Shadow Education and Training Minister Peter Rundle called on the McGowan Labor Government to guarantee a teacher in front of every classroom for 2023, after their failure to do so this year.
Mr Rundle said the news of nearly 450 vacancies in public and private schools, as reported in The West Australian, reinforced the Education Minister’s inability to attract and retain education staff in our State.
“Vacancy rates have hit the highest level in more than 15 years which is a clear indictment on the McGowan Labor Government,” Mr Rundle said.
“Principals and teachers are leaving in droves, stating that the system which should be supporting them is instead failing them.
“As was revealed during Parliamentary Question Time more than $6 million was spent on stress leave or ‘mental stress’ for principals, teachers and staff in the last financial year, an increase of more than 33 percent.
“Clearly, our education staff are not being supported through heightened workloads and additional administrative requirements they are faced with every day – this Government needs to pay attention.”
Mr Rundle said there needed to be a strong guarantee from the McGowan Labor Government that there will be a teacher in every classroom when Term One begins next year.
“For the Minister to claim she won’t know the number of available staff until teachers retire or resign at the end of the year just shows her unwillingness to be proactive,” Mr Rundle said.
“The Minister needs to deal with the shortage now and consolidate positions for staff so that teachers have clarity on their position and location for the next school year.
“The education system is in such a dire state that crucial staff are leaving every week – the Minister needs to deal with the shortage now, not watch on as it worsens.
Mr Rundle said for WA’s teachers to be able to deliver the education our students deserve, they need time and capacity to innovate and energize our State’s children about education. This is impossible under current conditions.
“The Minister needs to step up, provide support, and further invest in our schools and staff to make sure West Australian students receive the highest quality education.”