Shadow Education and Training Minister Peter Rundle has called for guaranteed support for teachers and educators when students head back to the classrooms for Term 3 on Monday.
Mr Rundle said the school holidays were critical in allowing staff a well-deserved break, but attention must be turned to providing extra relief staff as WA faces another COVID-19 wave.
“Each staff member has faced relentless challenges and changes during the pandemic and unfortunately, case numbers are back on the rise meaning schools could face more interruptions,” Mr Rundle said.
“Teachers and principals have gone above and beyond their normal duties to come up with innovative ways to teach the curriculum, and there is a high chance they’ll have to quickly adapt throughout the upcoming Term.
“The Opposition is calling on the McGowan Labor Government to make a solid guarantee to all education staff that they will not be left to deal with incoming challenges on their own.”
Mr Rundle pointed out recent research by Black Dog Institute named teachers as the ‘forgotten frontline’ of the pandemic which was clearly shown when WA schools were forced to act as close contact call centres.
“As we face another term potentially impacted by COVID-19, the Education Minister must promise that the responsibility of informing families they are close contacts will not fall onto principals again,” Mr Rundle said.
“We should also ensure the wellbeing of school staff is always considered, as their job has evolved quickly over the past two years and not everyone has coped with the constant changes.”
Mr Rundle said he’d received many calls about staff shortages continuing to plague West Australian schools yet there had been no commitments from the Government to fill the void.
“One way to fix this serious issue is through the provision of incentives, particularly in regional areas, to keep teachers in schools,” Mr Rundle said.
“Without our teachers, principals, school staff and support workers, our education system would
be unsustainable – they must be supported as we head into the second half of the school year.”