The principal problem with NT education is….

Principals who have a lack of principles:

There are a multitude of problems with education here in the NT but one common theme that keeps rearing its ugly head is that of ‘problem principals’.
Almost everyone has worked with one at some time in their teaching career: aggressive control freaks who micro manage you to death, lazy daisies who do absolutely nothing and then everything in between.

Mismanagement makes things 10 times worse:
Remote bush schools are particularly vulnerable as their geographical isolation can often cultivate petty dictatorship-like qualities but they don’t hold a monopoly on these terrible tyrants who terrorise teachers.

Having a principal with no principles is bad enough but when they are supported by their Director of School Performance (DSP) boss then it’s double trouble for the poor teacher below. Add to that an Executive Director (DSP’s boss) who also allows the equivalent of professional waterboarding and it can quickly become game over for the unlucky staff member on the coal face.

This regularly costs the Educ Dept a ton of money and pisses the educational outcomes of the children up against the wall at the same time…but NT DECS people don’t care about either of those things.

Action Plan:
So what’s a person to do when they come up against a bully in a position of power (often directly over you)?

>Firstly and most importantly – DON’T EVER EXPECT NT DECS TO DO ANYTHING TO HELP YOU. You’re just a teacher – you’re expendable.
>Make sure you do not suffer alone and see that your psychological wellbeing becomes your No.1 priority.
>Document as much as you can, either write it all down and/or audio record angry outbursts, threats and insults *see below
>Tell all your friends, inform your doctor, take time off on stress leave and talk to a counsellor.
>Get everything in black and white as a timeline can come in very handy further down the line.
>Tell the Union however don’t expect them to do very much for you. Apart from having no balls, the organisation lives in fear of NT DECS and its senior officers. Be wary what you tell them though, some of your enemies are their personal friends.
>Send lots of FOI requests and gather as much data as you can. >Speak to a lawyer on your own for specialist advice – we don’t recommend the Union’s choice of Halfpennys, we find them uninterested and unsympathetic.
>Continue to send Cardfightback your stories, files and documents. We’ll help get your story out to the public.

Finally, for all you government decision makers out there reading our blog, here’s some of the knock-on effects bad principals and the constant mismanagement of them are having:

~NT loses another great educator:

“I think she just wanted to leave in peace in the end. It’s a shit story though….she’s a strong woman and a great teacher, valued by her kids. 6 months with a new, totally incompetent and bullying shitty principal made her feel unsafe for her career so she’s decided to leave altogether. The principal doesn’t care that her kids will miss her, the principal doesn’t care about anything really other than herself.”

~NT loses more great teachers:

It was ‘every man for himself’ when this principal decided to cut the teacher loose when asked to support them in the face of more cowardly and potentially illegal actions – in the background as usual – from senior NT DECS staff. Not forcing NT DECS senior staff to be responsible for such actions only means that more and more teachers suffer from this kind of behaviour in the future….but some people don’t care about that:

“This can only severely damage my professional reputation. I have no memory of your quote.”

~NT Govt wastes over a million of your tax dollars dealing with the mismanagement:

Of course, who can forget the Aboriginal Principal at Gapuwiyak who took money off her staff for years and years then threatened to kill anyone who dared to complain about her doing so.

And Alyangula’s principal who called her staff a “trained tattooed monkey”, “vermin” and conspired with the DSP to withhold the teacher’s reference so they couldn’t get a job easily elsewhere while calling them “mentally unstable” in official emails *see below

A common attack in the background, see this other principal without principles who did the exact same in an email to her boss:

“I am concerned about *******’s state of mind”.

~NT principal could invite more legal cases:

We’ve also heard of a principal who encouraged his staff to try to circumvent Freedom of Information requests and legislation – potentially career ending and illegal. If anyone has the emails please pass them to the relevant authorities.

~NT loses more teachers and spends a fortune on medical bills as a result:

Lastly, these little nuggets of bullshit from the screaming principal in the audio file below:

“I am trying to develop a culture of care and safety, mutual respect and acceptance of differences in the school.” – THEN CUE PRINCIPAL SHOUTING AND SCREAMING.

“This morning ****** came to clarify an issue with me regarding yelling in the classroom indicating poor classroom management. She asked if I believed that, which I affirmed.” – THEN CUE PRINCIPAL SHOUTING AND SCREAMING.

Protect yourselves fellow teachers because as you can read, no one else is going to do it for you.

Next up, the NT Teacher Registration Board’s Kangaroo Court. Boing, boing, boing……

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23 Responses to The principal problem with NT education is….

  1. Lajamanu LinkedIn Principal says:

    How is it that a principal can have multiple grievances submitted against him, letters written to management detailing concerns and no one in senior management will carry out their responsibility under legislation and deal with the person?
    Is it because they were principals once and probably did the same thing. That might also explain why the whistleblowers became the problem!
    Approving the person named in all these complaints to apply for and win another principals position is a disgrace as well as bordering on corruption.
    Follow the history of the Lajamanu “Linkedin” Principal who deserted his post, leaving the students of that community to deal with the damage he inflicted on that school community. I wonder if anyone carefully examined whether his goals for that school were met? What did he espouse as his strengths to win that position? Was it his ability to assist staff with identified needs or was it his claimed improvements with student outcomes? If it was then someone has made a mistake by not checking those claims.

  2. The Principal Problem says:

    Earlier this year Kalkaringi school enjoyed the services of an acting principal for one term.
    This person had been targeted in his first year as a teacher as being suitable for rapid advancement in management.
    I wonder what senior staff thought about the $40,000 bill for changing the schools locks and keys because he had left the principals office door open and the key safe open while his office was unattended and a student helped himself to a large number of school and teachers house keys that he later shared with other students who accessed the school that night.

  3. dumpfounded says:

    Is this the same bloke who espoused his personal skills in being able to assist and mentor teachers with “identified issues” on the LinkedIn website while this teacher was being forced out of her job?

    • Porky Investigator says:

      Yes, it does appear this is the same person and it seems obvious that he is well trained in the art of Porky Telling. I wonder how his claim his schools attendance has improved so much he needs to apply for extra funding to upgrade amenities is based on actual evidence. Refer a “Humbling Day”
      His student enrolment claims on the LinkedIn website did not seem to match the actual data!! Do these Public Office Holders (Principals) ever have to report against these bullshit claims. I wonder if people like Nigel Scullion ( Federal Senator and Minister) check these claims?

    • LinkedIn says:

      Loose lips at Lajamanu tells us that this Principal is telling his staff he may not be back after the mid-year break. He has told staff he is applying for other positions and that he may just also retire early. Funny thing is he said the same things this time last year when he had another Bullying Grievance lodged against him.

      • Booroloola looses the toss again says:

        Yes, it’s true Booroloola have lost the toss and he is coming to you. Let us know what happens. Maybe you could give him a warm welcome? Whatever you all do don’t trust him and check to see if his wife gets a departmental position when they arrive. They had a cosy arrangement at Lajamanu even though everyone else was put on School Council positions resulting in lost conditions and casual rates of pay.

        • Boroloola School Business Days says:

          Look out folks, your access to business days may be curtailed under this fellow. Ask senior staff why teachers at Lajamanu had restrictions placed on them accessing business days while this fellow and his wife were able to freely utilise their business days to travel to Qld and purchase a retirement property. The most amazing aspect of this is that he freely revealed to his staff what he had done, but neglected to tell them he used business days to do so while he was refusing them legitimate business day applications.

          • shine a light on him says:

            A little birdie tells us that he is at it again. Spreading a negative narrative about staff he wants to get rid of. Doing favours for others who will support his actions. The latest gossip was that in recent meeting of senior DOE staff at Boroloola, one senior department manager had to advise him to tone down his negative views of teachers.

  4. getridofhim says:

    Talking about Principals and inappropriate behaviours, it looks like this blog could do with some up to date information. Well, lets start by asking Mr Davies why the Executive Director North is rumoured to be making so many visits to the Lajamanu community? Is it because he likes to take long charter flights or maybe it’s because NAAJA and the CLC beat him there and are supporting this community. It appears this community have been asking for support because they have been so concerned about why so many experienced teachers have been moved out of this school and replaced with new graduates. They were especially concerned when a much loved female teacher who had lived and worked with them for over 12 years suffered a nervous breakdown and was pressured to resign and find work interstate. You could also ask Ken how many complaints the DoE has received about the Principal there? I am also led to believe that the Executive Director North received written support for this teacher supporting this teachers claim this Principal bullied her out of her job. Come on Laurie come clean you know you have the letters!! Oh! and as a concerned parent It would be nice to find out how our children were allowed to participate in water safety lessons in an unsafe school pool without the appropriate consent forms not signed by any parents?

  5. john smith says:

    nothing has changed very much at all;

  6. friend of College Director says:

    There are lots of examples of what Directors (of School Performance) can do to get principals to ‘fire their bullets’ for them – see Hylton Hayes for details….but dont forget he was previously protected by Vicki Baylis (his boss/Executive director) who didn’t stop him and principal Coral O’Neill from blatantly attacking their staff member. No wonder O’Neill left in such a hurry once it all came out!!! Pity Hayes and Baylis didn’t follow her lead…. 😦

    • well well!!! says:

      Check out the latest Principals newsletter. “The Teacher Registration Board invites principals and school leadership teams to a workshop with the Director and Manager Professional Conduct of the Teacher Registration Board NT. The topics to be addressed include professional conduct, Preliminary Investigations, Inquiry Committees, and documenting alleged misconduct/incompetence.” well well I wonder if this means these people have been f……ing up?

  7. EL Gato says:

    What a great site. The cartoon reminds me of an Over Lord in DECS who believes in the Divine Right of Pratts. Like Charles the 1st he is a little man with a power complex. Also like Charles he will be brought kicking and screaming to the block. The block of scrutiny. His Royal Highness. The only way to deal with these high and mighty people who think think their shit does not stink is to attack. Counter their every move with FOI and lawyers.

  8. john smith says:

    Finally. THEY will do a timeline. Make sure you FOI THEIR TIMELINE. It’s very important to know when the campaign against you started in their eyes. Once you get their timeline they have done, a whole world of FOI requests open up before your very own eyes!
    Last thing (I promise). Section 35’s. Has anyone had experiences of Section 35’s? Thanks.

  9. john smith says:

    So true about Halfpenny’s. Totally useless and no interest was my experience. I wrote all my defence statements (against false allegations myself) because they were so crap. The union are also hopeless.
    Does anyone know the legalities of recording conversations and meetings? I know phone calls are out but as far as I can see recording meetings to protect yourself in okay provided you do not distribute it to third parties (ie your mates) who are uninvolved.
    Document everything. Primo PDF is a free and easy to use document converter. Write file notes to yourself and convert to PDF and keep ‘in the cloud’ with a very strong password. Keep a diary. Develop a very good filing system, preferably in date order – filing in PDF using the American way of dating (year/month/day) and all PDF’s fall into a natural timeline works well.
    I know you recommend Ron Hope, but also consider going inter state. You can run claims or defences from your home town.
    Strongly recommend that people get a psychiatry appointment. Contact your local health centre for the dates of next visits, or, see a private one – even better. You will need this when your workers comp claim is disputed and it will be.
    If you have to see a workers comp psyche, remember to record the consult. Also, they will reduce the severity of your symptoms to reduce liability so try to sandwich any TIO psyche appointments between two GP consults so you have an alternative view the day before and the day after to present if it goes that way.
    Also, all legal fees are tax deductable as it relates to your employment. Keep all receipts. Try and do as much of the prep work yourself to keep costs down. Consider legal insurance because it sure aint cheap.
    Be wary of the press. 500 words in the NT News isn’t going to win your case.
    I love this site.
    You are doing a great job.
    Love to all. X.

    • john smith says:

      Forgot to say. Information Act. FOI everything. Make sure you write, ‘I believe that this information about third parties is exempt form the privacy act because it relates to persons acting in their official capacities as public servants.’
      That’s a tip from someone ‘very high up the food chain’.

    • Darwin Dave says:

      You are legally allowed to record phone calls you are party to, just set your phone to record before you start if you have that facility.
      You are also legally allowed to record any other personal conversation (including meetings) you are party to and share with your mates if you want. If it’s in the public interest to share the recording: eg. a stressed or bullying principal who is in charge of kids and people who look after kids, then it can be published, either on a web site or on the TV or transcribed for a newspaper. There is a public interest exemption to the Surveillance Act in this regard. You can even use it in court if it bolsters your case.
      Another thing is it great for is catching out those lying DECS senior officers when they try to deny: first that the conversation even took place, then second that they said what you claim they said. There is no better way to embarrass them than to get the lies first (in writing if possible) then bring out the recording later.


  10. Short Little Man Syndrome? says:

    Yep, have heard again, Mr Hayes is ‘gunning’ for one of the poor bastards working in a school he is Director of. Could be another court case coming up wasting tax payers $ ! The press needs to hear how much the NT govt is spending bailing these idiots out!

  11. I Can't Believe This Dept Puts Up With Such Crazy People! says:

    Amazing audio file on that crazy out of control Principal! Guess she might also, perhaps, receive ‘counselling’ as our illustrious little hitler in Hylton Hayes ‘every dog has it’s (sic) day fame!

  12. Disillusioned says:

    How very true. How can these people still remain in their positions? If they worked in the private sector, they would be shown the door.
    It’s really troubling when you suspect a DSP, who has a shocking track record, uses an Executive Principal and an Executive Director to bully an employee, accuse them of not following policy and guidelines (which clearly they did). I’ve been threatened with disciplinary action for looking after students according to stated policy. The DSP, Executive Principal and Director should read the policy guidelines themselves before making accusations. This employee is going to take this all the way… Especially after talking to a lawyer!
    Stay tuned! DSP… You have clearly overstepped the mark , again!
    NT Times are going to love this one unless some serious apologies are received.
    Never in my career have I been treated like this. DECS NT need to move these people on….quickly

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