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Federation breaks staffing cap and secures additional EALD positions
Federation is proud to report that the arbitrary staffing cap, initially set in 1983, has been broken.
Federation’s campaign and recent intensification, has resulted in the addition of 104 full-time equivalent (FTE) specialist qualified English as an additional language or dialect (EALD) teachers permanently appointed to our public schools. A total of 1000 FTE positions as a staffing entitlement will now be allocated in the 2020 school year, compared with the 896 previously.
The securing of additional EALD permanent positions was a significant element of Federation’s state Council in September, October and November. It was also a feature of Federation’s report to more than 20,000 members at mass meetings on 5 December.
The setting of a staffing cap for EALD specialist teachers at 876 more than 30 years ago has delivered a paltry 20 additional positions in that time. The significance of this enhancement, in line with needs-based funding, and in recognition of the substantial growth of students requiring EALD support in public schools – now numbering around 190,000 students – provides a pathway for further growth in the future.
The reintroduction of a 0.2 staffing entitlement in 2020 will be most welcomed by many of our schools. The introduction of the English Language Proficiency (ELP) Gonski Equity Loading in 2015 resulted in the loss of a staffing allocation of less than 0.4. Federation has continued to pursue this matter as it disadvantaged those public schools that had smaller EALD student populations, especially in regional areas.
Federation sees the addition of these 104 FTE positions to the EALD staffing entitlement in 2020 as an excellent start to the overall enhancement of EALD support for public schools. With significant student need in this area continuing to grow, Federation’s campaign for more permanent qualified EALD specialist teachers must also remain. Federation will continue to work with the Department in 2020 and beyond to secure further staffing betterments in this area.
Federation will ensure the provision of qualified EALD teachers, appointed to schools to meet this increased demand, will not mean a downgrading of the qualifications of these specialist teachers. Quality EALD pedagogy and curriculum must be delivered through EALD specialist teachers to ensure the continuing support of students’ English language acquisition and the enabling of EALD students to reach their full potential.
Qualified EALD teachers also play an important role working with mainstream teachers to provide professional learning on EALD pedagogy, curriculum and the emotional and cultural needs of their students. Further, EALD teachers often take on a leading role in working with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families and communities in their schools, as well as initiatives around anti-racism education.
Federation congratulates the thousands of members, whose commitment to EALD students and multicultural education in our public schools made this significant achievement possible.