Bringing retired teachers back 'unworkable': IEU

Tuesday, 18 January, 2022

Bringing retired teachers back 'unworkable': IEU

Calls by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to rely on retired teachers and fast-tracked professional accreditation have been rejected by the Independent Education Union.

“Yet again, the Premier has made a media announcement without any genuine consultation with school staff through their representative unions,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Acting Secretary Michael Wright.

“Our members are angry and are calling out the cavalier attitude of the NSW Government.”

The IEU has said that returning retired teachers to schools is expecting a vulnerable group to step into the frontline.

“Fast-tracking accreditation is also fraught. Support staff undertake work that is essential for schools to function — rushing them into classrooms will only create different shortages,” Wright said.

“There is a clear risk here of undermining the teaching profession, and the consequences will only fall on students. New teachers would be thrown in the deep end without support.”

The IEU said it will continue to discuss the implications of the government’s “constant policy shifts” with bodies such as the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and employers, including Catholic Schools NSW and the Association of Independent Schools. It expects employers to put staff and student health before the political imperatives of the state government.

“Instead of posing far-fetched ideas for filling staff shortages the NSW Government knew about well before Omicron emerged, the government should be focusing on a safe return-to-school plan that facilitates proper ventilation and easy access to free rapid antigen tests and booster vaccinations,” Wright said.

The IEU will also join the ACTU for an emergency meeting of unions throughout Australia to consider actions to keep all workers, including school staff, safe.

“This proposal to return retired teachers to classrooms is unsound,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Branch President Christine Wilkinson.

“Many are immunocompromised and at high risk of severe illness if exposed to COVID-19. It is especially concerning in the case of primary schools as countless young children have not yet received their vaccinations.

“To call retired teachers back into service creates a dangerous environment not only for the teachers, but also for the students and their families. It is a disgrace to ask some of the most vulnerable members of our society to cover for the failings of the NSW Government.”

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