IN BRIEF

Funding for excursions

Primary school students who can’t afford to go on excursions to significant heritage sites are being aided through Unlocking Heritage, a two-year trial project funded by the Office of Environment and Heritage.

The project, begun last June, offers financial support to eligible NSW low socio-economic or isolated schools to attend learning experiences at Sydney Living Museums (SLM) and NSW National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) sites.

The Unlocking Heritage Travel Subsidy available to students in NSW primary schools with an FOEI score of 100 or more which provides up to $20 per student towards their transport costs to attend one of the 33 education programs at 17 SLM and NPWS heritage sites across NSW.

There are 17 heritage sites in NSW and more than 30 Stage 1, 2 and 3 learning programs available. All programs are led by highly-trained staff and link to the NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum.

The Unlocking Heritage Convict Sleepover provides a travel subsidy and free attendance to this overnight school excursion at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks Museum for NSW rural and regional primary schools. Email Jack Dalton, Project Manager or visit the website.

Liked Stewart House yet?

Fun on the beach at Curl Curl

Stewart House is now on Facebook and is gathering hundreds of "likes".

Teachers have been quick to show support for the Federation-supported children’s charity.

Please like the page and share the photos with your friends and ask them to like Stewart House.

It is a graphic way to make people aware of the important service Stewart House provides for public school children — one post shows a dolphin leaping out of the waves on the beach, a thrill for the watching children and for their parents who would like to see what their children are experiencing.

Stewart House is also imaginatively using Facebook to raise money through merchandise, advertising keyring torches with the Stewart House logo.

This month it also shows that the charity received a special 2015 Australian College of Educators NSW Community Service and Social Justice Award for helping public school students.

Every year, about 1800 public school children who need a break from difficult circumstances come to Stewart House at Sydney’s Curl Curl Beach for a 12-day stay. There are excursions and educational programs to boost their social and emotional skills and to develop hope and aspirations for the future. The children are also given free dental, optical, hearing and medical screening and treatment.

The new Facebook page shows people some of the public support Stewart House receives, in a visual endorsement of how highly its work is regarded. A post shows bicycles donated from a corporate team-building day at Stewart House.

The page is designed to raise Stewart House’s profile, create awareness of the service provided and be a source of information for parents, carers and schools who have students attending.

If members would like to have stories highlighted on the Stewart House Facebook page — such as a school fundraising event for the charity — please email Amanda Bisset, Marketing Manager.

Stewart House Boxing Day cruise tickets

Tickets for the annual Stewart House Boxing Day cruise on the Manly ferry are on sale. The ferry leaves Manly Wharf at noon for the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Bring a picnic or use the onboard café.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12 years, and all proceeds go to Stewart House. Details and tickets are available here.

Heroes rise from a pile of bricks

The Art of the Brick, a Lego exhibition of superheroes (and supervillains), opens at the Powerhouse Museum on November 21. Legendary Lego artist Nathan Sawaya used hundreds of thousands of bricks to create large-scale sculptures of the world’s most enduring DC Comics supermen and superwomen. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Joker are just a few of the models on display. Book through Ticketek to be sure of getting to see the exhibition on the day you want, or buy your tickets at the museum’s front desk – the exhibition is on until next May.

Blacktown office closure

Federation members in the Liverpool, Blacktown, Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains, Lower Blue Mountains, Nepean, Parramatta, Ryde-Macquarie and The Hills teachers associations will continue to be served by Organisers Jason Gerke, Michael de Wall and Theo Bougatsas, despite the closure of the Blacktown regional office.

Organisers have been equipped with mobile office technology to best assist them in meeting members’ needs. Administrative tasks previously undertaken at Blacktown will be conducted from the union’s central office at 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills.

Members can contact their Organiser via (02) 9217 2100 or mail@nswtf.org.au. Federation’s Communications/Welfare section can be contacted by phone on 1300 654 367 or by email.

People's Climate March

Join the Sydney People’s Climate March on Sunday, November 29 at 1pm to make this moment as big and powerful as it needs to be, and sign up here. Marches will be held around the country on the weekend of November 27-29, just before world leaders gather at the UN climate talks in Paris. People are being asked to come together come together for a safe climate, for the people suffering the worst effects of climate change and for renewable energy and jobs in the transition to the clean economy.

The organisers of the People’s Climate Marches say: “The world is working towards solutions, and so are Australian communities. Yet our government is holding us back. This November, we have the opportunity to come together to demonstrate that we are a broad, diverse, united and powerful coalition committed to change, and that we won’t stand for more inaction on climate change.”

Books, not bullets

Philippines armed forces are using schools for their military activities and operations, Alliance of Concerned Teachers — Philippines Secretary-General Francisca L. Castro (left) told Federation President Maurie Mulheron and Branch Secretary John Dixon on October 10. Ms Castro is visiting Australia to build solidarity opposing the state military’s use of schools and the consequent disruption to children’s education. Click here for details.

Help Sierra Leone students

When Mikhail Kallon, now a School Learning Support Officer working in three metropolitan high schools in Sydney, came to Australia from Sierra Leone in 2000 he left behind a country torn apart by civil war. He returned to his homeland in 2006 to find children without resources for their education.

Mikhail is trying to make a difference for the students of Sierra Leone by gathering resources and raising money for their educational needs. To donate school materials, computers or money, please email him.

Give wisely to help Syria

As the Syrian refugee crisis continues, teachers and schoolchildren among other members of the public are urged by the national charity regulator to donate to established humanitarian charities. Beware of scams, the Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Susan Pascoe warned. “I know that many Australians have been deeply affected by the heart-wrenching images and stories we have seen and heard recently,” she said. Donate to charities registered at this government site. The peak body for aid organisations, the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) agreed, saying people should donate to organisations with a track record of working on the ground where humanitarian situations arise. ACFID members with Syria appeals can be found here.

Voices of Millers Point

Children at King George V Playground City of Sydney Archives

Stories of houses being demolished to make way for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and billycart races along the “Hungry Mile” are among 50 interviews involving Millers Point residents now available for online listening.

The interviews with a priest, shopkeeper, waterside workers, a former Builders Labourers Federation unionist, the children of a publican and others, reveal fascinating and colourful stories about the Millers Point community over the past 100 years.

The oral histories are on 79 digital audio tapes recorded in 2005 for the Department of Commerce and for the first time are being made available through the City of Sydney’s website here.

Millers Point was first developed in the early 1800s and, following the bubonic plague in 1902, was redeveloped with infrastructure and housing for the maritime industry and its workers.

Social security help

The Welfare Rights Centre can advise people about their social security rights, entitlements and obligations and assist people through the social security review and appeals system.

Call (02) 9211 5300 or go to the centre's website. Last year, the centre helped more than 2600 clients. The centre provides all advice by phone at first instance.

Note that it cannot provide advice by email, fill out forms, or take on all cases for ongoing representation. The Centre also aids in community development, community education and training, law reform and lobbying.

Words can hurt me too

The Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner is about to start a national education program working with schools and police to help raise awareness of the cyberbullying complaints process. Words can hurt me too posters will be sent to all schools and state police departments. A series of short videos on the same theme will also be made available. Additional posters are available, free of charge.

School rule cool

Does thinking about the new school year make you burst out in poetry? If so, send in your work to Charles Sturt University’s Pedagogies of Educational Transitions (POET) research project. Poems from teachers, students and parents are invited to gain different perspectives, Professor Bob Perry of CSU’s Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education said. “We are keen to hear from anyone who has started school, who is about to start school, or who has something to share about starting school. Essentially, we have an open invitation for people to share their perspectives through poetry.”

Entries close on Monday, November 30. There’s a $300 prize for the winning entry and $150 each for two highly commended entries. Submissions will be presented at POET's next international meeting which will be held in Albury and Canberra early next year and the top poems will be published in the literary journal, Studio. The CSU website has details.