Monday, 24 October 2016


Emergency Preparedness and Response Training
Novotel Geelong
October 25th 

Reviewing EMP, and risk assessments.
OHS Audits a possibility. Documentation essential.
Emergency defined as something that totally disrupts the school.
( ie bushfire, flood, severe weather etc)
Table discussion about responding to a severe weather warning and the importance of BOM site and local knowledge. Also checking in with the SES.
Important to use the student activity locator when going on excursions.
Discussed incident management teams and the need for ' a shelter in place'.
Need to consider being part of the global community.
Watched a video featuring principal Susan Ogden from Dandenong High about a bomb threat she received at the start of the year when there was a spate of bomb threats ( 92 schools got threats effecting 36000 students)The bomb threat section of the EMP has been modified given the bomb threats made earlier this year.
Our main classroom is regarded as our designated 'shelter in place'.( Last resort if we can't evacuate but first resort in bad weather) Grass fire might be a big concern this summer. Remaining inside is the best option for us.
Discussed the Risk assessment aspect of the EMP.
Discussed the role of the IMT ( Incident Management Team)
When reviewing our EMP over the Christmas break we need to update our IMT roles and determine risk assessment, update emergency kits, communicate clearly with parents what we intend to do regarding evacuation and closure.
Communicate with local government about off-site evacuation.
These sessions would be more productive if they were undertaken for like schools with like issues. A lot of what was talked about today was for me impractical or irrelevant.


I organised one of the grade 2 excursions to Sovereign Hill today. Four small schools attended including Glen Park. My colleague, Alison is the grade 2 teacher there are she played the part perfectly and did a great job. I had one student going and she had a fantastic time.
I took a few sneaky photos ( I had to be careful because I was in costume and not supposed to use a mobile phone.)
Below is a photo of me and Alison and photos of my grade 2 student.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Hospital walk

Today was the Ballarat Walk/Run 2016 for the children's ward of the Ballarat Base Hospital. I went on the 6 km walk. Well done to Ballarat High School for hosting it this year.


Extracts from a terrific story by Henrietta Cook in the Age  about the suicide of Principal Mark Thompson in 2014, which I blogged about at the time. The story claims DET is doing more to support Principals, I'd dispute that.

Anyone who works in the education system knows how the pressure builds up over years. It has intensified as society changed, with schools expected to do more. Not only are schools expected to educate students, but they now have to prepare them for life in the outside world. As well as teaching students how to read and write, they need to teach them about respectful relationships, cyber security, sex education and drug education.

They need to prepare students for NAPLAN tests, provide parents with constant updates on students' progress and be available at all times, thanks to technology. Teachers and principals are dealing with students with mental health issues, drug problems and complicated family lives. Meanwhile, principals also have to run a business. They complain about being crushed by the volume of administrative tasks that were previously handled by the Education Department regions.

Julie Podbury is the president of the Australian Principals Federation. She worked as a principal for 20 years at Brighton Secondary College, and says workload is one of the biggest contributors to mental health issues in the profession. "It's a massive job," she says from her high-rise Docklands office, which overlooks boats bobbing on the Yarra River. "It has just become a huge task."

Recently, she asked a handful of principals to submit daily diary entries documenting the pressures of their jobs. This is what one principal's 11½-hour day involved:

Checking up on a student who turned up to school with bruises

Contacting a local MP about inadequate funding

Searching a former student's files in preparation for an upcoming court case

Arranging professional development for staff

Dealing with a student who declared he had cut his arm with a razor

Greeting a contractor who had arrived to fix windows

Sending a child home after hours of unrest

Endless phone calls and emails, and a meeting with a parent.

In the past five years mental health claims to Teachers Health Fund, a private health insurer for educators, have almost doubled. Its chief executive, Bradley Joyce, says mental health issues have led to teachers leaving the profession, put extra financial pressures on schools and hurt students' educational experience. But many principals and teachers don't reach out for help. They fear they will lose their job, or be branded weak.  

An annual study by the Australian Catholic University's Phil Riley has consistently found that rates of stress, depression and burnout among Australian principals are twice those of  the general population. He receives an email alert when a principal discloses in the online survey that they have thought about harming themselves in the past week, or indicate that they have a very poor quality of life. He has already received 400 of these warnings this year, and refers these principals to mental health services.

"I think workload is the main issue," he says. "They are working an average 60 hours per week. There is a lot more accountability because there is less trust in principals."

School of stress
Teachers and principals made 172 WorkCover claims for mental injury in 2015, up from 137 the previous year.
In the past five years mental health claims to Teachers Health Fund, a private health insurer for educators, have almost doubled.
An Australian Education Union workload survey of 13,000 teachers and principals released last week showed teachers in Victoria work more than 53 hours and principals 60 hours every week.


Apparently there have been some references to education in the US election. 
Trump as usual shows what a class act he is.
From the Think Progress website.

In a 1997 legal deposition, Donald Trump argued that educators lack intelligence, saying that teachers are “very stupid.”
Trump’s attack on educators, which came to light in a recent examination of his views on education, come as the Republican nominee is still reeling from the fallout from his previous remarks, many of which have been decried as sexist, racist, or simply intolerant.
Trump’s comments about teachers first appeared in a decades-old Los Angeles Times article and have not been reported upon since. At the time, Trump sued the Los Angeles School Board to obtain development rights to a piece of land in downtown Los Angeles.
During the deposition in Los Angeles, Trump said: “I assumed that the people essentially teaching the kids were not stupid. They turned out to be very stupid.” He also assailed the school board, describing the members as “fools,” and complained about the city, saying that the development rights were taken from him “as viciously as in Nazi Germany.”
These comments fit into a long-standing pattern of anti-teacher rhetoric from the Republican nominee.
Trump’s writings show that he has long viewed teachers as a type of societal punching bag. In at least one instance, Trump bragged about literally assaulting an educator, and in his 1987 book, Art of the Deal, Trump boasted about hitting his grade-school music teacher for not “knowing anything about music.”
In his book The America We Deserve, Trump goes further, blaming teachers unions for America’s education ills, arguing that the organizations are nothing more than self-interested monopolies that harm education with their anti-choice agenda.
Trump’s anti-teacher views are also reflected in his recent policy statements. On the campaign trail, Trump often promotes dismantling the nation’s public education system, which would result in significant educator job loss. Trump has also repeatedly called for the elimination of the Department of Education, which would spark the loss of almost half a million teacher jobs.
Some of Trump’s closest advisers have advocated similar views. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), for example, once said that teachers unions “deserve a punch in the face.”
Donald Trump’s higher ed ‘plan’ will explode the student debt crisis

Trump is disguising a giveaway to Wall Street banks as a solution to the student debt crisis.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr. has also attacked teachers, criticizing the Democratic Party for being “more concerned about protecting the jobs of tenured teachers than serving the students in desperate need of a good education.” In that same speech, Trump Jr. also implied teachers were only in the profession for their own self-serving agenda.
The approach of the Trump campaign standards in marked contrast to Hillary Clinton’s approach. In recent remarks, the Democratic presidential hopeful has proposed a campaign to “elevate” the teaching profession.
“One of my main goals as president will be to launch a national campaign to modernize and elevate the profession of teaching,” Clinton said. “To reach out to encourage more talented young people to become teachers. To reach out and encourage more talented mid-career professionals to do the same.”
As for the teacher who Trump allegedly gave a black eye, the educator appeared to have the last word: near his death, the teacher told his family that “when that kid [Trump] was 10, even then he was a little shit.”
From today's Age ( similarities?)

Also the NSW Liberal government is biting back at the Turnbull Government over Gonski and its getting a bit personal.


Apparently, according to the UK ' school standards minister' ( whatever that is?) teachers don't need to provide effective feedback to their students. A simple grade ( A-F?) will suffice. This story from the BBC

Teachers are spending too much time over-marking pupils' homework, Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb has said.
He told MPs that marking in different-coloured pens, and giving feedback in exercise books, had never been a government or an Ofsted requirement.
He told the Education Committee that the practice was adding to teachers' workload - one of the top reasons given by them for leaving the profession.
Instead, work should be marked with a simple grade, he suggested.
Mr Gibb was responding to questions on how teacher workload was affecting recruitment and retention of teachers.
A recent report found many teachers working as many as 60 hours a week.
He said teachers in England worked longer hours than the OECD average, but spent the same amount of time in front of a class.
And he suggested that they may not be working as smartly as their overseas colleagues.
Earlier, the committee had heard how it had become an urban myth in schools that teachers needed to mark in green and purple ink and give very detailed assessments of the work.
'From the ether'
Mr Gibb, however, gave the example of a free school which had cut back on marking, allowing teachers to be freed to set more homework.
Instead of detailed feedback, teachers at the school were asked to simply give a grade, he said.
"The key thing is this notion of feedback on the face of the exercise book," he said.
"This is one of the notions that came from somewhere in the ether, possibly something was said at a conference.
"It was never a requirement by the government, never a requirement of Ofsted, and so we have to send out the message that it is not required.
"It's not required for there to be this dialogue on paper in different-coloured pens, this to and fro between the chid and the teacher."
Some teachers he had spoken to were not even sure that children read the remarks left in their books, he said.
Feedback should only come, for example, when the teacher is marking 30 pupils' work, he said, and discovers that they have not understood something they have been taught.
But the Association of Teaches and Lecturers assistant general secretary Nansi Ellis said she believed Mr Gibb was sincere in his desire to help teachers to reduce their workload, and in particular to reduce "deep marking".
"But he needs to look at evidence before he starts telling teachers how to mark," she said.
"Earlier this year, the Education Endowment Foundation found that awarding grades for every piece of work may reduce the benefit of marking, particularly if pupils become preoccupied with their grades at the expense of teachers' comments, and some forms of marking are unlikely to improve pupil progress."
David Anstead, of the Nottingham education improvement board, said teachers and heads were in fear of a visit from Ofsted and so got sucked into paperwork which was sometimes unnecessary.
Two-hour limit
"The main thing I get asked is, 'What will Ofsted think about this?'
"One of the solutions has to be to work together to say actually, 'It's all right to do less'. There's a safety-in-numbers approach," he told the committee.
He described how in Nottingham, head teachers had agreed to put a limit on the number of hours teachers are required to work.
This meant putting a limit of two hours a day on any extra work they did after their contracted hours at school.
They then signed up to something called a Fair Workload Charter which was on the school website so that teachers wanting to work at the school knew what they could expect.

Friday, 21 October 2016