EDUCATION DEPT. FIGHTS ON-SITE SUPPORT AMID DAILY ATTACKS

The Department of Education has commenced legal action in VCAT, appealing an improvement notice issued by WorkSafe in 2023 relating to a school in regional Victoria, Warrnambool College.

Teachers at the school reported severe harassment, including anti-Semitic and racist abuse, and gendered harassment. WorkSafe found that 80% of the school’s staff regularly dealt with about 70 problematic students, experiencing up to 20 violent or gendered attacks from students daily and issued a notice requiring the provision of on-site psychiatric support due to the high risk of psychological injury.

Australian Education Union Victoria branch deputy president Justin Mullaly said the Warrnambool College case was alarming and reflective of concerns for schools across the state.

‘The situation at that school isn't just isolated to that particular school. We have concerns right across the state that there are some chronic issues in our schools when it comes to the resources that are available. There is a key systemic problem and that is our public schools are chronically underfunded. It means we just don't have enough staff in our schools.

The Victorian Government has a responsibility to ensure principals, teachers and education support staff have the resources and support they need to deliver high quality teaching and learning to students, and to be safe at school.’

The Education Department is challenging the Notice, claiming it has already taken measures to support staff and arguing hiring in-house mental health workers at Warrnambool will set a precedent for all schools, affecting the state’s education budget.

Check out the AEU's campaign to win full funding for public schools here.

 

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