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Survey reveals Northern Rivers public schools stretched to breaking point

NSW Teachers Federation 2 mins read

A survey of public school teachers and principals in the Northern Rivers reveals how the combined impact of the $1.9 billion funding shortfall and teacher shortage is leading to merged classes, poorer student wellbeing and unsustainable workloads, the NSW Teachers Federation has warned.

NSW Teachers Federation President Henry Rajendra will hold a doorstop with local teachers at Lismore High School Campus at 8:15am on Tuesday, 25 June

The survey of 288 principals and teachers across Northern Rivers found: 

● 39% have taught merged/split classes regularly or always;
● 96.5% agree that “schools as a whole currently have difficulty in retaining teachers in the profession”;
● 17% are committed to staying in the profession until retirement;
 ● Only 3.5% of teachers say their school is well-resourced;
● 75% reported a decline or significant decline in student wellbeing and engagement in past 18 months;
● 91% reported a decline or significant decline in teacher wellbeing and morale;
● Only 15% say counsellor support is adequate.

NSW Teachers Federation President Henry Rajendra said Northern Rivers public schools were facing immense challenges due to the funding shortfall.

"Amazing things happen in our public schools every day, but the Government is exploiting the goodwill of teachers to maintain standards. This is not sustainable. 

“The challenges facing our schools are too great, and the cost of inaction too high. We need the state and federal governments to step up and deliver the funding our schools so urgently need.

"The Federal Government must lift its share of funding to 25% by 2028, while the NSW Government must ensure that public schools are genuinely funded at 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard.

"Providing a quality education for every child is not just a moral imperative, it's an economic necessity. Today's students are the lifeblood of tomorrow’s workforce. Shortchanging their education now will have consequences for decades to come."

Mr Rajendra said it was time for federal MPs to fight for their local public schools, pointing out that public schools educate the overwhelming bulk of the region’s students.

Electorate      Number of public school students     Percentage of total students



65.3 per cent



56.9 per cent

"Our schools and our students need champions in Parliament who will stand up and demand fair funding," he said. 

"It's time to stop the excuses and start investing in our children's future. Every student in the Northern Rivers deserves the resources and support they need to thrive."

Mr Rajendra said fully funding public schools was the only way to ensure every child in the Northern Rivers got the support they needed to succeed.
To arrange interview: Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032 or Marty Wheatley 0458 716 579

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