Kyogle numbers dont add up
THE Education Department has hit back at claims made by the NSW Teachers Federation at a stop work meeting outside Kyogle High School on Tuesday.
More than 20 of Kyogle’s 35 teaching staff attended the protest and they said nearly 80 per cent of them had previously voted against the school signing up for a new pilot program, while department spokesman Sven Wright claims only one third opposed it.
“The P&C voted unanimously to take part in the program, as did the school’s support and administrative staff (and) only a third of the teaching staff – 15 out of 44 – voted against being part of the program,” Mr Wright said.
“The outcome of the extensive consultation means the school has an obligation to continue its participation.”
The Education Department said the program, known as the National Partnerships Implementation Program, was designed to provide greater budgetary autonomy to school principals, whereas teachers feared it gave principals power to cut teaching positions and re-allocate funds to other resources and expenses.
“Schools taking part are still bound by the current state-wide staffing agreement between the NSW Department of Education and Training and the NSW Teachers’ Federation,” Mr Wright said.
“Taking part in the trial gives the Kyogle High School community an opportunity to see if more local decision-making can benefit the students.
“The school executive applied to take part because it is possible the area’s unique educational needs may be more readily met if the school community has more said in the management areas covered in the pilot program (such as) staffing, assets and cleaning.”
Kyogle High teachers’ union representative Lindy Ruangsri said teachers were acting in the best interest of students and parents.
She said they were told that selection to the pilot program depended upon ‘the capacity and willingness of their school community to participate ... in consultation with relevant unions and principals’ groups’.
“We are extremely disappointed that despite the department’s promise our principal, without our support, has opted to continue with the pilot,” Ms Ruangsri said.