School Cuts Hit Hard

Education Assistants at RallyThousands of children returned to school yesterday amid massive education cuts by the Barnett Government.

United Voice members working in public schools are bearing the brunt of the cuts, with 350 full time equivalent positions cut.

At Hillcrest Primary School four Education Assistants positions have been axed.

United Voice member Jenni, who has worked as an Education Assistant at Hillcrest Primary for the past 12 years, says a number of important positions have been slashed at her school.

“Our Anaphylaxis Education Assistant was cut but luckily got redeployed to the Special Needs Department in the school,” she said.

“We had one permanent ESL Education Assistant cut, even though we know there are more ESL students coming into the school, mostly refugees.

“She is now on redeployment but doesn’t know where to.

“We need repairs and a new PA system but there is just no budget. The government has slashed our budget.”

Throughout the stressful ordeal the first thought on the minds of Hillcrest Primary staff hasn’t been for themselves but for the children they assist every day.

“It’s not fair on the children,” says Jenni.

“What about these poor children? What happens to them?”

WA United Voice Secretary Carolyn Smith said it was disgraceful that the Barnett Government could continue to punish low paid workers by cutting their jobs yet could find the money to continue building Elizabeth Quay.

“This government doesn’t care about cutting low paid workers jobs, they don’t care about cutting our kids’ education opportunities.

“Their priorities are all wrong and it’s our members and the school kids that are suffering.”

See more coverage of the affects of cutting education staff here.