“At a recent meeting, members of the Canowindra Branch on the NSW Teachers Federation voted to support actions designed to bring to the attention of the Department of Education and Community concerns about the proposed changes to the way NSW public schools are funded and run
Teachers believe the Government has left us with no choice but to take further action that could include further strikes. This is because the Government won’t guarantee that under Local Schools, Local Decisions children’s learning conditions and teacher working conditions will be protected. We know that when changes like this were made in Victoria class sizes increased and thousands of teaching positions were cut.
Currently, the Government guarantees that schools are staffed based on number of students. This means each school has a certain number of classroom teachers, executive teachers, specials teachers and administrative and support staff. This staffing allocation and the class sizes policy are protected by a staffing agreement which will finish at the end of Term 3 this year.
The Government wants to give schools a local budget instead. This means it will be the amount of money, not the number of students, which will determine how many teachers, executive and support staff will be at schools.
Local Federation Branch President, Mr Mark Edwards has expressed grave concerns about the future of public schools if these changes are implemented.
“Teachers are simply asking, through their union, to be involved in shaping this major change to how schools are run. What is disguised as the opportunity to allow principal’s the opportunity to make decisions based on a school’s needs, is really just a cost cutting measure,” he says.
“The little information that we are given indicates that the move will see schools being run as a business, not as an educational institution. Decisions will be based on sticking to a budget, not satisfying student needs”.
If the Governments cuts the budget then schools may have to cut the number of teachers provide less subject choices or special programs, increase class sizes or cut the number of executives and support staff. This will only make staffing of regional schools like those in and around Canowindra even more difficult.”
Mark Edwards, President,
NSWTF Canowindra Association
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