to the time teachers have for the preparation of quality lessons and for collaboration with colleagues. Some delegates also reported an
increase in the amount of practice time for NAPLAN and its impact on teachers’ ability to complete mandatory syllabus requirements. Tensions occur and, again, professional relationships are tested because of the intensity of work demands. People at cross purposes to one another is debilitating for the individuals concerned, eats away at justice and morale, and eventually affects enthusiasm for creative and proactive responses to students’ educational and social needs. Members are urged to work together as chapters to support each other to achieve fair work demands and to support members in times of difficulty or unfairness. Meanwhile, thank your Union Representative who comes to the branch meetings. The Reps represent their school chapters well and are fine advocates for the members at their schools. The next Penrith-Blue Mountains Branch meeting is Wednesday, 1 August at Penrith Panthers Club at 4.30pm. newsmonth - Vol 32 #4 2012
Working group consider claim
Bernadette Hawthorne Lansdowne Branch President
Sidonie Coffey IEU Principals’ Branch President
Lansdowne Branch IEU members were pleased to have John Quessy join them for the May meeting. As luck would have it there was no business from the previous meeting or correspondence to deal with, so during general business John was able to share much of his vast knowledge on a number of subjects. Given the date of the meeting and its proximity to NAPLAN, John’s first topic was dear to everyone’s heart. John gave an overview of a recent report prepared by the University of Melbourne for the Whitlam Institute. It highlights international findings, showing possible unintended negative consequences arising from assessing procedures such as NAPLAN. However, there are a number of differences between international assessments and the Australian model, so the Whitlam Institute has commissioned the University of Melbourne to survey Australian teachers, to elicit their views on the impact of NAPLAN on students, schools, curriculum and pedagogy. A vigorous discussion followed where teachers of all levels were represented. Those present took note of the website,
not bothering to wait for the link to be sent. John also spoke to the Gonski report and funding, sharing the Union’s views and response to it. IEU Organiser Natasha Flores explained the realities of the O’Farrell Government’s proposed changes to Worker’s Compensation in NSW. A motion related to the proposal was passed unanimously and Natasha urged members to take the information and motion to chapters. In light of a number of issues raised by schools, Natasha also spoke about the new Work Health Safety Act and reminded members of the IEU WHS workshops available. John concluded the meeting on a positive note, reminding branch of the good governance of the IEU, acknowledged by those present and the growth of the Union and highlighted by the upcoming inspiring conferences. The recently re-elected council representatives were acknowledged and look forward to representing the Lansdowne Branch at Council.
Following the IEU’s 2011 salaries claim for principals and subsequent discussions with CCER, Catholic systemic employers proposed a joint Working Group to consider issues raised in the Union’s claim, including salaries, conditions and also directions in leadership in the Catholic education sector. Principals’ Branch has nominated a primary and secondary principal (Des Fox from the Sydney Archdiocese and Patricia Burgess from Wagga Wagga) for the Working Group and also a joint nominee (former Principals’ Branch president Doug Garnett from the Armidale Diocese.) Three meeting dates have been set to September and the IEU understands that there will be opportunities for Working Group consultation with principals at diocesan and/or regional levels. In the ACT, a new agreement for principals and teachers in Catholic systemic schools has been endorsed, with the agreement delivering significant gains for principals and assistant principals to align them more closely with NSW salary
levels for school leaders. The IEU looks forward to holding a range of meetings with its principal members during the remainder of 2012, including breakfast meetings in the Sydney Archdiocese on 19, 20 and 23 July. Other principals’ meetings will include Wollongong on 20 July, Armidale on 7 August, Wagga Wagga on 31 October and Campbelltown and Bathurst on 1 November. Principals’ Branch will also consider ways to follow up from the successful joint IEU/Maitland-Newcastle CSO seminar for early career principals held on 4 May at the Union’s Newcastle office. Requests have been received for similar gatherings/teleconferences in other dioceses and for principals of small Catholic and independent schools. IEU Women’s Conference on 17 August will feature a principal leadership workshop facilitated by current principal member Suzanne Fern and retired principal Sharyn Dickerson. The Term 3 Principals’ Branch meeting will be held at the Union’s Parramatta office on 8 September.
Protect workers’ rights
Marty Fitzpatrick North Coast Branch President
Louise Glase South Coast Branch President
We welcomed IEU Deputy Secretary Gloria Taylor to our Term 2 meeting. Regional, state and national issues were discussed. A few regional issues were: • Organiser Sandra White is replacing Steve Bergan while he is on is on LSL and enjoying some North Coast hospitality. Sandra was president of North Coast Branch when she was teaching at St Mary’s Casino. • Sandra spoke highly of Maureen Byrne of John Paul College, Coffs Harbour, a Council delegate for many years. Maureen will be sadly missed. • We welcomed the announcement of the new Rep at Trinity Catholic College, Lismore - Tony Lovett. • Sandra detailed some issues and concerns regarding New Scheme Teachers. There is a survey - the link is in Newsmonth and on the IEU website. Reps are to encourage New Scheme Teachers to complete the survey.
• Gloria spoke on Catholic sector wages. There is a 2.5% NSW Government freeze in place. She said the IEU is looking at workload issues, wages protection etc and what can be done for the best strategically. • Professional learning - how is time going to be given to take on the new CEO initiatives? Funding to implement the PLC’s is not factored in. • WHS training is being held in Ballina. • North Coast recently had elections for delegates to Council. Union delegates for the next two years are Kath Egan (St Francis Xavier Ballina), Sue Core (Holy Family, Skennars Head), Jeff Pratt (Mt St Patrick’s, Murwillumbah), Annette Gaye McIver (St Joseph’s Tweed Heads), Mary Howard (Xavier College Skennars Head) and Richard Ryan (St Francis Xavier Ballina) Congratulations to these active members for your commitment to help the membership of our progressive Union. Our next meeting is Wednesday, 8 August (Term 3 Week 4).
The Term 2 South Coast Branch meeting was held on 23 May at Shellharbour Workers Club, with IEU Assistant Secretary John Quessy in attendance. Comprehensive discussions occurred on the Gonski Report and school funding, NAPLAN, New Scheme Teachers and NSW Institute of Teachers concerns. Reps and members were encouraged to participate in the current NAPLAN and NST surveys via the Union’s website. South Coast Branch unanimously endorsed a resolution condemning the proposed changes to NSW Workers Compensation provisions and supporting the Unions NSW campaign to protect Workers Compensation rights. Issues from the Term 2 Branch meeting will be followed up at a meeting with Wollongong CEO on 16 July. Congratulations are extended to the many IEU members who were recognised at the 25 Years of Service to Catholic Schools ceremony held in Wollongong on 25 May. Award recipients included IEU Support
Staff Vice President Carolyn Collins from St Michael’s at Nowra, Reps Suzanne Marsden (St John the Evangelist Primary, Campbelltown) and Chris Wheeler (John Therry CHS Rosemeadow), and Charles Lincoln, former long serving Rep at St Patrick’s College at Campbelltown.) South Coast Branch members are invited to participate in a range of forthcoming events including: • 19 June – Cyber Savvy PIP at Dapto • 27 June – Maintenance of Accreditation PIP at Camden • 31 August – Rep’s Training at Dapto The Union will host gatherings for principal members on 20 July in Wollongong and 1 November at Campbelltown. IEU Executive member Ann Rogers from the Aspect School at Corrimal is presenting a workshop on ‘Supporting Students with Autism and their Teachers’ at IEU Women’s Conference on 17 August. Term 3 South Coast Branch meeting will be held on 8 August at Campbelltown RSL.
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newsmonth - Vol 32 #3 2012
Maitland-Newcastle wrap-up Mark Northam Assistant Secretary Scrutiny on maternity leave IEU members gathered at Nambucca Heads for their branch meeting and considered salaries, the Gonski review and other matters impacting on teachers and support staff. Of particular interest was the impact of CSO policies on women returning to work post maternity leave and the current view that becoming permanent part-time does not guarantee your negotiated workload. Members also believe arrangements for New Scheme Teachers require some adjustment and refinement. Boundaries required The IEU has had many queries regarding Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and how they might best fit into the school environment. Schools by their very nature are busy. The intrusion of yet another initiative into the work of teachers is of concern to the IEU. It is not appropriate to simply impose another meeting into an already busy schedule. The IEU is not opposed to appropriate professional development but some
caution is required. Consultation is the initial requirement. How can the addition of another requirement best be managed? The IEU understands that best practice is to include the PLC as part of existing meetings. The PLC becomes a set agenda item within an existing meeting. Boundaries in professional settings are required to ensure systems of work do not become counter productive. If the outcome sought by a PLC is to have teachers talking to each about teaching and learning the existing structures should be able to facilitate this. Current structures in many schools already have collegial interaction which may not have been labeled a PLC but achieved the same end. Many schools also have workload agreements which place limits on meeting times. The adoption of a PLC should be carefully considered and managed after consultation. IEU connects IEU Reps in Association Independent Schools (AIS) from Terrigal to Taree came together for an overnight training event in the Hunter Valley recently.
A variety of schools were represented: large grammar schools, small Anglican, multi-campus Christian, ASPECT schools and a trade college. IEU Reps attending said it was “great to meet people from across schools” and an “opportunity to chat to others about what they’re doing in their schools”. IEU Deputy Secretary Gloria Taylor gave an overview of the Union’s involvement in education related issues at the state and national level, highlighting the importance of Reps in all levels of discussion. IEU Officer Liz Finlay outlined the issues that confront New Scheme Teachers and how Reps can assist at the school level. IEU Training Officer Marilyn Jervis presented a summary of the new WHS requirements and led a discussion on the role and strategies for Reps. Reps said they found the training informative, they appreciated the broad range of topics covered and enjoyed the relaxed, open approach that allowed specific issues to be addressed. For more information on IEU Rep training events, see the professional development section on the website.
School closure shock IEU members at Manning River Steiner School Taree were shocked to be handed a letter on 18 May telling them their school was to close. The members were given the brief note at the end of the school day. Parents and students were also mystified by the announcement. The IEU has met with the members and is assisting them in pursuing their entitlements via the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS). The GEERS provides for workers who have little or no hope of being recompensed by their employer. A creditors meeting was held at the school on May 22 and the IEU understands that bank loans will consume most funds. The lack of prior consultation and disregard of workers was particularly unfortunate.
newsmonth - Vol 32 #4 2012
Creamy and fragrant, it needed a bone dry but lively Riesling to cut through the cream and do justice to the other flavours. Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Riesling 2011 ($20) was an inspired choice. Although a wet year, these grapes were picked at optimum ripeness and show all the qualities of a textbook Clare Valley Riesling from the higher altitudes, citrus and steel. This is a crystal clear pale straw colour with lifted aromas of lime and spice. The palate supports this and adds white peach and mandarin, enhanced by a zingy natural acid backbone. The wine has immense length and intensity of flavour, with a crisp, zesty finish. Regular readers know how much I love the great Australian red, the perfect marriage of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m delighted to report that I’ve found a little gem in the Oliver’s Corrina’s Blend 2008 ($30).
nu m • ag
I recently spent a few days in South Australia. This column contains a sample from each of the regions I visited, The Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale. The depths of winter can produce some fine seafood, especially prizes like John Dory, which lately formed the basis for a Goan fish curry.
This is McLaren Vale magic and an unusual aspect of this wine is that it is co-fermented, meaning the grapes (51% Shiraz and 49% Cabernet) are blended in the vineyard and the fruit then fermented together rather than making a two wines and blending later). The result is a deep, dark, crimson, black wine with a most attractive and intense perfume of spicy chocolate, vanilla and just maybe some marzipan. There is a blast of dark savoury fruit flavours including plum, currant and liquorice. A biggish but nicely weighted wine, given great elegance by the Cabernet’s fine-grained tannins. Intended for early consumption this wine could easily become a very good friend. A perfect match for a char grilled rare rib eye steak. From Two Hands Wines in the Barossa comes a non-vintage Muscat made with local fruit blended with
parcels from Rutherglen. They call this wine A Day Late, A Buck Short ($45) and I’m sure the story behind the name is worth the telling. The Frontignac grapes are left on the vine past ripeness until they begin to raisin (shrivel) and the sugar levels rise as the fruit concentrates. Once picked, processed and fortified the wine is matured in old oak for long periods until the wonderfully rich flavours develop. The resulting wine is golden amber smelling of raisins and rich Christmas cake. The wine coats the mouth with the intense sweetness of raisins and other dried fruits with hints of rancio (nutty) features. Although a complex desert wine there is enough acid to provide vitality to the intense richness. A perfect accompaniment to poached pears and chocolate sorbet. For something different give the Muscat a couple of hours in the freezer before serving. Good drinking.
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newsmonth - Vol 32 #2 2012
Bernard O’Connor NGS Super
Changes in budget
The superannuation industry was less than happy with many of the budgetary changes initiated in relation to compulsory super in the recent budget brought down by the Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan. Peak body organisations such as ASFA and AIST have urged successive governments to stop ‘tinkering’ with superannuation as constant change to the rules erodes member confidence and reinforces the idea of ‘legislative risk’ which has become a stigma to the superannuation industry. Pauline Vamos, Chief Executive at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) said, “Making small changes at the edges to gain revenue for short-term political gain does not contribute to the development of long-term sustainable retirement incomes policy.” Here are some of the changes to be introduced by the government: Deferral of the $50,000 contribution cap for members aged 50+ with balances under $500,000 until 2014. There will be a $25,000 contribution cap for all workers for the next two years which includes the current 9% employer contribution. Those in the workforce now who did not have the benefit of a full career of super contributions will be unable to top up their super via salary sacrifice beyond the $25,000 cap. This measure will certainly hinder older workers’ ability to ‘catch up’ and those who had planned to top up their super prior to retirement will now have to find other forms of savings. This represents the fourth change to concessional cap rules since 2006. Post tax contributions to super are still possible subject to an annual cap of $150,000. Reduction of higher tax concessions for contributions of high-income earners: individuals with incomes of $300,000 will have the contribution tax increased from 15% to 30%. Changes to tax on employment termination payments (ETPs). The balance of any ETP over a prescribed limit of $180,000 will be taxed at 45% plus the Medicare levy. For over 55s,
this represents a 30% tax increase on the concessional rate that currently applies. Government co-contribution: a decrease in the co-contribution from $1 to 50c with the maximum cocontribution reduced from $1000 to $500. Low income superannuation contribution: a 15% refund for employees earning up to $37,000 per annum. Funding levy for the implementation of SuperStream: all APRA regulated super funds will be required to pay a levy for the implementation of SuperStream which is an enhanced e-platform for processing super contributions and payments. This cost will ultimately be borne by super fund members. 50% discount for interest income: although not strictly super, the promised tax relief for interest on savings has been scrapped by the government. Building confidence in Australia’s world-class superannuation system has been a key priority for industry funds since their inception. However, constant ‘tinkering’ with the rules by successive governments serves only to destroy confidence in a system which was designed to provide tax incentives for workers who were prepared to sacrifice now for a more comfortable retirement. In relation to the contribution caps, AIST CEO Fiona Reynolds, said, “We need to remember that most older workers have only had the benefit of 9% compulsory super since 2002 and many have seen their retirement savings hit by the global financial crisis”. While some of the budget changes are welcome, others appear to neglect the long term view of super for the benefit of a quick fix. Bernard O’Connor (NGS Super)
(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.)
Newsmonth Newsmonth is published eight times a year (two issues per term) by the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union. Editor: John Quessy (General Secretary) for and on behalf of the IEU Executive and members. Journalists: Suzanne Kowalski-Roth, Tara de Boehmler, Sue Osborne and Daniel Long. Graphic Design: Chris Ruddle 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 GPO Box 116 SYDNEY NSW 2001 The IEU office is located at: 176-182 Day Street, Sydney Telephone: (02) 9779 3200 Toll free: 1800 467 943 Facsimile: (02) 9261 8850 email: email@example.com On the net: www.ieu.asn.au
Advertising inquiries Chris Ruddle on 9779 3200. 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 Columbkille's Primary School, Corrimal Carolyn Collins Vice President Support Staff St Michael's Primary School, Nowra Gabrielle Connell Vice President ECS Albury Preschool Kindergarten
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 Peter Mullins St Francis Xavier College, Florey, ACT Patricia Murnane Emmaus Catholic College, Kemps Creek Kevin Phillips St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton Michael Hagan Mater Maria College, Warriewood
Francis Mahanay Vice President, ACT Holy Family School, Gowrie Peter Moore Financial Officer De La Salle College, Cronulla Marie MacTavish Financial Officer St Joseph’s Primary School, East Maitland newsmonth - Vol 32 #4 2012
Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today Barbara Pocock, Natalie Skinner, Philippa Williams New South Books
Dissonance Stephen Orr Wakefield Press
Three copies to giveaway. We’re starting work younger, working longer hours and working into old age. Where’s the time for self, family, friends and community? This book examines what happens under the pressures of “maximising our productivity and enhancing our professional skills,” raising children well, caring for our aged, being involved in our community and reducing our carbon footprint. What’s the cost of it all? “Incisive and thought-provoking, Time Bomb throws light on poor urban planning, workplace laws and practices, care obligations and other issues that rob us of time and put our households under pressure.” For a Q&A on some of the issues raised in the book with Barbara Pocock turn to page 15
Left Turn Edited by Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow Melbourne University Press ISBN: 978 0 522 86143 3
Not much has changed since the 2008 economic crisis despite “widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism”. This book features contributions by writers, thinkers and politicians ranging from Larissa Berendht, Christos Tsiolkas, Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon which “offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change”. So if you’re feeling disillusioned with it all at the moment, this might be the shot in the arm you need to get passionate again.
Three copies to giveaway This book is a re-imagining of the ‘Frankfurt Years’ of Australian composer Percy Grainger and his wife Rose. The novel tells the story of 15-year-old Erwin Hergert, who is forced to work on music for six hours a day by his mother Madge. After a family tragedy, Erwin is taken to Germany by Madge, where he meets 16-year-old Luise. Set against the backdrop of late 1930s Hamburg and impending war, the novel explores Erwin’s struggle with the piano, Luise and his mother. “This is a novel about love in one of its most extreme and destructive forms, and how people attempt to survive the threat of possession.” The author is a former National Year of Reading award winner.
To enter one of these giveaways put your name, membership number and address on the back of an envelope addressed to ‘Newsmonth Giveaway 1, 2 or 3’ - NSW/ACT IEU GPO Box 116 Sydney 2001 by Friday 10 August. Envelopes must be marked with which giveaway they are for.
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Issued by NGS Super Pty Limited ABN 46 003 491 487 AFSL No 233 154 the Trustee of NGS Super ABN 73 549 180 515 NGS Super Pty Limited ABN 46 003 491 487 AFS Licence No. 233 154 the Trustee of NGS Super ABN 73 549 180 515 NGS15115_NGS Newsmonth JUN Advert.indd 1
19/04/12 2:43 PM
Published on Jul 1, 2012
Newsmonth is the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union's official newspaper and is distributed to over 30,000 members eight times a year.