Home | Top Stories | ‘The whole process is designed to break you’: bullied NSW teachers claim they’re officially silenced

‘The whole process is designed to break you’: bullied NSW teachers claim they’re officially silenced

Tony Parker, a former high school geography teacher, isn't allowed to fully share his story of being bullied. Legally, he is prevented from doing so. That's not, however, the kind of silencing he and his peers, Peter Anderson and Kathy Simpson, are aggrieved about.

They are protesting what they view as the NSW Department of Education's (DoE) complicity with perpetrators in bullied teacher cases.

They believe that school managers are bullying older staff out of their jobs to employ younger, casual teachers - who are both cheaper and in need of jobs.

As at March 2015, there were almost 47,000 people seeking permanent employment as a teacher in NSW. This accords with Simpson’s estimate of 42,000 casual teachers in the state.

A 2015 DoE report on teacher supply and demand in NSW - the latest available - reveals that "output from teacher education programs continues to be well in excess of the Department’s needs for staffing its primary schools."

The government fosters the conditions for this to occur and for it to result in impunity, the protesters claim. According to them, because it allowed universities to produce an oversupply of teaching graduates, it's in their interests for these graduates to find employment.

"[Also] then-NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli changed the teacher employment rules," Anderson said.

"He deregulated the market around the same time as the NSW government introduced the 'local schools, local decisions' policy."

Anderson is referring to that fact that in 2014, Piccoli changed the length of teacher improvement programs (TIPs) - a 'procedure for managing underperforming teachers' - from a maximum of 16 to a maximum of 12 weeks.

"This makes it much easier for principals to get rid of dead wood." Though he doesn't disagree with the change in theory, Anderson says that in practice, it's abused.

"It empowered principals to do the government's dirty work, meaning principals could be coerced into getting rid of baby boomer teachers and re-employing casual labour on lower rates - solving the government problem of all these unemployed casuals."

Between 2015 and 2017, the rate of NSW teachers dismissed by their schools, either for misconduct or after failing TIPs, increased by 50 per cent. The DoE attributes this increase to a rise in teacher numbers generally.

In 2017, 52 teachers were involved in teacher improvement programs.

A 2016 report by the NSW Auditor-General revealed the cost of workers' compensation claims against the NSW DoE, relating to psychological injuries, had increased by over 70 per cent since the previous year. Over 300 employees cited bullying, harassment and violence as the cause of their injury – nearly 34 per cent more than in 2014-15.

The DoE says these numbers have since decreased, with the current rate being 0.38 per cent, and notes that "incidents categorised as alleged bullying, harassment and violence include incidents involving staff, students and members of the community".

Anderson reports that his following is growing rapidly, "to the point where it's getting fairly overwhelming". New members to his campaign all have the same story - believing they've been bullied out of their jobs due to their age and the concordant cost of employing them.

"Principals use mischievous ways to get them on [teacher improvement] programs," Anderson said.

"You have one principal putting a teacher onto the program but another principal saying, "You are the best teacher I know".

"Then the Department uses an unfair process to validate what principals are doing." For example, in at least one known case, it was alleged that a principal flouted TIP procedures and no departmental action was taken against him.

This is a view shared by many teachers, not just the protesters, as per a September 2017 NSW Legislative Council report on Education of students with a disability or special needs in New South Wales.

"The most significant concern raised by inquiry participants about complaints handled at the local level, and then beyond if escalated within the Department, is that it is an inherently biased process that carries a risk of victimisation for complainants," the report provided.

"The committee received evidence questioning the efficacy of a process wherein the principal, who represents the first port of call for complaints at the school level, is the same person who ... may often be the subject of the complaint.

"The committee acknowledges the concerns raised by inquiry participants about a potential conflict of interest with the Department, at all levels, having responsibility and authority to investigate itself."

Despite this, the DoE dismisses all claims of unfairness, including the specific ones levelled against it by the protesters.

"There is no evidence that older teachers are being targeted through Teacher Improvement Programs," a DoE spokesperson provided.

"Teachers who are dismissed can appeal decisions to the Industrial Relations Commission. This is an external legal process."

Yet a member of the protesters’ campaign, Joe Taylor, also blames revised, nationalised teacher accreditation standards, introduced in 2012, for fostering the conditions that allow bullying to go unchecked. He explained his position:

"Before such changes came to be, teachers were qualified by their study and the award of certificates, diplomas and degrees, which stood for all time. They were free to pursue inservice training according to their own perceived needs, and while some courses were compulsory, it was generally a matter of choice, and interesting courses were on offer from time to time.

"As things became more mandatory - and who can argue against 'working with children checks' - teachers became increasingly entangled with bureaucratic procedures and compulsory practices upon which their entire standing as a teacher depended. This alone allowed bullies to have control of the oxygen supply to a teacher’s career."

As a bullied teacher who resultantly developed PTSD, depression and anxiety, Taylor, like the others, is taking matters into his own, protesting hands. He has launched a petition calling for an end to the workplace bullying of teachers in Australia. To date, it  has garnered 465 signatures.

Action plan

The protesters aren't just complaining; they've formulated a plan to challenge the system.

"We're busy writing to politicians, bureaucrats and fellow supporters to expose the rorting that's going on," Anderson said.

"We've been encouraged to write a book by a colleague. There's plenty to write about."

Once exposed, they will push for an independent teacher misconduct review process, via a claim to the ombudsman.

They say that the union, the NSW Teachers Federation, has been unhelpful to their cause - if not, by design, antagonistic.

"The union pay lip service to us, but because they allow principals to be members, they have a serious conflict of interest. Until that is resolved, the union won't be able to have very much credibility," Parker said.

Naturally, he laments that the bullying occurred in the first place - but not for the obvious reason.

"It's a tragic shame really, because pretty well every person in our group is a very strong supporter of public education.

"This situation is likely to drive parents away from the public education system. That's the last thing we want."

Anderson says this is happening in his local area, where he claims  DoE employees are increasingly sending their children to private, rather than public schools.

Tony's story

At the end of 2014, someone made allegations against me that were proven to be false. A colleague made claims and her friends backed her up. She basically lied. It was me against three or four other staff members.

At the beginning of 2015, a new principal joined the school. He was extremely inexperienced. He wanted to make a big mark very quickly. Within a couple of weeks, he pounced on me over the allegations of teaching inefficiency.

The principal sent the complaint to EPAC - the Education Department's Employee Performance and Conduct unit. They look into complaints regarding performance and conduct issues. EPAC investigated the complaint in their evasive way, and reported back that there was no problem.

The new principal decided he would bare his teeth to staff by putting me on a teacher improvement program (TIP). He called me into his office. I asked him who the complainant was.  He said, "I'm not obliged to tell you that, but before I sign off on your teacher accreditation, I want to observe your lessons. I said, "That's fine." I've been teaching for 30 years; for eight years at that school.

The principal looked at one of my lessons and outright lied about what he was observing. He wrote a derogatory report about it. From thereon, it was obvious he was targeting me, he wanted me out.

When confronted like that in a fight-or-flight situation, I had to decide whether to grovel or stand up to him. In retrospect, I made the wrong decision. I just said, "This is a clear-cut case of you taking sides with people who are making false allegations. EPAC has affirmed this. It's time to get off my back."

I called in the NSW Teachers Federation. The principal was bullying and harassing me. He was telling me off in front of other people in the corridors. His behaviour was completely out of the realms of fairness.

The underhanded way in which this was contrived was appalling. It turned out that the head teacher was good friends with the woman I had the initial disagreement with. That's where it all came from.

I was put on TIP. All the way through, people said, "Get out of there, take leave, it's going to destroy your health, it's obvious he's targeting you." Some confidants recommended I stand up to him. How naive. It turned out that the new TIP was very easily falsified.

I requested independent supervision. This was declined. The Teachers Federation started backing away from supporting me. Unsurprisingly, I failed the TIP. It went way over the time frame that the guidelines insist on. Nothing was done about that.

The main protest I had with the whole thing is that the department has this complaints management program that is completely internal. This leaves it open to the suggestion that it's bosses investigating bosses, that the whole situation is very corrupt. They give you the right to appeal decisions, but the process that they use to investigate appeals is completely unfair.

For example, in my situation, two deputy principals were called in to review my appeal. Not once did either of them go to my former school to interview witnesses or call my referees or colleagues who support me. The only person they contacted was the person that my complaints were about: the principal. His word was sacrosanct. That's not a fair and reasonable appeals process.

If you fail a TIP, you're treated like a criminal. In fact, it's called a disciplinary process. The principal calls you into their office. You then have 20 minutes to get out and report to the Department of Education head office until your appeal, if you have lodged one, is completed. In my case, it took the Department six months. In that time, I was made to sit alongside criminal teachers such as a couple of guys who were accused of sexual offences, and one who was accused of drug dealing. That was shattering to my self-esteem as well. The whole process is designed to break you.

I got a nasty letter from EPAC, saying that I had been dismissed and placed on a 'not to be employed' list. This means you can't teach at any school - public or private - in NSW. It is like a gestapo, police-style procedure. So, I organised a lawyer and took my case to the Industrial Relations Commission. Before I walked in door, the Department offered to take me off the 'not to be employed' list, but they didn't offer me my job back. I haggled over this, because once you're dismissed, your teacher accreditation is taken off you.

About three weeks ago, I wound up accepting an out-of-court settlement offer, which included monetary compensation. I received a letter saying I had resigned - rather than being sacked. I can now go back and look for a job. I still don't have accreditation, though. This basically means I'd be going back as a first-year teacher would. I would have to start all over again - ensure I accumulate professional development hours, and so on. It's pretty hard to do that if you're a 58-year-old teacher returning to the system with a cloud over you.

Kathy's story

I taught as a NSW government teacher for 35 years before a serial bully principal* made me disappear** from the school I dedicated myself to for half my life - 28 years.

I was a successful primary teacher, popular with the students, parents and all but a few executive staff members. Those few were the bullies; the principal, the deputy principal and the worst bully of them all, the head of admin (a secretary). The beginning of the end for me was when, after the bullying, harassment and lies became too much, I reported the principal to the Director of the local school network. The principal denied he'd done what I reported, and all but two of my complaints were deemed unsubstantiated. My witnesses were never interviewed.

I continued teaching despite this, because I was very passionate about my role and didn't want to desert my 200-plus students. Also, I needed to earn a living. I became very unwell as a result of trying to battle it out.

The principal saw an opportunity to prove I was no longer fit to teach and organised for me to attend a medical assessment. He wrote a fallacious report on my conduct and performance to inform the doctor.*** The complaints included that I hadn't told him what medication I was on. He was desperate to get an impressive list of 'sins' and repeated some for effect. He told my DoE injury management officer he'd discussed all the complaints with me. He hadn't discussed any of them.

The psychiatrist recommended that I be given six months away from work to recover, then be reassessed or medically retired. The DoE directed the doctor to make a decision and she recommended I be medically retired. I was too unwell to request a review of the decision.

I, just like the teachers who were dismissed for sexual misconduct, drug use and other breaches, was placed on the 'not to be employed' list. I wasn't informed that I couldn't do casual teaching until I was invited to teach workshops. The DoE organiser of the workshops had to break the demoralising news to me. She knew I was a great teacher - thus the invitation.

I recently obtained my files from the DoE and in it the injury management caseworker uses the principal's language to support the case for my medical retirement. There was corruption at every step. Whole pages of documents were redacted to protect others, presumably the bullies.

*I have met one of the principal's previous targets, who was suicidal and hospitalised after being relentlessly bullied by him. She is still very unwell and is agoraphobic. I have talked to several other female teachers who would attest to his misogynist, bullying behaviour at other schools.

**I use the word 'disappear' because the school community was not informed of my leaving until a year after I last actually taught there, and I had to request that they were informed.

***I have witness statements, photographic proof and survey results of eight teachers, including an assistant principal, who supported me. The witnesses were not interviewed.

† All names have been changed for legal reasons.

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  1. If anyone thinks there’s an executive teacher conspiracy at play in school staffing – much less that these same executive teachers have the time to pursue (hound) staff out of a job so as to be able to employ younger people – they’d do well to invest in an alfoil hat and stock up on food supplies in anticipation of the imminent alien invasion, or the return of Elvis… whichever comes first.

    • Unfortunately you are the delusional one my friend. You are very much outnumbered. Corrupt management practices must stop and we are here to tell you, it will.

    • Dear anonymous Mudgee High School Teacher,
      You obviously have been very fortunate not to experience bullying in your teaching job. Lucky you!
      Unfortunately too many teachers are targeted for one reason or another by bully leaders with far too much power who aren’t made accountable for code of conduct breaches. There are serious ramifications for targeted teachers. They are having their health damaged and their careers interrupted and often terminated. It’s not always the older more experienced teachers either. For example, the case of a targeted graduate seven weeks in the permanent job having his head teacher take a dislike to him. Instead of being supported they were harassed no matter what they did to satisfy the requirements of the head teache. By Term 4 he was placed on a Teacher Improvement Program and after the same head teacher failed him, escorted out of the school without having an opportunity to say goodbye to his student and colleagues. Term 1 2018 saw him sitting in a Department of Education office with no work to do whilst being investigated by the Education Performance and Conduct Directorate. He had his permanent position taken from him despite having earnt it with wonderful results at university and on practice sessions. He was told to apply for casual teaching and had to pay back his uni scholarship. And after all this appalling treatment he still wants to be a teacher. Shame on a system that allows such victimisation and bullying.

      • I have been subject to the same thing. Except i have been banned from teaching in DET schools, not given a sign off to apply in non DET schools and live in a country area where employment opportunities are limited. Do you have any advice on who to contact for support or seek compensation for disgraceful treatment by the DET.

        I have only recently been reading stories about other teachers experiencing similar treatment. The number of people who have suffered a similar fate and lack of support from federation has surprised me.


      • Mudgee High school teachers know full well what has happened there, false allegations against me and proven by police and a court, then they offered me a termination of employment with a court settlement. This entire NSW teaching is just so corrupt and dishonest and is endemic throughout, it’s jobs for the people in favour. The truth of what is happening needs to be made very public.

    • The whole of the Department of Education is complicit in the abuse of due process and procedure.

      Ten executives in a line from a HT right through to Mark Scott, The Minister, The NSW Ombudsman, NESA, The Public Services Commissioner and the NSWTF in this example presented to the Gonski Institute:


    • Mudgeehighschool

      What happened to the student that a Deputy DW held by the throat against a wall at MHS. Was it a conspiracy when the School Director moved him out of there and placed him at Gulgong HS??

      He couldn’t even get promoted in his own Region, had to leave Western Region because it was known he was a bully. As a result of his appointment at Tamworth High School there has been investigations conducted into his bullying behavior. A white-wash Evaluation undertaken by SPICE! A full school Review will need to take place.

      This former DP from MHS has taken a very productive THS and turned it into wastelands. He bullied every staff member who’s been there longer than him and especially male staff as he feels threatened by them. Not one staff promotion in his time as principal. HSC marks falling due to the stress being endured and the time wasted dealing with allegations. He’s not here for the students.

      EPAC are enablers which encourage Principals to bully and harass staff. This Principal even big notes to other principals about how many cases are currently with EPAC. The other principals in Tamworth can’t tolerate him. There have been many good teachers damaged and broken by incompetent Principals and also by god-like EPAC who don’t have to answer to anyone.

      If there was to be a Royal Inquest into the operations of EPAC the compensation would be huge. Many Principals and School Directors would also need to be very worried.

      So mudgeehighschool if you have got rid of your bullying senior executive you are very fortunate but you are only one school, but you need to wake up because bullying is rife. It concerns me that you speak as if it does not occur. Maybe you need to reflect on your practices especially if you are an executive.

      • Hi Somruthai. Please find me on FB Kerrina Laraine Swords (Alias Kathy from the story) Would love to talk with you.

    • mudgeehighschool – you are the problem!

      • Hi Tom Kerrina from Bullied Teachers Support Network. I’m Kathy in the article. No need for anonymity as I was medically retired. Please contact me via FB Kerrina Laraine Swords We need to talk.

    • wow ive seen it first hand. looks like you need alfoil lol

      • Would you like to be a bit more explicit about the needing alfoil? If you’re meaning we need protection that’s so true. We unfortunately don’t get it from the NSW Dept of Education nor the NSW Teachers Federation. Federation has made too many deals with the department and is unable and uninterested in doing much more than assisting with letter writing if your lucky.

      • Hi I am Kathy from the article. If you are reading this article because you are experiencing bullying abuse in any educational institution in Australia please consider joining the Australian Teachers Support Group (established 2017) We have a secure FB group iand support each other during the abuse and in the aftermath. To join go to bit.ly/JoinATSG or contact admin [email protected]

  2. Unfortunately, this issue is repeated across other States and Territories all across Australia. The issue is we are seeing people promoted on how well they can self-promote themselves and prove that they can be more efficient with financial issues and with productivity than how they can manage people. School staffrooms are becoming more like school playgrounds. How do we teach kids not to bully others when we, as teachers and administrators, condone it amongst staff? Teachers should be able to voice an opinion and be able to work professionally without threat of performance management plans, which are often designed to humiliate and denigrate people who are, in the majority of circumstances, extremely capable teachers. I’m glad Queensland has not made the decision to wholly go with autonomous schools, as principals are already given too much power to make decisions on people’s livelihoods. Start promoting excellent managers not dictatorial ladder-climbers.

    • Well said William Brown. You have a good insight into the bullying of teachers. Your most important point being – How do we teach kids not to bully others when we, as teachers and administrators, condone it amongst staff?

    • Hi William, Kerrina here from Bullied Teachers Support Network Australia.
      Would love to have a chat with you. Please pm me at FB Kerrin Laraine Swords
      I’m Kathy from the article. Don’t need an alias as I was medically retired.

    • What about teachers who incessantly bully students? I know of a young girl being bullied constantly by a female teacher, she’s belittled in front of the class, told her work is ‘shit’ in front of the class? Now you may think this is a problem child – not at all! She is loved by her other teachers. It’s just this one female teacher who is downright nasty. This young girl is going through a very hard time at the moment and this teacher knows it so I can only assume this teacher has a cruel streak and just wants to see how far she can push this child. The young girl’s father has abandoned the family and left the wife and 4 children to fend for themselves. So, as you can see, there’s a lot of turmoil going on in the life of this child. She is a kind young gir, always ready to help others. However, I fear this denigrating her and making her feel small in front of the class is doing irreparable damage to her.

  3. I’m currently experiencing an investigation for sexual misconduct. As a result of being placed on the Not To Be Employed (NTBE) list, I have been unemployed for up to four months, as well as suicidal, anxious and have developed a low self esteem. I know that my situation was a set up and collusion from a colleague and our new principal but no matter my innocence or defence, I have no leg to stand on. The allegations for sexual misconduct are from the serious to down right stupid (Note: The person typing the letter must’ve read the allegations and was probably like, ‘what, really? That’s sexual misconduct??!!’)

    To check my mental health as well as professional situation, I have created a team of up to nine professionals (lawyers, doctors and teachers), who have read the allegations, and they too were dumb founded, and have asked questions, ‘why hasn’t anybody had a meeting with you about this at low level?’. Thankfully my teacher wife, and colleagues have rallied around me because they know that the principal is a bully. BUT district office have been covering up his actions… I’m cross and furious that this rubbish is allowed to happen…

    • I ve been through a similar thing. i want to take legal action against the principal or DET so i can close the issue and get on with my life. Do you know who I could contact. Thanks Brad

      • Adams Wilson are very good in this field. They have successfully represented a number of teachers against the DoE.
        I am dealing with a principal in a Sydney HS that specialises in music where bullying amongst the staff is quite normal. Last year a staff member (refugee) was discriminated against on the basis of race, gender and nationality but she is dependent on her job with the DoE so is too scared to speak up or take the case to the Human Rights commission.

        • Would like to be in touch with Adams Wilson. Please email as below:

          • satheesan pacha

            Hi Toh.. Are you still working with DoE? I have resigned from DoE after being bullied. I was silenced by threatening TIP etc…
            now I am writing a book memoir and almost finishing stage.
            I would like to comment about the ill-educated executive staff in the school. if anyone can contribute experience would be appriciated.

        • Agree! Discrimination is rife and it needs to be addressed.

    • Cross and furious and no doubt in shock about the accusations. Some teachers aren’t even informed about what they are accused of doing The group I co founded is now called the Australian Teachers Support Group. Check it out on FB. Teachers supporting teachers who’ve been appallingly treated. May add to your support network Kerrina

  4. Demoralised and jaded

    The complaints system is a serious concern. It needs to be handled by an external organisation. There needs to be a royal commission into DEC management, leadership and the ongoing bullying of staff. The DEC, being a government organisation, has got to be one of the only organisations that tolerates, condones and supports people not on their work, skills and capabilities. Rather their lies, corruption and bullying. Numerous staff from top to bottom, assistants, admin, teachers, deputies, principals and directors are inept at their job but instead of being removed are supported. What other business would promoted inept leaders or staff?

    • I totally agree with you. My friend recently went through complaint process because his principal is a bully who is continuously undermining his capability of teaching and professionalism since he joined the school beginning of last year. He felt self -doubt and miserable at work. But the director investigation towards his complaint is completely biased to principal, the system gives principals so much power that some principals instead of creating a safe, supportive environment for all teachers, they use it to silence voice from teachers. I’m very concerned about public system, how can I trust a school whose senior management are bullies will be truly against bullying culture and protecting students??

  5. The bullies are known
    It is acknowledged and confirmed they operate in a house of darkness .
    We need to continue on the lighted path and not fall into their disdainful lair.
    Fear them not; learn their ways, tactics , strategies, target learn all about them and their personal lives and serve the love back when your ready,
    They cannot muzzle Truth!

  6. Lucky for me, I am a temp teacher and can walk anytime. I have taught for twenty years and never had a problem. Now I have a head of department who is after me big time. The federation is hopeless and will do nothing to stop her. She has form, nine temps in five years. I will hang out to end of term and then run. My teaching and classroom management are fine. I really feel bad for those permanent members of staff stuck in this nightmare.

  7. Utterly disturbed by greedy directors

    The DoE management are utterly corrupt – and I’m specifically referencing morality as to where their corruption extends. I have been bullied by Directors for blowing the whistle on a colleague. As a result I have been blacklisted from merit selection. I have taken legal action and I am suing those who have bullied me. Stand up for yourselves. Don’t be the hunted….be the hunters. Its time 4 Corners got off it’s backside and did a story on the “North Korea” of education – the DoE. And let me give a kick to our useless union too. The NSWTF is complicit in the decline of standards and behaviour of management. Directors are left unchecked to do their worst. In Fact, the NSWTF actively support those principals who bully. LEADERSHIP – real leadership is the major problem. Real ethical and altruistic leadership has been replaced by self interested/self important bureaucrats. Most principals and ALL Directors are appointed on their ability to ingratiate themselves with those in power…those who bask in the sunshine of egoism. What an utter mess and what a disgraceful situation Public Education finds itself in. It is being cannibalised by those who seek power and privilege over dedication and service to others. I cry for what was once a great system of education.

    • To the author of ‘Utterly disturbed by greedy directors (March 17, 2019 at 12:47 pm)’
      I am desperate to find legal aide but cannot find someone with experience in workcover bullying/victimisation cases within the DOE. Can you pls recommend a legal firm or individual who could help me take on my principal (department and possibly the federation also)???

      • EPAC has just been reviewed by a QC. The report is due in a few days. I hope for the best.

      • Hi Kerrina Swing reds from Bullied Teachers Support Network Australia. I’m wondering if you are still being bullied in your job as a teacher? Our group exists to support, share info, celebrate wins etc. If you wish to join pm me on FB Kerrina Laraine Swords. I’m Kathy in the article. No need for anonymity. I was medically retired.

        • Hi Kerrina going through this now what can I do and where can I get help my doctors have said I am close to having ptsd from a principal and assistant principal treatment of me. What do I do?

          • Would you like to be a bit more explicit about the needing alfoil? If you’re meaning we need protection that’s so true. We unfortunately don’t get it from the NSW Dept of Education nor the NSW Teachers Federation. Federation has made too many deals with the department and is unable and uninterested in doing much more than assisting with letter writing if your lucky.

    • Yes yes yes! I am going to learn this by heart! This should be painted in huge letters on the Sydney opera House! I thought I was the only one…??

    • How are you going with suing? I’m ready to start my case and am interested in your progress

  8. I agree that some Principals can be bullies but in my mind it is the EPAC Unit who are the major bullies. They conduct a secretive process that is persecutory and longwinded – designed to break you down over time. They lack procedural fairness in that the first complaint is regarded as the “truth” no matter what and there is never any exoneration or apology for wrongful persecution. A select few witnesses are interviewed by EPAC staff with an agenda so that statements tend to fit what result is sought. Many good people have been callously destroyed by these unfair processes. Most DoE senior management simply want the problem to “go away” in the quickest and cheapest manner. They have absolutely no investment in the truth of the matter. Their zealous edict is “Thou shall keep it out of the papers”.

  9. Francina Williams

    I’m an Sao going through all this bullying and harassment I put up with it for 3 years and then took an overdose as I just could not cope any longer unfortunately it didn’t work if it did I wouldn’t have to live with the trauma everyday my bullies were the principal and 2 teaching staff I worked with in a meeting the principal stood up and banged on the desk I thought she was going to hit me and said she did not want me there at the school I was told I did not fit in as I was not blind was given stupid tasks to do not included in things happening in the area where I was working told I wasn’t keeping areas clean when I was they even had to wait for me to finish tidying an area to have the meeting I was in tears everyday coming home and throwing up before and after school even now I find it hard to even enter a school I have depression anxiety PTSD and constantly think I’m not worth anything and I might as well not be here. I’ve tried the union the only help I got was getting me Workcover which only lasted for 2 years so now I can’t work in a school environment and am to scared to work anywhere in case it happens again as I know next time I will certainly end my life. When will the government help the victims there are so many of us but no help

  10. I have been subject to the same thing. Except i have been banned from teaching in DET schools, not given a sign off to apply in non DET schools and live in a country area where employment opportunities are limited. Do you have any advice on who to contact for support or seek compensation for disgraceful treatment by the DET.

    I have only recently been reading stories about other teachers experiencing similar treatment. The number of people who have suffered a similar fate and lack of support from federation has surprised me.


  11. Reading all these comments is heart breaking to see so many lives being destroyed and destroyed with absolute disregard with no accountability or justice. Great R U Okay day?…lip service, because it appears that no one is OKAY and no one really cares. I am so sorry and hope you have love ones around you all and wonderful friends that know the good people you all are.

    • Thanks Liz for believing these poor teachers. I’ve had years of cancer treatment and I still get bullied. Put out in the playground in extreme heat, till my arm swelled up like a ballon from Lymphodema. When you are a permanent teacher, the principal can’t make you jump through hoops, but if you are on a yearly contract, you will do anything to keep your job another year, and principals know this and use them a accordingly.
      But what to do with those permanent senior teachers? We will just bully them till they break and hopefully they’ll leave, and they’ll look like they couldn’t cope!
      True story……

  12. Wow.So many terrible stories of bad behaviour in schools against teachers and support staff.I have some experience in these matters and would love to offer genuine support to such victims.I am a Clinical Counsellor,Mediator/Disputes Resolution Practitioner and a former Teacher.I have seen this ill treatment of dedicated staff in our schools and I believe I can now provide worthwhile support and hope for your situation.
    Happy to discuss.I have just set up a website to promote such service.I do not wish to use this forum as an advertising platform for myself but would welcome contact if anybody wants to reach out.

  13. The cause of all of these cases is Local Schools Local Decisions, probably the worst thing to happen in NSW in the history of education. Not only has it given too much power to school executive, it has allowed executive staff to be appointed without the necessary experience to run schools efficiently. So we now have a double whammy – poor executive with the power to make poor decisions. Most teachers I talk to tell the same story: just be quiet and do as you’re told while we give jobs to people for all the wrong reasons, and make ridiculous decisions for all the wrong reasons … and with nil accountability. I know the system we had before was not perfect, and there has always been teachers who are bullies, but now it’s a disease that is killing our schools.

  14. Not To Be Employed list sounds like some ‘Blacklist’ out of the times of the cold war. It is amazing that it is legal to have such blacklist these days, especially since it is open to abuse by the bureaucrats since there is no independent oversight. And Tony’s story demonstrates that those powers are abused. Imagine we would use those list with politicians, every time they are elected out of office they could not work as politician anymore. Ever! Also imagine any office worker that loses their job due to performance issues could never work in any office again and not even set food into any office again. So why is that ok with Teachers? The usefulness of such a list seems also very questionable. Any child abuse is dealt with by the working with children check and professional misconduct is dealt with by the loss of NESA accreditation. So why have such a ridiculous list?

  15. This is currently happening to me at Dulwigh High School of Visual Arts and Design in Sydney and I have no where to turn.

  16. My wife is a teacher and I have seen this first hand and what she has gone through. 18 year, no compilations now on a TIP program and was not informed that she was being reviewed.
    Some principals and executive members are using the TIP program for their CV and to advance their careers. Principals are taking the words of there executive members with no cross checks or accountability. Executive members are giving too much power.
    It has allowed executive staff to report to the principal on performances and make up things up that are not true to remove teachers from the school that executive don’t get on with or see as a
    treat to their career. My wife is a quiet teacher just does her job and doesn’t get into the bullshit discussion on other teachers. I can ensure you, she has been bullied into the program.
    If this bulling continues there no good teachers left.

  17. I saw this in NSW several years ago. A certain HT at a high school had several complaints put in against him for bullying – he was a horrid, petty man and everything had to go his way. Heaven help you if you had a difference of opinion. He even used to put himself in charge of all exams and hide them so teachers couldn’t see them until exam day because he had so much trust in his staff. It’s no surprise to anybody that he put highly specific, obscure questions in that only his class had studied so all other students were disadvantaged. Anyway, the school dropped all complaints until one teacher heavily pushed it. He was FINALLY investigated and that duty was given to a deputy from a neighbouring school. That deputy refused to investigate a single thing and despite many attempts by the complainant to follow through the complaint was dropped. The union had absolutely no interest. The department had absolutely no interest. I still get messages from staff YEARS later informing me of the awful things he continues to do. Apparently now, after more than ten years, something is finally being done as the number of and nature of complaints has gotten too hectic.

  18. So many stories, and I am one of them. Is there someone to talk to in South Australia?

  19. Is it possible for someone to get back to me please. I posted a comment late last night but cannot seem to find it.

  20. I posted late last night but for some reason cannot find my post?

    Anyways I am currently on WC (Insurance company have taken full liability) l I was placed in a nasty toxic environment. The evil Principal and her bestie executives picked, harassed, bullied, discriminated against, and found ways to disrespect me by creating falsified and fake allegations against me. I am a BT beginning teacher and am permanent. I made contact throughout 2020 and early 2021 to seek support from DoE, Teachers Federation and even the scholarship team but to no avail. It seems they support the bullies and cover their arses. The only support I have is my GP, Psychologist, Psychiatrist and family and friends they are all amazing. I cannot believe how the DoE look down on you and treat you like you have committed a crime. Disgusting. They are so fake its unreal and cover every angle and get away with murder. I was told my Principal stole money from the DoE years back has had sexual relations with people she employs and I witnessed the daily/ weekly COD it breeches and breaks but yet enforces on employees as sees fit. How and why does this continue to happen. I was bullied, harassed and intimidated along with many other things I went through and yet when I challenged them and stood up for myself a week later I had 5 of the 7 standards placed on me – performance concerns lol for the most ridiculous reasons. I was shocked mind you was told weekly to come off of my full time class ohhh don’t worry they found a way to do that and lied. Placed in another position at same school and had a 4 – week support plan thrown on me. (Not an Improvement plan). Told constantly holds the key to my career and can do what ever it likes as the boss of the school. I challenged them as the demands were beyond BS. I know and knew it was all due to standing up for myself even my fed rep got in an argument with the boss and said it was ridiculous. Apparently the boss is known in the DoE for the drama she causes but yet still has a job what a joke!
    I am needing a few questions answered and am seeking support. Kerrina has already reached out. Thank you.
    I need to know as I have been told numerous things and am confused big time… Seeing the insurance company took full liability for my issues and it wasn’t an improvement plan is the ball in my court and I can do something about it? Can the performance concerns be dealt with and go away.? I am needing help as I was told to put a formal complaint in about the boss and her AP’s but do not know where to start? I documented everything from the beginning and have written an 18 page statement about what happened to me. I was told by my GP to take this as far as I can and he will support me. I was told to contact the the Anti Discrimination, Racial Discrimination and Equal opportunity about the boss. I made contact with a solicitor on Friday and was told they should be able to help if I am at a certain capacity due to my mental health issues but they cannot help with the Equal opportunity. I did not want to fight this I only wanted this to go away and get my name back and start fresh at another school but told my performance concerns will follow me is this true?? but it seems after reading all the comments from the page last night and talking to others who have been bullied it is very hard. Does anyone know of a law firm that can help me. I want to fight this all the way as I want help others as well. I still cant believe the DoE from the top level cover their arses and protect the bullies. Please help.

  21. Happens to Principals too. My wife recently went through it. The Deputy rounded up several people and they all lodged complaints together. Completely fabricated – but due to the volume an external investigator was assigned. We were fortunante in that my wife was able to produce enough evidence to clear her name and show just how toxic the culture was. She received no help from the TF, her Director, her PSL, nobody! She was removed from the school for her own ‘wellbeing’ and literally no-one spoke to her until after the in vestigation had concluded. But yeah, the system is full of people who have no problem with bullying, lying, and generally treating collegues like dirt. The ssocial media posts were especialy nasty. My wife used to be extremely passionate about getting the best outcome for the kids. Now, she is defeated, receiving councelling, and has no drive at all.

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