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Ticked off – Teachers’ industrial action backfires

Not happy: Caroline Allen and Janelle Bertacco, like many parents, won’t be receiving comments about their children in upcoming end of year school reports.

PARENTS at the Inverloch/Kongwak Primary School are so outraged their children will not receive written reports this year, one family has already pulled their students out of the school.

The parent, who didn’t wish to be identified, has enrolled her children at another school because of the stance taken by the teachers.

The latest action by the Australian Education Union is part of the current dispute with the State Government over reaching an enterprise margining agreement.

The ban involves staff not working beyond the required 38 hour week which includes writing reports and organising and attending camps and excursions for 2013.

A group of parents from Inverloch/Kongwak Primary School spoke to The Star after receiving notification their school was not issuing comments with reports.

“I’m insulted that our children are being used as political pawns,” Caroline Allen said.

“There is a huge community base with this school but this has put a lot of parents offside with the teachers.”

Instead of comments, students will receive the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) progression point achievement data which shows where the student is sitting in relation to students at the same level.

Ms Allen and many other parents said this system is not clear enough and does not give parents the right information.

“Comments are more important than the dots (VELS progression points),” she said.

“The dots work on an average and don’t show if my child is falling behind in a certain area.”

Fellow parent Janelle Bertacco said the system is confusing.

“I need something in writing to gauge where my kids are at with school,” she said.

“The dots system is terrible and without comments it is very unclear.”

Parents from the school received a letter home with their children on Friday to inform them of the action which Ms Allen described as ‘waiting until the 11th hour’.

“It was too late for us to do anything,” she said.

“I’m saddened that this has occurred and lessened the relationship between the community and the school.”

Fellow parent Kate Dwyer was equally disappointed.

“Preparing and delivering relevant and engaging lessons and reporting student progress are critical tasks for all teachers,” she said.

“I am shocked that these tasks can be so flippantly disregarded. It is hard to imagine the response employees in other industries would receive if they decided they were not going to perform one of their annual key duties.”

Ms Dwyer, like the other parents that spoke to The Star backed the teachers in their fight for better working conditions but this has changed that stance.

“I am disappointed and saddened by this action, and no longer feel sympathetic to the teachers’ cause,” she said.

Inverloch/Kongwak Primary principal Wendy Caple said  AEU members at the school had voted to implement the ban.

“The union have a lot of bans and this is just one aspect of the staff not working beyond their 38 hour week,” she said.

“Reports take a lot of time to do, because they need to be written, collated and proof read.

“This can take up to 40 hours of a teacher’s own time for just one grade of children.”

Ms Caple said notifying parents was kept until the last minute because the negotiations may have been resolved last week.

Jeff Gray, AEU Gippsland regional organiser said he would hate to think the ban was breaking up school communities.

When told parents were thinking of removing their children from the public school system, he was disappointed.

“We would hate to see parents react like that,” Mr Gray said.

“We’re concerned about that but we would think parents would be reasonable given the circumstances.

“Rather than complain about the AEU what they could do is ring their local Liberal MP and complain to them about the length of time the campaign is taking.”

Mr Gray said parents will still get the VELS information and teachers will still assess students.

“Parents can contact the school and have interviews with the teachers and talk with them over the phone and talk about the progress,” he said.

“What else can we do, we have stop work days which parents don’t like because of the difficulty it causes to them.

“We’re trying very hard to make a point but the government is dragging their heels and refusing to negotiate. I hope that the parents would look beyond the disappointment.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=5663

Posted by on Nov 27 2012. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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