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Community & Business

20 July, 2022

Teachers take joint action

Hundreds of teachers from all around western NSW gathered in Dubbo last month, as members of the NSW Teachers Federation and Independent Education Union Australia (IEUA) joined forces in a 24-hour strike.

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said this joint action is a direct result of the manifest failure of the NSW government and Catholic employers to address the teaching crisis in our schools.

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said the crisis was impacting the entire profession.

“The joint decision to join with the Independent Education Union is an indication that this issue is not confined to public education,” said Bree Patton, Gilgandra High School’s NSW Teachers Federation representative.

However, the strike didn’t come without criticism. NSW education minister Sarah Mitchell said she was ‘disappointed with the action’ and wanted to bring attention to the families affected.

“It really does make it very difficult for thousands of families and students and it's frustrating that they're continuing to push down this cause rather than just to negotiate with us and try and reach a good outcome," said Ms Mitchell.

"We've got the most generous pay increase on the table of anywhere in the country, yet other states aren't seeing this sort of industrial action."

In response, Ms Patton has said that “comments from the education minister about teachers striking to only cause disruption to families and students shows a lack of understanding of current issues and the More Than Thanks campaign”.

Tim Danaher, the central west NSW Teacher’s Federation organiser has called the education ministers comments ‘highly hypocritical’.

“It's highly hypocritical that the education minister is so focussed on the disruption caused by three days of industrial action over a 10-year period. Everyday students across the state face disruption as a result of the government's inaction and failure to address the teacher shortages and mounting issues in the public education system.”

The recent HSC overhaul announcement was also under criticism by the NSW Teacher’s Federation. The overhaul announced includes changes to modernise the HSC curriculum and assessment, including the abolishment of the current system classifying HSC courses as category A or B (vocation education and training), and piloting more HSC exams online.

“The recent HSC overhaul announcement is taking away from the most pressing issues that NSW schools are currently facing,” said Miss Patton.

“The teacher crisis is resulting in student’s missing out on the education that they deserve. Teacher’s workloads continue to increase as we deal with the complexities of the job and as we try to fill the gaps that have resulted from continual government failings.”

Gilgandra High School was closed for the day on June 30, while Gilgandra Public School and St Joey’s Primary School were running under minimal supervision.

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