Recurrent and capital funding key to essential resourcing and staffing levels

There are just not enough people employed
in the NSW public education system, Federation President Maurie Mulheron
declared at Annual Conference today.

Mr Mulheron mentioned 1200 positions (which
supported the work of school teachers) cut from the NSW Department of Education
due to the Local Schools, Local Decisions policy; more than 5000 teachers gone
from TAFE; and about 150 qualified teacher positions in NSW gaols.

Inadequate resources mean students are
unable to meet expected learning outcomes and ultimately their life chances are
compromised, he said. And, for teachers, denied resourcing and staffing levels
essential for the job results in “overloaded, stressed teachers running on
adrenalin every day of the week”.

“Recurrent and capital funding — that we
are starved of as a system — will always be at the forefront of our campaign,”
he said.

“We can’t seriously talk about improving
working conditions, learning conditions, staffing levels, reducing workload
unless we talk about the need to get permanent, recurrent funding into the

“We are a wealthy nation but we act, when
it comes to public education, as though we were an impoverished nation.”

He suggested strategies to achieve the
union’s priorities. “We need to be assertive and engaged … as intellectual
workers by reading, researching, analysing, not being scared of criticism and
advancing our ideas in the world of politics and be the constant persuader of

He thanked delegates for the work they do
in their workplaces, teachers associations and communities.

Debate over the next three days will democratically
determine the policies of the NSW Teachers Federation. Delegates are teachers
elected by their member colleagues hand have travelled from all corners of the
state to Sydney for Federation’s 101st Annual Conference.

Issues on the agenda include salaries,
permanency, assessment and reporting, Aboriginal education, TAFE, Corrective
Services and schools funding.

The conference was opened with an
Acknowledgement of Country and a performance by the Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander ensemble from Wollongong Performing Arts High School.

— Kerri Car