Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple Bully school principals and departmental officers can bully Australian teachers into ill health - and out of work!

The health of Australian teachers is being affected by their stressful working conditions.

Bond university research found that -

17 per cent of Australian teachers had probable alcohol dependence, 

18.4 per cent were depressed,

20 per cent suffered anxiety.

Australia among worst OECD nations for school bullying. A global survey has exposed the true extent of bullying in Australian schools - and how much of teachers' time is wasted policing student behaviour, Natasha Bita, The Courier-Mail, 19 June 2019

Migrant students from India, China and The Philippines do better than native English speakers in Australian schools.

The 2017 Naplan results revealed that children from migrant families had outperformed native English speakers in parts of the national standardised test.

According to the latest OECD migrant education review, "The Resilience of Students with an immigrant background", 73 per cent of Australian first or second-generation migrant students, particularly those from India, China and The Philippines, were deemed "academically resilient", significantly higher than the OECD average of 54 per cent.

The top-performing country was Singapore, with 91 per cent.

Australia was ranked seventh out of 64 nations, behind the Macao region of China, Hong Kong and Canada but ahead of New Zealand (71 per cent), Britain (66 per cent), the US (58 per cent), Germany (57 per cent) and Finland (50 per cent).

Not only were Australian migrant students on par with native-born students academically, they were more likely to have ambitious career expectations, with almost 70 per cent of migrant 15-year-olds expecting to complete a university degree compared with less than 50 per cent of native-born students.

Migrant students from England, New Zealand and Scotland were less likely to achieve baseline academic proficiency.

More migrant students making the grade than Australian-born kids, Rebecca Urban, The Australian, 20 March 2018


Evidence that "Chalk and Talk" teaching style is the most successful. 

Schools that impose strict discipline and favour "chalk and talk" teaching are the most successful in raising standards, research suggests.

Analysis by the UK's New Schools Network found England's top 25 state schools were most likely to ban chewing gum and phones, while insisting on correct uniform.

They were also most likely to favour teaching from the front of the room rather than grouping pupils and letting them work largely by themselves.

"Further evidence that traditional outdoes trendy," researcher Alan Smithers says.


Traditional tops trendy, P. 12, The Courier-Mail, Monday March 2018 

40 per cent of Australian teachers report witnessing problematic s-xual behaviour in schools - research.

More than 100 teachers from government, independent and Catholic primary schools across Australia were asked about their experiences with children's problematic s-xual behaviours in research reported by Lesley-anne Ey, a lecturer in child development, educational psychology and child protection at the University of South Australia.

40 per cent of the teachers reported witnessing problematic s-xual behaviour in schools.

In one case, a year 4 child was reported to have threatened to r-pe other students. 

Teachers were not sure how to deal with children displaying worrying behaviour. 

Was the behaviour prompted by the child's experience of s-xual abuse, or was the child simply copying actions they see on the television or the internet and consider to be normal?


Children's s-xual acts worry teachers, Alexandra Smith, p.10, The Age,  7 August 2017.

Teachers struggling to handle s-xual conduct, Alexandra Smith, p 9, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August 2017 

By 15 years of age, the average Australian student is performing at the level of the most disadvantaged Singaporean student.

Andreas Schleicher is the co-ordinator of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Mr Schleicher warns that " the most significant drop in Australia's PISA scores occurred among its top performers".

He is urging Australia to look at the features shared by high-performing nations such as Singapore and China.

These include convincing the community to value education, believe in the success of every child, and ensure teaching is more intellectually attractive.

"Australia used to have one of the world's leading school systems," Mr Schleicher observes, "but over the last decade learning outcomes have dropped to levels closer to the average of school systems in the industrialised world.

"The quarter of the most disadvantaged 15-year-old students in Singapore now show results similar to the average Australian student."

15-year-old students in Singapore are -

 * two years and four months ahead of Australian students in maths,

 * 18 months ahead in science,

 * 12 months ahead in reading.

Mr Schleicher says leaders in high-performing countries have convinced their communities to make choices that value education.

"Chinese parents and grandparents will invest their time, energy and money into the education of their children, their future," he observes."

He also points to the belief in the success of every child. 

"And the fact that students in most East Asian countries consistenly believe that achievement is mainly a product of hard work, rather than inherited intelligence as many Australian students say, suggests that education and its social context can make a difference in installing values that foster success in education.

Mr Schleicher says it is important to select, train and invest in teachers.

"The challenge is not just to make teaching financially attractive - Australia does reasonably well on that - but to make teaching intellectually more attractive," he advises.

Our teens barely compete with Singapore's  most disadvantaged, Stephanie Balogh, The Australia, 27 September 2017

One in ten Australian school principals report that they have thought about self-harm in the past week or indicated that they had a very poor quality of life.

Phillip Riley, an associate professor at the Australian Catholic University, conducts the annual principal health and wellbeing survey.

The 2017 survey found one in 10 Australian principals had thought about self-harm in the past week or indicated they had a very poor quality of life.

First principals for healthy living, Henrietta Cook, P. 2-3, The Age, 4 August, 2017 

Australian students' writing scores plummet, both low-achieving and high-achieving.

NAPLAN results show Australian students' writing scores have plummeted since 2011.

This year, 16.5 per cent of Year 9 students nationwide performed below the benchmark in writing, compared with 2.8 per cent in 2011, when the same students were in Year 3.

"Somehow we dropped the ball for thousands of those kids as they progressed through school," Associate Professor Misty Adoniou from the University of Canberra said.

"Not only are the numbers of low-performing students increasing, but the inverse is occurring for out high-achieving students - their numbers decrease as they move through school."

Data shows that student's results take a dramatic turn for the worse in Year 7 - the first year of high school - with a fivefold increase in children below the benchmark and a threefold decrease in those who are far above the benchmark.

"They write like they speak ... they can't use vocabulary and grammar in literate ways," Prof Adoniou said.

"They don't read enough literate language - you can only write as well as you can read." 

Writing skills fail the test, Bruce McDougall, P. 13, Courier-Mail, 26 August 2017

Only one in five young Australians wanting apprenticeships pass a simple factory maths test.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox says the latest preliminary NAPLAN test results, which showed only a marginal improvement in literacy and numeracy levels among Australian school students in the past decade, will not be surprising to those hiring young staff.

"One A1 Group member told me this week that only one in five young people they interviewed recently for apprenticeships passed their simple factory maths test," he says.

"This is a fairly typical experience among employers who are frustrated at the literacy and numeracy standards among secondary graduates seeking employment." 

Young must be able to read, count, Cara Jenkin (?), P. 10, Careers, The Courier-Mail, 12 August 2017 

Questions about the academic benefit of the Gonski billions poured into Australian schools.

Since the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy began in 2008 -

* Reading scores nationally have improved by 3.52 per cent 

* Numeracy has improved by 2.55 per cent 

But the results only shifted slightly in the year to July 2017.

* Mean scores for writing have fallen by just over 2 per cent since 2011.

Further questions have been raised about the academic benefit of the billions of extra dollars poured into schools under the first phase of the Gonski reforms.


Schools hit by writing skills slump, Pia Akerman, Greg Brown, P.1, The Australian,  2 August 2017

Schools in Singapore seem to achieve better PISA results at a lower cost.

Results from the literacy component of the Program for International Student Assessment in 2015 show - 


Within Australia -

Independent school students achieved an average of 544,

Catholic sector students achieved an average of 517.

Government sector students achieved an average of 484. 


Comparing Australian results with those of Britain and Singapore

Singapore students achieved an average of 535.

Australian students achieved an average of 503.

British students achieved an average of 497.

Comparing the costs of these results -

Britain spends 5.7 per cent of gross domestic product on education.

Australia spends 5.2 per cent of gross domestic product on education.

Singapore spends 2.9 per cent of gross domestic product on education. 


Year 1 phonics tests no way to lift school results, Kate Hadwen, P. 18, The West Australian, 27 July 2017

Noise in classrooms and poor student behaviour are dragging Australia's PISA results down.

Associate professor Chris Baumann and his colleague Hana Krskova, researchers at Sydney's Macquarie University, recently examined  the results of the Program for International Student Assessment.

PISA testing is conducted every three years by the OECD.

15-year-olds are tested on reading, writing and mathematical skills.

The researchers concluded better behaved students learned more, performed among the world's best, and ultimately contributed to a more competitive workforce.

Baumann argues that more money alone is insufficient to boost educational performance.

"The way we actually run the school seems to have a massive effect on how the students perform".


The Australian Council for Educational Research has released two new reports.

ACER also found that Australian classrooms continue to be beset by appalling discipline standards, well below the international average for developed nations.

About one-third of students in affluent schools, and about half of those in disadvantaged schools, say they experience noise and disorder in most or all of their classes.

Students don't listen to what the teacher says. 

They find it a difficult environment in which to learn anything.

ACER director of educational monitoring and research, Sue Thomson, says the lagging performance of disadvantaged students in poorer schools is also a reflection of "a whole bunch of student behaviours hindering learning like truancy, skipping classes, a lack of respect for teachers, bullying - all of those sorts of things are much more prevalent at schools that cater to disadvantaged students".


The Grattan Institute also recently highlighted the hidden epidemic of disengaged students.

Badapplebullies editor comments : You have to wonder who it was hidden from, certainly not the teachers.

Who claims to have not known about this situation? The department? The teachers unions?

As many as four in 10 children and teenagers were unproductive - and as a result their performance slipped.

Teachers are stressed by the difficulty of interesting switched-off students.


Each year for the past six years Philip Riley from the Australian Catholic University's Institute for Positive Psychology and Education has conducted the Australian principal occupational health, safety and wellbeing survey.


Badapplebullies editor comments : What about the wellbeing of classroom teachers?

Why is there so little interest in the health, safety and wellbeing of Australian classroom teachers?

You have to conclude it is because the results would not be pretty and the department does not want the public to know about the suffering of classroom teachers.


During 2016 almost one in two Australian school principals and deputies received threats at work.

34 per cent experienced actual physical violence.

(Six years ago 27 per cent of principals and deputies experienced actual physical violence.)

Angry parents are the main perpetrators in primary schools.

Students are more likely to be responsible for the assaults in high school.


Riley says that change is moving far more slowly than it should be.

"The problem we've had is that it's very entrenched; the departments of education are now aware but they don't know where to start, and a three-year political cycle makes it very difficult. 

"We're losing, I think, our best young teachers early, and there's now this exodus of people who are pretty much at the top of their game who are retiring early".


Education Minister Simon Birmingham today called for a "zero tolerance approach to bad behaviour" in Australian schools.


Badapplebullies editor comments : I remember when the Queensland Education Department had a "zero tolerance" approach to workplace bullying in Queensland schools - while 97 per cent of Queensland teachers were experiencing workplace bullying.

That's how "zero tolerance" works.


Birmingham says the latest update on Australia's performance in PISA shows 46 per cent of students in low socioeconomic schools were badly behaved, compared with 32 per cent of students in high socioeconomic schools.


"While governments are investing ever more in addressing disadvantage, we need communities and families to focus on how we simultaneously change behaviour and attitudes. Turning these results around cannot rest solely on the shoulders of teachers or principals," he says.

Rules of engagement for teachers, Stefanie Balogh, The Australian, 15 March 2017

We had an 'Education Revolution', we spent billions - and our results have plateaued.

The December 2016 NAPLAN report shows  -


Australian students with a language background other than English continue to do better than those from English-speaking backgrounds in Years 3,5,7 and 9, and have done so each year since 2008.


This year children with a language background other than English were 2.9 points ahead in reading.

Students from English-speaking backgrounds did better in in reading Years 5 and 7.

Children with a language background other than English did marginally better in Year 9 reading in 2015, but lost ground this year.


The report confirms the overall academic performance of Australian students is plateauing  despite additional Gonski needs-based funding, a spending injection and the Labor 'education revolution'.

Total education spending by Australian state and federal governments has risen by more than $5 billion in the past four years.  

NAPLAN: migrant children setting the pace on reading, maths, Stefanie Balogh, The Australian, 13 December 2016

Australian students have lost one year's learning over the past ten years.

The Program for International Student Assessment is perhaps the best international indicator of how students from OECD countries perform in the key disciplines of reading, mathematics and science as they near the end of their compulsory schooling.

 Australian students sliding down international rankings, particularly in maths.

We have also gone backwards against our previous performances, with the PISA scores of today's teens trailing those of their Aussie counterparts from last decade by almost a full year of learning.

The class divide is very real, Lauren Martyn-Jones, PP. 68-69, The Courier-Mail, 11 December 2016.

Australian students' results are poor - and some are VERY poor.

Australian students from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds are about three full school years behind the PISA maths, science and reading levels of their 15-year-old peers from the most privileged backgrounds.

The class divide is very real, Lauren Martyn-Jones, PP. 68-69, The Courier-Mail, 11 December 2016.

Students in Australian government schools are, on average,  two full school years behind their peers in independent schools.

In the December 2016 PISA science, maths and reading test results -

Students in government schools achieved average results that placed them one full school year behind their peers in Catholic schools.

And students in Catholic schools were one full year behind their peers in independent schools.

 The class divide is very real, Lauren Martyn-Jones, PP. 68-69, The Courier-Mail, 11 December 2016.

25 per cent of Australian government school students are "low performers".

In the 2016 PISA literacy test -

25 per cent of Australian government school students fell in the category of "low performers".

7 per cent of private school students fell in the category of "low performers".


8 per cent of Australian government school students fell in the category of "high performers".

Almost 20 per cent of private school students fell in the category of "high performers".

The class divide is very real, Lauren Martyn-Jones, PP. 68-69, The Courier-Mail, 11 December 2016.

The November 2016 PISA results of 15-year-old indigenous Australians show that, on average, they are trailing non-indigenous Australians by two and a half school years.

The 2016 PISA results show -

The average 15-year-old indigenous student is trailing the average non-indigenous student by about two and a half schooling years across all testing areas.

If the PISA results of Indigenous 15-year-old Australians were isolated, they would come 46th on the international league table, close to the bottom.

 The class divide is very real, Lauren Martyn-Jones, PP. 68-69, The Courier-Mail, 11 December 2016.

A large proportion of Australian children do not achieve minimum standards in literacy by Year 4.

Among English-speaking countries, Australia has one of the largest proportions of children who do not achieve minimum standards in literacy by Year 4.

The most effective way to develop accurate and fluent word identification is to learn the code of written English through being taught phonics - the relationships between sounds in speech and the letter patterns in written words in an explicit and systematic way.

Unfortunately, literacy policies and programs in use in Australian schools do not consistently incorporate evidence-based, effective phonics instruction.

It is difficult to explain precisely the resistance to such a well-proven method. 

However it seems to stem from a combination of ideological attachment to social theories of literacy, a rejection of the primacy of scientific evidence and vested interests in entrenched reading programs.

Five minutes of phonics to lift child literacy levels, Jennifer Buckingham, The Australian, 24 November 2016

Most Australian indigenous students are functionally illiterate when they leave school, destined to life on the dole.

Nearly one in four Australian indigenous students failed to read to the minimum national standard for Year 3 in 20014, compared with 3.5 per cent of other Australian students.

Indigenous students were eight times likelier to fall below the minimum standard in maths.

Teachers embrace a direct approach, Natasha Bita, p. 20, The Weekend Australian, 5-6 September 2015

Promising early results from Direct Instruction trials in 33 remote indigenous schools.

Australian Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne is trialling Direct Instruction in 33 remote indigenous schools.

Early results from the trial have been promising.

"Whenever a school uses Direct Instruction or Explicit Instruction or any other explicit teaching approach, student engagement lifts, student learning and student attendance increase, and the quality of teaching improves," Mr Pyne says.

 Teachers embrace a direct approach, Natasha Bita, p. 20, The Weekend Australian, 5-6 September 2015

Jennifer Buckingham: we need to fund teaching programs that are truly evidence-based.

The 2016 NAPLAN results show that there has been some improvement in mean scores in Years 3 and 5 since NAPLAN began in 2008.

But there has been no improvement in Years 7 and 9.

On the contrary, Year 7 and 9 writing scores have declined significantly since 2011 in several states.


There has been no improvement in the proportion of children who failed to reach the National Minimum Standard (NMS) in any year, in any domain.

The Australian NMS is extremely low against international benchmarks.


What is going on?

Billions of dollars of extra funding has gone into Australian schools in recent years, especially since the Gonski funding package was introduced.


Extra funding has little effect on student achievement if their teachers are not using the most effective teaching methods.

We need to fund evidence-based teaching programs.


NAPLAN results show core learning skills are in retreat, Jennifer Buckingham, The Australian, 3 August 2016

Grattan Institute : Children whose parents have limited education make poorer progress than children whose parents are better educated, even when they begin school with similar scores.

The Grattan Institute report Widening Gaps : What Naplan tells us about Student Progress reveals that equally capable students make much less progress if they came from families with limited education.

When students had similar Year 3 scores, disadvantaged students fell between one and two years behind by Year 9.

Intelligent students in disadvantaged schools missed out the most.


Peter Goss and Julie Sonnemann of The Grattan Institute suggest that -


Schools need to target teaching to the right level for each student.

Tackling tasks that are neither too easy nor too hard supports struggling students and stretches bright students.

Teaching to each child's level also builds confidence and resilience.


Editor's Note : This all seems to me to be a very strong argument for streamed classes.


The federal government should take the lead in building a stronger evidence base on what works best in schools.

Funding does matter - but we need to use resources better.

We need to allocate resources to the areas where they will make the most difference.


Public vs private school funding a distraction from what matters, Peter Goss, school education program director, Grattan Institute, Julie Sonnemann, school education fellow, Grattan Institute, The Australian, 1 April 2016

We are neglecting our top students.

International data shows that Australia has lost ground in reading comprehension and science over the past 10 years, warns Associate Professor John Munro, exceptional learning expert at Melbourne University.

"In part, it's because teachers don't know how to cater for the children who are the more able learners."

This is creating a "learning leakage"from Australian classrooms.

Top students are coasting in their classrooms.

This situation will affect Australia's future.


Teachers failing gifted students, P. 27, The Courier-Mail, 3 April 2016

41% of Australian school principals have been threatened with physical violence in the past year, mainly by parents.

The 2015 Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey of 4386 Australian principals, deputies and assistants, released this week, found that Australian school principals are struggling to meet the requirements of the job.

Principals face increasing demands, lack of time and insufficient support.

Badapplebullies editor comments :  poor selection and training procedures contribute to the problem.

And where is the 2015 Australian Classroom Teacher Health and Wellbeing Survey?

Nowhere - because Australian school principals have many groups representing their interests 100 per cent.

Classroom teachers have none.

Australian school principals experience stress at a rate 1.7 times higher than the population in general.

Their thoughts of self-harm and poor quality-of-life concerns are double that of previous years.

41% of principals have experienced threats of physical violence on the job in the past year, mainly from parents.

More than one third have suffered physical violence - mostly at the hands of their students.

Australian school principals are eight times more likely to be the subject of actual violence than the general adult population.

They are five times more likely to be threatened with violence.

The Badapplebullies editor comments  : this is one reason why Australian classroom teachers are bullied at work.

It is easier and safer for a school principal to attack a teacher who raises a concern - rather than trying to actually deal with a problem child and his or her problem parents.

The abuse of alcohol and drugs precipitates bullying and violence across the socioeconomic spectrum. 

The Badapplebullies editor comments : Australian school principals have so many professional organizations that can run this sort of research and publish the findings.

Principals' voices can be heard by the general public.

But Australian classroom teachers have no professional organizations to conduct research and speak out about their workplace problems.

Australian classroom teachers need their own professional organizations to run research into their working conditions and to speak out about their workplace concerns.

Why is being a school principal one of the most dangerous jobs in the country? John Fischetti, Scott Imig, The Conversation, 10 December 2015

Police called to Victorian schools more than 800 times as students attack teachers, Peter Mickelburough, Sunday Herald Sun, 5 December 2015

Call for mandatory jail for assaulting school principals, ABC News, 15 June 2016

Almost 40% of Australian teachers will leave teaching one year after graduating.

Close to 40% of Australian teachers exit the profession within the first year of their teaching career.

This figure has tripled in the last six years.


Dr Phillip Riley, Director of the Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey at Monash University says there are several reasons -

 * The lack of job security.

 * The restrictions in the ways in which young graduates can contribute to student's learning and well-being.

 * Poor mentoring.

 * Difficulties in the workplace.

One teacher told Dr Riley ''I felt well prepared for the classroom, but nobody prepared me for the staffroom". 

Why are so many teachers fleeing the classroom ? Brooke Lumsden,  8 October 2015

How do the class teaching hours of Australian teachers compare with teachers in other countries?

Number of class teaching hours per year, according to new OECD data :

Australia 879

Luxembourg 810

Germany 800

Italy 752

Japan 736

England 722

South Korea 667

Greece 569


Badapplebullies Editor : And what about playground duty?

I was stunned when I first arrived in Australia and found out that I was expected to stand in the hot sun for half an hour at lunchtime - and then return to the classroom and teach!

Teachers in England did not do anything like the number of hours of playground duty that Australian teachers do. 

Australian teachers are often injured at lunchtimes - hit by stones or injured when trying to stop children from fighting.

In England local mothers were employed to look after the children at lunchtimes.

The mothers would sit and chat to the children, giving them the attention that they craved.

And when it rains teachers in many Australian schools get no break at all because their schools have no hall, so the children have to remain in their classrooms.

It is a disgrace that Australian teachers are still being abused in this way by governments too mean to pay for a) a school hall and b) mothers to look after the children at lunchtimes.

When will the Australian teacher unions take some action over this?


Longer hours but Aussie teachers among best paid, says OECD, Natasha Bita, The Australian, 25 November 2015

How do the wages of Australian teachers compare with the wages of teachers in other countries?

Teachers salaries per annum, according to new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data.

Luxembourg $143,211

Germany $87,902

US $82,558

Australia $78,305

South Korea $71,736

Japan $67,498

England $65,727

Italy $46,232

Greece $35,931


Badapplebullies Editor comments : But the Australian dollar has recently fallen from about US$1.17 to US$0.70. - so how accurate are these figures?


Longer hours but Aussie teachers among best paid, says OECD, Natasha Bita, The Australian 25 November 2015

New South Wales teachers earn the highest salaries.

Teachers in New South Wales earn the best salaries!

NSW pays teachers -

$62,282 in their first year.

$92,892 for a senior classroom teacher

$106, 904 for a subject headteacher in a high school

$159,654 for a high school principal

Longer hours but Aussie teachers among best paid, says OECD, Natasha Bita, The Australian, 25 November 2015

Australians are spending 25 per cent more on educating each school student - but our results are falling. 

Taxpayer funding on school education by Australian federal, state and territory governments has grown by almost one third in five years, from $36.5 billion in 2007-08 to $47.9bn in 2012-13.

On a per-student basis, funding grew by 25 per cent.

We spent $10,601 per student in 2007-08.

We spent $13,298 per student in 2012-13, according to the latest Productivity Commission data.

But students' performance has slipped in international testing.

The OECD's 2012 Program for International Student Assessment tested 510,000 15-year-old students in 65 developed countries.

The test showed that Australia's world ranking has fallen since 2003.


Australia ranked 11th out of 65 in maths in 2003.

Australia ranked 19th in 2012.

This is the equivalent of dropping half a year of schooling.


Australia ranked 6th out of 65 in science in 2003.

Australia ranked 16th in 2012.


Australia ranked 4th out of 65 in literacy in 2003.

Australia ranked 13th in 2012.



Ken Wiltshire, who reviewed the national curriculum for the federal government last year, said Asian nations "worship education".

"In Asia, teachers are very high on the social scale, they're known as "knowledge bearers", Professor Wiltshire said.

Asian parents hover over their children, making sure that they are performing and doing their homework.

Australian parents will help to paint the school fence or run the fete but they are not really interested in what is being taught.


Countries that outperform Australia in school education have invested in quality teaching.

"Countries like Finland and Singapore attract the best and brightest school leavers - the top 10 per cent- into teaching," observes Australian Council for Educational Research chief executive Geoff Masters.


Students at Merrylands High School, in Sydney's west, are twice as likely than the average student to live in the poorest of families.

Many Merrylands students are migrants, including refugees, from 54 nationalities.

Merrylands principal Lila Mularczyk has recruited former students, who are now studying at university, to work part-time as teachers' aides.

These university students not only have the skills to help out with school work, they also act as role models.

Badapplebullies Editor : What a great idea!

Merrylands High School also offers classes to parents in maths, technology and English, because Ms Mularczyk believes that it is really important for parents to understand what their children are studying and for them to be able to communicate with the school.

Badapplebullies Editor : What a great idea!

"I've never met a parent who doesn't want the best for their child," Ms Mularczyk said.

Badapplebullies Editor : What a terrific principal. Let's hope she doesn't get promoted. She seems to be doing such a great job at Merrylands High.


Hard work, not money, key to educational success, Natasha Bita, The Australian, 5 November 2015

Australian universities : how their education graduates fared when looking for work in 2015.

55 per cent of 2014 education graduates from the Uni of NSW found full-time work.

58 per cent of Sydney University education graduates found full time work.

58 per cent of Curtin University education graduates found full-time work.

58 per cent of Edith Cowan University education graduates found full-time work.

75 per cent of Monash University education graduates found full-time work.

77 per cent of Australian Catholic University graduates found full-time work.


82 per cent of Queensland University graduates found full time work.

Badapplebullies Editor : This 82 per cent figure does not seem to make sense if only 230 new graduates were given full-time work in Queensland.

Could these education graduates have found teaching jobs in England?

Teacher glut hits university graduates' job hopes, Natasha Bita, The Australian, 12 October 2015

Australian universities churned out even more education graduates in 2014.

Australian universities churned out 6.4 per cent more student teachers in 2014.

40 per cent of these graduates have found full-time teaching jobs.


Badapplebullies Editor's note : I have serious doubts about this 40 per cent figure.

In Queensland, for example, 230 out of 4489 teacher graduates were given full-time work in 2014.

This is obviously much closer to 4 per cent than 40 per cent.

(The only other explanation I can think of is that this 40 per cent were given work in the Northern territory, had breakdowns and were helicoptered out to be replaced with other fresh, innocent graduates.)


Teacher glut hits university graduates' job hopes, Natasha Bita, The Australian, 12 October 2015

Two in every 20 school leavers accepted into Australian university teaching courses in 2015 had an ATAR rank below 50.

Academic standards for Australian teachers are falling.

Just one in 20 school leavers accepted to study teaching at an Australian university in 2015 had an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank above 90.

This placed them in the top 10 per cent of Year 12 achievement.

Those accepted were twice as likely to be in the bottom half of high school graduates, with an ATAR score below 50.


The Australian Council for Educational Research has accused universities of lowering standards for teaching degrees.

The degrees have been a lucrative source of revenue for cash-strapped tertiary institutions since the former Labor government abolished the cap on taxpayer-funded university places in 2009.

Since then, the proportion of low-ATAR student teachers has risen.


Head or Heart ... what makes a good teacher, Natasha Bita, Inquirer, P.19, The Weekend Australian, 29-30 August 2015.

Australian parents spend more on alcohol than on the education of their children.

Recent research has found that Australian families spend -

 - an average of $32.20 a week on alcohol.

 - an average of $30.60 a week on education.

Women are drinking 3.4 standard drinks a day (up from 2.8 in 2001).

This is nearly two drinks a day more than is recommended under safe drinking guidelines. 

And statisticians note that our society is notorious for understating how much we drink.

Australians spend more on alcohol from bottle shops than from bars and clubs.


Which suggests that there is a lot of drinking going on in Australian homes.


Alcohol outlay outstrips education, P.3, The Courier-Mail, 27 August 2015

Shot of honesty needed when addressing reliance on alcohol, Jane Fynes-Clinton, P.26 and 47, The Courier-Mail, 27 August 2015

The reading, writing and maths skills of Australian students are stagnating.

Naplan results released on Wednesday 5 August 2015 showed that the reading, writing and maths skills of Australian students had basically stagnated since national testing began in 2008.

Literacy and numeracy skills of primary schools in Australia have not shown any sign of progress during the past seven years, except in Queensland and Western Australia, where there has been some significant improvements.

According to the NAPLAN results, none of the age groups have shown any significant improvement in spelling, grammar/punctuation or numeracy since 2014.

The writing results for Year 7 and 9 students have deteriorated considerably since 2011.


Student results stall over seven years : New national testing results of school students show there's been little improvement in their skills over the past seven years, AAP, SBS, 5 August 2015

Naplan results : Literacy and Numeracy skills stagnant for years among Australian students, Debleena Sankar, International Business Times, 6 August 2015

Are mixed ability classes really the most effective way to teach?

A new report by public policy think-tank, The Grattan Institute, has revealed that Australian teachers are struggling to deal with wide discrepancies in student learning.

In some classrooms there may be a five to eight year difference between the strongest and weakest students.

The report warned that some Year 7 maths students are still working at a Year 1 level.

Other students may have mastered concepts from Year 8.

So a typical Year 8 teacher has to target his teaching to cover the needs of eight different levels of mathematical understanding, while still meeting his curriculum requirements.

This is no easy task.


Teachers grapple with eight-year gap between students : Grattan Report, Timna Jacks, The Age, 27 July 2015

Nearly 25 per cent of Australian student teachers drop out in their first year.

20 per cent of Australian Maths and Physics teachers were trained as specialists in other fields, such as English or Physical Education.

25 per cent of Australian History teachers were trained as specialists in other fields.

30 per cent of Australian Computing or IT teachers were trained as specialists in other fields.

40 per cent of Australian Geography teachers were trained as specialists in other fields.


75 per cent of Australian Physics teachers are male.

Nearly 50 per cent of Australian men teaching maths are in their 50's.


27 per cent of primary teachers work part-time.

20 per cent of secondary teachers work part-time.


Nearly 25 per cent of student teachers drop out of university  in their first year.

Up to 20 per cent of Australian education graduates do not become teachers.


There is a significant oversupply of primary teachers in Victoria and New South Wales.


Baby boom to stretch Australian schools , Natasha Bita, The Australian, 11 March 2015.

Achievement in Australian schools is slipping.

The results of a 2013 international study of maths, reading and science assessments of 15-year-olds in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries found achievement in Australia is slipping.

20 per cent of Australian students failed to meet the international baseline proficiency level in mathematics.

14 per cent failed to meet the minimum standard in reading.


Classroom noise linked to poor results, Josephine Tovey, Education Reporter, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 2013

Badapplebullies Editor : This is a really good article, well worth reading in full.

Australian students report a lot of noise and disorder in their classrooms.

The latest results of an international study of maths, reading and science assessments of 15-year-olds in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries found -


43 per cent of Australian students reported ''noise and disorder'' in their classroom.

13 per cent of students in Shanghai, China reported "noise and disorder" in their classrooms.


Shanghai is of the top performing regions.


One third of Australian students reported that their teacher had to ''wait a long time for the students to quiet down''.

38 per cent said Australian students ''don't listen to what their teacher has to say''.


Classroom noise linked to poor results, Josephine Tovey, Education Reporter, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 2013

Badapplebullies Editor: This is a really good article, well worth reading in full.

One in ten four and five-year-old Australian students lack the social skills needed to function well at school.

One in ten of Australia's four and five-year-olds lack the social skills to start school, according to the federal government's Australian Early Development Index, which tracked nearly 300,000 kindy students in 2012.

The children were hyper-active, disobedient, anxious or threw temper-tantrums and got into fights.


The tiny tyrants ... But they're not bad, they're misunderstood, Natasha Bita, P.18, The Courier-Mail, 30 November 2013

COAG Report : many Australian adults lack the basic literacy and numeracy required to function in a modern economy.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council's  Education and Skills in Australia 2012 : "Five years of performance" report warns that many Australian adults lack the basic literacy and numeracy required to adapt in a modern economy.

In 2011-2012 -

One in eight working age Australians had the lowest level of literacy.

One in five working age Australians had the lowest level of numeracy.


There has been little educational progress for Indigenous students, with the school attendance gap widening.

Outcomes for children from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds are still poor.

One third of Queensland's young adults not in full-time work or study, or full-time mix of both, Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail, 30 October 2013 

Dr Andrea Gallant estimates the attrition rate among beginning Australian teachers to be probably 50 per cent.

Dr Andrea Gallant, a senior lecturer and education researcher at Deakin University is tracking the attrition rate among beginning teachers - a statistic made difficult to pin down because teachers often remain registered after leaving the profession.
"We would estimate the rate of attrition to be probably 50 per cent,"  Dr Gallant said.

And the most positively motivated teaching students - those who initially planned to stay in teaching the longest - suffered the greatest drop in confidence and satisfaction once they started working.

Dr Gallant recently completed a small case study interviewing high-performing teaching graduates who left the profession within a few years, to find out why.

"They were keen to introduce new practices, which were not always widely accepted by peers.

They were supported in their first year and isolated in their second year,'' Dr Gallant said.

''And often they're given the toughest classes."

Burnout hits one in four teachers, Konrad Marshall, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 2013 

27 per cent of new Victorian and New South Wales teachers are on a path to burnout or worn out.

The latest findings from a continuing study by researchers at Monash University reveal that more than one in four new teachers suffered from "emotional exhaustion" shortly after starting their careers.

Associate Professors Paul Richardson and Helen Watt drew the findings from an analysis of surveys recently completed by 612 NSW and Victorian primary and secondary teachers.

This group of teachers was initially surveyed in 2002, as they enrolled in teacher education.

"They were there for reasons such as wanting to enhance social equity, making a contribution to society, or having a personal interest in teaching and working with youth," Professor Watt said.

Yet the latest results of the FIT-Choice (Factors Influencing Teaching) project indicate low morale is all too common.

''I would never have thought 27 per cent would be on a path to burnout or worn out already," Professor Richardson said.

Professor Watt said those affected "report much greater negativity in their interaction with students, such as using sarcasm, aggression, responding negatively to mistakes."

Reasons for burnout included a lack of administrative support and much tougher emotional conditions than they expected to face.


Teachers under stress, Konrad Marshall, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 2013 

One third of new graduate Australian teachers leave the profession within five years.

One third of new graduate Australian teachers leave the profession within five years.

They take jobs with higher pay, much better conditions, lower stress and higher status.

And because people attracted to teaching are often serious-minded and committed, they do very well.

This is a big loss to Australian schools.

Legislators are nervously aware of the major difficulties we are struggling with in our education system.

Our international ranking is slipping.

A troublesome "long tail" of underachieving students is growing.

The bottom 10 per cent of Australian students can be as many as six years behind our top 10 per cent by the time they finish school.

The teaching faculties in less well-regarded universities have had to find students wherever they can.


Jane Caro says  : We have been relying on the fact that until a few decades ago, academically gifted women had few employment options other than teaching.

The last of those bright women will be reaching retirement age in the next five years, so the problem is likely to get even worse.


Currently, we have both a shortage and an oversupply of teachers.

If you graduate as a primary, PE or art teacher and want to work in a big city, you may find it impossible to find a permanent position whatever your ATAR or final mark.

If you graduate as a maths, science or technical studies teacher, you will be snapped up.

If you are prepared to travel to a rural or remote area, you may find a permanent position.

We need teachers aides, social workers and behavioural psychologists working in schools to free teachers up to do their job.


Badapplebullies Editor : We also need CCTV in every classroom so that teachers feel safe at work.


We need to lower the workload on teachers, particularly for young teachers and those in tough schools, so that they can de-stress and get the support they need to survive.

We need to give them time to do specialist professional development and experienced mentors to give them strategies to cope.


Badapplebullies Editor : In England, in the 60's, students who wanted to teach could spend a year working as an assistant teacher before they began their training course.

It gave them experience in the classroom and the opportunity to earn some money before they went to college.

We also need to consider employing university maths and science students in schools as assistant teachers.


We need to make teaching a desirable job again.

Hey politicians, leave those teachers alone, Jane Caro, The Drum, ABC News, 11 March 2013 

Australian teachers are among the best paid teachers in the world - but they are not well paid by Australian standards.

Australian teachers' salaries are above the OECD average and have risen steadily, some 13 per cent since 2000 at all education levels.

However, teachers in Australia earn 91 per cent of the salary of other Australian workers similar in age and education level.

Australian children's education dropping further against world standards, Sarah Blake, National Education Writer, News Limited Network, 25 June 2013 

Australian student performance is declining on most international scales despite increased funding.

Despite a growth in public spending of more than four times the OECD average, Australian student's test results across most rankings have fallen, according to a snapshot of world education released on 24 June 2013.

The Education at a Glance report said spending on schools in Australia increased by 24 per cent between 2008 and 2010 - more than four times the average increase of five per cent.

Education experts said the data was proof "the system isn't working".

"When you have that sort of substantial increase in expenditure and you are not getting improved effectiveness or an increase in student outcomes, it's just clear evidence that we are spending in the wrong areas," Dr Ben Jensen, director of school policy for the Grattan Institute, said.

Australian children's education dropping further against world standards, Sarah Blake, National Education Writer, News Limited Network, 25 June 2013 

Nearly 40 per cent of Australian school principals report feeling stressed or bullied at work.

The Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey, conducted by Monash University, is finalising latest data in the three-year longitudinal survey of 2005 school leaders.

The nation's peak survey of Australia's 10,000 school principals has found that they face six times the incidence of physical violence compared to other workers.

Study author Dr Philip Riley detailed new findings to some of the 1400 delegates at the World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals in Cairns on July 2 2013.

The study has found that Australian school principals are the nation's most stressed and bullied profession.


(Apart from classroom teachers, 99.6 per cent of whom reported that they were bullied in Dr Dan Riley's 2007 UNE study - see details below.)


Nearly 40 per cent of Australian school principals reported feeling stressed or bullied compared to an 8 per cent average in the national workforce, Dr Riley said.

Most attacks or threats of violence come from aggressive parents rather than students or teachers.

Nearly half of Australian school principals take prescription medication for a diagnosed condition.

State school principals in large towns and rural locations are the most at risk of threats or actual violence. 

School principals stressed, bullied, bashed and overworked, new findings show, Peter Michael, The Courier-Mail,,  3 July 2013 

Most NSW and Queensland education graduates fail to get a job.

Australian Universities graduate about 16,000 new teachers every year across the nation.

The Federal and state governments spend at least $16,000 a year to train each of these new teachers, or about $64,000 over the course of their four-year education degree.


But about 90 per cent of new teachers graduating university in NSW and Queensland fail to find a job.

Of the 5500 teaching graduates every year from NSW universities, only 450 obtained jobs in state government schools and about 300 found a job in Catholic or independent schools.

More than 1600 new teachers graduated in Queensland in 2012, but only about 200 of these new teachers have a permanent job and about 350 gained temporary employment.

And about 2500 new Victorian teachers are looking for a job.

About 40,000 teachers in NSW and 16,000 teachers in Queensland are on departmental waiting lists for a permanent job.

Millions wasted training teachers, Justine Ferrari, The Australian, 25 March 2013   

High achieving Australian year 12 students don't want to be teachers.

According to new figures on university offers to year 12 students released earlier this month by the federal Higher Education Department, education was the least popular course for school leavers with the highest university entrance scores -

Only 5 per cent of offers in education courses were made to students with an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) above 90.05.

Almost 22 per cent of offers in education courses were made to students with ATARs below 60.

Almost 7 per cent of offers in education courses were made to students who scored below 50.


Dr Lawrence Ingvarson, one of Australia's leading teacher education specialists, says the latest figures are deeply worrying.

"The inconsistency of this just shouts out at you," says Dr Ingvarson, a principal research fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research. "We're recruiting people into teaching who are not as academically able as they need to be."

And "in Australia out of every 100 people who enter teacher education programs about 50 or more drop out. It means there's enormous wastage going through the system."

"Then, if you let poor quality teachers into schools you start to get large sums of money being spent on the performance management of these people — assessing them, providing remedial and other Band-Aid programs and selecting out the ones who are not effective."

Within schools there is unease among teachers about the calibre of many recent entrants to the profession.

School teachers with more than 20 years' experience assessing year 12 English exams and supervising student teachers in secondary schools, told The Age that university students with ATAR scores below 60 were likely to have very limited skills in written English, comprehension and analysis.

"There are fewer and fewer people coming into the profession who can proofread [student work] accurately," says a year 12 English exam assessor who did not want to be identified.

"They can't recognise the errors because their own writing is littered with grammatical errors of syntax and of verb tense.

This has been a problem for longer than the latest ATAR figures indicate.

"A significant number of younger teachers have very limited written English and reading skills. If these people don't understand language well, how can they teach it well?"

Professor Brian Caldwell, who runs professional development seminars and research projects with teachers nationwide, is also aware of simmering discontent within the profession about large numbers of low achievers entering education courses.

Professor Caldwell says moving all courses to graduate-level entry would be one of the most effective policy levers available to the federal government, given its promise last year to raise the standard of entrants to teacher training.

Countries with the most rigorous entry requirements for teacher education courses, such as Finland, Taiwan and Singapore, also had the highest achieving school students in international testing schemes.

"We've had in excess of 30 reviews into teacher education over several decades and no government has taken on most of the recommendations," says Professor Caldwell.

"We have a large number of folk coming in with relatively low scores and education faculties across the country are passing 95 per cent of those students. We have to raise the entry bar. We can't keep putting it off."

Last year, the federal government announced its new national accreditation system for education courses would require entrants to have literacy and numeracy skills broadly equivalent to the top 30 per cent of the population.

Universities that recruit students below that level must show they have remedial programs to bring them up to the required standard.


Margaret Saltau, an executive member of the Victorian Association of the Teachers of English, has been teaching English in secondary schools since 1969.

"I can't remember any of my students saying they wanted to be a teacher, and certainly none of the really brilliant ones wanted to. It's really quite sad."

Why our best teachers are worth $150,000, Caroline Milburn, 21 May 2012 

Australian high school students are significantly behind students in Shanghai, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore in key learning areas.

The (Melbourne) Grattan Institute report, "Catching up: Learning from the best school systems in East Asia," reveals Australian high school students are more than two years behind Shanghai students in maths.

Australian high school students are 15 months behind in science.

They are 13 months behind in reading.

Australian students are also significantly behind Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore in key learning areas.

"If a kid [in Australia] is that far behind [in a classroom] we would consider him disadvantaged. They would likely be put into the remedial class," said researcher Dr Ben Jensen, director of the school education program at the Grattan Institute.

"The main difference is (teachers overseas) are trained as researchers and they are continually trying new things with children learning and if it has been successful they keep it," Ben Jensen said.

US and UK students fare worse than Australia, with both nearly three years behind Shanghai students in maths.

Aussie students fall two years behind Asian pupils, Paul Tatnell, Herald Sun : 17 February 2012  

One in three Australian school principals experience an incidence of physical assault six times higher than the general workforce.

Dr Philip Riley, of Monash University's education faculty, conducted the Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey.

Dr Riley was shocked by the level of violence reported by principals.

One in three of Australia's state school principals was physically attacked or witnessed physical violence in their workplace during 2011, the survey found.

And most of the violence involved aggressive parents rather than students or teachers, principals told The Age.

Overall, the nation's school leaders experienced an incidence of physical assault six times higher than the general workforce.

''They told me the incidence of violence is probably worse for teachers because they're on the front line. By the time a parent has threatened a principal, they would have threatened two or three teachers,'' Dr Riley said.

'Violence threat to school heads, Caroline Milburn, The Age, 5 March 2012 

Nearly two-thirds of Australian teachers are considering quitting their jobs for a new career. 

The Centre for Marketing Schools was commissioned to survey staff satisfaction levels of 850 teachers in government and non-government schools in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

The survey found that :

Nearly two-thirds of Australian teachers are considering quitting their jobs for a new career.

Fifty-one per cent did not feel part of a close-knit school community.

Fifty-four per cent said communication between staff and management was poor.

Twenty-seven per cent said the school principal was not approachable.

Why our teachers want to leave, Martina Simos, The Advertiser, 5 April 2011 

"Highly stressful, poor working conditions" are the reasons why large numbers of teachers give up teaching.

Dr Paul Richardson has been working with Monash University colleague Dr Helen Watt since 2002 on Australia's first longitudinal study tracking the experiences of 1650 teachers from the time they started a university education course through their years in the profession.

The researchers argue that chronic teacher shortages won't be solved as long as governments keep failing to confront the reasons why large numbers of teachers desert their jobs early.

"Poor pay is not the reason. ... it's the .. highly stressful, poor working conditions," says Dr Richardson.


Twenty-seven per cent of the teachers surveyed planned to quit teaching within their first five years of teaching.

Many of the teacher recruits planning to quit were people who had experience in other professions.

They were totally shocked by the working conditions and the lack of administrative support.


One teacher said: "I've been a solicitor and now I've got a one-metre desk in a staffroom where you can't think."


Education specialist Dr Philip Riley of Monash University says that almost half of the 25,155 university students nationwide who began teacher training courses in 2006 were needed to fill jobs vacated by teachers with less than five years' experience.

Even people who had been teaching for two years had highly elevated levels of emotional exhaustion.


Teaching has a reputation as one of the more stressful professions.

Forty-one per cent of teachers report high levels of occupational stress compared with 31 per cent of people in nursing, 29 per cent in managerial jobs and 27 per cent in professional and support management occupations. 


Concern about workforce problems has prompted the to urge the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership to create a national, publicly available database on teacher supply, demand and attrition as part of the national accreditation of teacher education programs.

Professor Toni Downes, the Australian Council of Deans of Education's president, says that stress is a workplace problem that should be tackled jointly by employers, unions and teacher professional organisations.

"When medical and law graduates come out into the workforce we make sure they have the simplest cases, they are carefully supervised when they do something and the complex and really difficult cases are in the hands of the elite, most experienced practitioners.

"Teaching is one of the few professions where beginners are put into the deep end, almost thoughtlessly."

  • More teachers, but fewer staying the course, Caroline Milburn, The Age, 7 March 2011 

West Australian teachers blame workload and workplace pressure for their decision to quit teaching.

Exit surveys of 260 West Australian teachers and other staff who resigned from the Education Department during 2010 were outlined in two reports, which were released to The Sunday Times under Freedom of Information laws.

The surveys were conducted between October 2009 and July 2010.

The Surveys revealed that -

About a third (87)of the teachers and other staff who resigned said they would not consider returning to work for the Education Department again in the future.

Ten people (almost 4 per cent) blamed their decision to quit on harassment, discrimination or workplace bullying.

The number of teachers who blamed workload and workplace pressure for their decision to quit was more than three times the benchmark average.

Special report: Teachers reveal why they walked, Yasmine Phillips, Education Reporter, Perth Now, 19 February 2011 

Almost 300 New South Wales teachers and education department staff have won compensation for workplace bullying during 2008-2010.

The New South Wales department of education employs 90,000 workers.

In the past three years almost 300 New South Wales teachers and education department staff have won compensation claims, averaging more than $8000 each, over the most serious incidents of harassment from colleagues.

More than $1 million was paid in workers compensation payments in 2008.

$878,000 was paid in 2009

$607,982 was paid over 11 months of 2010.

In all, 1400 misconduct claims were lodged, and the department has confirmed that some of the staff found guilty were dismissed.


Badapplebullies Editor's note : the impressive point here is that almost 300 harassment complaints were actually upheld in New South Wales.

In 2000 I was advised that no classroom teacher's Grievance had ever been upheld in Queensland.

  • Teacher bullying victims cost us $2.5 million, Gemma Jones, The Daily Telegraph, 1 February 2011 

West Australian teachers have been awarded compensation for being struck, bitten, kicked, punched, pushed, headbutted or spat on.

154 workers compensation claims were lodged by West Australian teachers as victims of assaults in 2009 and 2010.

10 WA schools recorded two or more assaults against teachers in 2010 , including six education support centres.

In most cases, teachers were "struck, bitten, kicked, punched, pushed, headbutted or spat on" by students.

"Many of the incidents occurred in education support centres and included situations where staff were struck, bitten, kicked, punched, pushed, headbutted or spat on, by students who were acting spontaneously and not necessarily aware of the consequences of their actions," Education Department schools deputy director-general David Axworthy said.

Two parents attacked teachers in 2009, but none in 2010.

In 2009, public school teachers were paid $714,754 for workers compensation claims relating to assaults.

To date, $282,665 has been paid out for 69 assaults on teachers during 2010.

Mr Axworthy said costs associated with 2010 claims were lower at the moment because there were fewer claims and many had not been finalised.

WA State School Teachers Union president Anne Gisborne has warned that teachers are dealing with increasing violence from troubled students. 

  • Scarred teachers paid $1m compo, Yasmine Phillips Education Reporter, The Sunday Times, 29 January 2011 

Many Australian adults lack the literacy or numeracy levels to participate fully in a modern workplace.

Australian Industry Group (AI Group) chief executive Heather Ridout said a big issue holding back Australians from participation in work was that -

  • 40 per cent of employed Australians and
  • 60 per cent of the unemployed
"don't have the literacy or numeracy levels to participate fully in a modern workforce".

Heather Ridout said English-as-a-second-language speakers had always been part of the problem.

But it was the lack of improvement among Australian-born workers that was worrying.

Literacy barriers hold back workers, Andrew Trounson, The Australian, 6 March 2010

99.6 per cent of Australian teachers report that they have been bullied at work.

During 2007, Dr Dan Riley of the University of New England and Professor Deidre Duncan of the Australian Catholic University surveyed more than 800 Australian teachers in government, Catholic and independent schools.

The most serious findings were:

99.6% of teachers reported that they had been bullied at school by fellow teachers, principals or parents.

More than 90% of teachers reported that they had been bullied by colleagues.

83% of teachers said their concerns about unfair treatment, bullying and harassment had been dismissed.

91% of teachers said their mental or physical health had suffered.

90% of teachers said they had been forced to deal with unmanageable workloads.

90% of teachers said they had been frozen out, ignored or excluded from decision-making.

88% of teachers said that their integrity had been undermined.

87% of teachers said they had lost or gained responsibilities without consultation.

Teachers also complained about superiors who frequently -

  • questioned their decisions and judgements,
  • set tasks with unreasonable or impossible targets and deadlines
  • attempt to belittle or undermine their work.

A growing number of experts believe bullying is now more common between staff in schools than it is between students. 

According to survey responses the bullies - in order - are -

  • school executive staff,
  • colleagues,
  • principals
  • parents.

One in five teachers said they had had personal property attacked, such as their car or their office.

A similar number complained about physical abuse or threats of violence.

Survey boss Dan Riley of the University of New England described the results as "frightening".

"We didn't expect to find what we did - we have a problem - teachers are not happy and we believe this is very serious," he said.

Preliminary findings from the survey suggested that workplace bullying is rife in schools in Western Australia and Queensland.

State school principals received the worst rating for bullying.

"In government schools, the principal receives a significantly higher nomination as a frequent or persistent bully than found in independent or Catholic schools," Professor Duncan said.

"Government schools are not very attentive to bullying," Dan Riley said.

"Claims made (by bullied teachers) often take a long time to be investigated or are ignored altogether."

Teachers also reported being bullied by parents.

Queensland Education Minister Geoff Wilson said on Wednesday 13 May 2009 that the research findings were a concern and that he would ask his department to look into it.


Queensland Teachers' Union president Steve Ryan also said that teacher bullying "does represent an issue we are well aware of".


Badapplebullies Editor :  Steve Ryan said that the QTU were well aware that workplace bullying was an issue in Queensland schools in 2009.

QTU members -

Ask your local union QTU organiser what the QTU have been doing about workplace bullying since 2009!


Teachers are 'worst school bullies', Elizabeth Allen and Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail, Wednesday 13 May, 2009  

National teacher-bullying crisis, Bruce McDougall, Education Reporter, The Daily Telegraph, Friday 30 November, 2007 

"Teachers bullied more" in public schools, Tamara Davis, The Australian, December 15, 2007  

Cut-off scores for teaching courses in Australia now take in the lowest performing one-third of high school graduates.

In 2005 cut-off scores for teaching courses, both primary and secondary, fell to as low as OP16 and 17.

This takes in the lowest performing one-third of high school graduates.

Vets need an OP1.

Pharmacists, optometrists, physiotherapists an OP1 or 2.

Podiatrists an OP4.

University of Queensland vice-chancellor John Hay said it was "totally inappropriate" for teachers to be drawn from the bottom third of students with scores like 15, 16 and 17.

In 2006 cut-off scores for teaching dropped to OP19 for some courses at the University of Southern Queensland.

Under the OP system, no student "fails" outright, but scores in the range of 16 to 19 would suggest students scored in the low to middle ranges (low achievement and satisfactory achievement ) in their Year 12 subjects.

In 2007-2008 analysis of QTAC admissions indicated that -

15 per cent of students entering education courses had an OP1-7.

46 per cent of students entering education courses had OPs of 13-19.

Universities lower the bar for teaching, Should parents be worried if their child's teacher left high school with an OP16 or 17? Tess Livingstone, The Courier-Mail, 30/03/2005.

Time to face teaching problem, P.3, The Courier-Mail, 22/03/2006. 

Standard of future teachers slipping, Jane Fynes-Clinton, Tess Livingstone, P.1, The Courier-Mail, 22/03/2006.

Teaching to smarten up, Tess Livingstone, P. 7, The Courier-Mail, 23/03/2006.

Universities failing our teachers, Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail,  Monday 1 June, 2009:

"Office psycho" Queensland school principals "are breaking teachers' hearts".

QUT PhD student Mark Keogh has been studying the reasons why Queensland's public high school teachers over 45 resign.

He also found that a handful of "office psycho" principals across the state were responsible for forcing good teachers out the door.

"There are a lot of good (principals) but there are some really bad ones ... it breaks (a teacher's) heart," Mr Keogh said.

From 2006 to 2007 Queensland teacher resignations jumped -

  • 22% at Queensland primary state schools and

  • 19% at Queensland secondary state schools.   

From a Queensland teaching workforce of  32,000 -

  • 689 high school and

  • 579 primary school teachers resigned

But the financial crisis may slow this resignation rate down.

The 2007 teacher retention rate was 94.7%, the lowest in at least three years.

Each year about 1000 to 1500 more teachers are registered than are voluntarily de-registered.

About 75% of these newly-registered teachers are women.

Manual arts teaching on scrap heap, James O'Loan, P. 17, The Courier-Mail, 22 December, 2008. 

Queensland teachers quitting in large numbers, James O'Loan, The Courier-Mail, 14 November, 2008 

Our best Australian students do not seem to be getting a good education.

In the 2000 PISA tests -

* 17.6% of Australian students performed at the top literacy level, the third highest proportion in the OECD.

In the 2006 tests -

* we had just 8.6% of students in the top group, putting us at ninth place.


In the TIMSS 2003 results-

Australia had 7% of Year 8 students achieving at the highest level in maths.

Singapore had 44% of its students in the top performance level.


Many of our best Australian students do not seem to be getting an excellent education. 

Little interest is being shown in the needs of these students. 

But these are the young people who will run the country.

And failure to provide them with a good education will have effects far beyond international test results, reaching into the calibre of our universities, our global competitiveness in technology and innovation, and even the quality of our future governments.

Brightest and best miss out, Jennifer Buckingham, research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, The Australian: Thursday November 6, 2008

One in five Australian school principals are worried about the way they are using alcohol to manage stress.

A survey of almost 1100 Australian public and private schools has found that one in five principals are worried about the way they are using alcohol to manage stress.

43 per cent of school principals feel overwhelmed by their workload or don't feel like they can maintain it for much longer.

82 per cent are stressed by the quantity of work.

70 per cent are stressed by the expectations of their employers.

57 per cent are stressed by parent-related issues.

Teacher shortages were also a worry for at least 50 per cent of principals.


A third of principals reported having a diagnosed medical problem — such as cardiac or mental health issues — that was caused or exacerbated by their job.
Principals reported that dealing with endless paperwork, abuse or grievances from angry parents, and the lack of administrative support in schools, were taking their toll.

The survey was conducted at the end of last year by the National Joint Secondary Principals Associations, which represent independent, Catholic and Government schools.

Principals turn to booze to cope: report, Farrah Tomazin, The Melbourne Age, 04 February, 2008:  

Half of the population of Australia would struggle to understand the meaning of a newspaper article.

Half of all Australians lack the minimum reading, writing and problem-solving skills to cope with life in the modern world.

A new survey of almost 9000 Australians by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that -

46% of the population, or seven million people, would struggle to understand the meaning of newspaper and magazine articles or documentation such as maps and payslips.

53% reached just the second of five levels in a practical numeracy test.

70% reached just the second level in a series of problem-solving exercises. 


Management consultant and social commentator Wendy McCarthy said that a decade of neglect of the public education system was to blame.

"We will look back over the last 10 years and realise with some horror how much we overemphasised the value of the individual and overlooked the common denominators in our society."

Half of us lack modern world skills, Stephen Lunn, Social affairs writer, The Australian, 10 January 2008

How have women teachers benefited from union membership?

96% of Queensland teachers are members of the Queensland Teachers' Union.

73.32% of Queensland teachers are women.


80.29% of Queensland primary teachers are women.

44.01% of Queensland primary principals are women.


58.68% of Queensland secondary teachers are women.

31.42% of Queensland secondary principals are women.

Be afraid : Your Rights at Work Information Wraparound, Queensland Teachers' Journal, 30 August 2007
Statistics provided by Department of Education and the Arts - Women represented in the teaching workforce in Queensland state schools, Quarter 2, 2005 data, (quoted in) New leadership program launched, Leah Mertens, QTU Women's Coordinator, p. 8, Queensland Teacher's Journal, 23/11/2006.

25 per cent of beginning teachers in Australia believe they will leave the profession in the first five years.

93% of 1351 "beginning" teachers - those in their first three years of service - either "like" or "love" their choice of career. 

But almost 25% believe they will leave the profession within the first five years.

Beginning Teacher Survey commissioned by the Australian Joint Principals Association, released March 2007. Reported in Let us teach, The Courier-Mail, 15 March 2007

Teaching courses at Australian universities are "not attracting enough intelligent students".

Applications for teaching places had plunged by 30% per cent over two years (2005-2007) in Queensland.

Western Australia is unlikely to fill places for 2008.

A leading educator, University of Queensland academic Ken Wiltshire, said teaching wasn't "attracting enough ... intelligent people".

"It's a crisis. The tertiary entrance ranks are too low. The status of the profession is too low."

Latest figures for Queensland show applications this year were down almost 23% on 2006.

This was on top of a 7% to 8% drop the previous year, adding up to a total drop of 30%.

In Victoria, applications for entry in 2007 and 2008 were down 12%, after increasing by 2.5 per cent the previous year.

The numbers in WA fell by 15% between 2006 and this year, and there is a further 2 per cent decline in entrants for next year, which means the available places cannot be filled.

At the University of Western Australia, teaching is reportedly at 75% capacity.

UWA education dean Bill Louden said key research had shown that the proportion of women from the top 40% of ability entering teaching had halved during the past two decades as they chose other professions.

And the proportion from the second lowest 20% going into the profession had doubled.

Entry scores for future teachers are predicted to fall despite criticism they are already too low.

Alarm as teachers dwindle, Guy Healy, The Australian, December 12, 2007 

30 - 50 per cent of Queensland teachers leave teaching during their first 3-5 years in the job.

30% of Queensland teachers leave teaching within their first three years.

- Dr Nan Bahr, University of Queensland director of teacher education


Up to 50% of Queensland teachers leave teaching within their first five years.

- Leonie Shaw, Queensland Board of Teacher Registration

Morale drives teacher exodus, Elizabeth Allen, The Courier-Mail, 13 July 2005.
First-time teachers older, Tess Livingstone, The Courier-Mail, 11 March 2007.

How many Queensland school-leavers want to be teachers?

Only 18% of 4700 Queensland trainee teachers came directly from Year 12. 

(full time equivalent education students at the Queensland University of Technology)

Almost 50% of Queensland trainee teachers are mature-age students.

- Leonie Shaw, Queensland Board of Teacher Registration


32.5 years was the average age of first-time Queensland teachers in 2006.

- Queensland College of Teachers

Morale drives teacher exodus, Elizabeth Allen, The Courier-Mail, 13 July 2005.
First-time teachers older, Tess Livingstone, The Courier-Mail, 11 March 2007.

We have banned corporal punishment - now we use drugs to control children's behaviour.

220,000 prescriptions for Prozac and similar drugs - selective serotonin inhibitors (SSRI) - were issued to children and adolescents in Australia in 2002.

250,000 were issued in 2003.

15,000 (approx) were issued to children under 10.

In August 2005 the other popular ADHD drug Ritalin was added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, reducing the cost from $49 to as little as $4.70 for concession card-holders.

Over the next six months, the number of Ritalin scripts issued soared from 523 a month to more than 5800, with no apparent decrease in other medications.

Queensland prescription numbers have grown at a rate second only to that in Western Australia.

Dr George Halasz, a Melbourne-based psychiatrist, warns there have not yet been any long-term follow-up studies of the effects.

"There could be a sleeper effect. In 20 years we could have a whole generation acting differently."

Out of control, Daryl Passmore, The Courier-Mail 13 January 2007

ANU research : the literacy and numeracy standards of Australian teachers are falling.

In 1983 students entering teaching degrees tended to be in the 74th percentile - meaning they had better literacy and numeracy standards than 74 per cent of their age group.

By 2003, the average rank of new student teachers was 61 per cent.

Research by Dr Andrew Leigh and Dr Chris Ryan, Australian National University.

Standard of teachers is falling: study, p.16, The Cairns Post, 28 August 2006.

2005 : How many Australian teachers want to get out of teaching?

33% of Australian teachers intend leaving the profession within the next three years.

7% are planning to retire.

26% want to leave the profession. 

(Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report into the education sector.)

Teacher exodus spells trouble, Suzanna Clarke, p.5, The Courier-Mail, 20 June 2005.

97.5 per cent of Catholic teachers report that they have been bullied at work.

In earlier research, Deidre Duncan and Dan Riley surveyed two hundred Catholic school teachers.

97.5% of the Catholic teachers reported that they had been bullied at work.

Duncan, D.J. and Riley, D. Staff Bullying in Catholic Schools, 1327-7634 Vol 10, No. 1, 2005, pp.47-58 Australia and New Zealand Journal of Law & Education.

How many Queensland teachers were placed on 'Diminished Workplace Performance' (now called Managing Unsatisfactory Performance) during 2001? And 2002?

14 Queensland teachers were placed on 'Diminished Work Performance' during 2001.

32 Queensland teachers were placed on 'Diminished Work Performance' during the three months to April 29, 2002.

So, presumably, there was a sudden surge in teachers who needed to be put on DWP during the first few months of 2002.

Or was this some sort of Labor government economy drive?

Anna Bligh said that teachers who were placed on "Diminished Work performance" were teachers "whose performance has deteriorated to the point that they need to have action taken".


Or maybe not, Ms Bligh.

Maybe they were teachers who tried to deal with the unsupervised groups of Grade 7 children roaming about their school, disrupting the other classes.

Or maybe they were simply teachers who would not join the acting principal's branch of the Labor party.


The "Diminished Work Performance" process is now called 'Managing Unsatisfactory Performance'.

Payout push targets tired teachers, Matthew Fynes-Clinton, education reporter, The Courier-Mail, 29 April 2002