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School building program not compliant
Federation continues to receive concerning reports from members regarding school building projects in a number of locations across the state.
Concerns specifically relate to changes to teachers' work in new and redeveloped schools that may not comply with the award, staffing agreement and NESA syllabus requirements.
In many instances, the Department refuses to listen or act when concerns are raised by teachers.
The unilateral changes by the Department — including forcing schools to adopt “open-space learning”, “innovative furniture” and manipulation of lesson timetabling — negatively affect the stability of school staffing and were never negotiated with Federation.
Such subterfuge under the guise of the schools infrastructure program is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by Federation.
Federation Council has called on the Department to suspend any further implementation of such changes and engage in negotiations with Federation to establish agreed school building and infrastructure guidelines and standards that comply with the award, staffing agreement and NESA syllabus requirements.
Further, it is critical the Department does not use the “one size fits all” or ad hoc model when engaging in building infrastructure. Negotiated guidelines and standards must include references to classroom sizes, recreation space requirements and teacher preparation and meeting spaces. These spaces need to be environmentally sensitive, energy efficient and educationally appropriate.
Federation has also written to the Minister for Education seeking a meeting to discuss the planning and curriculum dimensions of these issues.
Federation Organisers will support members in affected schools to reject the Department’s unilateral approach to school building projects. Federation Representatives in such schools are urged to contact their Organiser.Henry Rajendra Senior Vice President