Report-Back from July 26 Council
Here's the main decisions and action points from July 26 Council.
1. Main action points
Please sign the petition against the cuts to Gonski http://www.igiveagonski.com.au/saynotocuts .
Meeting 4pm, this Thursday at 40 Brisbane Avenue, Barton for members concerned by the ACT Government’s decision to withdraw from the provision of early intervention services. Rsvp for the meeting here: http://www.aeuact.org.au/july_31_early_intervention_centres_meeting
There is also a petition against the decision that closes on July 31.
c) School Assistants Week in Week 5 (August 18 – 22)
School Assistants Dinner, Friday August 22. Sub-branch leaders, please give hard copy invitations to all school assistants at your school. To purchase tickets, just call 62727900. If the school assistant is not already a member, please give them a membership form as well and ask them to join. Sub-branch leaders, please organise a small event during School Assistants Week to recognise your school assistants.
d) Women Members
Women’s Contact Officers and Women members are invited to come along to the Women’s network meeting Friday August 8 at Tilley’s. The Anna Stewart Program gives a woman member the chance to spend a week in the AEU office on full pay. It will be October 20 – 25 (Term 4, Week 2). Federal Women’s Conference, October 4/5, Melbourne. Applications close Friday September 19.
e) New Educators
National New Educators Conference October 18 & 19, Brisbane. Expressions of Interest close August 29.
f) Term 3 ACT Educator will arrive in letterboxes this week
Please flag the magazine's arrival at your next staff or sub-branch meeting and point colleagues to articles that may be of interest.
g) Next meeting of Branch Council September 6
2. School Teacher Enterprise Agreement Negotiations
AEU representatives have now met with their ETD counterparts on 5 occasions (although in the earlier meetings ETD representatives had not yet received instructions from the ACT Government). There is a shared focus by both parties on eliminating tasks that distract teachers from concentrating on teaching.
Domestic Violence leave has been agreed on. This will make 20 days leave available to any employee suffering from domestic violence. It is now a standard condition across the ACT public service.
3. Meeting between AEU ACT Secretary and the ACT Minister for Education & Training
A range of issues were discussed in a meeting this week with the Minister.
- In the context of noises that Jervis Bay School may be taken out of the ACT education system, we communicated our opposition to such a move. We conveyed our strong belief that Jervis Bay School is performing very strongly and a change would be detrimental to the interests of the students it serves. Glenn encouraged the Minister to visit the school to get a first-hand insight into what the school is achieving.
- In the wake of the High Court decision, the Minister advised she would support ACT schools having the option of secular chaplains.
- We communicated our opposition to the idea of combining the Government Schools Education Council (GSEC) with the Non-Government Schools Education Council.
- Work is continuing in ETD and the Minister’s Office to develop a more rigorous set of procedures around consideration of proposals for new non-government schools.
- The Minister explained a range of work being performed in the Directorate to promote public education, including research on the why parents sometimes choose private schools or out-of-area public schools.
4. Closure of Early Intervention Services
An explanation of the ACT Government’s decision to withdraw from Early Intervention was provided. See Garrett Purtill’s post: ACT Government Walking Away from Early Intervention Services.
A member’s meeting is being held 4pm this Thursday at 40 Brisbane Avenue, Barton. All member’s welcome.
We are working with a range of disability groups who share our concerns. We are planning on holding a public forum in coming weeks.
There is also a petition against the decision that closes on July 31.
Council resolved that:
“That the AEU ACT work to ensure that: 1. All leases with private providers of NDIS be carefully designed to ensure that there is no detrimental effects on staff and students in government schools. 2. Ongoing satisfaction data be gathered from parents as the transition occurs.”
5. School Assistant Report
- Therese Tonna reported on her successful trip with three other AEU ACT school assistants to the South Australian School Support Officers Conference. It was great to learn from the South Australian experience of school assistants stepping up into leadership roles in our union. Given the significant interest from ACT school assistants, Therese is aiming to hold an ACT school assistant conference in 2015.
- The new School Assistants Enterprise Agreement provides preschool assistants with two ways of progressing up the salary scale. It's all explained here.
- School Assistants Dinner, Friday August 22. Sub-branch leaders, please give hard copy invitations to all school assistants at your school. To purchase tickets, just call 62727900. If the school assistant is not already a member, please give them a membership form as well and ask them to join.
- Sub-branch leaders, please organise a small event during School Assistants Week to recognise your school assistants.
6. Organising Update
- Lead Organiser, Andy Jennings, announced plans to develop a strategic plan with each sub-branch that covers membership density and local industrial issues. For the moment, sub-branch leaders are encouraged to reflect on the key issues and goals at your workplace.
- Lead Organiser, Andy Jennings, advised training this term will be about the workload committee and how to run sub-branches.
- AEU ACT New Educator Co-ordinator, Kate Reynolds, advised the National New Educators Conference is on October 18 & 19, Brisbane. Expressions of Interest close August 29. Please mention to new educators who might be interested. More information in the ACT Educator out this week.
- AEU ACT Women’s Officer present on three upcoming opportunities for AEU women.
i. Women’s Contact Officers and Women members are invited to come along to the Women’s network meeting Friday August 8 at Tilley’s.
ii. The Anna Stewart Program gives a woman member the opportunity to spend a week in the AEU office on full pay. It will be October 20 – 25 (Term 4, Week 2). More information in the ACT Educator out this week.
iii. Federal Women’s Conference, October 4/5, Melbourne. Applications close Friday September 19. More information in the ACT Educator out this week.
- The Council of P&Cs have distributed a newsletter item. Could you please check the co-ordinator of the newsletter at your school has received it?
- Please sign the petition against the cuts to Gonski http://www.igiveagonski.com.au/saynotocuts
- Social media activity, including Twitter-bombing Pyne, 7.30 Wednesday, July 30
- Working on an opinion piece for the Canberra Times.
- Action in marginal seats around the country.
8. Equality data
Branch Council instructed the AEU office staff to begin the authorized collection of equality data from its members, on an entirely voluntary basis, for the following categories: age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability.
This data will be solely used for the analysis of requests for personal assistance the AEU ACT Branch receives, or the impact of proposed changes to members terms and conditions, to ensure there is no discrimination being incurred by any equality group. No equality data will be shared with any other person or body without the express permission of the member(s) beforehand.
9. Principal vacancies
Following a resolution at June 21 Council, the Secretary, Glenn Fowler, wrote the to the Director-General of the Education & Training Directorate expressing concern about a recent tendency to seek to go straight to open advertisement for principal vacancies, rather than through the transfer process.
The Director-General’s reply insisted that ETD has been proceeding according to the relevant provisions of the EA and invited us to raise our concerns as part of negotiating a new agreement. We will.
10. Preschool enrolments
June 26 Council instructed the Secretary to investigate whether:
“The Directorate has stopped preschool children from accessing a second year of preschool under any circumstances; Preschool class size maximums have been increased; Out of area enrolments in preschool in relation to adjoining childcare centres are still possible; There are changes to preschool funding arrangements.”
Glenn reported that Schools Network Leader, Anne Huard, who is doing some work on efficiency at preschools presented to the July 22 meeting of Branch Executive. No edict for stopping 2nd year of preschool, research is pointing to it not being needed. Guidelines being developed. Class sizes in 2016: preschool class sizes will be 1:11 under the National Quality Standards. Directorate currently able to have a max of 25 if floor space is available.
No change to out of area enrolments or funding arrangements but resources are being reviewed for efficiency.
11. Independent Public Schools
Glenn referred to the Canberra Times report. He commended Minister Burch on preserving our strong system focus and emphasis on collaboration. He advised money will be used for professional learning for school leaders and governing bodies.
12. Donation to UN Emergency Appeal for Gaza
ITV News witnesses aftermath of UN school attack in Gaza
In the aftermath of an attack on a UN school in Gaza, which left 15 dead and dozens more injured, AEU ACT Branch Council approved a $2000 donation to the UN Emergency Appeal for Gaza. Branch Council passed the following motion:
“This Branch Council utterly condemns the recent shelling of a UN school in Gaza, resulting in children, women and men being killed and maimed in a designated safe haven. We condemn the use of violence by both sides and call upon Israel and Hamas to call an immediate ceasefire. This Branch Council authorizes a donation of $2000 to the UN Emergency Appeal for Gaza, to help the most vulnerable affected by this crisis.”
13. Fair Go for Canberra
Communications Officer, Tom Greenwell, reported on our successful participation in the Bust the Budget Rally. Councillors and members are invited to sign up at www.fairgoforcanberra.org.au.
14. AEU Leaders study Tour
Glenn presented the findings of the study tour he participated in with other AEU leaders: Education 'Reform' in Sweden and the UK
15. Education International ‘Education for All’ Campaign
The Australian Education Union is an affiliate of Education International. Education has 30 million members from 173 countries and 402 unions. The goal of the ‘Education For All’ campaign is to get countries to spend 20% of total government expenditure and 6% of GDP on education.
16. Solidarity with public servants
Council unanimously passed the following resolution:
“AEU ACT condemns the actions of the Federal Government that have resulted in EA offers to a number of Federal Departments that are at levels less than CPI, with threats of penalties and a degradation of working conditions. We stand united with unions in these sectors against this approach to industrial relations.”
17. Questions without notice
The situation of a college where a ‘flex’ provision has been repealed to enhance inbuilt relief was raised. A number of comments were made on the unreasonable nature of the arrangement whereby colleges aren’t adequately funded to provide relief.
Another question was raised in relation to continuing work on ensuring school assistants feel completely part of our union. Glenn responded that this is a central focus. See also 5. School Assistants Report.
18. Simon Milner ME Bank
Simon Milner from ME Bank spoke about the services and products they have available, including very competitive home loans. He is available to speak to sub-branch meetings. Contact the AEU ACT office.
19. Union Governance
Rule change submitted to Fair Work but not finalised. Glenn emailed Fair Work Australia identifying that due to the rule change Branch Council members will not be training. All Executive training and Fed conference delegates.
20. Treasurers report
Glenn presented the finance report in a different format due to absence of finance officer. Car park purchase is about to settle and reserve money will be used.