The West

School staff freeze chaos

Public schools have been thrown into turmoil by the State Government's freeze on public sector hiring, principals say.

Two weeks ago, while schools were closed for the holidays, treasurer Mike Nahan ordered immediate freezes on public sector hiring and government advertising.

WA Secondary School Executives Association president Janette Gee said schools were now scrambling to fix problems caused by the directive, such as preventing teachers offered a job from starting this term because their paper work had not been completed before notification of the ruling.

The Education Department was unable to provide clarification for schools until yesterday.

"There is turmoil and confusion," Ms Gee said. "We're reaching some clarity today with the edict by the department but for schools that had hiring processes in place, this has meant they've had to halt them."

While schools could hire teachers who were already in a redeployee or fixed-term staffing pool, they could not take on teachers from outside the system.

Ms Gee said this restricted schools' freedom to choose the best people for the job.

State School Teachers Union vice president Samantha Schofield said the freeze could disrupt students' learning because schools unable to hire permanent staff would be forced to rotate several different teachers through the same class.

Education Minister Peter Collier said the move would not affect frontline services in schools because hiring of teachers and education assistants was subject to an exemption.

The West Australian

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