Two local schools in education shake up

TWO Northern Rivers schools will be included in the first phase of the NSW Government's public school shake up.

Lismore MP Thomas George today welcomed the inclusion of Kyogle Public School and Rosebank Public School in the Government's reform rollout called, Our Local Schools, Local Decisions. 

Mr George said once reforms were established in the first group of schools, "greater authority" would be rolled out across all NSW public schools over the next four years.

Each school will receive a start-up grant of between $40,000 and $50,000 to help implement "increased and improved local decision making".

The reforms will be progressively implemented from now until the end of 2013, with a second round of schools expected to take part from 2015. 

The NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, said the funding, made possible by the Federal Government's Empowering Local Schools initiative,  provided for the first phase of the program which would "help implement key elements" of the NSW Government's reforms.

"Our Local Schools, Local Decisions policy is a roadmap for change that puts more decision making authority in the hands of each school and gives them the opportunity to respond to the needs of their students based on their specific circumstances," Mr Piccoli said. 

According to Mr Piccoli, schools will have a greater control over budgets and infrastructure decisions, and principals will have a greater say in staff selection, under wide-ranging reforms.

The State reforms will operate in 229 NSW public schools over the next two years.

Concerned Teachers Federation organisers have criticised what they describe as the "most radical restructures" in the department's history, and have demanded guarantees on curriculum, staffing levels and salaries. 

The NSW Government says public schools taking part in the scheme will have a range of options, including:

• Principals will have greater flexibility over staffing including being able to share teaching and non-teaching staff with other schools or groups of schools; and having a greater say in selection of staff.

• Schools will control about 70% of their budget, up from 10%.

• Schools will have a greater say over infrastructure decisions, including being able to hire local contractors and make better use of local tradespeople and businesses, and being able to share facilities and resources with other schools.

• Each school will develop a single school plan each year to manage their resources and improve student results, helping reduce administrative burdens.

• Schools will introduce better performance management and professional development for teachers and principals.

Read the full list of participating NSW schools here.


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