Shadow Education and Training Minister Peter Rundle has used his reply to the Premier’s Statement in Parliament to highlight the COVID-19 chaos which has overrun WA’s school system.
Mr Rundle said the McGowan Government’s ‘first to open, last to close’ dialogue meant schools were scrambling to keep up with the changing rules and policies.
“The confusing rules are also leading to unnecessary distress for parents, particularly those with special needs children who are unable to help them settle into classrooms but can volunteer in the canteen,” Mr Rundle said.
“Not only are the confusing rules causing chaos, but the Department of Education has also not provided sufficient online learning resources for students having to isolate.
“This has left teachers already grappling with the changing rules to also put together comprehensive packs for students – all the while there seems to be no strategy to support those staff.
“The WA State School Teachers’ Union has also warned increasing workloads on teachers could result in more teachers taking leave, inflating the existing staff shortages.
“These shortages are worse in regional areas, where high levels of rent for substandard housing, coupled with negative growth for principals’ wages as highlighted by the Principal’s Federation of WA, reduces the attraction to work regionally.”
Mr Rundle also expressed disappointment in the Premier’s remark that ‘sport was not a priority’ in Western Australia, despite the industry providing huge economic benefit to the State.
“Sport is big business in WA and we know that it also promotes healthier communities and improves West Australians’ overall wellbeing, which is vital at a time when there is still so much uncertainty.
“This Premier is fast losing the trust of West Australians, simply due to his lack of a plan for the future, in a range of crucial sectors that have been left wanting by this Government.”