Encouraging teachers to go west … NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.SCHOOL principals will start choosing one out of every two new staff members from today at the start of what Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, said will be a ”big” school term for public education.
”The most significant thing that happens on the first day of term is that principals can select every second member of their own staff,” Mr Piccoli said.
Half of a school’s staff will continue to be selected through the department of education’s incentive transfer system.
”We are making it more attractive for teachers to go west,” Mr Piccoli said. ”They will be given higher priority [in the transfer system].”
Also from today, 229 schools will start testing a new schools funding system in NSW. ”So, fourth term is a big term in public education,” Mr Piccoli said.
Mr Piccoli, who recently announced a $1.7 billion cut to the NSW education budget, said his department had reduced the cost of consultancies by two thirds this year, compared with last year. Together with a range of strategies, this will save $200 million in administration costs.
Professional teacher associations are expected to be recruited to help provide support for teachers to introduce the new national curriculum in 2014.
Mr Piccoli is expected to announce a strategy to provide the professional development later this week. ”I am very conscious of the need to support teachers in schools as we implement the national curriculum in 2014,” he said.
While the minister said he would try to keep budget cuts ”away from behind the school gate”, he said there would be fewer consultants available to help teachers develop curriculum materials.
”Where there were consultants that the school could ring, there will be fewer of those,” he said. ”There will still be 4900 people working in the bureaucracy instead of 5500.
”The person that you’ve usually called might not be there which means that you have to call someone else.”
Mr Piccoli said major productions such as the schools spectacular would continue despite cuts in arts funding.
Further decisions about how the department of education would absorb funding cuts would be clearer by the end of this year.
Following the disastrous start to the school year when 700 children with disabilities were left stranded waiting for school transport, Mr Piccoli said he was confident this would never happen again.
He said funding for the transport scheme would not be cut and had been boosted 50 per cent to deliver bus drivers higher payments.
Mr Piccoli said he was still confident the Gonski schools funding model could be implemented despite the cut in the NSW education budget.
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