Stoppages planned against SA education cuts
By Adam Hanieh
ADELAIDE — The South Australian Institute of Teachers is planning a series of rolling stoppages on March 14, 16, 21 and 23. The demands are prevention of further cuts to education, protection of working and learning conditions and support of SAIT moves to gain a federal award.
The devastating cuts to SA schools are continuing with a new round of Liberal government proposals.
Over the last month, 260 teachers have been removed from 49 schools. The government claims that this was necessary due to falling enrolments, estimated by the Department of Education and Children's Services to be around 4000 students. This figure, however, seems disputable since it was published before 180 school census audits (on which enrolment levels are based) were returned to the department.
Around the state, class sizes are up to 36 students. Cuts of $18 million are planned to education in the June budget. Teachers will also be affected by proposed changes to Workcover, which will dramatically affect stress-related claims: after six months off work, stress claimants will have all payments and all rights to re-employment withdrawn. They are also excluded from any access to lump sum compensation for non-economic loss.
Students and teachers at Craigmore High School went on strike recently in response to a government plan to relocate some teachers from the school. This was announced four weeks into the term and meant many students would have had to change their subjects because they would no longer be offered.
One student was told that all five subjects she had enrolled in for her final year were no longer available. Following the strike action, the issue has been resolved in the industrial commission with the government forced to provide enough teachers so that no subjects need be dropped.