School on Australia's Sunshine Coast makes staff redundant, requests they apply for 'new' jobs

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This article's primary contributor, Patrick Gillett, is an alumnus of Sunshine Coast Grammar School.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Sunshine Coast is a region approximately 95 km (60 miles) north of the state capital, Brisbane.

Wikinews has obtained a list of middle management teaching staff allegedly made redundant, or laid off due to restructuring, by Sunshine Coast Grammar School (SCGS), in Queensland, Australia. Sources say that those staff have been told that they can apply for new positions that have opened up.

The list, published on the SCGS alumni Facebook page, contains the names of twenty-two staff members, eight of which taught this article's primary contributor. Seventeen positions are reportedly being opened up by the private Christian school, eight of which seem to significantly overlap the old ones.

The changes are, apparently, designed to get teachers back into the classroom. "We are not cutting subject choices and extracurricular activities, but retaining a student-driven curriculum that integrates with the new Australian Curriculum, in keeping with our commitment to teaching and learning opportunities," said headmaster Nigel Fairbairn.

Fairbairn could not guarantee that any of the staff would be given a position in 2011. “That will depend on how many people on that list apply for new positions of responsibility and are successful,” he said.

"The Head of the School cannot guarantee the 21 staff a job at the School in the future, with many of the positions being advertised to external applicants," said Terry Burke, secretary for the Independent Education Union of Australia Queensland branch (Queensland Independent Education Union, QIEU).

"There has been little or no consultation with affected staff, who should not have to reapply for their jobs," he said. "Most of the proposed restructuring is highly questionable and places at risk the high quality education at the School."

Some former students responded angrily to the news.

Four of the affected teachers "were the backbone of the school when [controversy surrounded founding headmaster John Burgess] happened," a former prefect (student leader) said. "They got it through that crisis and this is the thanks they get."

"People are angry and shocked," they continued. "I am aware of at least 10 families who have said they will pull their children out of the school – it's that bad."

The student body has not ruled out protesting the schools plans. "It's getting to that stage," the former prefect said. "People are trying to look at it in an intelligent way but there is so much anger out there."

Wikinews understands that Fairbairn attracted criticism when he was a head teacher in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a former student claimed that Fairbairn "replaced the open and welcoming culture ... with the tyrannical and oppressive one."


Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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