Karen Shackell and Peter Watt with kids from Possums Pre-School at Condong - Aurora, Seth, Lillian, Kai, Fergus, Tobias, Makay’lah.
Karen Shackell and Peter Watt with kids from Possums Pre-School at Condong - Aurora, Seth, Lillian, Kai, Fergus, Tobias, Makay’lah. Scott Powick

Teachers' pay inequality dispute

TEACHERS in pre-schools across the Tweed and in other parts of New South Wales yesterday wore blue as did many of the their pupils in a protest highlighting the low pay compared with that of teachers in primary schools.

The day was declared “Blue Day” at many pre-schools with teachers saying they wanted to show how “blue” they were about their unequal pay rate treatment.

At Possums Community Pre-school at Condong the three teachers wore blue as did most of the children, a move the pre-school’s director Karen Shackell said showed the support of parents for their cause.

“Pre-school teachers’ wages can be up to 20% less than teachers working in primary school,” she said.

“We can have the same qualifications, the same level of education, but still our pay can be 20% less.”

Miss Shackell said the protest was “about making everybody aware of how unequal it is. It’s to send a message we want to be taken seriously in our roles,” she said.

“We know through research the first five years in a child’s life is paramount to future learning.”

Miss Shackell said the wages of NSW Community Pre-School teachers were funded through the state Department of Community Services, not by the Education Department.

“Its a big issue because there’s no incentive for early childhood teachers to gain that qualification or remain in the industry,” she said.



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