Kyogle teachers protest program
MORE than 20 Kyogle High School teachers walked off the job yesterday protesting a new pilot program imposed on them by the NSW Education Department.
They voted unanimously to condemn the National Partnerships Implementation Plan, which was put into action by the department to give principals greater autonomy over their budgets.
But teachers say it allows principals to divert funding from school staffing at their own discretion. They are also angry the program was forced on them, despite the clear majority of Kyogle High School union members voting against it.
Two-thirds of the school’s teachers attended the 15-minute strike, which started on the 9am bell.
Teachers hoped their limited action would draw attention to their concerns with as little disruption to students and classes as possible.
Kyogle High teachers’ union representative Lindy Ruangsri said the situation was unacceptable.
“Our students’ parents deserve an explanation on what this really means,” she said.
“We want them to understand we have the best interests of students at heart.”
Thirty schools will be selected to trial the plan, based on ‘the capacity and willingness of their school community to participate ... in consultation with relevant unions and principals’ groups’.
“We are extremely disappointed that despite the department’s (promise) our principal, without our support, has opted to continue with the pilot,” Ms Ruangsri said.
She said they had received faxes from all across the State congratulating Kyogle teachers for taking a stand.
NSW Teachers’ Federation North Coast organiser, NicoleMajor, was there with Gary Zadkovich, the federation’s deputy president, to support the staff.
“The teachers at Kyogle High School have made their opinions clear ... however, the principal has ignored the views and concerns of the staff,” Ms Major said.
Ms Ruangsri said the first ins-tance of teaching positions being cut occurred last week.
“Instead of filling the specialist teacher-librarian vacancy at Loftus Public School, the principal has opted to employ a part-time clerical assistant and a temporary teacher,” she said.
“Where is the commitment to provide the best possible education to our students?
“We want our school removed from this trial immediately.”
SHOULD PRINCIPALS HAVE MORE CONTROL OVER SCHOOL BUDGETS?