Vaccine mandate threatens to disrupt start of 2022 school year
Planning by Principals for the 2022 school year has been seriously compromised by the uncertainties surrounding the State Government’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate and teacher shortage.
Principal’s Federation President Bevan Ripp said secondary schools were already facing staff shortages and relief staff were also difficult to find, prior to the decision to make teachers and principals be vaccinated by the start of the 2022 school year.
He said based on the results of a recent survey, WA faces the prospect of losing at least 300 teachers because of their antivaccine stance.
“The community just expects school Principals to make things work, and as a general rule they do, but this is one issue that is shaping up to be problematic for schools State wide.
“It is hard enough attracting staff to certain areas as it is without losing staff they already have because they oppose the Covid-19 vaccination for whatever reason. Our Principals are tired, and the uncertainty surrounding teacher supply is compounding the issue.
“Governments need to stop being reactive in this space and become more proactive – where is the incentive to attract staff into these roles, let alone attract them from interstate.”
Mr Ripp described the Educations Department’s current strategy to recruit from interstate as a short term band aid that won’t fix the problem into the long term.
“School leaders in WA are the lowest paid in the country, so what does that say about how the government values the role of the school leader?” he questioned.
“Add to the prospect that many Principals face spending their summer holiday checking to see if their staff have registered their vaccination status or not before the school years starts, and it is additional stress they just don’t need in their down time.”
Mr Ripp said Principals accept they have the responsibility for staffing their schools, but they have no control over supply. He said when supply is not guaranteed, Principals are put in the position of having to explain to their school community that they have to seriously restructure classes to accommodate for the fact they are a teacher or two short.
The potential for this to occur at the beginning of 2022 is high.
Kelly Oversby GT Communications
PH: 0436 819 188