Exeter Primary School and Punchbowl Primary School have elected to remain open in light of scheduled industrial action rallies.
The two Northern schools were on a list of 14 in the region scheduled to close early on Wednesday, October 24, due to industrial action organised by the education union and other public servants.
The rallies and stop work meetings are scheduled for 3pm and Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff made the decision at the behest of the Education Department to close some schools early to accommodate the action.
Exeter Primary School and Punchbowl Primary School notified parents on their Facebook pages that the school would operate from 2.15pm with “limited supervision”.
This means classes are likely to be suspended, however students will be cared for by remaining teachers in large groups until parents and carers can collect them at the regular time.
Schools closing in Northern Tasmania are:
- East Launceston Primary School – closing at 2:30pm;
- East Tamar Primary School – closing at 2:00pm;
- Lilydale District School – closing at 2:10pm;
- Mowbray Heights Primary School – closing at 2:15pm;
- Northern Support School – closing at 2:30pm;
- Norwood Primary School – closing at 2:15pm;
- Port Dalrymple District School – closing at 1:45pm;
- Queechy High School – closing at 2:30pm;
- Scottsdale High School – closing at 2:30pm;
- St Leonards Primary school – closing at 2:30pm;
- St Mary’s District High School – closing at 2:15pm and;
- Trevallyn Primary School – closing at 2:30pm.
The Australian Education Union has urged all union members to participate in their local stop work rally.
Launceston will host a rally at 3pm at Ockerby Gardens. Similar rallies are scheduled for Burnie, Devonport, Hobart and St Helens.
The Hobart rally was moved from its original location at Franklin Gardens to Parliament Lawns due to the expected number of attendees.
A briefing posted to the AEU’s website called on all teachers and support staff to leave work for the meetings.
“This is our time to lead and to step up and change the direction of public education. We are sending a strong message to the government, start listening to educators and start respecting us because we are not going away,” the briefing read.
“If you are in an isolated location and are unable to attend one of the central rallies, your workplace rep will have organised a location to watch the live-stream of the Hobart rally.”
Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff and Treasurer Peter Gutwein both have described the action as “disappointing” in light of the government’s investment in the education sector.
The government has pledged to employ 250 more teachers to help address teacher workload, with recruitment for the extra staff already underway.
Labor Education spokeswoman Michelle O’Byrne criticised Mr Rockliff’s handling of the action on Tuesday, saying he did not give parents and carers enough notice.
However, Mr Rockliff said Ms O’Byrne’s comments showed Labor was “in lockstep” with the unions.
”The reason some schools will close early today is because the AEU scheduled industrial action at a time deliberately designed to force schools to close. This was their clear aim," he said.
“The government has worked closely with the Education Department, individual schools and principals to keep as many schools open as possible, avoiding disruption to parents and students. As a result of this, 134 schools are open for the entire day as usual.”
While you're with us, did you know that you can now sign up to receive breaking news updates and daily headlines direct to your inbox. Sign up here.