Teaching in the Territory: Darwin High School Part 2: students not valued & feeling unsafe

In this part we deep dive into Darwin High School Student Responses.

In part 3 next time we’ll discuss Staff Responses.

Deep-Dive3

The DHS student ticking time bomb. Everyone knows, no one cares.

Ignore this, same as you do for all the other problems of child rape, sexual assaults and pedos in your schools (read CFB posts below for details) at your peril NT Department of un-Education:

  • 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

  • Just under half of students feel they can talk with their teachers about concerns

  • Only half of students have an adult at the school that cares about them and knows them well

 

Darwin High School Annual Performance Report 2018

In early 2019, Darwin High School released its annual performance report for 2018 and is available for everyone to read on the school web page but we also attach it>>>> 2018 School_Annual_Performance_Report_FINAL if you want to download it now).

Among the report is a whole school survey with data collected from students, parents and staff. This is a collaborative effort between Darwin High School and the NT Department of Education (Pg 32) as it collected information using:

  • mandated nationally agreed questions for students and parents;
  • mandated department questions for students, parents and staff; and
  • school specific, contextually relevant questions for students, parents and staff

They are both just as responsible for this mess. The purpose of the following analysis is to expose this rats nest by examining and contextualising the data with examples and personal accounts.

Overview

The main problems highlighted in the Survey Data of the 2018 Annual School Report can be summarised as follows:

  1. Concerning responses to survey questions from both staff and students regarding key workplace areas
  2. Downward trends in responses from staff and students from 2016 to 2018, with responses dropping anywhere from 5-35% over the 3-year period
  3. The Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning who prepared the 2018 report (Anne Donnelly), trying to dismiss or explain away the troubling data with some incredibly un-intelligent phrases which show her true NT GOV potential and is why she now works at DoE HQ with the rest of the Empty Heads.

 

Student Data Analysis

The following are a selection of the responses to questions in the student survey.  Parent responses are not discussed as only 5-10% of parents responded to the survey.  It’s almost as if they knew it was a total waste of effort.

I feel safe at this school (Pg 40)

Only 63% of students agree with this statement.

unsafe

This is down from an 82% agreement in 2016, a 19% drop over 2 years. Anne Donnelly had essentially nothing to offer with her comment:

Students feel less safe at school than they have in previous times. This may be due to the proximity of this survey to the student assault and its media coverage”.

It may have contributed but it’s clearly not the main cause when you consider the other data collected regarding behaviour management, culture, fairness and staff-student relationships.

Of similar concern is that approximately 22% of students selected ‘neither’ regarding this statement. When considering core aspects of your school such as safety, students should not have mixed feelings in their answer, it should be simple and automatic ‘agree’. These students may as well have selected ‘disagree’ since they cannot decide whether they feel safe enough at their school. It should be alarming that currently 481 students DO NOT FEEL SAFE, a number that has approximately doubled since 2016. (Calculated with the 19% drop since 2016 plus the 18% that didn’t feel safe in 2016).

This should be a major red flag for anyone at Darwin High School or the NT DoE but it doesn’t register.

In the report’s ‘Areas of Strength’ (pg 32-33) they celebrate the fact that more than 85% of parents agree: this school supports my child’s social development and this school supports my child’s wellbeing.  Sorry to break the bad news to the microscopic sample size of parents that responded to the survey but you’ve been swindled.

Darwin High School is pulling the wool over your eyes just as it tries to deceive everyone else. These issues are overlooked in favour of praising the school’s academic results and it’s appalling. Look over here at how many people completed their NTCET, look how many scored 90+ on their ATAR. Never mind the bullying and unsafe environment.

Darwin High School might be achieving some strong academic results but at what price?

 

Student behaviour is well managed at this school (pg 48)

Only 36% of students agree with this statement. This is down from a 58% agreement in 2016, a 22% drop over 2 years. Again, the vapid Anne Donnelly could only state the obvious:

Students feel that behaviour is not as well managed as it has been in previous years.”

There is much to be said about student behaviour at Darwin High School. The use of mobile phones, social media, schoolyard fights and bullying has already been discussed in Part 1 as some of the main problems yet to be addressed in any meaningful way.

What hasn’t been discussed is the swearing. Students across all year levels, especially the year 10’s (14-15 year olds), casually hurl profanities on daily basis between each other with disturbing frequency. If you had a swear jar at Darwin High School, you’d be a millionaire by the end of the week. The students’ favourite words are ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ used with the naivety of a teenager. This language is also directed at staff members. One unfortunate tutor was told to ‘fuck off’ and called a ‘cunt’ among other things by a year 10 student with no repercussions. With no real consequences for their behaviour, being spoken to in a feral manner, even without swearing is standard.

Let’s not forget the drugs and alcohol. Bring out the old jokes about putting the ‘high’ in high school because Darwin High is no different. The school has always had a problem with drugs and it’s still the same now in 2019.

weed

Staff discover small packets of marijuana from time to time that have fallen from a student’s bag or pass by toilets smelling foul from someone having recently smoked weed in there. Students have their smoking spots on campus or down near Mindil Beach. They are surprisingly forthcoming with details of their extracurricular activities including underage drinking and use of illicit substances. Many among our staff are aware of at least some of the drug users and dealers but the school does nothing.

It’s all part of Jill Hazeldine’s exceptional leadership strategy copied from the muppets in Mitchell Street: SHHHHHH SAY NOTHING.

Even the students understand how much the school lacks in behaviour management and have answered the survey accordingly. It should be obvious to have and consistently enforce a behaviour management policy but it doesn’t happen at Darwin High School.

 

My school values the cultural background of all students (pg 41)

Only 36% agree of students agree with this statement. This is down from a 73% agreement in 2016, a 37% drop over 2 years.

images

Once again, Anne Donnelly only had the obvious shithouse management-speak to offer:

There is a significant negative shift in response to the school valuing the language and culture of all students. This needs further investigating.

Darwin High School is far too consumed with perpetuating its soulless academic results factory that it abandoned community engagement long ago. In turn, the community have abandoned them as highlighted by only 5-10% of parents responding to the survey.

The Report’s own overview (Pg 5) breaks down the backgrounds of the school community with the following. “One of the strengths of our school community is the linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds of our students. 43% of Darwin High students in 2018 identified as having a language background other than English, with over 60 different language backgrounds being represented. The most common languages were Tagalog (15%), Greek (9%), Indonesian (8%), Filipino (8%), Chinese (7%) and Vietnamese (5%).” 

The linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds of students are presented as a strength, yet they aren’t valued, an interesting contradiction. The school acknowledges its diverse community of students but cannot seem to figure out how to respect them.

Here are some basic ways the school could improve that a 9 year old could think of:

  • Issue newsletters and other information in additional languages (The annual report is good place to start for which languages to include and language teaching staff could assist with translation)
  • Have the option for student reports to be issued in additional languages (The layout and contents of student reports do not change much so once templates have been created it’s a straightforward system)
  • Promote cultural community events throughout the school (Lunar New Year, Greek Glenti, Italian Festival, Japanese Festival etc.) and support those events where possible with fundraising or volunteering for example
  • Simplify the layout and User Interface of Compass so it’s easy to understand for parents (This could include additional languages as part of the User Interface)

That’s all you’re getting for free Department of un-Education, go do the job you’re paid for.

 

Teachers at my school treat students fairly (Pg 40)

62% of students agree while 14% disagree. There has been little shift between 2016 and 2018. This time, no comment was written regarding this statement. We’re just flogging a dead horse at this point but our Darwin High School needs some consistency in how its tackles student behaviour, bullying, mobile phones etc. These are all connected to how students are treated, so of course only the slim majority agrees here. You don’t need to be an Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning to understand that. You were paid a considerable salary each year Anne and this is the best you can do? SHHHHHHH SAY NOTHING (& KEEP TAKING THAT FAT NT GOV SALARY).

 

I can talk to my teachers about my concerns (Pg 40)

Only 47% of students agree with this statement. This is down from a 52% agreement in 2016, a 5% drop over 2 years. Another one for the mounting list of issues alongside safety, fair treatment and behaviour management and they are most certainly connected.

Sadly, we teachers are handcuffed by policies and curriculums regarding what we can and cannot say or do with assignments, feedback, course structures and reports.

Example 1) This is old news but we teachers are not permitted to write comments on student reports anymore. We have to choose sanitised, politically correct sentences from an approved ‘comment bank’ for each student. The absence of communication through useful feedback is contributing to the disconnect between schools and their local communities.

Example 2) Yashodara McCormack (Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning in 2019) has enforced strict governance of what kinds of feedback are acceptable. For example, we are no longer permitted to highlight issues with written work as part of the drafting process. Instead we are encouraged to provide vague, sanitized comments such as “consider some restructuring”, “does this phrasing sound ok?” or “does this make sense?” Students are then expected to interpret this nonsense in a vain attempt to improve their own work. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the majority have given up.

 

There is an adult at my school who cares about me and knows me well (Pg 41)

Only 51% of students agree while 31% responded neither and 18% disagree. This is one of the few that have actually improved (by about 8%) since 2016. Even with the broader use of the term ‘adult’ rather than ‘teacher’ to encompass non-teaching staff, they still only managed to drag themselves to a slim majority in 2018.

There isn’t much more to be said that hasn’t been already. Darwin High School needs some major reforms and soon. What will probably happen is the usual idiotic SHHHHH SAY NOTHING NT Department of un-Education response or else we’ll get BOUNDLESSLY BULLIED to suicide like they do in the NT Health Department: BULLIED INTO SUICIDE

Let’s recap:

  • 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

  • Just under half of students feel they can talk with their teachers about concerns

  • Only half of students have an adult at the school that cares about them and knows them well

 

cares

CFB Team.

PS: Matt Cunningham of NT News recently complained about people complaining about Eva Lawler’s threats.  He said there were more important things to focus on. Leave poor Eva alone.  And poor Hylton Hayes too.  Give him another no tender contract for bringing Eva coffee in the morning while you’re at it.

He wanted people to FIGHT BACKWe agreed!

Then we read his story was about whether his local cafe had some outdoor tables for him and his dog.  Great to see our journos focussing on all the important matters in the NT.

MC fight back

Good onya Matt, fighting back there to protect NT workers from being BOUNDLESSLY BULLIED into suicide by their Dept of Health work colleagues, ensure transparency and stop the rampant corruption in NT GOV, stop whistleblower retaliation in the NT, find out how kids got raped at an NT school but no one wants to talk about it in NT Department of un-Education cover up.

A call to action for FUCKING OUTDOOR TABLES:

tables

It’s time for Darwin to fight back against the rise of the objector, writes MATT CUNNINGHAM

QUIET Territorians, this is your call to action. It’s up to you to start a movement and fight for the lifestyle we love in the Top End – Matt Cunningham, NT News

ON Monday I took my dog for a walk through the streets of Nightcliff and Rapid Creek.

I walked along the beautiful Nightcliff foreshore and up Rossiter Street to the Café Central.

Thanks to the best dry season in living memory, I wasn’t even sweating when I arrived.

I tied Bessie up out the front, sat at a table outside and grabbed a coffee.

The friendly staff were soon on hand with a bowl of water for the dog.

A fellow customer pulled out some treats and fed her.

This was Darwin living at its best.

A simple experience that summed up why I — and I presume many others — have decided to call this place home.

As a longtime Territorian said to me this week, “people come here for the work, and stay for the lifestyle”.

But this lifestyle appears to be under threat. A place that once prided itself on its have-a-go attitude now risks being strangled by bureaucracy.

You can see the evidence of this in a sign that now sits in Café Central’s window.

“Hey everyone,” it reads.

“We just put in for approval to have alfresco dining at Café Central — exactly what we always had but we needed to apply for approval.

“Some of the neighbours are objecting to us having this outdoor dining at the café. If this outdoor dining was to be rejected, then we would have to unfortunately CLOSE the café as it would not be viable.”

So a café that for close to a decade has happily existed with a few tables and chairs out the front, is now at risk of closing due to the handiwork of our overzealous regulators.

The café’s owners will now be subjected to a process that favours the whines of a noisy few over the views of the quiet majority.

Earlier this year I wrote a column venting my frustration at the road blocks faced by young businessman Dom Wundke who was trying to open a bar in Nightcliff.

The reaction was interesting.

For days I was met with quiet nods of agreement.

Whispered support from people who you’d never find at a protest rally or penning an angry letter to the editor.

People too busy getting on with their lives — working and raising children — to bother joining a campaign.

But perhaps it’s time for these quiet Territorians to stand up.

The note on the window at the Café Central went on to say this:

“If anyone has anything positive to say in reference to having outdoor dining and what the café brings to this community we would really appreciate it, it can be really brief or detailed.

“This would help to prove to the Development Authority that there are positive opinions and not only negative.

“Send anything to:
eat@cafecentraldarwin.com.au

I’ll go first:

In 2013 I lived in a house at the end of Rossiter St. We had two kids under three and I had a stressful job. But the Café Central was my happy place. Somewhere to enjoy a more-than-decent cuppa and — if just for a moment — escape the chaos of life.

Our community would be much the poorer for its absence.

Now, quiet Territorians, I urge you to follow. Send an email, write a letter, post on Facebook, call talkback radio, start a petition or put a sign up outside your house. Not one of protest, but one of support.

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11 Responses to Teaching in the Territory: Darwin High School Part 2: students not valued & feeling unsafe

  1. NT GOV coverups R US says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/24/bangladesh-nusrat-jahan-rafi-murder-16-people-sentenced-to-death

    Burned to death for complaining about sexual harassment at her school. NT GOV has similar cover ups, without the petrol of course…..for now.

    • Performance Issues My Arse says:

      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-23/tax-boss-chris-jordan-hits-back-at-ato-whistleblowers/11631448

      “At Senate Estimates on Wednesday Mr Jordan used parliamentary privilege to hit back at what he labelled “sensational” media reporting about the way Australian Taxation Office (ATO) whistleblowers Richard Boyle and Ron Shamir had been treated after making allegations of misconduct about the ATO.

      He said both former employees had been the subject of “ongoing workplace performance or conduct issues that were close to finalisation and likely to result in their termination”, and they were not sacked because of their whistleblowing activities.”

  2. Robert says:

    I would pay for Ferg Ferguson to be my lawyer any day of the week! He’d shit all over those weak as piss Education Union mob lawyers. Giving money to their mates instead of helping real teachers.

    Hurry up Ferg, we need you!

  3. NOT Mutt Cunningham says:

    Exactly the same as in the Northern Territory! But the people who threaten the whistleblowers are rewarded. Aboriginal Principal still has a job at the same school, Hylton Hayes gets no tender contracts and a place at the Labor Party table to promote himself.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/death-threats-and-smear-campaigns-the-lot-of-a-whistleblower-20170331-gvax60.html

    Death threats and smear campaigns, the lot of a whistleblower

    By Adele Ferguson
    March 31, 2017

    The culture of “don’t dob in a mate” strikes at the heart of our poor treatment of whistleblowers. From an early age we are told to keep quiet and avoid the stigma of being a snitch or a troublemaker.

    But the fundamental question that needs to be asked in the joint parliamentary inquiry into whistleblowers is: why should whistleblowers be protected?

    CBA whistleblower Jeff Morris has been assisting former clients of a suburban accountant who have suffered devastating losses.

    There are numerous examples of the contribution whistleblowers have made to society in exposing wrongdoing. But for all the good they have done, few come away unscathed.

    The Commonwealth Bank financial planning whistleblower Jeff Morris has lodged a submission to the inquiry which is nothing short of alarming.

    Commonwealth Bank financial planning whistleblower Jeff Morris.

    What he went through reads like a Stephen King thriller. In it he talks about a decision by a certain person at CBA “to finally get rid of me”. He wasn’t referring to his job.

    By chance, he heard from a psychiatrist that threats had been made about shooting whistleblowers at the bank – a group which included Morris.

    The person who allegedly made the threats has been redacted from the submission.

    In corporate Australia, boardrooms are grappling with what the outcome of the inquiry into whistleblowers will mean for them.

    In corporate Australia, boardrooms are grappling with what the outcome of the inquiry into whistleblowers will mean for them.Credit:Louie Douvis

    “Talk of shooting made me wonder if I had put my family at risk of being collateral damage,” he said. “I spoke to my contact at ASIC. His comment, that it was probably bullshit but if I was worried to go to the police, left me numb.”

    He said the stress led to several long stays in hospital for his wife. Then the unthinkable happened.
    Companies know the damage that can be wielded when whistleblowers aren’t contained.

    Companies know the damage that can be wielded when whistleblowers aren’t contained.

    “I came home to an empty house one night. My wife had left with my children, aged five and seven.”

    This was the nadir. “Like a boxer face down on the canvas staring at a whiteout. I was diagnosed with PTSD. It was almost a relief to know.”

    Misconduct shouldn’t be buried and companies should not be allowed to cover it up. Illustration: Simon Bosch

    Misconduct shouldn’t be buried and companies should not be allowed to cover it up.

    Talk of shooting made me wonder if I had put my family at risk of being collateral damage… I came home to an empty house one night. My wife had left with my children aged five and seven.
    Jeff Morris, CBA whistleblower

    Whatever the case, it serves as a chilling illustration of the risks whistleblowers take when they speak up.

    The stakes are high. But, at the end of the day, it is then up to the government to fix the piecemeal system and create a better framework, or fiddle around the edges.

    In corporate Australia, boardrooms are grappling with what it means for them.

    Companies know the damage that can be wielded when whistleblowers aren’t contained, particularly if they take their concerns to the media. Look no further than the Commonwealth Bank (both in financial planning and its CommInsure division), National Australia Bank, IOOF, 7-Eleven, CIMIC Group (formerly Leighton Holdings), Reserve Bank subsidiary Securency, Unaoil and energy giant Origin.

    It is why the treatment of whistleblowers that go to the media needs to be properly addressed. A number of institutions will fight tooth and nail at the idea of putting it into law. Others will try to water it down to the point where it no longer poses a threat.

    But going to the media is in the public interest.

    The 7-Eleven whistleblower went to the media with allegations of systemic wage fraud across the franchise network which resulted in policy changes and a compensation scheme that so far has paid out $83 million to exploited workers.

    The president of Whistleblowers Australia, Cynthia Kardell, argues that legislation should be amended to allow a whistleblower to go to the media, a politician or other third party at the outset, but at a policy level encourage – even reward – internal disclosure as a first step.

    “It would be a powerful practical deterrent to management bad behaviour – but if it did occur, management would not be able to cry foul and the wrongdoing, not the whistleblower, would be the focus – which is as it should be,” Kardell says.

    She is right. Misconduct shouldn’t be buried and companies should not be allowed to cover it up.

    Kardell argues that the only way things can change is to overhaul the system to the point where the preferred option for a company is an investigation, not a cover-up.

    “This is what will keep management on the straight and narrow and whistleblowers safe from reprisals and in their jobs,” she says.

    The way to stop cover-ups is to introduce laws that publicly reward good choices and punish bad choices.

    “The entire process must be open to public scrutiny, with all decisions reported in real time on the organisation’s website – so that, over time, cover-ups will no longer be seen as the ‘smart’ option.”

    For this to happen, the decision of whether or not to investigate a whistleblowing disclosure must be taken out of the hands of management. The person delegated with the authority to investigate a whistleblower claim must be legally independent of management.

    In addition, a criminal and civil cause of action and financial penalty should apply if management fails to support a whistleblower.

    And, to ensure there are no conflicts, external watchdogs should be banned from referring disclosures back to the organisation’s management as is now the case, Kardell argues.

    “For far too long, external watchdogs have naively trusted in self-regulation, in secret,” she says.

    She recommends the establishment of a public interest disclosure agency (PIDA) to register, promote, protect and support whistleblowers. It would have the powers to seek injunctive relief for whistleblowers, prosecute claims of reprisal and seek penalties for the failure of management to support whistleblowers and whistleblowing.

    Kardell also suggests the creation of a ‘false claims’ division within the PIDA that has the power to register and monitor false claims actions and receive, assess and resolve claims for compensation under a false claims scheme. Depending on the number of crimes and money involved, this could make the PIDA self-funding.

    The 7-Eleven whistleblower, in his submission, says there need to be financial safeguards for whistleblowers so they don’t have to make a choice between justice and financial security. “This is the reality of life as a whistleblower in modern corporate Australia.” Indeed.

    Adele Ferguson is a Gold Walkley Award winning investigative journalist. She reports and comments on companies, markets and the economy.

  4. Bluey says:

    I heard that Ferg Ferguson (Stephen Ferguson) is trying to be a lawyer helping whistleblowers and victims of workplace bullying in the Northern Territory. Then I read it on CFB too. He will be a great lawyer who truly understands the plight of those he represents because he’s lived it and survived.

    Mutt Cunningham should do a story on Ferg instead of his own dog Bessie. Woof woof.

  5. Mutt Cunningham says:

    “The friendly staff were soon on hand with a bowl of water for the dog.

    A fellow customer pulled out some treats and fed her.

    This was Darwin living at its best.”

    Has this guy never traveled outside of Darwin before? People do this stuff everywhere I’ve been around the world with my dog. “Darwin living at its best”: someone gives your dog some water.

    Wow. What a place to live. Hold on, let me pack up all my shit and head to the Boundless Bullying And Corruption Captial of Australia so my cute mongrel Bluey can get some free doggie biscuits, gulped down with mosquitoes, sand flies and 98% humidity.

    What next? Come to Darwin we’ve got heaps of people who want more tables….oh, wait…

    This was NT News reporting at its best by Mutt Cunningham.

  6. Find a spine Matt says:

    Wasn’t it only a short while ago that the NT ALP Govt leaned on the NT news over the NT news apparently publishing too many negative articles about the inept administration of this territory? There were threats of withdrawl of govt advertising as a result. It certainly looks like Matt caved in dosn’t it.

  7. Uibo Hiding Reports To Help Her NT GOV Mates says:

    Education Minister Selena Uibo will take weeks to make public a report expected to detail the Territory’s worst teachers

    EDUCATION Minister Selena Uibo will keep secret for about a month a report which is expected to reveal cases of incompetence and misconduct by the Territory’s worst teachers

    CRAIG DUNLOP, craig.dunlop@news.com.au, NT News
    September 30, 2019 5:07pm

    EDUCATION Minister Selena Uibo will keep secret for about a month a report which is expected to reveal cases of incompetence and misconduct by the Territory’s worst teachers.

    Ms Uibo’s spokeswoman told the NT News the minister would not release the Teacher Registration Board’s annual report for at least three weeks, because she wouldn’t have time to read it until then.

    The board’s director Maree Garrigan, confirmed at a parliamentary hearing last year the board had dealt with cases of “inappropriate relationships between the teacher and a student”.

    The board came under fire when the NT News revealed it allowed a convicted arsonist, house breaker and attempted armed robber to register as a teacher, only for him to spend much of his career committing sex offences against children inside his Palmerston classroom.

    He was released from jail earlier this year but is now a registered sex offender.

    The NT News also revealed teachers involved in violent riots, physical assaults against children, and pub brawls were still considered by the board to be “fit and proper” to stay in the job.

    TERRITORY TEACHERS BEHAVING BADLY

    TEACHER blew 0.173 with no lights on after Anzac Day bender
    TEACHER busted with unlicensed double barrel shotgun
    FORMER teacher’s assistant jailed for ‘bashing up’ two girls at shopping centre

    Ms Uibo, in response, enacted legislation allowing the board to include case studies of teachers dragged before the board’s secretive misconduct and incompetence inquiries.

    While the inquiries are by default open to the public, the board has repeatedly refused to tell the NT News when and where the hearings are held, effectively making them secret hearings.

    Mr Uibo’s spokeswoman would not say why the Minister would take more than three weeks to read the annual report and sign off on it being made publicThe board’s annual reports for the past five years have largely been copy and pasted from previous years, with only a handful of pages of fresh information, most of it basic statistics.

    Ms Uibo has said the release of case studies about teacher misconduct and incompetence was part of her government’s commitment to “openness, transparency and accountability”, although the legislation she introduced is more secretive than the regimes which operate in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

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