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Rural and Remote Education - NSW


and Remote Education - NSW

Extracts from submissions


on Indigenous education

Brother John

Giacon, Walgett, March 1999

"In my first years

in Walgett there were 30 Aboriginal students in Year 7 and none in Year

12 . I have been struck by how extremely difficult it is for Walgett Aboriginal

people to try tertiary education. Maybe one or two a year are finishing

a degree. At the same time there were no Aboriginal teachers working in

Walgett when I arrived. Now there are three.

"From my experience

the NSW Education Department is willing to spend extra money on rural

schools. They are willing to undertake initiatives such as the Walgett

Community of Schools. The staff are generally very committed and competent.

However they are often unprepared for the different worlds that country

towns and Aboriginal culture are. Too often the programs and regulations

are based on another culture. There are also incidents such as the principal

who said to an Aboriginal parent, who was distressed that all of one class

were in the bottom 20% of the State in a literacy test, 'That's not bad

for Aboriginal kids'.


  • That staff who

    are going to teach in Aboriginal areas be given specific, substantial

    cross-cultural inservice.

  • That means be

    found to ensure that staff stay in country areas longer.

  • That research

    be done into what type of education works in country towns and in Aboriginal


  • That every effort

    be made to increase the resources of Aboriginal tertiary units, not

    just in education but in many other areas (nursing, trades . ) and that

    further, creative thinking is done to look at appropriate ways of making

    education accessible to a group for whom it is so often a hostile world.

"Many reports have

highlighted the importance of Indigenous language, as does the Convention

on the Rights of the Child. The NSW Education Department has adopted a

policy in favour of Indigenous languages. However, the actual funding

allocated to Indigenous languages is inadequate. It may be that this is

because some are not aware of the massive work involved in language maintenance

and revival. It may also be that the Federal Government is not committed

to this task.


  • That the NSW Education

    Department investigate the steps necessary to teach Indigenous languages,

    and then allocate the resources necessary to do that.

  • That the Federal

    Government allocate major resources to language recording, maintenance

    and teaching."


on non-government schools

Brother John

Giacon, Walgett, March 1999

"There are extra

resources allocated to country Government schools. However Government

(Federal and State) funding of non-Government schools is on a per capita

basis. This means that, for Catholic Schools, country dioceses are much



That an 'isolation

factor' be built into per capita funding of non-Government schools, as

it is built into IESIP [Indigenous Education Special Initiatives Program

- a federal initiative] and other programs."


on teachers and other education workers

Evidence from

Sharon Grellman, Wee Waa High School, given in Moree NSW, 4 March 1999

"We are on the 5-year

system of incentive transfer. We get newly trained staff and then we spend

all our resources training them because you don't just get to teach one

subject in our schools. You get multiple subjects. We enjoy the fact that

you are a PE teacher but you have got sewing, design and technology and

sewing. You are also going to do cooking and the person next to you is

going to also teach in maths.

"We do a really good

job of training those people. We will multi-skill them. We give them all

these experiences that they would never gain in another school because

more senior teachers are doing. You get to do the year adviser, the support

teacher, learning difficulties, the sports adviser. You name it we can

do it. We are multi-skilled. We get all these skills then they are right

for promotion. They take all those skills and, ironically, they take the

skills somewhere else because the incentive is after 5 years to get out

of there. There is no incentive to stay.

"In talking to several

of the staff and the parents we would like to see an incentive system

that offers people incentives to stay in our town; to keep those skills;

to keep that experience. The survey that was released last week said the

teachers of the top 1% students had an average of 17 years of teaching

experience and a dedicated subject teacher. We are not going to get those

at our school. They are typically first year out and thankfully they are

enthusiastic and we have not worn them out yet. But given the 3 or5 years

we can do that. Then they take their incentive and go. Perhaps a system

that offers incentives to stay - like after the 3rd year the same pay

rise and then offer them incentives to stay - would give our school the

continuity that it needs to survive."

Anonymous proposal

for an incentive scheme - NSW


The current incentive

scheme may attract people to rural areas but once they are there the incentive

is to leave rather than remain, even for just an extra year or so. The

proposal recognises that neither extreme - constant staff turnover; majority

of very long stayers - is desirable. It aims for a flow of new ideas and

practices while maintaining a large measure of continuity. It is suggested

that the costs involved in implementing the proposal would be minimal.


  1. Retain right of

    transfer after 3 years but remove right of transfer (applicable in some

    schools) after 2 years. Retain current allowances: subsidised rent;

    isolation allowance; climatic allowance where applicable; automatic

    spouse compassionate transfer; medical and educational support where

    services are not available locally.

  2. Increase rental

    subsidy by 50% in 6-point schools and by 60% in 8-point schools.

  3. Introduce a sliding

    scale of incentives to start in the third year of appointment and to

    continue for 5 years after that, for example:

    • an interest-free

      loan of $5,000 which increases by $2,000 increments each year for

      5 years and which can be taken while in the isolated site of in

      the 12 months after leaving

    • a 5% increment

      in salary in years 4 and 5 of the appointment, 10% in years 6 and

      7, 5% in year 8 and no increment in the ninth and subsequent years

    • 1 month extra

      long service leave for each year of service in the isolated site

      for years 4 to 8

    • locality allowances

      indexed with salary increases

    • a 3% salary

      increment for people who purchase a home or property in the area

      (these people currently lose the rental subsidy while making a commitment

      to the area)

    • reduced HECS

      for tertiary study for dependants in full-time study.

  4. The senior executive

    - principal and deputy principal - appointed to an isolated school should

    not be first-timers in those roles although promotion from a lower grade

    of principal should be allowed. To facilitate this, principals in isolated

    areas should have salary status (but not transfer status) of the grade

    above the substantive position.

  5. Senior executive

    should not be able to leave a school at the same time.


from submissions on accessibility

Rick Hutton,

Bingara P& C Association NSW

"Bingara Central

School provides courses to School Certificate so students must go to Warialda

or further afield to study for the Higher School Certificate. Students

in outlying areas, who catch a bus to school, cannot link to the bus that

takes town-dwelling students to Warialda as this bus leaves too early.

Parents can board the students in Bingara so that they can catch the bus

or board them at Warialda or the town of the school of their choice. Either

way this adds to the financial burden on the family to educate their children,

an additional burden on many families who are currently under pressure

from the rural recession, as well as the social change in that their children

must be away from their homes."

Craig Luccarda,

Teacher, Trangie Central School, NSW

"Many schools are

not in easy access to TAFE or places suitable for Vocational Education

work placement. The travel time and cost involved discourages students

from the weekly TAFE. Often there are not enough students to make a bus

viable financially therefore unless you can find car transport the TAFE

idea is doomed. The DSE needs to fund rural isolated schools specifically

for the purpose outlined above if access to these other activities is

to be shared by all schools and their students.

"HSC course seminars,

HSC marking seminars and experiencing drama associated with English text

are some of the opportunities rural students miss out on simply because

the cumulative time away (often overnight) and cost involved (expense

to student as well as to the school to release staff) make constant trips

away impractical. It would be nice to see the BOS and DSE sponsor groups

to come out past the major centres to deliver HSC applicable workshops

in all KLA."

John Wilton,

Principal, Wentworth Public School NSW

"There seems to be

little appreciation of the costs which rural families face to offer children

access to University or TAFE. Accommodation and transport costs for an

average rural student forced to attend university away from home are in

the range of $11 000 and $20 000 annually. It should be noted that an

income based test for educational assistance lacks relevance if it does

not have an isolation factor included."

Andrew Burn,

Teacher, Griffith, NSW

"The idea of DET

funded excursion accommodation in Sydney came to me out of the frustration

of trying to organise an excursion to Sydney for seven students, and being

knocked back because the school would not send two teachers. The issue

relates to the inequality between city and country schools because a Sydney

teacher could take a class for a day excursion, and the school would not

need to provide a second teacher."

Michael Horsley,

Principal, St Mary's College, Gunnedah, NSW

"One of the most

crippling costs to parents is that associated with excursions and sporting

opportunities. In order for our students to take advantage of enriching

learning experiences beyond the classroom we have to travel large distances.

This requires expensive bus hire and accommodation (if overnight stays

are required). The cost of providing the breath of educational opportunities

similar to those of city students is far greater, and therefore, places

rural and remote students at a significant disadvantage. The most significant

factors - cost and distance."

Hillston Preschool

Inc, NSW

"Pre school education

has a very important role in our children's social, intellectual, language

and physical development and greatly assists with the transition into

primary school . Pre schoolers in the rural and isolated communities in

NSW receive enormous benefits from these social and educational experiences.

However, at present preschoolers are not being recognised as 'students'

by the Department of Transport and therefore cannot be guaranteed safe

transport to and from preschool. We ask that preschoolers be included

by the Department of Public Transport to have equal. Fair access to their

preschool destination."

Lester McCormick,

Manilla Community Pre School, NSW

"Currently, pre schoolers

are invisible to the Department of Transport. They do not have any rights

to be delivered safely to the pre school door. They depend on the goodwill

of bus drivers to canvey them or not to town, and even then there is no

guarantee a child will be delivered to a pre school, in many cases, only

to a nearby local school."


updated 2 December 2001.