For Cathy Anderson, principal at NSW’s Chifley College – Mt Druitt campus, extra public school funding made available by the election of a Shorten Labor government would make a huge difference to her school’s teacher training and development programs, as well as to her school’s teacher numbers.
Chifley College – Mt Druitt campus, in Sydney’s south-west, stands to receive an extra $810,000 in funding as its share of Labor’s election commitment to invest an additional $3.3 billion into public schools in its first three years of government.
Ms Anderson said that Labor’s additional public school funding would make an immediate impact on her students by allowing her to boost coaching and training for her teachers.
“We have a lot of new teachers and we do reduce their loads by two periods per week to help them get on their feet, but it would be great to have the funding to give new teachers a half teaching load,” Ms Anderson said.
“I would use some of the extra public school funding to develop programs of in-service so that our teachers would develop their skills at the same time as they are teaching students.”
Ms Anderson said that her new teachers would benefit most from additional coaching in classroom management, particularly regarding the logistics and the management of students and the recording and interpretation of student results.
“If I could use the extra funding to have experienced teachers taken off class to actually deliver these programs, and to mentor and coach our newer teachers, that would be fantastic,” Ms Anderson said.
“In that first couple of years, if our new teachers could really hone their skills in classroom management then that sets them up for life, and it has a huge impact for all kids.”
Chifley College is a Year 7-10 Campus with about 500 students. Ms Anderson said teachers at her school identify more than 2000 differentiated learning strategies each term. She said that additional school funding would help provide smaller class sizes and teacher support.
“Obviously, smaller classes would help teacher and students,” Ms Anderson said. “There is more and more work that the teachers have to do before and after class on top of everything else – be it differentiated learning, the tracking of students, the monitoring of so many more things, yet their teaching loads are not reduced.”
“We have tried to make the classes a bit smaller, but if we were to get guaranteed extra funding, then that would be the ideal – that you would reduce the class size to be no more than 20 in each class.”
Ms Anderson said the most immediate benefit of Labor’s commitment to extra funding for public schools would be in more structured and individualised teaching for each student.
“At the moment we are doing a lot with teacher’s aides, but if we were able to not only have the teacher with an aide but also with another teacher in support then you would have much more structured learning,” Ms Anderson said.
“The extra funding would also mean we could do case management plans so that there is far less disruption in the class. By developing our teachers’ skills we are actually providing a far more informed approach for the students and obviously more individualised teaching for those kids.”