Small School Newsletter

October 2001 edition of the Small Schools Newsletter

"Building the Future" - An education plan for Inner Sydney

The Small Schools Committee has written a letter to the Building the Future Committee in response to the Department of Education's draft proposal and the implications for the metropolitan area, or indeed the rural areas of NSW. Consider the following quotes from the "Building the Future" document.


"smaller means more limited choices and often poorer educational results than might have been expected"

"may miss opportunities... such as performing in bands, learning languages or playing in a range of sports teams. They do not have access to a full range of specialist staff or learning programs."

This suggestion that small schools do not offer excellence in teaching and opportunities to progress educationally is not in the best interests of public education is an insult to the work being done by teachers in small schools.

Multi-stage units of work

Following the Small Schools Committee meeting with the Board of Studies and Curriculum Support Directorate, the Small Schools Committee would urge any principal or classroom teacher who has successfully developed multi-stage units of work in any curriculum area to forward them to the Small Schools Committee so that we can pass them onto the Curriculum Support Directorate for development in P5 and P6 schools.

Use of executive release days to attend district courses

Executive release days (P5 28 days/P6 30 days) are allocated to all small schools for use by the principal to ensure that school administration and planning can be carried out effectively. It is imperative that these days are not used to subsidise attendances at district conferences/courses. The district should be able to allocate funding to pay for any casual teacher employed by the school to replace the principal when attending district conferences/courses.

Enquire at your District Office for a Casual Employee Payroll System (CEPS) code that can be used so that payments are debited from District Office, not school funds.

Provision of STLDs

Following a letter to the Chairperson of the STLD Review Committee, the Department has advised that the Department's Learning Difficulties Reference Group has recommended that Support Teacher Learning Difficulties resource allocations to schools will be made by the district learning difficulties committee through a process managed by the District Superintendent and that this committee should take into account varying local needs including those of small schools. There is a suggestion that STLD allocations for small schools could be aggregated to serve a number of schools or be allocated in blocks for a period of time to a small school. Further information can be obtained by contacting Brian Smyth King, Director, Disability Programs on telephone (02) 9244 5080.

Use of executive release days to attend district courses

Executive release days (P5 28 days/P6 30 days) are allocated to all small schools for use by the principal to ensure that school administration and planning can be carried out effectively. It is imperative that these days are not used to subsidise attendances at district conferences/courses. The district should be able to allocate funding to pay for any casual teacher employed by the school to replace the principal when attending district conferences/courses.

Enquire at your District Office for a Casual Employee Payroll System (CEPS) code that can be used so that payments are debited from District Office, not school funds.

Merit selection panels

The Small Schools Committee met with Barry Johnson, Assistant General Secretary (Schools) on a number of issues. He was informed that some District Offices are telling principals that casuals required to relieve principal representatives serving on selection panels should be paid from the school budget and that this was a condition forfeited during the recent salary negotiations. Barry Johnson stated that this issue was never raised much less agreed to by the Federation. All costs are to be covered by DET.

Provision of furniture for THA villas

The Small Schools Committee was scheduled to meet with the Minister for Education and Training, John Aquilina, to discuss concerns of our members about this issue. This meeting has been cancelled in light of THA rescinding its decision to phase out furniture for THA villas units. We have received correspondence from Mr John Burkhardt, Chairman of the THA, which states: "This means that all villa units owned by the Authority will be provided with furniture and leased on a furnished basis". Another win for common sense!! The Committee would like to congratulate and thank everyone for their efforts in redressing this inequity.

Provision of State Fleet vehicles

The Small Schools Committee requested a meeting with the Manager of State Fleet to discuss the suitability of vehicles provided to teachers working in the far west of the state. Specifically, the Committee is concerned that teachers are being asked to travel on poor roads in poor conditions without the use of suitable vehicles and in most cases without any training on how to drive in such conditions. To that end, we will be meeting with Bill Hamilton, Director, Administration Directorate or his representative at our October meeting to raise this issue on behalf of members.

New facilities

The Committee met last year with the Department's Director of Property Services, Phillip Peace to discuss the inadequacy of administration and library accommodation facilities in small schools. The Department has recently advised that seven specialist module demountables incorporating administration, library and staff facilities will be installed in schools with a completion date scheduled before March, 2002. The list of schools to receive these demountables with proposed delivery dates follows:

School Scheduled delivery in week ending:

  • Awaba PS November 23, 2001
  • Ballimore PS August 10, 2001
  • Beelbangera PS November 2, 2001
  • Bellbrook PS March 29, 2002
  • Bilbul PS November 9, 2001
  • Black Hill PS May 17, 2002
  • Blakebrook PS November 30, 2001
  • Bunnaloo PS October 19, 2001
  • Coffee Camp PS December 7, 2001
  • Corinella PS March 15, 2002
  • Gerogery PS August 24, 2001
  • Glen William PS April 12, 2002
  • Glenquarry PS April 5, 2002
  • Goonengerry PS April 19, 2002
  • Kellys Plains PS September 7,2001
  • Maimuru PS May 3, 2002
  • Marrar PS May 10, 2002
  • Minmi PS May 24, 2002
  • Modanville PS July 20, 2002
  • Mummulgum PS December 14, 2001
  • Orara Upper PS September 21, 2001
  • Palmers Island PS October 5, 2001
  • Pearces Creek PS December 21, 2001
  • Rappville PS February 8, 2002
  • Rukenvale PS February 15, 2002
  • Spring Terrace PS March 22, 2002
  • Stokers Siding PS April 26, 2002
  • Stratheden PS February 22, 2002
  • Tharbogang PS November 16, 2001
  • The Risk PS March 1, 2002
  • Tuntable Creek PS March 8, 2002
  • Wiseman's Ferry PS May 31, 2002

Officer Attached

Peter Wilson, the Federation Officer attached to the committee is unwell and is on sick leave. The Committee wishes Peter a speedy recovery and hope he is back to his best in the future.

Senior School Assistant (SSA) allocation

The Small Schools Committee will be campaigning for the upgrading of SSA time allocation provided by the DET for P5 and P6 schools in 2001. Our commitment is to see that all P5 and P6 schools have the benefit of a full time SSA so as to be able to complete the added demands placed on schools by the DET in administration, planning, student welfare and curriculum areas. The allocation at present of one day per week for P6 and two days per week for P5 schools less than 51 is totally inadequate.

There is a need for schools to inform their parent groups of these inadequacies and the need to increase the SSA allocation and to write letters to their local member. Included is a pro forma letter, which you can use to inform your local member about the inadequacy of the Senior School Assistant allocation in our small schools.

The Committee has also sent a submission to the Department of Education's Staffing Review Committee with a recommendation that all P5 and P6 schools receive a full time SSA. This is also included with this newsletter.


Dear Member

We the undersigned wish to bring to your attention the inadequacy of the Senior School Assistant (SSA) allocation in P5 and P6 primary schools.

With the ever-increasing workload placed on the SSA through financial management, annual reporting, administration processing, training and development, office reception, educational and student support, dispensing of medication and e-mailing, the allocation of one day per week for P6 schools (less than 26 students), and two days per week for P5 schools (26 to 50 students) is far from adequate.

Due to the extra workload placed on schools by the Department of Education and Training, there is a genuine need to increase the days allocated to the Senior School Assistant position.

In line with the recommendations of the NSW Teacher's Federation's Small Schools Committee, the Public Service Association and the Primary Principal's Association that all P6 and P5 schools have access to a full-time SSA, it is imperative that the Department of Education and Training move towards implementing such a policy so that small schools are better able to cope with the ever-increasing administrative expectations of the Department of Education and Training, Government agencies and their communities.

Yours sincerely

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