July 17, 2007

Teachers asked if they are being bullied - Australia

School teachers can detail their experiences of being bullied by parents or senior colleagues in a nationwide survey to help curb the problem.

The University of New England (UNE) launched the online survey in late June and will take responses until October 1.

UNE professional studies lecturer Dan Riley leads the study and is working in collaboration with Professor Deirdre Duncan of Australian Catholic University.

The two have previously published results from a 2005 survey that revealed 97.5 per cent of Catholic schoolteachers had experienced some form of bullying in their career.

The survey showed teachers had been bullied most often by school executives, then parents, and followed by principals.

"While most of the situations experienced were at the lower levels of seriousness, including attempts to undermine or belittle a teacher's work or criticism in front of colleagues, they were serious enough to affect the mental or physical health of some of the respondents," Dr Riley said.

"It's a bit frightening – we didn't actually expect to find what we did."

Participating teachers will have their anonymity and confidentiality preserved, the UNE designer of the website said.

The findings of the survey are expected to be published by late December.

From: http://www.news.com.au/ dDan Riley's email is: driley2@une.edu.au

1 comment:

catface said...

Here is my latest correspondence with an official from HEFCE's Assurance department, Paul Greaves. This is the kind of stonewalling we're up against, I'm afraid. But what can one expect when Kingston University's VC was, until December, a high-ranking official at HEFCE himself! Could you imagine a former inmate at Broadmoor serving as investigator of a criminal gang? Well, that's pretty much what this situation is like:-

From: catface
Sent: 12 July 2007 10:27
To: Paul GREAVES [7378]
Subject: Re: Important matter for further inquiry

Dear Mr Greaves,

Thank you for your reply.

Given that you indicate that HEFCE is "not empowered to undertake the sort of investigation" that I'm calling for, I see that little would be gained by forwarding my e-mail to the Chair of the Board at Kingston University for a response. In any event, my e-mail to Mr Williams was provided as an initial informal response to his request to be briefed on the nature of my concerns in anticipation of meeting with him in person to discuss the matter further, rather than a formal complaint document.

In relation to your suggestion that some matters might best be handled by the police, you should be aware that criminal charges were, indeed, filed against Mr Donald Beaton, University Secretary of Kingston University in connection with his having written a series of threatening letters to my wife, to my solicitor and to me, in relation to our role as witnesses in an ongoing Employment Tribunal action. In the letters, Mr Beaton demands that we turn over all copies of evidence of wrongdoing by University officials, under threat of pursuing criminal charges and of imposing costs awards, threats which were not carried out and which had no legal basis. Following a series of hearings before a panel of Magistrates, who found that there was, indeed, a prima facie case to answer, the Court issued a summons/indictment on 20 April for Mr Beaton to appear on charges of witness intimidation. We later received evidence that gave us good reason to believe that Prof Scott may very well have been involved in the sending of these letters.

Unfortunately, because of a loophole in the wording of the law, and possibly because of political considerations, the CPS decided to drop the case against Mr Beaton on the grounds that Employment Tribunals did not constitute "relevant proceedings" for the purposes of the law as written. That having been said, I would think that HEFCE would be troubled, as were we, by the use of intimidation and threats as a way of preventing evidence of wrongdoing by public officials from coming to light in the public interest, and that the use of public funds to defend against a Tribunal claim where intimidation tactics have been employed against likely witnesses would be a matter that HEFCE might wish to look into, but perhaps I'm mistaken about this.

In relation to the matters of stress related illness and injuries at the University, I must confess to being at a bit of a loss as to where to turn. Having reported the matter of excessive workplace stress levels, injuries and illnesses quite some time ago, certainly both prior to the death of Prof Winstanley and following her death, I was disappointed to learn that HSE no longer involves itself in a regulatory capacity, but rather, it merely provides advice to employers. I would hope that HEFCE would be concerned by the costs implications, if not the moral aspects, of lost staff productivity at Kingston University, caused by widespread stress-related illnesses, injuries, and, indeed, a death of a staff member, Prof Winstanley. This especially being the case in light of the fact that the University was well aware for quite some time that there was a systemic problem with stress.

As far as the other matters I raised in relation to the way which grievance proceedings are initiated and conducted, and in relation to the wider issues of legal precedent and practice in the matters involving Board members, I presume that as you've indicated that HEFCE does not wish to involve itself in employment issues, that it would not wish to become involved in the concerns, which I've raised in this regard, and that bringing these matters to the attention of the Chair of the Board at Kingston for comment would, therefore, serve no useful purpose.

I am providing several documents in relation to the matters I've raised in this e-mail. Perhaps you'd like to comment on behalf of HEFCE on the contents of these documents?

Perhaps I've come to the wrong place to voice my concerns, and so unless you tell me that I'm mistaken about that, I shall look to take up these matters elsewhere.

With best regards,

Dear catface

I must confirm that we consider these are not matters for the HEFCE to pursue.

Paul Greaves
Head of Assurance