JOB CUTS: Claims 10 staff could be lost to mega school
A TEACHER'S trade union has claimed delayed job cuts would be in store for the mega Murwillumbah school development despite assurances to the contrary by the Department of Education.
The NSW Teachers Federation says once standard staffing ratios are applied to the four school amalgamation project, more than 10 teachers will be out of a job.
It's a statement the Department of Education refutes, touting no permanent staff will lose their jobs with the education Minister Sarah Mitchell adamant misinformation is clouding the community's eyes to a "world class education facility".
After a visit to the Tweed township this week, NSW Teachers Federation deputy president Henry Rajendra explained once a three-year moratorium on staffing changes passed, there is nothing to stop cuts.
He said the union had negotiated a standard halt on job losses during other school builds in the state, meaning from the time of the announcement to three years after the school opens - no permanent staff would loose their positions.
"You would be looking to lose one teacher in the primary school, a principal, a deputy principal and a teacher librarian. In the high school you would also loose a principal, two head teachers, a teacher librarian, career Adviser which would mean quite possibly 11 classroom positions gone."
Mr Rajendra said once the moratorium period had passed, staff might not lose employment but their position would be allocated to another school to coincide with student to teacher ratios.
"That has a major impact on what a school can deliver in terms of curriculum," he said.
"We are looking for assurances to stop staff slashing forever."
A Department of Education spokesman said the new Murwillumbah Education Campus will include a separate primary school and high school.
"No permanent staff will lose their jobs, and class sizes will be consistent with standard department processes," the spokesman said.
"Students will benefit from new health, sporting and community facilities. Opportunities to place a health hub in the school will give students direct access to the support they need."
Mr Rajendra also echoed complaints of community stakeholders who wanted more consultation before the shock announcement last fortnight, concerns over larger class sizes and a firm promise the land of the three shutting schools will not be sold off.
A department spokesman said research indicates school size is not the primary strategy for student success, having a small effect size, and that the most significant 'in school' factor is the quality of the teaching.
"Part of the advantage of this new setting is that there will be new opportunities to enhance teacher capacity and collaboration. This will positively impact student subject choice, engagement and learning," the spokesman said.
"The future of the existing school sites will be decided through consultation with the community."
Ms Mitchell said the community will have access to a world class education campus vastly surpassing anything that currently exists.
"Unfortunately, for the community of Murwillumbah, a lot of misinformation is circulating. I encourage everyone to engage with the information sessions being run by the Department to receive accurate information."
- A virtual information room about the project is open online until 12pm on November 23 and can be found at https://www.schoolinfrastructure.nsw.gov.au/projects/m/murwillumbah-education-campus-project.html
- An Education Department spokesman confirmed more consultation and workshops will follow the virtual information room.