Monday, March 12, 2012

Schools shake-up a smokescreen, says union | The Australian #Ausunions


THE NSW government has earned the ire of the Teachers Federation over its move to link pay rises with professional standards and to give school principals more autonomy.

Under the Coalition government's overhaul of the sector announced yesterday principals will take charge of 70 per cent of their school's budget -- up from the existing 10 per cent -- and will have the right to determine the number of temporary and permanent staff they hire.

The changes, to be rolled out from next month, will mean teachers will be paid by ability rather than the years-of-experience method.

The changes, to be fully implemented by 2015, were described by Premier Barry O'Farrell as the most significant shift in public education in more than a century.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said the shake-up would reduce costs and red tape.

"We're setting them free, we're unshackling them from the bureaucracy," he said.

The NSW Teachers Federation slammed the plan, saying it was a smokescreen to hide the fact that the O'Farrell government was planning to plunder the education budget.

"We already have leaked Treasury documents that this is about cutting between $500 million and $700m of recurrent funding out of the NSW Department of Education's budget," the union's Maurie Mulheron said.

"This is a program designed to actually have the government abrogate their responsibility to staff and resource schools, putting it on to the shoulders of the local principal, who is already working extremely hard."

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