A Coalition backbencher has criticised the "soothing" approach to school reforms being adopted by the government, arguing teachers should spend eight hours at work each day, get just four weeks annual leave, and should not be marking or doing class preparation at home.
The call has been backed by Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi who agrees with Dr Laming who says the expert brought in to advise successive governments, businessman David Gonski, had ducked these “industrial” rigidities in order to avoid “World War III” with teachers’ unions.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Dr Lamming even suggested Mr Gonski told governments what they wanted to hear, meaning he told Labor how much extra money could be ploughed in and then told the Coalition how it could be spent.
But he said Mr Gonski had ignored the critical area of longstanding formal and informal work arrangements of teachers including excessive holiday periods which mirrored those of the children they teach.
In brash comments putting him at odds with powerful education unions, and even the Prime Minister whose daughter Daisy is a teacher, Dr Laming said teachers would have a stronger case if they worked a “regularised” 38-hour week for 48 weeks a year, like everyone else,“Teaching needs to operate like other jobs, with the same hours, days and weeks as the rest of the economy, rather than cluttered school hours where there it is little beyond the face-to-face time,” he said.
Senator Bernardi has told Education Minister Simon Birmingham on ABC Radio Adelaide that Dr Laming has made some excellent points.