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Byron Shire
September 25, 2023

Staff cuts at Murwillumbah mega school

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NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra.

The NSW Teachers Federation says that the proposed merger of four schools in Murwillumbah will result in the loss of at least 19 teaching positions.

The Federation says that this is the first time Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has revealed the extent of staff cuts associated with the project.

Minister Mitchell told NSW Parliament Upper House Question Time on Wednesday that staffing projections based on 2020 enrolment numbers indicate that, when combined, there would be 3.42 fewer teaching service positions and 1.262 fewer school administrative and support staff [SASS] positions in the primary school, and 15.5 fewer teaching service positions and 3.082 fewer SASS positions in the secondary setting. (Source: Hansard).

Limit subjects, increase class size and greater workload

Murwillumbah High School will be the site of the new $100m mega campus. Image supplied

Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the loss of so many teaching positions in the newly merged super school would limit the number of subjects able to be offered, increase class sizes and result in a greater workload for already overworked teachers.

‘A year ago, Minister Mitchell told Parliament that at its very core this project has the intention to deliver world-class, future-focused, innovative learning spaces for the students of Murwillumbah and is the first of its kind in regional New South Wales,’ said  Mr Rajendra, quoting from Hansard 11 Nov 2020.

Mr Rajendra said that indeed it is the first of its kind in regional NSW. ‘It should set a higher standard so that every student has access to the full curriculum and more one-to-one attention.’

Education Minister took almost a year to tell the community

Mr Rajendra said it had taken Education Minister Sarah Mitchell almost a year to tell the community in Murwillumbah that this building project would have the net effect of reducing the numbers of teaching positions in the merged mega school.

‘We are determined to hold the NSW Government to account on this project and make sure the community of Murwillumbah knows the full extent of the downgrading of education services being proposed.

‘Fewer teachers do not equate to better educational outcomes for students and parents in Murwillumbah.’

‘At the very least, based on the current staffing levels, we estimate the new school will lose a classroom teacher, two assistant principals, a principal and a reduction in teacher-librarian staff at the primary level.’

Mr Rajendra said the new high school will lose classroom teachers, headteachers, a careers adviser, a teacher-librarian and a principal position. An overall cut of 20 per cent.

Repeated calls to the Education Department

‘The union has repeatedly called on the Department to stop the staffing cuts to no avail.’

‘If the government insists on a mega school, it is unacceptable the community loses the advantages of smaller schools and also lose teaching staff.’

Mr Rajendra said the Education Minister’s comments should sound a warning to parents and teachers across regional NSW because Ms Mitchell is on the record saying the Murwillumbah model would be replicated elsewhere across the state.

‘This is a model designed to cut costs and force students into larger mega schools with fewer staff and reduced curriculum offerings for students.’

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  1. Well what do you expect from incompetent public servants and politicians who can barely add up let alone appreciate deeper philosophical ideas? They are busily white anting our democracy as they steal our assets to feed the greed of their bosses in the elite and they know not what they do. God protect us from the greedy and grasping.

  2. The Murwillumbah community doesn’t even want the mega school why is the government forcing this upon the parents, children and the community


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