Classroom cuts don’t add up

COLIN Barnett made considerable political mileage in his first term as premier by paving the way for state schools to become more flexible and responsive to their students’ needs through attaining ind


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The basic fundamentals of Education are not being met by the Barnett government, his disgusting and potentially illegal cash grab from 457 kids is a prime example. The Premiers baseless and undeniable lies around this beggar belief too, he's been pulled up on it several times but the mainstream media just do not pick up on it. He is trully living up to his Monarch title in regard to this. As do his reasons for not signing up to the better schools program. There are a few areas that governments should never play politics with and childrens education is right at the top of the list. As with all things if you do not put strong foundations in, the end result will always come back and bite you. This is evident after years of focusing on the TEE side and yes the quality of teaching due to this has suffered, after all the student teachers are a product of the mechanism. King Colin has outright lied to the public of WA when he stated that there would be no cuts to Teachers. Under his last reform he pushed for fixed term contracts as a way to get teachers into the system. Due to the funding cuts and the heavy hand in which he has approached this many of these contracts are not being renewed. TA's are being cut across many areas too, as well as "specialty" programs such as science, how this is a specialty I will never know.Funding for Primary Schools should be at the top of the list. Ministers Barnett and Collier need to have a long hard look in the mirror on this issue and ask themselves a question. "are we doing the best for the future of our state?" At this point in time I can answer for them, NO! I am a realist though, in this day and age when does a politician look further than the next round of voting?

Thanks Ivan. The 457 matter is different but related, and I am sure it is about politics. The feedback I get is this is part of the nasty friction between the Commonwealth and the state. The new cost of educating the child of a 457 visa holder at a state school is comparable to that of a standard private school, outside the top echelon. If 457 visa holders, or their employers, decided that the private system is an attractive alternative at that pricing, then the subsidised portion of that child's education is pushed onto the federal government. It is simply shifting the cost. I believe that is the logic, along with the idea that 457 visa holders don't vote, that most of the populace reckon its fair enough and that the boom is over reducing the need for the state to make WA as welcoming as it was.

Woodlands Primary School
Mark, this is an excellent article - as a principal of a Western Australia Primary School, the new staffing formulae has had a major negative impact. The main area of pain is the removal of the 0.1 FTE Level 3 Teacher time. This position was created to keep our best teachers teaching, whilst providing them an opportunity to "test the water" re leadership responsibilities. It was an excellent idea and allowed schools to develop strategies to improve the quality of their teachers ( something universally acknowledged as the best way to improve learning outcomes for students). We, as a staff, spent 100's of hours (voluntarily after the completion of the school day) in supporting and training staff interested in this pathway. Our plan was to use our Level 3 Teachers as coaches, once a teacher or Assistant had some Professional Learning they would practise their new strategy or skill, have access to a mentor for support, modelling and feedback and once confident have their coach observe them teaching, coach them through the data set obtained through the observation process and then collaboratively plan with them what to do next. Canadian researchers Joyce & Showers show that this approach embeds these new strategies and skills with over 90% transfer, without this final step the transfer remains at 10%. Other studies of the worlds most successful schools ( McKinnsey Report 2011 & Grattan Report 2012) show clearly this is what happens. Without this time we will be limited as how we can provide our Lead Teachers this time, relief teachers will cost around $550 / day and the cuts to our School Grant will leave us with about $95,000 for the year to by resources and other requirements.

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