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Enhanced school staffing entitlements
Significant improvements to school staffing entitlements will be one of the priority policy objectives of Federation in the lead up to the March 2019 state election.
Central to this objective is increasing every school’s permanent teacher entitlement to better meet the needs of all students.
Such an increased permanent staffing allocation would:
- strengthen the curriculum guarantee that existing permanent teachers already provide
- ensure the Department can account for the funds dedicated to each equity area
- support schools to implement effective teaching and learning programs across all curriculum and equity areas
- establish greater program continuity
- reduce the time spent on unnecessary administrative tasks for principals and other staff.
Schools will be encouraged to engage with parents and the broader community to support this campaign. In doing so, Federation will provide further information and campaign resources to members in the weeks to come.
Support for schools
Since the implementation of Local Schools, Local Decisions, schools have experienced a dramatic increase in administrative workload and inadequate support from the Department across many areas including curriculum, professional development and student welfare. There was a time when the Department provided a breadth of support to schools, driven by specialist and expert teachers.
We must never forget that Local Schools, Local Decisions was the State Government and Department of Education’s mechanism to cut $1 billion from NSW public schools mostly by cutting the number of teachers and other staff.
If it was not for the Gonski campaign that mitigated the vast bulk of these planned cuts, NSW public schools would look and feel very different today.
Local Schools, Local Decisions and its devolutionary agenda is nothing more than a threat to permanency, a means to cut budgets in the future, the opportunity to pass unnecessary administrative tasks on to schools and leaves principals and teachers to fend for themselves in areas of curriculum development, professional learning and staff and student wellbeing.
Schools, and ultimately students, will continue to suffer for as long as Local Schools, Local Decisions is a policy objective of the Department.
Federation will continue to campaign for a renewed Department that is of value to teachers and principals that offers the necessary support to all schools in a timely manner.
The review of staffing entitlements is an opportunity for the Department to consider increasing entitlements that better meet the needs of students.
The success of the schools funding campaign, which has generated significant increases in recurrent funding for NSW public schools, will enable the necessary increases to school staffing entitlements.
Indeed, the Department has demonstrated the capacity to increase staffing entitlements. It recently adjusted the cap on executive entitlement and release time in the staffing allocation of larger schools to reflect growing student enrolments.
The Department has also, as an interim measure for 2018, allocated additional Quality Teaching Successful Students staffing for Schools for Specific Purposes based on notional enrolments.
However, Federation will not support this review if the Department intends to cut existing staffing entitlements.
Public school communities have successfully campaigned long and hard for increased funding for public schools. It is now time for all major political parties to adopt sound policies that ensure this funding is used most effectively to meet the needs of all students.