Page 1

Teacher pay petition Page 3

Tasmanian Catholic Agreement Page 6

Hours of work for teachers Page 7

Mowbray closure Page 10-11

Illness and injury entitlements Page 15

print post 352524/00374

indePendent educAtion union VICTOrIA TASMAnIA

VOlUME 2 nO 3

JUnE 2012

generAl secretAry DEB JAMES

Mourning Mowbray

With three campuses, over 1,000 students and 220 staff, Mowbray College’s doors have shut.

first Agreement

The long road to success

Back in 2008, the IEU started talking with members at East Preston Islamic College (EPIC) about seeking an Enterprise Agreement for teachers and ESS employees. When we surveyed staff about their priorities, the biggest issue was salaries, which were set near Award rates. This left staff significantly behind their colleagues in most other schools. Staff also wanted more clarity around terms and conditions, and access to paid parental leave.

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fter meeting with staff and identifying people prepared to be union representatives and contacts, we began to build membership and then to approach the principal to discuss the possibility of starting negotiations. Initial discussions were positive, but the principal indicated the he would need Board approval to proceed. Our first formal letter requesting that bargaining commence was met with no response. In April 2010, we advised that the majority of employees had indicated they wanted to negotiate an Agreement and supported this with a petition signed by the majority of staff. This prompted an agreement to commence bargaining in Term 3 of 2010. By the middle of Term 3 it was apparent the employer had resiled from its commitment to start bargaining as no meeting had been arranged despite our requests and management had indicated they did not want union involvement in negotiating wages. The IEU took the step of making an ‘Application for A Majority Support Determination’, seeking an order

from Fair Work Australia requiring the college to begin negotiations. Shortly before the application was listed for hearing, the College again agreed to commence bargaining and the first meeting was held on 16 September 2010. From this point, it was a matter of persistence to ensure that meetings were held to progress the negotiations and included reminding the College of its obligations around good faith bargaining. After such a long process, it is fantastic to be able to report that an in principle agreement has been reached with the College. We are now in the process of drafting an Agreement which will see the following benefits for staff: n For the majority of staff the first pay increase they have had in over two years n Teachers will receive pay increases of on average 20% over the life of the Agreement. The base rate will be set at 15% above Award rates for 2012 with minimum increases of 5% for 2013 and 2014.

continued on page 3

The staff, students and families of Mowbray College did not deserve this end. Only one week from the College being put in the hands of an Administrator, students from Kindergarten to Year 10 had finished up. Their teachers and support staff finished a week later. VCE students and their teachers will finish at the end of term 2 and this once-thriving school’s assets will be sold off. The community is rightly demanding answers. What went wrong? Were warning signs missed? Who is to blame? The search for these answers will take time, but no matter what they are, they will not bring Mowbray back. Our prime concern is for the welfare of IEU members, ensuring they receive the best possible advice about their rights, and working with our members to pursue the monies to which they are entitled. We are also working to support members into new employment. For many staff, their final Mowbray College pay will be their last income for some time. Understandably, they are in shock. As Mowbray closes, I want to pay tribute to our members and reps. Mowbray members stood up well to the conflict created at various times by the actions of the board, the revolving door of principals, through strength of numbers and collective achievement. In the last few days for students, staff put their personal concerns on the back burner to ensure students experienced a positive finale to their school life at Mowbray. They are truly an extraordinary group of educators and unionists who will carry their commitment and professionalism into new careers. We wish them all the very best.


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THE POINT June 2012

Contacts, calendar & contents contAct us

EDITORIAL/ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES T: (03) 9254 1860 F: (03) 9254 1865 FreeCall: 1800 622 889 E: info@ieuvictas.org.au W: www.ieuvictas.org.au CONTRIbUTIONS & LETTERS from members are welcome and should be forwarded to: The Point PO box 1320, South Melbourne 3205, or by email to: ThePoint@ieuvictas.org.au MELbOURNE OFFICE: 120 Clarendon Street, Southbank 3006 HObART OFFICE: 379 Elizabeth Street, Nth Hobart 7000 The Point is published by the Independent Education Union Victoria Tasmania.

Monday 3 July

Managing Your Career/CV Writing

Melbourne

Wednesday 4 July

Student Teacher Conference

Melbourne

EDITORIAL CONTENT Responsibility for editorial comment is taken by D.James, 120 Clarendon Street, Southbank 3006. Views expressed in articles reflect those of the author and are not necessarily union policy.

Thursday 12 July

CRT Conference

Melbourne

Thursday 17 July

Seminar: Changing the Classroom Dynamic

Devonport

DESIGN/SUbEDITOR

Thursday 19 July

Seminar: Changing the Classroom Dynamic

Hobart

Friday 3 August

Experienced Rep Training

Melbourne

Tuesday 14 August

ESS Seminar

Melbourne

Friday 23 August

Initial Rep Training

Melbourne

Monday 10 September

Managing Your Career/CV Writing

Hobart

Deborah Kelly

COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT Secretary Debra James Deputy Secretary Loretta Cotter Assistant Secretary (Tas) Angela briant President Mark Williams Deputy President Elisabeth buckley Ordinary Members Patrick bennett Maureen Shembrey

Andrew Dunne Coralie Taranto

School Officers Margot Clark

Christine Scott

Cara Eckersley Emma Wakeling

We’re social!

Council Presidents & Deputies Catholic Primary Council President: Christine Hilbert Deputy: Maree Shields Catholic Secondary Council President: Stephen Hobday Deputy: Ruth Pendavingh Independent Council President: Gregory Hawkins Deputy: vacant Tasmanian Council President: John Waldock Deputy: Jeremy Oliver Principals’ Council President: John Connors Deputy: Duncan Arendse

connect with your union online

Did you know IEU Victoria Tasmania is on Facebook, twitter and even Google Plus?

For the latest information, advice, articles, photos and video content, connect with us online today! facebook: facebook.com/ieuVictas twitter: @ieunews google Plus: ieu Victoria tasmania

what’s The Tasmanian State budget Education escapes the worst cuts in a harsh budget

page 4

Consultation in schools Why it shouldn’t be so difficult

page 5

TAFE cuts in Victoria How regional towns will suffer under the changes

page 8

So, you’ve been called into a meeting What you need to know beforehand

page 9

Supervising students Ensuring the safety of your students outside the classroom

page 9

Getting the IEU to visit your school Your questions answered

page 13

Bullying laws go national brodie’s law could be the basis for new national legislation

page 13

Principal and unionist Why the two aren’t mutually exclusive: our president explains page 14 Too hot or cold? Managing temperature in the workplace as winter sets in

page 15

International Roundup The latest education stories from around the globe

page 19

Audit

indePendent educAtion union VICTOrIA TASMAnIA BrAnCH FInAnCIAl STATEMEnTS FOr THE YEAr EnDED 31 JAnUArY 2012

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he financial statements of the Independent Education Union Victoria Tasmania Branch have been audited in accordance with the provisions of Section 253 of the Fair Work (registered Organisations) Act 2009. Certificates required to be given under the Act by the Committee of Management have been completed in accordance with the regulations and contain no qualifications. A full copy of the signed audit is available on the IEU website – www. ieuvictas.org.au in accordance with the regulations of the Act. A full copy of the financial statements will be supplied free of charge to members upon request.


June 2012 THE POINT

3

news

A mixed bag without many sweets is the current offer on the table.

Catholic negotiations

HAllElUJAH! Close to twelve months after the union’s claim was served on all Catholic employers, and at the time of writing, some months into negotiations, the IEU finally received the employer claim. Well, not quite. At the time of publication the claim is not complete as there are some matters which are still under ‘consideration’ by the CECV.

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hat we do have is a mixed bag, but not many goodies. There is commitment to ‘consider’ changes to the School Officer classification structure and indicative duties. There is desire to increase the casual loading for one category of employee – relieving teachers, but to reduce it for all other casual employees. There is no joy at this stage for those in leadership positions – CECV proposes to cut salary maintenance provisions for principals, and permit the termination of POl positions on notice. And heaven help you if

you have an extended illness – the claim is to cap unpaid sick leave, something that costs nothing but goodwill and pastoral care. Employers apparently also want more flexibility about when school holidays start and end, with capacity to vary government gazetted term dates. They propose to reduce union representation on Consultative Committees. As for the vexed question of scheduled duties and attendance for teachers, they want to average duties over a year and impose a requirement that the principal’s permission be gained prior to leaving the school premises at

Teacher pay petition

On Thursday 7 June, teachers from government schools across Victoria stopped work and took to the streets in a sea of red t-shirts. They gathered in their thousands to protest against the dismal offer put on the table by the Baillieu government with respect to teacher pay and conditions.

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he Victorian Government’s wages policy of 2.5% per annum, with any further increase dependent on ‘productivity’ gains, leaves Victoria’s teachers looking at an effective pay cut in real terms. This is in stark contrast to Premier Baillieu’s promise before the last election, to make Victoria’s teachers “the highest paid in Australia”. As the IEU Victoria Tasmania builds its own campaign in Victorian Catholic schools for fairer wages and conditions, we are mindful of the nexus between teachers’ and principals’ wages in government and Catholic schools

and of the contribution the IEU can make to the campaign to hold the Premier to his promise. The pay deal that will ultimately be negotiated for teachers in Victoria won’t just apply to government school teachers, but workers in Victorian Catholic schools. It will also help set the ‘market rate’ for pay in independent schools. Current pay negotiations will, in one way or another, affect every education worker in the state. To help raise awareness of the importance of providing for a fair deal for teachers, the IEU took out a large advertisement in The Age on the day of the stop-work action,

which you can see below. We’ve also launched an online petition campaign to put pressure on Mr Baillieu to come to the negotiating table with a decent offer for Victorian teachers. To participate in the campaign, IEU members can: n Sign the petition at www.ieuvictas.org.au n Share the petition with friends, family and colleagues via email, facebook or twitter n Contact the IEU on info@ieuvictas.org.au or 9254 1860 if you’d like to have a paper version of the petition sent out to you, to collect signatures with.

any time. no surprise here – they are unhappy with an Agreement provision (that they insisted upon having) - which basically deals with the concept of the 38 hour week and how it applies to teachers. The current Agreement clause recognises that given the amount of out of hours work such as camps, preparation, and correction, that there is no ‘set attendance requirement’. It recognises the inherent professionalism of the job. They’re also calling for substantive changes to due process – to split it into conduct and performance and have

the long roAd to success COnTInUED FrOM COVEr

n ESS employees will have base wages set at 5% above Award rates this year and increases of a minimum of 5% for 2013 and 2014 n A paid parental allowance of three weeks salary n Three days bereavement leave n Generous fee discounts for children of staff n Face-to-face teaching hours will be included in the Agreement. There are other great positives that have come out of these negotiations. In the course of discussing issues of concern, many other matters, such as requirements around doing extras and yard duties have been clarified and made more equitable for staff. Most importantly, the College has candidly acknowledged

Victorian kids deserve better, and so do their teachers. We all want the very best for our kids, but their education can never be our number one priority if teachers’ wages slowly slip backwards. That’s why, before he became Premier, Mr Baillieu promised to make Victoria’s teachers “the highest paid in Australia”. Outside the home, nobody is more important to the development of happy, resilient, life-long learners than our teachers, so it’s vital that we provide the best

learning environment. That means lower class sizes, more secure employment and wages that will attract the best and brightest to this important profession. That’s why Mr Baillieu needs to keep his promise. And that’s why the Independent Education Union supports those taking action today for fairer pay and conditions. Sign our petition at www.ieuvictas.org.au

Supporting a fair deal for all teachers.

Authorised by Debra James, 120 Clarendon Street Southbank VIC 3006

different processes apply. And if an employee is undergoing any performance management, they want to hold back salary increments until the outcome is finalised. They also want hard barriers to incremental progression for most employees. At this stage, the IEU is seeking clarification of all aspects of the employer claim, including the ‘blank’ items. While there are not many surprises in the claim, it is disappointing that so little of it actually seeks to improve conditions and recognise the enormous commitment and work of staff in Catholic schools.

the continuing need to keep working towards bringing staff wages as close to government standards as possible. This Agreement will be a very significant step towards achieving this goal over time. none of this could have happened without the amazing commitment of our bargaining representatives natasha Cruz and Tane Cane. They have done a fantastic job representing staff and liaising with the College and IEU throughout this long process. Everyone on the bargaining team has worked hard to overcome obstacles and to set the path for future Agreements at EPIC. Once the Agreement has been finalised, we will ensure these achievements are marked with a celebration at the College.


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THE POINT June 2012

stAte finAnces

tAsmAniAn school renewAls

registration renewals

I have noticed with concern that over the last year or two there has been a clear build-up of anxiety among members at schools that are due to have their School registration renewed.

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s your representative on the School registration Board, and after a decade of immersion in the review process, this really disturbs me. This stress and pressure is not coming from the School registration Board - it is applied by schools, especially schools where there has been something less than best practice and orderly preparation for the review over a reasonable period of time. naturally all staff should be doing their best to support school management leading up to and during the review process, but where does the responsibility ultimately lie? With management. If preparation of documentation is required teachers and those in Positions of responsibility must be allocated additional release time to achieve this, and if that is not offered, staff should immediately request it.

As the 2012 Teachers Games approach, check www. victeachersgames.com for updates

Members should be aware that a ‘renewal of registration review’ of your school by the School registration Board is not a school ‘inspection’, nor is it a teacher inspection, or an exercise by the Board to try and trip schools up. Of course it is a significant process and schools should take it seriously. The Board and Minister for Education need to be confident that schools are meeting all the required Standards, and that students in Tasmanian non-government schools are receiving a quality education. But preparation for a review shouldn’t be a hectic, stressful exercise that commences six months prior to the review visit and puts unreasonable pressure on staff. Members of the review panel will tour the school to view facilities and see the curriculum in action, and perhaps even have brief conversation with students.

Tasmanian budget roundup

AssistAnt secretAry (tAsmAniA) AnGElA BrIAnT However when I hear from hard working members statements such as: ‘we have been told that the Board wants to see work samples with rubrics in use to prove that the curriculum documents they have sighted are actually in use, or we have to provide many work samples, and we must have multiple evidence of assessments undertaken, or we have to have detailed backwards planners, and we have to prepare students in case the panel asks them to explain what they are studying’. I am dismayed. These types of alarmist statements from management are irresponsible and unprofessional. Members are most welcome to contact the union directly and I will be happy to provide a copy of the Standards (they aren’t that long or complex), answer their questions and correct some of the fallacies that seem to be doing the rounds.

Education was always going to be treated a little differently than other portfolios in the Tasmanian State Budget. Tasmanian Greens leader nick McKim, as part of a powersharing arrangement that might seem unusual to Victorian readers, is also the Minister for Education and Skills in the Giddings labor Government.

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his precarious situation might explain why, in a budget that deeply slashes government spending, education has more or less been quarantined from further cuts over the next four years, after strict savings measures were imposed on the Department last year. $3.4 million has been allocated in the Budget over two years for a Tasmanian Professional learning Institute, aimed at delivering ‘high quality professional development for teachers and Department staff.’ Available detail is scant at the moment, but over the next financial year the Institute will focus on delivering programs for educators in leadership roles in schools. Another $3.5 million in the next

two years has been provided to help with infrastructure costs and other expenses for schools that voluntarily close, amalgamate or co-locate. After originally proposing to close a number of government schools in Tasmania as recommended by the Fairbrother inquiry on school viability, the Government has instead given schools a three year reprieve from forced closures. So it’s hoped that this funding might encourage ‘unviable’ schools to better share resources. Finally, in an area where Tasmanian schools continue to lead the rest of the nation, $1 million has been provided to help Tasmanian schools reduce their carbon footprints and lower energy costs.

gunning for gold!

Traralgon teacher leah Telling is on target to go one step better at this year’s Teachers Games and bring home gold in the clay target shooting event.

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ast year leah competed in the novice ladies competition and won silver with a score of 24 targets. The novice section of shooting is open to people of all abilities, with or without a licence or a gun. ‘The shooting is a great sport to have a go at; there are coaches there to help beginners and it is something completely different. I have stepped it up a notch this year, I have acquired my shooter’s licence so I can practise with my brother and dad, and take part in the ladies open section.’ The Teachers Games are a great opportunity for graduates right through to mature teachers to come together in a friendly atmosphere

and challenge themselves to try something new. This year, leah is looking forward to attempting different sports to last year. Having participated in the mixed tennis, lawn bowls and shooting in 2011, she is now getting involved with the mixed netball team ‘Arc Angels’ (From St. Michael’s and St Gabriel’s), shooting, and is considering throwing her hat in the ring for some dodgeball. ‘I am looking forward to the wonderful support given by the IEU again this year, our lawn bowls team enjoyed our shirts and their social events were second to none!’ The Teachers Games are from 23 -26 September in Ballarat.


June 2012 THE POINT

news reP Profile

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Agreement negotiAtions

Consultative Committees have been part of Victorian Catholic schools for nearly two decades. There has been some change to their composition, but little change overall to their underpinning principles. Consultative Committees are convened with employer, staff and union nominees and provide recommendations on a range of issues that affect the way schools operate – class sizes, workloads, positions of leadership, policies on extras and practical classes.

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5

Tane Cane

Tane Cane is the Art Teacher and Year 7 -12 Wellbeing Co-ordinator at East Preston Islamic College (EPIC) in the north of Melbourne. She also acts as Deputy Principal when the current deputy is away from the college, and finds the role interesting and exhausting at the same time. Tane has been teaching at the college for over four years. EPIC is a P -12 school with over 500 students and 63 staff, and Tane enjoys the challenges presented by the multicultural environment at the college. A lot of the children at the college come from disadvantaged backgrounds and a number are recent refugees. Tane is amazed at some of the stories of resilience that the students recall from their life in other countries and the courage that some students continue to exhibit in the face of adversity. She loves that the students tend to make do with what they have and recalls a recent experience of students taking it in turns to be ‘the net’ for games of badminton when not enough equipment was available. Tane studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, now part of the University of Melbourne, and undertook her education qualifications at Deakin University. During her time at the College of Arts, Tane was elected as the President of the Student Union and following her graduation she taught English in Japan for two years and Korea for one year. EPIC has been her first classroom experience in Australia. Tane feels it is important to be a member of her Union and joined soon after starting at EPIC. At the time of her employment, Tane felt that a number of issues needed to be looked at and changed regarding the conditions for staff at the college. She has seen how building membership at the College and staff acting collectively has led to the improvement in some of the areas of concern that she encountered early in her employment at the college. She feels a majority of staff are happy with the anticipated outcome of the first round of bargaining at EPIC. Tane hopes to attend some rep training later in the year should it fit within her timetable. She is keen to develop her skills as a rep further to continue to assist members at EPIC into the future.

he principal, as clearly expressed in the current Multi-Employer Agreement, is the key decision maker as they have the ‘ultimate administrative and operational responsibility’. It is also their responsibility to ensure that genuine consultation takes place – that there is a ‘fair exchange of views in order to reach an understanding and consensus’. Staff must be given the ‘bona fide opportunity to influence the decision maker’. not too hard really. Good leadership after all is generally based on collegiality, respect and consensus. Good leaders provide the opportunity for discussion and feedback and don’t just bulldoze

decisions through. When consensus is not reached at the Consultative Committee, it is usually an indication that there is more work to be done. Consultation cannot be token, and the Committee does not exist to just rubber stamp a decision that has already been made. There needs to be the opportunity for staff to have considered input into a proposal, and for that input to be genuinely weighed and responded to. Staff have a right to influence the decision maker. A school leader should not have to be dragged kicking and screaming to consultation. Consultation is embedded in any model of good leadership. And if

dePuty secretAry lOrETTA COTTEr it isn’t, it says something about that workplace culture and the way that its workers feel. Staff who contribute and participate in decision-making are empowered and engaged. Staff who don’t have that opportunity generally are not. The IEU, on behalf of members, is seeking to expand and strengthen some of the provisions for Consultative Committees in the next Agreement. Employer representatives are seeking to weaken them. The desire to actually weaken a democratic and representative process in Catholic schools seems to have no other rationale other than to stifle consultation. Good leaders engage with staff openly. They know that bringing people along is far more productive in the long run than simply determining on your own what is good for them. Consultation doesn’t hurt.

An oPen letter to ted BAillieu

Dear Premier, I

was wondering if you would be so kind as to plan a four hour seminar for me. There are a few things this seminar needs: n You will need to review and assess the 28 pre-seminar surveys the participants completed before the seminar. n You will be working with 28 individuals who all have specific needs and varying experience with the topic you will be presenting so please make sure you cater for them all. n Please be aware that a PowerPoint presentation will not be sufficient with this group, you will need to vary your delivery considerably. You will need to ensure that you use several different modes on content delivery, and include such things as web 2.0, activity based and inquiry based tools. n You will need to develop an online portal for this course and ensure that all seminar materials are accessible electronically with some hard copies for those participants who forget or do not have a computer. n You will need to assess how well each one of these 28 individuals understands your seminar so please design a testing tool that caters for all of their different learning styles but also make sure you address the set of twenty outcomes mandated by our State body. n You will need to liaise with the other presenters who will be running the same seminar to ensure that you are all working toward the same outcomes. We have allocated you an hour to complete this. I am sure you will find that sufficient. Teachers get one hour in preparation time for every four they teach. Yet you, Mr Ballieu, believe we get too much time. I’d like to see you get this done in an hour! Kind regards Jane coyle

ieu member,

marian college, west sunshine Ps. In case you think I might have time outside class time, please don’t forget the yard duties, the extras, parent-teacher nights, the individual parent meetings, the staff meetings, the faculty meetings, the students at risk meetings, the phone calls, the emails, the camps and excursions, the sports days, the writing of reports, the music/sport/information/celebration/social nights, the school assemblies, the lunch time clubs and activities, the music rehearsals, the lunch time student assistance, the sports training, the after school exam revision and the detention duty.


6

THE POINT June 2012

memBershiP surVey

Members have their say in Tasmania

Thank you to all members who completed our online survey of issues to be addressed in the next Agreement for Catholic education in Tasmania. There was a fantastic response rate which shows how highly members value the opportunity to be involved and have their say. From this initial feedback, we now have a greater understanding of the issues facing members as we begin the next stage of bargaining.

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or teachers, some of the most important issues members identified were adequate time for preparation, correction and consultation, and for more support to be provided for high needs and demanding students. For Education Support Staff members, some of the main issues were employment security and improved opportunities for career and salary progression. All respondents identified the need for fair and decent salary increases that keep in touch with the national average, for more appropriate and effective consultation and for access to professional development opportunities. As always in these situations, members took the opportunity to make hundreds of additional and insightful comments! The IEU Victoria Tasmania will now use the information gathered from this survey to begin the formation of the draft ‘log of Claims’, which will underpin the next round of bargaining. This Claim will be distributed early in Term 2 to all school reps for consultation and member feedback at subbranch meetings. These are important forums where members have the opportunity to add to the claim, emphasise important elements, make suggestions for additions, and indicate their strength of feeling about all matters listed. The Collective Agreement will set your wages and conditions of employment for the next three years, so we encourage you to make your voice heard at your sub-branch meeting. Thank you once again to all members who took part in the survey!

What members said n ‘A fairer go for ESS staff. Would like to ensure that ESS staff are paid for the entire year and have better conditions regarding contracts’ n ‘recognition of the importance of specialist teachers (library, music, PE, etc.) and that these are not “expensive luxuries we can no longer afford”’ n ‘Fair treatment for replacement teachers as at present seem to be kept on this status indefinitely’ n ‘Adequate support with ICT as we are expected to implement new technology without enough PD or support’ n ‘The provision of adequate time to eat lunch; teachers’ health is at risk due to missing lunch time meals or eating too fast’ n ‘Too much time spent in boring, useless meetings when the information could have been conveyed in a memo’ n ‘I am in a Position of responsibility and get one day a week off class. I have been overwhelmed with this position as it requires so much more work. I have never had to spend so much of my own time doing extra hours as this year.’

APPlicAtion cAllout

Anna Stewart

oPPortunity: tAsmAniAn women Tasmanian women in the union are invited to apply for the Anna Stewart Project, which honours the memory of a great unionist.

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very year, the Tasmanian labour movement and affiliated unions offer the opportunity for female members to participate in the Anna Stewart Memorial Program. This program is an eight day development opportunity that is centrally co-ordinated by Unions Tasmania with support from unions including the IEU Victoria Tasmania. Participants come from a diverse range of workplaces and this brings a great dynamic to the group which is usually 8 to 10 people. The participants are able to experience a full range of union work in their own union and with other unions, as well as meet key people at organisations such as the Anti-Discriminatiin Commission and Fair Work Australia. Past IEU participants have always found the Anna Stewart program to be a really rewarding and interesting experience. Members who would like further information please feel free to contact Angela Briant at abriant@ieuvictas.org.au. Expression of interest forms will be available by emailing info@ieuvictas.org.au and should be completed and returned by Friday 8 July.

Education nAtion

nt Gunbalanya Primary School in remote Arnhem land will trial a flexible school year that will lead to students spending more time at school during the wet season. roads in the area become impassable during the wet, and so the trial aims to make the most of the time students have confined to the local community. To compensate for the extra hours spent in the classroom during the wet season, students would have more time off in dry season when families often leave the community for long periods. The Government acknowledges teachers need a break over the Christmas period to visit families and friends, so there will still be a three-week break for Christmas. nsw In a familiar story, the recent state budget has targeted education for cuts, especially TAFE funding and school curriculum support. The TAFE sector faces major cuts to programs and staffing levels. Also facing cuts are Aboriginal culture and community programs and teacher appointments to the literacy and numeracy Action Plan. The government has also reduced capital investment in schools. Qld QIEU has led a protest of members in Catholic schools about the lack of response from employers around requests

for greater time allocation for preparation and correction. The ‘Hands Off Our Time’ badge wearing day was held in late May to reflect the anger felt by members for the employers’ failure to address the need for increased preparation and correction time, and seeking to exacerbate the problem with 18 extra hours per year of professional development being proposed. nsw Some state liberal politicians seem intent on dragging nSW into the 1960’s, proposing that schools display a portrait of the Queen. Determined to tackle the big issues facing schools, three liberal MPs have written to the Education Minister suggesting that schools display Her Majesty’s likeness to recognise the success of the constitutional monarchy in providing ‘stable and transparent’ government. wA recent wild weather has had a major impact on schools across the state, with many shutting in preparation for damaging winds and some schools already suffering significant damage. More than 500 Mandurah students are without classrooms after roofs were blown off Assumption Catholic Primary School, and many schools across the state closed to ensure the safety of staff and students.

footy TIPPInG!

After 42 consecutive weeks as this journal’s most popular feature, this column was unceremoniously dumped last edition. But thanks to unprecedented but highly predictable public outcry, it is back, thanks to you, loyal tippers… we move on.

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ust as there is a logjam at the top of the AFl ladder after 11 rounds, there is also great congestion on the IEU footy tips leader board. The following twelve tippers, on 73 points, cannot be separated: nick Appleyard, Gwenda Burnett, Peter Chalkley, Anne-Maree Fraser, Damien Halliday, Peter lazzaro, Jack lenaghan, nick Maxwell, Terrie Mooney, Brendan O’Brien, Anne Quinn, robyne Vincent and nicole Volkmann. For the rest of our tippers, hang in there. Be as patient as former

IEU member Brendan McCartney is with the Bulldogs. If you drop out of contention for the $3000 first place travel voucher, you’re eligible for the $1500 voucher random prize for those who submit their tips every week. Finally, a suggestion for Mark neeld re: Jack Watts. Mark needs to get his old mate and mentor Mick Malthouse to work with Jack. Mick is a great developer of young men. In the 2011 Grand Final, in the space of one and a half quarters, he was able to turn Tom Hawkins into a champion.


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June 2012 THE POINT

7

Feature

Hours of work

And AttendAnce time for teAchers in indePendent schools recent experience in independent schools, most notably Xavier College and Methodist ladies College, indicates that the issue of attendance time and averaging of hours will become a significant area of debate when negotiating Agreements. There appears to be clear evidence that some schools are trying to push back conditions, which we assume has emanated from Independent Schools Victoria, (the ISV). This push represents a very significant reduction in the attendance conditions enjoyed by teachers.

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o demonstrate why adoption of the Modern Award clause is so problematic to teachers, a history of what has gone before is instructive.

What teachers were guaranteed under the old Award The old teachers’ Award, the Victorian Independent Schools Teachers Award (VISTA) contained the following provisions: n The school year was defined as the period from 1 February to 1 February the following year. n A full time teacher was defined as ‘a teacher who is employed for a full week of the school year in any one school’ n Teachers were entitled to school holidays without deduction of pay. Under VISTA, teachers’ attendance and hours of work were largely unregulated and therefore relied on teachers’ professionalism and the trust that existed between employer and employee around attendance and performing of professional duties.

The Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standards and the national Employment Standards In 2006, new minimum employment standards were introduced. The standard in relation to hours of work stated that an employee cannot be required or requested to work more than 38 hours a week plus reasonable additional hours or an average of 38 hours a week averaged over up to 12 months. The ISV response to this was to raise the concern that schools were vulnerable to exposure to civil penalty for exceeding the 38 hour week given the way work is structured in schools. The IEU considered that the provision for ‘reasonable additional hours’ adequately provided for the work in excess of 38 hours done by teachers in term time, especially as this was balanced against paid school holidays. The ISV and the IEU attempted to resolve this concern by developing a model clause for hours of work and attendance time. This clause appears in some Agreements and provided for averaging of hours over the school year. non-attendance time was defined as the time that teachers were not required or requested to attend for work, but contained the proviso that teachers were required to attend to perform such professional duties as are determined by the teacher as being reasonably necessary to enable proper performance of the role. The nES now provide for a 38 hour week, which may be averaged over an agreed period of time, plus reasonable additional hours.

The Modern Award The introduction of the Modern Award from 1 January 2010 resulted in further changes to attendance time conditions. The Modern Award provides averaging of hours over a 12 month period and a maximum number of 205 attendance days. Clause 19.3 of the Modern Award is a less favourable way of treating attendance time for teachers. It introduces the words “is not generally required to attend” rather than is not required to attend. Effectively, the entitlement to all school holidays is weakened by this clause. In addition, the employer dictates ‘required attendance’. It is no longer the teacher who determines what attendance is required to fulfil professional obligations, but the employer. The ISV is now consistently encouraging schools to adopt the Modern Award attendance time clause. The arguments put forward are that this will allow greater flexibility. It is argued that it will sometimes be necessary to require attendance during non-term time for things such as professional development. While it is stated that there is no intention to change current practices, it is clear the clause would provide the ability to do so. The problems with 19.3 are n The employer has the capacity to require additional attendance time in non-term time, beyond what is established practice in schools.

n What is ‘reasonable’ becomes harder to define- the interpretation of ‘other activities requiring the employees’ attendance’ is very broad n The previous professional trust that has operated effectively in schools may no longer be respected It also appears at Xavier and MlC that there is a further attempt to erode conditions through assertions that items that do not count towards attendance time calculations also don’t count towards the annual averaging of hours. This is of particular concern at Xavier where Saturday sport is required.

IEU response At both Xavier and MlC we are in the final stages of negotiation for new Agreements. Many matters have been agreed and the proposal by the Employer to include the Modern Award clause or a version of it, in the Agreement has caused great concern to teaching staff at these schools. Teaching staff have voiced clear and strong opposition to the clause. The IEU believes that if these Agreements are presented to staff for voting in their current form that they will not be accepted. Teachers recognise the importance of maintaining their current conditions around attendance time and hours of work. To accept the premises of clause 19 of the Modern Award would result in a significant erosion of the conditions traditionally held by teachers in these two schools, and others like them. Disappointingly, it would serve to undermine the level of mutual trust that has always existed between schools and teachers to carry out their professional duties.

the modern AwArd clAuse:

19.2 Notwithstanding the NES, and due to the operational requirements of employers in the industry, the ordinary hours of an employee under this award may be averaged over a 12 month period. 19.3 The ordinary hours of work for an employee during term weeks are variable. In return, an employee is not generally required to attend for periods of time when the students are not present, subject to the needs of the employer with regard to professional development, student free days and other activities requiring the employee’s attendance. 19.4 The maximum number of days that the employee will be required to attend during term weeks and non-term weeks will be 205 in each school year. 19.5 The following circumstances are not included when calculating the 205 employee attendance days: (a) co-curricular activities that are conducted on a weekend; (b) school related overseas and interstate trips, conferences and similar activities undertaken by mutual consent during nonterm weeks; (c) when the employee appointed to a leadership position is performing duties in non-term weeks that are directly associated with the leadership position; (d) when the employee has boarding house responsibilities and the employee is performing those duties during term weeks and non-term weeks; and (e) exceptional circumstances, such as the requirement to provide pastoral care to students in the event of a tragedy in the school community, in which an employee may be recalled to perform duties relating to their position. 19.7 The employer will provide written notice of the term weeks and days in non-term times on which the employees are required to attend, six months in advance of the requirement to attend. 19.8 The annual salary and any applicable allowances payable under this award are paid in full satisfaction of an employee’s entitlements for the school year or a proportion of the school year. The employee’s absence from school during non-term weeks is deemed to include their entitlement to annual leave.


8

THE POINT June 2012

stAte educAtion cuts

TrAInInG CUTS HUrTInG BAllArAT

As reported in the previous edition of The Point, the Baillieu liberal Government has taken an axe to TAFE funding in the Victorian budget. With cuts of around $300 million, the impact on vocational training will be devastating.

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sAndhurst conference

Sandhurst Stars

The IEU was delighted to be a major sponsor of the recent Catholic Education Sandhurst Conference. The conference is held every four years, with Catholic College Bendigo playing host for the 2012 event.

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he IEU considers these sponsorship opportunities as a great way to support and celebrate the work of its members. In addition the IEU and the Sandhurst Catholic Education Office enjoy a productive and positive working relationship which is highly valued. The conference was held over two days spanning 24 and 25 May with the main conference theme being “re-imagining the Mission”. Within this theme conference delegates explored six key strands covering Catholic Identity, Australian Identity, learning and Teaching, leadership, Pastoral Wellbeing and Stewardship. Following a powerful and engaging opening ceremony presented by students from the Diocese and tracing the history of Catholic education over the past 100 years, Ms Phil Billington, Director of Catholic Education Sandhurst, welcomed over two thousand members of staff from schools in the Diocese and around Australia.

Delegates were then able to attend workshops with a wide range of speakers, providing a stimulating and worthwhile experience for all those involved. Particular highlights were the welcome given to the newly appointed Bishop, Bishop leslie Tomlinson DD, the opening address by Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO and the expression of thanks at the Conference Eucharist given to the religious Orders who have served the Diocese both past and present. On the Thursday evening IEU General Secretary Debra James and Deputy Secretary loretta Cotter were guests at the conference dinner. Deb commented on the professional organisation of the conference, especially the enthusiastic and relaxed atmosphere in which participants engaged. It was very gratifying for IEU officers to have so many members come to the IEU stand speaking positively about the work and importance of the Union. We were also delighted to recruit a number of new members to the IEU. WElCOME!

mildurA trAining

Twelve Mildura ESS and three teaching staff attended a PD presented by Kaye Dennis on Rethinking Behaviour Management, Restorative Practices in Schools.

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he training was held at the Mildura Grand Hotel and staff from St Paul’s, Sacred Heart, Our lady’s Merbein, St Joseph’s red Cliffs and St Joseph’s College Mildura spent the afternoon challenging traditional approaches and learning, and discussing skills that contribute to best practice in behaviour management. Participants really appreciated the opportunity to attend such great professional development as quality PD can often be hard to come by in regional areas. Jody lees, IEU rep from St

Joseph’s red Cliffs told us ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the session with Kaye Dennis. She was both informative and user friendly for the ESS and teachers who attended. Kaye gave us practical examples on re-thinking our behaviour management and the positive effects of restorative practices. I enjoyed the hands-on part of the workshop and Kaye’s friendly and professional delivery made this a worthwhile afternoon. Thanks to IEU for a lovely venue and an opportunity to catch up with staff from Catholic schools in the area’.

This training was scheduled a couple of weeks after independent and Catholic reps in the area took the opportunity to attend rep training. The IEU looks forward to continuing to provide PD in regional areas that is targeted to our members’ needs.

ome of the hardest hit training providers are in regional Victoria, where local TAFEs often play a significant role in local communities. The University of Ballarat, which claims to be the oldest TAFE provider in the state, has revealed that the funding changes will mean they will be short-changed by $20 million next year. This has precipitated an unprecedented rationalisation of the TAFE courses on offer at the University of Ballarat, including some where the University is the only provider in the region. Among more than fifty courses on the chopping block are certificates in business, hospitality, engineering and even firefighting. This will ultimately mean about 100 teachers and other staff will lose their jobs, and over 2,000 student places will go. But it’s some of the more unusual course cuts that may prove to damage Ballarat most into the future – the end of a number of certificate courses in horse racing will threaten a growing local industry, and the closure of diploma courses in ceramics and visual arts will have a considerable impact on the city’s 140 year-old art community. Unsurprisingly, Ballarat locals are not happy. After the budget cuts were announced, hundreds of people protested at the university. One speaker at the rally was Brett Edgington, President of the Ballarat regional Trades and labour Council, who is deeply

angered by the cuts. “There is not one person in Ballarat that does not have a connection with TAFE… I know the incredible collective knowledge that (TAFE teachers) hold — and when we cut TAFE courses, we cut that pool of knowledge. We affect real people, we affect real lives.” But cuts to TAFE funding are only part of the picture. last year, the Baillieu Government withdrew $48 million in funding for Victorian Certificate of Applied learning (VCAl) coordinators - a direct hit on the budgets of local schools, including some of Ballarat’s Catholic and independent schools. This puts some schools in an impossible position. Despite only 1 in 10 Victorian principals believing they can now offer their students appropriate access to VCE alternatives, VCAl programs are being cut. Other schools, where it’s felt there is an obligation to maintain existing programs, are planning to pay for them by rationalising VCE subject offerings. Whichever way Ballarat schools choose to deal with these funding cuts, it’s bad news for education. Both options could result in job losses, and neither option will help improve the region’s year 12 retention rates. By decimating Victoria’s education budget, the Baillieu Government has solved its immediate political problem of keeping the budget in surplus, but the impact on communities across Victoria will be felt for years to come.

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June 2012 THE POINT

9

Industrial updates

Meetings with the principal don’t have to be a stressful experience

So, you’ve been called into a meeting…

So. You just got a coffee and are heading to the photocopier. You have to grab the extra sheets you just ran off for some students, but then you think – where were they, why didn’t they get a copy? It doesn’t matter, you tell yourself, because you’ve only got five minutes and then you’re on yard duty. You’re in the corridor now and the principal walks by and almost in passing says, ‘Can you make a time to catch up with me in the next few days?’ And then she’s gone.

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hat night you go home. You can’t help it. Your mind oscillates between domestic humdrum and paranoia. “What could it be?” you ask yourself, and why didn’t I just ask her what she wanted? Then it happens. You see the way forward now and you know you will sleep easy. In the morning you will call the IEU and work out a way forward. Things will be OK. Members do often contact the IEU office and ask what their obligations are in situations like this, especially when they are caught on the hop and have no idea whether they need representation or not. So here are a few tips: Ask what the meeting is about. If the boss doesn’t tell you what the agenda is, shoot them an email and ask. You only have to say you want to know so that you can get your

head around the issue before you meet or that you need to know so you can get together any material which might help with the meeting. If they still don’t tell you what the agenda is, go to the meeting anyway but strongly consider bringing along a colleague. If you are worried about it, ask your IEU rep to speak with the principal, or call the office and we can ring the principal on your behalf. It is a reasonable direction for an employer to ask to speak with one of their staff so in normal circumstances you can’t refuse to do it. If however you are worried about the context, or if you know that the meeting is about some disciplinary process, you could refuse to meet without clarification or suitable representation. Say the boss won’t tell you what the meeting is about and you go. As it turns out, things get

ugly and you find yourself in uncomfortable territory. What do you do? You could say that you find the issues disturbing and confronting, tell the boss that you will arrange a time to meet when you have representation, then leave and call the union. You could sit in silence and say that you have not had a chance to consider the issues and you will come back to with a response as soon as you have. Then call the IEU. Most of the time having a chat with the boss isn’t a big issue but if you feel uncomfortable about it, you should ask about the agenda and if you are even in the least bit concerned, bring along a support person, who will be able to help you process what is happening. If it’s a serious issue always talk to your IEU rep and contact the IEU office.

OUTSIDE THE ClASSrOOM: SUPErVISInG STUDEnTS The ‘duty of care’ requires teachers to take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of students under their care, so it’s important to know your legal responsibilities. your legal obligation Courts, in finding teachers and schools negligent, have repeatedly used words like ‘A teacher must take such measures as are reasonable in the circumstances to protect a student from risk of harm that the teacher should have reasonably foreseen,’ so ask: n what would a ‘reasonable person’ (being a teacher) do in the circumstances? n what harm is ‘reasonably foreseeable’? Courts have also declared that: n a higher standard of care is required for younger students and those with disabilities, n the principal is responsible for making arrangements for adequate playground supervision, n teachers must carry out their duties in such a way that students are reasonably protected from harm; and

n it is not just teachers who are rostered on who have a duty of care. Policies Many schools believe they can acquit their responsibilities by simply having a policy and a roster. The policies often do no more than try to shift the onus onto staff. If a policy or roster is unreasonable, or doesn’t work properly, staff should document this and insist on improvements. School policies should set out times of supervision so that there is no doubt as to when supervision is provided and when no responsibility is being taken by the school. what if my replacement doesn’t show up? Generally, staff must stay out on duty. Imagine a court hearing – would they think your lunch break or the prevention of harm to kids was a greater priority? You

can always claim the time back another day. Schools should have systems to help staff remember when they are on duty, and which provide steps to get a replacement when someone forgets. off-campus supervision Some schools have instituted supervision at train stations or tram stops away from the school. By doing this, the school exposes itself to extended liability. The obligations of school staff remain the same as if they were in the school grounds. Other schools have introduced policies requiring staff to report misconduct occurring off school grounds. As a guide: n You can only report what you are absolutely certain of n If you are not on duty, you have no authority to investigate n The measure of the

right response is what is ‘reasonable in all the circumstances’. fights Teachers have a general duty of care to prevent injuries, but you may not be required to physically intervene. Again, it all depends on what is “reasonable” in the circumstances, like: the age of the students, their physical size, your size, whether a student is armed, whether intervention is likely to be futile or may endanger you. Being sued It’s extremely rare for school staff to be sued over supervision, let alone found negligent. normally an aggrieved parent will sue the school, not least because, if found negligent, they are more likely to have the resources to pay damages. If sued, staff will normally be indemnified by their school. Failing that, if your IEU membership is up to date, our professional indemnity insurance should cover it.

different oBligAtions for suPPort stAff Education Support Staff are generally not professionally trained to manage groups of students, but are expected to act ‘reasonably’ to protect those they are supervising. How your obligations translate into appropriate steps for particular circumstances is very vague. For support staff, the test will be what a reasonable person in his/ her position would do. Unlike teachers, ESS members are not exposed to losing their registration, but they could face prosecution for negligence or, more likely, termination of their employment. Proving negligence in such matters is generally very difficult and, if it can be shown that you acted ‘reasonably’, there will be no grounds for termination.


10

THE POINT June 2012

‘Walk out and with your heads held high, proudly saying I was once a part of Mowbray College.’ – David robertson, Mowbray Acting Principal

Mowbray no more

‘I am absolutely furious that the actions of the College’s Board would lead to the situation the College community now finds itself in. At the very least, the Board is guilty of gross incompetence.’ – Debra James, IEU Victoria Tasmania General Secretary, as quoted in The Age, 2 June 2012

While studen school and pe contin

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om th M n ne regular readers of The Point will have followed the trials and tribulations of Mowbray College un neg in recent years. Industrial action, Fair Work Australia hearings, five principals in less than pai four years, a dysfunctional board of directors, outsourcing, redundancies and ‘negotiated allo new departures’ were just some features of the school’s operations. In recent years the Board to n Pro presided over expansion to a three campus model across Melton and Caroline Springs, ent involving deepening debt, as well as establishing ‘Mowbray International’, a school in China, circ red and taking on fee-paying foreign students. IEU str Col y around the end of 2011, it became apparent to the IEU that the to arrange staggered ‘terminations’, especially given the requirements of adm College was leaking students, especially at the Melton Campus. VCE students, and all staff needing to produce reports. As of 13 June, most an There were clearly difficulties in meeting short-term debt, the staff were issued with letters of termination, with the remainder to go the rumour mill spun ever more wildly about potential closure, at least at by 22 June. me Melton, the Victorian regulation and Qualifications Authority became Everyone, whether in education or not, is asking ‘How did this happen?’ mo involved, and the union became more acutely engaged in the daily Some of the responsibility may lie with chance, some with poor decisionIEU operations on behalf of members. making, some with economics and demographics. The union will clo The Board’s response in March this year was to ‘accept the resignation’ continue to pursue the answer to this question, but one thing is certain: ens of the principal at the time, replacing him with a long term Board so this catastrophe can never happen again, there need to be answers ent member. He did not last long. Meanwhile the Board had three new chairs about the governance, approach and accountability of the Board, lea in around a month, and a steady flow in and out of Board members. It particularly long-term directors. A whole community has been lost. red would be fair to say that once these individuals recognised the extent The union is continuing to support over 170 IEU members from soo of the financial problem, they probably considered it wise not to hang Mowbray by organising CV writing workshops on campus, by n Ass around. representing them at creditors’ meetings, by providing assistance in the In late May, it became obvious that rescue plans were being the completion of the General Employee Entitlements and redundancy Ent floated, requiring further bank assistance and additional government Scheme (GEErS) applications, and by giving advice on alternative Sch funding. The union met again with new College management to employment. (See overview at right.) Mo try to ascertain the extent of the problem, but it was our view that We send all members our best wishes for the future. all voluntary administration was the most likely outcome. The media had In particular, our appreciation is extended to sub-branch reps of recent to now well and truly got hold of the school’s highly unusual economic years. Most recently, Stewart Condie, rhonda Pintarich, Coral Pollard and me circumstances. JP Downey and Co was appointed as administrator in Paul Basilio. Your representation in this difficult period has been much pay late May, as no other options were available for the College to continue appreciated. thr to trade. rather than shutting the gates immediately, the union was able Vale, Mowbray College.

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June 2012 THE POINT

11

Vale Mowbray College

‘It is a very good school and now we’re closing down.’

union helP for mowBrAy memBers

– lakshmi Malhotra, Year4 Mowbray student

‘Keep Mowbray open and fix up management. Triple bottom line should trump bottom line

While the gates are closing at Mowbray College, and students are finding alternative placements in surrounding schools, there are a number of unresolved industrial and personal issues for IEU members that the union is continuing to assist with.

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ome of the ways in which the IEU is helping out Mowbray members include: n negotiating extra time. The union was able to successfully negotiate an extra week’s paid work for most staff, allowing more time to find new employment, as well as to finalise paperwork. n Providing information about entitlements. Under normal circumstances, settling redundancy entitlements for IEU members is relatively straightforward. As Mowbray College moved into voluntary administration, however, and now faces liquidation, the processes for accessing member entitlements are more complicated. The IEU has been working closely with members to ensure all staff receive their entitlements, including leave, superannuation and redundancy payments, as soon as possible. n Assisting with GEErS. Under the General Employee Entitlements and redundancy Scheme (GEErS), staff from Mowbray will access nearly all of the entitlements owed to them. The IEU is assisting members to access GEErS payments and to work through the associated

paperwork. n Communicating employment vacancies. The IEU has been in regular contact with representatives from surrounding schools to pass on information about potential job vacancies to members, and to urge other schools to consider prioritising Mowbray members for future vacancies. n Creditor meetings. The IEU has taken proxies from over 100 IEU members from Mowbray College, enabling us to represent them at meetings of creditors. This allows us to make sure the voices of staff at the College are heard among the other parties to which the College owes debts. n CV writing and interview skills. The IEU has facilitated workshops specifically for Mowbray members, offering expert advice on updating CVs and preparing professional cover letters, as well as discussing skills and techniques for job interviews. n Suspending membership fees. The IEU has suspended union fees for all existing members as they finish at Mowbray and transition into positions at other schools.

– Father Bob Maguire rePresenting mowBrAy

A rep’s eye view

I began my teaching career in 1984 and have always been a member of the union. I remember being told that this insures me as a teacher. If you insure your car or your house and contents then you would always insure yourself, right?

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owbray College was the first and only (I think!) independent school to strike in Victoria’s history. I was glad to be a member of the Union then and to have an EBA that protected our wages. I had the privilege to be on the bargaining committee in 2011. The experience and wealth of knowledge that the IEU brings to the table is extraordinary. This Agreement has now been the backbone to the support we are receiving from both the Government and the Administrator, under the watchful eye of the Union, thank goodness!. I was shocked to hear that Mowbray College had not paid our Union fees since October 2011. Fees had been withdrawn from wages but not paid to the Union. This may mean, that for most of us, the Union has worked tirelessly for nothing. But this did not faze them in our hour of need, thankfully! At the Mowbray College Brookside campus, we had 80% membership. Many staff stated to me how pleased they were to have gone to the trouble of becoming members of the IEU. As our school closed and we all became disconnected, the Union

supported us all, giving us direction and connecting us with outside agencies we required. They were available at all times, day and night, having representatives at all campuses during the final days. They sent emails to keep us up-to-date with information from the administrator. Their care went beyond staff, as they also looked after the welfare of the students and where they could be placed to continue their education. now that most staff have received their letter of termination, the Union continues to represent and support us. We have been offered CV writing days and we continue to receive emails and mail to ensure they are reaching us with important information. On behalf of all the Mowbray College staff I would like to take this opportunity to thank IEU Victoria Tasmania staff for all their support. You have gone beyond your duties to support us all. Thank you. We will always remember your wonderful support. I will always be a Union member! Kind regards, Joanna Kane, Brookside Campus IEU rep Mowbray College


12

THE POINT June 2012

Young workers Trial work, Trial work, no pay, no pay, deadloss? loss? dead

Dr First Job answers the questions young people have about first jobs and their rights at work.

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Another tricky first first Another tricky job situation... job situation... w an i n w

Go to worksite.actu.org.au/drfirstjob

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an i n iPad with

tAsmAniA trAining

looking beyond ‘telling off’

Jo lange has been a respected teacher and educator for over thirty years.

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he has worked in primary schools both as a classroom and specialist teacher, and now works as an education consultant specialising in: n behaviour management n personal effectiveness n team dynamics n working directly with those in the education sector who manage difficult behaviours. Jo recently conducted a successful seminar in Hobart, provided to give teachers a comprehensive insight as to why students ‘misbehave’. It focuses not only on effective strategies

Dr First Job

that occur in most classrooms and school yards but also highlights specific processes for dealing with on-going consistent challenging behaviour. The insights gained at the seminar were well received by IEU members, and plans are underway to conduct further professional development opportunities with Jo lange across Tasmania over the remainder of the year. Please email training@ieuvictas. org.au if you are interested in this dynamic professional development.

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project of ACTU Worksite for Schools, the Dr First Job Facebook page is aimed at 14 – 16 year olds starting out in their first part-time jobs. Dr First Job discusses topics like safety, unpaid trial work, discrimination, pay, appearance, bullying and job scams. According to Worksafe Victoria, young workers aged between 15 and 24 are more likely to experience a workplace injury than any other age group. Young people are more injured at work and are often less familiar with workplace hazards, safety procedures and their rights. These issues are compounded by the fact that young workers are also often more vulnerable in the workplace and may not feel comfortable speaking out or seeking compensation for injury.

So the doctor is in – and more than 1000 students are already on board. Sign up to the program for updates and information at www.facebook.com/DrFirstJob

Three tips for young workers: n Unpaid trial periods are illegal. If your potential employer asks you to come in for a ‘try out’ you are entitled to be paid for it. n Keep copies of your employment agreement and your payslips to make sure you’re getting paid the right amount. n Every job has health and safety information that you need to know about – from your very first day.

clara weekes Project

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great resource for educating students about their rights at work and about the role of unions is the Clara Weekes Project. The program, run by the Victorian Trades Hall Council, co-ordinates young union officials to visit secondary schools in order to deliver presentations on any or all of the following topics: n the role of unions and industrial relations n the history of unionism n rights and responsibilities at work n occupational health and safety The school visits are free, and the presentations are carefully designed to address the particular issues faced by young people as they enter the workforce. To arrange a school visit, email VTHC Youth Officer Keelia Fitzpatrick: on kfitzpatrick@vthc. org.au or call 03 9659 3511.

Are your students VI getting a fair deal at work? re

Young people entering the workforce are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous employers.

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xploitation can take the form of underpayment, harassment, abuse of ‘flexibility’ arrangements for casual employees, or bullying. The most effective way to stamp out these forms of labour abuse is to educate future workers about employee rights and about how to get help when they need it. The ACTU Youth Committee, in consultation with the IEU and the AEU, has produced two brochures designed for secondary students to help them approach their first job with confidence. One brochure gives an overview of workplace

rights; the second explains the purpose and value of joining a union. The focus is on topics of most relevance to young workers, such as the differences between casual and permanent employment. These brochures could be used as support materials for a lesson on employment, or as stand-alone resources for the home room or careers room. If you would like a batch of these brochures to be sent to your school, email IEU Victoria Tasmania organiser Simon Schmidt by email at: sschmidt@ieuvictas.org.au

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June 2012 THE POINT

13

Industrial issues right of entry

Getting the IEU to visit seVen commonly AsKed Questions i want an organiser to visit my school. how do i go about it? IEU organisers are always looking for opportunities to visit our schools. However it is often difficult for us to find times in the busy schools that don’t clash with staff, curriculum and faculty meetings so we eagerly await the invitation. Some reps and members are unsure about the protocols of organising a union visit and what their rights are. 1) when is the best time? Pick a time that suits as many staff as possible. Have a look at the calendar and identify a couple of gaps. If there is not a time that suits the majority, pick one that suits you. If you are the rep, schedule regular meetings and publicise them. 2) how do i make contact?

VIT review of registration Fees

The Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) is undertaking a project to review the fee structure as part of determining the fees charged for the 2012 -2013 fee period.

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s part of its comments sent to VIT, the IEU has undertaken a comparison of fees charged by the teacher registration bodies in the various states and territories. While the current $74 annual registration fee is comparable to other states, there are a number of areas where the fees are higher or inequitable among different categories of teachers. n The initial registration fee of $140 (inclusive of the Criminal records Check) is higher than other states, and if the applicant has qualifications from an interstate or overseas university is higher still ($160). n The union sees as inequitable that teachers in the nonpractising category of registration are required to pay the same annual fee as other registered teachers. The union believes that, as they are essentially not licensed to teach in this category for the period, applying the same fee as that applied for licensing a person to teach is inappropriate. It would seem that a fee waiver or a lesser fee should be considered. There is an inconsistency in approach between this

category and the fee waiver criteria. n late Payment fee The union questions the level of the late payment fee ($30) and whether this truly represents the additional associated administrative cost. n fee waiver criteria The union understands that the fee waiver applies primarily to teachers who are unable to teach due to caring for family or illness. related to the issue raised above, IEU believes this category should be widened to other circumstances where the person is unable to teach for the year in question, for example, those in the nonpractising category. increases in fees The IEU is concerned that registration fees remain comparable across the country, and are not increased without clearly articulated and transparent justification in respect to the costs of undertaking the core functions of the Institute. The union believes that any proposed increase in fees should be subject to extensive consultation with the key stakeholders on the grounds for an increase.

You can either directly email your IEU organiser or ring the office on 9254 1860 and ask for the organiser for your workplace. If they are not there the duty officer will pass on your request. 3) what about notifying the principal? Any union member can request a union official to attend their workplace. Most principals are happy for us to visit and merely ask that, as a courtesy, you let them know the organiser is coming. The organiser will also usually advise the school of their proposed visit and, if there is a problem with it, deal with the principal directly. 4) does the principal have to be there at the time of the visit? no. The principal, if a member of the IEU, would belong to his

or her own sub-branch and does not need to be present when an organiser visits. 5) where is the best place to have the organiser meet with staff? It depends on what type of visit you want to organise. Often the staff room at recess or lunchtime is the best when it is a short visit to let staff know the latest union news. If it is for a subbranch meeting then the usual room that members meet in is the best place. If it is for staff to consult the organiser on issues of concern then a room that affords all parties privacy of access and conversation is the best. 6) can we meet off-site? Sometimes members ask to meet off-site because people are feeling threatened or

uncomfortable in their work environment. While the Union will always meet where members ask them to, it is important to remember that organisers have a right to enter workplaces, and employees have a right to be represented by their union. remember there are protections for workers against adverse action taken by the employer under the Fair Work Act. 7) how often can i ask my organiser to visit the school? Your organiser will come as often as you need to empower and educate you as the rep and your members as a sub-branch. Ideally, the sub-branch will eventually feel confident in dealing with most issues through the sub-branch and consultative committee structures and processes.

Bullying laws to go national

Brodie Panlock, the 19-year-old Melbourne waitress who committed suicide in 2006 after suffering months of relentless workplace bullying, has left her name to a series of changes to Victoria’s stalking laws that effectively make it possible for convicted workplace bullies to face 10 years in jail.

‘B

rodie’s law’, the strongest anti-bullying legislation in the country, now looks as if it may form the basis for new laws around Australia. last month Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a national review into workplace bullying, and has already given strong support to the idea of using the Victorian legislation as the basis of new, uniform national laws. With the Productivity Commission now estimating the total annual cost of workplace bullying in Australia as being anywhere between $6 billion and $36 billion, it’s clear that this is a much larger problem than previously acknowledged by government. In addition to helping better understand the causes of workplace bullying, the Federal Government’s review will also look at ways to prevent a bullying culture developing at workplaces, and how best to help workers return to their jobs after a bullying incident. While the circumstances around Ms Panlock’s death are obviously an extreme example of what can happen when workplace bullying goes unchecked, nevertheless bullying occurs to some extent in just about every workplace, including our schools.

Significantly for IEU members, the Victorian Government is now able to use the provisions of Brodie’s law to prosecute not just employees, but also students and parents who intimidate other members of the school community, including incidents occurring online. There have been numerous cases in the past where a teacher’s reputation has been damaged as the result of anonymous cyber-bullying, or where relentless bullying has made a teacher or student unhappy in the school environment, so a change to the law that might make potential bullies reconsider their actions can only be a good thing. However, tough laws alone are not enough to prevent bullying happening in schools. As educators, IEU members can play a significant role in helping challenge destructive behaviours in the classroom, and throughout the year the union conducts professional development programs that may assist. The IEU also has comprehensive policies on both workplace bullying and cyber-safety that can help members in addressing bullying in schools. If you’ve experienced bullying in your school and would like to discuss it, don’t hesitate to contact us on 03 9254 1860 or email info@ieuvictas.org.au


14

THE POINT June 2012

leadership reseArch findings

from the President

Principal and unionist

Principal wellbeing survey

The Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey is being conducted by Monash University, and is a confidential study, independent of all employer groups, professional associations and unions.

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Gone are the times when in interviews I was asked, ‘Don’t you see it as a conflict of interest to be a union member and a school principal?’

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f course, in recent years it has become inappropriate and illegal to ask such a question, but regardless, on reflection, I believe the answer has not changed. When I joined the VCPTA and then VCPSA in 1984, I was a union member and proud of it. now as principal, with many more years of experience, I am still a union member and still proud of it. For the principles have not changed - just as in 1984, the fight still remains the same – the collective fight against unfair and unjust practices in the workplace and the collective fight for socially just wages and better conditions for all staff. The only time my union commitment has ever had the potential of being in conflict with my position has been when I have had to act as “Agent of the Employer” in certain (and very few) circumstances of dealing with staff conflict, staff consultative issues or staff underperformance. As long as I stayed within the bounds and ‘spirit’ of the industrial instruments and was fair and reasonable and authentically consultative in my approach, I was still able to be ‘employer’ and remain true to my union beliefs and values. It has also been invaluable to have a dedicated Principals’ Officer available to provide advice and support to me. I have always believed that, even with the distinct ‘Agent of Employer’ role that I must move into at various times, the majority of my time is spent as a collaborative education leader

rather than employer. Being committed to collaboration, solidarity with my work colleagues and a team approach to leadership, actually better develops the trust, respect and professionalism school leadership and school improvement demands. For me, being committed to Union solidarity does not obfuscate my commitment to the belief that the education of children is my prime concern as a school leader. I believe the dual commitment actually enhances my abilities as an educator, as I have had to develop very different knowledge and skills to deal with very different situations. I have had to learn how to walk in the shoes of a teacher, an administration officer, a specialist staff member, a part timer, and in doing so try to understand where they come from, what their story is. This can only make me a more effective school leader and a more effective Union officer. To conclude, principals and unions can sit together very well I believe, as long as we don’t see ourselves as so different in role and relationship to other roles in our schools. We all have very different roles, all have increased (unreasonably) in responsibility in the last few years and we all have circumstances which threaten our security of employment and working conditions. This is why we All need to work together to improve OUr collective agreements and demand that education authorities show the respect our Union deserves and of which I am proud.

he survey of over 2000 school leaders by Monash University researchers, led by Dr Philip riley from the Education Faculty, began last year and will be undertaken annually. It is the first long-term, independent study to measure the well-being of principals in government, Catholic and independent schools nationwide. Interim findings of the survey showed that one in three of Australia’s state school principals was physically attacked or witnessed physical violence in their workplaces in the preceding year. The study found that in Catholic schools, one in five principals said they had been exposed to physical violence, while in independent schools the figure was one in eight. Overall, the nation’s school leaders experienced an incidence of physical assault six times higher than the general workforce. Dr Philip riley, the study’s author, was shocked by the level of violence reported by principals. The study also found principals are reeling from the stress of taking on extra responsibilities without support. Principals in all school systems named the volume and growing complexity of their work, a lack of time to focus on teaching and student learning, and managing the performance of staff as the biggest causes of work-related stress. The survey found that more than a quarter of all principals work more than 61 hours a week, with eighty per cent spending at least 46 hours a week at work. School holidays don’t bring much respite, with more than half the survey respondents working more than 25 hours a week during vacations. Heads of small government and non-government schools in rural areas also had high stress levels caused by heavy workloads. Dr riley says every principal’s job has been radically expanded by government policies pursuing more rigorous school accountability and the devolving of administrative tasks from central office to local school control. ‘Principals are increasingly being held to account over their output, by such things as nAPlAn testing, without having much control over the input into their schools and whether they have real autonomy.’

The second round of data collection will begin in September 2012 The survey is being conducted in response to concerns that the increasing complexity and workload demands of school leadership roles are impacting on the health and wellbeing of Australian school leaders. It has three main objectives: n respondents are able to track their job-related personal health and wellbeing over time, with an individualised report returned upon completion each year. The first report provides baseline information to compare in subsequent surveys. In subsequent years the individual report will be increasingly more detailed. n Global results will build a longitudinal picture of the state of health and wellbeing for school principals nationally. n The yearly national trends will be provided to policy makers in an annual ‘State of the nation’ report about the real, but often hidden, costs and benefits of initiatives such as the introduction of a national curriculum and changes to national testing and accountability requirements. By correlating changes in health and wellbeing with imposed and voluntarily adopted changes to education policies and procedures, more accurate evaluations of the impact on principals (and by implication, teachers and students) can be provided to these parties. Participation involves completing an annual, confidential online survey. This will take around one hour in total to gather demographic as well as health and wellbeing information about you. However, you do not have to complete this survey in one session. Your responses are saved each time you press the ‘next’ button and you can create a save point so you can return to it and continue from where you are up to as many times as you like. These surveys will only take about 10 minutes to complete. The publication of the annual report of principal health and wellbeing will be on 1 October. For further information regarding this research refer to www.principalhealth.org.au

green schools conference fridAy 16 noVemBer 2012 Whether your school is environmentally advanced or just taking the first steps to becoming green, the IEU/AEU Green Schools Conference will address your environmental information needs. Contact lnicholson@ieuvictas.org.au for details.


June 2012 THE POINT

15

news reP sKills

Reps at recent initial rep training bond during the break

initiAl reP trAining

last month saw a well-attended training session for reps taking on looking after their sub-branch for the first time.

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he day-long session brought together ten reps from a mixture of independent, Catholic secondary and primary schools to ask questions, share their experiences and to get some valuable input into how to get started in the job. Initial rep training is the first step in a series of training opportunities designed to help reps develop understanding of the broader industrial context facing their members, as well as immediate issues of where to go to find the answers to member questions and how to recruit, engage and communicate with members. For most participants it was an opportunity to come along to the union office for the first time and to meet a range of organisers and staff, hopefully making each of the new reps more comfortable about taking on the job.

reps in Victorian Catholic schools are entitled to one day per year of training leave paid for by the employer; reps in independent schools can have replacement costs covered for the day. So if you haven’t done your training yet, or it’s been a while, book in for one of the remaining 2012 training days: initial rep training

23 August (code IR123) 23 October (code IR124) experienced rep training 3 August (code ER 122) 30 October (code ER 123)

To register to attend, email training@ieuvictas.org.au, quoting the relevant course code, or call us on 03 9254 1860 or FreeCall for country members on 1800 622 889. regional rep training can be arranged depending on demand.

Illness or injury: your rights

Illness or injury can strike at any time. Fortunately, employees in non-government education have a number of entitlements for leave and other benefits which can help them cope with their own or family members’ illness.

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id you know that paid leave and other illnessrelated payments are available through a range of entitlements? These include: n personal leave for personal sick leave and carer’s leave n infectious diseases leave n special maternity/sick leave n WorkCover weekly payments and other benefits for workrelated injuries or illnesses n income protection weekly payments and total and permanent lump sum payments from the insurance coverage offered as part of your superannuation n compensation for injury in a road or public transport accident through the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). sick leave and carer’s leave Each year, employees other than emergency or casual employees in Catholic and independent schools are provided with a new batch of paid sick leave days. Any days of unused sick accrue to the next year to form the total days an employee can take if unwell. Employees can take days from their personal sick leave to care for a sick immediate family or household member. However, the amount of personal leave for sick/carer’s leave allocated each year and the

specific quantum of the leave that can be used for carer’s leave can vary depending on the industrial instrument covering employment. For example, the Victorian Catholic Agreement provides a new batch of 15 days personal leave each year, which enables the employee to use all accrued unused sick leave, but currently has a cap on the number of days per year that can be used for carer’s leave. Employees in Catholic schools and Catholic Education Offices are covered by either the Victorian Catholic Education Multi-Employer Agreement or the Tasmanian Catholic Education Agreement. Staff in independent schools may be covered by a school-based Collective Agreement. If there is no Agreement, the minimum sick/ carer’s leave entitlement provided by the national Employment Standards (nES) is 10 days personal leave. There is no cap on the number of days that can be used for carer’s leave. All unused leave accrues from year to year and can be used for both personal illness and carer’s leave. Part-time employees are entitled to the pro-rata proportion of the full-timer’s amount of days. Check www.ieuvictas.org.au for the specific entitlements of various Agreements.

occuPAtionAl heAlth & sAfety

Too hot or cold?

Extremes of temperature are a fact of life in Australia. Everyone accepts the likelihood of days with the temperature exceeding 35 during the summer months. In similar fashion, there are days when maximum temperatures may not rise above 5 or 6 in some regions.

W

orkplace temperature can be an emotive issue and people who raise concerns can be wrongly labelled as hard to please. While it is not possible to maintain a workplace temperature which meets the approval of every individual, it is possible to maintain a temperature range that is comfortable and suitable for work. The temperature that most people find comfortable is within the range of 20C – 26C. Temperatures which are too high or too low can contribute to fatigue, lethargy, heat stress or medical conditions related to cold. How an individual perceives thermal comfort, or is affected by temperature is influenced by a range of factors. Air temperature, humidity and ventilation or movement of air will influence how efficiently the body is able maintain a comfortable temperature. The level of fluid lost from the body and the rate of its replacement is as important in cold temperatures as it is in hot. radiant heat from the sun or equipment used in the workplace such as ovens, kilns and furnaces is a factor often overlooked. Clothing, in particular whether or not it is essential to wear protective clothing or equipment whilst working, should be considered in determining what is or is not a comfortable temperature range. Workload and in particular the level of physical exertion and pacing of tasks will impact on the level of comfort. Sedentary work such as that largely performed in a reception or office area may require a higher temperature than other areas of the school, where employees are more physically active. There are also many personal factors affecting thermal comfort. People who are overweight, recovering from

illness, using prescription medications, are physically unfit, have pre-existing heart, circulatory or skin diseases, are dehydrated or pregnant may have reduced tolerances to heat and cold. How temperature is managed has to be determined on a workplace by workplace basis. Practical advice on how employers can meet their obligations is provided by Workplace Safety regulators in Tasmania and Victoria. Such advice on its own is often not enforceable. However, when adjoined to the employer’s health and safety duty of care in Victorian and Tasmanian Workplace Health and Safety legislation, the ability of employees to address the issue of workplace temperature becomes clearer. The duty to provide and maintain a workplace which is safe and without risks to health is clear and unequivocal, as is the requirement to monitor conditions in a workplace. This means knowing which areas of the workplace are susceptible to heat and cold and doing something to eliminate the risk. There is also a requirement that the Health and Safety representative and employees are consulted about the identification and assessment of hazards and that they are also consulted about the decisions made to control them. As with the management of any other hazard, the focus for controlling problems of heat or cold must be upon changing the working environment and/ or the manner in which work is performed. If heat or cold is an issue in your school or has been for some time and little has been done to resolve it, contact the IEU and we can help you develop an action plan to provide a way forward.


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June 2012 THE POINT

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June 2012 THE POINT

19

International World news

Development ideas flow ‘It was a great time of learning and I see that time as a blessing for me to learn new experiences from people outside our own shores.’- Wilton laufiu, Community Development Officer with the Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA Solomon Islands office. In March 2012, some of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA’s vocational training project partners from Cambodia, the Solomon Islands and Timor-leste gathered in Solomon Islands for APHEDA’s first ‘South-to-South Exchange’. The term ‘South’ or ‘Global South’ refers to countries with lower levels of development, most of which are historically located in the Southern Hemisphere. The exchange, funded with assistance from AusAID, provided a forum for APHEDA’s project partners to discuss successful vocational training programs in their own countries, exchange ideas, and form networks for future information sharing. During the exchange - hosted by APHEDA’s dedicated Solomon Islands staff - participants attended workshops in Honiara and visited APHEDAsupported Community learning Centres. In the workshops, participants took turns presenting about their activities, and each country group shared their particular strengths, such as participatory monitoring tools, curriculum development and strategic planning. There were lively discussions on gender, leadership and how to best assess community needs.

The participants identified several shared challenges and discussed solutions and long-term strategies based upon their own professional experiences. The exchange also identified vocational training programs that could be implemented usefully elsewhere. A successful Timorese program of handcrafting furniture from local, sustainable bamboo resources could be suitable for the Solomon Islands, given the natural availability of bamboo. Similarly, a Cambodian program of freshwater fish farming could make use of easily available feed resources to provide rural communities with a cheap and reliable source of protein. The next South-to-South Exchange will be held in Timor-leste in 2013. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA believes in the full and genuine participation of local communities in their fight for decent work and dignified development. You can support the work of Union Aid AbroadAPHEDA by becoming a Global Justice Partner and making a monthly tax deductible contribution. Please freecall 1800 888 674 or visit www.apheda.org.au for more information.

In the Philippines, the government is proposing to extend formal education by two years to meet educational goals, but without increasing the number of teachers, classrooms and other basic facilities. Education unions are calling on the government to address fundamental education issues, and extend the resources currently available, rather than simply increasing the number of years students attend school. The practical impact of the proposed changes is expected to be massive, with the government admitting that there is a shortage of at least 50,000 classrooms. The education union believes that the provision of quality kindergarten education and addressing the shortage of basic education resources, such as teachers, classrooms, and textbooks, would be the most effective way to increase education outcomes in the country. Teacher unions in Uganda have called the latest wage proposals from the government ‘inhuman and undermining teachers’ dignity’. The government is proposing wage rises of between 6% to 15%, but with an annual inflation rate of 30%, this proposal represents a dramatic cut in real wages. Unions fear that reduced wages, combined

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with a reduction in the national education budget, will result in a lack of qualified teachers and have a major impact on the education of a generation of children. The New Zealand government has scrapped plans to increase the student-teacher ratio used to determine funding in order to make budgetary savings. The backdown was the result of a nationwide campaign by education unionists and the education sector, and was joined by huge numbers of parents and members of the community. The government’s plan would not only have resulted in funding savings, but would also have resulted in significant job losses across the country. The union continues to fight government proposals around performance pay and cuts to early childhood education funding. And finally, a high school student in Utah, USA, didn’t bring his homework to class because he misplaced it. Unfortunately, he had misplaced it in a house he had burgled, where police found his backpack and USb stick containing his homework, leading to his arrest. No word on whether he got a passing grade from his teacher, but a judge will have something to say about his sentence structure…


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