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Prime Minister urged not to shortchange New England-North West kids

NSW Teachers Federation 2 mins read

The NSW Teachers Federation is ramping up its campaign to fully resource public schools in the New England-North West region, encouraging the Prime Minister to provide the funding needed to give all kids a decent shot at life.

The National School Reform Agreement has left NSW public schools grappling with a funding shortfall of approximately 11 per cent, translating to a staggering $1.9 billion this year alone. This equates to over 10,000 permanent school-based teachers.

Regional and rural communities are bearing the majority of the teacher shortfall. According to figures released this month, there were 144 vacancies in schools in the Rural North region (which includes the New England-North West) affecting 54 per cent of its 267 schools.

Interview/picture opportunities

Doorstop - Tamworth Public School
Who: NSW Teachers Federation President, Henry Rajendra, and local Federation representatives
When: 0800, Tuesday 12 March
Where: Napier Street, East Tamworth

Members’ meeting
Who: NSW Teachers Federation President, Henry Rajendra, and local Federation representatives
When: 1120, Tuesday 12 March
Where: Tamworth South Public School, Petra Avenue, West Tamworth

To arrange interview: Katie Sullivan 0438 612 550 or Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032

“It’s time for the Prime Minister to step up,” said Henry Rajendra, President of the NSW Teachers Federation. “Private schools in Sydney which receive substantial public funding, are splurging on unnecessary vanity projects such as equestrian centres and Scottish castles, while public schools are missing out.

“Premier Chris Minns and Deputy Premier and Education Minister Prue Car are doing their bit by lifting salaries to tackle the teacher shortages. But now it’s time the Prime Minister joined the effort.

"Proper funding would mean more teachers, delivering smaller class sizes. This would allow more one-on-one time for students with complex needs.”

Inequities between public and private schools are also becoming starker with capital funding. A report released by the Australian Education Union on 24 February highlighted the gap, with one Sydney private school, Cranbrook, spending more on a new pool and expanded fitness and drama facilities in 2021 ($63.5 million) than governments spent on 2,549 public schools which educate over 472,000 students.

For NSW schools it also found:
●      A 30% growth in demountables between 2011 and 2022 to over 5,000.
●      No ongoing capital funding from the Commonwealth despite calls from the NSW Government.
●      The Commonwealth capital grants program for disadvantaged schools delivered funding to two of NSW's richest schools, Loreto Normanhurst and Newington.
●      Average annual per student capital investment 2012-2021 was $1,052 for public and $2,331 for private.
●      Knox Grammar and Shore spent $222.9 million on capital works in the five year period 2017-21 -  more than was spent on public school capital works in the entire state of Tasmania over that time ($186.6 million),

“There’s no better investment than giving students the education they need and deserve,” Rajendra said. “It allows them to explode out of the starting blocks and contribute back to their community and the nation."

To arrange interview: Katie Sullivan 0438 612 550 or Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032

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