Thousands of families impacted as SA teachers set to strike

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Maree Freshney will be giving up a day of work tomorrow, but despite the inconvenience for the casual worker and mother of two primary-aged children, she says she understands the reasons why many South Australian public teachers are taking strike action on 1 September.

As a nurse transitioning back into full-time work after time away to be a full-time parent, Ms Freshney says she appreciates the pressures she believes too many teachers face.

“I guess they’re overworked and want more money too – and I get that,” she told EducationDaily.

With thousands of families across SA impacted by this Friday’s full-day strike, Ms Freshney knows not every parent will be as understanding.

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But with negotiations between the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the South Australian government breaking down after the AEU’s calls for pay increases and additional support for teachers were not met, a ballot of union members found 80 per cent voted to walk off the job.

AEU SA Branch President Andrew Gohl said it was one of the strongest vote returns in the union’s history.

“It underscores the level of dissatisfaction with the Malinauskas government,” Mr Gohl said. “Just remember that it was education workers who were at the front-line workers during COVID. It was education workers who kept schools open so front-line workers could continue to send their kids to school.”

Strike response to “insulting” offer

The planned strike is in response to what the AEU’s SA branch has described as an ‘insulting’ enterprise bargaining offer from the SA government.

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The union’s demands include a pay rise that amounts to 20 per cent over three years, as well as a support officer in every school classroom, plus additional time for teachers to complete administrative work.

The South Australian government expressed its disappointment that the teachers’ union didn’t respond to its pay offer before voting in favour of the industrial action this week, with Attorney-General Kyam Maher saying the government’s offer of three per cent per year is the same one offered to other public sector unions.

“We will continue negotiating and discussing with the union like we did with firefighters, like we did with ambulance officers, like we did with our nurses and I’m sure we will resolve this but, given one of the requests of the union is to have 20 per cent less face-to-face, there is still a way to go,” he said.

Pupil-free days had already been scheduled by many SA schools on the date of the teachers’ strike. For the schools that are affected by strike action, staff members will be available onsite at each school to ensure no children who are dropped off are turned away.

SA schools closed all day on 1 September are listed below:

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Aberfoyle Hub Primary School

Adelaide Botanic High School

Adelaide High School

Adelaide Secondary School of English

Alberton Primary School

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Aldinga Payinthi College

Allenby Gardens Primary School

Angle Vale Primary School

Ardtornish Primary School

Athelstone School

Australian Science & Mathematics School

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Banksia Park International HS

Birdwood Primary School

Blakeview Primary School

Bridgewater Primary School

Brompton Primary School

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Callington Primary School

Ceduna Area School (modified special class program offered)

Christie Downs Primary School

Christies Beach Primary School

Clare Primary School (Disability Unit open)

Coorara Primary School

East Adelaide School

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Elizabeth Downs Primary School

Elizabeth Park Primary School

Enfield Primary School

Errington Special Education Centre

Evanston Gardens Primary School

Forbes Primary School

Freeling Primary School

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Gilles Street Primary School

Gladstone High School

Glenunga International High School

Glossop Community School

Goolwa Primary School

Grant High School

Greenock Primary School

Hahndorf Preschool

Hahndorf Primary School

Hallett Cove East Primary School

Hallett Cove School

Hawker Area School

Hillcrest Primary School

Indulkana Anangu School

Indulkana Child Parent Centre

John Pirie Secondary School

Keith Area School

Kilkenny Primary School

Klemzig Primary School

Koolunga Primary School

Lake Windemere B-6 Children’s Centre

Lake Windemere B-6 School

Lameroo Regional Community School

Laura Primary School

Lobethal Primary School

Long Street Primary School

Loxton Primary School

Madison Park School

Magill School

Marryatville High School

McLaren Vale Primary School

Memorial Oval Primary School

Millicent High School

Minlaton District School

Moana Primary School

Modbury High School

Modbury School P-6

Morphett Vale Primary School

Morphett Vale Primary School

Mount Gambier High School

Mount Gambier North Primary School (IELC open)

Mount Pleasant Primary School

Mundulla Primary School

Mypolonga Primary School

Nailsworth Primary School

Napperby Primary School (including Pre-school)

Naracoorte High School

Noarlunga Downs Primary School

North Adelaide Primary School

North Ingle School

Northern Adelaide Senior College

Northfield Primary School

Norwood International High School

Nuriootpa Primary School

Old Noarlunga Primary School

Para Hills High School (Beafield Education Centre open)

Para Vista Primary School

Parafield Gardens High School

Parafield Gardens Primary School

Pimpala Primary School

Playford International College

Playford Primary School

Port Augusta West Primary School

Prospect North Primary School

Quorn Area School

Renmark High School

Reynella East College

Reynella Primary School

Risdon Park Primary School

Riverland Special School

Rose Park Primary School

Roseworthy Primary School

Roxby Downs Area School

Saddleworth Primary School

Salisbury East High School

Salisbury Heights Primary School

Salisbury Park Primary School

Sandy Creek Primary School

Seacliff Primary School

Seaton High School

Seaview High School

Sheidow Park Primary School

Solomontown Primary School

South Port Primary School

Stradbroke School

Sturt Street Community School

Surrey Downs Primary School

Tailem Bend Primary School

The Heights School

Thorndon Park Primary School

Tintinara Area School

Trinity Gardens School (St Morris Disability Unit – open with a modified program)

Two Wells Primary School

Unley High School

Uraidla Primary School

Urrbrae Agricultural High School

Vale Park Primary School

Valley View Secondary School

Victor Harbor High School

Victor Harbor Primary School

Walkerville Primary School

Wallaroo Mines Primary School

Wallaroo Primary School

Wandana Primary School

Warriappendi School

Whyalla Town Primary School

Willunga Primary School

Wirreanda Secondary School

Woodend Primary School

Yorketown Area School

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]