President of the Fairfield Teachers Association Mandy Wells said extra staff for the specific purpose of supporting students with additional needs were at risk of being taken away should Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull not commit to the current Gonski funding model.
Teachers from 11 local schools joined NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron, Fairfield MP Guy Zangari and Prospect MP Hugh McDermott as the Gonski bus rolled into Fairfield Public School on Monday
The Gonski bus is blazing a three-week trail across Australia to campaign for the Gonski schools funding model to continue for the next two years.
It will finish with a protest event outside Parliament House in Canberra on March 22.
Support for the needs-based program, due to run until 2019, is uncertain after this year, with the federal government indicating it will roll out a new funding model from 2018.
Ms Wells said public schools in McMahon and Fowler stand to lose $45 million and $54 million respectively in 2018 and 2019 at a time when half of Australia's special intake of 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees will be settled in Fairfield.
“Public schools in our area have repeatedly reported the ability to design programs and implement initiatives through Gonski funding which have provided extra staff for the specific purpose of supporting students with additional needs,” she said.
Currently, Fairfield public schools implement several educational initiatives to support students including creating smaller classes for new arrival refugee students, targeted literacy and numeracy classes and student well-being programs to assist those students who have additional transition needs.
“Which of the schools in our area will be told they can no longer run the programs and initiatives they currently know are working?,” Ms Wells said.
Teachers from Fairfield, Fairfield Heights, Cabramatta West, Prairievale, Smithfield and Canley Vale Public Schools attended the event along with representatives from Bossley Park, Canley Vale, Fairvale and Westfields Sports High School.