Thursday, 26 July 2012

ICT Curriculum



Department of Education Media Release

26 July 2012








The following response can be attributed to the Education Department Deputy Secretary Early Years and Schools Liz Banks

What is being done in Tasmanian schools to educate pupils and students about the risks involved with “sexting”, distribution of digital content, legal rights?

The Tasmanian Curriculum includes an ICT Curriculum framework which focuses on key concepts relating to online safety, identity, etiquette and intellectual property and copyright. Schools plan and implement this in a variety of ways to suit local need.  The suggested content for these areas include:

  • Sharing materials responsibly
  • Awareness of the different forms that cybercrime can take
  • Respecting the privacy of others
  • Awareness of intellectual property and copyright rights and responsibilities

Key resources used by schools to address these concepts in relation to ‘sexting’ include:


Sex Education



Department of Education Media Release

26 July 2012








Sexuality and relationship education is covered in the Health and Wellbeing curriculum in Tasmanian Government schools where the focus is on personal and social development, Department of Education Deputy Secretary, Early Years and Schools, Liz Banks, said today.

“When planning sexuality and relationship education programs, teachers consider what is suitable for children at particular stages of their development,” Ms Banks said.

“Sexuality and relationship education is an area that the parent community expects schools to include within their curriculum while acknowledging that parents have the major responsibility for the sexuality and relationship education of their children.

“Individual schools and their communities are able to decide the most suitable program for their children. Teachers are supported by curriculum documents with age-appropriate activities. They also have access to professional learning sessions,” she said.

Ms Banks said that the Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum, currently under development, will provide students with the appropriate knowledge, understanding and skills to manage the physical, emotional and social changes they will experience as they reach puberty,” she said.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Teaching graduates



Department of Education Media Release

16 July 2012








The current entry salary for a teaching graduate is between $56,463 (Level 4) and $59,337 (Level 5) per annum  depending on whether the level of training is four or five years.

The teaching salary scale goes up to a Level 12 ($82,533 per annum).

The Workplace Renewal Incentive Program as at mid-June had cost $4.02 million, and has been calculated to result in saving of $7.4 million.  This figure is for the 268 Department of Education staff (teaching and non-teaching) who have accepted the incentive.

In 2012, 22 graduates were employed as part of the Partnership in Teaching Excellence Program, and 15 as a result of the Workforce Renewal Incentive Program.

Additionally 39 new teachers were employed by the Department in 2012, and a significant proportion of these would have been new or recent graduates.

Some additional graduates would have been employed directly through Learning Services, however the number is difficult to quantify as it occurs as part of general staffing.

The Department of Education is committed to workforce sustainability and providing ways to support teaching graduates to enter the profession.

The Partnerships in Teaching Excellence (PiTE) program is a year-long program that identifies elite potential teachers in the final year of their teaching degree at University and provides ongoing mentoring and extensive classroom experience in schools.

Students selected for the program receive an offer of a permanent position with the Department of Education when they complete their studies.

22 PiTE scholarship holders took up positions in Department schools at the beginning of 2012.

The Workforce Renewal Incentive Program is designed to provide for workforce renewal associated with management of the department’s workforce, and has also provided opportunities for the employment of graduates.

To date approximately 15 graduates have been permanently appointed primarily  as a result of the workforce renewal incentive program in 2012.

The Department considers expressions of interest for the Workforce Renewal Incentive Program on a case-by-case basis, including the operational requirements of the position, replacement options available and genuine renewal of the workforce.

Vacancies are firstly filled by staff already employed within the department, for example substantive staff in roles no longer required, reducing the requirement to maintain staff on fixed term contracts.

From the end of 2010 until 15 June 2012, 189 teaching staff had taken up the incentive.

Student absentees



Department of Education Media Release

16 July 2012








General Manager, Learning Services South, Judy Travers, today stressed the importance of keeping children home from school to limit the spread of colds and flu that are common at this time of year.

“All parents and carers are advised to keep sick children home until their symptoms have gone.

“The levels of absenteeism in schools throughout the State this winter is not significantly different to levels experienced in previous winters.

“We will continue to work closely with schools to ensure that all steps are taken steps to minimise the spread of illness.”

Bullying not acceptable in Tasmanian schools



Department of Education Media Release

6 Aug 2012








The Department of Education today said that bullying in any form was not acceptable in Tasmanian schools.

Lz Banks, Deputy Secretary, Early Years and Schools, said many mechanisms were in place to ensure the safety of students and staff.

“The Department of Education’s Web Safety in Schools policy is designed to ensure that Tasmanian students participate safely in technology-based learning and use technology responsibly.

“Schools are required to develop their own policies to address bullying, including cyber bullying, appropriate use of the internet and mobile phones, and to put in place school wide approaches to developing respectful and positive behaviour.”

“In 2011, all Tasmanian Government schools were able to access the Roar Educate Cyber Safety program which addresses cyber bullying, online identity, social networking, privacy, gaming, digital footprint, web research copyright and cyber security. Schools can choose to continue with this program in 2012.”

Ms Banks said that all members of the school community had a right to be safe at school and that there was a strong connection between students’ wellbeing, behaviour and learning.

“Students are more likely to do well and to behave well in a caring, supportive environment where the relationships are respectful.

“While schools are able to impose sanctions for inappropriate behaviour, they also strive to build environments that teach students how to behave appropriately and parents are critical partners in this work.

“School-wide approaches that teach and promote pro-social skills and that intervene early to address issues are models that have been recognised nationally and internationally as being highly effective.

“The National Safe Schools Framework and its accompanying resource materials, provide schools with actions for planning, implementing and maintaining a safe and supportive school community.”

Ms Banks said behaviour by students that was likely to be detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of others was deemed unacceptable by the Department of Education.

“The Education Act lays down the processes related to sanctions such as suspensions, exclusions or expulsions that a school may apply to behaviour of this kind,” she said.

Make-up policy



Department of Education Media Release

16 July 2012








The Department of Education encourages students in Tasmanian government schools to wear school uniforms and maintain a neat and tidy appearance, General Manager, Learning Services South, Judy Travers, said today.

“Wearing make-up to school is covered in each individual school’s uniform policy, which is developed in consultation with the school association.

“Adhering to a uniform policy identifies students with their school and places all students on the same level in terms of clothing.

“While excessive use of make-up would certainly be discouraged, schools develop their own policy based on maintaining a presentable appearance, student safety and creating a sense of pride in the school.”

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

First aid rooms



Department of Education Media Release

10 July 2012








Tasmanian Government schools provide first aid rooms or appropriate areas where unwell students can stay until they are collected by a parent or guardian or are able to return to their normal class activities, Deputy Secretary Corporate Services, Andrew Finch, said today.

“The Department of Education also requires all its workplaces to nominate an appropriately qualified first aid officer, including schools and colleges,” Mr Finch said.

“While a student is in the first aid room or other appropriate area, the school must ensure that appropriate supervision is provided.”

Managing student behaviour



Department of Education Media Release

10 July 2012








To be attributed to Deputy Secretary School Education, Liz Banks


  • All Government schools have strong processes in place to protect the safety of students and staff.
  • All schools are required to develop policies and procedures in relation to discipline, bullying and the appropriate use of the internet and mobile phones.
  • The department has comprehensive behaviour management systems in place and supporting resources.  In all cases of unacceptable behaviour, the department works with parents and guardians to ensure disciplinary sanctions are used as a last resort.
  • Nationally recognised programs such as School Wide Positive Behaviour Support and Restorative Practice are in place in many schools. These programs actively teach children appropriate behaviour and social skills and have the capacity to reduce the number of suspensions. Parental support is critical.
  • The National Safe Schools Framework and its accompanying resource materials, provide schools with actions for planning, implementing and maintaining a safe and supportive school community.
  • Teachers owe students a duty of care to prevent them injuring themselves, other students, staff or members of the public.
  • Within guidelines, Tasmanian Government school teachers are able to physically restrain students only if they believe the student is at risk of harming themselves or another person.
  • Students are more likely to do well and to behave well in a caring, supportive environment where the relationships are respectful.
  • The Education Act lays down the processes related to sanctions such as suspensions, exclusions or expulsions that a school may apply to unacceptable behaviour.
  • In 2011, the number of suspension incidents primarily for physical harassment of a teacher or physical abuse of a teacher or other staff member represented 3% of all suspension incidents.
  • The number of student days lost from suspension for primarily physical harassment of a teacher or physical abuse of a teacher or other staff member represented 0.01% of total available student days.

The Workforce Renewal Incentive Program



Department of Education Media Release

10 July 2012








To be attributed to Liz Banks, Deputy Secretary, Department of Education.


  • The Workforce Renewal Incentive Program is designed to provide for workforce renewal associated with management of the department’s workforce.
  • The Department considers expressions of interest on a case-by-case basis, including the operational requirements of the position, replacement options available and genuine renewal of the workforce.
  • Vacancies are firstly filled by staff already employed within the department, for example substantive staff in roles no longer required, reducing the requirement to maintain staff on fixed term contracts.
  • From the end of 2010 until 15 June 2012, 189 teaching staff had taken up the incentive.  Only seven principals have taken up the incentive.
  • Staff who receive an incentive payment are unable to reapply for appointment to a Tasmanian State Service position for a period of two years.
  • Principal roles attract a salary based on the size of the school.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Safe and secure school community



Department of Education Media Release

5 July 2012








General Manager Learning Services North-west, Bruce Cameron, today said the Department of Education encouraged the shared use of playgrounds for children of all ages.

“The decision to temporarily create separate play areas at Ridgley Primary School was done so like-aged children could enjoy age-appropriate play in a safe and supported environment.

“It can initially be a new and unfamiliar situation for younger students to be integrated into a playground environment with older students.

“The playground is now being successfully shared once more.”

Mr Cameron said the Department had a high focus on teaching students respect and how their actions may affect others.

“The Tasmanian Safe School Framework provides schools with support in developing school strategies and actions to build environments that promote the wellbeing of all students.

“Through the Tasmanian Curriculum we teach and reinforce personal safety, resilience, and appropriate behaviour.

“Students learn to understand and manage themselves, their relationships, and how to be effective learners.”

Mr Cameron said the Department took all measures necessary to ensure a safe and supportive school community.