Cuts proposed by the NSW Department of Education – announced on May 30 with no prior consultation or negotiation – amount to what the Teachers Federation describes as “the most severe and significant loss of teaching and allied support positions from Head Office in the history of public education.” About 200 jobs are to go, with the following consequences:
- the loss of the curriculum directorate,
- the abolition of positions currently supporting new teachers,
- the abandonment of the regional New Arrivals English as a Second Language (ESL) program,
- the closure of the Drug Prevention Unit,
- the loss of professional learning support
- loss of a range of other critical programs in student welfare, the Arts Unit and library services.
- Abolition of the Equity Programs Directorate, which coordinated funding and support for low socio-economic status, disadvantaged schools.
It’s all bad, and students at RBSC will be among those adversely affected. My particular heartache though relates to the music programs run by the Arts Unit that will be either compromised or cut altogether. I cannot praise these programs highly enough: the various ensembles and the state music camps offer fantastic opportunities to work with great tutors, great conductors, and to play, perform and socialise with other like-minded students – it’s like the MEP but with vastly greater resources and a long, proud history of accomplishment and achievement; it’s where MEP students and students from every other public school in the state find the next rung of musical opportunity and challenge. My three children have all benefitted enormously in multiple ways from experiences available to them through the Arts Unit music programs, as have many other RBSC students – so the prospect of such opportunities being unavailable to students in the future is dismal and depressing. It’s also worth arguing against – perhaps the decision has been made by people who simply don’t realise how important and wonderful learning to play music is, both for itself and for the way it enhances learning in all areas. For that reason, please take the time to let them know! Click on the link below to read more about the Arts Unit and to sign a petition against the cuts.
Sally Zwartz, ex-MEP convenor (expressing a personal opinion and not necessarily the official view of the MEP)