17 June 2022

For immediate release

The peak body representing public school leaders across WA has called on the State Government to scrap its 2.5% pay increase offer and instead present a fair deal which meets the urgent needs of the state’s education system.

Principals Federation of WA President (PFWA), Bevan Ripp, said members are now dealing with the worst cost-of-living pressures in the country while also being among the lowest paid of any school leaders in Australia.

“We’re running on empty after battling through COVID-19 with a depleted school system which is losing teachers and taking on more social responsibilities than ever before.” Mr. Ripp said.

“We have long held the view that this State Government doesn’t understand the sheer weight of responsibilities that our school leaders have both in the classroom and also in our communities,

“In the classroom, our school leaders must deal with an increasing level of violent incidents against teachers. Looking at figures from the last year, it’s up 22% from five years ago.

“When you look at the incidents where weapons are used against our principals or their deputies, that’s almost doubled to 1,400 separate occasions in the last year.” Mr Ripp said.

“We have principals who have consistently worked through weekends and holiday periods to ensure their schools are prepared, are grappling with staff placement processes and relief teacher shortages, while taking on the added responsibility placed on them by the State Government’s Health Department in relation to COVID-19. Then we have maintenance issues, housing in regional and remote schools, localised vandalism issues and the health and wellbeing of vulnerable and sick staff members.

“Now we see inflation in Western Australia reaching 7.6 per cent in the March quarter, this just shows previous offers of around 2.5 per cent as out of touch with reality,

“I urge the Premier and the Minister for Education to come to the table with a new offer that not only includes a fair pay increase which meets the cost-of-living pressures we are under, but also new measures to support the development of our principals and deputy principals.” Mr. Ripp said.

Among the list of claims submitted to the Director General of Education as part of the second round of negotiations was a call for a 5% salary increase for Principals and Deputies over three years.

Mr Ripp said that salary and remuneration of WA school leaders currently lagged well behind that of their Eastern States counterparts.

“We need to have a think about how the future of teaching looks and how we are going to attract young people to the sector to educate the children of tomorrow when they are given few incentives to aspire to be leaders in the education sector.

He said it was time for the government to recognise the value of a well-resourced, well-led public school system and to make a long-term commitment to improving the State’s public schools.

“The current lack of funding and appreciation of the role of our school leaders is a huge part of the reason why we are seeing 60% fewer students choosing teaching as a post-graduate degree and this should be a major concern for this government.

“Most of the time this is without support in terms of ensuring their own health and wellbeing is addressed at a time when they are individually and collectively stretched to the limit.

“My members have just had enough, with many reporting that they are thinking of leaving the job altogether at a time when we are facing critical shortages.

“Our school leaders deserve better from a government with a record surplus but seemingly unwilling to invest in the education of our young people. We have had enough of the hollow rhetoric.” Mr. Ripp concluded.


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