State School Teachers’ Union president Anne Gisborne has voiced concern over the impact of the WA public education overhaul on the Mid West.
Education Minister Peter Collier announced job cuts and a student centred funding model earlier this week.
Ms Gisborne said the loss of 500 education staff statewide would have a significant impact on WA students.
“The loss of 500 staff will include staff in the Mid West, people who provide support to principals and other teachers,” she said.
“Of course there are also the education assistant cuts, many working with students in kindergarten to Year 2 who have life-threatening allergies.”
Ms Gisborne said the decision to cut 350 education assistant jobs, including 150 for students with anaphylaxis, would create huge levels of anxiety for parents.
“Education assistants also engage in the learning of other children,” she said.
“This element of the cuts is particularly disturbing, considering the theory and research stating the need for strong intervention in early childhood.”
Mr Collier said there would be no impact on the number of education assistants at Holland Street School as a result of changes.
“Children with a disability will not be affected by the changes and will continue to have education assistants if they currently have one,” he said.
Mr Collier said staffing changes would ensure the Education Department operated as efficiently as possible.
“The changes to central and regional office staffing are about ensuring that available resources are being best targeted to our students,” he said.
Mr Collier said current fixed-term contracts would be honoured and permanent staff no longer required might be offered voluntary severance.
“It is not possible to provide a regional breakdown at this stage,” he said.
“The Department will work with schools to determine each school’s staffing situation.”
Education Minister Peter Collier said education assistants provided solely for students with anaphylaxis were no longer required.
“We are the only State that currently allocates education assistants for young students with anaphylaxis,” he said.
“With the move to online training and support we have recognised that this is now unnecessary.”
In response to ongoing speculation about the closure of John Willcock College and amalgamation with Geraldton Senior College, Mr Collier said provision of secondary education in Geraldton was a priority.
“The department is currently reviewing the situation in Geraldton, however no decisions have been made regarding any changes to the current arrangements,” he said.
“All decisions would be made only after careful consideration and with the benefits of students in mind.”
Ms Gisborne said she acknowledged parents’ concerns over lack of communication regarding any future changes and was writing to Mr Collier about the issue.