Friday, 29 April 2016

Library shock...horror!

As I said in a previous post or two, we have an enormous library here at Glen Park, second to none. I'm sure we have 'lost' a few books over the years but nothing like this. ( From the Guardian) 

A woman has brought back a book to a New Zealand library 67 years after it was due to be returned.

Myths and Legends of Maoriland by AW Reed was checked out by a girl in 1948 and not seen again. But on Thursday a woman returned the book to a startled librarian at Auckland library and asked how much her late fines would be for returning the book 24,605 days past its due date.

“She told me she had checked out the book as a child and been meaning to return it for years,” said librarian Zoe Cornelius.

“She seemed a bit embarrassed but I was pleased because she said she had read and enjoyed the book many times over the decades and that made me happy – that the book had been in a good home and loved.”

The woman would not incur any late fees, said Cornelius, as she was a child when the book was checked out and children were not charged late fines at the library.

An original checkout slip on the back of the book states that fines for overdue books would be charged at three pence for the first week, and one penny a day for every day following.

If the borrower had been an adult her overdue fines at today’s rates of NZ$1 a day would have amounted to NZ$24,605 

Auckland library holds three copies of Myths and Legends of Maoriland, none of which are allowed to leave the library.

Got a lot done

I popped up to school today for 4 hours to get some planning started for next month and some preparation for next week. I've been reading Pride and Prejudice.....I'd forgotten there were zombies in it! ( hope I'm reading the right version?) We have a graphic novel of it somewhere which I'll need to find ( I already have great graphic novel versions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights) I'll watch the movie tomorrow afternoon. ( that production of Wuthering Heights sounds interesting) I had some shopping for school to do which took a few hours. My son is 21 on Monday and is off to Melbourne tonight with his mates for a celebration. My daughter and I have volunteered to go down and pick him up on Sunday so I hope he doesn't get too wasted! Apparently they're off to Crown.
Tonight I will be working on a simple plan for writing a choose your own adventure story. One of my grade 2s is reading some graphic 'choose your own path' stories for reading so I thought it would be valuable for him to write his own story. It will be interesting to see how he goes.

The scandal that just goes on and on....

The scandal-plagued vocational education sector is set for a radical shake-up under a proposal from the federal government which could see a ban on brokers promoting courses to students, enforcing minimum student completion rates, and only funding courses that meet industry demand. 

The discussion paper, released on Friday, comes after hundreds of millions of dollars have been wiped from the public purse through allegations of unscrupulous education providers selling courses to illiterate students and those with learning impairments. The sector is expected to spiral to $3 billion in public debt this 

Fairfax Media has revealed that one Sydney college, Australian Institute of Professional Education, was paid up to $1 million per graduate last year. It allegedly recruited disadvantaged students in some of the country's poorest areas through the promise of free laptops. It received $111 million in Commonwealth funding and handed out just 

Mr Ryan, the third minister to hold the vocational education portfolio in the past year, said the scandals were the very reason the sector needed to be re-

Last week, the AFP raided the offices of Australian Careers Network in Melbourne as part of a fraud investigation after 16,000 students were left in limbo and hundreds of jobs were lost at the $180 million company. In December, one of its colleges, Phoenix Institute, was charged in the Federal Court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission with false, misleading and unconscionable conduct. 

Under the discussion paper proposal, the government will also consider additional measures beyond tougher numeracy and literacy tests and and enforcing HSC or equivalent qualifications. It has also mooted setting a maximum fee for courses and legislating for a VET-FEE help ombudsman. 

"It is reasonable to consider whether the Commonwealth should specify the maximum fees providers can charge for each VET FEE-HELP course or unit," the discussion paper states.  This could include a restriction on the amount providers can charge for online only delivery, which has exploded over the past two years, and allowed the most remote and poor students to be recruited into courses. 

Another option canvassed in the paper is to prohibit brokers under a new scheme. "This option may improve the integrity of the scheme, may help protect students and ensures student enrolments are the sole responsibility of providers," the paper states. 
In what could create a huge administrative backlog, the government is also considering whether all existing providers should be required to reapply for VET FEE-HELP under the redesigned scheme. 

The regulation-heavy discussion paper is at odds with the government's wider de-regulation agenda in the tertiary sector.  

"Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not one that moves to regulation," said Mr Ryan. "But when you have a market with substantial public subsidy with substantial public funds it's about what the incentives are that you set up, via the regulations you have in place". 

As well as ACN and AIPE, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is pursuing two other Sydney private colleges in the Federal Court for the return of more than $300 million in taxpayer funding.

The discussion paper will be open for public comment until June 30. 
From  The Canberra Times

IBAC Update ( Napoli for the high jump?....he shouldn't be alone)

A disgraced former education department executive could face criminal charges after the anti-corruption watchdog found he mishandled more than $6 million earmarked for disadvantaged schools.

In a long-awaited report handed down on Friday, the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) named disgraced former executive Nino Napoli as the "principal player" in a corrupt ring that allegedly fleeced millions of dollars from schools through false invoices and questionable contracts. 

IBAC has linked Mr Napoli to at least $1.9 million in profits which benefited his relatives and associates, and a further $4.4 million in suspicious transactions and contracts. This exceeds the $2.5 million in corrupt payments the watchdog had initially identified in public hearings about a year ago.

Mr Napoli, who oversaw a $5.5 billion budget at the department, was part of a coterie of executives who allegedly falsely invoiced schools for lavish parties, alcohol, generous overseas travel and personal expenses. 

Former acting secretary Jeffrey Rosewarne used tens of thousands of school dollars to pay for his wife's travel expenses, his home office furniture and a private 50th birthday party, IBAC found. 

School funds were also directed to a series of companies run by Mr Napoli's family between 2007 and 2014, the report said.

The watchdog is now preparing a brief of evidence for the Office of Public Prosecutions, and a number of the key figures could face criminal charges. 

Mr Napoli accessed the school funds by "carefully selecting and grooming principals and business managers", the report found. He gave the schools a small cut of the transaction and other incentives.

"The conduct uncovered during IBAC's investigation was underpinned by a malevolent culture of non-compliance and entitlement," the report said. 

"Evidence suggests this practice to be pervasive and of long standing."

Mr Napoli, Mr Rosewarne and sacked regional director John Allman formed an "unofficial 'boys club' that engaged in drinking, lunching and endowing preferential treatment when it suited their purposes."

Officials who questioned their rule report they were bullied, harassed or made redundant. 

The watchdog has raised "considerable concern" that principals and school managers either wittingly or unwittingly "colluded" in the corrupt scheme, by signing off on false invoices.

"A number of principals and business managers ... are considered to have failed in their financial management duty by not questioning the invoices," the report said.

"Evidence suggests that some principals and business managers had a sense that banker schools were being used for purposes that were not entirely legitimate."

IBAC Commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC said "serious and systemic corruption" had been exposed at the department, and urgent action needed to be taken by public sector bodies to prevent it.

The watchdog recommended that the education department implement a "reform program" and report on its progress December 30 this year.

Department secretary Gill Callister said she accepted the recommendations, and had taken action before the report was handed down.

She said the banker school system had been abolished. 

"The conduct involved here is completely unacceptable," she said.

"None of the people involved are working here."

Ms Callister estimated 15 employees were no longer with the department as a result of the investigation.

Mr Napoli was sacked from his position in the department shortly before IBAC's public hearings began in late April 2015.

Julie Podbury, president of the Australian Principals Federation's Victorian branch, said executives "found to be responsible have done enormous damage to the reputation of the department, those unwittingly involved, and to the public education system".

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Well that was a weird day....

We were supposed to have athletics sport today at Llanberris but we had rain instead. Rain is good, we need it desperately but it would have been better not to have had it today of all days. 
I got an email from the organiser by 7:30 am just as I was heading off down the hill so....I went back and texted all the parents within 5 minutes to let them know it was cancelled. Some turned up to school and some didn't. 
They left at lunch time so I was stuck at work by myself. My daughter popped up with pasta for us so I had a nice lunch with good company. I got the cleaning done today instead of tomorrow. 
I have talked to both grade 6 girls now about the books I want to use for literature. Neither came up with books other than the ones I chose. Maybe they can think of a few later in the year. 
Once I've finished my current unit the girls will work on Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights ( there's a play version on in Ballarat in a fortnight that might be good to see- not on in school time though) and Pride and Prejudice. 
The boys will do work on Moonfleet and The Wreckers. They may like to mix and match depending on what they prefer. I will start preparing a unit on Pride and Prejudice this weekend. I've started re-reading it but I might cheat and watch the DVD. ( one of my students said she saw a version the other day and liked it a lot) I want to read a few more contemporary children's books after that ( Tuck Everlasting and Holes) and then for something a bit unusual The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. ( John LeCarre) But I'm jumping ahead of myself a bit. We will finish The Silver Sword by Tuesday and then I'll start Carries War. We should finish this unit in 2 weeks.We have a few craft tasks to complete- a diorama of war damaged Warsaw, a suitcase for Carries War, a London Blitz picture and a few I hope interesting tasks for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. The fairy tale unit is going well, Jack and the Beanstalk at the moment. Alison Middleton is visiting us a few times each week to work with one of the grade 2 kids and she is making great progress. My grade 3 student is currently reading Berenstain Bears books and has a research and creative writing task to finish next week, she also has NAPLAN testing to start the following week

I prepared a sample passport for our writing task making a document wallet while those at school worked on their models.
The kids finished their comics and missing persons posters this morning.
We don't have an alternative date for sports. That was another job this afternoon watching emails flying between schools while they tried to find a date! The Monday after next sounds like the prefered date but that isn't decided on yet. 
A busy week again. I have a collegiate group meeting on Tuesday night which should be a bit intense...... I hope! I also have the first meeting of our new school council on Friday where I'll table our final annual report, my performance plan ( yeah I know, no other principal would do that!) and our 2016 budget. ( a busy meeting indeed) we also have a major excursion to approve that will have a sport/ Olympics theme which I'll be keen to talk about. 
I want to get some plants for our garden for the winter. ( silverbeet and onions maybe) I'll talk to the nursery about it next week. I'll pick the zucchini we have but leave the tomatoes a bit longer. I hope we can use a few on some pizzas later. I'll ask those interested to help me plant them. We have some bulbs popping up too.
Tomorrow I'll work on Pride and Prejudice up at work and I have a bit of shopping to do for school,probably 7-8 hours work.

Thursday, 28 April 2016


The Australian economy will be $72 billion worse off if it does not dramatically increase the number of students completing high school, a new report has found.
The research, commissioned by the Australian Education Union and completed by former World Bank economist Adam Rorris, comes just a week before the federal budget!
It warns that future expenditure will blow out by at least $60 billion in unemployment benefits and incur a $12.2 billion loss in tax revenue by 2070 if current trends are not reversed.

The report, titled Australian Schooling: The Price of Failure and Reward for Success, found that the literacy and numeracy attainment of Australia's children is declining while the gap between the richest and the poorest students continues to widen.
According to NAPLAN data from 2009-2015, children of the unemployed are now 10 times more likely to not to meet minimum standards for literacy and numeracy as those children of senior professionals.
At the same time, up to 25 per cent of Indigenous children no longer meet the national minimum standard for reading three years before they are due to finish high school.
"There is nothing normal or inevitable about the degree of inequity in Australian learning outcomes," Mr Rorris said.

Only 10 out of 65 countries in the OECD's international assessment program have greater inequity in the allocation of resources than Australia, including Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru.
On Tuesday, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Australian government's had spent $3.5 billion less on education as a proportion of operating expenses since 2009.
Education funding is a key battleground ahead of the expected federal election on July 2. While Labor committed to funding the popular Gonski policy in January, the federal government has refused to commit to the final two years of needs-based funding, despite pleadings from state government coalition ministers and the potential threat to marginal seats.
The Parliamentary Budget Office estimates the final two years of the program would deliver up to $4.5 billion for the nations schools.

Rooty Hill High School principal Christine Cawsey said that Gonski funding had helped address entrenched inequality at her school in Sydney's west, by allowing the school to tailor lesson plans to individual students and hire three support staff for teacher development.
"I think the Australian community knows that we can't lose another generation of our children," she said. "As the Californians say, 'spend money on education or build more jails."
The report found that if all Australian children were to achieve basic levels of literacy and numeracy, the country could receive a windfall of up to $2.2 trillion by 2095.
Mr Rorris, who authored a paper on funding for disadvantaged students for the Gonski review, said that Australian government's were faced with a clear choice.
"They can either position Australia to reap the benefits of a high performance and equitable education system or they can allow the country to bear the cost of failure," he said.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the federal government was committed to improving the education outcomes for all Australians.
"The union have commissioned this report to ensure that it finds exactly what they want it to find and continue to hijack the education debate to be the tired old 'we need more money' and 'money answers all' argument, while ignoring the Turnbull government's focus on those evidence based measures that improve education outcomes," Mr Birmingham said.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that Australia's levels of inequity are high compared with the OECD average and a demographically similar country like Canada.
"Mr Turnbull needs to recognise the long-term economic benefits of ensuring all children leave school with the skills they need for the workforce," Ms Haythorpe said.
"We know that one in seven 15-year-olds struggles to read properly, and one in five struggles with basic maths. These are the students who risk leaving school without the skills they need for work and life," she 
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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Silver Sword comics!

We made comics for important events that occurred in The Silver Sword today. Still a couple to be finished.

Sample missing persons poster for The Silver Sword.

We made paper models of German soldiers and put them in real photos from the time of the invasion of Poland in 1939.
They are starting on their plastic models next week and their dioramas.

The students came out today and ran a footy the rain. The kids loved it.
 I've organised an excursion in July to get a tour of Essendon Football Club's facilities and also go to the MCG afterwards for a special Olympics interactive tour. That should be lots of fun!
Tomorrow is our school athletics sports at Llamberris. I'm a bit nervous about it because it's very different to our last sports group which was more laid back. I'm assured I will be given plenty of help running shot put. The weather will be a key factor. It rained on and off today and it is supposed to rain again tomorrow! I hope the kids will be ok, I can't be with them and there will be over 350 kids on the track and field!

My 54th birthday today! 

Teaching empathy....books the best way to do it say parents!

Have you ever read a book which has made you step back and see the world from another perspective, one you may not have even considered previously? In a new YouGov opinion poll commissioned by Amnesty International UK, parents were asked to select the pastime from a list of activities that they thought developed their child’s empathy the most - and reading has reached the top spot. More than half of 964 parents polled (53%) thought reading a book helped their children put themselves in someone else’s shoes, with just 12% saying TV and just 3% believing playing a computer game was the best way to develop empathy.

Although the poll has been conducted for parents, it’s no surprise that this research compares with previous academic findings linking empathy and reading amongst children and teens.

As books spotlight the psychology of the characters and often focus on complex relationships and situations they can be a key element in teaching the unwritten rules of social communication and understanding emotions.

Here is the full list of books which parents picked as helping children learn to identify with others:
1. The BFG by Roald Dahl (17%)

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (16%)

3. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (14%)

4. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian (13%)

5. Charlotte’s Web by EB White

6. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (9%)

7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling (7%)

8. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor (2%)
Only a few of these I'm unfamiliar with.

You might be surprised that books such as RJ Palacio’s Wonder and Lisa Williamson’s The Art of Being Normal didn’t make the list of novels chosen parents. These stories are memorable, emotional and relevant, and although they may not have been the ones that parents had in mind whilst discussing empathy, they’re the books doing the job for a 2016 audience. We’d love you to tell us the books you think are the best for helping you empathise with other people and why.

These findings come as Amnesty UK are set to make a special book commendation in the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards shortlist, in a new partnership with the professional librarian’s body CILIP. The Amnesty CILIP Honour will be the first ever human rights commendation for children’s books, bestowing the award to the books which most distinctively demonstrate or celebrate freedom.


The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: this book not only creates empathy for the direct victims of the Nazi regime, most particularly the Jews, but also allows us to see the good-hearted citizens of Germany at that time who were oppressed by the same regime. It basically gives a voice to goodness, purity and friendship. The bond between Max (the fugitive) and Liesel is especially moving.

Kids with disabilities need more help

The state government has delivered in its budget to help children with disabilities in state schools ( where the vast majority of them go to school) now it's the turn of the federal government to do the same!

The upcoming Budget needs to address the dire situation for students with disability, with yet more evidence of the pressure schools are under due to a lack of adequate funding.Reports reveal that three out of four schools do not have adequate resources to help students with disability. Labor’s shadow minister for disability reform Jenny Macklin said nine out of 10 government schools said they were forced to use funds from other budgeted areas to assist students with disability, and 84 per cent said their teachers required more assistance.

Students with disability, their parents and carers deserve better.”

“At the same time, a Victorian Government review has found evidence schools are excluding students with disability, ‘explicitly or subtly’ denying enrolment,” Macklin said.

“Enough is enough; students with disability, their parents and carers deserve better.

“Students with disability have been dealt nothing but broken promises under the Liberals, and they will go a whole term of government leaving tens of thousands of students missing out on the support they need,” he said.

Liberal-National government cuts include the $100m a year More Support for Students With Disabilities program, trashing the Gonski reforms, and failing to implement the full disability loading.

Shadow education minister Kate Ellis said the least Malcolm Turnbull can do is make sure the upcoming Budget fixes these mistakes, and gives students with disability the support they need and deserve.

Every student with disability deserves to be recognised as a learner.”

“In complete contrast to Mr Turnbull’s indifference, Labor will deliver additional per-student funding for students with disability,” Ellis said “and will invest $320m to ensure all students have the additional resources and support they need to achieve their potential.

“Every student has the right to a great education, and every student with disability deserves to be recognised as a learner.

“Mr Turnbull cannot ignore this dire situation any longer,” Ellis said.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Ivanhoe tournament posters

Another lovely sunrise at work.

Tournament posters for Ivanhoe finished and on display.
Creating comics based on events from The Silver Sword.

BIg boost to Education spending in Victorian state budget
More than one billion dollars will be spent by state Labor to build new schools and renovate those in the worst condition.  The Andrews government's second budget, to be released Wednesday, will also feature $228 million for asbestos removal and school maintenance, as part of a $1.1 billion education package. The major commitment is being heralded by the Andrews government as the largest ever single investment in school infrastructure and includes money for specialist schools and portable classrooms. Eleven new schools will receive money for construction, including Richmond High School which will cost $42 million to build - at the 2014 election Labor promised to commit $10 million towards the school. Other schools to be built include Taylors Hill secondary, Tarneit West Primary School, Prahran High School and two new primary schools in South Melbourne. In January the state government was warned that up to 220 new schools needed to be built in Victoria in the next decade to cope with an explosion in student numbers
A new bureaucracy, the Victorian School Building Authority, will be set up to oversee construction, which the government is pitching as a boon for jobs, especially "local tradies".At least $250 million of new and upgraded schools was forecast in last year's state budget as part of the government's school building agenda. The news came as Treasurer Pallas, who has already unveiled $9.2 billion worth of surpluses in the budget, foreshadowed a major transport announcement, saying his budget would be "second to none" on infrastructure spending. Already the state government has revealed half a billion to tackle domestic violence, $1.46 billion for the Western Distributor and nearly $600 million for new police. Education Minister James Merlino said schools across the state that have been assessed as being in the worst condition will be upgraded under the $924 million project. That funding includes $200 million for 61 schools in regional Victoria. Mr Merlino said the budget would also include $200 million for school maintenance and $28 million to begin to remove asbestos from classrooms. The education spending blitz includes $287 million to acquire land to build or complete 23 new schools, many in Melbourne's growth areas. Twenty specialist schools in poor condition will share in $68.5 million and another $63.6 million will be spent on more portable classrooms. "Our kids can't get a first-rate education in second-rate class rooms. This funding goes to fixing the schools most in need – particularly those in regional Victoria," Mr Merlino said. "Victoria is growing and we need to start planning the schools of the future now. This is an outstanding budget for students and will create jobs for local tradies."The government has also moved to improve the community use of school facilities, such as basketball courts and theatres, with a new $50 million Shared Facilities Fund. There is also millions of dollars for planning future upgrades in at least 35 schools to accommodate growth and update old facilities. Funding also includes $92 million in capital funding to fulfil Labor's election pledge to establish 10 new "tech schools", which Mr Merlino announced on Tuesday. 
Read more: 

More Gonski pressure on Turnbull ( Get tweeting!)

Thanks Gough!
I attended the AEU Principal Class Association dinner last night.

King John posters

Early morning

Today the kids finished their King John profile posters.( They couldn't find anything positive to write about him!)

The grade 2s with the help of my grade 3 girl made their dioramas today.
Trolls made from air dry clay
Sample German soldier paper doll.

Autumn in Ballarat #3

Sunday, 24 April 2016


ANZAC Day is a funny have people who attend the services and who are very stoic and reverential, ( I didn't go this year, but I did go to 2 last year!) 
You have people at Coles grumpy because the store was closed until midday.
There's the slimy politicians who hypocritically praise the diggers while slashing their pension and services in the 2014 budget or like one grub today decided to link diggers with his party's negative gearing election strutting.
Then there's those who like to perpetuate the myths and you're un- Australian if you ever question them and those who see it as their duty to punch holes in those myths.
There are the businesses who profit from the ANZAC myth
The people who just see it as a welcome holiday or as the hype that goes on around a footy game and then there is this advertisement for a Ballarat club.....
This year at school I decided not to 'do anything' for ANZAC Day ( I have a friend who has promised to come out to Glen Park and show the replica medals of Cameron Baird VC to the kids ) We are reading two tales set in World War Two and will do some background work on that. We are reading The Silver Sword and should finish it early next week.

Autumn Photos of Ballarat #2

Hooray 73000 views


The Guardians Secret Teacher tackles nepotism. This has been an issue in a few Ballarat schools. In fact in one school it was quite notorious but nothing was ever done about it.
Five years into my teaching practice and I’m moving into job number five.
It wasn’t planned this way. I’ve always wanted to stay long term in jobs and the feedback I’ve received has always been positive (I’ve been rated good, sometimes outstanding). So why have I been unable to stay in a school for longer than a year? 
Imagine this: you are an enthusiastic newly qualified teacher (NQT) in a very challenging school in a job you love. Against the odds, you are doing quite well and have managed to gain at least a “good” in every observation. Your classes’ data is looking impressive, too.

There is just one small issue. Budget constraints mean the job is only a one-year temporary contract. You’ve been told it’s a dead cert that you’ll be kept, as long as you pass your NQT year. You’re sure some union person somewhere said that if you pass your NQT year they have to offer the post if it’s available. It’s in the ba
This was the situation I was in. Around six months into my NQT year, my fellow trainee in maths was invited into the head’s office and offered a permanent post. After a day or two I was also invited to a meeting, expecting to be offered that same elusive permanent contract.

Instead, I left the head’s office dejected and humiliated. I was told the job was being advertised to get a glimpse of the “national picture of recruitment” (whatever that meant). Apparently if a school is in special measures, it can’t just employ you, the senior leadership needs to shop around first. My headteacher couldn’t quite explain why the same rule didn’t apply to maths.

This was how my first job went. I cried to my head of department (embarrassingly), picked myself up and applied elsewhere.

Eventually, it transpired that the position had been given to the deputy head’s son, who had lost his job at his school. Rather tellingly, before I left, an excellent head of department was also replaced by another leader’s spouse.

About six months later, my old head of department told me my replacement was struggling. My year 10s (now year 11) had dropped an entire grade on average since I left. It wasn’t just me who was the victim now.

I thought that I’d had an unfortunate experience, but after just a few years in teaching I can see that this nepotism is rife. At my second school, the principal told us she had appointed a head of sixth form, even though there hadn’t been an interview. It was a curious appointment, especially given that we wouldn’t even open our sixth form for another seven months. It turned out the newbie was a friend of the head. She was also so bad that she nearly ruined the whole project, and eventually had to change role.

I want to work in a place where I know everyone got where they are based on merit
There are countless other examples. Another old principle employed his wife as a teaching assistant – she even admitted to a colleague she was on an inflated salary. Half of our maths department were his old friends – as was the newly-hired business manager. Even school dinners weren’t safe. He decided we needed better catering and employed a friend as a chef.

At my first school, colleagues considered complaining to the unions. The idea of whistleblowing to Ofsted was also weighed up. But in the end we just moaned about the headteacher in corners of the staffroom. Most of the time people turn a blind eye to nepotism – especially if it doesn’t affect them directly. Some have the attitude that: “Well you would give your wife a job if you were the principal.”

I could understand the reasons behind employing a friend if it was the best person for the role, but I have often seen incompetent people replace capable, established staff simply because they are a friend or family member. How many brilliant teachers have lost out due to nepotism? How many students have missed out on great teachers? I fear academies will make this problem worse, as principals have more freedom.

Nepotism hits camaraderie and morale. It makes people feel scared and insecure in their jobs. They feel like their efforts will not be recognised or rewarded, and they are disgruntled at the incompetent management above them.

I want to work in a place where I know everyone got where they are based on merit. If this happens then surely that will only benefit the students and, after all, that’s what a school is there for. It is not a place where you ensure your friends can pay their mortgages.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Sunday stories

Kindergarten concerns
More than 30 per cent of preschool education centres are not meeting minimum national standards, while 26 per cent have still not been assessed, a new report warns.
Australian preschools and kindergartens are suffering from low quality teaching and poor child attendance, research by Victoria University's Mitchell Institute says.
Every year, about 60,000 children were found to start school developmentally behind, with 10 per cent of those students remaining behind throughout their schooling.
The report says kindergarten should be compulsory for four-year-olds, in line with the UK, New Zealand and several European countries. 
"Early learning is as important as the learning a child will do at school. It's not babysitting," said Mitchell Institute's director, Dr Sara Glover.
Yet preschool education was being wrongly perceived as a way to "help parents get back to paid work", she said.
As a result, just one in three students in Australia attends preschool for the minimum number of hours of 15 hours a week.

Private school shenahagins
A Melbourne Girls Grammar student has been expelled and two others suspended from the exclusive school after they were caught with drugs, reportedly including ecstasy, at a year 12 formal.
The trio was kicked out of the event at Albert Park on Friday night after venue security found students with "illicit substances" and notified school staff, the school's principal Catherine Mission said.
It has been reported one girl was found with ecstasy, marijuana and alcohol and another was caught with a "significant" number of pills, but the school has not confirmed what drugs were uncovered.
Melbourne Girls Grammar, in South Yarra, is one of Melbourne's most expensive schools, with fees of $32,736 a year for grade 11 and 12 students.
The school formal was held at The Park, a function venue located on the banks of Albert Park Lake.
Ms Mission confirmed one student had been expelled and two others suspended, after the school investigated the incident.
The two suspended students will be subjected to special conditions upon returning to school.
"The school will be actively supporting these girls once they are back at school," Ms Mission said in a statement.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said Melbourne Girls Grammar had not notified police about the incident and local officers would "be in touch" with the school.
"We've encouraged the school to come have a chat to us," Mr Ashton told radio ABC 774 on Wednesday morning, adding that it was not mandatory for schools to contact police when drugs were found. I wonder if they considered expulsion especially as any attempt to hush it up has failed?

The right wingers flex their muscles and kids lose out
The closure of Australia's only youth-led sex education service is ideologically driven and will deepen a national crisis in sexual health among young people, experts have claimed.
The Turnbull government will pull all funding from YEAH – a program using youth educators to deliver sex education in schools and universities – after June 30, replacing it with an online resource.
Critics say it makes no sense to shut the $450,000 a year program, which has just four paid staff and provided face-to-face sexual health information to 10,000 young people in 2015, at a time when sexually transmitted infections are rising and condom use is on the decline.
They claim YEAH (Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS) is the latest victim of an ideological agenda pushed by conservatives who believe teaching students about sex and sexuality from an early age is dangerous.
"There's a lot of kowtowing to right-wing activists at the moment and you'd have to say that defunding of YEAH is part of that agenda too," Anne Mitchell, emeritus professor at La Trobe University and one of Australia's leading authorities on sexual health and education, said.
"This is an organisation that over a long period of time has worked with young people in sexual health, particularly in HIV prevention, and has been effective. The fact that it's been defunded so suddenly suggests there must be some political pressure coming from somewhere."
Professor Mitchell is on the steering committee of the Safe Schools Coalition – a national program designed to make schools safer for LGBTI students. It was gutted in March, against the recommendations of an independent review, following a push from the Australian Christian Lobby and the Liberal party's right-wing, who claimed it was sexualising children and promoting the "homosexual agenda".
Adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg also believes the demise of YEAH after 11 years is linked to the "hysteria" around Safe Schools. He said axing the program, which also reached 900,000 young people through its online program in 2015, was illogical.
"There is a clear view that if you teach kids about sex they'll have more of it and that is just not backed up by science," Dr Carr-Gregg said. "The reporting rates of chlamydia alone – which causes infertility – tells us as a society that we need to do more because if we don't in a few decades' time we'll have one of the most infertile generations in Australia."
Seventy per cent of sexually transmitted infections occur in people aged 15 to 29, with chlamydia the most commonly reported. While rates have stabilised, in 2013 there were 82,000 new diagnoses. Gonorrhoea diagnoses continue to soar, with rates increasing by 80 per cent over the past five years.
The latest National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health in 2014, found that almost half of year 10 to 12 students said sex education in schools was irrelevant to their lives and used "scare tactics", focusing too much on biology instead of issues such as the emotional challenges of relationships, sexual pleasure and consent.
The conservative push against sex education in schools was misguided, she said.
"If parents don't want their child to end up having lots of risky scenarios and ending up with all sorts of sexual and physical health problems then the best thing you can do to help your young person avoid that is to make sure that they have access to information."
Amazingly this government can still find well over $200 million a year for their chaplaincy program!

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Happy World Book Day

Our extensive library at Glen Park Primary School- second to none in the district!

Our novels

Some of our picture story books.

Readers and audio books.

Big books

Parent library

Graphic novel library

Non- fiction library.....and that's not all!


Well what about Gonski Susan Ley and failed Liberal candidate?