Protest against school cuts in MacCabe Park

Hundreds of school and TAFE teachers, students, parents and community members will converge on Wollongong's MacCabe Park tomorrow to voice concerns over cuts to public education.

Teachers Federation regional organiser Nicole Calnan hopes for strong support. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Teachers Federation regional organiser Nicole Calnan hopes for strong support. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

The Community Day of Action will be one of a number held across the state to protest at the NSW Government's $1.7 billion cuts to the education system.

The plan includes cutting 600 support positions in state and regional education offices as well as 800 TAFE positions, and the phasing out of 400 school administration positions by 2015.

NSW Teachers Federation regional organiser Nicole Calnan said the event was being held on a Sunday so as not to cause disruption to parents or students.

"It's an opportunity for parents and the community to stand alongside teachers to call on the O'Farrell government to reverse the education cuts announced on September 11."

"These cuts will see a significant reduction in the support for teachers in the classroom, which will affect many services such as those for students with disabilities and learning difficulties.

"Teachers will have less access to professional development, because some of the positions being cut from regional offices are teaching positions - experts and leaders in areas like literacy and numeracy."

NSW Teachers Federation TAFE branch secretary Kerry Stratton said teachers at TAFE Illawarra campuses had already seen their hours "slashed or reduced to nothing", while students would face higher course fees from next year.

"TAFE is a vital asset to the community providing strong, effective, world-class vocational training for more than 100 years. This system is not broken, but it needs to be maintained," she said.

"The commitment given by this government prior to the election to maintain and extend TAFE, and ensure equitable access to it, should be honoured."

The family-friendly day of action will run from 11am to 1pm at MacCabe Park, and will include art and circus workshops for kids, plus entertainment and music.

"Students in primary and high schools deserve to get the best opportunities they can; teachers deserve access to quality professional development, resources and support; and this state deserves a well-funded vocational education system," Ms Calnan said.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said it was "great news" that students, parents and carers would not be inconvenienced by the union's day of action.

"The government has been clear that savings in public education are coming from efficiencies in the back office and will not affect students in schools," Mr Piccoli said.


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