• Wyatt Creech

Education Minister, Wyatt Creech said today he hoped the lengthy and disruptive pay dispute with the secondary teachers was now at an end.

"The Government has agreed to accept the settlement package worked out in negotiations between the State Services Commission and the PPTA," Mr Creech said.

Secondary teachers would now be asked to ratify the $80 million package - which would give teachers on the top of the basic scale a pay rate of $47,100, new graduates $29,000, plus it includes additional merit `salary units'.

The settlement also gives those at the top of the management scale $65,900.

"It is now time to look forward. We need to reward good teachers in our schools - and we need good pay rates to attract and keep them.

"We will now move to put in place supporting measures to see that this final pay offer will ensure we have teachers in our classrooms who perform. The settlement package makes improvements to performance elements and although not all performance measures prevailed with careful application they will lead to improved education outcomes.

Mr Creech said the Government wanted to ensure students' education was not put at risk by the unlimited strike action which was facing schools in the third term.

"Giving secondary teachers a real pay rise is one part of the Government's response to the biggest challenge facing education at present - rising schools rolls."

The Government announced yesterday details of a major school accommodation programme which would see 11 new schools and 1200 new classrooms built in the next 12 months.

"The next part of the picture is to ensure we have enough teachers in our schools. The pay increase will help achieve that goal by rewarding, recruiting and retaining good teachers and making teaching a more attractive profession."

Mr Creech said further teacher supply initiatives would be announced shortly.

"It is a major disappointment to me that the dispute has dragged on so long and the education of our young people has been placed at risk by some of the industrial tactics adopted. But I hope the dispute can be put behind us and the union and the Government can work together constructively to build a better education system for the future."