Education Wage Campaign; Early Childhood Teachers Rally against Disparity in Salary Conditions

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicole Cridland Reporter

NORTHERN Rivers early childhood teachers will stage a rally at Wollongbar Community Pre-School today to campaign for higher wages.

The rally is the third to be held in NSW after similar campaigns were held in Sydney and Newcastle last week.

NSW early childhood teachers at community pre-schools and long day care centres are paid about 20 per cent ($14,000) less than primary and high school teachers.

This is despite NSW being the only State to legislate that university-trained teachers be employed in all long day care and pre-school services where 30 or more children are enrolled a one teacher for the first 30 children and an additional teacher for each additional 20 children.

Wollongbar Community Preschool teacher Janine Frangos said the situation meant many chose not to specialise in the early childhood sector, or moved to primary or secondary schooling.

"There are new graduates, including men, in the field who are choosing not to gointo this area because of the pay disparity," she said.

"And that's a great loss. So we're hoping to raise awareness over the issue and are calling for pay parity from both the State and Federalgovernments."

The early childhood sector in NSW is a mixed system of early education and care provision.

This mix comprises 750 community-based pre-schools, about 1500 long day care centres and 100 Department of Education and Training pre-schools attached to primary schools.

The Department of Community Services regulates the mix.

Community Services provides some recurrent funding to the community-based pre-schools and approximately 450 non-profit long day care centres. …