Thursday, 30 April 2015
Go to TPT (link below) to download this 100+ page unit for $5.00
A former senior Education Department official is accused of urging his son to lie to investigators about doing work for a primary school for work he never completed, a corruption hearing has revealed.
The secretly recorded conversation was played today during a public hearing on alleged corruption in the school system.
The former official, Nino Napoli, has been sacked amid the investigation by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.
The recordings captured Mr Napoli in his home coaching his son, Raffaele Napoli, about what to say to investigators.
Raffaele Napoli received payments of $120,000 between 2004 and 2011 from a company called On the Ball Personnel, which sent invoices to several schools. But Raffaele Napoli previously said his father controlled his bank account.
In one audio recording both Nino Napoli and former Essendon North Primary school principal Michael Giulieri can be heard attempting to coach Raffaele on what to say to investigators.
Mr Giulieri and Nino Napoli can be heard telling Raffaele to say that he met with Mr Giulieri to discuss work although those meetings never took place.
Raffaele Napoli told the hearing he had made it clear he didn't want to lie and that he was still angry with his father.
"What my dad was trying to portray was bullshit," he said.
In another recording Raffaele accuses his father of being "delusional" and tells him "don't get angry at me, dad, 'cause I've done nothing wrong".
Nino Napoli is accused of siphoning $2.5 million in public funds that went to him and his associates.
Mr Giulieri is still employed at another state primary school but is currently on leave for an unrelated matter. The Education Department has confirmed Mr Giulieri won't be returning to departmental work until the corruption allegations are investigated fully.
Nino Napoli's son Matthew also appeared as a witness today. He told the hearing he had worked at Maribyrnong Secondary College in the sports department in 2010.
Wednesday, 29 April 2015
Mr Allman, who was until today the department's director for south-east Victoria, told the inquiry he destroyed documents detailing financial transactions with the Silverton Primary School at Noble Park, and disposed of the ripped documents into a bin at a Bunnings store.
Mr Allman said he destroyed the documents after eight IBAC officers visited him with a warrant to search his home.
The principal of the Chandler Park Primary School in Keysborough has been suspended after Victoria's anti-corruption commission revealed he authorised $30,000 worth of wine purchases from his wine merchant son on behalf of allegedly corrupt public servants.
The suspension of Peter Paul follows the Education Department's announcement this week that it had sacked Nino Napoli, a senior financial official responsible for overseeing $4 billion in funds, after the Independent Broad-based Anti Corruption Commission identified him as the central figure in an alleged multi-million-dollar corruption scandal.
Mr Napoli's friend and former Education Department acting secretary Jeff Rosewarne on Tuesday admitted he used the Chandler Park Primary School to purchase large amounts of wine on his behalf in order to hide it from others in the department and avoid media scrutiny through Freedom of Information laws.
Admitting that Mr Paul was also his friend, Mr Rosewarne was confronted with a series of allegedly false invoices showing that in November 2009 he had $7000 worth of Italian wines delivered at his home by Mr Paul's son, Matthew Paul, owner of Trembath & Taylor wine merchants.
Two dozen bottles of wine were also delivered to Mr Napoli's house at that time.
Mr Rosewarne said the wine was for official functions and that after storing it in his garage he took it to his Treasury Place office.
IBAC has uncovered Chandler Primary School as having paid nearly $30,000 to Trembath & Taylor between 2007 and 2014.
Mr Rosewarne said he requested that the primary school be reimbursed for the wine. But he could not say whether it actually had been reimbursed.
A department spokesman said this morning that Mr Paul had been suspended pending further investigation. The school is being led by his assistant principal.
Mr Rosewarne left the Education Department in 2011 and is employed by the Catholic Education Office. He is on leave from that job at present.
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
More than $800 million of state money earmarked for Victorian schools has disappeared into a black hole, the Andrews government has claimed.
A week before the state budget, Education Minister James Merlino has accused the former Coalition government of diverting $800 million of funding set aside under the Gonski school funding agreement for the 2016 and 2017 school years into prison beds and "their own priorities".
"When you have an immediate black hole of $800 million plus election commitments that we will deliver on, that's our first priority," Mr Merlino said. "Dealing with the mess of the former Liberal government is our first priority."
The government will announce on Tuesday that former premier Steve Bracks will head a review examining school funding.
The state opposition has previously strenuously denied short-changing state schools when in government.
Mr Merlino said finding the funds to fill the shortfall in the May 5 budget would be a challenge.
Asked if he was hosing down expectations for funding in the state budget for the final two years of the Gonski agreement, Mr Merlino said he did not want to "pre-empt the budget".
Mr Merlino said he was "absolutely committed to Gonski" but did not explicitly say he would fund the final two years of the agreement.
The government also did not provide any documents backing its claims of a school funding black hole.
The government, which pledged to make Victoria the "Education State" before the election, has suffered a backlash from the Australian Education Union and other public education advocates over school funding. They have been criticised over new laws that link private school funding to 25 per cent of that given to state schools and urged to commit to the final two years of the Gonski agreement.
He said that schools had not seen "one cent" of Gonski funding. That agreement was supposed to increase funding per student and provide additional support for those with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Mr Merlino said the former state government had spent the the money "on their own priorities".
"They spent it on prison beds ... they certainly didn't spend it where it was intended and where they agreed to spend it, and that is in education," he said.
Earlier this year Opposition Leader Matthew Guy denied claims the Coalition had short-changed schools by $50 million in the 2014 and 2015 school years. "I'm very proud to say that when we departed office late last year the Coalition was putting more money into education than any other government in Victoria's history," he said in February.
Mr Bracks will examine how government funds are allocated and used. He will also investigate how the Student Resource Package, funding allocation per student for schools, is calculated and distributed.
It will also look at Commonwealth contributions to school funding and how to provide principals and school communities with "clarity and transparency" about funding.
The government said it had commissioned the review after its own investigation revealed a "black hole" of more than $800 million in missing state Gonski funding for the 2016 and 2017 school years. In February, Mr Merlino said the same investigation had unearthed a $53 million black hole in Gonski funding for the 2014 and 2015 school years.
Under the original six-year agreement signed by the former state and federal governments, Victoria committed to contributing $5.4 billion in Gonski money with the Commonwealth to pour in $6.8 billion.
Mr Bracks said the review would consult widely, and would look for a "way forward" so that schools could receive the full level of Gonski funding.
Although he had only received a preliminary briefing, Mr Bracks said the $800 million shortfall across the 2016 and 2017 school years could explain why schools felt they had not received additional funding.
Monday, 27 April 2015
Victoria's anti-corruption agency will on Monday outline explosive details of how millions of dollars meant to benefit students has been stolen or fraudulently misused by a ring of allegedly crooked senior public servants and school leaders.
In what will be one of the state's biggest public corruption hearings in decades, the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission is expected to publicly question up to 60 past and present Education Department officials and school principals over the next two months.
If IBAC finds corrupt conduct, recommendations will be made for criminal charges to be laid against past and present senior officials and principals. Several former top public servants have engaged prominent criminal lawyers to represent them.
With the hearings beginning in the Country Court on Monday morning, Fairfax Media can reveal fresh probity concerns within the Victorian school sector emerged last week with allegations a principal at a Melbourne primary school has been caught inappropriately using school funds and rigging a school council election to oust his critics.
A formal complaint about the matter is understood to have been lodged with IBAC.
As revealed by Fairfax Media in December, the IBAC hearings will focus on a multimillion-dollar funding program called "banker schools", which was used to pay for unauthorised travel, car leases and alcohol instead of student programs.
This program involved senior bureaucrats placing huge sums of money with select schools on the basis the money would then be distributed to others schools nearby. A confidential 2011 audit found $28 million deposited in banker schools which it described as being part of a "shadow financial system".
Some of the money was later withdrawn by senior officials to be used for allegedly improper purposes and with no accountability.
Fairfax Media has been told by senior former department officials that a small circle of top public servants used an old-fashioned paper notebook to keep track of where money had been covertly placed.
It is understood some school principals were complicit in the program and that some schools not even known to the department as formal "banker schools" were also used to hide money.
Counsel assisting the IBAC Ian Hill, QC, is expected to today provide a broad outline of the commission's long-running investigation – codenamed Operation Ord – into alleged corruption within the Education Department and schools.
IBAC will ask witnesses to explain how schools were chosen to be part of the program, the circumstances under which principals and business managers were directed by senior bureaucrats to pay invoices for goods or services that did not benefit the school, and the generation of invoices.
The public hearings will also cover "the existence of any familial relationship or other personal or business connection between, on the one hand, businesses or entities (or their directors and officers) that issued or purported to issue the banker school invoices or supply goods or services", according to an IBAC statement last month.
The hearings will also deal with any attempts to cover-up the allegedly corrupt conduct.
Fairfax Media has identified three private companies which have received valuable contracts with the Education Department or schools in recent years whose directors are close friends with a senior department manager who is on extended leave.
The Education Department has sent a briefing to staff on the IBAC hearings and warned them on their obligation to comply with the commission's "confidentiality notice".
The department has tried to assure staff that just because they had received a summons from IBAC, they should not assume they suspected of corrupt behaviour.
But it also warned it may launch disciplinary action against individuals as a result of the inquiry.
By the afternoon they had some dirt ( very interesting and I think the tip of the iceberg) and printed this story:
Victorian secondary colleges and primary schools were allegedly involved in a corrupt scheme involving the diversion of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to companies or figures linked to senior education official Nino Napoli.
The claims were made on Monday morning as part of an opening statement by Ian Hill QC, the counsel assisting the first major public inquiry by the Independent Broad Based Anti Corruption Commission.
Mr Hill told the inquiry that between 2007 and 2014, more than $1.5 million in tax payer funds were shifted from accounts controlled by so-called 'banker schools' to companies controlled by relatives of Mr Napoli.
Mr Hill said the movement of the money involved "potentially improper and corrupt payments made out of public funds".
The primary schools named as having held accounts from which the money was improperly transferred include Chandler Park, Kings Park, Norwood and Moonee Ponds West.
The secondary schools allegedly involved included John Fawkner College and Sale College.
Mr Hill said Mr Napoli had allegedly directed the scheme, which involved the corrupt movement of at least $2.5 million to companies linked to his relatives. Payments were then allegedly made back to Mr Napoli by these companies.
IBAC investigators believe a far higher amount than $2.5 million may have been allegedly corruptly siphoned off by Mr Napoli and his associates.
"The state schools holding public money … paid out those monies on the presentation of invoices which in many cases were demonstrably false," Mr Hill said.
Since 1992, Mr Napoli was a high ranking departmental official and recently controlled a budget of $4 billion, or over a third of the entire departmental funding pool.
He was suspended during the IBAC probe - which began in late 2013 - and is understood to have been sacked in the last few days.
Mr Hill said that Mr Napoli had "unfettered discretion" to spend $7 million annually in departmental funds.
Mr Hill said there was evidence that some education officials, including department employees and principals, may be culpable in the corrupt scheme's operation.
Some may have turned a blind-eye or failed to ensure proper scrutiny and governance.
Mr Hill said the apparent operation of the corrupt scheme for many years revealed and "exceptional and concerning" failure within the education department that denied schools "scarce resources."
The first witness to be called is former top department official Jeff Rosewarne. The hearings are expected to run for six weeks and call up to 60 witnesses.
Saturday, 25 April 2015
They have created a consultation paper called 'Stregthening DET regional services and support' and have asked for submissions from education professionals.
Below is my submission.
Regional Services Consultation
T. Shaw April 2015
Unit download to TPT during the week
I know I promised my Jules Verne unit would be avaialable on TPT this weekend but with writing this submission and attending 2 ANZAC Day ceremonies yesterday and 3 hours up at work I haven't had the time. So I will finalise it and post it during the week.
Parents have long been urged to read bedtime stories to their little ones to help them grow into voracious readers.
And now for the first time, scientists have found medical proof that the old advice really does work.
A study has found that reading to toddlers provides a 'meaningful, measurable' boost to their brain development.
Professional bodies encourage parents to read to their children from birth to foster early learning and create connections in the brain that promote language development. But until now, direct evidence of the effects on the brain were never proven.
Study author Dr John Hutton, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre in the US, said the pre-school years are 'critical' in brain development.
He added: 'We are excited to show, for the first time, that reading exposure during the critical stage of development prior to kindergarten seems to have a meaningful, measurable impact on how a child's brain processes stories and may help predict reading success.
'Of particular importance are brain areas supporting mental imagery, helping the child 'see the story' beyond the pictures, affirming the invaluable role of imagination.'
Dr Hutton and his colleagues studied 19 healthy children aged three to five, 37 per cent of whom were from low-income families.
Their parents answered questions on how often or not they read to their children, what variety of books they choose and how they chat and play with them.
The children then underwent MRI scans, which measured brain activity while they were listening to age-appropriate stories via headphones.
The results showed that the children who were read to more often at home were advanced in areas of the brain supporting semantic processing – which is the ability to extract meaning from language. These areas are critical for speech and reading.
Dr Hutton said that even taking differences in household budget into account, the links between toddlers being read to at home and increased brain activity remained 'robust'.
The results are due to be presented today at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego.
The findings could encourage parents to tackle Britain's reading crisis – a study from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development last September found that each year, 130,000 UK children leave school with a sub-standard reading level.
It also showed just 25 per cent of Britons with a degree scored highly in a literacy test, compared with 37 per cent in Japan and Finland and 36 per cent in Holland.
I wonder what Australia's data looks like?
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3054843/Bedtime-stories-aid-reading-brain-tests-Study-finds-provides-meaningful-measurable-boost-development.html#ixzz3YJjDwNfY
Friday, 24 April 2015
Researchers have previously called for school desks to be banned to combat obesity.
Now a new study says getting rid of sitting desks could also help children pay more attention in class.
The research found that when students learned on their feet, they increased their focus by 12 per cent.
This equates to an extra seven minutes per hour of engaged instruction time, the study found.
The findings were based on a study of almost 300 children in second through fourth grade who were studied over the course of a school year.
Engagement was measured by actions like answering a question, raising a hand, or participating in active discussion and off-task behaviours like talking out of turn.
Standing desks, also known as stand-biased desks, are raised desks that have stools nearby, which let students sit or stand during class at their discretion.
Mark Benden, associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, originally became interested in the desks as a way to reduce childhood obesity.
Professor Benden's previous studies have shown the desks can help reduce obesity - with students at standing desks burning 15 per cent more calories than students at traditional desks.
Professor Benden says he wasn't surprised at the results of his latest study, given that previous research has shown that physical activity, even at low levels, may have beneficial effects on cognitive ability.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3054806/Should-sitting-desks-banned-classrooms-Children-pay-attention-lessons-standing-claims-study.html#ixzz3YIYvjo7k