Federation advises against change
NSW Teachers Federation Western Region organiser Brett Bertolli has one piece of advice for Lismore schools considering a multi-campus “super school”.
“Don't do it,” he said emphatically.
“In a nutshell, you've got to be mad, it just doesn't work.
“Ten years later we're in the process of moving back to a 7 to 12 system.”
Mr Bertolli ran a three-year campaign to reverse the multi-campus model that was introduced at three high schools in Dubbo in 2001, but believes if a multi-campus system is imposed, a model currently used in Bathurst where seniors and juniors aren't split would work far better.
He cites a score of reasons for the failure of splitting junior and senior students, including increased bullying on the junior campuses, student absenteeism, discipline problems and high anxiety levels shifting students to senior campuses, low staff morale, teacher de-skilling, increased stress leave, cost and loss of identity.
“We believe the kids were just too young to be role models at years 9 and 10, we had kids frightened to attend school because of the bullying and we're talking about 1200 kids away in one week out of 1800,” he said.
“We also found the senior teachers were burning out because of the workload, and the junior teachers were burning out because of the behaviour.
“The kids lost their uniform and their ethos – they got swamped into this college and lost their community identity and support.”