Lifestyle

Tweed teachers out on strike

Teachers gathered at Twin Towns Services Club to discuss concerns over principals being handed more budget powers.
Teachers gathered at Twin Towns Services Club to discuss concerns over principals being handed more budget powers.

A MURWILLUMBAH teacher's aide has highlighted risks associated with the Local Schools Local Decisions policy being introduced by the government.

Teachers across the Tweed joined NSW strike action, striking for 24 hours on Wednesday.

More than 100 teachers gathered at Twin Towns Services Club today to discuss the policy which will give principals more power over school budgets.

The teacher's aide said there were both positives and negatives.

"Principals do have a more intimate knowledge of their staff and students than the department," she said.

"But, for example, if a principal is a sports fanatic he or she might make budget decisions based on that at the cost of the music program."

She said "things can go wrong" when responsibility is placed in the hands of people who do not have expertise in necessary areas.

Vice president of the NSW Teachers Federation Tim Mulroy said a Putting Students First Charter had been launched by the federation in response to the government's intentions.

Mr Mulroy, who is also a special education teacher at Murwillumbah High School, blamed the state treasury not education department for the perceived threat.

"They plan on using Naplan results to decide on mental health funding for schools," he said, which attracted murmurs from the Twin Towns gathering.

"Rather than the individual school's needs, which is nothing more than an accounting device to deliver savings required by treasury."

He said Education Minister Adrian Piccoli had refused to sign the federation's charter.

"We want the government to focus on student needs, rather than abstract concepts such as principal autonomy."

One teacher asked how retirement would affect a trend within the workforce toward casualisation.

Mr Mulroy said the Local Decisions policy would "inevitably" lead to more casualisation.

"The fear for principals, the element of this I would find the most daunting, would be the profession becoming more casual."

Another teacher asked how much the industrial action would focus on salary improvement.

Mr Mulroy said a salary-cap of 2.5% had been imposed by the government.

"Our ability to fight a salary campaign is inhibited by industrial law.

"I would encourage all teachers to write to their local members: Mr Page in Ballina, Mr Provest in Tweed and Mr George in Lismore."

Mr Piccoli stressed that funding to public education was not being reduced.

"Under Local Schools, Local Decisions schools and their communities will have more say over the best staffing mix to meet student needs within an enhanced school budget," he said.

 "The class size policy remains and is included in the current staffing agreement.

"We have repeatedly told the Executive of the Federation and I am on the record publicly that the class size policy remains the same."

 

What they want

WORD for word, the charter the NSW Teachers Federation wishes Mr Piccoli and Premier Barry O'Farrell to sign:

The NSW Government guarantees that for the life of our first term in government, when making any changes to the NSW education system, we will always put students first.  In particular we guarantee:

- Class sizes will not be increased;

- Funds for public education will not be reduced in real terms;

- There will be no overall decrease in the level of permanent teaching positions;

- The current harmonious award system will be maintained;

- There will be no decrease in the level of specialist teaching positions in our schools;

- School executive structures will continue to be determined by curriculum need and the number of students at each school;

- Key decisions at the school level will be made co-operatively by principals, teachers and parents.

Topics:  strike, teachers



Surfer's shark tale: 'That's when it's come straight at me'

Pictured at Kingscliff this morning Rodney Clark has survived a Great White encounter.

"I lost sight of my son because a wave hit him"

Sleeping rough for Fred's Place

ALL RUGGED UP: From left, Lenny McLennan, Jason McDonald, Gerard Robinson, Gordon Rhodes and Stuart Burrows prepare for Fred's Place Sleep Out.

Tweed locals show support for homeless by sleeping outside in boxes.

Latest deals and offers

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Babylon 5's Jerry Doyle has died

Jerry Doyle has died from unknown causes at the age of 60

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started