The West

Teachers dig into own pockets
Teachers dig into own pockets

Teachers in public schools are spending about $1000 out of their own pockets each year on classroom supplies for their students, a union survey reveals.

State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne said 98 per cent of teachers reported spending their own money on items such as textbooks, pens, paper, reading books, paint and glue.

"It is absolutely disgraceful that teachers are having to dip into their own pockets just to make sure their students have essential items," she said.

Ms Byrne said the survey of more than 1200 teachers also showed 70 per cent spent more on classroom items since the Barnett Government cut school funding last year.

Teachers said they spent an average of $450 in first semester last year, compared with $545 in the first half of this year - a 21 per cent increase.

"Almost 74 per cent of teachers said the Government's funding cuts had reduced the amount they were allocated to spend on students in 2014," Ms Byrne said.

"Teachers are being told their school simply doesn't have any money left in the budget."

A teacher who responded to the survey said: "I provide students with stationery, purchase my own texts, use own resources to prepare lessons and provide food for students who have none."

Another teacher wrote: "I now buy materials that previously would have been purchased with subject area budgets."

Education Minister Peter Collier said teachers were under no obligation to spend their own money. "It is commendable teachers want to supplement resources for their students but they are making that choice," he said.

"If teachers feel they lack basic resources, they should talk to their principal. If a principal feels their school is in financial trouble, they should contact the Education Department.

"The reality is not one single principal has approached the department saying they are in this position." Mr Collier said WA schools were the best- resourced of any State.

Ms Byrne said the survey cast doubt on the claim and it was ridiculous the Government would spend $1.8 million on an education advertising campaign while students missed out on basic necessities.

The department is expected to release details of its new student-centred funding model to schools this week.

The West Australian

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