South West Sydney Revitalisation Package
The South West Sydney Revitalisation Package represents more than $130 million of targeted programs to support student learning and wellbeing needs.
In addition to the $109 million investment through the 2022 COVID Intensive Learning Support Program, an additional $30 million will be used to fund new learning and wellbeing opportunities. The package supports learners in South West Sydney in addition to those learners in communities most impacted by COVID. These programs are focused on supporting students across their learning journeys, from early childhood to post-school.
How was the Revitalisation Package developed?
Our targeted South West Sydney response has been informed by:
Consultations with over 220 principals
Parent sentiment data
Extensive engagement across the department, and ongoing cross-agency engagement.
From our consultations, we know that our South West Sydney schools, communities and students felt a variety of impacts due to COVID, including:
Reduced engagement at school
Loss of community connections
Trauma of COVID experience
Loss of transitions
Difficulty spending funds on learning and wellbeing initiatives in 2021
Loss of attendance
This co-developed package aims to meet these immediate and ongoing needs of schools, learners and communities in South West Sydney. We’ll continue to be informed by our schools and communities in delivering the package throughout 2022.
What schools are supported through the South West Sydney Revitalisation Package?
The Package supports students from approximately 500 schools in the South West Sydney region in addition to those schools most impacted by COVID restrictions. These are those schools in what were formerly the 12 LGAs of concern:
As lockdowns were LGA-based it will mean that some schools within a network will be in-scope for the South West Sydney Revitalisation Package while others may not.
What are the impacts experienced by these students?
One of the known challenges for communities supported through the South West Sydney Revitalisation Package is the concentration of disadvantage.
The average Family Occupation and Education Index (FOEI) for these schools is 107, compared to a metro average of 86
285 in-scope schools have a FOEI greater than 100
105 in-scope schools have a FOEI greater than 150
The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in over 1200 students aged 15+ in the Metro South and West region not returning to school or entering training or employment in 2020 and 2021. ABS data indicates that there are approximately 12,350 disengaged youth aged 15-19 in South Western and Western Sydney.
Research from the Department’s Tell Them from Me survey also indicates that children who experience crisis events are more likely to experience steeper declines in wellbeing than those not affected.
In combination, the concentrations of disadvantage experienced by many in the South West Sydney region and their experiences of COVID over the past year, have resulted in significant learning and wellbeing impacts for our South West Sydney learners. We now have an opportunity to provide additional support to respond and assist recovery. This Revitalisation Package recognises the unique needs of our schools and communities and aims provide support where most needed.
What does the Revitalisation Package involve?
The Package delivers more than $100 million worth of support to our South West Sydney schools and communities. The $109 million investment in Covid Intensive Learning Support provides many of our most impacted students with access to small group tuition in literacy and numeracy. $30M will be invested in a suite of additional programs that will focus on meeting learners’ unique learning and wellbeing needs. These programs are focused on supporting students across their entire learning journeys, from early childhood to post-school. A diverse array of initiatives is included in the package:
Early childhood and the early years learners initiatives
- Transition to school partnerships
- Funding to support partnerships between schools, early childhood education and care services, families, and community and health organisations to build connections for local students transitioning to school.
- ECE Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Strategy
- Establishing a CALD Early Childhood Education Advisory Group to identify solutions to the lower participation rate of CALD students in preschool and early learning in South West Sydney. The Advisory Group will be asked to co-design with the Department and community a CALD Children’s ECE Strategy.
- Department of Communities and Justice Partnership to deliver the Supporting Families into ECE Project
- A partnership between the Department of Education, Department of Communities and Justice and non-government organisations to work with families in accessing and attending early learning.
- COVID Intensive Learning Support Program 2022
- Boosting student learning through targeted small group tuition. The program will improve educational outcomes for government and non-government students whose learning has been most impacted by the pandemic
- Prioritisation of Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) professional learning for schools
- Providing schools with a foundational understanding of childhood trauma, TIP covers inclusive strategies designed to improve learning outcomes and support the wellbeing of students, staff and the school community
- Improving wellbeing through student participation in school program
- Supporting schools to embed practices that provide students with opportunities to have voice and authentic participation in their school life including implementing strategies to support their needs at school.
- Development of flexihubs
- Developing or enhancing community spaces to support student learning and wellbeing. These hubs will provide a shared space for community organisations and NSW Government agencies to work with schools and communities support outcomes for all learners
- Expansion of contingent psychology services and mobile psychology workforce
- Providing psychological counselling, assessment and intervention services for students to reduce the impacts of depression, anxiety, worry or isolation
- Expanded access to professional learning programs that support student wellbeing
- Providing staff with access to a selection of programs, identified by the school, to support student wellbeing (Cool Kids, PAX Good Behaviour Game and Seasons for Growth- programs). These evidence-based programs support student wellbeing, participation and confidence at school by giving students tools and strategies to navigate anxiety, fear, stress and grie
- Boost to low level adjustment for disability flexible funding pool for 2022
- Funding to provide schools with additional teacher and/or school learning support officer time, aimed at increasing support for students with additional learning and support need
- Improved access to allied health supports for students in Kindergarten and Year 1
- Supporting schools that need to engage specialist allied health services to ensure learning adjustments are appropriate and effective for students in Kindergarten and Year 1. Supports may include occupational therapy, speech pathology, physiotherapy, exercise physiology and specialist behaviour support
- Language and culture camps for Aboriginal students
- In collaboration with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, providing Aboriginal students from Years 5 to 11 with access to camps on Wiradjuri country. The camps support Aboriginal student identity, belonging, and help to raise the academic achievement of Aboriginal students.
Post-school pathways initiatives
- Establish Greater Western Sydney Opportunity Hub to support Aboriginal learners
- Developing a hub focused on supporting linkages between education and sustainable jobs by providing Aboriginal young people with clear pathways to employment opportunities.
- Expanded access to Education Pathways Program for South West Sydney schools as part of the expanded program
- Assisting students into school-based apprenticeships and traineeships through mentoring and support. The program provides opportunities for school students to engage with fee-free VET Smart & Skilled programs, careers advice and job-ready life skills.
- Expansion of the Skills Brokers program
- Increasing the number of skills brokers in South West Sydney, to help upskill displaced workers and support people at risk of unemployment into job creating industries
- Expansion of the Regional Industry Education Partnership
- Expanding this successful regional partnership program into South West Sydney schools. The program creates connections between industry and secondary schools to support students in planning their future career pathways.
- Expansion of the Barranggirra Skilling for Employment program
- Providing culturally appropriate mentoring for Aboriginal students in South West Sydney to ensure successful retention and completion of training and improved employment outcomes.
Frequently asked questions
Why are only some schools being supported through the South West Sydney Revitalisation Package?
The department is strongly focused on the COVID recovery of our schools. That’s why we’re continuing to invest in programs that meet the ongoing needs of all of our learners. However, we recognise that some students, those who were most impacted by COVID, will have unique learning and wellbeing needs as a result of their experiences. Students in what were formerly the 12 LGAs of concern experienced the highest rates of COVID and had the toughest lockdown conditions in NSW. We also know that our learners from many of these communities have existing disadvantage that has been exacerbated as a result of their COVID experiences over the past year. The South West Sydney Revitalisation Package is a place-based approach that recognises that schools and communities may require additional support due to a crisis event. We’ve used, and will continue to use, a similar approach to support learners involved in other crisis events, e.g., bushfires and floods.
When will schools begin to access these additional learning and wellbeing opportunities?
In-scope schools may already be involved in some South West Sydney Revitalisation Package initiatives, as some of the programs began implementation at the start of 2022. This includes the 2022 COVID Intensive Learning Support Program and programs aimed at increasing available professional learning to staff at schools supported through the Package. Other initiatives will be implemented over the coming months. Schools will be advised about additional learning and wellbeing opportunities as soon as further information is available.
Do I have to apply to be involved?
Initiatives that have not begun implementation yet may have an application process. Schools that meet the criteria for these programs (e.g., high schools for those programs focused on post-school transitions) will be invited to apply over the coming months.
What is the total amount of funding for the South West Sydney Revitalisation Package?
More than $130 million has been allocated to support our South West Sydney learners. This includes funding for already announced programs, including the 2022 COVID Intensive Learning Support program, and funding to support newly developed programs. Funding has also been allocated to expand programs that are already working well to support our learners in other areas of the state into the South West Sydney area, such as the Regional Industry Education Partnership.