United Voice members are horrified at Education Minister Peter Collier’s decision to cut 500 Education Assistant jobs.
Education Assistant Kevin Davey, who has worked in the sector for 15 years, said he was upset by the decision and was worried about the impact the decision would have on special needs children.
“It’s scary on both a personal and professional level,” he said.
“On a personal level I have no idea what’s happening with my job and no way of knowing if my head is next on the chopping block.
“On a professional level I’m worried about what will happen to the children in these classes.”
Kevin said that special needs children such as those with autism and behaviour issues would be the ones that lose out the most.
“Some of these kids come from having a terrible home life and the attention they get from an EA is the only attention they might get during the day,” he said.
“I do this job for the kids.
“It’s certainly not for the money.”
Kevin said these cuts have been made because education assistants are such easy targets.
“If they were making cuts to teachers, people would be up in arms over it,” he said.
“They don’t realise how much work education assistants really do and how much of an effect education assistants have on the whole class not just one particular student.”
United Voice Secretary Carolyn Smith slammed the cuts as appalling and said education assistants deserved answers.
“It was only last week that Education Minister Peter Collier said there will be no job cuts. He lied,” she said.
“Education assistants play a vital role in the classroom. They help children with disabilities. They help Aboriginal and Islander children with attaining educational outcomes. They are responsible for the learning developments of our children in kindergarten.”
“Yet the Barnett Government has decided that they will be the first to go. As a result our kids will suffer.
Kevin said Minister Collier should come and spend a day in the classroom with an education assistant.
“Come and spend a day in the classroom with an education assistant and then a day without,” he said.