Shadow Education Minister Peter Rundle has questioned the new Education Minister for failing in his responsibility to ensure a teacher was in front of every class at the start of Term One.
“With more than 50 teacher vacancies advertised, and anecdotal evidence of merged classrooms to make up for a lack of staff, it is clear this Minister has failed to jump the first hurdle,” Mr Rundle said.
“Not only are teacher numbers down, there are also 24 principal positions advertised, nine of those vacancies are in regional areas and are possibly left without a permanent principal.
This creates instability with so many leadership positions not yet confirmed.
“Instability as such will disadvantage students and cause further disruptions to staffing at these schools.
“Sending under-qualified teachers into classrooms to fill staff vacancies is most likely to cause more problems.”
Mr Rundle said the State School Teachers’ Union of WA’s review into the State’s education system, led by former Premier Dr Carmen Lawrence, would clearly demonstrate the fundamental issues in WA’s schools.
“I welcome the review panel visiting regional centres as a significant part of this consultation process,” Mr Rundle said.
“The wider issues impacting regional teachers and principals, particularly housing as a critical barrier to employment in some areas, will be brought into the spotlight under this review. There is no doubt that a lack of available and reasonable housing for education staff is negatively impacting education outcomes for regional students.
Mr Rundle said the cracks left by the former Education Minister were widening as the new Minister tried to paper over them.
“Unfortunately, no amount of cheerful media statements will cover for the current crisis which was forecast by the union and highlighted by the Opposition in the past few years.”