Education Minister Rob Stokes today reassured rural families doing it tough that they have the full support of the NSW Government, confirming that falling enrolments in drought-affected rural communities will not impact teacher numbers at their local public schools.
Mr Stokes said the drought has already forced families from some rural communities to relocate, causing a decline in student numbers.
“We are aware of how tough the drought has been on farming families and their rural communities, and we are doing everything we can to ease its impact,” he said.
More than 220 schools in isolated areas suffering from intense drought conditions will be guaranteed their staffing entitlements in 2019, with a further 35 schools on the border of drought-affected areas also able to apply for the concession.
Staffing entitlements at the impacted schools next year would have dropped by about 100 across the State without this important intervention.
“Under our resourcing formula for schools, staffing requirements are based on student numbers, so schools that lose students would typically have a reduction in staff,” Mr Stokes said.
“However, our announcement today means that isolated school communities severely impacted by the drought will have certainty and be able to continue to support local students and their families.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the move would also help prevent schools from exhausting their resources and having to recruit more staff once the drought breaks.
“Schools are a vital part of our regional communities and that is why it is so important that the NSW Government can offer this support to those that need it most, and ensure schooling communities throughout regional NSW continue to thrive,” he said.
The list of schools will be regularly reviewed and more schools may be added as a result of changing drought conditions.