Innovative teaching programs targeted at individual student needs and specialist interventions such as speech pathologists and occupational therapists will be cut in Fairfield as the region braces for a $53 million funding cut in the next two years as part of Malcolm Turnbull’s Gonski 2.0.
The Turnbull government's new plan, outlined in last week's federal budget, includes an additional $2.2 billion in funding for schools over the next four years and an extra $18.6 billion over the coming decade.
However, confidential school funding projections by the NSW Department of Education show that only 10 state schools will be better off under the new plan than under the existing Gonski agreement with a projected loss of $22.3 billion over 10 years.
The documents, obtained by the NSW Teachers Federation under freedom of information laws, reveal schools like Cabramatta High School (Total loss: $3,922,458), Canley Vale High School ($3,636,281), Fairvale High School ($3,658,422) and Fairfield High School ($3,228,598) will receive significant less funding in 2018 and 2019 compared to the original Gonski funding agreement.
It comes at a time when Fairfield schools are benefiting from the current Gonski agreement in implementing several educational initiatives to support migrant and refugee students including creating smaller classes, targeted literacy and numeracy classes and student well-being programs to assist those students who have additional transition needs.
President of the Fairfield Teachers Association Mandy Wells said Fairfield students can’t wait 10 years to meet the minimum resource standard in their schools, as proposed by the Turnbull plan.
“Every day as teachers, we are seeing how children in Fairfield public schools are benefiting from the additional targeted support that they are currently receiving, preparing them for high school, work or further study and this is making school more enjoyable for them, where they have previously struggled with educational success,” the Fairfield Public School teacher said.
“The plan offers our kids and our community nothing more than drastic cuts to funding, which means a loss of successful programs, strategies and resourcing that are designed to meet the unique student needs of public school children in Fairfield.
Ms Wells said $1.2 million cuts at her school will force them to abandon programs and strategies to better meet student needs including the opportunity to engage specialist staff to provide intervention programs for those students who are, or have the potential to, fall behind.
Fairfield, Cabramatta and Prospect MPs Guy Zangari, Nick Lalich and Hugh McDermott have rallied in their support of the $53 million funding cuts in their three state electorates.
They have also called on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to intervene.
“The Turnbull Government is so heartless they are even ripping over $150,000 away from the Les Powell School, a school that is dedicated specially to kids with severe disabilities, many of whom will be confined to wheelchairs for the rest of their lives,” Mr Lalich said.
Fowler MP Chris Hayes, whose electorate will see $37.5 million cut from schools across the Fairfield and Liverpool areas, said: “The cuts by the Turnbull Government will directly impact on students with special needs, making it more difficult for teachers and schools in our area.”