The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles!


The Kuranda District State College story.

The Kuranda District State College story seems to be a story of trust - and negligence.

When you apply to work for a government department, you trust your health and your professional reputation to the department - your employers.

This is the story of Nathan Sutherland - a teacher who trusted his health and his professional reputation to the Queensland Department of Education.

Nathan Sutherland had always wanted to be a teacher.

Nathan Sutherland grew up in a family of eight children.

Nathan was the oldest child.

By the time Nathan was ten, his heart was set on becoming a primary school teacher.

In 1998 Nathan graduated from Deakin University (Burwood).

In 1999 he began his teaching career.

In 2004 Nathan and his wife (a registered nurse) moved to the Kimberley in West Australia to gain experience working in a remote area of Australia.



In West Australia Nathan was recognised for his contribution to the profession -

a) He was awarded a prize in the Community PALS program for running a free Sunday Fitness and Recreation Program for children. Approximately 120 children attended Nathan's free program each week.

b) He won a final place in the Premier's Teacher of the Year Award.


Then, in 2011, Nathan Sutherland moved from West Australia to Far North Queensland - to Kuranda District State College.

In 2011 Nathan, his wife and their three young sons re-located to Kuranda, near Cairns in Far North Queensland.

And Nathan began teaching at Kuranda District State College.

In addition to his grade 6 classroom teaching, Nathan began to design and implement some extra-curricular programs for the students and the community -

 * Nathan coordinated student council lunchtime meetings, working with the school captains.

He attended a leadership camp and followed-up matters raised at the lunchtime meetings.

This took 2-3 hours each week.

 * Nathan coordinated an anti-bullying program designed and implemented by the students.

This took 2-3 hours each week.

 * Nathan ran a morning fitness program "Run Around Australia" which involved students running laps of the school oval 3 mornings each week, with progress plotted on an Australian map.

This took 6-7 hours each week.

 * Nathan ran a regular lunchtime program involving children playing board games, cards and lateral and logic thinking puzzles.

For 4 lunchtimes each week Nathan was required to remain in his Secondary Campus classroom, as a group of 4-5 grade 6 children use thee room as a "safe haven" because they feel uncomfortable / unsafe in the school grounds with older teenagers.

This took 3-4 hours each week.

 * Nathan ran a program involving the primary camps students recycling/reducing/reusing food and general classroom waste. Vegetable gardens were part of this program.

 * Nathan supported the student council with their 'K-Mag' initiative. 

'K-Mag' is an 8-page student magazine published twice each term. 12 editions had been published in the past two years.

This took 6 hours per edition.

 * Leading up to the 2013 NAPLAN assessment tasks, Nathan ran 8 after school tuition sessions involving many parents, covering writing techniques, reading comprehension and numeracy.

This took 16 hours.

 * Every Monday morning Nathan set up the undercover area for school assembly, including the P.A. system, stage and seating.

This took half an hour each week.

 * Nathan organised a Family Fun Night.

This was a night for families to participate in fun and challenging numeracy based challenges. Approximately 60 people attended this event.

 * During the Christmas and other school holidays Nathan spent many days line-marking the school playground.

Nathan painted 10 handball courts and a large chessboard.

This took 60-70 hours.

 * Nathan coordinated a whole-school art competition, including promotion, collection, judging, prize purchase and returning art pieces.

This took 4 hours.

 * Nathan designed and introduced a program called 'The Mad Minute' throughout the school. The program aims to enhance students' instant recall of number facts. The program involves the 4 processes and concludes each year with a whole-school competition.

This is ongoing.

 * Every Friday Nathan coached tennis for 15-20 students free of charge.

 This took 2 hours a week.

 * Every Saturday morning from 8.00am, Nathan ran a free of charge cricket clinic for 5-10 year olds at the local recreational reserve.

This took 2 hours per week.

 * Nathan organised an annual chess competition (linked to lunchtime activities). Results were recorded and children advanced through to the finals to find the school's Chess Champion.

This took one hour per week.

 * From the beginning of 2012 Nathan coordinated 5 school discos raising approximately $5000 for Student Council.

This took 30-40 hours.

 * Nathan initiated an 'open classroom' involving many parents and grandparents working with children for 1-2 hrs each week, gardening, cooking and solving logic and lateral puzzles.

This took 1-2 hours per week to set up and source ingredients - with a cost to Nathan of $20-$30 each session.


2013 : Nathan was nominated for a Queensland award.

In 2013 Nathan was nominated for Queensland's Positive Teacher of the Year Awards.

But during 2013 Nathan allegedly experienced / witnessed several inappropriate workplace incidents.

Unfortunately, during 2013 Nathan allegedly experienced and/or witnessed several incidents of unprofessional conduct in his workplace - bullying, workplace bullying, inappropriate comments, breaches of confidentiality and inappropriate use of NAPLAN results.

These workplace experiences allegedly caused Nathan to take leave and seek medical support.

Nathan was referred to a clinical psychologist and diagnosed as having severe levels of stress, depression and anxiety.

Nathan's doctor and his clinical psychologist both allegedly agreed that an external Return to Work (RTW) coordinator was needed because Nathan's illness had been caused by the actions of KDSC administrators.

Nathan's medical certificates allegedly clearly stated that he required the opportunity to discuss and resolve the concerns that had contributed to his work related stress before he would be able to resume teaching.

The KDSC Rehabilitation and Return To Work Coordinator, the KDSC Head of Junior School and KDSC Acting Principal Mr H all allegedly advised Nathen that he was entitled to an external RTW coordinator.

But KDSC principal, Mr T, allegedly attempted to coordinate Nathan's RTW Plan without addressing any of the issues that had caused his illness.

Principal Mr T's RTW plan for Nathan was allegedly designed without having received a signed 'Teacher Capabilities Checklist'.

Nathan's doctor allegedly refused to sign Principal Mr T's RTW Plan for Nathan because he had not been consulted concerning the plan and he did not agree with the plan.

A signed 'Medical Authority Form' was not issued.

KDSC Principal Mr T allegedly advised Nathan that he was not entitled to an external RTW Coordinator until his WorkCover claim had been approved.


Dealing with the worry of Principal Mr T's RTW plan greatly exacerbated Nathan's mental health condition.

14 January 2014 : WorkCover ask the Department of Education Ethical Standards Unit to investigate Nathan's complaint.

Kate Davey, Principal Human Resources Consultant, FNQ Regional Office, advised Nathan that his WorkCover complaint had been referred to the Department of Education's Ethical Standards Unit (ESU).


The Department of Education ESU were going to conduct their own investigation.


Nathan asked Kate Davey for the contact details of the Department of Education ESU and some details of their investigation.

Kate Davey allegedly refused to provide Nathan with this information because it was "confidential".


The Department of Education ESU conducted their investigation during the 2013-2014 Christmas holiday period.

They did not contact Nathan during their investigaation.

Nathan had witness statements and contact details of parents who allegedly describe incidents of bullying and inappropriate comments made by a KDSC admistrator to themselves and their children. 

None of the twelve witnesses that had been included in Nathan's WorkCover submission were contacted by the ESU during their investigaation.


The "Employers Response to WorkCover" which was submitted to the ESU allegedly -

 * ignored or misrepresented allegations that Nathan had made,

 * contained several glaring contradictions and included false and / or misleading statements.

 * drew conclusions without consideration of the facts

 * and was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.


The Department of Education ESU provided their investigation findings to WorkCover.


Based on the findings of the Department of Education ESU investigation, WorkCover concluded that the school administration had taken 'Reasonable Management Action' and that 'no misconduct had occurred'.



This WorkCover finding meant that Nathan was not entitled to an external RTW co-ordinator.

22 October 2014 : The Kuranda community speak to Chanel 7 TV news reporter Mackenzie Lion.

About thirty members of the Kuranda community gathered under a tree in the middle of Kuranda at lunchtime on Wednesday 22 October 2014.

They were being interviewed by Mackenzie Lion, a Chanel 7 News reporter.

They told the Mackenzie Lion how much they liked Nathan Sutherland as a teacher.

They said how well Nathan fit in their community.

They said that they really wanted Nathan to be a teacher at their school.

The segment was shown on the Chanel 7 local news that evening.

3 November 2014 : the QTU seem to have been looking at this website.

At 15.37.24 somebody using was reading The Kuranda Story.

At 15.38.19 They followed the link to the Kuranda Community website.

At 15.42.03 They came back to The Kuranda Story.

At 15.43.04 they looked at the home page of this website.

At 15.43.46 They looked at The QTU page of this website.

4 November 2014 : the QTU - and the QTU solicitors - seem to visit this website again.

At 11.13.58 somebody using was looking at The Kuranda Story.

At 11.14.16 they looked at The QTU.

At 11.17.12 they looked at The Indooroopilly Story.

At 11.18.30 they looked at The Whitfield Story.


At 15.37.48 they returned to look at The Kuranda Story.

At 15.44.26 they looked at The Kuranda Story again.

At 15.50.42 they looked at The Kuranda Story again.

At 15.51.19 they looked at the home page of this website.


Then at 16.06.50 somebody who seems to be from TressCox, the QTU lawyers, was looking at the home page of this website.

At 16.07.30 they looked at The QTU page of this website.

At 16.09.30 they looked at The Kuranda Story.

At 16.11.05 they looked at The QTU page of the website.

At 16.12.16 they looked at The Kuranda Story.


At 16.44.36 they returned to look at the home page of this website, The QTU page and The Kuranda Story.

At 16.53.36 they looked at the home page of the website.

At 16.58.28 they looked at Help Robina.

At 16.59.59 they looked at the home page of the website.


At 17. 23.33 they returned to look at The QTU page of the website and Get Legal Advice.

At 17.44.09 they looked at The QTU page of the Website.

At 17.44.20 they looked at Get legal Advice.

At 17.45.34 they looked at Help Robina.

At 17.45.35 they looked at The QTU page of this website.

At 17.48.32 they looked at Get Legal Advice.

5 November 2014 : the QTU look at the website again, a second Kuranda teacher contacts me and the Tactical Response Squad arrive.

At 12.34.52 somebody using was looking at The Kuranda Story.

At 12.35.29 they were looking at WorkCover Queensland.

At 12.37.56 they were looking at The Investigations.

At 12.40.59 they were looking at Get Legal Advice.

At 12.43.57 they were looking at The Secret Files on You.


At 12.45pm I received a long email from a second Kuranda District State College teacher.

This second KDSC teacher also alleges that he was driven out of work at the school.

He further alleges that on 17 October 2014 the Queensland Department of Education sent two officers of the Queensland Police Tactical Response Squad around to his home because they were concerned that he was about to commit suicide.


At 16.37.11 the person using returned to look at The Kuranda Story.

At 16.37.17 they looked at The Remote Areas.

At 16.38.41 they looked at The Pay.

At 16.40.02 they looked at Letters to the Minister.


At 17.13.55 the person who seems to be from TressCox - the QTU solicitors - looked at the home page of this website.

At 17.28 TressCox emailed a letter to me.

7 November 2014 : TressCox  - the QTU lawyers - write to me again.

At 01.18 I emailed TressCox in response to their letter of the previous day.



At 08.41.51 the person who seems to be from TressCox - the QTU solicitors - looked at the home page of this website.

At 08.44.34 They looked at The Kuranda Story.

At 08.45.56 they looked at the tlink to the KDSC Community website.



At 11.20 am TressCox - the QTU solicitors -  emailed me, asking me to disregard their earlier letter to me.

Nathan Sutherland and the Kuranda community are trying to contact Jim Watterson, the Queensland Director-General of Education.

Mr Watterston, please don't read one of those departmental 'briefings' on Nathan Sutherland's story.

We all know that those departmental briefings are written by people who have a conflict of interest in the situation.

Nathan Sutherland is trying to contact you :

The wonderful Kuranda community are trying to contact you : 



Mr Watterston, many members of the Kuranda community have written to you about this situation.


Mr Watterston, please contact Nathan Sutherland directly.



Find out what has really been going on at Kuranda District State College!

And tell your department that stressing good teachers, making them ill and then driving them out of work is NOT your departmental policy! 


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