Teacher strike looms
Teacher strike looms

Parents will be urged to keep their children out of WA public schools next month when teachers and school support staff again walk off the job to protest against cuts to jobs and school resources.

The State School Teachers Union, United Voice and the Community and Public Sector Union will hold an all-day strike, with support from the Save Our Schools parents' group.

The unions notified members last night they were expected to meet at Langley Park at 10am on April 1 before marching up St Georges Terrace to Parliament House to call on the Barnett Government to reverse cuts to school budgets.

More than 60 schools were forced to close in September when almost 12,000 teachers, education assistants, office staff, gardeners and cleaners attended stop-work meetings at Gloucester Park and around the State.

SSTU president Pat Byrne said reports from schools showed the severity of the impact of funding changes that took effect this year, including a freeze on teacher numbers and fewer resources for special programs to improve literacy, numeracy, attendance and behaviour.

"I think that our teachers are quite justifiably angry at the reductions that they're now experiencing and the impact that act-ually has on students," she said.

"We've had very strong support from parents and the broader community."

The unions say 350 education assistants' positions have been lost this year and that $180 million has been sliced from school budgets.

Education Minister Peter Collier said talk of strike action in schools was "extremely disappointing" and would only disrupt student learning and inconvenience parents.

"Schools across the State started the 2014 school year on a very positive front, with seven new public schools open on day one," Mr Collier said.

"There were more than 650 graduate teachers employed, the most we've seen in a decade.

"The funding changes we have implemented need to be seen in the context of a $4.4 billion education budget. WA's schools remain extremely well resourced and our teachers are the best paid in the nation."

SOS spokesman Tim Kucera said the education alliance - the three unions and SOS - were giving parents plenty of notice ahead of the strike action so they could make plans.

The West Australian

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