Damaging policy cuts schools’ support

It is critical that Federation members and public school communities remain committed to holding governments to meeting the minimum resource standard, as detailed in the Fair Funding Now campaign, so schools can adequately address the learning needs of all students.

To achieve such improved student outcomes is dependent on the provision of additional, appropriately qualified and accredited, permanent teaching staff who can build on the quality teaching and learning programs in our public schools.

The stability afforded by the entitlement to more permanent, qualified and accredited teachers will provide schools with greater internal flexibility to meet the needs of students with disability, Aboriginal students, students attaining English language proficiency, students from low socio-economic families and schools in remote and regional settings.

Such provision demands that schools across the state receive meaningful support from experienced teachers who are employed within a reinvigorated Department of Education to implement and deliver systemic policies, programs and resources, centralised curriculum development, professional learning and a range of operational support that empowers school communities to focus on teaching and learning.

While the Turnbull Government is yet to meet its funding obligation to the Schooling Resource Standard, the NSW Government and Department of Education are well positioned to ensure that the growth in recurrent funding is dedicated to the creation of additional permanent teaching positions and a reinvigorated Department.

To do so requires the abolition of the Local Schools, Local Decisions policy.

This damaging policy has been the means for the Department to push on to schools, excessive administrative tasks that disrupt the focus on teaching and learning, a rush of new policies that lack co-ordination and support, while cutting hundreds of consultancy and other centralised support positions that previously provided expertise, training and guidance for all schools.

University of Sydney research, and a soon-to-be-released study, into the work of teachers is expected to highlight deep and broad teacher concerns as a result of cuts to departmental support to schools.

Time is up for Local Schools, Local Decisions.

This campaign needs the support of Federation members and their school communities. Every school, teacher and student has much to gain if we achieve our policy objectives.

Recognising that this campaign is very closely aligned with the Fair Funding Now! campaign, schools are encouraged to address P&C meetings, and seek to host events that could include parent meetings, and community forms that engage local, federal and state politicians.

Teachers are best placed to explain to their community what additional permanent teaching staff will mean to the learning outcomes of their students.