Annual Dinner - Ryde-Macquarie and Parramatta TAs

The Ryde-Macquarie and Parramatta Teachers Associations’ Annual Dinner will be on October 28, when two very active members will be honoured with life membership of the Parramatta TA. They are prominent public education advocate Lila Mularczyk, who retired this year in June both as principal of Merrylands High School and president of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council, and City Organiser Theo Bougatsas, who looks after Hornsby, Ryde-Macquarie and The Hills. The dinner guest speaker will be Dr Pat Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, of which Federation is an affiliate member. There’ll be a fundraising raffle for Stewart House.

When: Friday October 28 at 6pm for 6.30pm

Where: Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club, 117, Ryedale Road, West Ryde (a short walk from West Ryde Railway Station)

How much: $80 for the two-course dinner (drinks may be bought at the bar)

To book dinner and buy raffle tickets: Please call Janine Kitson on (02) 9498 2402, (02) 9498 7608 or 0428 860 623 or email

Watch the world’s leading ballets live

The Australian Ballet's Christopher Rodgers Wilson and Brooke Lockett Photo: Kate Longley

Classes interested in dancing can watch World Ballet Day Live on Tuesday October 4 for 20 hours non-stop backstage footage from five of the world’s leading ballet companies – the Australian Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and the San Francisco Ballet. World Ballet Day Live will be streamed on Facebook Live and you can watch it on its website or on the Australian Ballet’s Facebook page. It will give audiences a chance to see what it takes to be one of the world’s top ballet companies and get an inside look at the athleticism and dedication required for a life in ballet. Each company will introduce viewers to a variety of insights, from morning class, rehearsals for upcoming performances and backstage preparations. Viewers are encouraged to get involved using the hashtag #WorldBalletDay and #mydanceshoes submitting pictures and videos of their own dancing shoes. Give your class a taste of treats to come with this trailer of World Ballet Day Live.

Women unionists to share tactics

The Unions NSW Women’s Committee is beginning a series of lunchtime seminars called “Women at the Table” that will focus on a particular organising campaign or tactic. It will be an opportunity for women unionists to learn from each other. The first seminar is at noon this coming Wednesday, September 21, at Trades Hall, on “Using Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Data in Organising”, and will be conducted by Robyn Fortescue and Madeleine Johnston from the AMWU and Jackie Woods from WGEA. Subsequent seminars (starting at noon, lunch provided on RSVPs) are:

  • November 16: The AWU's Stylists Australia Campaign and use of online organising techniques
  • February 15: United Voice's Big Steps campaign: equal pay fight.

“While I will certainly be attending these seminars they are open to all union women,” Women’s Coordinator Anna Uren said. Please contact Ms Uren over seminar RSVPs.

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards

Teachers Amanda Keane and Sharon Moon from Barnier PS

Barnier Public School in Quakers Hill, Sydney, won the Primary Schools Award in the 2016 Dorothea Mackellar awards this month, with 117,666 entries coming in nationally across all categories.

NSW public schools that won commendations in the School Awards section were Casula Public, Dubbo School of Distance Education and Griffith Public.

Students from these and other state public schools such as Sturt PS in Wagga Wagga, Pymble PS, Tamworth PS, Coogee PS, Mosman PS, Rosebank PS, Cherrybrook PS, Lightning Ridge CS, Quakers Hill HS and Byron Bay HS, won in other categories. Congratulations to all of them!

What’s your big science idea?

Teachers and students have just a few days – until September 25 – to take part in the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Big Ideas Forum (November 14-18) where Year 10 students are being asked, “What problem would you like to see scientists solve for the future of our society?”. Applications should come from a trio – two students and their teacher – in a 40-second video message explaining their big idea. From the entries, 22 students and 11 teachers will be invited to ANSTO for a hands-on program with some of the country’s best scientific minds and best research facilities. Teachers will have a separate, specially designed program including hands-on professional development workshops and practical experiences in ANSTO’s unique facilities. All flights, travel, accommodation and meals to and from Sydney will be covered by ANSTO. Click here for details.

Pearson changes 'rape' textbook question

A test in which students are asked to say they understand two ways in which a rape victim was responsible for the crime came under sustained criticism, forcing a backtrack by the edubusiness giant. A textbook aimed at teenagers that had an account of a girl who became drunk at a party and was raped, asked the question: “List two ways in which Angie’s behaviour led to sexual intercourse”. The story was reported in The Guardian, which noted that South Africa has the highest rates of rape in the world. ActionAid International demanded that Pearson apologise, a university academic criticised the use of the term “sexual intercourse” rather than “rape” – as if the two were interchangeable – and the issue inspired a Facebook petition to the South African Department of Education. Pearson has since taken steps to amend the wording in the textbook, which has been used since 2011.

Tour Sydney’s most powerful buildings

1 Deutsche Bank Place is one of the architectural beauties on the tour

Sydney Open, presented by Sydney Living Museums, will on the weekend of November 5-6 unlock the doors to some of the city’s most historic and architecturally-inspiring buildings usually off-limits to the public. As well as traditional favourites such as the Great Synagogue, the Harry Seidler-designed Grosvenor Place, AMP Building, the City Recital Hall, Deutsche Bank Place and Hong Kong House, this year’s program introduces exciting new buildings and spaces such as the recently opened 200 George Street, Hassell’s new Sydney studio in the heritage-listed, former wool store on pier 8/9 at Walsh Bay, PTW Architect’s Calyx structure in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, and Macquarie Bank's new offices in the historic 1 Martin Place building. Much-loved heritage buildings including Parliament House, Sydney Hospital and The Mint will open their doors to visitors and there will be special tours, above and below ground, of the Tank Stream, St James Church Belltower, Central Station Clocktower, St James Tunnels and hard hat tours of 333 George Street. Since the first event in 1997, more than 62,000 people have explored over 400 buildings across the city. Tickets are on sale from September 28. Click here for information and bookings.

Teachers less diverse than students

American teachers are much less diverse than their students, a paper by the Brookings Institution says. Minorities make up roughly 50 per cent of the student population in US public schools, but comprise just 18 per cent of the teacher workforce. Researchers Michael Hansen and Diana Quintero found the diversity gap between black teachers and black students (now at nine percentage points) will remain essentially the same, at least through the year 2060, while the gap between Hispanic teachers and Hispanic students (18 percentage points) will most likely increase by four points. Hiring more diverse teachers wouldn’t help much, the researchers said: the real solution was to encourage students from minority groups to go to university and want to be a teacher.

Research into stepmums’ role

Members who are stepmothers might wish to part in a study of the role and self-identity of stepmothers. "Stepmothers play a significant role in children's lives,” researcher Carla Hogg said. "The motivation behind this study is to gain an understanding about how stepmothers perceive their role and how it influences their self-identity. The study is a contribution towards the body of knowledge of women's wellbeing.” Ms Hogg is conducting her research through Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga campus. Participants must be full-time or part-time stepmothers with a stepchild or stepchildren aged from birth to 18 years. To become involved, email or telephone 0414 399 966.

Anti-Poverty Week action

The NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) is encouraging everyone to hold an activity during Anti-Poverty Week, which takes place from October 16-22, to raise awareness about the causes and consequences of poverty and to highlight some ideas about the changes you would like to see.

The website has many ideas for events and includes resources such as articles that can be insert into school newsletters. Newsletter inserts are also provided in Chinese, Arabic, Somali, Dinka, Spanish and Vietnamese.

The Australian Education Union is a key sponsor of the event along with the National Union of Workers. The National Principal Sponsors are the Brotherhood of St Laurence, the St Vincent de Paul Society, The Australian Red Cross and the University of NSW.

Your school’s Anti-Poverty Week activity can be designed to meet the resources you have and the work that you do. Some organisations have held morning teas or worked with their interagency groups to hold information stalls at their local shopping centres; others have organised a lecture or used their scheduled events for the week to raise awareness.

And most importantly, the organisers want participants to tell them about your Anti-Poverty Week activity by clicking on the button on the right of the website’s home page. Other buttons will lead you to information on how to organise an activity and what resources can help you.

Kevin Hepworth an unstinting advocate for teachers

Kevin Hepworth, who while serving as a school principal stood up as a witness for Federation in a gruelling salaries case long before many principals were prepared to a public stand on union concerns, died in mid-August, aged 90.

He was made a Life Member in 1986, the year he retired, after 40 years’ service as a dedicated teacher and an active unionist.

Mr Hepworth began his teaching career in one-teacher schools in Putty, Tambar and Wittitrin in the Kempsey area.

In 1948, he transferred to Broken Hill where he began his long career as an active Federation member. In 1954, he transferred to Warren where he also became actively involved in the local Association.

The year 1957 saw his transfer back to the east, where he became a member of the Nepean Association until 1965. From 1967-71 he was Secretary of the St Marys Association and President of the Nepean Association from 1971-74. He was awarded honorary life membership of the Nepean Association in 1974.

Mr Hepworth was a valued member of the Federation Committee on Inspections and Assessment of Teachers in 1969-70. The work done by this committee saw the demise of the Annual Inspection and Biennial Assessment of Teachers and erosion of the negative effects that inspectors had on the education system.

In 1975, Mr Hepworth transferred to Taree West as principal and quickly became active in the local Manning Teachers Association. He was President of the Association from 1976-1978 and a member of their executive until 1982. Kevin also served as Councillor for this area.

During the protracted salaries case of 1980 Mr Hepworth was a witness for Federation. The evidence he presented related to “The aims of primary education, its attempt to meet the demands of a complex pluralist society and the changes in patterns of administration and responsibility for both principals and classroom teachers”. Kevin spent seven-and-a-half hours’ in the witness box over two days and answered 107 questions directed by the judge.

His wide expertise also saw him being Federation’s representative on the Departmental Social Sciences committee. At all levels in his teaching career Kevin supported Federation policies and issues and gained the support and respect of fellow members. Vale Kevin Hepworth.