The Hunter’s educators are hoping to gain further backing in their quest to fix staffing shortages and pay concerns throughout the region.
The Independent Education Union’s (IEU) mobile billboard truck will take to the streets, from Monday 28 August, with stop-overs at Mackillop Catholic College in Warnervale (11am-11.30am); St Francis Xavier’s College in Hamilton (1.45pm-2.15pm); and the Catholic Schools Office in Hunter Street (2.30pm-3pm).
The vehicle is also set to venture to the Central Coast and Port Macquarie then inland to Armidale and Tamworth before returning through Singleton and Maitland.
But, two key issues remain at the forefront of the situation.
“The IEU is seeking the support of the public, politicians and parents of students in Catholic systemic schools in particular to back the union in striving to have the teacher deficiencies taken seriously,” IEUA NSW/ACT branch secretary Mark Northam said.
“We’re taking it to communities throughout NSW.
“Teacher shortages impact everyone, from the educators themselves and their pupils, right through to pre-schoolers and their parents.”
The IEU represents 33,000 teachers, support staff and principals in non-government schools in NSW and the ACT as well as degree-qualified teachers in the early childhood sector.
“We’re seeking a range of straightforward solutions,” Mr Northam said.
“Fair salaries for teachers; pay parity for support staff with their counterparts in government schools; adequate planning time; a reduced administrative load; and practical strategies to end the disastrous staff shortages afflicting all schools – government and non-government – as well as the early childhood sector.
“The IEU recently spoke up at the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Teacher Shortages, at federal Education Minister Jason Clare’s Teacher Workforce Roundtable, and at a meeting with Early Childhood Education Minister Anne Aly about teacher shortages in her sector.
“As the truck makes its way around the state, delegations of IEU members will also visit NSW politicians and write to them with a clear request: fix this crisis in education.”
IEU president Christine Wilkinson echoed those sentiments.
“Teacher shortages are having a detrimental impact on our members’ health and wellbeing,” she said.
“Ever-increasing workloads, supervision of multiple classes (with attendant duty of care concerns), and too little planning time are causing new levels of stress.
“Prompt action must be taken. It is time our voices were heard.”
“This is about the future of education,” Me Northam added.
“We welcome meetings with employers and politicians.
“Let’s sit down and fix these issues together.”