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Fears new management may drive away pre-school teachers

The Lockington pre-school committee has raised concerns that changes might affect teachers' wages and conditions.

ELAINE COONEY May 7, 2014 3:20am

Locky Kinder: Lockington pre-school vice-president Tess Wickham, president Tish Serpell (with Zali) and secretary Jade Hewlett (with Alice). Photo: Elaine Cooney


Lockington pre-school committee is concerned staff will leave because of moves to cluster management.

Campaspe Shire had been in talks with the group about the possibility of handing over the school to another organisation as part of council’s financial sustainability review.

President Tish Serpell said new management may mean staff wage cuts.

She said the teachers had decades of experience in childcare and were paid above award wages.

Mrs Serpell said the community may lose its valued teachers if the new management’s policy is to pay staff at the award rate.

She said once the 12-month transition of business terminated, new management would be free to cut staff wages.

‘‘Our biggest concern is the teachers’ wages will be affected and they won’t be offered the same conditions,’’ Mrs Serpell said.

Committee member Tess Wickham said Lockington pre-school teacher Jeanne Aitken taught her as a child and she did not want the community to lose a quality teacher.

‘‘We have to face them (the teachers) every day. Council does not have to,’’ president Jade Hewlett said.

‘‘We want to look after our teachers and make sure the future of the kinder is safe.’’

The committee will meet with Campaspe Shire council and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development on May 22 to develop selection criteria to determine the suitability of a new education provider.

Mrs Serpell said the teachers had not been invited to join the committee and council in any discussions to date and it was unclear if they were invited to the May 22 meeting.

She said the committee spoke about joining forces with Lockington Community Care, Lockington Consolidated School and the YMCA, but was not allowed to approach any of the organisations directly.

She said the committee would be on the interviewing panel, but the education department and council would make the final decision on the takeover.

‘‘They are making it look like we are in charge,’’ Mrs Wickham said.

‘‘If we don’t get the final say, why bother?’’ Mrs Hewlett said.

Campaspe Shire councillor Greg Toll said he would fight hard to look after the teachers at the school.

He said the current wage could not be guaranteed but council needed to be fair to the workers.

The date for interviewing another organisation is August 8.

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