Small Schools Newsletter

November 2001 edition of the Small Schools Newsletter

Multi-stage units of work

DET response

Both DET and the Board of Studies have positively responded to the Small Schools Committee's call for multi-stage units of work to be provided. Since our last newsletter the Committee has been informed by the Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate (PSCD) that a web site has been developed to showcase multi-stage units of work that will support small schools in the implementation of programs for classes that cross stages. The multi-stage unit "Celebrating Together" (which support the K-6 Human Society and its Environment syllabus) was sent to schools in hard copy. Any school which requires a copy of "Celebrating Together" should contact Sally Field of DET on telephone (02) 9886 7692. The PSCD has taken on board our representations that argued there is a genuine need for multi-stage units of work to be developed by the centre for most KLAs. They have asked District HSIE consultants to identify multi-stage units of work that would be suitable for use by all schools in a multi-stage situation. We have also been advised that further initiatives appropriate for cross stage teaching will be profiled in the directorate for publication. The Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate also reminds small schools that they "are able to use closed discussion groups and web boards on district web sites to share school-based units of work". It advises further initiatives appropriate for cross stage teaching will be profiled in the directorate publication "Curriculum Support", as they become available. The Small Schools Committee looks forward to working with the Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate in further developing multi-stage learning modules.

Board of Studies response

Following on from our representation to the Board of Studies for the need to develop multi-stage units of work, the Board of Studies has assured the Committee that the drafting of multi-stage units in Mathematics will be included in the development of support materials for the K-6 Maths syllabus. Drafting these units will commence in 2002. Further, as an outcome of our meeting last year, the Board's "Linkages" website project will now feature examples of multi-stage units and approaches taken in the development of teaching programs in small schools. The Board has also said that it will continue to monitor the extent to which its curriculum documents assist teachers in developing teaching programs. This Committee will continue to press for the Board of Studies and the Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate to make the development of multi-stage units of work a key theme for 2002 and beyond.

Health Department update

The Committee continues to pursue the NSW Health Department for a state-wide policy for the provision of speech, hearing, vision and dental services to NSW public schools. The Committee has asked the Federation's General Secretary to contact the Minister for Health, Craig Knowles as we have received no replies from the Health Department since our initial approach in August 2000 or from subsequent follow ups!

State Fleet vehicles for teachers in the Far West

The October 2001 newsletter advised members that the Committee was seeking a meeting with the Manager of State Fleet to discuss the suitability of DET vehicles provided to teachers in the Far West of NSW. The proposed meeting with Bill Hamilton did not take place due to his prior commitment however he did reply in writing to our letter. Mr Hamilton advised that the add-ons to vehicles are requested by the staff of the Department's Motor Vehicle Fleet Management Unit. He advised further that to date concerns about vehicle standards have not been raised by Departmental officers with the Motor Vehicle Management Unit. Mr Hamilton agreed that should there be any specific concerns he would be pleased to address them. The committee has sent a list of items that it believes should be automatically installed into all DET vehicles used in the Far West and on unsealed roads. It is asserted that the following should be provided:

  • 4WD (Prado, Pajero, etc) bull bar (not nudge bar)
  • UHF radio-fitted
  • First aid kit
  • Satellite telephone
  • Driver training courses

As soon as we have a reply we will inform our membership.

Inadequate technical backup for technology

The Small Schools Committee has written to Minister John Aquilina expressing our concerns regarding the inadequate level of technical support for computer technology and servicing. The inadequate level of support is made worse for schools which are located further away from District Offices and from centres where private computer contracting companies are based. We have called on the Minister to recognise that this is a problem which needs addressing and have suggested two initiatives that could go towards rectifying the problem. Firstly, it is proposed that a 1300 telephone number be made available for schools to get telephone advice for problems that can be fixed over the phone. Secondly, it is important that more Technology Adviser positions be appointed. It is argued that they be located by taking into account the particular needs of country schools located away from major centres where District Offices and computer contracting companies are based. It was suggested that in country areas these additional Technology Adviser positions could be based in a high or central school with responsibility to provide service and support to the surrounding primary schools.

Remote Area Allowance for School Administrative and Support Staff/General Assistants/Farm Assistants

The Committee brings to your attention that the members of non-teaching staff (as described above in the heading) are entitled to claim the Remote Area Allowance for themselves and their dependents in schools west of "the dog leg line". This line is described as:


In an area of the State situated on or to the west of a line starting from the right bank of the Murray River, opposite Swan Hill and then passing through the following towns or locations in the following order: Conargo, Coleambally, Hay, Rankins Springs, Maraden, Condobolin, Peak Hill, Nevertire, Gulargambone, Coonabarabran, Wee Waa, Moree, Warialda, Ashford and Bonshaw and

Includes a place situated in any of these towns or locations.

The "Remote Area Allowance" application form can be obtained from District Offices and when completed should be returned to the "Administrative Staff Services" section in your District. Please bring this to the attention of relevant non-teaching staff in case they are not aware of their rights to this allowance.

Use your committee to fight for what you want

The Small Schools Committee would like to draw all our P5 and P6 schools' attention to the assistance the Committee may be able to offer you with your concerns or issues affecting P5 and P6 schools. Our Committee meets four times a year to address issues facing our schools. We then send out a newsletter to all P5 and P6 schools to keep everyone updated on what is going on. A copy of the newsletter also appears on the Federation's website at www.nswtf.org.au. Your thoughts and opinions are always valued and we invite you to share your ideas and/or concerns with us. You can do this by contacting our Federation Officer Attached, Peter Wilson on (02) 4228 4414 or fax (02) 4229 5530 or any of the five Committee members:

We look forward to your contribution in working together to ensure that "small schools are great schools".

Committee Members

Name

School

Phone

Fax

John Hetherington

Wirrimah PS

(02) 6383 9214

(02) 6383 6264

Brian Smith

Williamtown PS

(02) 4965 1416

(02) 4965 1747

Kim Taylor

Corindi PS

(02) 6649 2734

(02) 6649 2332

Wayne Brooks

Paxton PS

(02) 4998 1278

(02) 4998 1848

Mick Collins

Wannaaring PS

(02) 6874 7769

(02) 6874 7713

Authorised by John Hennessy, General Secretary, NSW Teachers Federation, 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills 2010. 01229

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