Jobs cut as NSW Government breaks promises on staffing at Murwillumbah high school

Despite written and verbal assurances from the NSW Government, Murwillumbah High School has had its staffing cut for 2021.

Last October, the Murwillumbah community was blindsided by the NSW Government’s decision to close two primary schools and two high schools, which are to be replaced by a mega-school on one site.

NSW Teachers Federation deputy president Henry Rajendra said the Union was advised by the Education Department that it would honour a staffing maintenance commitment for schools nominated for a rebuild or major refurbishment.

The Department formally agreed with the Teachers Federation that: “schools nominated for a rebuild or major refurbishment should be afforded, at the point of announcement, a maintenance of their existing staffing entitlement as a minimum.”

The Agreement further states: “The maintenance of the staffing entitlement should apply for 2 years beyond the opening of the new building or completion of the major refurbishment. Such a staffing maintenance will assure affected school communities that staffing allocations will not suffer therefore ensuring program continuity, supported transition and stability.”

However, staffing cuts have now been imposed on Murwillumbah High School with the Department axing almost two full time equivalent positions.


Mr Rajendra said: “The NSW government has not wasted any time in inflicting these staffing cuts having only announced the Murwillumbah project last October. But the worst is yet to come.”

“An examination of the staffing impact on amalgamating the schools on current enrolments reveals that primary school provision will, as a minimum, lose a classroom teacher, up to two assistant principal positions and a principal position and a reduction in teacher-librarian staffing,” he said.

“The situation is far worse for high school staffing. On current enrolments, it is predicted that at least 16 positions, 20 per cent of the teacher staffing entitlement, will be cut including classroom, head teacher, teacher-librarian, careers adviser and principal positions.”

“Ultimately, this will narrow the curriculum, leave students with fewer subjects to consider, increase class sizes and the workload of teachers.”

“In what continues to be a difficult year for NSW residents and the Murwillumbah community, the NSW Government is now effectively announcing job losses by stealth, inflicting more pain on schools, students, teachers and the local economy.”

“Public school teachers are already working in an under-resourced system at the hands of the Berejiklian Government. This is nothing more than a disingenuous and mean-spirited act of negligence.”

The NSW Teachers Federation is concerned that this contraction of public schooling is not limited to Murwillumbah. The Government has claimed that the Murwillumbah project is, ‘the first of its kind for regional NSW’.

“While we will continue to protect and enhance the provision of public schooling in Murwillumbah, we must brace ourselves for further school closures, cuts to staffing and increased class sizes in other regional communities,” Mr Rajendra said.