Friday, June 21, 2024

Specialist support staffing boost for NSW schools

Hundreds of extra specialist support staff will give NSW teachers more time to teach as part of the NSW Government’s commitment to decrease the administrative burden on teachers and reduce burn out, Minister for Education and Early Learning, Prue Car said today.

The Deputy Premier announced the additional roles at a stakeholder roundtable held today to address urgent challenges facing public education.

She said addressing workload challenges was one of four focus areas of a new statement of intent agreed to by the NSW Teachers’ Federation, Public Service Association, and other key stakeholders.

“Teachers signed up to teach our children not to fill out paperwork. More time to teach frees up teachers to focus on better outcomes in the classroom,” said Ms Car.

“We can’t afford to see more teachers leave the profession at a time when we are already dealing with a teacher shortage crisis.”

From Term 3, another 284 public schools will be able to employ the equivalent of 400 full-time extra administration staff or offer more hours to existing staff, to relieve the red tape burden on teachers.

The new staff will join the 203 administration roles already in 128 schools as part of the School Administration Improvement Program since Term 3 last year.

“There will be more of our dedicated support staff to help our teachers and students every day. The schools administration and support staff are often the friendly face you see first when you visit a school. Now we will be seeing more of them supporting our teachers,” said Minister Car.

She said the expansion of the program to around 20% of all public schools will help identify the best way to scale-up the program for implementation across all 2200 schools in 2024.

This announcement follows last month’s announcement that the State Government is halving the number of mandated changes to policies and halting pilots due to roll out this term.

Feedback from the initial trial showed a marked reduction in administrative workload on teachers, the Minister said.

The tasks the new administration staff can remove from teachers’ workload include but are not limited to:

  • preparing excursions, liaising with bus companies and their drivers, and organising permission slips
  • inputting student performance data into spreadsheets
  • managing parental payments
  • updating newsletters, social media, and school apps and texting parents about events
  • filling out health plans for students
  • lesson timetabling.

The Administration Improvement Program is part of a broader suite of initiatives the NSW Government is introducing in NSW schools over the next two years to reduce the workload of teachers and principals.

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