Showing posts with label schools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label schools. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Balancing the spin coming from the Morrison Government

The suspicion cannot be avoided that the Australian Prime Minister and certain of his cabinet ministers are once again actively backgrounding against their state counterparts.

Last time it was during the mega bushfires of 2019-20. This time it is in relation to COVID-19 policy responses and their implementation.

Perhaps now is the time to record for North Coast Voices readers some of the media releases issued by the NSW Berejiklian Government

Media Releases from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and other state ministerial/departmental sources [my yellow highlighting]

23 March 2020

The NSW Government has taken significant new steps to increase restrictions across the state – triggering the next level of enforcement necessary to fight COVID-19.

Following the decisions made by National Cabinet, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the shutdown to protect NSW citizens.

I understand many in the community are worried, and these changes will affect everyday lives, and may be upsetting,” Ms Berejiklian said.

But these decisions will make us all safer, they are taken with the health of all citizens in mind, and they must be taken now.

If you have the capacity to work from home, you should do so.”

In line with health advice, from midday today, the following non-essential activities and businesses will be temporarily shut down:
  • Pubs, registered clubs
  • Gyms, indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship (excluding small weddings and funerals that comply with the 4m2 rule, which can proceed).
  • It is important to note essential gatherings at places such as hospitals, workplaces, constructions sites and for public transport are exempt and will continue.
As confirmed last night by the Prime Minister schools will remain open, based on health advice, which has not changed.

But from tomorrow, in NSW, for practical reasons, parents are encouraged to keep their children at home.

Because nearly 30 per cent of children are already being kept out of school, for practical reasons NSW is encouraging parents to keep their children at home,” Ms Berejiklian said.

This will ensure there is only one unit of work [online teaching], whether the student is at home or at school.

No child will be turned away from school.”


22 March 2020

Please attribute to a NSW Health spokesperson:

NSW assessments on cruise ships entering our ports has exceeded Federal Government protocols and was doing so, well in advance of the National Protocol*, that was issued on March 6 2020.

Notwithstanding that, the Federal Government has not increased any protocol procedures relating to cruise ships since March 6.

Today, the NSW Government further enhanced its procedures to minimise the risk of passengers with any respiratory conditions whatsoever from departing cruise ships until COVID-19 tests can be carried out on onshore laboratories.

Since February 14, NSW Health has applied assessment procedures to all 63 ships entering Sydney Harbour. The National Protocol does not direct jurisdictions to do such assessments but instead, leave it to the State’s discretion.

Contrary to some public statements made, every cruise liner that has entered NSW ports has been the subject of an assessment well beyond Federal requirements.

The National Protocol states “provided there are no concerns about the COVID-19 risk profile of a ship or suspected COVID-19 cases reported, the human bio-security officer may advise the bio-security officer that pratique can be granted and the ship may be allowed to continue the voyage while samples are being tested”.

NSW Health undertook a full assessment of the Ruby Princess, notwithstanding under the National Protocol in place, it could have chosen not to do an assessment.

NSW Health again followed the National Protocol that states “the ship may be allowed to continue the voyage while samples are being tested”.

However, as of midnight March 22, NSW Health will go even further beyond the National Protocol and its current own State protocols and will hold all cruise ships in port until any patients highlighted as having respiratory issues are tested for COVID-19.

The increased testing regime follows 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the Ruby Princess, including 17 passengers and 1 crew member diagnosed in NSW, and 8 passengers diagnosed interstate (as of 8 pm yesterday).

*National Protocol for Managing Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Risk From Cruise Ships; published March 6 2020.

22 March 2020

Tonight I will be informing the National Cabinet that NSW will proceed to a more comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services. This will take place over the next 48 hours.

Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery will be among the many services that will remain open.

Schools will be open tomorrow, though I will have more to say on this issue in the morning.

I will update NSW tomorrow morning about the impacts and our plans following the National Cabinet.


20 March 2020

Supermarkets across the state are now able to receive deliveries 24 hours a day to restock their shelves under new rules introduced by the NSW Government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government had moved to override local council rules that restrict some stores from restocking their shelves and operating their loading docks outside regular business hours.

We need to make sure these products can move from factories to shelves as quickly as possible,” Ms Berejiklian said.

We are moving quickly so truck drivers can make deliveries to supermarkets around the clock.

It is important that people now stop unnecessary panic buying.”

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (COVID-19 Response) 2020 makes clear that truck deliveries are able to supply shops and retailers with essential goods at all times to support communities.

Councils and retailers have been working well together to allow greater flexibility in delivery hours, and this change gives everyone the certainty we need to ensure these deliveries can continue,” Mr Stokes said.

The SEPP makes clear that truck deliveries are able to supply shops and retailers with essential goods at all times.”

The new rules apply immediately and will be kept in place until the crisis is over.


17 March 2020

The NSW Government today announced a major $2.3 billion health boost and economic stimulus package to protect the community and help protect jobs in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak over the next six months.

This package has two key components: $700 million in extra health funding and $1.6 billion in tax cuts to support jobs.

Key elements of the NSW COVID-19 package announced today include:

Health boost
  • $700 million extra funding for NSW Health. This will assist in doubling ICU capacity, preparing for additional COVID-19 testing, purchasing additional ventilators and medical equipment, establishing acute respiratory clinics and bringing forward elective surgeries to private hospitals.
Business support and jobs
  • $450 million for the waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20). This means these businesses will save a quarter of their annual payroll tax bill in 2019-20.
  • $56 million to bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21
  • $80 million to waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies
  • $250 million to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure such as transport assets, schools and other public buildings
  • More than $250 million to bring forward maintenance on public assets including social housing and crown land fencing
  • $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government’s package bolstered the health system, cuts taxes for business that employed tens of thousands of people across the State, and would help secure jobs at a very challenging time.

Our first priority is always the health of the people of this State and looking after their families and jobs,” Ms Berejiklian said.

This package works hand-in-hand with the recent moves by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Federal Government. It will provide more resources to help slow the spread of this virus and boost treatment for those people in our community who need it most.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the NSW package would help businesses struggling with a once-in-a-generation event.

The Government stands ready to do whatever it takes to keep people safe and ensure our economy withstands this storm,” Mr Perrottet said.

Today we are injecting $700 million into the health system and almost $1.6 billion to boost business. In simple terms, this money will help save the lives of loved ones and protect jobs.

We are supporting business by lowering their costs through tax cuts and fee reductions, and working to boost jobs by funding ready-to-go capital work and maintenance projects as a priority.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the Government was doing whatever it took to support front line health workers, and urged people to follow important safety messages.

Our health workers are doing an amazing job,” Mr Hazzard said.

This extra funding backs the work of our doctors, nurses, allied health staff, ambulance officers and support staff in the fight to prevent the spread of and prepare for COVID-19.”


The Australian Government has announced the following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
Gyms and indoor sporting venues
Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

Monday, 23 March 2020

Northern Rivers independent schools and tertiary institutions are considering their options during this global pandemic

The Northern Star, 19 March 2020: 

Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School will be the first school on the Northern Rivers to effectively close due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Parents of 370 children the school have been advised to keep the kids at home from Wednesday if possible. School is open, but most kids have stayed home. 

“We have a very small number of students here at school,” Principal Nerida Johnson said. 

“It’s been quiet all week, we had 34 per cent of students absent yesterday.” 

Vulnerable staff and students were advised to stay home early in the week and her directive, issued to all students on Wednesday morning, has been met with relief. .....

“Essentially, we are making decisions looking at all the reports and making sure we’re doing our bit to keep the community safe,” Ms Johnson said.

“Parents have been overwhelmingly supportive; I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many messages of support. 

“Parents were feeling frustrated at the mixed messaging, we are being told to self-isolate and at the same time to send our children to school. 

“We cannot possibly do physically distancing with the younger classes; we cannot keep classrooms of children 1.5m away from each other.

The Northern Star, 19 March 2020: 

Southern Cross University will deliver all its study programs online from Monday, March 23, but its campuses will remain open. 

This includes Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast regional campuses, as well as metropolitan campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. 

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker announced the move as a response to the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“We have made this move in the best interests of our students and our teaching staff,” the Vice Chancellor said. 

“While every degree that we offer will now be available online, all of our campuses remain open.” 

All teaching will convert to the online mode by Monday. “Unless otherwise advised, classes will be delivered online at the same time that face-to-face classes would have occurred. 

Students’ timetables will not change, but how they engage with classes will,” Professor Shoemaker said.

“Some activity which cannot be undertaken online — such as clinical placements in Health and Teaching practicums — will continue unless otherwise advised.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

All major activities and events will temporarily be ceased in NSW public schools

Echo NetDaily, 15 March 2020:

All major arts, sports and initiative activities and events will temporarily be ceased until further notice. This includes whole school sporting events and inter-school events involving three or more schools.
‘Local inter-school sport and other activities, can proceed but we ask organisers to ensure that as far as possible, reasonable precautions are taken,’ he said.
‘I trust our principals and staff to show leadership during this time.
Schools will be provided with more detailed advice and suggestions on how they can adjust their day to day activities with minimal disruption.
The Department is continuing to prepare for further closures if necessary with scaling up of technology, additional training of staff and preparation of offsite lessons.
Useful links for families and students in self-isolation can be found here:
And general COVID-19 advice for schools here:

Sunday, 22 June 2014

'Three Mobs One River Learning Kit' won the promoting indigenous recognition category at the National Awards for Local Government

Clarence Valley Council CVC News media release*:
18 June 2014

Aboriginal Education project wins national award

A learning kit that was designed, produced and implemented entirely by the Aboriginal community in the Clarence Valley has taken out a major national local government award.

The ‘Three Mobs One River Learning Kit’ won the promoting indigenous recognition category at the National Awards for Local Government at the Great Hall in Parliament House, Canberra, last night.

Clarence Valley Mayor, Richie Williamson, who attended the ceremony with two of the driving forces behind the project – Beris Duroux and Joanne Randall – said it was fitting recognition for an inventive, inspiring and inclusive project.

“Projects like this help develop understanding between the indigenous and non-indigenous communities,” he said.

The Three Mobs One River Learning Kit started with the aim of engaging Aboriginal students and helping them extend their schooling to Year 12, but according to Ms Duroux, there have been many other spin-off benefits.

The program was developed by the three Aboriginal nations of the Clarence region – the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl nations – and involves verbal in-school presentations by Elders and community members, multi-media presentations and reflections, written materials such as poems and articles and a living library of film and audio recordings.

The initial target was to engage 280 people, including Aboriginal parents, carers, agencies and community members. That target was surpassed in three months and after 12 months more than 2700 community members had made a connection with the learning kit.

More than 100 story themes have been offered by Aboriginal people and have been tracked to key student learning areas. Fifty five community members and 14 Aboriginal organisations have made a commitment to in-school verbal presentations.

Twenty seven PowerPoint and verbal presentations have been developed by parents, and four film pieces, four sound records, and a set of donated documentation has been compiled.

Department of Education and Communities Aboriginal communities liaison officer, Beris Duroux, said the project would not have been possible without the support of the three Aboriginal nations of the Clarence and the wider community.

“Without the stories of the Aboriginal people, we wouldn’t have a project,” she said.

“This is all about our future and helping develop future leaders in our community.

“But it also helps other members of the community understand our stories and our history.”

The program is running at Maclean High School and Grafton and South Grafton high schools and McAuley Catholic College are expected to have it running soon.

Release ends.

* Since David Bancroft, former editor of The Daily Examiner, began to write these media releases the level of reliable information they contain and general quality has improved - well done, David.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Australian High Court: 1 Godbothers & Abbott: 0

Aunty ABC on 20th June 2012:
“A Queensland man has won his High Court challenge to the Commonwealth's funding for school chaplaincy programs.
Toowoomba father Ron Williams had challenged the program on the basis Commonwealth officers are not allowed to be subject to a religious test under the Constitution.
The court dismissed that claim, but did find the Commonwealth had no power to enter the agreement which funded the program.
The national chaplaincy program was set up in 2007 by the Howard government to provide for the spiritual wellbeing of students.
It was later modified by Labor to allow schools to choose to employ either a chaplain or a non-religious student welfare worker.
Under the program, schools could choose to employ a chaplain for spiritual guidance although pushing religion was banned.
Today's decision against the program will affect around 2,500 chaplains across Australia….
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said it would be a "real pity" if the chaplaincy program was not able to continue.
"We invented the program, we support the program, we want it to continue," he said.
"Let's look at the court's decision and let's see what the Government has in mind."
To be continued............

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The spirit of the World Christian Fundamentals Association* marches on

Just when one imagines that a certain all pervasive, narrow, fundamentalist world view couldn’t grow more absurd -  American society proves the opposite.

Los Angeles Times 16 January 2012:

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) looks at the background to these changes being fostered by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that.
Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. We agree. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.…..

More than 98% of ALEC's revenues come from sources other than legislative dues, such as corporations, corporate trade groups, and corporate foundations. Each corporate member pays an annual fee of between $7,000 and $25,000 a year, and if a corporation participates in any of the nine task forces, additional fees apply, from $2,500 to $10,000 each year. ALEC also receives direct grants from corporations, such as $1.4 million from ExxonMobil from 1998-2009. It has also received grants from some of the biggest foundations funded by corporate CEOs in the country, such as: the Koch family Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Koch-managed Claude R. Lambe Foundation, the Scaife family Allegheny Foundation, the Coors family Castle Rock Foundation, to name a few. Less than 2% of ALEC’s funding comes from “Membership Dues” of $50 per year paid by state legislators, a steeply discounted price that may run afoul of state gift bans.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

'Steve' Gulaptis MP gets a chance to prove how effective his representation is for Clarence

The Nationals Glove Puppet for Clarence, ‘Steve’ Gulaptis has his first chance to prove his metal.
The former disgraced MP for Clarence, Steve Cansdell, promised air-conditioning for Yamba Public School on Angourie Road.
The school is approximately 5m above sea level and around 1.5 kilometres inland as the crow flies from the higher sheltering coastline.
Now the O’Farrell Coalition Government and Education Minister Andrew Piccoli has decided Summer cooling of class rooms (which can experience up to 30 degree plus indoor temperatures) is unnecessary because the Yamba Pilot Station on a sea promontory at around 27m above sea level gets a regular ‘breeze’.
So far all Gulaptis has done is bleat in The Tele – time to do more ‘Steve’!

Friday, 29 April 2011

A great idea for all Australian schools

An idea that's being promoted in the home of great ideas, the United States of America - of course! - is absolutely brilliant. And, with a bit of lateral thinking it can to be slightly modified and readily applied right here in Australia. In the US the idea is being promoted in military circles, but here in Australia our schools seem the obvious place to apply the idea.

So, what's the bright idea?

Groups representing atheists and secular humanists are pushing for the appointment of one of their own to the chaplaincy, hoping to give voice to what they say is a large — and largely underground — population of nonbelievers in the military.

Jason Torpy, a former Army captain who is president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, said humanist chaplains would do everything religious chaplains do, including counsel troops and help them follow their faiths. But just as a Protestant chaplain would not preside over a Catholic service, a humanist might not lead a religious ceremony, though he might help organize it.

An atheist group at Fort Bragg called Military Atheists and Secular Humanists, or MASH, has asked the Army to appoint an atheist lay leader at the base. A new MASH chapter at Fort Campbell, Ky., is planning to do the same as are atheists at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

Read the full report about this this in The New York Times here .

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Yes, Virginia, there is a bright future out there

The following impressive study undertaken by British primary school children aged between 7 and 11 years of age shows that the world still contains much human potential - Blackawton bees.

The abstract is here, the full report is here and here is the list of the young science enthusiasts and now published authors and their support team:

1. P. S. Blackawton1,

2. S. Airzee1,

3. A. Allen1,

4. S. Baker1,

5. A. Berrow1,

6. C. Blair1,

7. M. Churchill1,

8. J. Coles1,

9. R. F.-J. Cumming1,

10. L. Fraquelli1,

11. C. Hackford1,

12. A. Hinton Mellor1,

13. M. Hutchcroft1,

14. B. Ireland1,

15. D. Jewsbury1,

16. A. Littlejohns1,

17. G. M. Littlejohns1,

18. M. Lotto1,

19. J. McKeown1,

20. A. O'Toole1,

21. H. Richards1,

22. L. Robbins-Davey1,

23. S. Roblyn1,

24. H. Rodwell-Lynn1,

25. D. Schenck1,

26. J. Springer1,

27. A. Wishy1,

28. T. Rodwell-Lynn1,

29. D. Strudwick1 and

30. R. B. Lotto2,*

1 Blackawton Primary School, Blackawton, Devon, UK

2 Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London,

11-43 Bath Street, London EC1V 9EL, UK

*Author for correspondence (

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Vandals told to take up a sport or start knitting

Haylee Gough, Chloe Duroux, Lily Porra and Tayla Lambeth are Year 6 students at Grafton Public School. They penned the following piece for the local paper, The Daily Examiner.

Stop the vandalism

AS Year 6 students we are all sick and tired of inconsiderate vandals destroying our schools almost every weekend, disturbing our schoolwork, costing us money and forcing someone else to clean it up.

These thoughtless people are disturbing our schoolwork. Children can't work in their classrooms if the general assistant or their teacher is cleaning up the mess or something is being replaced.

Vandalism is costing schools across Australia millions of dollars a year. This money could be better spent on school resources, sports equipment and electronics, like whiteboards and computers.

Someone always has to clean up the mess, whether it is the cleaner, general assistant, teachers or maybe even the students. It is very dangerous to clean up broken glass and burnt property.

In conclusion, we insist that these vandals stop what they're doing NOW! If they're so bored on the weekend, why don't they take up a sport or start knitting.

Source: The Daily Examiner, 25/5/2010