Union objects to 'drastic changes' that will affect LSEs and kindergarten educators

The Union of Professional Educators says 'drastic changes' contemplated by the collective agreement signed by rival union MUT are 'disastrous'

The Union of Professional Educators has objected to the “drastic changes” that will affect Leaning Support Educators and Kindergarten Educators that were agreed upon by the government and the Malta Union of Teachers.

UPE executive head Graham Sansone said on Friday that the agreement stipulates that from September 2019, students with special needs starting Kinder 1 will not benefit from a shared LSE unless the classroom has more than 12 students. The change will not affect students who have a one-on-one entitlement.

Sansone said the new arrangements will leave many students with a disability such as ADHD and autism "vulnerable to the system".

The union said only students in Kinder 1 who happen to be in a class with 13 or more students would be entitled to a class LSE, who would now have to cater for all the special needs students that happen to have a shared statement of needs.

UPE said the system agreed between the MUT and MEDE will gradually come into effect throughout the primary years. Sansone insisted the UPE had, since its inception, opposed the agreement signed in 2017.

He said the changes will drastically increase the workload of KGE's and LSE's without any remuneration and will cause a drastic amount of transfers and in some cases redundancies, especially in Church and private schools.

UPE noted that such a system will also put at risk the teaching experience of main stream students, apart from the fact that students with special needs will not get the benefits they were used to.

Sansone blamed the MUT for the current “chaos”, insisting it was “ridiculous for the MUT to object to the system after the deal was signed”.

He added that the UPE believed that such a system is guaranteed to fail.

More in National