Meeting in Somerton to back small schools, principals

A PUBLIC meeting will be held tonight in Somerton to discuss reclassification of principals at small schools.

The state government is proposing to downgrade the status of principals to leading teachers in public schools that have fewer than 159 students and annual budgets of less than $1 million from 2016.

At least 17 schools in the Tamworth electorate may be affected by the proposal.

Under the changes, small school principals will relinquish non-teaching matters, such as the distribution of budgets and resources, to a co-ordinating principal at a larger “hub” school in “reasonable proximity”.

Teaching principals will also be stripped of allocated days away from the classroom to work on school leadership matters.

The NSW Teachers’ Federation passed terms of settlement in relation to the reclassification of PP5 and PP6 school principals in its negotiations with the Department of Education and Communities two weeks ago.

The community forum will be held at the Somerton Public Hall on Scotland St from 6.30pm and follows similar alliance meetings organised by the Timbumburi P&C and the Somerton Steering Committee.

Guest speaker Gary Zadkovich, the deputy president of the NSW Teachers’ Federation, will be on hand to answer questions about the ramifications of the changes and will be joined by Somerton Steering Committee chief Owen Rogerson and Timbumburi P&C president Ross Briggs.

Master of ceremonies Ian Randolph is encouraging parents and community members to come along and have their say.

“It’s so important, because it’s going to affect principals in all small schools across remote and rural Australia,” he said.

“We need to fight now, rather than wait to find our small schools are under the control of another school.”

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