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Teachers to strike

Wednesday, 16th May, 2012

By Erica Visser

Schools will be disrupted on Friday morning when teachers hold a two-hour stop work meeting to protest against a State Government overhaul of the education system.

The NSW Teachers Federation has been in dispute with the Government since last year over its ‘Local Schools, Local Decisions’ reforms, which would give principals the power to hire and fire.

Last week the Federation declared it would take industrial action if Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, could not alleviate fears over job security, incentive transfers, class sizes and salaries.

The Federation yesterday decided to hold meetings across the State at 9am on Friday when they will discuss further action.

NSW Teachers Federation President, Maurie Mulheron, accused the Government of introducing the reforms with “haste and secrecy”.

“This is the biggest restructure of NSW education in history. It will have a very serious impact on students and teachers and the resourcing of our public schools,” Mr Mulheron said.

“If allowed to proceed it will certainly mean the loss of permanent positions from schools. This will affect every principal, classroom teacher, executive teacher and specialist support teacher. 

“This can only mean that there will be a disastrous impact on students, with the inevitable outcome being increased class sizes and loss of curriculum offerings.”

Teachers Federation Western Region Organiser, Brett Bertalli, said that the reforms were bad news for teachers.

“Local Schools, Local Decisions is the mechanism designed to deliver the savings,” Mr Bertalli said.

“Its central purpose is to deregulate the staffing of schools to provide, over time, a cheaper workforce.

“To achieve this, LSLD aims to allow schools to replace permanent positions with temporary appointments, to cash-in or trade-off the positions of classrooms teachers, specialist teachers and executives and to replace the State-wide formula with a local staffing budget.”

But local MP John Williams said that teachers should not look at the changes in a negative light.

“The fact is that there’s been decisions made from State Government involving education reforms,” Mr Williams said.

“The Teachers Federation has chosen to try and see some sort of sinister motives in what’s been done, regardless of the fact that it is fairly well supported by schools and principals who can make their own decisions.”

Mr Williams said the reforms would be a positive in giving power back to individual schools.

“What Local Schools, Local Decisions is saying is that the principal of those schools can start making decisions about the maintenance that’s done on their building and they can actually engage local people; I mean the salaries pay for teachers, the school principals and on how they are going to structure their teacher support.

“This is about the best results for the students. Sometimes that gets forgotten.”

Local representatives of the Teachers Federation will meet with Mr Williams today to discuss their concerns. 

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