Page 1

Victorian Catholic update Page 3

Bargaining roundup Page 5

Mandatory reporting explored Page 8

Election education policies Page 10

Getting VIT registration right Page 13

print post 100010937

indePendent education union VICTorIa TasManIa

VoluME 3 no 4

auGusT 2013

general secretary Deb james

show us some love – or at least some resPect

The education election

If a week is a long time in politics, The Point cycle is an eternity. As the last edition was hitting letterboxes, Peter Garrett was Education Minister, a Better Schools package remained a distant possibility in Victoria, and Kevin Rudd had just defeated Julia Gillard in a ballot for the Prime Ministership. Now we find ourselves in the middle of an election campaign where education is, if not the key issue of the campaign, certainly a significant factor.

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ony Abbott’s promise to match Labor’s school funding reforms in the first four years of the six-year deal looks like promising news at first glance, and it’s certainly fair to say it’s an improvement on the Liberal Party’s previous position of immediately reverting back to the existing inequitable, poorly-resourced school funding model we operate within at the moment. There’s a bit of sleight of hand about this pledge though – Tony Abbott and his education spokesperson Christopher Pyne are well aware that the big funding improvements promised in the Better Schools package don’t really start rolling in until years five and six. The complete package proposed by the Government calls for an injection of $10 billion over the full six-year period, but only $2.8 billion is allocated for the first 4 years. In addition, there would be no requirement for state governments to contribute extra funding, or to distribute funding allocations on the basis of genuine need. Not long after addressing our Victorian Council meetings in June, as reported in the last edition, Bill Shorten found himself taking on the Education portfolio as part of a wide-ranging reshuffle after Julia Gillard’s departure. Just before Mr Rudd announced an election date, the Victorian and federal governments were finally able to reach compromise on the shape and scale of the Better Schools package in Victoria. This means Victoria now joins New South Wales,

South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, as well as the Catholic and independent sectors, in locking in a new funding deal. While the IEU remains sceptical about the extra workload that will be placed on teachers in order to receive this extra funding (more detail in Mark Williams’ column on page 6), this significant injection of extra money into our schools will certainly be welcome when it is eventually delivered. The other key issue that should be of interest to IEU members as we head to the ballot box on 7 September is industrial relations, where the two major parties couldn’t be further apart. More information on the Liberals’ plans for our workplaces and the capacity of unions to organise in them can be found on pages 3 and 7. Suffice to say, the industrial relations landscape in Australia will look eerily similar to the last years of the Howard Government should Mr Abbott take office in a few weeks’ time. If WorkChoices was ‘dead, buried and cremated’ by Mr Abbott, we can only assume that in addition to his other skills he’s also figured out how to re-animate corpses. Finally, the federal branch of the IEU wrote some time ago to the Liberal, Labor and Greens parties seeking their responses to a range of questions of interest to our members, to help you make an informed choice about who you vote for at this election. The answers of the Greens and Labor are recorded on page 11. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Liberal Party declined to comment.

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s negotiations for a new Agreement for Catholic schools enter their 20th month with no end in sight, the mood of members grows darker. In recent communications to CEO Directors, members write of their anger and frustration, their disappointment and disillusionment, and the overwhelming sense of being taken for granted by a system big on rhetoric and short on action. Where is the respect for our work they ask? Where is the justice? Many praise their leaders at the local level, their principals and parish priests. But this is not where the problem lies. Confidence in the ‘system’ is at an all-time low. The perception is that when it comes to employees, Catholic employer bargaining representatives are a long way from espousing ideals that attracted so many to Catholic schools over the years. Foremost among these is social justice. Instead of recognising and rewarding the considerable and valuable contribution of those who go above and beyond in Catholic schools, Catholic employer representatives attempt to tear away at long held conditions. Most disappointing is that they are currently targeting provisions that protect the sick and the vulnerable; the pregnant and low paid. Under the guise of ‘simplifying’ Agreement clauses, we have found time and time again that their tweaking and tightening masks a reduction of entitlements that would affect all employees. It is hard to believe their agenda is supported at all by school leaders. Catholic schools run on a generous amount of good will. However, it’s a finite resource and must not be taken for granted.


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THE POINT August 2013

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. 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. DESIGN/SUBEDITOR

Deborah Kelly

COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT General Secretary Debra James Deputy Secretary Loretta Cotter Assistant Secretary (Tas) Angela Briant President Mark Williams Deputy President Elisabeth Buckley Ordinary Members Patrick Bennett Coralie Taranto

Andrew Dunne Emma Wakeling

School Officers Margot Clark

Christine Scott

Maureen Shembrey

When

What

Where

20 August

Seminar: Communication Styles

Melbourne

24 August

IEU Council

Melbourne

30 August

Student Teacher Conference

Hobart

7 September

Federal Election

National

17 September

Seminar: ESS & Clerical Staff

22 – 25 September

Victorian Teachers Games

Ballarat

25 September

CRT Conference

Melbourne

FOOTY TIPPING

after 20 rounds, the premiership race has opened up with the magnificent late season form of the Magpies, hot favourites Geelong getting the wobbles, the Tigers finishing above 9th, and the ominous form of Freemantle.

Council Presidents & Deputies Catholic Primary Council President: Maree Shields Deputy: Vacant Catholic Secondary Council President: Stephen Hobday Deputy: Ruth Pendavingh Independent Council President: Cara Maxworthy Deputy: Vacant Tasmanian Council President: John Waldock Deputy: Jeremy Oliver Principals’ Council President: John Connors Deputy: Duncan Arendse

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dd to this the possibility of Essendon losing points which will give a side from outside the eight a wild card entry into the finals, and the stage is set for an exciting finish. What can't be lost in all this is the disappointing performance of the Blues under Mick Malthouse (Come back Ratts, all is forgiven). While this is all very exciting, it is nothing compared to the compelling activity in the IEU footy tipping competition. Kylie laszczyk from St Gabriel's School Traralgon and Helen Theodoropoulos from Alphington Grammar are locked together on 133 with David Distan from The Knox School closing in on 132. With three rounds to go, anything can happen. So keep getting your tips in to be eligible for our prizes .... Thanks to sponsors ME Bank and the Catholic super Fund for their generous support.

what’s The IEU and asylum seekers Where the IEU stands on the humanitarian crisis on our doorstep page 4 Bargaining update Progress on negotiations for new agreements

page 5

Before you resign… Ask yourself some important questions before committing

page 6

WorkChoices 2.0? The second part of Robert Corr’s look at Liberal plans for IR

page 7

Make an informed vote The IEU asked the major parties some questions ahead of the election. Here are their answers.

page 10

Pregnancy and discrimination A new enquiry seeks to address the issues

page 11

Violence at work Why it’s never okay, and what you can do

page 12

Tasmania and the NBN How super-fast broadband overcomes the tyranny of distance page 13 Conferences and PD news What the IEU has been up to across Victoria and Tasmania

page 17

Home and abroad Education news from Australia and the wider world

page 19

sTuDeNT TeaCher CoNFereNCe Tas hobarT 30 auGusT The IEu Best Foot Forward student teacher conference will be held in Hobart for the first time on 30 august.

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he conference is designed to prepare students for the inevitable challenges they will face when they are trying to secure their first job. The all day conference features morning and afternoon sessions of invaluable professional development, lunch, morning and afternoon tea. The morning session will feature Steve Whittington, Schooljobs.com founder and Director of Oxford Education. Steve will focus on how to refine and develop a CV and cover letter before moving on to how to impress at an interview. In the afternoon participants will hear from a panel of principals from some of Tasmania’s best Catholic and independent schools on what they look for in a graduate teacher. This will be followed by smaller group sessions which will provide a great opportunity for students to ask questions and gain insights. Places are limited and registrations close on 27 August. To register go to www.tln.org.au/bestfootforward


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victorian catholic agreement at the time of writing, the agreement in the government sector has been approved by the Fair Work Commission and pay rises will be flowing through soon to all staff in government schools.

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t is incredibly disappointing and frustrating that the negotiations for the Victorian Catholic Agreement have not concluded, and members are understandably very concerned about the impact of this delay.

Why have we been unable to reach resolution?

A fundamental flaw in the process this time around has been the refusal of employer representatives to agree to any union claims in more than a year of negotiations, regardless of whether the issue was low cost or cost neutral. For example, because the last Agreement was made under WorkChoices legislation, we had to remove rep training leave from the Agreement and put it in a separate Memorandum of Understanding. Putting it back in the Agreement this time around should have been a discussion lasting minutes. But even something as simple as this was challenged by employer representatives and unable to

be progressed unless it was part of the ‘total package’. The ‘total package’ was finally put formally to the Union on 18 July. Despite the bland rhetoric of CECV communications to staff depicting this offer as comprehensive and reasonable, it is the opposite. The total package required that the Union agree to 21 employer proposals in exchange mainly for pay rises and a small list of improvements. The pay rises for school officers and school services officers were not acceptable to the Union. The price the CECV wanted to extract from staff in Catholic education in exchange for any gains was also not acceptable. Be very clear. Employer representatives were seeking to reduce personal leave entitlements, eliminate automatic progression up the scale for teachers, reduce break times for school officers, reduce Position of Leadership (POL) allowances, and a lot more.

What next?

The IEU proposed to employer representatives that the assistance of the Fair Work Commission be sought to try and break the deadlock. Employer representatives agreed. The parties have agreed to not make public at this stage the details of this conciliation.

And then?

We will either reach resolution and ask members to endorse a proposed Agreement, or we will not. A lot is dependent on whether some fundamental employer positions are dropped, and whether we can achieve a new classification structure for support staff that provides a genuine career path, with commensurate pay rises. We want an Agreement that recognises how hard members work and actually improves conditions. Members are right to feel angry at the paucity of proper process exhibited during this round of bargaining.

The devil is always in the detail dePuty secretary loreTTa CoTTer

Reading the Liberal Party’s IR policy is like taking a gentle stroll through the woods. It is a sunny document, full of optimism and promises, but scant on detail. It heralds a future where the balance is right for the underpaid and those they work for.

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ony Abbott won’t wind back the Fair Work Act but he is open to ‘improving it’. He wants to ensure that the laws ‘work for everyone’. Given that the Act’s provisions have provided some real teeth and protections for workers in bargaining, you have to assume that he would like them to work the other way. No-one in the Coalition wants to bring up the spectre of WorkChoices again, and so picking your way through what they would do to the Fair Work Act is like unscrambling an egg. The

language used in the policy is bland and unthreatening – they would ensure that enterprise bargaining is ‘sensible and productive’. They might of course have to change the laws to do that, but you can bet that this will only occur after the election, and after an ‘independent review’ that regretfully concludes that the laws don’t provide enough protection for employers in respect to industrial action. So getting the balance right in enterprise bargaining foreshadows that industrial action will only be

allowed when all other avenues have been exhausted and the Commission will have to be satisfied before it approves an Agreement where the parties have ‘discussed ways to improve productivity’. In the current context, improving productivity is all about scrapping penalty rates and reducing workers’ entitlements. The policy states that a Coalition government will ‘ensure union right of entry provisions are sensible and fair’ and talks about the rights of non-union members to relax during their lunch breaks and not be forced to listen to union bosses. It mentions the rights of employers to choose what location a union official should be placed in, and meetings only at the request of identified members in a workplace. Sounds

intimidating for workers. Sounds like WorkChoices. There is some detail about stripping back the investigative powers of the Commission and establishing a new ‘independent’ watchdog with powers similar to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for ‘ensuring that registered organisations comply’ with all the new reporting obligations and financial penalties that they will introduce. And of course they’ll bring back the controversial Australian Building and Construction Commission with all of its coercive powers. So the stroll through the woods has become a lot less pleasant. There are lions and tigers and bears. You just won’t see them all until after a Coalition government is elected.


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THE POINT August 2013

News school issues around tasmania

bargaining

Tasmanian caTholic secTor updaTe

it’s all happening

in contemplating the most pressing subject to write about for this edition of The Point i realised that there were just so many things competing for attention. This is entirely typical of the constantly busy life of a school.

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t’s true life is never dull and there is no excuse to be bored, but as we all know the constant juggling act can be wearing. Perhaps it’s of some assistance that now with the year divided into four terms of variously nine, ten or eleven weeks when all staff are absolutely flat out, teachers have a two-week recovery period. It’s very important for teachers and other staff to get out of the school on occasion and participate in professional learning opportunities. This creates space for contemplation away from the business of the usual school day. Members’ phone calls to our Hobart and Melbourne office

clearly illustrate the current pressing concerns. Of late, frequently asked questions include: n primary school reports with the new pro-forma requirements; n access to and registration for IEU member PD seminars and workshops; n PD in the Pub; n Workplace health & safety rep elections, and n training and support for members who are ‘asked’ to come to a meeting with the principal. To finish - a reminder about meetings with the principal, as we have had quite a few member enquiries on this lately.

The IEU met with the employers for two days of concentrated negotiations on 8 and 9 August. assistant secretary (tasmania) aNgela briaNT If the principal requests that an employee attend a meeting, there should be reasonable notice, and the employee has the absolute right to be provided with the agenda in writing before the meeting. The principal should also convey the level of seriousness of the matter. It is also very important that the employee doesn’t go to that meeting alone; it’s not a great situation when an employee trustingly turns up for a meeting to find a cast of thousands installed – and with the principal, the deputy principal and a note-taker present and a lone member that’s how it can feel. Just a reminder, our toll free number is 1800 622 889.

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he employers finally put a position on salary increases. They implied that they are working on the basis that increases for teachers will be based on increases in the Government sector. Their position is that all support staff salary increases would be adjusted only by Hobart CPI. (The Hobart CPI was 1.8% over the last 12 months, less than the national CPI of 2.4%). On the employers’ calculations, if this proposal had applied from 2003 to 2102, your average salary increases would have been 2.9% per year instead of 4.5% for the last 10 years. Clearly support staff are much better off having received the same increases as teachers and the employers are out to break this connection. On other issues there was robust but respectful discussion about a number of IEU claims

including: lunch break for teachers, communicable diseases leave, caps on class size for practical classes, family violence leave and time allowance for positions of authority. We expect further progress on these and other claims at the next meeting to be held on 22 August. The IEU made it very clear that the support staff wage offer was totally unacceptable. Now is the time to collectively make your voice heard on this. The IEU believes that the established practice, where all staff receive the same percentage salary increase as teachers, should be retained. This is a timely reminder that workers have to dig in and stand firm and united, not just to achieve improved outcomes but to retain hard won existing conditions.

federal Politics

our humaNiTariaN Crisis

Many of our members have experiences where they feel proud to be union: the march to Parliament House in support of a just wage outcome, or perhaps the solidarity of negotiating an Industrial Agreement. The recent stance put by the IEU on the government’s treatment of asylum seekers is another reason to be proud.

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ationally, the IEU recently sent out an important social policy position on refugees. This policy position focusses on the need to help refugees and also looks at the issue of detaining children. In Tasmania, for example, there are now some 330 refugee kids between the ages of 9 and 17. One of the recent detainees in Pontville in Tasmania, Sadiq Ali had been in detention centres for 10 months on Christmas Island, in Darwin and lastly in Pontville. Pontville is the destination of all unaccompanied refugee children who came in boats to Australia. Union members and organisers have visited Sadiq both in Pontville and Melbourne, and he was always very excited to have visitors who were passionate and believed in social justice. Sadiq is now not in detention, but in Melbourne in Community Detention, a form of communal house living with a caretaker who looks after a group of kids. Being excited with the opportunities Australia brings and that freedom provides, Sadiq was recently able to fulfil a dream: to see one of his favourite football teams, the legendary Liverpool.

IEU Statement on Asylum Seekers

The IEU reaffirms its opposition to the current treatment of asylum seekers by the Australian Government. The IEU urges all political parties and Members of Parliament to stop using policies regarding asylum seekers to foster misunderstanding, social division and distrust, and instead use it as an opportunity to get on with the job of fulfilling Australia’s commitment under the Refugee Convention to treat people humanely, process applications for asylum on-shore, and promote the better treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in our region. The IEU calls on the Australian Government to abandon off-shore processing altogether and to reform Australia’s stance on asylum seekers in line with our international obligations. The IEU calls for: n Both major political parties to respect and acknowledge that neither indefinite detention nor sending asylum seekers to uncertainty in other countries can be presented as a just or credible response to the

needs of people seeking refuge and protection in Australia n The Australian Government to take leadership and reframe the national debate about refugees and asylum seekers, explaining that the majority of people who have entered Australia by boat seeking asylum have been found to need protection from persecution, and therefore that the vulnerability of asylum seekers must be a primary consideration in any government response to people movement n The Australian Government to immediately move to process all asylum seekers onshore. Following initial detention for preliminary health and security checks, a detention that should be capped at one month, after that, while their refugee status is being determined, they should be released into the community on conditions that will ensure that they remain available for processing and (if necessary) removal. They should be allowed to work and live in dignity. Detention beyond the initial processing should only occur in exceptional circumstances n The Australian Government to enable Australia’s community sector to support and resettle people humanely and effectively, as an appropriate, sensitive and least expensive solution to Australia’s humanitarian responsibilities, instead of spending substantial funds deporting people overseas and building facilities offshore n The Australian Government to increase our refugee and humanitarian intake in the region. Increasing Australia’s intake of refugees from the region is one of the most effective, economic and humane ways to respond to people smuggling n The Australian Government to continue to work towards a regional solution to the plight of people seeking asylum. Australia should build on the progress in recent years to work with governments in Asia-Pacific and beyond to work towards fundamental change to the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in the region n The Australian Government to immediately cease detention of asylum seeker children under 18 years of age, noting the psychological harm being caused to already traumatised children and families as a consequence of current detention arrangements.


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August 2013 THE POINT

5

News

bargain update

around the grounds, the labs, the libraries and classrooms of independent schools bargains are getting done. Dedicated staff who have agreed to be bargaining reps give up their time to represent their colleagues at the bargaining table. This can be a rewarding experience, giving insight into how schools operate, a chance to learn about the variety of work done in schools and a bit about industrial relations.

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he outcome of bargaining is the Agreement – each unique to its school. Here’s a look at where bargaining is up to across some of the schools we are negotiating at now. At Melbourne Montessori School meetings have commenced. The IEU presented the employee log of claims for improvements to the current Agreement, particularly parity of conditions for education support staff. A claim for paid parental leave has been made and we hope it can be accepted. Staff wellbeing is also a high priority. The claim will be taken to the Board for consideration and the employer response will be discussed at the next meeting. After a ‘No’ vote at Melbourne Girls’ Grammar last year, bargaining has resumed. While the 2012 draft agreement has been put forward as the starting point for negotiations, both parties have indicated new claims will be made. So far a schedule of meetings has been set and salaries are being looked at in light of the Government schools wage outcome. Bargaining has also commenced at Westbourne Grammar where the employee claim has been put, with face-to-face teaching hours and workload being important matters to be addressed. The employer response is under consideration. Similarly at firbank Grammar School a claim has been tabled which includes claims for a review of the POR arrangements, the ability to request a return to work part-time after maternity leave and the ability to take long service leave in periods of less than a term. Bargaining for the first comprehensive all staff Agreement is close to concluding at Lauriston Girls’ School. This Agreement will see the consolidation of the current teachers and school assistants Agreement with the education support staff Agreement. All staff are now considering the wage increase on offer of 3% per year for the next 3 years and improvements to various conditions including increases to PORs. Bargaining has begun at Life Education Victoria where IEU members have not had a pay increase since January 2012. Members are seeking a 4% increase and improvements to their career structure, recognition of travel time, improved redundancy benefits and increased paid parental leave (currently set at 6 weeks). Negotiations have concluded at Bialik College which continues to offer a 4% pay premium on government schools for both teachers and assistants. The new Agreement includes new pay points for assistants, improved parental leave, improved

camp allowance of $68 a night and clear rights to consultation and representation. Carey Baptist Grammar School negotiations have been very slow – the school is currently only offering 3% per annum increases in pay. Modest claims in relation to maintaining the Carey 1% additional superannuation, specifying a maximum number of teaching days per year and improving consultation with staff have been rejected at this stage. At Woodleigh School we have had our first members’ meetings to develop a list of claims. The Taylors English Language College Agreement has been lodged with FWA and includes improved long service leave, increased redundancy benefits and 3.5% pay increases per annum. Agreement is close to being reached at Ballarat Christian College. A formal wage offer is still to be made, but a number of significant conditions have been agreed. Improvements include 6 weeks of paid parental leave (in the Agreement for the first time) provision for up to 8 days family violence leave, sabbatical leave, camp allowance, improved dispute resolution, and performance and conduct management mechanisms. The bargaining team at Kilvington Grammar School is now ready to finalise the last details in relation to ELC assistants wages and classification structure and will then move on to drafting. The new Agreement offers a 0.5% pay rise on the staff voting in favour of the Agreement following a 3% wage increase passed on at the beginning of the year. A further 3.5% increase will be made in February 2014 and subsequent increases will be negotiated in June for each increase in the life of the 4 year Agreement. Paid parental leave will be increased from 8 weeks to 12 weeks, and progress to 14 weeks paid leave by the end of the Agreement. Improved clarity on face-to-face and extracurricular requirements will be reflected in policy and improved procedures for management of performance, and conduct issues will be in the Agreement. It is anticipated the Agreement will be ready to go to the vote before the end of term. At any given time the IEU and reps are making requests to commence bargaining, actively developing claims, negotiating at the table, drafting or promoting the benefits of bargaining both in the schools mentioned above and lots of other schools as well. What is important to acknowledge is the fabulous dedication and hard work of IEU bargaining reps, wherever they may be!

Cathy Walsh, Principal Dr Douglas Peck, IEU Organiser David Brear, IEU Rep Wendy Baines, Alistair Pitman

PleNTY ValleY Deal

Members of staff at Plenty Valley Christian College have voted overwhelmingly to endorse the school’s first Collective Agreement which lifts teachers’ wages above government school rates, introduces new incremental pay points for General staff and delivers a number of significant improvements to conditions for all employees.

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he Agreement was a long time in the making, with the IEU first putting together a log of claims back in 2011. The end result is an Agreement which captures key pre-reform Award conditions, elements of the Modern Award and a raft of other conditions, in one comprehensive document. Wage rates for teachers at Plenty Valley beat rates paid in government schools in each year of the Agreement, with the margin widening in 2016 when Plenty Valley teachers pick up an additional 3%. General staff will receive a 3% increase per annum, as well as an additional incremental point at most levels. All staff will be eligible for 15 days personal leave per annum, 3 days compassionate leave and 39 weeks accident make-up pay. Available severance pay has been improved and for the first time the College is offering a paid parental allowance. All staff will accrue 1.3 weeks of long service leave for each year of service. The Agreement also seeks to deal with the issue of teacher workload, with maximum faceto-face hours capped at 20 hours per week at secondary and 22 at primary. Class sizes are capped at 27 at all levels except Prep and VCE where they are limited to 25.

There is a limit of no more than 2 hours per week on after school meetings and an agreement that no after school meetings will be scheduled during weeks when reports are due or staff face other major workload commitments like parent teacher nights and presentation evenings. IEU members Alistair Pitman, Wayne Gillies, Cathy Walsh and Wendy Baines did an outstanding job negotiating this breakthrough deal with the school. College Principal Dr Douglas Peck led the College’s negotiation team with Bernie Simmonds assisting. Athelia Du Preez provided administrative support. IEU Officer David Brear said the process of negotiating the new Agreement had been slow but overwhelmingly positive. ‘Plenty Valley is a really caring school with a great staff,’ he said, ‘the IEU sub-branch at the school is strong and determined to play a continuing role in the school, while always respecting the College’s Christian ethos.’ Plenty Valley Christian College is in Doreen, one of Melbourne’s major growth corridors. The school is a member of Christian Education National and offers the IBO Primary Schools Program. There are around 800 students at the school across all levels.

luTHEran nEGoTIaTIons

Representatives of the IEU met with the Lutheran Education South East Region (LESER) bargaining team and other bargaining representatives on 23 July for the third meeting of the negotiation process.

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he LESER team, including representatives from Independent Schools Victoria (ISV), initially provided a response to claims put by the IEU on behalf of members and then began to set out their own log of claims. While discussions have not been adversarial, LESER has rejected most of the IEU claims. These include claims to promote consultation in schools and to provide better regulation of workload. The initial rejection of these claims is concerning, especially given that these are major issues for members in schools. In addition, the employer’s own claim sets out a number of proposed changes to existing conditions that if delivered would,

in our view, disadvantage employees going forward. In particular, we are concerned about the proposed ‘deregulation’ of face-to-face teaching hours across schools and the employer proposal to move to a single platform for the future employment of non-teaching staff that would allow schools to stand them down without pay for holiday periods beyond 4 weeks of annual leave. LESER is yet to provide details of a number of elements of their claim including salaries, parental leave arrangements and proposed changes to the classification structure for School Assistants/School Officers but has advised that they intend to do so over coming meetings.


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THE POINT August 2013

News from the President

RIP Gonski, long live Better Schools

readers may remember my last article being quite up-beat about the gonski funding reforms (now called Better Schools Plan) and the positive deal that independent and Catholic schools would get if they signed up by the end of that month.

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ign-ups did not come thick and fast, but in recent weeks the National Catholic Education Commission and independent school authorities did sign up to what I still think is the most creative and targeted approach to need and disadvantage that any Government has attempted to address in such a transparent way since Federation. It certainly is better than anything the Liberal National Party opposition has been willing to commit – they see no problem with the current funding mechanism for schools. As a side line to this, it is interesting though, that staff in Catholic schools have been encouraged in the past year to continually write to and put pressure on our local Labor Federal members to gain a better funding deal for our schools,

which we now have. And yet, certain Directors of Catholic Education and independent school authorities have remained somewhat silent on publically pressuring or embarrassing State Liberals or Nationals in order for them to also increase their share of the responsibility for Education ….I wonder why? Back to the funding model – it is generous, as all schools receiving funding via the new School Resource Standard (SRS) would receive base funding per student for secondary and primary and extra ‘loadings’ would be added according to each school’s SES, school size, location and according to each student who is Indigenous, has a disability or is from a nonEnglish speaking background. There would also be annual indexation of 4.7 per cent from the Commonwealth to non-

government schools. Unfortunately, the new funding formula will also impose a long list of compliance requirements on schools which could significantly increase the workload on staff and schools. Non-government employers have agreed to meet the requirements of the National Plan for School Improvement (NPSI) and National Education Reform Agenda (NERA) which will impose many compliance requirements, some already being implemented, others are new for individual schools. Such things as expecting school staff to develop individual learning plans for every student, accelerate learning outcomes for Indigenous students, develop parent learning programs and community campaigns, conduct a reading blitz in lower grades, provide a comprehensive

mentoring program for graduates and undertake yearly performance review meetings with a principal or delegate are practices already well entrenched in many or most schools. We know they work, we know they improve our learning, our students’ learning and we already report this on ‘My School’, which it is obvious few people read, including our politicians. In observing the recent Victorian Government education EBA negotiations and experiencing the utter frustration of unappreciative Catholic authorities in our negotiations – why would any principal, teacher, school officer or other school employee agree to work harder, when we cannot even get a REAL increase in wages guaranteed without losing conditions. Yet the System is happy to sign them up to increased workloads.

resign yourself to a new future

taking your leave

It’s that time of the year again when staff in schools start thinking about greener pastures, or at the very least, if not greener, different pastures. As a result between now and Christmas the IEU office experiences a significant increase in queries relating to the resignation of employment. So here are a few answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that might help avoid the pitfalls of doing the wrong thing and to get you thinking about the right way to resign. When should i resign? Our best advice is to resign when you have made a definite decision to leave your current employment (and you don’t want to come back). In practical terms if you are resigning to take another position make sure that you don’t resign until the new position, and its details, are confirmed in writing. Sometimes, even with the best intentions offers of potential employment can fall through, leaving you out in the cold. Resigning may not be the best option if you are uncertain about what you are going to do, or you just want a break . It might be worth thinking about the option of requesting leave without pay. Leave without pay protects your existing position and entitlements but the downside is that it is generally not an entitlement and is at the discretion of the employer. can my employer refuse to accept my resignation? No. You can’t be forced to remain employed if you don’t want to, although your mortgage might say otherwise. What if i change my mind? Once you have resigned it is very difficult to reverse your decision without the agreement of your employer. Avoid chucking the towel in during the heat of the moment as you may end up unemployed when you didn’t really want to be and with no capacity to get re-instated. do i need to give notice? We would always encourage you to give as much notice as possible to allow both you and your employer to make plans for the future. Having said that, because of particular circumstances, there may be occasions where you can only give limited notice or none at all. In these circumstances the employer cannot force you to remain at work to complete any specified notice period but they may be entitled to withhold pay, or monies owing, as a ’penalty’ for not giving the minimum specified notice. The minimum specified notice is not necessarily the same for every employee. do i need to resign if i am on a fixed term contract? If you are validly on a fixed term contract that has an end date, there

is no need to resign or to give notice if you are working up to that date. However, if you are seeking another appointment, it is a good idea to talk to your employer early in the piece to clarify your intentions, and the ability and willingness of the school to meet them. how much notice must i give? In short there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer. The amount of notice you may be required to give and the implications of failing to give the specified amount of notice (ie. the capacity to withhold pay/monies owing) will depend on n whether you work in Victoria or Tasmania n what sector you work in n what your enterprise Agreement says (if you have one) n what you are employed as n potentially, how long you have worked there n whether you have a common law contract that provides superior provisions. Make sure you ring your IEU organiser to get specific advice -no wonder the phones run hot at the IEU office! do i need to resign in writing? It is always best to put it in writing so there is clear confirmation of your intent and the date when notice was given. What should my resignation letter say? You need to specify the date your resignation will come into effect but you don’t have to provide any reasons or detail, unless you want to. It is a good idea to talk to your IEU organiser to get a clear idea of the entitlements you are due on resignation. if i resign, can my employer terminate my employment early? Once you have given notice of your resignation date employers can opt to pay out your notice period rather than require you to work, but you should not be financially disadvantaged. Of course if you continue to work through your notice period the same provisions around summary dismissal apply that might, in some circumstances, justify an earlier termination by your employer.


August 2013 THE POINT

7

Feature

GOT proTecTion? federal election 2013

This is the second part of an edited article by Robert Corr, republished with the author’s permission. The original article, including relevant sources, is at robertcorr.com/abbott-industrial-relations. IEu members already came together to help kill off WorkChoices once. We shouldn’t have to do it again.

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he’ll force the commission to toe the liberal line

Part of Tony Abbott’s strategy is to use the Fair Work Commission as a fig leaf for his attacks on workers. The government will ask the Commission to slash penalty rates. The government will make the Commission decide whether a free pizza outweighs the loss of penalty rates. The government will force the Commission to block ‘exorbitant’ agreements. But for this strategy to work, Abbott needs to be sure that the Commission will follow directions—and a ‘sting in the tail’ of his policy is his threat to stack it with political appointments. Ahead of the Commission’s hearings on changes to the minimum wage, The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) told reporters it ‘supported an independent tribunal continuing to adjust minimum wages’ – but, if the Commission disagreed with ACCI’s preferred approach, ‘then the legislation will need to be changed to make sure it happens’.

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he’ll strip civil rights from building workers

Abbott has waged a long war against building workers. The Building Industry Taskforce and its successor, the Australian Building and Construction Commission, were found by judges to be ‘hopeless’, ‘undemocratic’, ‘authoritarian’, and ‘foreign to the workplace relations of civilised societies’. It has been criticised by a Commissioner for creating disputes by encouraging employers to take an adversarial approach to union safety inspections, conducting biased investigations, and putting words in the mouths of witnesses, and destroying notes. This is an attack on safety in one of Australia’s most dangerous industries statistics suggest that construction workers died as a result of Abbott’s ideological campaign. But despite this track record of bias and incompetence, Abbott is threatening to restore the draconian powers of the ABCC—including allowing members of the public to be hauled off like terrorists for secret interrogations, which they are forbidden from discussing even with their families. And we know it’s not ‘lawlessness’ that Abbott wants to stamp out, but unions. Abbott is not concerned about bad bosses. He’s on an ideological crusade against the building unions that save workers’ lives.

3

he’ll stop unions talking to workers

Giving union officials access to workplaces is essential to give workers real freedom of association. Disturbingly, this is one of the areas in which Abbott is openly calling for a return to WorkChoices – he says his new right of entry laws will be ‘modelled on’ the restrictive rules that were overturned by the Fair Work Act. Research shows that a large proportion of people who were not in a union would prefer to be a member – as many as 1.5 million potential members – and that workers who were on AWAs under WorkChoices were more likely to want to join a union. Restricting discussions between unions and those potential members denies them their freedom of association.

Under current rules, unions are only allowed to access workplaces to hold discussions during break times, but Abbott’s plan would allow employers to hide them away—for example, putting them in an isolated meeting room where employees need to walk past the boss’s office and identify themselves for anti-union harassment later. It is a plan to give workers access to their union in a formal, legalistic sense, but to deny them that right in practice.

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he’ll tie up unions in bureaucratic red tape

Mr Abbott plans to create a new Registered Organisations Commission to bury unions in paperwork, distracting them from their core business of looking after their members’ interests. Abbott’s policy summary claims he would require unions to ‘play by the same rules as companies and directors’ - but when you read the fine print, you discover that the Corporations Act is just a ‘starting point’ and the real obligations will be determined after the election. We can see how this might play out by looking at Queensland, with its new laws imposing financial restrictions on unions that are designed to prevent them from participating in election campaigns. It is so draconian that even the right-wing IPA calls it ‘a thinly-veiled attempt to restrict freedom of speech and freedom of political participation’, hidden under ‘the usual rhetoric about transparency and accountability’.

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he’ll go even further after the election

But the real threat comes from what Abbott’s policy doesn’t say. It is a deliberately vague political document, designed to deflect attention from WorkChoices while giving maximum room to move after the election. Professor Andrew Stewart says Abbott’s policy is a ‘ticking time bomb’ that ‘set[s] up the possibility of major changes’. In fact, the whole Fair Work Act is up for negotiation, with the economic rationalists at the Productivity Commission to be given carte blanche to draft their fantasy IR system—and its last public statement on the issue was that the problem with WorkChoices was that it was not ‘adequately explained nor understood by the public’. And just to be safe, the business lobby is being urged to draft the rules for the Productivity Review, and Abbott to consider ‘the appointment of more than one commissioner’ to ensure ‘the right people’ run the review stacking the umpire again. The pressure is on - the Business Council is already telling Abbott that ‘employers did not have time to wait’ for further change; Liberal Party powerbrokers are urging business to ‘start campaigning in October for substantial changes if Mr Abbott wins the September election’ – yes, they want to wait until after the election before making their demands. Meanwhile, Liberal MPs are already repudiating official policy, saying there is ‘room to maneouvre after the election’. This is an orchestrated strategy that has been used in the Coalition States. There’s no reason to think Abbott won’t fall in line when business unleashes its campaign to restore WorkChoices.


8

THE POINT August 2013

Feature

mandatory reporting issues

duty of care

In the May edition of The Point the features of Victoria’s mandatory reporting scheme were outlined. This article follows on from that story and explores some of the difficulties faced when determining whether a situation creates an obligation to report for teachers and principals.

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he Victorian Institute of Teaching website refers to two cases in relation to mandatory reporting. This article provides more detail about those cases, AB v Victoria and Sullivan v Moody. Mandatory reporting legislation in Tasmania is also noted. In an unreported case known as AB v Victoria, a former student sued the State of Victoria for the failure by a government school principal and deputy principal to report what was found should have amounted to a reasonable suspicion that the former student had been and was being sexually abused. The failure to report arose from the time the student was at the school during the period 1991-1992. The student claimed damages against the State, saying that the principal and deputy principal should have formed a reasonable suspicion at that time that abuse was occurring and should therefore have reported it to the appropriate authorities. The former student argued that the failure to report contributed to the abuse by her stepfather continuing. The abuse resulted in her suffering injury. The former student’s claim was brought in negligence seeking damages for the injury she had suffered due to the school failing in its duty to her by failing to report the suspected abuse. The former student was awarded $494,000 in damages. The case of AB occurred prior to the introduction of mandatory reporting legislation in Victoria in 1993. Reporting requirements were extended in 1994 and again in 2005.

Tasmania

In Tasmania, mandatory reporting was first introduced in 1975 with the Child Protection Act 1974 requiring primary school principals to report ‘injury through cruel treatment’ to children under the age of 12. Mandatory reporting obligations were extended to cover teachers in Tasmania in 1997, with the provision becoming operative in 2000 via the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997.

Determining duty of care

In the 2001 High Court Case of Sullivan v Moody, two matters with very similar facts were considered. In both cases, which arose in South Australia, medical practitioners reported suspected child sexual abuse to the Department of Community Welfare. In both instances the suspected abuser was the father of the children. Subsequent departmental and police investigations resulted in the allegations of abuse being dismissed as unsubstantiated. In both instances the fathers sued the health professionals, their employers and the Department in negligence for causing them harm as a result of making an incorrect diagnosis of abuse. The High Court found that firstly the health practitioners did not owe the respective fathers a duty of care. More broadly, the conflict of interests between protecting the welfare of the children and avoiding the damage caused by making a report against a person that is subsequently found not to be warranted was considered. The health practitioners were subject to mandatory reporting, and the legislation in South Australia, as in Victoria and Tasmania, provided a protection from civil liability for a reporter acting in good faith. The High Court followed the principle that a ‘common law duty of care cannot be imposed on a statutory duty if the observance of such common law duty of care would be inconsistent with, or have a

tendency to discourage, the due performance by the local authority of its statutory duties.’ What this means is that if a person who is subject to mandatory reporting makes what is ultimately proved to be a false report in good faith then the person who is adversely affected by the false report cannot then sue the reporter for any damage. The benefit of protecting the child from abuse or potential abuse is more important than the interests of the person accused of the abuse.

Victoria

In Victoria, the legislation requires reporting when a person forms ‘a belief on reasonable grounds that a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm’. In Tasmania, the requirement is the person ‘believes, or suspects, on reasonable rounds, or knows that a child has been or is being abused’. The common law states that a belief requires a greater certainty than a suspicion. A suspicion must have some evidence to support it, whereas a belief requires that the evidence has been tested to some degree. By way of example, an FOI case involved a parent who did volunteer work at a school, against whom other parents initially made complaints of ‘over familiar’ contact with their children. The principal investigated the complaints and counselled the parent about his behaviour around the children. This was not considered to require mandatory reporting. Further parental complaints were made, this time alleging sexual interference with students. The principal conducted an internal investigation into the allegations and found that the allegations of abuse against the parent were not substantiated. A police investigation resulted in similar findings. Strangely, the parent against whom the allegations were made started proceedings against the principal for not making a mandatory report. The parent believed a report would have cleared his name faster than waiting for the principal to do his own investigation. The principal was considered not to have failed in his mandatory reporting obligations by conducting his own investigation before determining whether to make a mandatory report. This was because at the time the allegations were initially made he did not hold a reasonable belief that abuse had occurred or was occurring.

When to report

Mandatory reporting obligations will also arise in some cases without the need for an investigation depending on each particular circumstance. There is little guidance in case law to assist teachers and principals in working out when mandatory reporting obligations arise. The main considerations that the case law and commentary highlight are: n The interests of the child are paramount n The reporter must hold more than a suspicion and it must be based on reasonable beliefs n The belief does not have to be as strong as a known fact, but must have some evidence to support it n The reporter is protected from liability when acting in good faith, even if ultimately proven to be mistaken in his or her belief n If in doubt, seek advice. This article draws on the very informative papers of Ben Matthews and Kerryann Walsh- At the Cutting Edge- Issues in Mandatory Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse by Australian Teachers and Roderick Best- The new mandatory reporting requirements.

back pay... and how about that bonus? 22 August is back pay day in Victorian government schools – and also when staff get their $1000 bonus. Meanwhile, in Catholic schools, the deal seems a long way off.

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o when can staff in Catholic education expect their pay rise and will it matter if a person started working this year, or if they are currently on leave? Way back in 1997 the IEU had a major dispute with the Catholic employers around wages parity. Our members were determined that teachers in Catholic schools should get paid the same rate, from the same date, as teachers working

in government schools. Through the determination of our union, the IEU won the fight, and although parity is not an absolute right, it remains a core expectation of IEU members. Given this, when the deal in Catholic schools is finally done, and the new Agreement is approved by Fair Work Australia, we expect teachers to be back paid to the first pay period in April and

to get their bonus, just like teachers in government schools. The story is a bit different for ESS. The incremental wage scales for school officers and school services officers in Catholic schools are not exactly the same as those for like staff in government schools. We are pushing hard for a new deal for ESS that is different than that delivered in the government sector and, when we get there, ESS will be back-paid to the same date as teachers and get the bonus – pro rata for part-time. Last time, staff who were on paid leave got back pay and the bonus, and those on

unpaid leave got the bonus on return. Staff employed later in the year got back paid to their starting date. The IEU is concerned about how long this is taking and the potential impact on staff who leave Catholic Education before the Agreement is made. Last time, these staff weren’t back-paid and didn’t get the bonus. Of course, the IEU will be working hard to make back pay work for everyone, but, if you are considering leaving Catholic Education, call us first, so we can advise you how your back pay and bonus might be affected.


August 2013 THE POINT

conference

tropical Principals

9

reP Profile

The IEU funds two Principal members to attend the annual APPA conference. This year Paul Cahir, the principal of Nazareth School Grovedale and David O’Connor, principal of St Francis Xavier Corio, were able to use this support to subsidise their attendance at the ICP Conference in Cairns. David has taken the time to share some reflections on this very successful event. ‘don’T ForGeT To WaTer Them Geraniums!’ I recently returned from the 11th World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals. The theme Inspiring Global Leadership was something that grabbed my attention some months ago as we all recognize the impact of global trends, political agendas and cultural diversity. As winter approached, the appeal and reputation of Cairns and its sunny, warm, tropical environment may have also had some influence on attendance. Seriously though, the quality of speakers and structure of the convention was outstanding. As a long-time member of APPA and ACPPA, I have valued the strong sense of collegiality that these two groups foster across all education sectors. Delegates from all corners of the globe gathered at the Cairns Convention Centre from 29 June – 4 July. It was fascinating meeting with and talking to principals from different backgrounds including those from South Africa, Nigeria, New Zealand, Israel and England. Strong representation from the Catholic Primary sector in different states was also evident, especially Western Australia. The program included presentations from national and international speakers including addressing themes of Futures, Change, Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing, and Equity. ‘The world is like a big water bed…you press down here and it comes up there’ A highlight for me was one of the early keynote presentations given by Rev’d Tim Costello who, as current CEO of World Vision, gave an entertaining but powerful and moving (PowerPoint free!) address on global leadership. In his highly public role he evokes strong credibility on a range of global issues, many of which impact directly on his work. Key points included analysis of key issues underpinning and impacting on globalisation. ‘The world is like a big water bed…you press down here and it comes up there,’ he stated to characterise the recent global phenomenon of swine flu and the closing of schools in Australia, the global financial crisis (AKA the North Atlantic banking crisis), refugee migration across border states, climate change (It knows no boundaries) and the global production and consumer economies. In listening to the other key speakers in addressing

global leadership, nearly all identified that this time, this era is a time of remarkable transition, more than change. Tim Costello stated ‘We are [quickly] moving from one recognizable state of being, one recognisable pattern of relationships to a different one - we are an island nation, a wealthy country, with growing hysteria about boat people, partly explained by the insularity brought on by the ocean border of our island continent… the tides of change economic, political, spiritual, cultural and technological are personal and it’s all happening at the same time …on a global scale.’ Tim Costello believes the way forward in schools is closely aligned with how we form a civil society. Globally speaking he believes the school may be the happiest place of many students and a child’s teacher may be one of the few functioning adults they have regular contact with. He advocated the fundamental and critical role of education as an investment in future prosperity in a global role. Equitable spread of funds is necessary now for the social shaping of students in an increasingly global economy. From talking with many of the principals present at the convention, they like me are often focused on the little things in students’ lives that make a difference. The global message from the convention speakers and delegates is that education as a fundamental human right is often lost in the day-to-day existence of individual, school and systemic development and reform. Every girl and boy in every country is entitled to it. Quality education is critical to development both of societies and of individuals, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future. When all children have access to a quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come. www.unicef.org Tim’s parting message drew on a Henry Lawson story, which included the phrase ‘Don’t Forget to Water them Geraniums.’ It portrays an allegory of our daily work -‘Doing the little things, the unseen, the pedestrian things are an important measure of what our life is worth.’ Thanks Tim. For the full version of Reverend Tim Costello’s address and other convention presentations and speakers go to http://www.icponline.org

‘...we are an island nation, a wealthy country, with growing hysteria about boat people, partly explained by the insularity brought on by the ocean border of our island continent...'

linda Kennedy

Embassy English Language College provides top quality general and academic English language courses for overseas students and is based in Lonsdale Street Melbourne. The IEU has a strong membership and an enterprise Agreement at Embassy.

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inda Kennedy is the IEU rep and was one of our bargaining reps at Embassy in recent negotiations. Linda is in the unusual situation for a rep of being employed as a casual teacher. We asked Linda about why she became an IEU rep and how she found the experience of bargaining. ‘I have been at Embassy for four years and previously casual teachers had not been represented in bargaining – even though there are around 25 casual teachers. I thought we needed better job security – I’ve always been someone who speaks up.’

What were some of the issues in bargaining?

‘Several casual teachers wanted to become ongoing staff with paid leave and job security. Of course we also wanted a fair pay increase, and some teachers had more complex preparation they were not properly paid for. The IEU organiser worked out we were not getting the full casual loading – only between 13% and 18%.’

What did you learn from the experience?

‘Bargaining was a lot of work – it was difficult making sure you communicated accurately and made sure everyone had a say. Nearly all the casual teachers joined the union, but we also had to consider issues for the ongoing teachers – in a commercial business it all costs money and there are trade-offs. It was interesting to realise that all our employment conditions were up for negotiation – you don’t have to accept the status quo. There was heated debate early on with management – but once we got into the detail of working out a deal it was fine. We now have a positive working environment and a better Agreement.’

How did you go?

‘Casual teachers now have the right to choose to convert to be ongoing staff after 12 months employment – however the company can keep enough casuals for genuine fluctuations in the business. Several members will take up this option, but quite a few prefer to stay casual and get the casual loading. We have a 3% pay increase each year and the casual loading is increased to 20% at all levels. Teachers delivering Academic English will get a 7.5% loading for preparation. We didn’t get improved redundancy or parental leave – but members were pretty happy.’

What would you do differently next time? Do you have advice for members considering being a rep?

‘I would get together earlier with members and develop a strategy. I think if we are very specific about our claims the employer can cost them and we can get to a deal more quickly. If you are professional and open in how you go about it, you can keep good relationships with management. It was an interesting learning experience - my advice to teachers is: Don’t just complain about it – get involved!’ The Embassy agreement is an important precedent for the private colleges sector that is heavy with casual staff in roles that should really be ongoing positions. The IEu congratulates bargaining reps linda, Matthew, sybille, and Elizabeth - and all members at Embassy on the outcome.


10

THE POINT August 2013

election

education policy questions Party Positions, federal election 2013

To address questions and concerns of members, the Independent Education Union of Australia wrote to the major parties asking for their positions on the future of funding and support for the non-government sector. Unfortunately, the Coalition did not reply.

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he questions were put to incumbent parliamentary leaders Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Leader of the Greens Christine Milne and sought responses to key election issues including changes to industrial relations laws and superannuation levy increases. Unfortunately, by publication date, replies had only been received from Labor and the Greens. Their answers to the IEU’s questions are reproduced below:

Based on your funding policy, what additional money will be received by non-government schools in 2014 over and above 2013 funding? labor Through the Rudd Labor Government’s Better Schools Plan, nongovernment schools will receive around $690 million in additional public funding in 2014 compared to 2013 funding levels, growing to an additional $18.8 billion in extra funding by 2019. This will provide extra resources to support schools implement reforms that will lift student performance such as quality teaching, meeting individual student need and better data and analysis to drive school improvements. Schools will be able to direct these new resources to support their unique local needs whether for additional learning resources for the classroom, increasing support for teacher planning or professional development. Greens The Australian Greens supported the Government’s school funding reforms that will see increases to funding to non-government schools in 2014 over and above 2013 levels. In July, the Australian Greens committed to $2 billion in extra schools funding. This amount is additional to the Government’s commitment, over the forward estimates, to education reform under the Australian Education Act 2013. All non-government schools will be funded under that Act, irrespective of whether their state or territory participates. This funding would flow from 1 January 2014 to the schools that need it most. The Greens would allocate these extra funds to implement the Gonski Review of School Funding more effectively. We would fix gaps in the current framework, which include the opportunity to consistently provide proper assistance for students with a disability.

If elected, will any IR changes planned by your party create additional barriers to our organisers in assisting our members in their workplaces labor The Rudd Labor Government believes that all workers have the right to be represented at work. We respect the roles that unions play in a democratic society. Federal Labor’s Fair Work Act supports collective enterprise bargaining and agreement making. Federal Labor has recently simplified key parts of the right of entry framework, including ensuring that where a union and employer cannot agree on a suitable location for discussions during meal or other breaks that the default position for those discussions will be the place employees usually spend their meal break. The Rudd Labor Government acknowledges the work of the IEU in advocating on behalf of their members right around Australia. Greens The Australian Greens have the most progressive industrial relations policy of all parties currently in Parliament. The Australian Greens strongly believe Australia must have a fair and equitable industrial relations system for all workers. We believe Australia must adhere to International Labour Organisation Conventions under international law. Workers have a right to proper representation by their union which means full rights to access, union representation and officials at work. The Greens support better entry rights for representatives including to remedy breaches of occupational health and safety provisions, breaches of the Fair Work Act and relevant awards or agreements, for other activities relating to strengthening worker’s organisations, and to have discussions about union membership.

What actions will you take to lessen teachers’ workloads and support them in their work? labor Supporting our teachers is a key component of the Rudd Labor Government’s Better Schools Plan. Teachers are critical partners in

improving outcomes for Australian students and achieving our goal for Australia to rank in the top 5 performing countries in reading, mathematics and science by 2025. That’s why we have committed extra funding under the Better Schools Plan to give schools flexibility to choose to employ more school support staff, allowing teachers to focus on teaching and learning. Greens The Australian Greens know that valuing teachers is essential, to ensure world-class education. By providing teachers with the right resources to create supportive environments, we will produce better education opportunities for students. We will: n Respond to the need for additional teachers n Enhance mentoring frameworks for teachers n Boost teachers’ opportunities for professional development n Increase the availability of non-teaching time to enable planning, reflection and collaboration with colleagues We believe the teaching profession should be appropriately remunerated for the essential function it performs in educating Australia’s children. As a community, we have an obligation to support teachers in their work, extending to better salaries and working conditions.

Given the continued growth in enrolments in the non-government school sector and the consequent unmet demand for additional schools and school buildings, what will you do to ensure additional Capital funding for non-government schools. labor Federal Labor will continue to invest in improving school infrastructure and has provided $772.4 million over five years to 31 December 2019 to continue the existing capital grants funding to nongovernment schools to support disadvantaged school communities, major school expansions and the establishment of new schools. This is in addition to the historic investment made by Federal Labor in educational infrastructure to schools and their communities throughout every town, city and suburb under the Building the Education Revolution. In contrast, the Coalition said NO to this investment. Greens The Australian Greens know how crucial capital funding is to a school’s operations, and appreciate the history of federal contributions to this. The Greens supported the Labor government’s Australian Education Act 2013, which reforms education funding in accordance with the Gonski Review. We believe the Commonwealth government’s current framework for capital funding to schools should reflect the recommendations of that Review, on the provisos that public funding for non-government schools should take into account the resources of each individual school, parental socio-economic status, and capacity to generate income from all sources, and the viability and diversity of existing public schools should not be endangered by the development of new non-government schools.

What is your commitment to increasing the superannuation level to 12% for all workers and what support and timeframe will you put in place? labor With our population living longer, the Rudd Labor Government believes it is important that we all save more for retirement. This will keep the pressure off the age pension, and ensure that we don’t pay higher taxes in the future. That’s why we are committed to increasing universal superannuation progressively to 12 per cent starting from 1 July 2013 to 1 July 2019. This will ensure that a 30 year old worker now, on average full-time income retires with an additional $127,000 in superannuation. Greens The Australians Greens support the Government’s planned increase in the superannuation guarantee charge to 12% by 2019-20 and reject the Coalition’s proposal to delay this by two years. The higher super guarantee will both help future retirees to have an adequate income in retirement and take pressure off the budget for the aged pension. The experience when the guarantee was raised from 6% to 9% from 1997-98 to 2002-03 shows there is no reason to expect this to have adverse economic impacts.


August 2013 THE POINT

11

Pregnancy discrimination inquiry

In June this year the Federal Government put the issue of gender equality back on the agenda by asking the Human Rights Commission to look into workplace discrimination against women who have children.

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nions called for this inquiry because too many women were experiencing discrimination in the form of job loss, missed opportunity for promotion and training and even demotion when they return to work. The findings of the ACTU are backed up by the Australian Bureau of Statistics data which shows that almost one third of working women with a child under two left the workforce permanently while pregnant or after having a child. The Government has asked Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, to oversee an inquiry to measure how often the discrimination is happening, what is driving it and what are the consequences of it. Following a prevalence survey and further consultations, the Commission will prepare a final report with recommendations by May 2014. The most common issues affecting IEU women members with children appear to relate to a return to work part-time until a child is school age. While the provision is contained in many Collective Agreements what often happens in workplaces requires union action. The IEU continues to bargain strongly for the inclusion of a ‘right to request’ in Collective Agreements, where an employer can only refuse the request on reasonable grounds and members can

appeal an unreasonable refusal under the dispute resolution procedure. The ACTU secured such a ‘right to request’ in Awards as one of the outcomes from the 2005 Family provisions test case. Notably, this version did have an appropriate dispute resolution procedure. This provision, however, was stripped away when the coalition government introduced its WorkChoices legislation. IEU members in workplaces without a Collective Agreement do have the right to request flexible work arrangements under the Fair Work Act and the Equal Opportunity Act (Victoria). The final report from the Human Rights Commission will address the prevalence of discrimination, adequacy of existing laws, policies, procedures and practices, best practice approaches, and the focus for future activities to address matters of concern that have arisen during the process. The IEU regularly represents members who have been refused a return to part-time work and other issues while on parental leave. For IEU members who have workplace issues related to their pregnancy or in seeking to return to work part-time from parental leave, contact the union. education issues

apply now! anna Stewart MeMorial project 2013 monday 7 october - Friday 18 october

Anna Stewart was a former journalist and active Victorian union official who died tragically in 1983, aged 35. Her involvement with the union movement began at a time when women workers comprised one-third of the paid workforce but were poorly paid, lacked job security and skills recognition. After Anna’s death, a number of trade union friends and colleagues met to discuss how best to remember her life and work, the influence of which is hard to measure. A project based around the Working Women’s Charter demand for increased involvement in trade unions was both immediately relevant to Anna’s memory and to the needs of women workers given statistics that, despite the large numbers of women joining trade unions, women were still under-represented in decision making structures. The Anna Stewart Memorial project was thus born and the inaugural program was co-ordinated by the Municipal Officers Association Victoria in 1984. The project was conceived as an annual two week on-the-job training program for women unionists, giving participants access to union organisations and developing their awareness of the ways in which unions can work to redress the issues affecting women. The IEU Victoria Tasmania offers women members the opportunity to participate in the ASMP program in 2013. The program runs for two weeks and replacement costs are available to participants. Application forms are available online: www.ieuvictas.org.au For more information please contact Therese O’Loughlin at: toloughlin@ieuvictas.org.au

Workplace gender equality agency

As reported in the previous edition of The Point, July 2013, the ‘Workplace Gender Equality Act’ (WGEA) requires all non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees to report annually to the Agency.

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he first report was due between 1 April and 31 May 2013. This was a transitional report with reduced requirements for 2013; it includes a breakdown for women and men of the various occupational categories and types of employment across the school.

Notification and access requirements under the Act:

1. The employer must inform its employees and members or shareholders that it has lodged its report with the Agency and advise how the report may be accessed 2. Provide access to the report to employees and members or shareholders 3. Inform employee organisations (unions) with members in its workplace

that the report has been lodged. This must be done within seven days of lodging the report 4. Inform employees and employee organisations with members in its workplace of the opportunity to comment on the report to the Agency or to the employer. To date the IEU has received notice that WGEA reports have been lodged by just 9% of schools with relevant employers. This means a very high percentage of schools have not complied with the Act. The consequences of noncompliance are that the Agency will name non-compliant employers in its annual report and by other means. Additionally, non-compliant employers may not be eligible to tender for contracts under

the Commonwealth and some state procurement frameworks and may not be eligible for some Commonwealth grants or other financial assistance. The IEU will be in contact with IEU reps in schools where we are yet to receive notice that a report has been lodged. Compliance with the Act and our engagement with the reports will help us set up the routine for the next reporting period 20132014 when the new requirements are fully operational. Next time around, relevant employers will be required to report against a range of gender equality indicators which include availability and utility of conditions and practices relating to flexible work arrangements, and working arrangements supporting employees with family or other caring responsibilities.


12

THE POINT August 2013

News ieu victoria tasmania PrinciPals’ council

health and safety

The IEU Victoria Tasmania Principals’ Council has thrown their support behind the Monash University longitudinal study into Principal Health and Well Being. The IEU continues to promote this study and the ongoing survey through its publications and communication with members. In 2012 the Council invited Dr Phillip Reilly, the study author from Monash University, to share findings of his research with our members at a meeting held at the IEU offices.

Violence at work, and indeed violence in the community in general, is not an emerging hazard - it is a growing crisis capable of inflicting severe damage on the economic and social fabric of our institutions, including our schools.

Principal health

I

t is alarming that the first independent study into the occupational health, safety and wellbeing of Australia’s school principals paints a pretty grim picture about the current work conditions for Australia’s school leadership. The survey of 2,049 principals found that, along with threats and acts of violence, school principals are also more likely to be bullied and are dealing with ever-increasing volumes of work and health problems due to stress. The issue of occupational violence is important because we know of the negative impact these behaviours can have on others. The term Occupational Violence is defined by WorkSafe Victoria as any incident in which a person is physically attacked or threatened with physical attack. In schools this will most likely involve physical aggression from primary students or verbal threats from senior students and parents. In a school context it is often referred to as challenging and aggressive behaviour. It may also involve violence from trespassers. In the Victorian Catholic Education MultiEmployer Agreement of 2008, a memorandum of understanding stated the following: investigation into teacher safety / wellbeing During the life of this memorandum the parties agree to examine the issues surrounding students/ parents/guardians who may pose a risk to teacher safety and/or wellbeing and how this issue can be handled in schools. This investigation is important for many reasons, not least that the consequences of this violence and intimidation in schools are likely to become costly for employer groups, through time lost to ill health, Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) claims against employers for not providing a safe working environment and reduced functioning at work. Our Principals’ Council has continued to raise this issue as they want to see safe workplaces where all staff can carry out their duties without the fear of incurring some form of violence. Our members use the Council as a forum to share common experiences and, whilst this collegiality is important, they as a matter of urgency would support the need to reduce the level of adult-to-adult bullying, threats and actual violence. independent research In preparation for the current claim the IEU commissioned the Centre for Strategic Education to conduct independent research on the work of the Catholic primary principal members. As a result of the Brief and Literature Review, three core research questions related to the roles, responsibilities and workload of principals were incorporated into the research. In a snapshot of the findings there was a strong view among principals interviewed and surveyed that the role, responsibilities and accountabilities of Catholic primary principals had expanded over the last ten years. The Literature Review and extended responses in the online survey highlighted the tension for principals where they felt distracted from their core work as educational leaders. Comments revealed that there was ‘Less time for the core business of education, we do not get the time to go into classrooms and be involved in the teaching and learning’. The research and accompanying findings will

not be news to principals, either professionally or personally. However, the fact that these views are not surprising does not detract from their significance. In fact the Monash University study in the Executive Summary points out that the role of school principal in many parts of the ‘first world’ is rapidly changing and this has increased the stress levels of an already highly stressed population. Significant changes to the principals’ role are introduced regularly by the federal and state governments, such as the introduction of national curriculum tied to national testing (NAPLAN) and public accountability via the My School website (ACARA 2010). The work practices (role demands) imposed by these changes will further increase work volume and public accountability which can only have adverse health outcomes. The IEU supports the Australian Principal Health and Well Being recommendations in relation to Bullying and Violence, Emotional Labour and Professional Support. We agree with the need to investigate this matter, we acknowledge the high level of emotion attached to school functioning and that principals need professional support. This professional support could be through networks that provide opportunities for professional conversations with experienced colleagues and the access to professional services if the need arises. We would encourage all school leaders to participate in the 2013 survey to help provide information that can be used to attract, prepare and sustain leaders.

SURVEy foR ALL SCHooL LEADERS assistant/deputy/Vice principals & principals This is the 3rd year of a longitudinal study being conducted in response to concerns that workload demands and the increasing complexity of school leadership roles are impacting on the health & wellbeing of principals, assistant & deputy principals in Australian schools. All participants will be emailed a personalised report. To take the survey: PAST participants: use the personal link you will be directly emailed. Queries to aimee.maxwell@monash.edu NEW participants: go to www.principalhealth.org

a kick in the shins is not Part of the job!

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liminating violence from schools improves both the working conditions for employees and the learning conditions for students. Delivering quality learning outcomes is increasingly difficult where bullying, threats and actual violence occur. As a recent longitudinal study says, ‘the consequences of this violence and intimidation in schools are likely to become costly for employer groups, through time lost to ill health, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) claims against employers for not providing a safe work environment and reduced functioning at work.’ The most common form of occupational violence brought to the attention of the IEU Victoria Tasmania is violent student behaviour toward staff. From a H&S perspective, there are three levels of response available to manage violent student behaviour. Level one is Primary intervention. This is organisational and systematic in nature, aimed at identifying the behaviour, its causes and eliminating it from the workplace. Tools utilised are hazard identification and risk assessment. Primary intervention is the most effective since it aims to prevent the exposure of workers to the violent behaviour and its consequences. Secondary intervention is designed to assist workers cope better with the violent behaviour upon being exposed. It is less effective in protecting workers because the strategies adopted are reactive to the violence having already occurred. Tertiary intervention is the least effective in controlling the violent behaviour. Tertiary intervention has a focus upon rehabilitation. At this level workers have already

been traumatised and injured, they may have entered the workers compensation system through a WorkCover claim, be on a Return to Work programme or are utilising personal leave. Violence at work is simply unacceptable. Whilst every student has a right to an education, every worker has a right to work in an environment that is safe, free from violence and threats of violence from any source, including students. Preventing violence in schools requires a long term systematic approach, including the identification of hazards, assessment of risk, application of risk controls, and the monitoring of their effectiveness. Students whose violent behaviour poses a risk of physical or psychological injury either to themselves, other students or staff should be risk assessed and should only attend schools with a capacity to manage that risk. Educational authorities should in turn resource schools to meet that challenge. While such comments may be considered by some to lack empathy and fly in the face of pastoral care, what could be more important than ensuring schools, in any sector of the industry, are able to meet their common law duty of care and adopt measures preventing students from injuring themselves, others or inflicting damage to property? As a sub-branch, assess the likelihood of workers being injured as a consequence of violence at work. Place this on the agenda of your next meeting. If your health and safety rep is not a union member, invite them to the meeting and ask them to join. If there is no safety rep elected in your workplace, contact your IEU Organiser to initiate an election.

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August 2013 THE POINT

13

ViT registration

aVoid The piTFalls: Getting your VIT registration right This month, registered teachers in Victoria should receive their invoice from VIT for completion by 30 September. It is very important that all parts of the invoice are paid for and all the required on-line form processes submitted before this date. A late fee will be added to the fees paid after 30 September. If the registration fee and required paper work is not completed before 31 December, teachers will find that their registration is either suspended or will have expired, and they will not be able to teach. IEU urges members to be very attentive to the required dates. What are the key steps involved? 1. Make sure VIT has your current email address 2. Make sure you have set up your MyVIT Account 3. When you receive your invoice make sure you pay all fees listed and fill out all the online form processes that apply to you well before 30 September. Your invoice will be clear about what processes apply to you individually. You should also have received a letter from VIT in July telling you what processes apply to you. What you must complete online: 1. Payment of fees if you wish to teach in Victoria (your invoice may include the Criminal Records Check fee if it needs updating) 2. Criminal Records Check (if your CRC is not going to be current for the whole of this next registration period)

3. Renewal of Registration Form (if your cycle of registration is up, ie. those at the end of their 5 year cycle, and those already on the 1 year cycle who were first registered from January 2011) IEU has been advised by VIT that, once you have logged on, you will be taken automatically through each of the steps/processes that apply individually to you. If, for example, all that applies to you is to pay the annual registration fee, then that is all that will appear for you to complete. criminal records check process? If you have been informed on your invoice and July VIT letter that this applies to you: 1. Make sure you also pay this fee which will be included on your VIT invoice 2. Complete the online consent form to conduct a new check 3. Very importantly, when you get the confirmation email from

AUGUST IS INVOICE MONTH

Be on the look out for your teacher registration invoice, which will be sent by post between 8 – 30 August. It will have all the information you need to complete your registration tasks and be registered for the next year. For more information, visit www.vit.vic.edu.au and look under ‘I need to pay my fees.’

VIT, complete the attached document as instructed, and send it off to VIT with your certified supporting documents (proof of identity, etc). how does the renewal of registration process work? If you have been informed on your invoice and July VIT letter that you are in the group of teachers needing to renew registration, complete the on-line Renewal task. This will include clicking ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to confirm whether you have completed the required days of teaching (or equivalent practice) and the hours of PD. For the definition of equivalent practice check the VIT website. if you can’t meet the renewal requirements... If you tick ‘No’ to the professional practice requirements on the on-line form, you have two options available: 1. You can apply for non-practising registration. This registration category allows a teacher to

remain registered, with their suitability and CRC recognised. You still need to pay the registration fees and have a current CRC. However, you are unable to work in Victorian primary, secondary or special schools under this form of registration. You will need to complete the Application for Non-Practising Registration Form. There is no minimum or maximum period of time required to be on this category. When you want to return to teaching you need to complete the Returning to Teaching from Non-Practising Registration Notification Form (available on VIT website). Please note: you must attach to this form a certified copy of evidence of completion of your qualifications (if VIT does not already have these from you. Teachers newly registered in recent years will have already supplied evidence). It is a good idea to get copies of your academic record well before you intend to put in

the notification form. Teachers granted returning to teaching registration will be required at the end of the granted 12 month period, to demonstrate that they have undertaken 10 days teaching (or equivalent practice) and 20 hours of professional development. 2. If you cannot meet the registration requirements you also have the option of letting your registration expire. However, if you want to teach again in a Victorian school you will be required to submit a new registration application with all the paperwork required. Members should consider this option very carefully. If you are not already a four year trained teacher you will not gain VIT registration once your registration has expired. IEu members who are concerned about meeting the renewal requirements can obtain further advice from the IEu.

nbn tasmania trial

Tasmania, as one of the first States in Australia to see the rollout of the National Broadband Network, is beginning to see the benefits of high speed internet connectivity in education. With a broadband speed of 100mb download students and our teacher members are now able to connect to the internet quickly and reliably.

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hree Catholic schools in Tasmania, St Peter Chanel Smithton, Our Lady of Mercy Deloraine and St Aloysius Kingston have now been connected to the NBN. Each school plans to introduce the iPad for students to access the internet and to creatively present their work. With so many devices connecting to the school network, the value of high speed connection becomes evident. No more delays in accessing data or viewing interactive media online, no problem uploading files to cloud servers. This alone makes the NBN particularly valuable for education. On the day the NBN was turned on at St Peter Chanel Smithton, students watched a diver in QLD as he spoke live from a marine aquarium. The link allowed high definition video to stream into the classroom with astonishing clarity. ? St Aloysius Kingston, students with our teacher At members plan communications projects with students in remote indigenous communities in the NT. Skype and other online communication tools free students to engage in lessons when the link outside of their classroom is fast and reliable. This is one of many such projects NBN-connected schools in Tasmania will be able to engage in so students wishing to understand more about

their own community and that of their peers, nationally and internationally, can do so by working collaboratively on projects enabled by fast internet. At Our Lady of Mercy School Deloraine, students and teachers are about to embark on two new projects the NBN connection will make possible. In one of the projects, students in Year Six are about to commence a project, Mini ipads, mini schools and mini students, working with students in Scotland. The project, inspired by internationally recognised educational thinker, Professor Stephen Heppell and educator Mr Alan Cameron from Scotland, has seen the potential of having students in the UK work with students in Tasmania. Alan Cameron is visiting three Tasmanian schools that will be a part of the communications project. With schools in Tasmania introducing the Australian Curriculum, the connection of high speed internet made possible through the NBN now provides for collaborative online sharing of resources. IT experts believe that we are only just beginning to see the potential for innovation and creativity that will be generated by inspiring teachers and their students. It is to be hoped that access to the NBN will soon be available to all Catholic schools in Tasmania, thus helping to break the tyranny of distance!


14

THE POINT November 2012

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August 2013 THE POINT

work right curriculum

Work right Pack

15

Michael Blyth in hospital with his sister

All Victorian secondary schools will soon receive a copy of the new Work Right School Kit, a curriculum resource being launched by the IEU, the AEU and the Australian Council of Trade Unions as a Victoria-wide trial.

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he kit is designed to help careers co-ordinators and class teachers prepare students for a healthy and empowered working life. The centrepiece of the kit is the Work Right! teacher resource produced by our friends at the Teacher Learning Network, a practical, informative 34-page resource about important themes such as minimum employment conditions, bullying and discrimination, representational rights, and occupational health and safety. Complementing this is a poster featuring five important workplace rights, student brochures about work and the role of unions, and information about useful resources for careers education such as the Victorian Trades Hall Council school talks program. We will have also purchased a limited number of copies of the full 223-page Work Right! student



resource, containing 70 classroomready activities and tasks relating directly to the themes in the teacher resource, which we will provide for free to teachers who are willing to provide more detailed ongoing feedback about the kit. We are very pleased to be launching this trial roll-out in Victoria, and will be relying on feedback from our members over coming months to improve and fine-tune the package as we prepare for a national distribution in the future. The pack will be mailed to the IEU rep in each secondary school, along with a request that they pass it on to the relevant teacher or careers co-ordinator. We would also be happy to provide a copy of the kit to any Tasmanian school on request – please email info@ieuvictas.org.au if you would like a copy for your school. WORK RIGHT KIT - THEME 5 - PG 4.27

Instructional Practice Professional Learning fREE The TLN provides some of Victoria’s best professional development opportunities on instructional practice. These programs are free to TLN member schools. More than 180 Catholic schools and 70 independent schools are already members of TLN and they are currently taking advantage of opportunities to build the skills of their staff.

I

n the September school holidays, the TLN is running an exciting series of workshops to improve and extend teacher classroom practice. Be part of our Instructional Practice Day on Thursday 26 September. Sessions are all free for both TLN members and for all staff in TLN member schools. All sessions are conducted at the AEU building in Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford.

Instructional Practice Day 26 September AGENDA

morning sessions 9:30 – 12:00 n Learning Styles: Jo Prestia n Flipped Learning: Abbey Boyer n ‘Why should I listen to you?’ The Value of Relationships in Education: Kaye Dennis n Approaches to Inquiry Learning: Coby Beatson afternoon sessions 1:00 – 3:30 n Teaching the Australian Muslim Student with Yasser Soliman n Flipped Learning: Abbey Boyer n ‘Why should I listen to you?’ The Value of Relationships in Education with Kaye Dennis n Storytelling as a Teaching Technique: Andrew del Mastro

Imperial China with Tibet

Enrol in these sessions online at our website www.tln.org.au and while on the website check the full range of Thursday online sessions. The TLN offers online sessions each Thursday in term between 4 – 6pm, free for staff in TLN member schools. They cover Behaviour Management, Instructional Practice, IT in the Classroom, and Leadership. Check out the calendar of events on our website. More than 700 schools are TLN members: check your school’s membership status at www.tln.org.au If your school is not a member, email Michael Victory at mvictory@tln.org.au or call the TLN on 9418 4991. The TLN is your professional development provider – owned and operated by the Independent Education Union in partnership with the AEU.

Make sure your school belongs

TLN membership rates are based on school student enrolment. Rates for 12 month membership are: student Enrolment 12 month membership Above 2000 students $600 Between 1000 and 1999 students $500 Between 500 and 999 students $350 Between 100 and 499 students $250 Below 100 students $200

13 DAYS

Please helP Kathryn Blyth was a teacher at Mowbray College until last year. Apart from the closure of the College and her consequent loss of employment, she and her family have had some really difficult situations to confront recently.

O

ne year ago I lost my job at Mowbray College. I taught there for 12 years and all my five children were students at some stage. Since then my daughter Emma who attends a specialist school has had three major hip surgeries... eight ambulance trips and numerous stays at RCH to control pain. We do physiotherapy daily hydrotherapy twice a week at Sunshine hospital. A referral has been made for her to be an inpatient at RCH for rehab. Our life was challenging but we knew we just had to continue through it. However on 22 May our world was shattered when my son Michael, 18, had a bike accident. He is currently at Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre learning to adjust to life in a wheelchair. Having one child face such huge challenges in life is hard but having both our son and daughter go through such traumatic events is overwhelming all of us, to say the least. The exhaustion is beyond belief but our love for Mike and Em gets us through. Daniel, aged 16 (Emma’s twin brother) has made a website to gather support: www.michaelblyth.com.au It is really hard to ask for help but the costs associated with his injury are huge. (He is not covered by TAC nor the NDIS) It seems crazy but the National Disability Insurance Scheme does cover wheelchairs, rehab and some house modifications but until at least 2016, it only covers the City of Greater Geelong, the Borough of Queenscliff, the Surf Coast Shire and the Colac Otway Shire. So only those in these areas are supported by the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It

Essential Vietnam & Cambodia

will eventually roll out across the state from 2016. While nothing can take away from the grief of dealing with a spinal cord injury and the adjustments to life required it would be wonderful not to have the anxiety and sleepless nights of wondering how to cope financially. I am asking if any of you can spread Michael’s story. We are just an average mum and dad trying to do the best for our children and we can’t do this without wider help. I know the teaching community is a very special one and I am hoping that if our story is told, there may be someone who knows someone who may help. My dream would be to continue Michael’s rehabilitation and maintain his muscle strength and bone density as I do believe there will be a breakthrough in spinal cord paralysis within his lifetime. To do this, though, he will require ongoing therapies and equipment and of course there are the compulsory house modifications required to bring our son home. It has been a tremendous struggle dealing with the anxiety and tiredness which also includes the daily drives from Sunbury to Kew but I know we all have to remain so strong for Michael. Thank you for taking the time to read this. It is greatly appreciated: please let me know if you are able to provide exposure or support in any way possible. I miss teaching and almost find it too hard to imagine how I will ever get back into the workforce. The IEu Victoria Tasmania will make a donation to the support fund, and encourages members to give consideration to how they may be able to offer support.

11 DAYS

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On this exceptional value tour through Vietnam and Cambodia, experience the history, culture and natural beauty of Indochina’s most evocative places. Depart from Melbourne and fully inclusive: Tour price per person: 16 – 27 January 2014 • 30 June –11 July 2014 $3,330.00 twin share

For a more detailed itinerary on these tours, please contact Imperial China Tours • Ph: 1300 303 101 • Email to: enquiries@imperialchinatours.com


16

THE POINT August 2013

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August 2013 THE POINT

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CrT Conference

The Casual Relief Teacher (CRT) Conference program continues to grow in popularity with over 180 CRTs coming together at the IEU over the Term 2 break to build their understanding of IT for the classroom: beyond the basics.

A PD IN THE PUB Tasmania

Educator and author Glen Pearsall was back in Tasmania this month delivering practical and strategic PD to IEU and AEU members in Devonport, Launceston and Hobart. This year Glen focused on classroom dynamics, which was well received by the close to 200 attendees that made it to his sessions. The PD in the Pub format seems to be a winning combination, particularly for our student members, providing the perfect scenario of engaging PD in a more informal setting. Glen Pearsall’s books are available at tln.org.au

s always, conference participation, aligned with VIT standards, resulted in a Certificate of Participation for six hours of PD, as well as an opportunity to come together with other practitioners. The IEU also benefits from member feedback which enables us to continue to improve ways of supporting their important work in non-government schools. Participants explored themes such as Interactive Whiteboards, iPads and emerging technologies, and creating online portfolios. Nearly 80 online participants used chatboards to participate in, discuss and ask questions of presenters. We are thrilled that the online participation option allows a broader range of CRTs the opportunity to participate and enjoy the collegial aspects of contact with other CRTs. Keynote speaker, Max Grarock, online learning specialist at

BEST fooT foRWARD

On 4 July over 140 IEU student teacher members participated in the Best Foot Forward conference. This event was designed to assist soon-to-be teachers with applying for their first job, and, as job hunting can be quite a challenge, we went to great lengths to ensure the sessions were both practical and informative.

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chooljobs.com founder and Director of Oxford Education, Steve Whittington, focussed on the importance of an eyecatching CV and cover letter to ensure that the applicants stand out in what is an increasingly competitive process. He also took some time to look at the interview process and how important preparation and presentation are. It’s worth a mention that the lunch time break at this conference always has a festive feel with plenty of great food and exciting giveaways from our sponsors. The second half of the conference provided members with a unique opportunity to speak to some of Victoria’s best principals who provided plenty of advice about what they look for in a graduate teacher. This year’s

principals came from across the state: Eileen Rice, St Alipius’ Parish School East Ballarat, Roslyn Joyner, St Brendan’s Catholic Primary School Lakes Entrance, Andrew Walsh, St John’s Regional College Dandenong, Mary Fitz-Gerald, Mater Christi College Belgrave, Anne Bright, Monash College Melbourne and Roger Oates, Billanook College Mooroolbark. Respective of the diversity of Catholic and independent education in Victoria, each principal brought their own distinct experience of the employment process and in particular the skills and attributes they value when they are considering employing a graduate teacher. As always the small group sessions with principals were a great success as it allowed for relaxed and candid responses to the questions

being asked by students. All participants, whether online or in the room, took a great deal away from Best Foot Forward 2013. For those who didn’t make it, there will be a CV writing and Interview Skills workshop on 3 October at the IEU Offices in Southbank. So keep an eye out for an email with more details closer to the date.

Top 6 tips from the principal

n Know the school you are applying to n Think about what they are looking for n Make sure your CV and cover letter are relevant n Dress appropriately n Be enthusiastic n Be willing to learn

the Teacher Learning Network, shared his extensive knowledge of technology innovations and how it is and can be used in educational settings. Max showed why he is regarded as one of Australia’s leading online learning facilitators. He gave insight into his work including the development of mobile Apps for iPad and iPhone and delivered an informative, challenging and encouraging address to create a dialogue about the proper role of technology in education. He encouraged participants to find one small thing and work to incorporate that into their practice. CRT Conference 3 planning is now almost finalised – with a focus on student engagement/ behaviour management. It will take place on Wednesday 25 September at the AEU Building in Abbottsford. Bookings are already open. Information will be sent to CRT members shortly or check the TLN website on www.tln.org.au


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August 2013 THE POINT

WORLD neWs

Education unions in Indonesia have called on the government to invest in education and improve the salaries of teachers. This comes as questions have been raised by both unions and the government about the quality of teacher preparation in the country, with unions calling for more investment in teacher training and support materials. Another issue raised by unions is the lack of promotion opportunities, caused partly by teachers’ status as civil servants, which has left over 800,000 without further career prospects. Unions are also calling for recognition to be given to the extra preparation work teachers will need to complete for the new national curriculum due to be implemented by mid-July. Teacher unions in france have welcomed news that 10,000 subsidised support jobs will be created in the secondary sector. This is in addition to 60,000 positions previously announced. The jobs, aimed at those out of work, will support student learning and provide greater adult interaction for students. Unions say the announcement shows that France’s schools are

currently under-resourced, and have called for the distribution of these new staff according to need and for appropriate training and career structures to be developed. Teachers went on strike in midJuly in Uganda to protest the nonpayment of salaries since April. More action is planned both in an attempt to recover unpaid wages, and in support of a promised, but as yet undelivered, 20% pay rise. While unwilling to deliver wages, the government has actually cut the salaries of many teachers by up to 15%, and is introducing a performance-based mechanism to establish tenure. Support for the teacher union is high, and the National Organisation of Trade Unions has pledged its support for the ongoing campaign. And finally, in Mexico, showing age is no barrier to education, 100 year-old Manuela Hernandez has graduated from primary school. Originally leaving school to help with household chores, Manuela returned to study last October and graduated at the end of June. Mexico’s oldest primary school graduate says she intends to continue her studies into secondary school.

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educaTion NATION Qld The Queensland Government has reiterated its commitment to making education a priority, despite spending about $100 million less than was budgeted for in the last two years. The State Education Minister has said that savings and delays in some capital works account for about a third of the money unspent, but that there had been no significant cuts to approved services. It has also been announced that the government will sell another $32 million worth of school land, including ovals and land reserved for future schools. These latest issues in Queensland education come as parents and unions have staged protests over the possible closure of eight schools. nT The IEU in the Northern Territory recently held a Catholic sector Day of Action, where members of the IEU rallied together for a replacement collective Agreement after negotiations stalled around key issues of Middle Leadership and Teacher Work Practices. Participating in the Day of Action, members wore stickers proclaiming ‘It’s Just Not Right’, convened chapter meetings, and considered resolutions about the ongoing bargaining issues. Also in the Northern Territory, the Chief Minister has refused to sign up to the Federal Government’s school funding reforms, describing figures as ‘misleading’ and based on ‘misleading calculations’. This is despite remote schools in the Territory seeing big increases in funding under the new proposals. Wattarrka School near Kings Canyon, Amanbidji near Katherine, and Nganambala School at the Emu Point

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outstation in the Daly River region would all receive funding increases of over 100%, and the Federal Government’s Better Schools website shows that the reforms would deliver multi-million dollar benefits to schools in Darwin, Alice Springs and other regional centres. sa A survey of parents in South Australia has revealed a majority won’t let their children ride to school because of concerns around their on-road safety. Road conditions and bad drivers were named as reasons against cycling to school, although a majority of parents still want their kids to receive bicycle skill training. The survey findings have led to calls for cycling road safety training to be introduced in schools to encourage children to ride to school and to assist in developing healthy lifestyles. nsW The IEU in NSW is cautioning against members accepting a reduced increase for school support staff in the Catholic sector, warning that the union will face similar arguments from Catholic dioceses when negotiating for teacher pay rises at the beginning of 2014. The Union has claimed a 2.5% pay rise for school support staff and maintenance and outdoor staff in Catholic systemic schools from the first pay period after 1 July. This increase is in line with pay rises received by teachers at the beginning of the year and the pay rise received by support staff last July. It is also in line with the increase allowed to public sector employees under legislation introduced by the O’Farrell Government in 2011.

Teachers games 2013

The IEu will again be sponsoring the 18th Victorian Teachers Games in Ballarat: sunday 22 september until Wednesday 25 september. All the sports and activities offered in 2012 will be offered again, with additions such as Go Kart racing and swimming. An expanded range of social options will be available and the courtesy bus will also operate from Sunday night to Tuesday night. So get your friends together and form some teams, get your registrations in, organise accommodation, and come and join us again in Ballarat. Registrations close at midnight 8 September. Further information can be located at www.victeachersgames.com.au, or at our page: facebook.com/victorianteachersgames We hope to see you there!

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“Workplace reform was one of the greatest achievements of the Howard Government� Tony Abbott - House of Reps, Hansard: 13/8/2009

So why trust Tony Abbott with your overtime, penalty rates and protection from unfair dismissal? Authorised by Dave Oliver, ACTU Secretary, 365 Queen Street Melbourne 3000

The point august 2013  

http://www.ieuvictas.org.au/files/9613/7757/6466/The_Point_-_August_2013.pdf

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