and Remote Education - NSW
Extracts from submissions
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
- 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
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."
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."
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.
- 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.
- Increase rental
subsidy by 50% in 6-point schools and by 60% in 8-point schools.
- 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.
- an interest-free
- 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.
- Senior executive
should not be able to leave a school at the same time.
Bingara P& C Association NSW
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
"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
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.