In this part we deep dive into Darwin High School Staff Responses.
Just like this recent story in the NTNews about more Jobs For Mates, the same happens in the rats nest which is Darwin High School:
Government appointed more than 200 people to jobs without advertising.
The Northern Territory Government last year appointed more than 200 people to public service jobs without publicly advertising the roles.
*THIS IS SIMILAR TO HYLTON HAYES, LABOR PARTY ‘VOLUNTEER’ SETTING UP HIS FAKE CONSULTANCY BUSINESS IMMEDIATELY BEFORE HE WAS AWARDED A NO-TENDER CONTRACT FROM VICKI BAYLIS FRIEND OF LABOR PARTY MINISTER EVA LAWLER! How lucky was that?!! Strewth. You’d just finished creating a brand new consultancy business to change your career. Not long after you got sacked from your NT Department of un-Education Director job. Then WHAM! a new contract from NT Department of un-Education drops in your inbox. What are the chances?!
RAPHAELLA SAROUKOS, NT News
January 15, 2020 2:54pm
Independent Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley was appalled by the appointments.
THE NT Government last year appointed more than 200 people to public service jobs without publicly advertising the roles.
The appointments were made under a legislative loophole which allows the Commissioner for Public Employment to give permission for departments to hire without publicly advertising positions, if the candidate fulfilled the requirements of the role.
This comes as the NT News revealed this week Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s ex chief of staff Alf Leonardi was appointed to an executive position in the Education Department which was never publicly advertised:
*Edit: this is the same ‘comment’ Eva Lawler said publicly after her ‘coffee morning Labor volunteer’ & personal friend Hylton Hayes got his no-tender contract.
We know this is false. Your chickens will come home to roost Ms Lawless. CLUCK CLUCK!
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the appointments followed protocol.
*Edit: Michael Gunner thinks because something is ‘legal’ or follows ‘protocol or policy’ then its the right thing to do. That we shouldn’t care if there’s a protocol to hide behind.
We think about Nazis in Germany & Apartheid Government in South Africa. They had laws & policies too.
Does that make it right?
Is that the best you’ve got for us Mr Gunner? Looks like it!
Anyway back to the Darwin High School Shithole:
Staff Data Analysis
The following are some of the survey responses to questions in the staff survey. Note that there is no data from previous years in this section to assess. It’s likely just as bad as everything else.
Staff are drowning in mistrust, frustration, overwork and bullying
Teachers at this school trust each other (Pg 51)
53% of staff agree here, while 26% said neither and 21% disagree. This data accurately reflects the state of Darwin High School. The principal and her management team have carefully cultivated a toxic workplace culture founded on dysfunction, distrust and disrespect. The teaching staff segregate themselves by faculty with little incentive to associate. The feeling among the school is, stick with your faculty, keep your head down and keep working to avoid any unwanted attention from the executive team. Darwin High School will never build relational trust when its staff are subjugated by exclusivity, bullying and elitist attitudes from Jill and her management thugs.
Example 1) Darwin High School holds an annual Christmas Party in which attendance is mandatory and you must sit at an allocated table with your faculty. Each table brings their own food and drinks. There’s no mingling or camaraderie other than what you are permitted at your faculty table. In more than one instance a husband and wife had to sit apart at the Christmas Party because they worked in different faculties. How is that in the Christmas spirit? The event begins once everyone is seated allowing the executive team to make their ‘grand entrance’ as if they are royalty (Yes this is real and we’re still not joking). The principal makes an opening address making sure to thank the executive team for their work throughout the year before handing over to the MC for further proceedings.
Example 2) The ‘executive team’ as it’s called at Darwin High (which includes Jill, Annette, Yashodara and Morgana) is an elitist club. If you’re not in it, you’re part of the peasantry. At least 3 staff members (2 of which are teachers) ‘disappeared’ in 2019. They essentially stopped showing up to work one day. No official communication of departure to new job or otherwise, nobody knew anything. When management were asked, they deferred with a peculiar “you have to talk to Jill.” When someone finally managed to talk to Jill, she suspiciously implied it was none of their business to know where their colleague was and said they were forbidden from trying to contact them. A simple query rapidly spiralled into multiple cover ups orchestrated by the principal herself. Everyone is expendable to her, except her mates obviously. Note, that the word ‘executive’ is derived from the word ‘execute’ which is certainly what they will do to you (figuratively speaking) if they don’t like you.
This school takes staff opinions seriously (Pg 51)
58% of staff agree, while 22% disagree. The teaching, support and administration staff have a comprehensive understanding of the issues they face on a day to day basis. However, whenever they try to raise issues, suggest improvements or stimulate discussions they are shut down by management. You are dismissed, silenced or labelled a whinger. Things that should be common sense are endless struggles and arguments with managers that would rather maintain the status quo (which they control) than think for themselves or admit the systems are flawed.
Example 1) In 2018, a teacher’s login details were stolen by a student. The miscreant in question filmed the teacher logging into her computer and slowed down the footage to extract the password. They used the login to access an upcoming maths test on the server and cheat it. The school only caught them by an absolute fluke because accessing the test locks it for editing. A maths teacher was making final preparations at the time and knew something was awry when she couldn’t access the test. The school made some changes to the test on the day and caught a few students for cheating.
It’s important to take a moment to understand that a staff login has access to wealth of information in the school. This includes personal information regarding ALL staff, students and parents including names, residential address, medical conditions, phone numbers, email addresses, attendance records and so on. It includes the servers where all coursework, assessments and tests are stored and the marking systems where final grades are entered. All of it was compromised and could have been tampered with or deleted.
While the students wouldn’t immediately know how to use the systems, given enough time they would have figured it out. And if they had used the login cleverly, they likely would not have been caught for a long time. Jill’s response was to ignore the theft of the password and focus on the fact they had caught the students for cheating. They were suspended (for only a week!) and that was the end of it. The outstanding issue of the stolen password was completely ignored regardless of how many times teachers tried to have the conversation.
Example 2) Tutors at Darwin High are forbidden from carrying travel mugs around the school because of an asinine rule in the ‘Tutor Handbook’. After some arguing with management, it became apparent that the presence of a travel mug itself was the main issue. They would never have been spoken to if they were carrying a water bottle, regardless of the contents. A travel mug filled with water was not ok but a water bottle filled with tea or coffee was ok. (Good luck trying to make sense of that). This is also blatant discrimination since this ‘rule’ only applied to the casually employed support staff. Teachers are free to take food and drinks to classrooms, with the exception of the science labs.
As the Study Centre Coordinator and supervisor for the tutors, Fiona Foran created a document to manipulate and control people but leave herself exempt from the rules. At the bottom of the handbook it states: Please comply with the above. Failure to do so may result in termination of contract. By the handbooks’ own rules, tutors can potentially be terminated for taking a travel mug to work. This self-imposed dictator believes she can do as she likes and is protected by the principal. How many workplaces around the country forbid their staff from carrying a travel mug with tea or coffee to work? Almost none.
Example 3) Darwin High School covers many of its teacher absences with an internal relief roster. Regular teachers teach 4 lines (4 classes, 20 hours per week of teaching time) and have 2 lines off (10 hours per week) for marking, administration work and to prepare for future lessons. If another teacher is absent and you have a free line on that day, you may have to cover someone else’s class rather than attending to your own duties.
So some teachers have decided to take this time back in order to maintain their wellbeing. Their personal policy became, if they undertake 6 relief lessons in a week (the equivalent to a day’s work as there are 6 lessons in a given day) they would take a day off. Who can blame them? The time that they are allocated for making and preparation is being cannibalised purely to save money. And since many of the administration positions have vanished over the years, teachers under additional pressure to complete that work as well.
Teachers like so many others in the workforce recently are expected to undertake two to three people’s jobs for the same salary. When some teachers wanted to discuss the equity of workloads, they were immediately shut down, in part by Annette Pedersen. She has Darwin High School Elitist Club Membership, so nobody else matters.
It’s ok to discuss feelings, worries and frustrations with each other (Pg 51)
58% of staff agree while 24% said neither and 17% disagree. If you’ve read down to this point it should be pretty clear why staff are uncomfortable in their workplace. What hasn’t been mentioned is that the walls have ears at Darwin High School. Ears that exclusively serve the managers, collecting workplace gossip to use against the staff. (Just read the section in Part 1 regarding the tutors being too helpful to see for yourself). It’s amazing that students and parents don’t see this side of Darwin High much given how prevalent the problems are. The core of the school has been poisoned by people that are rewarded for their disgusting behaviour. The principal protects the thugs and bullies, throwing everyone else to the wolves and the NT DoE protects her. Same as they do for all their dysfunctional and incompetent principals.
Our school has a clear vision and direction for school improvement (Pg 51)
66% of staff agree. This is down from 91% in 2016, a 25% drop over 2 years. In recent years, the NT DoE has incorporated the buzz words of corporations across the globe into their disjointed vocabulary. They have notably added the ‘roadmap’ to their usual jargon which has filtered down to Darwin High School. The ‘roadmap’ is intended to be the term that describes the plans for development and improvement in both the short and long term. However, with misguided goals and a flawed methodology held together by ambiguous language, none of these roadmaps ever seem to lead to any change. That’s why we call them ‘Roadmaps to Nowhere’ and Department of Education has plenty of them.
This along with the above data is why agreement with the statement “Our school has a clear vision and direction for school improvement” has dropped 25% over 2 years. And when you look at the Annual School Improvement Plan (ASIP) for Darwin High School it’s easy to see why.
One of the deliverables under ASIP Priority 3 for 2018 (Pg 16) was: “Better understand the needs of students, staff and parents. This should seek to recognise cultural heritage and to value diversity, for example Aboriginal and International students.”
Let’s just revisit the summary of student survey data Darwin High itself collected for a second:
- Just under half of students do not feel safe at Darwin High School
- Most students do not believe behaviour is well managed
- Most students do not believe their cultural backgrounds are valued
- Just under half of students feel as though they are not treated fairly
- Only half of students have an adult at the school that cares about them and knows them well
- Just under half of students feel they can talk with their teachers about concerns
Job well done, gold stars for all!
In all seriousness, they’ve failed in the most spectacular way. This is one of many examples highlighting the enormous disconnect between the so called ‘goals’ and ‘actions’ taken by Darwin High School and the NT Department of Education. They only pretend to care about their staff, a false narrative given verisimilitude by lip service exercises. It’s all one giant roadmap to nowhere.
To see how, let’s look at what action they took to address the aforementioned deliverable and its alleged impact:
Action: Carry out “The Buzz” training with Tracey Ezard at a whole-school across whole school pupil-free day to activate staff voice.
Impact: The staff Buzz PD resulted in the development of a cross-school Buzz Action Group that identified a series of short-term goals including – staff morning teas, a staff-led professional learning schedule for Term 1, 2019, a staff handbook, whole school calendar and feedback mechanisms for performance development.
What is being described in the impact section is accurate. Staff morning teas, staff-led professional learning sessions, a staff handbook and calendar were all introduced. But when you consider some of the more pressing issues that are raised in the SAME REPORT such as student safety, bullying and a lack of staff trust, these changes represent nothing. They are so insignificant and ultimately pointless but allow management to stroke their own egos as they run some of the PD sessions and control the feedback mechanisms. The key to ‘activating staff voice’ that Jill Hazeldine doesn’t understand is that you need to actually be listening to what they have to say.
The Childish ‘Buzz’
The Buzz PD the school is so proud of needs some extra attention. The seminar involved separating staff into mixed table groups for the day’s activities. It utilised many concepts from Tracey’s book designed to get the workplace “buzzing with ideas, collaborating on solutions and transforming your organisation” or so she hopes. The day itself could be summarised up by imagining someone blowing up a balloon only to let go and watch it fly around the room making fart noises. The staff cohort inflated the balloon with practical ideas and improvements. Then Jill snatched the balloon and let it go.
The number one issue raised by every group on the day was ‘communication’. With their ‘voices activated’ the staff cohort were screaming for more communication, cross-faculty meetings, new and functional I.T equipment, new textbooks and proper classrooms to teach out of. All of which is reasonable considering Darwin High School is 53 years old (in 2019). But instead they received staff morning teas, staff-led professional learning sessions, a staff handbook and a calendar.
Never mind the bullying, staff mistrust and dwindling resources or facilities.
Ultimately, Jill and her ‘executive team’ endeavour to maintain the status quo which they control and exclusively serves them. All the while deceiving everyone into thinking management prioritises their wellbeing or has the school’s best interests in mind.
Bursting the Joy Bubble
One of the more garbage ideas from ‘The Buzz’ that management and the faculty seniors have latched onto was Tracey’s concept of ‘joy bubbles’ (Still not joking, even this far in). It’s basically a tool to encourage colleagues to share positive experiences with each other (called joy bubbles) on a regular basis, promoting positivity within the workplace. Tracey’s ‘great idea’ is having the adult staff cohort resort to sanitised ideas and absurdly childish language used with primary school kids.
And so, sharing ‘joy bubbles’ latched onto to staff meetings like an unwanted plague. It’s almost as though Jill collectively views the staff as children and organised the PD accordingly.
There is some inherent value in sharing positive experiences with your co-workers. Rather than sitting around the coffee table venting or complaining with your colleagues, share some nicer and often undervalued things that are happening in the local or school community. However, it’s difficult to find something to be positive about whilst working out of a 53-year-old building that’s falling apart, internet and air-conditioning that malfunctions daily, dilapidated classrooms, decaying resources and a management team content on pretending everything is fine.
Now here’s the dirty little secret:
It’s all a scam.
One giant distraction designed to make you feel just good enough to maintain a state of complacency and acceptance for the increasingly worse treatment at the hands of the same people telling you to share your ‘joy bubbles’.
This is one of many examples highlighting why Darwin High teachers are so frustrated and exhausted. They have to bash their heads against the gargantuan brick wall of stupidity, also known as The Northern Territory Department of un-Education.
Everything described here is real and it’s happening now. The school is an absolute disgrace to Darwin and the ‘executive team’ should be ashamed of themselves and what they’ve become.
We hope that our fellow staff at Darwin High School can take some small comfort in reading this.
The rug hiding what you have to put up with on a daily basis is finally being lifted and the entire Darwin community gets to see what crawls out.
CFB Team. oxox
We’re Luvin’ It: A new video of Eva Lawless pushing constituents out of her office. Maybe she was joking again?
Watch it here, & please share:
ps – NT GOV & Minter Ellison lawyers spending heaps of time on CFB even on XMas Eve! Someone is keen!
Minters gets heaps of business from NT GOV. Check out this list of outsourced legal work. Full list is HERE.