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Nothing can be more important than the education we provide our children. Of all the responsibilities of Government, the priority of education is non-negotiable.
Every student, regardless of their unique circumstances, deserves the best start in life through a first rate, world class education system and Public Education is something to be proud of and to have faith in. I attended public schools, taught and led Public Schools, my wife teaches in a Public School and our children attend Public Schools. To say it’s in our DNA is an understatement.
We have a very strong Public Education system, one that does more than its share of the heavy lifting in terms of student complexity and one underpinned by inclusivity and excellence. Much is said about schools and about different systems, but ultimately it is up to us, in positions to implement policy, to ensure that socio economic status, geographic location or personal background never become a barrier to accessing an holistic world class education.
NSW Labor has already made a number of announcements and there are still more to be released beyond the deadline for this piece. Some I refer to below, however, for a full and continually updated list of policies, please visit www.michaeldaley.com.au/our_plan.
NSW Labor is fully committed to investing in an unprecedented school building program across NSW. As a priority, we will build 50 new schools in our first term of Government. In addition, we will replace 1000 ageing demountables with permanent classrooms. We will air-condition every public school in NSW. We will ensure every primary school we build has an early learning centre and before and after school care attached to it.
After eight years of a Coalition Government, our once mighty TAFE system has been completely gutted. NSW Labor will rescue TAFE and once again make TAFE genuinely accessible to all. NSW Labor will provide more than 600,000 fee-free TAFE places and a guarantee of 70 per cent non-contestable funding to TAFE.
NSW Labor will support school students in regional cities and towns by increasing careers advice support. We will boost the number of career advisors by an extra 100 for regional high schools with an additional unit of 15 dedicated career advisors to target areas of persistent high youth unemployment.
NSW Labor will provide free glasses to the state’s most disadvantaged children. Under this plan, 52,000 schoolchildren in NSW Schools with a low socio-educational index will have their eyes tested and those who need glasses will receive a free pair.
NSW Labor will give every primary school child in NSW the opportunity to learn a second language. We will recruit 100 full time language teachers and offer opportunities for teachers with a second language to obtain a formal qualification in Language Teaching Methodology.
Since becoming Shadow Minister, I have visited numerous schools across the state and also met with the senior leadership of the NSWTF to discuss educational matters on a regular basis. Amongst others, the following issues are most often raised:
NSW Labor recognises that a Fair Funding model has the potential to change the face of education in NSW in ways never seen before. We know Federal Labor’s commitment of $14 billion is important but we also recognise there is more to do at a state level. Fairer funding means schools can access the resources they require to ensure every child receives the education they deserve.
NSW Labor is concerned about the impact of the Local schools, Local decisions is having on schools and the people within them. Promoted as empowering schools, this policy is slowly eroding frontline professional support to schools. There is a place for local decision making, however, my concern is that principals, teachers and administrative support staff are reporting excessively high levels of stress and burnout. The current trajectory cannot be left to run unchecked.
We need to untangle the system so our educators can do what they are trained for, what they love; the actual teaching of students.
NSW Labor is committed to high standards for teacher entry and the recruitment and the promotion of the teaching profession itself. A range of initiatives are being developed to ensure we attract the best and brightest and to also support current teachers in their Professional Learning. We will continue to work towards a series of initiatives aimed at recruitment, career progression, well-
being and the promotion of the teaching profession itself. As Minister, I want students in schools to start thinking about teaching as their first choice of career.
Regarding the 2.5 per cent wage cap, the NSW Labor Shadow Treasurer, as recently as 22 February 2019, committed that any wage negotiations will be fair and delivered in a fiscally responsible manner.
Education is so much more than literacy and numeracy. Every student carries an invisible backpack containing skills, talents, dreams and learning challenges as well as their personal trials and tribulations and yet, every single day, teachers stand in front of these students, steely determined to make a difference. I will never lose sight of that.
— Jihad Dib, NSW shadow minister for education