Teachers in Western Australia are to take action against spending cuts which will see 300 teaching jobs and 500 education support jobs going in 2014. This is happening under conditions where the state revenue is set to increase by 18% over the next four years.

The leader of the State School Teachers Union, Anne Gisborne, said that the state government has its priorities wrong: “These cuts mean that staff numbers will be decreasing while student numbers will be increasing. You don’t have to be a maths teacher to work out that this will result in bigger class sizes, which will lead to less personal attention for students and poorer learning outcomes."

The union has given the state government till next Friday to reverse its planned cuts. Western Australia and Queensland are two states in Australia which have not signed up for the education funding plans, recommended in the David Gonski report on the state of education in the country. The federal teachers' union, the Australian Education Union, has been pushing for all states to adopt the plans which would see $5billion a year being injected into education budgets, with its imaginative 'I Give a Gonski' campagn. In Western Australia however, the government is proposing its own system, financing education on a per-child basis and giving extra funding for children with special needs. However ironically it is paying for this system by slashing special needs assistants.

Western Australia has also begun to introduce 'Public Independent Schools' - an Australian version of charter schools or academies, which pose a very real threat to public education, as those fighting these developments in for example the US and England know well. 

As well as stop work meetings, teachers in Western Australia are also planning a community rally next week against the cuts.