Campaign wins recurrent funding increase

While the Turnbull Government has refused to fund its share of the final two years of the NSW Gonski agreement, the schools funding campaign has been successful in attracting an additional $1.4 billion to NSW public schools since 2014.

It is important to note that this additional money is an increase in the recurrent funding level for the NSW public school system. It is a permanent increase and set to grow.

Therefore, the NSW Government and the Department of Education have a responsibility to ensure this increased investment provides schools with additional permanent staffing that is needs-based and centrally coordinated. It is an opportunity to create stability and confidence across all settings.

It is a misuse of this additional recurrent funding to employ non-permanent teachers when the Department has the budgetary confidence to employ additional permanent teachers.

Indeed, schools need the stability of staffing that permanency affords to ensure teaching and learning programs and their objectives are fully realised.

Plain and simple, a casualised workforce results in uncertainty and instability.

Early findings from the soon-to-be-released Understanding the Work in Schools survey analysis provides further evidence that schools also require a department of education that provides systemic support through a re-imagined and strong consultancy that is staffed by experienced teachers and capable of providing quality support and advice to all schools in areas such as curriculum, professional learning and student wellbeing.

Since Local Schools, Local Decisions became policy in 2012, such systemic support has been gutted with hundreds of consultancy positions cut, denying the necessary teacher expertise to support schools.

Schools and Associations are urged to continue engaging with parents and the broader community to develop a greater understanding of the importance of increasing school staffing entitlements.

To support this campaign at the local level, Federation will develop a campaign information and action booklet that will be made available to all Federation Representatives and their Federation Workplace Committees. The booklet will be informed by Annual Conference and launched at August Council.

Students with disability

Recognising the Turnbull Government’s massive cuts to disability funding, the many challenges confronting teachers educating students with disability across a range of settings and the inadequacy of staffing levels in Schools for Specific Purposes and support units, Federation will host a Students with Disability Symposium in term 4 this year. This symposium will draw on a range of experts and build on alliances with other organisations to develop and pursue shared goals for students with disability.

Henry Rajendra Senior Vice President