Election statement: WA Labor

An election statement from the WA Labor Party regarding public education.

A Mark McGowan Labor Government will invest in education with more one on one attention for students and we will fund, not cut TAFE.

We are committed to providing a quality education to Western Australian children and young people. As a father of three young children, the husband of a teacher, the son of a teacher and the son-in-law of an Education Assistant Mark knows that after the family, the single biggest influence on the educational outcome of every child is the classroom teacher.

Every Liberal and National MP supported cuts to health and education while spending on pet projects.  Since 2013, they cut spending to schools across WA. $203million has been cut from the education budget and over 1400 staff including 550 teachers has been cut. There are also fewer Education Assistants (EA’s) and Aboriginal Islander Education Officers to ensure teachers can get on with teaching.

In my visits to hundreds of schools across WA, I have seen the hard work being done by teachers and school leaders to create positive learning environments for our students. Our schools need to be properly resourced to provide the very best education. Teachers have reported that with less EA’s in the classroom they now have to spend more time with those students who need a bit of extra help to focus. A McGowan Labor Government will provide funding to allow schools to employ more EA’s to support teachers in the classroom.  

If we are serious about preparing students for jobs beyond the resources industry then we must diversify our economy. WA Labor recognises the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in WA schools. A McGowan Labor Government will focus on science at a primary school level and will convert classrooms into science labs and provide science equipment at up to 200 public primary schools throughout WA.

A McGowan Labor Government will ensure wherever you live in WA, you should have the best educational choices and support. A Labor Government will appoint Independent Learning Coordinators (ILC) in 10 regional schools to supervise and help students undertaking courses through SIDE. These ILC will be based in regional high schools such as Albany, Collie, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Carnarvon, Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland, Broome and Kununurra.

Regional Learning Specialists (RLS) will also be established in the curriculum areas of Science, Social Science, Mathematics and English to visit regional schools and run classes for students.

I share the SSTU WA’s dismay at the Federal Government’s broken promise to fund years 5 and 6 of the Gonski school reforms. A McGowan Labor Government will proactively engage with the Australian Federal Government to ensure a fair distribution of federal funding for WA schools.

Youth unemployment is up, our economy has slowed and yet the Liberal National Government has cut TAFE funding, pushed up fees and put TAFE out of the reach of many West Australians. Our unemployment levels are now higher than Tasmania and at time when we need to be relying on TAFE to re-skill workers as part of a real Plan for Jobs, this government has made access to training harder than ever.

A McGowan Government will re-establish TAFE as a single brand, delivering quality training and education across WA, establish Industry Skills Centres at TAFEs and under our Plan for Jobs will create jobs for apprentices and trainees on every big State Government funded construction project.

I look forward to working with you if a McGowan Labor Government is elected in March 2017.

Please find the full response to our position paper here.

Sue Ellery MLC

Shadow Minister for Education