PUBLIC EDUCATION VOICE

JOURNAL OF THE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION UNION - ACT BRANCH • November 2013

TIME TO BARGAIN
SCHOOL ASSISTANTS DAY ANNA STEWART OFFICERS

40 Brisbane Ave Barton ACT 2600 • P (02) 6272 7900 • F (02) 6273 1828 • www.aeuact.asn.au

CONTENTS
From the Secretary President’s Report 2013 Branch Council Meeting Dates Lead Organiser Sub-Branch News
School Assistants Membership continues to grow: Page 8

1 2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 12 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22

TAFE Works

TAFE VP Introducing Business Manager Lauren McKee School Assistants Membership Continue to Grow

Ageism and Mature Age Employment 10 Reconciliation Action Plan
Anna Stewart Officers Program: Page 16

School Assistant Profile How the 2011 EA was won and where it got us 2013 Anna Stewart Officers Program AEU ACT 2013 Branch A Year to Remember Farewell Janet Promoting Health and Well being New AEU Website coming soon

Farewell Janet: Page 19

Member Profile

FROM THE

REPORT FROM THE BRANCH SECRETARY, GLENN FOWLER

The federal election has been run and won (or lost), and Australia seems to have breathed a collective sigh of relief that the longest campaign in our history is over. What will the result mean for us? Predictably, the new Education Minister Christopher Pyne has engaged in some chest-beating, marking out curriculum as a cultural battleground, and telling teacher unions that he intends to take us on. (Sadly, he is unavailable to attend our November Federal Executive meeting in Melbourne.) Perhaps the Minister forgets, or doesn’t understand, that when he publicly attacks “the teachers’ union” he attacks more than 190,000 professionals who get up each morning to educate the next generation. As always, attempts to marginalise or side-step the profession will provoke an assertive response. We expect to have things done WITH us, not TO us. The Gonski reforms are certainly alive but not guaranteed for the fifth and six years of the implementation period, when 72% of the money is set to flow into schools. The time has arrived for five state/territory governments to remind the Commonwealth that a deal has been signed and they expect it to be honoured. To his lasting credit NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has been very clear about this. The other three (LNP) governments have resisted Gonski and started to cut education budgets. History will not judge them kindly: and our interstate colleagues will need our support in potentially bitter struggles over the foreseeable future. Minister Pyne wants one-quarter of our public schools to be “independent” and will offer each school the princely sum of $41,000 for the privilege. He claims that the model in WA is a winner, despite increased casualization of the workforce, increased segregation of students between rich and poor, and no discernible improvement in student outcomes. This is another Trojan horse for cutting public education budgets. We do not intend to stand by and watch a

public education system that caters for all dismantled and replaced by a dog-eat-dog paradigm. Watch this space. Recent media reports pointing to critical incidents in a small number of Canberra’s public secondary schools, without any reference to similar incidents in private schools, has generated community discussion. The AEU will argue very vigorously for a change that will see an end to the annual demonization of public schools, which undermines so much of the good work our system and schools do, and provides an unfair free ride for the public relations teams in private schools. It appears that reports of the death of the “old public/private debate” have been greatly exaggerated. Whilst there is significantly more accountability for one sector, whilst both sectors attract their funding predominantly from tax payers, distinctions will continue to be made. The Commissioner for Public Administration (CPA), Andrew Kefford, has released his long-awaited report into CIT’s management of allegations of bullying and harassment. The report concludes that bullying has not been widespread at CIT but there are serious concerns with regards to how complaints have been handled over a number of years. Apologies have been made by the CPA and CIT to all who have been treated as “cases” rather than “colleagues”. CIT is exhibiting a genuine willingness to develop best practice in people management and the AEU intends to be alongside them every step of the way. Both parties have a profound interest in CIT being a leading light on Australia’s public education landscape. Enterprise bargaining is progressing well for CIT teachers and School Assistants. It is getting close to that time again for the bulk of our membership – teachers in schools. The Enterprise Bargaining Discussion Paper has done the rounds of the Sub-Branches,

and a draft claim is being prepared. The composition of the final claim will be determined at Branch Council in March next year. Remember, if you want it to be YOUR claim, you need to join with your colleagues and engage with the process. The AEU is a consultative, democratic organisation. The Union has farewelled two very valuable people since I wrote my last column. Janet Anderson has left our administrative staff after more than thirty years. You’ll find a special feature on page 19. And, after a period all too brief, Lead Organiser Chris Hodgson is returning to Queensland due to a combination of family reasons and employment prospects. Chris has built relationships within and outside the AEU and has set our team on a path to true organising – building our numbers and our activism in a way that will better empower Sub-Branches to be vibrant, collective units. This is the model that will see us grow and thrive. We will soon have exciting news about Chris’s replacement, but at this point I’d like to recognise Chris’s work, thank him for all he has done and wish him the very best in his future endeavours.

Glenn

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 1

LANA READ

2013 BRANCH COUNCIL MEETING DATES:
Branch Council meets on the following Saturdays in 2012 at J Block Theatre, Reid Campus CIT from 9:00am - 12 noon. Please arrive by 9:00am as a quorum must be present by 9:30am or the meeting lapses. Papers are available from 8:45am. Tea and coffee is also provided but please bring a mug. • 23 November For the information of new Councillors, Business Papers are forwarded through the Union’s maildrop via Sub-Branch Secretaries at least 1 week prior to the meeting. This is your chance to have your say!

Reflection time.... As the year quickly draws to a close, we all begin to reflect on the year gone by. Schools start to analyse and report on their achievements against the priorities set out in their annual operating plan and set plans in place for 2014 and beyond. Teachers piece together the evidence of learning for each student’s report, and are often totally blown away by the extent of growth the students demonstrate; and if they haven’t done this, we ask ourselves what ‘we’ could have done better, in order to make this happen. Our core business is learning and we should learn (about ourselves as teachers) from our students, all of the time. Parents can be assured that every educator has done all they can to ensure each child has done the best they can, then a little bit more, to meet the standards in our Australian Curriculum, and then some. It’s a time when we all realise exactly how much we have accomplished in such a relatively short space of time. No wonder we are all exhausted! The AEU also has a lot to reflect on for 2013. Its been a massive year for Public Education, highlighted by the long awaited passing of the recommendations from the Gonski report, into legislation for a fairer, needs based funding system. There is still a long way to go before we see these reforms enacted, but at least the foundations have been set. For me personally, this has been a huge year. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year as the ACT Branch

President, and I thank you all for your support. In addition, I’ve watched my school grow unbelievably, both in enrolments and ten new classrooms and most importantly, I’ve watched my staff grow into an amazing PLC and watched our students achieve at levels never seen at our school in recent history; further raising achievement standards and closing the gap for all students. There is much to be proud of, and I feel privileged to lead this stage of the Macgregor journey and also the ACT Branch in this time of great change and innovation. Please take some time to celebrate the collective achievements of the AEU, and of the ACT public education system, and of each individual school, teacher and student, then steel yourself for the big challenges which lay ahead. We will need to be strong and united as we begin to face the curve balls thrown at education by our new coalition government, and of course locally, as we enter negotiations for our next certified agreement. I urge you to be deeply involved in both causes. Know exactly what it is you value and believe in when it comes to our profession, and resolve your commitment to providing the outstanding education we so passionately advocate for our public school students. Stand strong, stand together, and make sure your voice is heard. Yours in Education

urday t a S 9am vember o N 3 2 eid CIT R

CIL N U O C NDER I M E R

Lana

Next Journal Deadline:

February 14 2014.
Contributions to the journal can be sent to: priority1@aeuact.asn.au

PAGE 2 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

LEAD ORGANISER
CHrIS HOdGSOn
Schools I would like to start by thanking everyone who has participated in the recent SubBranch meetings that have been held to develop enterprise bargaining proposals for next year. It is clear that the energy levels around achieving a good outcome in the agreement are growing. Our challenge will be to continue to grow and maintain the awareness and energy levels right through to September next year when the agreement is due. Maximising membership is critical to a good outcome. From 1 April 2014 we will be in what’s called a bargaining period. This is the only time unions are lawfully allowed to put in place industrial action to further claims for a new agreement. During the bargaining period only those teachers that are members of the AEU will be able to participate in any industrial action. This means that it is unlawful for non-members to take action in support of any AEU action. It is critical to our success that all teachers are members of the union. The impact of any industrial action will be measured by the participation rate. There is no doubt that our message will be weakened if we have non-members not taking part. If you are aware of any non-members now is the time to approach them and remind them they are letting their colleagues down and encourage them to join you in your fight for a fair outcome. You can also remind them that they only enjoy the conditions they have now because past union members fought for them. Sub-Branches for next year At the beginning of each year we ask members to organise their Sub-Branch meetings to elect new representatives. As 2014 is a bargaining year it will be important that this process is finalised early in term 1. We will send out plenty of reminders. CIT A New Sub-Branch Structure Following the recent restructure of CIT TAFE Council has recommended moving to a campus based AEU Sub-Branch structure. This process will require the election of new Sub-Branch Executives. We are hoping to finalise this process by the end of the 2013 TAFE year. It is clear we have some work to do around building numbers and resilience amongst the CIT membership. The best way to do this is by establishing strong Sub-Branches with high participation levels. The change in structure brings with it the opportunity to refresh our approach to organising within CIT. CIT Enterprise Agreement negotiations progressing. As we have already reported the ACT Government has put a pay offer on the table for all ACT Government staff currently involved in bargaining. The offer of $2090 plus 6 x 1.5% increases over the 4 year life of the agreement will be put to members in the coming weeks once we have a package of terms and conditions to go with it. Some of the outstanding issues include: • The future of AST and STP roles • Access to tablets and Ipads for teachers • O  verseas and interstate travel allowances • Workload management • Recognition of extra time worked AEU Residential Seminar 2014 Look out for registrations for our Residential Seminar for Sub-Branch Executives 2014 The AEU will be running a residential seminar for 2014 Sub-Branch Executives towards the end of term 1. The seminar will be held over the Friday and Saturday of week 9 at Birrigai and will include all meals, drinks, a guest speaker and a range of development activities aimed at supporting Sub-Branch Executives in their roles. This will be a great opportunity for SubBranch Executives to network, learn and socialise in a relaxed environment. The seminar will be open to anybody who is elected to a position on their Sub-Branch and will be on a first in first served basis. My Last article This will be my last article as I am returning to Queensland. While my time with the AEU was short I must say I have had a ball. The Branch staff have been great and the members extremely welcoming and supportive. 2014 will be a big year for the AEU. I wish I could be here to be a part of it. Chris

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 3

NEWS

SUB-BRANCH
BY SUe aMUndSen & KaTe reYnOldS

There are a number of commonly asked questions by our AEU members. We have selected a few questions and answers to assist you in your workplace.

What do I do if I don’t have any personal leave available and I get sick?
If you apply for personal leave and provide an accompanying statement you may be granted a period of unpaid leave for personal leave for yourself or to care for a family member who is ill. If you are in your first 10 years of service you can, with documentary evidence to support your application, anticipate up to a maximum of 3.6 weeks paid personal leave. If you are a temporary teacher you cannot anticipate personal leave but you can be granted up to 20 days without pay. If you have completed 10 years of service you may be granted an additional period of paid personal illness or injury at either full or half pay.

What are my hours of work?
The standard hours of 8.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30 pm to 4.51pm are for calculating salary and leave entitlements only. This is not a mandated time of arrival or departure from work each day. Classroom teachers in their first year of teaching following graduation may be required to teach a maximum of 20 hours face to face in preschool and primary settings and 18 hours face to face per week in high school and college settings averaged over the year. A classroom teacher is expected to teach a maximum of 21.5 hours per week in preschool and primary schools. A classroom teacher in a high school or college is required to teach a maximum of 19 hours face to face per week averaged over the teaching year. School based School Leader C officers in primary schools may be required to teach up to 16 hours face to face per week. School based SLC officers in high schools and colleges at Birrigai, Jervis Bay and the Cooperative School are required to teach a maximum of 12 hours face to face per week. Executive Teachers Professional Practice may be required to teach up to a maximum of 21.5 hours per week in primary schools and 19 hours in secondary schools which includes teaching, observing, coaching and mentoring. There are no teaching load requirements for Executive Teacher (Pastoral Care) and Field Officers. SLB’s may be required to teach a maximum of 8 hours face to face per week. There is no teaching load requirement for SLA’s.

If I am taking leave without pay can I do paid work somewhere else?
If you are taking leave without pay you must submit a LWOP form to your principal to be signed off. If you are considering doing work elsewhere during that time than you must provide an application for a second job. You can submit both forms together at your workplace.

I have not received my next increment yet, when will I get the change in pay?
There is now a common increment date for all classroom teachers. All staff will have their increments adjusted on the 27th January each year. The Director of Human Resources or a delegate will determine classroom teacher’s increment levels for salary purposes. LWOP for more than two terms within any 12 month period will lead to deferral of an increment for one year.

What are the class sizes that we are required to teach?
Members of the AEU are not required to teach classes which contain more than the numbers specified for a particular class size: Preschools Kindergarten – year 3 Years 4 – 6 Years 4 – 7 Year 10 Years 11 – 12 25 21 30 32 30 25

Can I continue teaching after the 8th of November if I still don’t have my Vulnerable People Check completed?
All Vulnerable People Checks should have been completed by the 8th of November. If you still do not have your check completed and approved you will not be able to teach or work with students after that date. The SIMS relief system is currently being updated but it is up to the individual to present their ETD Casual Card with the end date of 31st March 2014 clearly stated when entering a school for work and for the school to check that a relief teacher has their updated card. Administrative staff will have a later end date on their card. If you are concerned about not receiving an updated card or clarification of your status please contact ETD.

If I need counselling support who do I contact?
You should contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This a free, confidential and professional service provided for all staff. EAP is provided by Davidson Taraire Corpsych. You can contact them on 1300360364 to arrange an appointment.

Can I access Long Service Leave for one day?
Yes you can, however you will be deducted at the rate of 1.4 days for any time less than seven days.

Sue Amundsen and Kate Reynolds Schools’ Organisers

PAGE 4 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

an UnCerTaIn FUTUre FOr TaFe

The environment at CIT and TAFEs around the country is subject to massive change now and accelerating into the future. The implementation of the National Partnerships program, increased contestability of VET funding, changed and enhanced auditing requirements, potential significant reductions in student fee subsidies by ACT Government and VET Fee Help all contribute to significant long term insecurity of employment for many teachers at CIT. In keeping with national trends in TAFEs many CIT teachers will not know from one Semester to the next whether the teaching programs in which they are employed will be offered by CIT. Decisions to offer training programs will hinge on profitability of the programs which will be determined by enrolments which, in turn, will be a function of the cost of offering that program, government subsidisation of the student fees for that program, attractiveness of student fee help loans and competition from other licensed training organisations. While it is hoped that no teaching positions would be affected by these changes in the industrial environment, pragmatically it will be difficult to prevent the closure of some training programs so some teaching positions are likely to be affected. This could mean the cessation of employment of some casual positions and the non renewal of contracts for some teachers. Permanent teachers who find their programs ceasing will have the ‘safety net’ within the enterprise agreement; redeployment, re-training and redundancy provisions.

This additional insecurity and anxiety will likely contribute to increased personal stress. Members are encouraged to support their colleagues to ensure that their health and wellbeing is maintained during this difficult period of change. Members should feel free to access the Employment Assistance Program for CIT for personal guidance and assistance and to discuss their options with AEU representatives. If you haven’t visited the Stop TAFE Cuts website (stoptafecuts.com.au) I would urge you to do so. It is critical to the survival of public funded TAFEs that the community send very clear messages to both federal and local governments that Technical and Further Education remains a valued and important part of education in Australia. The AEU wishes to thank those committed members who “Did their Block for TAFE” by distributing explanatory pamphlets to many Canberra households. Thanks for helping highlight the plight of TAFE in the ACT and around the country.

Commissioner’s Annual Report. The report has found that while no individual cases of bullying and harassment were proven it identified flaws in the management and support of people that had raised issues formally. While recognising that a number of investigations remain ongoing, the report makes 9 recommendations aimed at implementing cultural changes at CIT and other ACT Public Sector Directorates. As the title identifies, the Report focuses on treating people with respect and equity when managing complaints and other workplace issues. Andrew Kefford notes a transformation of the CIT workplace culture to one in 2013 which is becoming receptive and non-judgemental of those raising workplace concerns. It is important to acknowledge this change has been achieved through the willingness of a number of AEU members who, with AEU support, raised complaints and fought for natural justice and transparency. In each case, their motivation was to be treated fairly and to remedy the CIT workplace culture so that their colleagues and friends would be confident in raising issues in the future. CIT is now a better place because of these members.

The Importance of standing up to be counted Commissioner for Public Administration Report into CIT complaints handed down
The report from the Commissioner for Public Administration, Andrew Kefford, titled ‘Colleagues, Not Cases - Managing People and Resolving Workplace Issues’ was released in September as part of the

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 5

TAFE VP
BY GraeMe laWSOn
Oh well, federal elections come and go and EBA discussions go on. It was disappointing to see very little from either of the major political parties in TAFE funding to support skills-based training. Given all the rhetoric flying around and the contentious use of 457 visas you would have thought that the move to support TAFE training would have been high on the agenda. But no, the silence was deafening, which gives me the impression that the politicians are not serious about rectifying skill shortages. In fact I believe that the governments (both territory and federal) would rather see private providers pick up the training needs so that they can cost shift the funding and improve their budget bottom lines. It is time that this stopped and skill training must be addressed by government. As for the enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations, things are inching along. The increased workload for minimal pay increase has been withdrawn but the proposed new teaching/management structure is still in a state of flux with more detail from CIT to be presented to the negotiating group to make any reasonable assessment of the proposal. It is quite a balancing act in these discussions to find a middle ground which ensures a reasonable pay and satisfactory work conditions yet still allow CIT to be financially viable. However given the publication of the skills list by the government it will cause some concern amongst members as to what programs will continue and which ones will be under threat. It is incumbent upon government to provide the appropriate funding and resources to support the programs on the skills list as a minimum and not ask teachers to reduce their salaries and conditions to ensure the programs remain viable. Hopefully some finality to the negotiations will be achieved before the year is out.

ThanK You from Professional/ Women’s Officer
For the past two years I have had the wonderful opportunity to work for AEU members in the AEU ACT Branch office. It’s been a whirlwind, and one I didn’t expect. On my arrival, my expectation was to fill in for a few months while Cathy Smith was on leave and be back in the classroom before I knew it. However, somehow a few months became two years! I’ve held a number of positions over this time: Schools Organiser, Acting Assistant to the Secretary (Professional), and my current position as Professional and Women’s Officer. Working in these roles has provided me with invaluable experiences and learning that I would not have achieved in any other workplace. The broad perspectives gained of all things educational, political, departmental and our union, has been a rare opportunity for me, a kindergarten teacher, to engage in. I’ve had a lot of fun working for AEU members and thank everyone for the chance to represent you in my various roles. I am extremely excited to now be heading back to the school environment to begin again in what I believe is the most rewarding and challenging role in education, a classroom teacher! I am looking forward to joining Ainslie Primary School in 2014. I’ve really missed working in schools and with children! Thank you for having me in the AEU Office, and a big thank you to all of the AEU Office staff for your support and friendship throughout my time with you. I’m sure I’ll be seeing everyone regularly and will continue my AEU activism from a sub-branch level. Sascha Colley

Kate Reynolds and Sascha Colley enjoy their lunch break.

PAGE 6 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

INTRODUCING BUSINESS MANAGER LAUREN MCKEE
Hello AEU members and friends. I joined the AEU office on Monday 2nd September to fill the new Business Manager role. I have had a fantastic introduction to the AEU and the time has flown by. I was also lucky enough to work with Janet Anderson before her retirement. I have recently moved to Jerrabomberra from Adelaide, following my partner Mat who has been working here for nearly a year. I love the fresh air, kangaroos and roundabouts and I am very happy to be calling ACT/NSW home. Mat and I ride motorbikes and we are really looking forward to exploring the countryside around Canberra. My previous job was as an Operations Manager at the Royal District Nursing Service of South Australia where I managed a range of direct care, business and administrative services. My professional passions include providing quality services and streamlined administrative systems using effective IT solutions. This is supported by qualifications in accounting, business and information management. I am very excited to be working with the administration team at the AEU ACT branch office and to continue to provide a great experience for our members. Thank you to everyone I have met for the warm welcome and I look forward to getting to know more about the AEU and its members.

Lauren McKee hard at work.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 7

CONTINUES TO GROW
BY SCHOOL ASSISTANT CO-ORDINATOR, THERESE TONNA
Since starting as the School Assistant Coordinator at the beginning of Term 3 our membership has more than doubled. We still have a long way to go but this is a great start. I would like to thank all our members who have encouraged their colleagues to join them in the AEU and become a part of our on ongoing goals and aspirations. My position here has been extended until July 2014 and I thank you all for your ongoing support. Together we have the strength to achieve positive outcomes and changes. A quote by Henry Ford – Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. Six of our wonderful school assistants did a fantastic job of representing all of you at a meeting with Minister Burch on Monday 2 September. They expressed the views and concerns of all school assistants within a variety of different roles and settings. Our message was that we are education officers’ not clerical officers and we deserve to have our own Enterprise Agreement to reflect this. I would like to point out that the first question asked by the Minister was “How many members did the AEU represent?” As the negotiations progress it is really important for us to show the Directorate that a large majority of School Assistants are serious about achieving positive outcomes and making change. Remember, the larger the group, the louder the voice. In September 2013, 127 School Assistants completed a survey regarding their day to day duties in schools. The reason for the survey was to gain information that will assist the AEU in negotiations for the new EA and to better understand exactly what roles school assistants are performing every day. Here are some brief results of the survey: Supervision of students 55.8% (67) of school assistants supervise students without a teacher present on a weekly basis. The comments indicated that many school assistants are running programs or supervising students alone on a regular basis. There is no doubt this part of the role has grown and continues to grow. Currently there is no ETD policy, recognition or remuneration for school assistants performing these duties. As part of our negotiations the AEU will be seeking to formalise arrangements for school assistants duty of care or supervision of students through the development of clear and transparent policies and appropriate pay. The AEU recently sent out an email to all school assistant members regarding duty of care. All school assistants should discuss the implications with their principal. Duties performed by School Assistants On a daily basis, 60.9% (67) of school assistants are performing medical procedures with students in their care. 68.2% (75) are toileting students. 94.5% (104) are managing student behaviour. The AEU is seeking clarification on these issues. We are seeking allowances and supportive training for school assistants who perform certain types of duties. Difficult situations/ Accident/Incident Reporting (AIR) 88.3% (91) of school assistants have experienced verbal abuse. 80.6% (83) have had a student be physically violent towards them. 79.6% (82) deal with aggressive behaviours and 39.8% (41) feel intimidated or threatened. 59.4% (60) did not submit an incident report relating to the above issues. 58.8% (59) were not advised to complete an incident report. 82 % (48) did not think the incident was important or significant. 32.7 % (19) did not have the time to complete the form or did not know where to find the form and 13.6% (17) do not know how to complete and submit incident reports. 6.9% (4) were advised not to complete an incident report. It is most important that AIRs be submitted and completed as close as possible to the incident. This is to ensure that ETD can measure the occurrence of the incidents and take necessary action to rectify the issue. You should always insist on completing an AIR even if you are advised not to. Special Education Allowance 34.1% (42) of school assistants who work with students with special needs do not receive the Special Education Allowance.

SCHOOL ASSISTANTS MEMBERSHIP

PAGE 8 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

This issue is being looked at across the system by the AEU. Anyone not receiving the allowance who believes they are entitled to it should be contacting their business manager or principal in the first instance and then HR for clarification. If you are a member and still not happy with the outcome please email or call the AEU and we will advise you further. Please note that if you are an SA3 then you are currently not entitled to Special Education Allowance. This is one of the AEU claims for the enterprise agreement. We would suggest you have a meeting of AEU Members to discuss the results of this survey and how they impact on your school and your work. Thank you to everyone who took part in completing this survey. Negotiations with ETD are continuing and members will be updated via email, newsletter and at our regular member meetings. Members can assist our ROSA (Recognise Our School Assistants) Campaign by discussing it in the workplace, talking to parents, community members and teachers and obtain their support, email/write to politicians and most importantly, recruit non-members. Strong union density is vital if we are to be recognised and heard. Remember - Members are our best recruiters. Thank you to all the schools who have invited me to come and speak to your school assistants. It has been wonderful to meet everyone and discuss important issues that relate to all school assistants. This is also the beginning of developing a network of support across schools for school assistants. If you would like me to come and visit your school please contact me on 6272 7900, Therese.

.

School Assistants and AEU Staff at a meeting at Lake Ginninderra College.

School Assistant Member Tabitha Cole speaking to School Assistants about why she joined the AEU at a meeting at HBCTL.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 9

EMPLOYMENT
BY SUE AMUNDSEN
Mature Age is described as 45 and over in the Education Training Directorate Respect Equity and Diversity document. The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines anyone over the age of 45 years as a ‘mature age’ worker. For the purposes of the clauses in the Enterprise Agreement mature age is referred to as the age of 45 onwards. In 1901, only 4 per cent of Australians were aged 65 years or older. By June 2010, this proportion had risen to 13.5 per cent, and is projected to increase to between 21 per cent and 23 per cent by 2014. This has far reaching implications for the mature age worker their employers and the economy as a whole. It is acknowledged the age of Australia’s population is changing and that we will have many economic and social challenges because of this. The Australian Productivity Commission has stated that: ‘higher economy-wide productivity and participation rates are the keys to future economic growth’. If mature age workers are forced out of work or are underemployed because of age discrimination productivity and the growth of the Australian economy will be limited. All people in Australia who want, or need, to be in paid work should be able to maximise their skills, abilities and aspirations regardless of their age. Mature age workers, however, remain an under-utilised part of the labour force in Australia. In 2020 it is expected that 4 out of 10 people in the workforce will be 45 and over yet the workforce participation rate for mature age workers in Australia is lower than our counterparts in other key OECD countries. In 2010, over one third of long term job-seekers on the New Start allowance were over the age of 40 years. The federal government’s 2010 Intergenerational Report predicts that increasing the participation of mature age workers by 5% in the next 40 years would increase Australia’s real GDP per capita by 2.4%. Regardless of the economic situation mature age teachers who are currently employed need to be retained and their experience, skills and contribution recognised and appreciated. With the staged increase in the age pension age to 67, government is sending a strong signal that the expectation is that workers will work for longer. An opportunity exists for senior bureaucrats and managers recognise what is happening to this group of workers and put assurances in place that will maintain them in value add employment well into their 60’s and beyond. When the federal Age Discrimination Act was passed in 2004, it sent a clear message to our community regarding ageism in our society.

AGEISM AND MATURE AGE

those considered to be of mature age. These included recruitment processes, promotions and flexible work practices, access to training and issues with insecure employment, restructuring and bullying. When a mature age worker experiences age discrimination, any experience of race, sex, or disability discrimination can create further disadvantage for them. In September 2010 the Australian government followed the 2004 legislation with the creation of a full-time Age Discrimination Commissioner. On 30 July 2011 the Hon. Susan Ryan AO was appointed to the role. The mature age teacher is a valuable member of the profession. They deserve to be heard and should have a voice in how the system can change for the better. The department would benefit from identifying the strategies that could be made to retain mature age workers beyond retirement age. Education has already lost many valuable mature age teachers to early retirement, the public service and other areas of employment. It would be beneficial to understand why this is happening and what could be done to improve conditions for the mature age teacher in order to retain their experience and expertise in the ACT Education system. The Mature Age Strategy in the current Enterprise Agreement states: A2.4 The Directorate will continue to consult with unions and employees on the development of strategies and initiatives that may assist in the successful recruitment and retention of mature age employees in the Directorate. Such strategies and initiatives will be the subject of

Since the introduction of the Act in 2004, complaints under the Age Discrimination Act have averaged 6.6% of the total complaints received per year. Complaints received regarding age discrimination have increased by 44% and the majority of enquiries about discrimination were on the basis of being too old (up 78%). Human Rights Commission - The Road So Far – the Age Discrimination Act 2004
The majority of the age discrimination complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 200809 related to employment and most of these complaints were made by

PAGE 10 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

discussion and agreement between the employee and the relevant manager/ supervisor. A2.5 These strategies and initiatives may include: (a) developing flexible working arrangements, such as variable employment, part-year employment, job sharing and purchased leave; (b) planning phased retirement arrangements for individual mature age employees who are considering retirement within four to five years, including through reducing the employee’s management or higher level responsibilities during a phased retirement period; (c) examining the implications of current superannuation legislation for using such flexible employment and working arrangements and informing affected employees how such implications may be addressed; (d) arranging training to assist the employee in any changing roles the employee may have as part of the employee’s phased retirement; (e) developing arrangements to facilitate the return of former mature age employees, including by engaging such persons in the Directorate for a short period in a mentoring capacity; (f) at the discretion of the head of service, contributing to the cost to an employee of financial advice received as part of planning for a phased retirement period

Is this clause adequate in its purpose? Do we need to look more closely at the need for a clause that more truly reflects the working conditions and requirements of the mature age worker in our system? The AEU will send out a survey for mature age teachers to complete. Please ensure

that you complete this survey so that we have a clear picture of the issues facing mature age workers in our current system. If you would like to discuss the article or access the full document please contact Sue on samundsen@aeuact.asn.au or phone the AEU office.

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Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 11

PAGE 12 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

RELATIONSHIPS
The AEU believes in “a united Australia which respects this land of ours, values the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and provides justice for all.” (Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation). Further the AEU believes that Reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Indigenous Australians is the responsibility of all. Building strong relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians is vitally important to ensuring a socially cohesive and prosperous nation.

ACTION
1. A Working Group, comprising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians, is established to support the development of the RAP. 2. Celebrate National Reconciliation Week with our Reconciliation Awards. 3. Encourage all members in schools to develop and regularly review their own RAP.

TARGET
• AEU RAP team will try to meet once per term.

• Reconciliation Awards – increase number of nominations of individuals promoting Reconciliation within their schools. • Promote examples of RAPs in schools and CIT and share via AEU website, journal. • Advertise a list of schools that have developed RAPs in our AEU journal. • Promote through our website and include in our journal.

4. Promote and share the 8 ways of pedagogy and practice and recommend these resources to our AEU members.

RESPECT
The AEU-ACT Branch understands that Aboriginal lands were conquered, that traditional owners were disenfranchised and that the consequences are now apparent in present inequalities and overall lack of wellbeing amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. We believe that Reconciliation is only possible if everyone has equal access to a sustainable society, economy and natural environment. We believe these are vital for a positive future for all. The current circumstances mean that the failure to act is a lack of respect for the past and present generations and complicity with the present state of affairs. Respect for the custodial entitlement over traditional lands is essential to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians maintaining cultural and historical connections to the land. All Australians have a stake in ensuring that we have just and equal access to its resources and that they are distributed for the benefit of all of us. This can only be effectively achieved through consultation with the Elders and their communities who have the honourable responsibility to protect and defend their land.

ACTION
1. Engage office employees and AEU members in understanding the protocols around Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country ceremonies to ensure there is shared meaning behind the ceremonies. 2. Engage office employees and our AEU membership in cultural learning to increase understanding and appreciation of different cultural backgrounds in order to lay the foundation for other RAP actions to be achieved. 3. Provide opportunities for our employees and members to engage in their community NAIDOC Week events.

TARGET
• Develop, implement and communicate a protocol document for the AEU with the help of Reconciliation Australia.

• Develop a cultural awareness training strategy for AEU officers and our members. • In all AEU correspondence include an acknowledgement that our Branch Office is built on Ngunnawal land. • Provide opportunities for all employees to participate in local NAIDOC Week events.

OPPORTUNITIES
Opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, organisations and communities are important to the AEU ACT branch and our core business as they are a substantial percentage of our core student base and the school communities of our AEU members. The Branch recognises that improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people requires our members to engage with their families and community organisations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations must inform the practice of our members and union officers. The Australian Education Union has a need to identify the current knowledge level of members to support the advocacy for training and development opportunities.

ACTION
1. Promote NAIDOC and Reconciliation weeks to our AEU members through the AEU Public Education Voice.

TARGET
• Develop a database to establish baseline data of number of schools celebrating NAIDOC week. • Encourage schools to register on National Reconciliation Week website http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw • Develop a cultural awareness training strategy for AEU officers and our members. • The information gathered from the survey will be used by the AEU Officers to advocate for increased targeted professional development to be provided by ETD.

2. Ask members to provide us with feedback on what they are doing in their schools to celebrate NAIDOC and Reconciliation weeks. 3. Create a survey to gather information from AEU members on their level of knowledge of educating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and working with their families.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 13

SCHOOL ASSISTANT

PROFILE
WITH THERESE TONNA

Sharmita Naidu is a School Assistant at Kingsford Smith School. School Assistant Co-Ordinator Therese Tonna asked Sharmita to tell us a bit about herself and her journey into her current role. What led you to becoming a school assistant? I have been in the education workplace for 6 years now. I started my career at Latham Primary as a casual school assistant. I worked there for 1 year while finishing my Diploma in Children Services. I was then employed by Kingsford Smith School in 2009. After one year I was awarded a permanent position at KSS. Since then I have been working here. I work 2 full days in a mainstream class assisting students and 3 days tutoring maths using the Quicksmart program. I love my job. I work really closely with classroom teachers and other teacher’s assistants. It really is a team effort. KSS is like second home for me. I love working with kids. It completely fits in with my family life. I have been able to drop off and pick up my children and be there for them in the evening. I have been able to spend every holiday with them. I get on well with kids. What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your role as a school assistant? It is very rewarding role which is also having an impact on the lives of the children you work with day to day. As a teaching assistant your support really makes a difference. The most challenging part of being a school assistant is to manage the behaviour of students. You have to be calm and patient with them at all times. What does being an AEU member mean to you? To me, being a union member ensures we are represented meaningfully in enterprise agreement negotiations with management. Negotiations are not limited to only wages and salaries, but can also include staffing, overtime, safety and health. The Union helps people to have a voice in their workplace, uphold employment rights and fairness in the workplace. We bargain with employers for better working conditions.

2014 AEU
CHECKLIST
We know the beginning of the year is one of your busiest times so we’ve jotted down some reminders to get your Union SubBranch up and running. 2014 is an important year! We will be negotiating the next Teachers Enterprise Agreement!
• N  ominate your Sub-Branch representatives and send these into the AEU Office ASAP. • I ntroduce yourself to new staff at your school and ask them if they are a Union member. If they’re not yet a member, give them a membership form and join them up! Don’t forget School Assistants! • U  pdate your AEU noticeboard – look out for our 2014 calendar with important information about your rights at work. • L  ike our ‘Australian Education Union ACT’ Facebook page.

PAGE 14 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

HOW THE 2011 EA WAS WON AND
BY TOM GREENWELL, dIGITal MedIa PrOJeCT OFFICer

WHERE IT GOT US
With our current Enterprise Agreement set to expire next September, much of our focus in 2014 will be on negotiating a new agreement with the employer. Through subbranches and at Branch Council, we have already started formulating our bargaining agenda. As we embark on this journey together, it’s worth pausing to look back to 2011 to the last time we negotiated an agreement. At the start of 2011, we were faced with a Government pay offer of a 2.5% annual increase for all teaching classifications. This would have barely kept up with inflation and retained our unenviable status nationally as the salaries “basket case”. It would have meant that an ACT teacher at the top of the salary scale was paid $6000 less than a colleague in Queanbeyan doing the same job. When the Government refused to make a reasonable offer, AEU ACT members stood together in overwhelming numbers. On September 1, over 2000 of us joined together at the AIS Arena for a stop-work meeting in a wonderful show of unity. Four weeks later, we congregated together outside the Legislative Assembly and made our point with a rousing adaptation of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’! By staying determined and staying united, we kept the pressure on the employer. We also won the broader ACT community over. We called our campaign ‘Our Students Deserve the Best’ because we knew Canberrans would understand that an investment in teachers is an investment in our children. When we went on stike, parents didn’t necessarily enjoy the disruption but they were behind us. Aranda mother, Sony Glasson, was quoted in the Canberra Times saying “It does seem ridiculous that our teachers are paid $6000 a year less than the others. I mean the Government keeps saying ‘invest in our future’ and our kids are the future”. In the face of overwhelming community support, the Government knew it had to act. So what did we win? In terms of pay, we gained initial year salary increases of 7% for top-of-the-scale classroom teachers, 6.1% for executive teachers, 15.6% for deputy principals, 5% for principals, 9.5% for experienced casual teachers and 19.7% for casual interns. In April 2014, top-ofthe-scale classroom teachers will earn $12000 more than they did in 2011. A top-of-the-scale school psychologists will earn almost $20,000 per year more in 2014 than they did in 2011. As well as improved salary outcomes and reduced face-to-face teaching time for first year teachers, there is now the potential to progress up the salary scale more quickly through accelerated progression. Branch Council will endorse our bargaining claim in March 2014, so there’s still plenty of opportunity for you and your sub-branch to provide input. We will then see how the Government responds to our claim. We will do so in the knowledge that by standing together with the community we can win great outcomes for ACT public education. That’s what we did last time. It’s your job to help us build your union. Please show this article to any staff member who is not a member of the AEU and encourage them to join you to ensure improved working conditions are won.

AEU Members rally in 2011.

School Psychologists meet to discuss the 2014 AEU Draft Log of Claims and the impact these have on their working conditions.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 15

OFFICERS PROGRAM
SaraH GraInGer, lYneHaM PrIMarY SCHOOl
I am a preschool teacher and sub-branch president at Lyneham Primary School. I have been a teacher in ACT public schools and an active AEU member for about five years. I applied for the Anna Stewart Program to help me to develop the tools to effectively participate in my role as a sub-branch representative. During my week-long visit I participated in a variety of meetings which included discussions around the CIT and School Assistants’ EA negotiations, the changing landscape of Disability Education in the ACT, the evolution of the ACT AEU’s digital space and health and safety issues for workers in schools. These experiences opened my eyes to the wide range of issues crossing the desks of the motivated officers here at the AEU. During my visit to the AEU many of the officers introduced me to the new model they are working towards to help our union function more effectively. Currently many of the daily tasks completed by industrial and administrative staff revolve around individual or groups of members seeking personalised advice around working conditions, pay and leave entitlements. While the officers would willingly help any member who sought assistance it was easy to see how their working week was consumed by simple problems and queries. The Organising model they are aspiring to includes the empowerment of sub-branch representatives and active union members to lead the charge and raise awareness of common issues across the sector. I liken this experience to teaching in a classroom. Imagine you are leading a Big Book literacy lesson with a group of Kindergarten children. The children are interrupting the flow of your lesson with questions like, ‘When are we having lunch?’, ‘What are we doing after this?’, or ‘Can I get a drink?’. While these queries are all valid and need to be acknowledged in order to complete the task at hand a Kindergarten teacher would implement some strategies such as a visual timetable or a water station. While my appreciation of the work done by our ACT AEU officers has increased I have also developed a better understanding of the need for sub-branches to be like that group of Kinders. It is better for everyone if there is a focus on developing greater independence when seeking answers or solving problems. I guiltily admit to often saying, “Just call the union,” when approached with a member seeking answers. When I return to my school and sub-branch I hope to be that water station by empowering members to know how to access help for themselves. My new resolve is to develop my own capacity when... • o  rganising and facilitating discussions around common problems arising within my sub-branch and working collaboratively to implement an action plan • e  nsuring branch council meetings are attended and relevant information is reported back to members • i nitiating discussions and meetings with my sub-branch to ensure members are abreast of relevant information and opportunities provided by the ACT AEU • w  orking with individual members to build their knowledge and capacity to problem solve and seek resolutions to issues or conflicts.

2013 anna stewart

Sarah Grainger (far right), Anna Stewart Officer meets with Teacher Librarian members.

PAGE 16 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

COrInne FOlleT, THeOdOre PrIMarY SCHOOl

Currently I am working as the Literacy and Numeracy Field Officer at Theodore Primary School. I am at the latter end of my teaching career however this makes me no less passionate about the profession and no less perplexed by the changing environment in which we unconditionally go about our work. Having worked in three states and in the UK, I have seen many changes in educational thinking. The thing that binds all of these together is our common goal: to improve learning outcomes for children. Our job is complex and has moved away from the traditional system in which I was taught. No longer are we the revered members of the community whose job it was to teach the 3R’s. We are carers, nurses, lay psychologists and social workers however we are also professional people who have the responsibility of educating our young people. We work with ‘vulnerable’ people and that itself should make us all aware of how

important our job is. Valuing our profession via the protection of our working conditions is of paramount importance. During the 90’s whilst teaching in the UK I witnessed a system which was going through immense change. The teachers, on the whole, had been disempowered with regard to their working conditions and school autonomy was part of the educational landscape. I may not be politically minded but I do know that this system did not work for the children, nor did it work for the teachers. As we enter into our next phase of enterprise bargaining it’s pretty clear to me that we all need to be on the front foot and understand just what the union does for us. Allowing us, as professionals, time to do our job properly is one element of our new agreement. ‘Best practice’ is a phrase consistently bantered around our schools however this can only occur if we have the time and money invested into ‘walking the talk’.

My week shadowing the industrial staff of the AEU has been extremely valuable in that I was privy to all of the work done behind the scenes which in effect allows us to carry out our ‘core business’ on a daily basis. This included: attending sub branch meetings to work collaboratively with groups around issues that have arisen, working with the School Assistants’ Co-ordinator to ensure that their working conditions are protected, understanding how the union negotiates with the ETD with regards to our rights and responsibilities, understanding the issues which arise in the high school/college/CIT/ alternative educational settings. I guess my message now is to encourage colleagues to have a greater understanding of what their rights and responsibilities are and to be proactive, at the school level, in ensuring these are enduring. With the new EA now in a consultative phase, there is no better time to have input into the very important profession we have chosen to be part of.

Corinne Follett working in the AEU Office with Garrett Purtill

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 17

A YEAR TO

AEU ACT BRANCH 2013

REMEMBER

PAGE 18 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

FAREWELL JANET
Janet Anderson recently retired from the AEU after more than thirty years of distinguished service. Janet began working as Assistant Membership Clerk for the ACT Teachers’ Federation (now AEU ACT Branch) on 24 January 1983. In August of that year she commenced work as part-time StenoSecretary. In April 1991 she commenced work as full-time Executive Assistant and started sharing Executive and Council meetings with the Executive Officer. In 2005, Janet took over the Receptionist position and retained it until March 2011. At that time Janet took over as Executive Officer after the resignation of another AEU office stalwart, Sue Billington. Janet has earned many plaudits in her time at the AEU. In January 2003, the AEU’s Federal Conference conferred Honorary Membership of the AEU on Janet “for her exemplary contribution to the Union’s affairs and to education generally”. In May 2008 she was awarded a Public Education Award “In acknowledgement of the commitment shown to public education throughout 25 years of service to the AEU - ACT Branch”. Over her thirty years, Janet’s name became synonymous with reliability, integrity and attention to detail. When Janet was assigned a task, officers and members could depend on her to do it with promptness, efficiency and accuracy. She has been at the core of the often unseen engine-room of the Union and has made life that little bit (or a lot!) easier for literally thousands of members, hundreds of Branch Councillors, scores of Executive members and dozens of AEU industrial and administrative staff. For me, Janet has been a skilled adviser, a trusted confidante, an occasional rescuer, a comrade and a good friend. On behalf of AEU members, I wish her a happy and prosperous retirement with family and dragon boats.

Glenn Fowler Branch Secretary

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 19

WELL BEING
BY SASCHA COLLEY
According to Comcare, healthy workplaces deliver greater productivity, improve workforce participation and increase social inclusion. So it’s in the best interest of everyone within a workplace to work together to promote mental health and wellbeing at work. In busy schools, with increased workloads and the community’s expectation to meet the individual needs of every student and their families, adding the additional role of supporting staff’s mental health and wellbeing can be a daunting pressure. However it is something we all need to do, and for managers it is also a responsibility. Recognising and understanding that workload pressures, how we interact with people, how we treat others, and the things we do within the workplace can actually injure someone psychologically is important to remember. Our words and workplace behaviours could be considered a Workplace Health and Safety Hazard. The workplace has a significant influence on people’s health and wellbeing. Creating the right work environment and managing potential sources of harm (such as high work demands, low levels of control and poor support) will benefit everyone at work. It can be challenging for managers to understand mental health conditions, how mental ill health can affect an employee, and how to respond. On top of this managers need to be aware of the legislative framework relevant to managing mental health including the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Comcare have developed a great guide “As one, Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work”. This guide provides best practice guidance for managers and staff on how to support individuals experiencing mental health issues, and how to create a supportive workplace that may prevent potential mental health problems from developing. Risks can arise out of the context of work including poor team climate and poor quality people management practices such as lack of role clarity, poorly managed change, a breakdown in relationships and high work pressure and demands. When risks to

PROMOTING HEALTH AND

mental health are not addressed they can cause mental ill health, have an impact on employees and their families and lead to workers’ compensation claims. Managers have an important role in addressing work risks to mental health in the way they design and manage work, provide supportive leadership and foster an inclusive culture. Building a resilient work team is an important part of creating a healthy and productive work environment. Resilient teams are based on mutual trust, social norms, participation and social networks. Building resilient teams is about effective leadership, team cohesion, mutual support, and open, honest communication. It is important for managers to remember that the resilience levels of an employee may fluctuate depending on what else is happening in their life. The “As one, Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work” guide suggests the following is necessary to promote resilience and good mental health at work. • P  rovide Leadership – Good managers develop a range of leadership styles to suit different situations. You earn the respect of your team not because of your position in the organisation but because you lead by example. • E  ncourage team cohesion – A resilient team is one in which people have a shared sense of purpose and connectedness. Interaction and reinforcement of team efforts are important. • P  rovide role clarity to employees – Individuals and teams that understand how their work contributes to the overall organisational objectives can see meaning and value to their work. • B  e supportive – Build a team culture characterised by mutual support through modelling trust and inclusivity. Spend time with your team members. Discuss simple ways as a team that employees can support each other such as ‘checking in’ with each

other on a regular basis and becoming aware of the early signs that may indicate a colleague is struggling with their work. •  Recognise progress – a sense of achievement at work is important. •  Communicate effectively – Keep employees informed, engaged and involved. •  Promote personal skills required for resilience – Delegate responsibility to your employees and let them do their job using their own imagination and creativity. •  Balance work with other life activities – Ensure work is undertaken in a safe, healthy and productive manner over time. A balance of effort and recovery (including time for rest, exercise and adequate nutrition) has been recognised as important to the maintenance of resilience. This excellent publication is found on the Comcare website through the following link. http://www.comcare.gov.au/promoting/ people,_culture_and_performance/mental_ health_and_wellbeing ‘Australian Public Service Commission and Comcare ‘As One: Working Together Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing at Work’. 2013

PAGE 20 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

COMING SOON
BY TOM GREENWELL
Early in 2013, Executive decided that the AEU ACT web site was in need of a significant overhaul. While it was recognised that an upgrade would require significant investment, it was also felt that it represented an opportunity to draw on the success of other unions and progressive organisations that are maximising the potential of digital technology. In moving forward, we have been able to glean some of the wisdom of the thousands of professional communicators that make up our union. Responses from hundreds of members to a survey in Term 3 and a range of meetings and informal conversations have helped us develop a strong understanding of the direction we need to take. Busy members want targeted, relevant communication. Our web site needs to be easy to navigate and to incorporate the social and interactive elements that will make it the hub of our community.

NEW AEU ACT WEBSITE

After receiving a range of proposals and thinking hard about our options, we have decided to engage Sydney-based Manic Studios to develop our new site. Manic brings extensive experience working with the union movement, including the ACTU and Unions NSW, as well as expertise developing with NationBuilder. In addition to a web site content management system, NationBuilder is a database and a communications hub. We believe it will not only give us a great new site but the ability to make all our communications more targeted and more relevant for members. Unions such as United Voice, organisations such as the ALP and progressive candidates like Adam Bandt have all used NationBuilder to power their cause. Recently, NationBuilder was used to manage the grassroots campaign that produced Cathy McGowan’s upset victory in the seat of Indi in the 2013 Federal Election.

As Manic Studios is working away on the site, in the union office we’re developing some fresh new content to fill it out. Lake Tuggeranong College member, Lisa Styles, has generously volunteered to make a video that will be featured on the new join page. At present, it’s anticipated the new site will go live in December, allowing us to iron out any kinks before the start of the 2014 school year. We really look forward to your involvement in the new site. We’re also ramping up our social media presence. Our Facebook page (facebook. com/aeuact) is buzzing with activity and officers are increasingly following the lead of Branch Secretary, @GlennFowlerAEU, in using Twitter! It’s a great way to engage in conversations with members and other unionists as well as the broader community. If you’re not already involved in the AEU community online, please join us! .

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 21

MEMBER
ROB MATTHEWS

PROFILE
Gilmore primary school then on to Narrabundah primary and then next a change to work with high school students at Melrose H.S. At Melrose H.S. I worked with a softly spoken and very knowledgeable Kristen Proudfoot within the ESL / I.P.S. Program. The work with Kristen gave me the incentive to move to the Introductory English Centre at North Ainslie P.S. where I worked with non English speaking background children who had just arrived in Australia. This was both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Again, great leadership from Sue Engel and committed I.E.C. staff assisted my growth in teaching to a new student group. It was time to look for another challenge and this came two years ago when my substantive was moved to the new Introductory English Centre at Charnwood Dunlop School and this is where I currently teach.

What do you feel have been the biggest changes in teaching during your career?
The steady increase in administration tasks and the amount of meetings has taken time and energy away from the key area of my work which is teaching. I can recall teaching staff how to use the latest Apple IIe computer! I.T. usage in the classroom has had a huge change over my teaching career. The IT technology coupled with greater demands to be I.T. savvy is a constant challenge for all teachers.

Why did you choose teaching?
Years ago the Victorian government offered student ships/scholarships to study at Teacher Colleges in Victoria. My Teachers College was down the road from my parent’s home in North Geelong - an easy 5 minute walk. My first choice was photography in Melbourne. This was an expensive first choice and our family didn’t have the resources. So the second choice was chosen as it provided a scholarship (i.e. money to study), allowed me to work part-time at a family friend’s hotel and would allow me to earn a true income when I graduated rather than photography which was regarded as a folly with limited job opportunities.

If you could change anything to improve conditions for teachers, what would it be?
Within the primary sector the amount of face to face teaching needs to be markedly reduced to provide additional time for planning to cater for the more complex needs that children demonstrate. Get this right, and the dividends will pay well as the child matures. Within both Primary and High school sectors, better resourcing for school counsellors rather than the current position of stretching staff over many campuses.

What is your current role?
My role is that of a senior classroom teacher to assist and guide our I.E.C. team to teach primary aged students standard Australian English and develop their English proficiency levels. The second role is to assist the child’s social and emotional development so they can make and maintain good friends, work well in school and be accepted in our wider community.

What does AEU membership mean to you?
It’s like having an elder sister/brother who looks after your general interest while you go about your general day to day work. When you need specific confidential assistance then you know that this ‘sister/brother’ is a short call away to provide detailed knowledge, skills, guidance and perspective without fear or favour. By working as a group, the Sub Branch or the AEU membership as a whole, more can be done within the school and across the system than trying to do this by yourself. I recall the phrase ‘strength in unity’. These are my reasons as to why I have been an active member for more than 30 years.

Describe your teaching career to date?
I studied in Geelong then moved to Canberra to complete my studies. I have taught for all of my 30 plus years as an ESL / EALD teacher due to a fantastic friend, John Quinn, who saw the potential in me and altered my career from a classroom teacher to a specialist English language teacher at Mawson Primary school. For those who worked with and knew John he was most inspiring and I keep warm his guidance and leadership in my early years. I moved to

What are the most rewarding aspects of your current position?
Seeing children communicate effectively with their Australian peers in English and who are ready to accept the thrills and challenges that mainstream schooling, friendship groups and society has to offer them in their new home, Canberra. It is always rewarding when acknowledgement and recognition by parents and staff of the hard work involved in teaching new arrivals is shown.

PAGE 22 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

AEU Membership Application

ACT Branch

PO Box 3042 Manuka ACT 2603 Ph: 02 6272-7900

Application for Membership
I hereby apply for membership of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union and if admitted agree to abide by the Rules of the Union. AEU Rules can be found at www.aeuact.asn.au /about-us/ I agree to pay to the AEU fees owing in accordance with the Union’s schedule of subscriptions. I understand that my fees will be adjusted automatically in line with salary movements. I recognise that I must inform the Union of any other salary or status adjustments otherwise I will not be a fully financial member and may not be eligible for the full range of services. I understand that the Union’s Rules require me to give written notice of resignation.

PERSONAL DETAILS (Please complete all sections)
Surname Given Names Home address
Postcode Mr/Ms/Miss/Mrs/Dr

EMPLOYMENT DETAILS
School/Workplace/ CIT Centre & Campus Current level Gross Salary
[Go to www.aeuact.asn.au/join-us for the salary steps]

Home phone Mobile number Work Email

 Do you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?

 Do you identify as being from a Culturally or Linguistically Diverse Background?

SECTOR  Primary  Preschool  Secondary  TAFE  Associate* (Retired/Student Teachers)
* Associate Members need only sign, date, attach payment or complete credit card details. Go straight to signature box.

STATUS  FULL TIME  PART TIME

 Permanent OR Contract   Permanent OR Contract 
Load %

CLASSIFICATION  Teacher  Assistant  Youth Worker  Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education Officer  Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education Worker  Other (please specify)_____________
I hereby authorise the Australian Education Union (ACT Branch) to access my salary and other employment details from the Education and Training Directorate for the purpose of updating AEU Membership records. Signature Date of application

 CASUAL (Schools) – Average days per week [tick ONE]  0-1  2-3  3+  CASUAL (TAFE) – Average hours per week [tick ONE]  0-6  7-14  15-20

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 19 PLEASE MAKE SURE PAYMENT DETAILS ARE COMPLETED OVER PAGE

AEU Membership Application

ACT Branch
PRIVACY STATEMENT: The AEU will not sell or provide any information regarding AEU – ACT Branch members to third parties. The AEU’s Privacy Policy may be viewed at www.aeuact.asn.au and a copy is available from the AEU Office on request.

 Monthly Direct Debit [Bank/Credit Union]
11th of each month or next business day I have completed the DDR Authority below to have my subscription deducted from my bank or credit union account. Direct Debit Request Form and Service Agreement Request for debiting amounts to accounts by the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS) Manager [insert name & address of financial institution]

Payment Details
Please select ONE of the following:
I am paying by… 
(not available to Casual/Relief Teachers)

I/We [Insert your name in full] [Surname or Company/Business Name] [Given Names or ACN/ARBN] request you, until further notice by me in writing, to debit my/our account described in the schedule below, any amounts which the Australian Education Union – ACT Branch [User ID No. 066127] may debit or charge me/us through the Bulk Electronic Clearing System. I/We understand and acknowledge that: 1. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion, determine the order of priority of payment by it of any moneys pursuant to this Request or any authority or mandate. 2. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion, at any time by notice in writing to me/us, terminate this Request as to future debits. 3. The User may, by prior arrangement and advice to me/us, vary the amount or frequency of future debits. 4. Any queries to be directed to the Debit User in the first instance. 5. It is the responsibility of the customer to have sufficient funds in the account by the due date to permit the payment by BECS or bank charges may apply. 6. I/We understand the information supplied will not be used for another purpose. 7. Statements will be issued upon request. Customer Signatures [joint signatures may be required]

Fortnightly Payroll Deduction

I authorise the AEU to contact ETD to commence fortnightly deductions at the appropriate rate as soon as possible. Name Signature AGS No

OR

Monthly Credit Card
11th of each month or next business day

Please debit my credit card automatically Visa 
Cardholder’s name Card Number CSC

Bankcard 

MasterCard  Customer Address

CSC: Turn over your credit card and look for the number printed on the signature panel. You are required to enter the last three digits.

Expiry Date

/

Amount $

The Schedule
(Note: BECS is not available on the full range of accounts. If in doubt, please refer to your Financial Institution) Insert name of account which is to be debited

Cardholder’s signature

OR

BSB [Bank/State/Branch No.] Account Number

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*Membership eligibility applies to join Teachers Mutual Bank (TMB) ABN 30 087 650 459 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238981. Full terms & conditions available at tmbank.com.au/fts. | 00564S-FUT-0913 | 297x210-PEV